Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Seven

*Clunk* *Clunk* *Clunk*

Woolykind Wil lifted from her cozy sleeping hole, confusion and pieces of her surroundings clinging to her.

*Clunk* *Clunk* “Mina?” *Clunk* “Wilhelmina? Are you awake? You locked the door.”

Wil shook the detritus and dreams from her consciousness. Her present world caught up to her through a thick fog. There’d been fog in her dream. Then the truck stop. Toward the end this time; just before the loud noise outside, just before she’d returned to her bedroom, she’d sensed someone calling to her.

Someone from the shadows.

“Mina!”

“What?!”

Her father paused. She could barely catch his next words. “…Um, it’s time to go.” She could picture him standing outside in the hall, rubbing his face in confusion. “You slept in.”

Wil blinked and looked at her clock. It supported her father’s claim. “Ack!” Galvanized to action; she leapt from bed, stumbled over to the light switch, and illuminated her cluttered bedroom. There, pants! There, pullover!

She opened the door to find her father still standing, still rubbing. Though his usual manner evidenced little sleep, he had the gaunt appearance of a man barely alive. The specter spoke, “Cynth- your mo- erm..”

Wil felt pity. “Don’t worry, Dad. Cynthia is my mom.”

Rob blinked and focused on his daughter’s face, his coloring but not its shape. His eyes but not his shape. A curling mane of dark hair that never could have come from him. “Thank you.”

They both smiled, and it didn’t matter whose it was.

“Your mother said to make sure you showered, but …” he glanced at his phone. “Maybe at least do deodorant.”

Daa-aad!

Rob had the grace to look sheepish. “I’ll meet you at the door in five.” He hadn’t the time to turn before Wil slammed back into her room, his steps solid but not loud enough to block the hasty, flustered noises of preparation coming from behind his daughter’s door.

 

Continued from Ninety-Six.
Keep reading to Ninety-Eight.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Six

Wil left the table after a requisite number of tuna casserole bites, hungry and self-pitying. The dark, narrow hallway seemed even more constricting; the dim bathroom bulb even dimmer; the tasteless toothpaste more tasteful for the lingering tuna remains. “Ugh!” she spat, swirled, spat again. She scowled a deeper expression at the girl in the glass, but her reflection matched and even exceeded her gloom.

A distinct *Ku-huh* *Kuh-huh* from the kitchen paused the glaring session. Wil and her shadow listened, a bridge of concern across their united brow, as Cynthia had her coughing session. “They’re happening much more,” Wil and Mirror-Wil whispered. They frowned and their deep, dark eyes spoke helplessness.

Wil exited the bathroom. Parent shadows crossed the hall on their way to the couch and sounds of scrambling soon led to the ever-present breathing machine. Wil stood, caught by fear, till her mother’s deep-throat coughs were tamed by the nebulizer’s magic.

She heard another sound: a chair scraped from the table and careless steps to the sink. Knowing that meant the immediate appearance of Jakob, she squeaked and scampered to the safety of her room and shut the door. After locking the knob, she threw herself atop the messy bed. Clothes, blankets, homework, and an open book or two caught her flying form and held her in their comforting familiarity. “There, there,” her favorite pullover soothed. “We understand,” the nearest novel assured her.

Wil hiccuped a few times but managed not to soil her bedthings with tears. She kicked a shoe free and pulled the second from a bent-leg position. Taking careful aim, tongue in teeth, eyes squinted tight; she threw the sneaker at her push-button wall switch. With a *clunk* the light went off. The shoe dropped.

Woolykind Wil, most respected member of the flying squirrel chapter of The Treetop Dwellers, sniffed and snuffled round her nest. She felt each treasured material with pride, moving things this way and that to arrange them just-so.

It had been a busy day in the forest and Wooly felt tired. She’d gathered food for her group. They’d been a tad ungrateful, to be sure, but she’d done her best. After all, flying was more her forte than food collection ever was.

Burrowing into the most comfortable heap of warm leaves, twigs, and discarded scraps around her; she sighed. Tomorrow would be better. Maybe there’d even be acorns. She fell asleep dreaming of better things.

 

Continued from Ninety-Five.
Keep reading to Ninety-Seven.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Five

Dinner at the Winters passed with less conversation than usual. Wil stirred her food in a small circle on her plate and tried not to look at the charred remains in the middle of their table. She had a more difficult time ignoring the smell.

Jakob had yet to comment. He didn’t need to; his loud crunch-chewing and various dramatic expressions of distaste sent a clear message.

“Thank you for making dinner, Wil,” Cynthia said into the silence. She smiled a hopeful, loving smile at her squirming daughter. Wil pictured her mother trying to think of what to say for the last five minutes. Or, she thought, Cynthia might have needed that time to be able to speak after consuming the more edible parts of the casserole.

Wil groaned and lay on her arms to the side of her plate. “I’m sorry; okay!” she said in a muffled voice.

She heard her father clear his throat. Cynthia must have nudged him. “It’s my fault, Mina.” *Cuh-hem* “I said I would come back to make dinner but didn’t.”

No, he didn’t. He’d attended to the car, a much more important task. Anyway, Indiana Winters hadn’t required assistance. She’d required a clean source of water. She’d required a stable campfire. She’d required tools for opening the tins of fish. Where she’d missed the offered assistance of the older, coughing man had been in operating the questionable baking device she’d uncovered. Winters should have heeded her past experience with relics of its sort. Instead, to her and her party’s tastebuds’ chagrin, she’d overestimated both time and temperature.

“You gotta eat it too, Mins,” Jakob offered after a hard swallow. He eyed her as he took a long drink of milk. He wasn’t the only one; both of their parents’ attentions also moved to their daughter.

Sighing with the effort, Wil extracted an arm from beneath her head and scrabbled for her fork. From the level of her plate, she bent her arm and wrist at an awkward angle to sample a small bite. She shuddered. Swallowed. She saw Jakob smirk, her father rub at his face, and her mother half-smile.

A tear wandered down Wil’s face, unnoticed and uncared for by her family. It was a tear of embarassment and of regret; but, most of all, it was a tear for the double injustice of eating not only burned food but eating seafood.

 

Continued from Ninety-Four.
Keep reading to Ninety-Six.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Four

Wil, Rob, and Jakob entered the usual silent dark of #42 more grimly than they did most Friday evenings. The zombie *hush-hush* of Cynthia’s nebulizer hummed a discordant duet with that of the rattling heating system.

Wil tiptoed to the couch in the light from the open front door. The door also welcomed a blast of chill air; Rob closed it and Jakob switched on the dim bulb over the range. All this outlined a slumbering Cynthia, complete with peaceful smile and slow rise of breathing. Her equipment, still on, lay nearby. Wil switched it off.

Wil!” Rob whisper-yelled. She looked up, blinking. He gestured to himself and she stumbled up and over to where he stood. “You start on dinner,” he continued whispering. “I’m going to change, then take over. Do you have homework?

Wil made a face.

All right. Do it while dinner’s cooking.” He stepped aside and pointed to a grocery bag on the counter, the very bag she’d acquired from her exploits earlier that evening…

Her father thumped past her as silently as he could in his work boots and headed down the hall. “Ooomph!” Wil exlaimed as Jakob followed suit; his aim had not been to travel around her. Not able to do more for lack of size and ability to noise complaints, she glared at her stepbrother. He threw her a final look of teasing humor before disappearing.

Wil turned to the plastic sack. She glanced round the dim room tomb as sifting, silent sand filtered down the cracks of peeking sunbeams. All seemed quiet, but Indiana Winters knew too well the peril of those who assumed no danger. With light-gloved touch, she moved the noisy sack-sides to retrieve its hidden treasures: a boxed meal and cans that claimed to be tuna.

She angled the box beneath the wavering electric light; she could make out pictures of pots and timers and a steaming pan at the end. “Well, well, well,” Winters said, her breath inches from the vague pictograms. “Etruscan influence, I’d say, with a smidgeon of Greek. Hmmm.” She moved her right hand to scratch beneath her favorite, battered fedora. “Now… what do they say to do first?”

Her nose near-touching the surface of print, she thought she recognized a symbol. It looked very like an object she’d encountered whilst searching. Round, shining, potable; it must be the same. She stooped with care, steel-tipped boots slipping on the polished tomb floor. With tongue gripped between set lips, she creaked open a small alcove.

She paused.

Nothing.

She searched left, right, up, down, and behind her crouched position.

Still nothing.

Reaching her free hand to within the dark depths, Winters brushed against a solid object. A solid, shiny object. She pulled it free. Eureka! She rose to standing height once more, holding her glinting prize in the half-light’s flickers.

Her exultant feeling cut short as she again glanced at the pictograms. Despite acquiring this first relic, her mission to discover The Secrets of Din might forever end there. “Where,” she whispered, “Am I to fill this with water?

 

Continued from Ninety-Three.
Keep reading to Ninety-Five.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Three

“‘Bout time, Mina Late,” Jacob said once Wil entered the car. His breath came in puffs; Rob had started the engine as soon as she’d opened the door to the backseat and they must have been sitting without heat until then.

Wil did not see fit to answer such rudeness even if he were cold. She turned away from the scoffing youth, settled her purchases near her, and closed the door.

“Get buckled, Mina,” the driver gruffed. He grunted and engaged their vehicle in a backwards, then forwards motion.

“But, of course,” she replied, securing her person. Who knew what bandits or ruffians they might encounter on their return trip? She sighed and rested her dainty chin upon her dainty fingertips as she gazed out at the passing landscape.

The world had changed.

Centredom hadn’t always been so dangerous. Even Wil could remember bright, sunshine mornings, laughing brooks, singing fairy folk, and trusting villagers. Then, out of nowhere, The Thing came. The Thing was everything and nothing; but, most of all, it was everywhere.

Sunshine turned to windy grey. The laughing water suppressed itself to a muted murkiness. Fairies disappeared. And, as Wil had just witnessed at the market, weary villagers interacted in wary ways.

“Didja remember to get dinner this time?” Jakob interrupted her thoughts to tease.

Wil continued to study her memories and outside view. It wasn’t the young man’s fault, after all. She knew his pointed sarcasm stemmed from The Thing. The Thing touched the hearts of all that lived and felt.

Night and lighted night panned across her pensive, regal face. They moved quickly. She felt fortunate in not meeting with any delays, particularly any influenced by The Thing.

Just as she thought to thank The Goddess for their safe arrival home, she heard a loud *pop!* from quite near. Immediately thereafter, the even gait of the vehicle she sat within altered to a wobbling sashay.

Their destination arose just ahead. Wil glanced at their driver as she attempted to keep her seat. His jaw set. They were going to make it. Another lurch, many bumps, and a sharp turn landed them beneath the shaded corral: their goal.

“Well,” Rob said after a few seconds. “Let’s see about making dinner, huh?”

 

Continued from Ninety-Two.
Keep reading to Ninety-Four.

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

I was worried when I didn’t get many entries for this week’s contest. Perhaps you were shy? In the end, though, we had a good and difficult-to-judge turnout. Thank you all for participating; you make picking a winner nigh impossible every Friday.

No more suspense. The winner is Furious Pockets.

“It’s Raining Phlegm,” from “It’s Raining Men”

by Furious Pockets

Temperature is rising — energy’s getting low
According to my doctor, work is not the place to go
Cause today, I don’t feel fine,
And since just about half-past ten
For some weird reason, a mystery,
My nose started raining phlegm!

It’s raining phlegm! Gesundheit, it’s raining phlegm! Ahem!
I’m gonna stay inside and let my tissues get
Absolutely soaking wet!

It’s raining phlegm! Gesundheit, it’s raining phlegm! Every specimen!
Yellow, green, lumpy and long
And sometimes red—I think something’s wrong!

WITH a much-needed Honorable Mention to Michael B. Fishman, who wrote EIGHT song parodies this week. I had trouble picking a favorite, but laughed the most with “Traction.”

“Traction” (“Satisfaction”)

by Michael B. Fishman

I can’t get no, tire traction.
I can’t get no, tire traction.
Tires spin, and they spin, and they spin and they spin
I can’t get no . . .

When I’m drivin’ in the snow,
and the weatherman’s saying what I already know;
he’s supposed to bring back warmer weather –
supposed to clear up icy roads.
I can’t get no . . .  No traction.

Congratulations, Furious Pockets! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

Every week, I post the entrants from the form and from the announcement post into a new blog post. I paste them without names, then go do something to cleanse my memories of who wrote what. I try my darndest to be impartial.

Today took so long because of a busy schedule, but also because I could not settle on a winner. You all write so terribly well, and parody well enough to make a grown Al Yankovic cry. At such a high level of skill, cleverness, and cringiness; I went with Furious Pockets for following the original song meter well, mostly keeping to the subject, and for a terrible subject matter.

As is our usual, this does not mean the rest were any less terrible. If you submitted a poem/song this week, go right ahead and give yourself an awkward pat on the back. These are fantastic:

“Just Pay Me” (“Let it Be”)

by Michael B. Fishman

When I find my teeth feel like loose rubble,
Dentist Mary comes to me speaking words of crowns and
“Just pay me, just pay me.”
And when I hear the drilling she is standing right in front of me,
“I’ll save your teeth of wisdom, just pay me, just pay me.”

—–

Inspired by “Ice, Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice

by Peregrine Arc

Alright stop.
Collaborate and listen, while I sit back in my brand new invention
The muse will grab ahold of you tightly
It’ll flow like a harpoon deadly and mighty
Will it ever stop? Yo I don’t know
Let’s turn on the lights and watch the poet go
To the extreme I wield my pen
Light up the words and rhyme like a fluffy hen

Nice, nice poetry… Really nice, nice poetry.
Nice, nice poetry. It’s really nice nice poetry…

—–

Untitled, but mostly seems inspired by “Bohemian Rhapsody”

by Nitin

Mama just drilled a man (not what you think!)
Put a drill against his teeth
Pulled the trigger, now the cavity’s filled
Mama that tooth was just decaying
But now I’ve gone and filled it all the way
Mama, saaay ahhh
Didn’t mean to become a dentist
If I’m not administering anaesthetic tomorrow
Scream on, scream on because everything matters

—–

“Bird Drips Keep Fallin’” (“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head“)

by Michael B. Fishman

Bird drops keep falling on my head,
and just like guy whose head is not really too big I never wear a hat,
those bird drops keep falling on my head and I’m bawling.
Because they smell, and they don’t smell very well.

—–

To the tune of the old Beatles classic: “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

by TanGental

Position yourself on the left of the centre
A democrat with a glint in the eye
Make a friend with a tea party member
Who’s more interested in the How than the Why.
Set up a committee to debate the issues
That matter to ordinary men on the bus.
Given them a budget to commission reporting
And let them know you don’t want a fuss.
Technical topics are always banned
They’ll only go over your heads
Look instead for a popular cause like a wall
And it’s done
Nancy’s in cahoots with Donald
Nancy’s in cahoots with Donald, ah, ah
Follow them now until the election
And watch as they build a castle of lies.
No one smiles and everything’s gone sour
And the only way out is to get high….

—–

“The Buffet” (“A Horse With No Name”)

by Michael B. Fishman

On the first leg of the buffet I was looking at all the rice.
There was brown and white and jasmine too
all this food for just one low price.

At the first stop on the buffet I was holding a sharp steak knife
There was strip, T-Bone and sirloin too
all this food who needs Herbalife?

I’ve been through the buffet with a plate in my hand
the beans were cold but I didn’t complain.
At the buffet you can eat ‘till you puke
until your belt it can’t stand the strain.

—–

“My Dear Ottoman” (“Mrs. Robinson”)

by Michael B. Fishman

And here’s to you, my dear ottoman,
seize my bottom with your wired spring coils
Woo, woo, woo.
Oh if you please, my dear ottoman,
I hope your fabric never fades away
Hey, hey, hey.

I’d like to know a little bit about your plushy piles
and how they always manage to soothe mine.
I sit on you for hours and I stand up with a smile
stroll around the house until I sit again.

—–

“All You Need is Money!” (“All You Need is Love”)
“Can you Imagine?” (“Imagine”)
“HELP!” (“Help!”)

by Ruth Scribbles

Cash, Cash, Cash,
Cash, Cash, Cash
Cash, Cash, Cash

Imagine there’s no money
It’s hard but please try
No food in your belly
Above you only sky

I need some money
(Help) not just pennies
(Help) Hands up!! I want some
(huzza)

Imagine all the rich folks
Living like you do
Beggars would be riders
Horses wishes too

All you need is cash
Cash is all you need

—–

“Ambitious Kinds” (“Suspicious Minds”)

by Michael B. Fishman

I just caught the clap, from some gal I met.
Why did I think I loved you baby?

Why can’t you see, what you’ve given to me?
How will I ever tell my family?

We can’t get back together, this penicillin’s mine.
And we can’t get together, until the doc says you’re fine.

—–

“Brainy Gals and Sundaes” (“Rainy Days and Mondays”)

by Michael B. Fishman

Walkin’ by myself and feeling cold.
Sometimes I will admit
to feeling like I just don’t fit.
Lookin’ around,
Trying not to feel cast down,
brainy gals and sundaes always get me down.

What I’ve got to do is lift my mood.
Tell myself it’s not my fault,
forget the sundae, drink a malt.
Lookin’ around,
sad eyes and a broken frown.
Brainy gals and sundaes always get me down.

Funny but it seems I always crave a barbecue.
Nice to know somebody’s cooking.
Funny but it seems that when I wake up and come to,
she is still so darn good looking. (So darn good loooooooking)

What I feel I can make go away.
But ice cream makes me want to pout
and brainy gals I can’t sort out
Moping around,
feeling like I’ve just been drowned,
brainy gals and sundaes always get me down.

—–

“That Tea Cozy” (“Cracklin’ Rosie”)

by Michael B. Fishman

That tea cozy I adore.
Keeps my tea warm till there ain’t no more to pour,
I’m sipping it slow,
lord don’t you know.
Have me some fun with a cup of oolong.

Twitching from too much caffeine.
Ain’t nothing wrong I just had one cup too much,
this tea it’s my crutch,
to drink, slurp and such.
Don’t need no more ‘cuz this tea it keeps me going.

Oh, I love my oolong tea, man.
It’s got the snap to make me happy.
Tea and me we drink in style, man.
My tea cozy, you store bought cover,
if you weren’t made of cloth I’d make you my lover.
So keep my tea warm and we’ll keep on drinking onnnnnnnn.

Pour it now… pour it now… pour it now my cozy.

—–

Thank you all, again, for spending the time to make us all laugh (or maybe cry). Tomorrow, I will be sure to outline what I will look for in whatever theme comes to me, and possibly to impose a submission limit. 😉

eduardo-balderas-801340-unsplash

Mr. Pockets: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner: