The devil tempts men, but idle men tempt the devil.
When I was put on Stand By and was off work for a month, I’d get these calls from people who said things like,
” I’ll bet you’re bored like me.”
No I wasn’t.
If I could write through the death of friends, family members and huge swaths of my life, being ‘bored’ wasn’t something that plagued me. No matter what, I could keep writing and posting at my blog.
Other times I’d get texts from other people who bemoaned the fact that they couldn’t get their hair done and that they looked like S%@T.
I wanted to text back, ” I wouldn’t worry about it. I don’t think anyone cares what your hair looks like. They’re to worried about their own hair to notice.”
And then I’d get instant messages about how Covid-19 was a ” Democrat Hoax.”
First off all, I wanted to say, you sound like a Bubba when you talk like that. The correct phrase is” Democratic Hoax ” and if I wanted to prank you it would involve eggs, toilet paper and electricity. Not some plot line from a lame Netflix movie.
But I wasn’t at full speed. I was sort of lazy myself. Bedeviling people requires commitment, attention to detail and mountains of hot crispy golden McDonalds french fries.
Lucky for us all I couldn’t get those french fries back in April.
” Fly me to the moon Let me play among the stars Let me see what Spring is like on A-Jupiter and Mars “
Fern’s favorite song that Fall- and anyone within ear shot of her knew what it was because she sang it on a loop was ” Fly Me To The Moon “.
Most of the people around Fern tuned her impromptu concerts out after awhile because Fern sang a lot, but unfortunately the one person who could not do that was Grandma Beverly.
Fern’s Grandmother Beverly was on a good day not Fern’s biggest fan, but after nine year old Fern picked up that particular song and only sang those four lines and badly to boot, Beverly went from not caring for her scruffy Granddaughter much to outright hating her.
The sound of that child’s voice set Beverly’s teeth on edge now.
But to be honest everything about Fern set Beverly’s teeth on edge- her dirt brown hair that always had a snarl in it somewhere, Fern’s dark brown eyes set in her slightly muddy complexation that she inherited from her- as Beverly would politely say, ” Asmita, my son’s exotic wife. ” and said her granddaughter wide and toothy smile reminded Beverely of a screeching monkey- which is how Beverly actually referred to Fern every single chance she had.
” You’re such a happy screeching little monkey, ” Beverly would say with forced jocularity. ” Aren’t you Ferny?”
” I don’t know Bevy ” Fern would answer back ” am I?”
It was around Christmas when the family got together that Beverly snapped like one of the dry bones that littered her Son’s front yard- along with his Screeching Monkey Child, Frank had a dog named Mavis that got on Beverly’s nerves only a fraction of an inch less then Fern did.
Fern was outside with Mavis when her Grandmother breezed up the front walk for Christmas dinner. She only stopped long enough to ask her Grandaughter why she didn’t clean up after the dog every once and awhile.
The yard was littered with bones and dog toys.
” I did. I always clean up after Mavis. But she likes old bones. I’ll bet that’s why she likes you”
Mavis jumped up a little and wagged her tail like crazy.
” Well. You’re not doing a very good job of it.” Beverly said and just when she thought she had her temper in check she opened her mouth and said ” Good for nothing little Screeching Monkey.”
Fern watched her Grandmother gather herself up and arrange a smile on her face and then she watched her climb the steps to the front door, ” Ho Ho Ho! ” she sang out to Fern’s cousins were waiting at the door and who did not look like ” Good For Nothing Screeching Monkeys ” and none of them had ‘exotic Mothers “the way Fern did.
The door shut and Mavis picked up a bone and dropped it at Fern’s feet.
Fern was about to bust into her most favorite song in the entire world when decided to sing a new song her Mom had just taught her instead.
Mavis picked the bone back up and Fern lifted her face to the sky and just a full moon burst out from behind a cloud and she said, ‘ I’ll get you some good crunchy bones in a sec Mavy. I’m going to get you a bunch of crunchy bones”
Then Fern, who was not a screeching monkey and to be fair to Beverly she wasn’t even a human child all of the time and Fern’s mother was exotic but not in the bigoted narrow minded way Beverly thought- lifted her chin up and sang
Ooh, ooh, ooh What a little moonlight can do Wait a while ‘Til a little moonbeam comes peepin’ through
Mavis lifted her chin up too and howled along with Fern, she happily wagged tail in time to Fran’s singing and thought about Crunchy Bones in the way that dogs do.
After Fern’s tail sprouted and her claws and teeth popped through she started to wag her tail too.