The Cold – A Tragedy in Three Acts

Act I

The Ever-Suffering Mother isn’t suffering quite so much. She has a lifetime supply of peanut M&Ms in the cupboard, a loving husband (who buys her M&Ms) and a darling daughter, and lots of writing time during the day. But by the endof Act I, she develops a sore throat. This can’t be good.

Act II

Like any valiant heroine, she attempts to help herself through lots of naps, liquids (milkshakes count, right?), and more naps. (Medication is, given her pregnancy, pretty much out of the question. Further helping us define the meaning of “suffering.”)

Despite her valiant efforts, the sore throat has grown into a Sore Throat of Doom.

By the end of Act II the sore throat has gone away (hooray!) only to be replaced by copious amounts of snot. Act II is plagued with phegmatic and lethargic dialogue, lots of adenoidal voice-overs, mouth-breathing, and we’ll throw the World’s Shortest Rejection Time on a Short Story in there as a subplot (5 hours 11 minutes).


In Act III, the Ever-Suffering Mother overcomes the rejection, but not the snot, and the Cold replays itself for other beloved members of her family, compounding its effects through sleeplessness, irritability, and general malaise.

The End.

The Monster, Part 3 (and The End!)

For Part 1, click here. For Part 2, click here.

The Monster

Kimberly heard someone behind her. She turned around quickly, just in time to see the sorceress pointing her wand at James and chanting in a foreign language.1 Kimberly had no time to think. “Noooooo!” she wailed, then took up a handful of dirt from the hard-packed earth,2 hurling it at the twisted face of the sorceress.

  1. Wow, this is so much easier than the entire theory of magic I created for my current manuscript. Wand, foreign language, boom. Sorcery.
  2. I’d imagine it would be rather difficult to pick up an entire handful of dirt from hard-packed earth. Just sayin’.

By an invisible and powerfully strong force, Kimberly was pushed to the ground. There she lay, unconscious and still.

Kimberly awoke, startled to see James’1 handsome face directly above her own. A cold wash cloth was being pressed against her forehead.2 “Kimberly, are you all right?” James asked tenderly,3 brushing her hair away from her face.4

  1. I think we already discussed the James’/James’s issue.
  2. We haven’t, however, talked about passive voice. “Was being pressed” is totally awkward, and leaves out any agent doing the pressing. Of course, we can guess it’s James pressing the wash cloth, but why not just say so?
  3. And I KNOW we’ve talked about adverbs.
  4. Also, we’re missing the entire, huge problem with this story. The old “Oh, I got knocked out, WTF happened while I was in my Victorian swoon?” (As much as I loved The Hunger Games, Katniss does this a few too many times in the third book.)

“James, I – I didn’t think you could come,” she said dramatically.1 “I knew you were mad; I thought I was doomed.”

“I would never leave you to die. I’ll never be that angry.”

“So what happened?”

“You distracted the witch for me, then I had the chance to kill the monster, then I fought the witch and killed her too. But when you threw the sand in her eyes, she aimed her wand at you instead. That’s why you got hurt.”2

“Thanks, James, for saving me.” Kimberly reached forward and kissed him gratefully on the cheek.

“No, Kimberly, I couldn’t have done it without you.”3

James cradled Kimberly in his arms for a moment, then picked her up and carried her away from the woods and the evil memories that remained there. They would make up. They always did.4

  1. Dramatically. Seriously.
  2. This entire recount seems to be out of order.
  3. Despite the cheesy dialogue, I must congratulate my teen self on how I did not overuse dialogue tags in this section. We know who’s talking, so why add “he said, she said”? Something I should have kept in mind for my current manuscript.
  4. I thought they already made up? Or is this referring to their big college argument that never got resolved? That must be it. Well, luckily I don’t think anybody cares how they solve that problem.

And thus ends our journey into this endearingly short romance. (Indeed, its brevity may be the only thing in its favor.)

The Monster, Part 2

Yes, I will beat a dead horse. For the first installment of this scintillating poetastic series, click here.

The Monster, Part Dos

She could smell it’s1 breath, the crude stench lingering as the monster went back to the hole it slept in. It lied2 down and began snoring once more. What the heck is going on? Kimberly wondered. But she didn’t mind. The longer the monster slept, the more time James would have to realize what a moron he was and would come looking for her.3

  1. Again, ITS, not it’s.
  2. The past tense of lie, as in, “to lie down,” is lay.
  3. I’m not getting a clear picture of how Kimberly is tied right now, and why she isn’t struggling more. I am wondering who the real moron is in this story.

Frantically, Kimberly looked around, taking in her surroundings as she did so.1 What if James was too angry this time, and didn’t come back for her? He knew she couldn’t find her way around in the woods, but right now he was probably too angry to care.2

  1. What else is she doing as she looks around? Not taking in her surroundings?
  2. James sounds like an Edwardian (of the Twilight, not the era) jerk. Perhaps the monster sparkles a little, and Kimberly can fall in love with the monster instead?

Kimberly decided that she couldn’t always depend on James.1 Sure, he had gotten her out of many tough situations,2 but right now he was being senseless. Kimberly looked around for a weapon. Naturally, there weren’t any nearby. After all, sorcerers aren’t widely known for their moronic stupidity.3

  1. Yes, yes, and thrice yes!
  2. Have there been other supernatural encounters? Or by “tough situations” does she mean how she forgot her homework, or got locked out of the house?
  3. And that’s it, she just stops looking? Sorcerers might not be stupid, but they should have some kind of hubris, like pride, that causes them to overlook things that resourceful heroines can find so the heroines don’t have to depend on jerk boyfriends to come and save them like a god from the machine.

Then, all of a sudden, Kimberly heard the sorceress shouting angrily at something or someone out in front of the house. Could it be? Yes it was! It was James!1 “James!” Kimberly cried out desperately.2 “James! James! Back here!”

  1. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no! It’s horrible writing!
  2. Watch those adverbs, sistah.

As if in a nightmare,1 the monster awoke. It looked around hungrily, then it’s evil gray eyes rested on Kimberly. Terrified, Kimberly was quiet. She no longer heard anything but silence.2 Had the sorceress gotten James, too? But then the monster lifted up its snout, sniffing the air. James bounded out of nowhere,3 tackling the vicious monster.4 The monster wailed in surprise, then began bucking and jumping, trying to throw James off its back.5

  1. Whose nightmare? This is my nightmare.
  2. Here’s something I read somewhere – that even in silence, you can hear noises. If nothing else, the sound of your own breathing. Or maybe there’s the wind in the trees, or the hum of the refrigerator. Any of these things is more interesting than absolute silence. Besides. You can’t hear silence, can you?
  3. Nowhere? Like a wyrm hole or something? Something magic?! A nice twist would be if James were the sorceress. A little cross-dressing, a little dissociative identity disorder….
  4. Swoon! My hero!
  5. I feel sorry for the monster. It didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just doing its monsterly things.

And thus ends the second installment of “The Monster.” Next week, we’ll finish the story.

After that, I have a vampire story I wrote in high school. I think it’s even more embarrassing than this one.

The Giant Red Spider of DOOM

Those in our studio audience who would like to explore the issue of co-existing with insane arachnids further may enjoy…

  • A recent blog post about the karma of bug killing
  • Two images I found of the actual Giant Red Spider of Doom. You may think that my sketched renderings and the photographs have little in common. I would like to point out that my sketch is a far more accurate depiction of the fear and monstrosity of the creature. (Okay, so I was going to find a bigger picture of it, but just going to the website was seriously freaking me out. Toes curling, wishing I had shoes on, stomach all oogly-boogly. You’ll just have to click the photo for it.)
  • The following map of known sightings of the Giant Red Spider of Doom within my sleeping cabin. Notice each interloper’s proximity to important spaces – my side of the family bed (of pain), and the towel rack in the bathroom:

Reverse Placebo Band-Aid Drama

Z’s a happy child. She laughs, tells jokes, loves it when I hide behind a corner and scare the pants off her when she least expects it (this runs in my family).

She also tends toward the melodramatic (this also runs in my family. Fine. Just me. Shut up before I go cry myself to sleep).

Last week my mom was visiting (a.k.a. Free Babysitting While I Hide in my Bedroom with the Computer). Mom needed a band-aid, so I got her one, and I got one for Z as well. I remembered seeing this cute little girl in music class wearing band-aids all over her body – arms, legs, tummy, so I thought it would be fun for Z to have a band-aid and match her Gran. Boy, was I wrong.

I picked a spot on her hand for the band-aid, and maybe this was my mistake – the spot had a little tiny boo-boo. This boo-boo was probably 1/32 of an inch long, the teeniest scratch imaginable. But once the band-aid was in place, the boo-boo transmogrified into a Grievous Wound.

She babied her hand for the entire day, cradling it in her other hand, wrapping it in blankets, asking for an ice pack. She ate exclusively with the other hand, prefering to rest the wounded hand in her lap during meals. At first it was cute. Then it sparked a few eye rolls. If it hadn’t been coupled with whining during dinner, I probably would have been fine. (But what’s a Grievous Wound if you can’t whine about it?)

Z: I don’t want Daddy to take my band-aid off at bathtime.

Husband: I have to take the band-aid off at bathtime, but it won’t hurt.

Ever-Suffering Mother: It’ll be fine, Z. There’s nothing wrong with you.

Z: [voice substantially higher in pitch] But I don’t want Daddy to take my band-aid off! It hurts it hurts!

[dialogue repeated enough times to make the most patient of mothers (I know I can’t even hope to fit into that category – I can’t even type it without feeling like a hypocrite) loseĀ  her cool.]

ESM: If you whine about it again, I’ll take the band-aid off right now.


Alas, a few minutes later, my drama-queen-in-training could not help herself. She said something about the band-aid. Granted, she didn’t use a whiny voice, but I was done. Done with dinner, done with her drama, and done with that dumb band-aid.

I got up, grabbed her hand, and took the stupid thing off (the band-aid, not her hand). It was only hanging by one side, anyway (again, the band-aid, not her hand). And guess what: She. Was. Fine. A quick, whiny protest as I tossed the offending adhesive bandage into the garbage, and then she was back to eating her dinner.

With both hands, this time.