Florida: hot, wet and dirty.

If you ever wanted to know what happens when you leave something wet outside in the dirt for too long, baking in the hot sun? Florida is your answer. In other words, nothing really good, in terms of humanity, anyway. Compost maybe. People? Not so much.

If you’re a human being, and you aren’t stuck there? That is, you live there by choice? Something could go terribly wrong with you: e.g., George Zimmerman.

Florida is beautiful, as long as humans stay away.

Mother Nature did her best to warn us. The Everglades will mercilessly swallow you. If they don’t? Gators will.

Survive the freakish wildlife Florida’s primordial ooze has fostered? Florida’s prehistoric insects will gladly gorge on half your bodily fluid.

Critters enjoy wading through Florida’s soupy, humid atmosphere. Humans don’t. Retirees just enjoy the buoyancy the extra water in the air gives their arthritic bones.

It’s a two-coast peninsula, dangerously close to the Bermuda Triangle*. No wonder Disney built a theme park there. Pedophiles, the Bush brothers and so much political corruption that writer Carl Hiassen launched an entire career off it.

Ah, Florida.

Lady Justice  - with a gun.Justice is not blind in Florida.

Justice has been healed, hallelujah, testify!

Now, justice can cast a keen eye to assess and categorize exactly which side of the drinking fountain you must stand before you even step inside a courtroom.

Justice can see, now, in Florida, to determine how to separate its citizens.

Because in Florida, its citizens are officially separate.

But let’s not bullshit each other: they are in no way equal.

In Florida, law enforcement and lawmakers go by this rule:

The people are white. Everyone else is black.

You’d think this would keep things simple, but the problem with two sets of rules – like a crooked businessman keeping two sets of books – it doesn’t work.

Also, after a while, things start getting really obvious.

Why Trayvon?

White people across America are wondering why one black teenager is becoming such a symbol?

  • He was probably on drugs, they say.
  • After all, he threatened Zimmerman, they say.
  • He WAS wearing a hoodie – why was he hiding his face, they say?

unhappy old-fashioned people, gossiping

They” have a lot to say in defense of Zimmerman’s actions, but “they” keep forgetting one thing:

It’s not ever okay to shoot a teenager. Not even if he’s yelling at you. Not even if he’s in-your-face threatening you, as teenagers are wont to do.

(What? Zimmerman was never a teenager in a schoolyard? Zimmerman was never told the louder someone barks, the less likely he is to bite? Gee whiz, even I know that one.)

Another thing “they” overlook is the most important thing of all:

If every single variable had remained the same – if Zimmerman, Neighborhood Watch zealot, superhero-wannabe, had stalked a WHITE teenager – same outfit, same bullshit yelling, same chest-first, blowhard, teenage-style “Ain’t I the man?” posturing …

I bet my last ten years upon this earth Zimmerman would NOT have shot, but instead would have said something like: “Take it easy, kid...”

You know how I know this?

I used to live in New York. I founded a damn Neighborhood Watch. I’ve done Neighborhood Watch duty my own damn self.

I didn’t carry a gun; you don’t NEED a gun to do a Neighborhood Watch – unless, maybe, you have compensation issues, or self-esteem issues, which I don’t – I walked a big black dog instead.

Whenever anyone didn’t belong in my hood, I could tell instantly by the way they approached me.

They would ask: “Does he bite?”

He didn’t. But I’d always answer: “Only when I tell him to.”

Aforementioned stranger would ALWAYS turn tail and run.

I don’t mean to get all snobby on Florida’s ass – or on any state, but facts are facts:

Bad guys in New York are, I guarantee, worse than the bad guys in any other state.

If I can handle Neighborhood Watch in New York without a gun? What’s Zimmerman’s excuse?

I have one more question for Florida before I wrap this up.

If you don’t, as I posit here, have two sets of laws and justice for black people and white people, how on earth do you explain letting Zimmerman off scot-free for killing ANYONE who did not immediately endanger his life, BUT…

You sentence Marissa Alexander to 20 years for shooting a WARNING shot to protect herself from an abusive husband.

Not only does this make no sense from an ethical or moral standpoint, Florida….

It makes no LEGAL sense.

Here’s hoping the Supreme Court catches up with you. Either that, or you secede. Or maybe? Just maybe? It gets hot, humid, and dirty enough down there that the good people get out, and gators get the rest of you.


Visit Change.org and make a difference. Do it right now.

Watch Anderson Cooper ask Marissa Anderson about her version of Florida “justice.”

* Miami, Florida, is in fact, one of the corners of the Bermuda Triangle. 

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Abercrombie and Fitch: Bullies aren’t beautiful.

Abercrombie and Fitch: Bullies aren’t beautiful.

When searching for beauty, one generally goes to the mountains, the canyons, the runways of Paris, great architecture, or peruses museums for masterly brushstrokes: I have yet to hear of anyone headed to any mall to search for beauty at Abercrombie and Fitch.

Wants only attractive people to shop in his stores; looks hideous

CEO Mark Jeffries: Playground Bully.

  • Only thin and beautiful people should shop in his stores, and …
  • He himself is thin and beautiful.

Someone please, hurry. Mr. Jeffries needs a shot of Haldol, and fast. He has clearly suffered a psychotic break, is no longer experiencing reality like the rest of us, and his stockholders will suffer.

The rest of us are just laughing. We aren’t suffering at all.

We’re laughing, because Abercrombie is at the mall, and the mall is for kids. It’s like a playground, really – and CEO Mark Jeffries is trying to be the playground bully. Except it’s not working. He’s either having a psychotic break, or he’s having an awfully tough time with the idea of his own aging, and guess what? Not our problem.

Guess what else? We have dollars, and Abercrombie wants them, and the CEO can’t have them unless he behaves.

That’s how you treat children who behave badly. Especially bullies.

Abercrombie and Fitch is a not so beautiful choice for clothing on any level: the quality isn’t even good – the clothes fall apart before Wal*Mart’s will; the style isn’t classic, like Talbots; and worst of all, their offerings aren’t original enough to differentiate them from rest of the teenaged uniform mall stores: Hollister, Aeropostale, et. al. Not even CLOSE to beautiful. What does Jeffries think we expect from the mall?

My oldest knows this. She was reading, and then disgusted with, the Twilight vampire dreck at eight years old – long before that nonsense launched itself into the popular culture. She’ll deny it, but she, like her mother, is a reluctant natural hipster (sans douchebag.)

Therefore, on the extremely rare occasions when we are accidentally TARDISed to the mall (although we DO love the Brow Bar at Macy’s; really – they do a GREAT job), never ONCE have we been trudging along and said to each other:

Hey. Wanna go somewhere and be thin and beautiful?”

Sure. I know just the place.”

You mean Abercrombie and Fitch?

We have NEVER said that. I have, actually, said this, to a poor sod holding samples in front of Teavana:

I’m in the mall. Could you please blow my brains out?”

That poor sod laughed, bless him, instead of becoming anguished at being trapped at the mall. Good sport.

A friend of mine on Facebook correctly pointed out: any brand has a right to sell to whomever they please, and to any market segment they choose.

That is absolutely correct.

Lane Bryant dress and model, looking fairly thin, overall.

Lane Bryant dress and model.

There exist two stores I know of off the top of my head: Lane Bryant, which caters to plus-size women, and sells women’s sizes 14 and up is one such store. Now, naturally, people are not exactly fighting to be able to shop there, since being plus-sized carries a stigma – but Lane Bryant does a wonderful job at glamorizing their store and their merchandise, and making visits a wonderful experience, even if you’re just buying gifts. (I’ve bought gifts there more than once.)


By keeping older, less-thin, more wallet-heavy customers out of your store, who might … Oh, I don’t know? Be outfitting kids for college? Think of all the money you’ve lost…


579 dress and model - looking NOT very different from the plus-sized model.

5•7•9 dress and model.
Do YOU see a big difference between these two women? Because I don’t…

Another niche store is 5•7•9, which caters to petite women who wear – well, sizes 5, 7 and 9. There is an even CLOSER example to Abercrombie. THEY don’t stock larger sizes – but no one feels terrible about it, because they are what they are, and they don’t insult anyone.

One analyst of the Abercrombie brand, according to the LA Times, says it’s “ruined,” in all likelihood due to Jeffries misguided attempts to narrow its customer base to just the “cool kids.”

Salon.com has this to say about Abercrombie CEO Jeffries: he wants desperately to look like his target customer (the casually flawless college kid), and in that pursuit he has aggressively transformed himself from a classically handsome man into a cartoonish physical specimen.”

Abercrombie CEO Jeffries isn’t just a college kid-wanna-be. He’s a bully.

You know what you do with a bully? Ignore him, and he’ll go away.

Boycott Abercrombie. Jeffries has had plenty of playtime. Now he’s hurting kids, and it’s not allowed. We, the grownups, can stop him with our dollars. So let’s BE grownups and DO it.

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Don’t think you’re a hero: the city of Boston already is.

Given the FBI’s release of a surveillance video, and a call to action spurring everybody and their brother to play hero and “find the terrorist,” I’d urge everyone instead to remember: it’s the city of Boston and their indefatigable spirit we should salute.

Wanna be a REAL hero? Visit a blood bank and help restore their depleted reserves.

Join the human wall and help tell the Wacko Westboro Baptist Church of Satan to go fuck themselves with their loony, would-be-comical (if it wasn’t so jaw-droppingly hurtful) funeral protests.

Here’s a link to the FBI video.


Find a way to HELP. Don’t play “Where’s Waldo?” with bombers, instead.

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Who said: “Hey, retard?” Not the DSM-V.


dsm-v-for-dummiesBefore we go any further, some of the best people I know are retarded, according to the classification standard of the bible of mental health professionals: The DSM-IV, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Volume IV, and that’s the sober truth.

(“Retarded” generally meaning any person suffering cognitive mental challenges prior to age 18; after 18, it’s been technically termed “brain damage.” So if your brain was functioning fair-to-middling up to the age of voting and enlisting in the armed forces, but then, say, you got bonked on the head hard enough to make you forget algebra… oh, wait a second…)

Without the gloss of superior intellect, which gives “non-retarded” individuals the ability to charm, lie, betray, et.al., the retarded people of my acquaintance have often been far more pleasant company.

Hey, dude, what do you think of my new hat?”

You look stupid in it.”

Um. Thanks.

Glad to see you though. Even with the stupid hat.

Um. Thanks.

Typically followed by an enthusiastic greeting that beats the dog turd pudding out of the typical non-retarded “Hey, what’s up, I don’t want to seem too enthusiastic or else I don’t look cool” greeting one might otherwise receive.

The honesty of the retarded only seems brutal; it’s up to you to avoid dumbass questions like: “Does this dress make me look fat?”

That is, if you want to avoid straight answers like: “I think every dress makes you look fat. Because you’re fat.”

The terms idiot and moron at one time were standard medical classifications for the intellectually impaired; having fallen prey to those wicked persons who would use those terms against others, these words, like now, the word retard, have become useless for their original purpose.

Now, words like retard, or retarded, can only be used for harm or for humor.

Like the “n” word, despite efforts to retrieve it.

People say words have no power. They’re so very wrong. Cuts, scrapes, even major abdominal surgery will heal, eventually.

Hurtful words, whether you’re retarded, or a genius (on paper) hang in the air forever. They cannot ever be taken back, or unheard. The wounds they cause are secret but severe, and slow to heal, if ever.

No matter what your IQ.

The real stupidity – NOT retardation – is forgetting the power of words.

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How to Have a Superpower. Part One.

Part One of Two.

pink silhouette of female superhero - dashed line to indicate invisibilitySuperpowers are something we all dream about – come on, you know all do. Mine, someday, will be flying – and NOT just for the cape.

I can wear that anyway, and you know I will, too, even grocery shopping.

For some people, though, it’s invisibility – a superpower I myself would hate, loving attention the way I do.

The funny thing is, invisibility is remarkably easy to achieve right here and now.

One effective means of invisibility is to be a woman and be overweight. Not grossly so: that will turn heads faster than being a mostly naked Miss Thailand, but not in a good way, since fatness remains an acceptable way to garner yourself a public stoning in today’s society. But being slightly to moderately overweight? That right there will render you immediately invisible to most men and also, oddly, to most women.

If, also, a woman doesn’t take her appearance as seriously as the multi-billion dollar advertising industry does? And, for instance, has the nerve to skip a day or two slathering on costly makeup, age-defying moisturizer (for it is SO not acceptable for women to age further than, say, forty years or so and then leave their homes expecting to be regarded as anything besides mothers, aunts, or other servile creatures – certainly not worthy of receiving attention) and having donned the latest – also costly, and recently replaced – fashions?

She, too, will find herself rendered virtually invisible.

(It’s so cute how you Constant Readers think I’m kidding…)

Try it for yourselves. Pad yourselves out in some sweats – not the cute spandex kind, the kind that are all pilled out and grey, or grayish green, so you look schlumpy and worn. NO makeup, and don’t even bother with a ponytail. No hat to pull it all together, either, and not even some hair gel. You’re definitely going for a bad hair day.

If you typically wear contacts? Don your glasses, even if you’re SO nearsighted you can barely even see your own teeny eyeballs behind the frames.

Watch your superpower in action.


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To his dog, every man is Napoleon…

Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World

(a novel which, if you haven’t, you really ought to go sit down with it today or tomorrow)

Our family pets.
black dog

Tucker in tie-dye

black and white cat
Oliver in the violets under the California sun.


Amongst the debates raging in our society, one of the most critical to our civilization at this very moment – one upon whose outcome the very fabric of our lives depend…

Is not whether one prefers dogs to cats.

It is, however, the subject of today’s discussion.

My youngest daughter vastly prefers the company of her cat, Oliver, to most humans. (To be honest, my youngest daughter, in general, vastly prefers the company of four empty walls to the company of most humans, but that’s another blog post.)

Oliver, to her, is a companion, confidante, a cuddly sleep mate (he actually DOES spend the night with her), and often a cooperative ragdoll, coolly suffering various indignities like bows, brushings, baths, and that ilk.

Once, after a brief escape (he’s generally an indoor cat with wanderlust, although he always returns), he’d obviously had a philosophical disagreement with another feline who’d decided to settle things with a rude claw to the face, leaving Ollie to return home to nurse what would become a ferociously nauseating abscess.

(Enter the dog, stage left.)

Tucker Dog was raised with eleven cats, many of whom he raised as kittens. So many cats did he live with in New York that when he went to obedience school, the trainer – without knowing anything about his environment – asked if he lived with cats.

Why? I asked. Because, said the trainer, he’s exhibiting cat behavior. Often, apparently, when multiple species live together, they mimic each other’s behavior. Which would explain Tucker Dog’s habit of rubbing against my leg, and circling the bed several times before lying down on it.

The problem? Oliver loathed and detested Tucker Dog, much to Tucker Dog’s dismay, and thus, they’d had developed an uneasy, wary existence together – with Tucker Dog swiping cat food when Oliver’s back was turned, and Oliver purposely jumping on the kitchen table, just to drive the relentlessly obedient Tucker Dog batshit nuts: half German Shepherd Dog, Tuck is driven by instinct to “herd” even cats where they belong – and where they don’t.

(A nice bonus whenever I decide to knit: Tuck will shoo the cat away from the tantalizingly dangling yarn.)

A common sight: Tucker Dog, ambling happily by a kitchen chair, only to receive a sudden swipe from Oliver out of absolutely nowhere.


When Oliver returned from his sojourn – and the altercation no one yet knew about – it was only Tucker Dog who sensed something was amiss. The dog, normally keen on avoiding the cat at all costs, began sniffing at the cat, and even licking his face. The cat? Mysteriously allowed it.

Since Tucker Dog works for me, I’m usually paying fairly close attention to him. Since Oliver is usually wailing at me for food, I’m usually paying fairly close attention to him, too. Ergo, I noticed this sudden, bizarre change of behavior.

Yogi Bear and The RangerIt was like watching The Ranger give Yogi and Boo Boo a picnic basket.

Or Mojo Jojo surrender himself to the custody of the Powerpuff Girls.


Or like Batman and the Joker announcing their engagement.

Days later, Ollie’s face swelled up like a baseball, dripping with goo. I’ll spare you the details.

The Powerpuff Girls with Mojo Jojo in front of the Townsville Jail. But it was the dog who noticed it first. It was the dog who first treated the cat with kindness, who put aside the long-standing enmity in order to help.

There’s a joke floating around the Internet, mocking the stupidity of dogs, versus the intelligence of cats – I’ll reprint it here, although to my dismay, I cannot find the brilliant author.

It’s often said: you can own a dog, but the cat owns you. I deeply believe neither is true.

I’ve had cats – like Oliver – who come when you call them. Who actively demonstrate love and affection. I’ve had cats barely look at me, except to glance up and show how much contempt they have for my audacity to fill their food bowls.

I’ve had dogs, too – but here, I must say: universally, I have never encountered a canine whose heart was less than pure, less than devoted, less than the perfect model of what true, unconditional love is.

One can abuse a dog, mistreat it, ruin it, surely. But that’s on the putrid soul of the owner – and even many of THOSE dogs can be rescued by love. Tucker Dog himself was badly abused in the first year of his life; I rescued him as a stray from the local pound, and a more loving, obedient dog you will never meet in your life. It took a little socializing, sure – but when treated with love, most dogs will respond with MORE than the same.

When it comes to love? Dogs put humans to absolute shame.

Cats? Well… gotta say: My youngest puts it best. You don’t own a cat; they own you. Furthermore, if they even get the sense you’re trying to lay the hammer down, they’re as ready as a Revolutionary War Minuteman to go guerilla war on your ass.

Dogs? Not one. They know it’s way better to be loved than to be right.

Dog Diary versus Cat Diary:

The Dog’s Diary

8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm – Milk bones! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm – Dinner! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

The Cat’s Diary

Day 983 of My Captivity

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a “good little hunter” I am. Bastards!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of “allergies.” I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released, and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird must be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now …

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Fear is the mind-killer.



Bene GesseritI must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear
Frank Herbert’s Dune


Two weeks ago I met someone for the first time I’ve known for two years.

As the billions of my slavish readers are aware, my youngest daughter, just-turned-13, is on the autism spectrum, which explains many things: her refusal to allow me to sleep for any regular or reasonable period of time – or to sleep regularly in my own bed –

- And why, two weeks ago, when an unlikely knock at the door around midday, I was sound asleep on the living room sofa.

Aforementioned five-foot-nine-inch, willowy daughter bent over me, her vast mane of blue hair a bleary blur in my blinking eyes. As always, her soft child’s voice floated towards me from the deceptively mature body in which she bounces around.

Mommy? There’s some lady at the door.”

I’d say this was odd, but odd, for my life, is pretty much par for the course. Alice, of Wonderland fame, talked about six impossible things before breakfast. My family and I, upon hearing that for the first time, basically looked at each other, and said: “Just six?”

You’d think I’d check out whether or not I was fully dressed, or whether my recent botch-job of a haircut had my hair sticking straight up toward the ceiling (it does that now).


I tossed aside the quilt, squinted at the blob at the door, concluded the shape was too unfamiliar to recognize without my eyeglasses, and resigned myself to the idea I’d actually have to lift myself into a vertical position and come within at least twelve inches of the human being to bring the face into anything resembling focus.

(The fact my youngest did not recognize the human being did not rule out the possibility of our knowing her; for all I knew, she might be my own mother. Welcome to autism.)

I’m not often shocked; not only have I traveled extensively, but for some reason, I seem to draw around me a cast of characters who have somehow managed to grope and bumble their way through life without the encumbrance of something most of us call “boundaries.”

This has led my daughters and me on more than quite a few … er… adventures, and has led more than a few scoundrels to mistake our kindnesses for dumbassery.

Fortunately for us?

Kindness beats dumbassery.

Hands down.

Also fortunately for the woman, now standing in my doorway, unbeknownst to me, now living in her car, having been shredded like mozzarella by aforementioned scoundrels.


Constant Reader:

Perhaps some of you will recall an earlier post, where you were regaled to the delightful stories of how my mother once was convinced (falsely) that I was addicted to crack cocaine.

She was convinced because I was thin, and because I was involved with my local police, as well as with their D.A.R.E program, in helping people recover from crack addiction, and I therefore knew an awful lot about it.

For instance, I learned folks on crack can get “stuck” – that is, they resemble folks deep in OCD… (or “CDO” – in alphabetical order, like it OUGHT to be) … and will obsessively, and repetitively, perform the same useless task.

Crack addicts will also steal your kid’s birthday money, then attempt to lie to you about it later, then break down, and sobbing, apologize profusely.

Stoners: i.e., folks who smoke weed pretty much all the time? You can count on them to accept your invitation to do something fun, then when you get to their house, they won’t feel like going out anymore, but instead will ask you if you’ve played the latest version of Halo yet, if you want to try a bowl of some complicated and pompous sounding sativa or indica weed they just purchased “that will blow your mind, man” (while you think to yourself, looking back and forth at the game console, and the resin-crusted pipe, indeed, there is at least one mind, blown, here…)

Alcoholics? If you like surprise parties, then this will be your favorite, because this version of substance abuse is the most unpredictable of all: a drunk can go from happy, loving, carefree and devoted to absolutely black-hearted and murderous in sixty seconds or less.

One Day At A Time.

Since coming to California? I’ve learned a whole new breed of substance abusers, and unlike all of the above, “tweakers” – or methamphetamine addicts – have very few redeeming qualities, except sometimes they can be funny, because based just upon our observation of tweaker behavior, one might assume every dose subtracts IQ points.

Basically, a tweaker will steal your shit and help you look for it, and our family had the piss-poor bad luck to encounter a stalker female of the species – a rather comical one at that, actually, because she rather fancied herself a genius – the Wile E. Coyote “super-genius,” as in all of her schemes failed, which brings us to the woman at my door.


Miss M sees THIS (Wile E Coyote smiling, with hearts) in her mirror; the world sees THIS. (Wile E defeated.)When you’re Overseer of the Imbeciles, you can easily begin to see yourself as a super-genius – it’s sort of a “big fish in a little pond” syndrome, except the fish is on meth, both its eyeballs are going in different directions, it can’t stop trying to unhinge its jaw, and it wants very much to turn $40 into $400 at the nearest casino. Also? The fish has just finished helping you look for your own last $40.

In the particular case of this particular self-dubbed super-genius, whom we shall, for the sake of compassion (an emotion aforementioned super-genius has yet to exhibit), call: “Maleficentish.”*


As in, you know: would-be villainess, but didn’t quite have the chops for it.

Maleficentish – or, The Not-So-Divine-Miss M – spent nearly two years pinching shit from my house, tormenting souls (mostly men), and other sundry (largely drug-related) acts of mischief, mayhem and madness in an erratic and bizarre dance around my family and me, but fortunately, since she is an amateur in the art of, well…

… everything,

… and I am a professional, she was unable to do us any real harm, and she ended up basically in fear of me, which I occasionally hear through the grapevine manifests itself via lame mockery of me.

(Poor thing is just nowhere near as funny as she thinks she is; which breaks my heart. There really are few things as pathetic as a joke landing on a tough room. Except, as Miss M may someday learn: being a joke yourself.)

NOT so pathetic, however, is what the troubled Miss M did to the woman standing in my doorway, who trusted Miss M, and because of that, ended up losing her home, her children, her husband, and – she supposed – me.

It took a hell of a lot of bravery to show up at my door that day and ask if she could borrow my phone. She was living in her car with her dogs, and had nowhere else to turn (or so she thought, having just had a blowout with her mom.)

The thing was: the woman, (let’s call her “K”) now standing in front of me, on the verge of tears, asking for nothing except to use my phone, did not tell me until after coffee, hugs, and conversation that her home was now her van.

She asked me for nothing.

Therefore, I offered her everything.


A year and a half ago, the girls and I were as broke as a two-legged table, and we hadn’t eaten for two days.

Haunted by the many times I’d been told I could never take care of my kids myself, my spirit was close to broken, when someone – I wish I could remember who – told me there was a kind woman next door who might give us something.

That was K.

I came unannounced. All I told her was that my children were hungry; she did not know me at all. Rarely do I feel humiliated, but I was now – until K’s warm kindness, which was palpable throughout her home – put me at my ease.

She filled my arms with food – her best things, and I was not allowed to refuse it – then sent more over, later, to spare me a trip.

K restored my spirit, and my resolve, in a way she never fully realized, and perhaps never will. I say with certainty it is because of K’s kindness that one single day I was able to make it here by myself in California.

Despite, later, being under attack by tweakers; despite unstable landlords describing their shotguns at length; despite rats in my building – and my bedroom – that made me wonder if the Pied Piper advertised in the Yellow Pages; despite Miss M’s multiple attempts to break into my home; and Miss M’s attempt to take me to court (which she later dropped, particularly after the justice scolded her for making shit up)…

… K was always – even when she thought it was a terrible idea to talk to me – always kind. And because everyone, no matter how out of their mind with the substance of their choice they were, respected the hell out of K, she shielded my family more than she ever knew.


K has been with us now for going on three weeks.

Both of us feel like we’ve discovered a sister.

K says she feels like the past two years was wasted time – like we could have been friends.

We might have, but I don’t believe in waste. Not when it comes to experiences.

While some people say there’s a reason for everything, I’m not sure myself. I do know this: we water the blooms of our joys with the tears of our sorrows – and this particular friendship, I feel certain, would not be quite so precious had we not undergone the betrayals we had first.


* Okay, maybe not the most compassionate nickname, but at least it’s obviously not her real name.

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