Flashback To a Team Player Fail

For Fandango’s Flashback Friday, this is what I wrote- or didn’t write- on November 11, 2021.

It’s called, ” Team Player Fail “

In case you’re curious- this is a true story.

Last night

that little voice in my head that says

” hey Anita, I’ve got a great idea for a story “

was noisier then usual,  so I took a few notes and then I watched

” Mrs Brown’s Halloween Special “

 

After the show was over that little voice said,

 ” that word salad you scratched on that notepad that smells like Pizza

DOES NOT COUNT AS WRITING “

That is so true.

 

So I put my pizza scented lines on my blog and hit the draft key.

” Oh no. Oh no you did not just send my great idea to the draft file!”  I heard the  little

voice say.

 

I did. That’s exactly what I did.  Then I watched my beloved 1970’s Sci-Fi Show ” UFO”

 

The little voice raged.

” Are you really seeing this? There is NO science happening in this so called Science

Fiction  show.”

I told the voice in my head, ” It has flying saucers. “

 

” I gave you a great idea for a story- turn the  TV off. “

In response I watched two episodes of UFO instead of one and then

I went to bed.

 

I was asleep for a few hours when I had a nightmare.

It was one of those nightmares where you think you’re awake and safe but

of course you’re not. To make it worse when I really did wake up I had a visit from my

old friend Sleep Paralysis and I couldn’t open my eyes or shout myself awake.

I had to lay there until my brain and my body caught up with each other and I could

open my eyes and sit up.

 

But before I  ” hit the surface ”  I heard that little voice say:

” So. Now that you’re awake- what do you think? Feeling up to a little writing now? Or

are you going to go back to sleep? “

It laughed.

I laughed.

And then we did a little writing.

Goya – Phantasmal Vision – ca.1801

Sleep paralysis has been found to affect just under eight percent of the general population. In addition to being awake but unable to move, common symptoms of sleep paralysis include: Visions, such as seeing a person or demon-like figure in the room. Feeling unable to breathe, or being suffocated-definition from the article HERE

Flashback Turkey

For Fandango’s Flashback Friday I found a fun post I wrote on November 4 th of 2012 and trotted out a few more times over the years because it’s one of my favorite childhood memories- it’s called

The Turkey Incident

Our Dad had been a Chef and it was his job at home during holidays to roast the Christmas Turkey.

His Turkeys were great, they were perfect and he took great pride in his work.

The turkey skin was golden, the bird was always seasoned and stuffed to perfection. I swear to God when he pulled it out of the oven it looked like something you’d see on a magazine cover or cookbook.

TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS FOOD

When I was 12 I had saved up my money and bought the most adorable little Alaskan Malamute puppy I named Sham.

I should have named him Godzilla because Sham grew up to be the size of a horse.

Not some regular horse.

Oh no.

He was Clydesdale sized.

snowhorses

Sham never liked being in the house when we were cooking because I think it was too warm for him.

But one Christmas me and my brother and sister wouldn’t let him out when he asked because we were having fun with him.

You know kids- our parents went to wrap some gifts for our family members that were going to be coming for Christmas dinner and we decided to power our way through the candy in our Christmas stockings and we forgot Sham was in the house.

My brother went to the kitchen to get some cookies and he came running back into my bedroom.

His face was white and I thought he was going to faint.

He couldn’t speak, he just grabbed me by my hair and pulled me down the hall to the kitchen.

All my brother could do was point

Sham was standing at the counter and he had this huge turkey in his jaws.

I slapped my hand over my mouth to keep from screaming.

My sister was right behind us and we piled on Sham and held him still while I pried his jaws open.

He dropped the turkey on the floor, I grabbed the cooling platter from the counter and dropped the turkey on it.

The platter was made of wood had little spikes on it to hold the turkey in place. I pushed the turkey back on the spikes and burned my hand shoving the stuffing back in because some of it had popped out and oozed on the counter.

Me and my brother lifted the platter and put it back up on the counter.

” What are you kids doing?” my Mom called ” You’re to quiet!”

” We’re playing with Sham.” my sister answered.

I looked down at her in horror. ” Shut up!” I hissed.

I stuffed turkey bits in the little holes from Sham’s fangs and we ran back down the hall and into my bedroom.

” Hide him!” my brother said.

I threw a blanket over Sham and he layed down and we could hear him licking his chops under the blanket.

He fell asleep and the three of us sat there on my bed waiting to die.

The doorbell rang and the rest of our family started to show up for Christmas Dinner.

Then my Dad went into the kitchen to carve the turkey.

sled

Dinner went off without a hitch.

Dad carved the turkey, there were a million side dishes and everyone said it tasted great as usual.

I wouldn’t know- me and my siblings didn’t eat turkey that Christmas.

Come on. It was in our dog’s mouth. It was on the kitchen floor at one point. We wouldn’t have eaten it for more Christmas presents or money.

Besides, every time we lifted a slice to our lips the other one would bark or pant and we’d start laughing so hard we’d start choking.

I don’t know if this was the funniest Christmas memory I have- but it is one of the best.

Now it’s tradition:

I give my dogs their own slices of turkey freshly carved and still a little warm and I tell them it’s from Sham.

amm

Sham during the Year of The Turkey Incident

Sham during the Year of The Turkey Incident

The Hat Pin

For Flashback Friday I found a little story I wrote in June of (2004?). Before you ask, yes. This based on a true story. Enjoy!

anita

Dutch Farmhouse in Sunlight
Rembrandt

Once I went into an abandoned house around the corner from where I  used to live, just to take a look around.

It was  nice in there- there was a beautiful oak staircase and beautiful oriental rugs on the floors and lace curtains in all of the windows.

There were no beer cans on the floor or rock band names spray painted on the walls. There were no dead animals in the walls and the air smelled musty but not bad.

The house had been empty for over 5 years.

I went  from room to room and I opened closet doors and went through the linen cupboards.

Then I went into the bathroom and was surprised that it was so modern looking ( the house had been built in the 1920’s).

Inside the bathroom there was a white enamel bathtub and a matching sink and one of those free standing medicine cabinets that made this clicking noise whenever you opened or closed the door.

I had trouble opening the mirrored door and after I did I wasn’t sorry because unlike the other closets and cupboards I’d looked through the medicine cabinet had something inside of it.

I found some old brown bottles ( with handwritten labels ) and next to the bottles I found an old hat pin with a little red bead on the top.

I remember I touched the bottles and I touched the hat pin and I thought, ” wow, you could take an eye out with that thing. “

It was  a jumbled thought that came from nowhere- like a random conversation you catch when you walk by people talking on a busy street- but all of the sudden that sense of adventure was gone and I really could see myself stumbling around in this abandoned house that no one ever went into with a hat pin in my eye.

I put my hand to my face and ran my finger along my eyelid and when I had convinced myself everything was okay I closed the medicine cabinet door.

I actually opened it again, just to make sure that hat pin was still there.  I backed away from the sink into the hall ( no way was I going to turn my back on that room )and shut the bathroom door.

 I stood there holding it shut and I remember thinking , ” if that knob turns in my hand I WILL lose my mind.”

 I had to take my left hand and pry my right hand off of the glass door knob and I remember holding my hand to my chest and all I could think of was that hat pin and how I should check on it again.

Or maybe I told myself I should forget the pin and just get out now…

So I walk slowly down the stairs  and back to the kitchen and just before I get to the door the faucet in the kitchen sinks starts to drip.

I stood there in  by the door which was shut ( did I shut it? did I shut it? It was OPEN Anita!)  and I watched water drip from a faucet that hadn’t had water running through it for years.

And then from right above the kitchen- where the bathroom was I heard a little metal click.

I opened the kitchen door very slowly and I walked out of that house very slowly because I remember thinking if I don’t run….

it wouldn’t chase me.

I kept checking my eye over and over again- in fact by the end of the day I had rubbed the lid raw.

They tore the house down that Summer.

And I’m willing to bet that somewhere buried under the foundation of one of those new houses they put on the Abandoned House’s Lot…

is a hat pin with a little red bead on the top.

Don’t Look Up, Whatever You Do

I dug down deep for this one! Its dated 2009 but I think it was actually a Halloween story from around 2000 that I wrote at the Soul Food Cafe. Anyway being that it’s Friday the 13th I thought a story about two unlucky people was called for.
amm
First Published (?) at the Soul Food Care May of  2009
Re-Published for Fandango’s Flashback Friday May 13, 2022

John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893) Forge Valley, Near Scarborough, 1875

” Whatever you do Hendry Coin, don’t look up. I mean it. ” his Father told him when he was a boy. ” If for any reason, any reason at all you have to cut through the woods behind the house don’t look up into those trees.”

“Cause the Witch will get me right?” Hendry said.

” If you’re lucky she will only get you to cut her down and  then she will only chop you up and cook you in the big iron pot she keeps just for that reason in her kitchen. The problem Hendry is if you see her first. You will start screaming and you will keep screaming until every star in the heavens burns out.”

” That’s sounds like a long time Dad”

” It certainly is  Hendry.”

The grim story about the trees behind the Coin House is that they used to hang people from them. And the thing of it is, the people they used to hang were accused of witchcraft and out there in the town of Stonecrop, unlike in other towns were innocent people were hung or burned at the stake for witchcraft the people out in Stonecrop were witches.

That’s right.

These witches, however, were not wise old crones, they were the type of people who would cut deals with the Devil and in most cases they won.

And in the cases were they did not they would end up hanging from a tree behind the Coin’s house where they would swing from their ropes until one of the other witches got a hankering  for some  Witches bread and decided to save the trip to the town cemetery and head over to the woods to get the spice that gave their bread that something extra the witches enjoyed so much.

So Hendry, who was a good kid and did as he was told not because he was afraid of ending up in a cast iron pot slowly simmering over a fire  but because Hendry adored his Dad never would have never done anything to disappoint him. That was the reason he never had a bit of trouble back there in the Woods.

Over the years he saw weird things and heard strange sounds but nothing bad ever happened to Hendry or his kids ( he grew up to have seven of them ) or his Grandchildren ( 10 of those ).

One year Hendry decided to cut through the Woods to get to the new road that led into town when for the first time ever he found himself in a bad spot.

Hendry was walking along when he heard a creaking sound and then a little popping sound and somebody said ” hello there ” in a dusty sounding voice.

 Hendry turned around but he did not look up- however there was no looking away from what in front of his face.

There were feet hanging in front of his face, and the feet were encased in worn black leather boots and were tied together at the ankles with heavy white twine.

He reached out and grabbed the feet to stop them from swaying and turning which was creeping him out because there was no wind, no breeze in the woods.

There never was.

So Hendry was standing there holding the black leather covered feet in his hands when he heard a voice, a woman’s voice from above his head say:

” Cut me down Hendry Coin and I’ll make you a meal you will never forget. Well. One that I will never forgot anyway. I am so hungry Hendry. Cut me down. Cut me down and anything, your darkest wish your brightest hope I can give that to you. A pound of flesh Hendry, that’s all we’re talking about here. That is all it would cost you. I’m quite handy with a needle Hendry. I could even put together a little something for you to slip into once you’ve paid that nominal feel. The rewards Hendry- think about it.”

Hendry told the witch, ” You know, in all these years of walking- and to be perfectly honest in my younger days I would run through these woods- I never had any problems. I figured I never had any problems with the tree witches because I always did what my Dad told me. “

“Is that right Mr. Coin? And what did he tell you?”

” Don’t look up, whatever you do.”

” And why did he tell you that Hendry?”

” Dad said that if I saw the witch first something really bad, something worse than death would happen to me.”

” That is the dumbest thing anyone has ever said in these Woods Hendry. And let me tell you. Some very strange things have been said in these woods…but that is hands down the weirdest thing anyone has ever said to a hanging witch. Honestly old man, do you really believe there is anything worse than death? Because let me tell you. And I am speaking strictly from experience here, there is nothing worse than death.”

” I suppose you’re right. My Dad was a good guy, a very kind and practical man but he wasn’t what you would call overly educated.”

” Well. There you are.”

” Yes. Here I am and there you are and what the heck is that above you head?”

He felt the Witch’s feet push down she looked up and Hendry couldn’t help but smile a little when the screaming started.

John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836 – 1893) Near Hackness, a Moonlit Scene with Pine Trees , 1875