Saturday, March 28, 2009

Annoyances Be Gone

Well, after having to wait six weeks or so, and longer if you count the time it was out of stock, I finally received my craved MBIII shirt from NFL Shop. Reebok can't keep womens' Cowboys shirts on the shelves, so acquiring even one has been nearly impossible. Ready to move on from my way-old Emmit Smith shirt, I've been trying to get another one for over a year but the choices for women have been too few and nonsensical. I swear Reebok had their shirt designer, surely some chick who doesn't follow football, go to the Cowboys website, note the quarterback then randomly select two offensive linemen, two defensive and call it a day. There should be a jersey for every Pro-Bowler. Don't ya think? At minimum. The new hire seems to be more aware of who's actually good and popular. Maybe this one's a guy, a fantasy football addict. That'd be my guess.

I falsely assumed a women's replica would be softer than a guy's. Guess they want every economically-challenged fan to suffer itch and discomfort if one can't afford the silkier, finer mesh and snazzy stitched-on letters used in authentic treasures, not that they make such jerseys for women, but I can dream...and storm the switchboard.

Getting a med refill for my son has also been a challenge. On Friday, I was looking for his bottle of Ritalin and found it, surprise, surprise, in a pitcher of water. Cuz, yeah, that's where I like to keep it for freshness. Well, liquid seeped in and turned the capsules to mush. My poor son cannot concentrate without it, and he just started second grade. Problem is, I just purchased that script last week. The Doc's office was no problem, but because there's a 30-day block, I had to find another pharmacy that carries it, which is like going on a quest for the Holy Grail, and then I had to convince the insurance company that I'm not a drug pusher. I offered to send them the bottle of mush, and they said that wasn't necessary and gave me the go-ahead for another refill, which is fantastic, cuz I really don't have an extra $185 for another bottle. An answer to prayer.

Oh, and my other son's kindergarden teacher, after meeting him for his screening, mentioned she wants to keep an ear on him to see if he might benefit from a speech Eval for his slightly slow talking. That would be a drawl, lady. Guess my husband needs to go to therapy too then, cuz my son picks up his laidback cadence from him. At least a bridge is now bridge and not a bree-idge. Well, all my minor annoyances have put me in a sick mood, so I wrote a little horror story—my first in the genre—exaggerated from real events, to share with my kind and loyal readers.

~ Carousel ~

Though the cherry chip cupcakes topped with pink icing and sprinkles—not the sugar crystals, but the little ball ones that come in five colors and crunch when you bite 'em—tempted her from the game table, gobbling one would have to wait. The birthday freak-show about to unfold in the leisure room of her mansion would surely be more delicious anyhow.

Aubrina grinned devilishly. Her unsuspecting pajama-clad friends were right where she wanted them: Holly flat on her back, Madison and Claire kneeling at Holly’s sides, Evie at her feet. They waited with fingers underneath Holly, preparing to hoist.

Aubrina had chosen the red-headed, freckly Holly as the mock-corpse…because she was the meatiest and the homeliest. Definitely harder to raise. Definitely the most hilarious imagining up in the air.

She kneeled down at Holly’s head. “We can begin.” Her twelve-year-old guests all giggled from nervousness or silliness. Aubrina figured silliness. Of course. The fools had no idea what to expect, but obviously they assumed this was some kind hoax or child’s play. They’d soon learn it wasn’t.

"Come on, guys, stop laughing. This is serious. It won’t work if we’re goofing off.” Buzzing with anticipation, Aubrina added, “Now…close your eyes and concentrate.”

When they obeyed and adopted gravity, she beamed, admiring her authority over them. She was, after all, the only one thirteen. She noticed Evie peeking with one eye open and her bottom lip quivering. “Come on, Evie, stop being a baby. You’ll spoil it.”

All eyes popped open.

“I’m not so sure about all this,” Evie bleated.

Why’s she scared? Aubrina squinted at her, wondering if she knew. She couldn’t possibly. “It’s my birthday party. This is what I want to do. Do it, or go home!”

Evie tucked her black hair behind her ears with shaky hands and wheezed, “But, it’s two in the morning.”

“Right! No one can take you home now. Looks like you’re doin’ it then.” Annoyed that everyone was delaying the fun, she barked, “Come on! Stop breaking the circle. Now we have to hold hands again to draw in good energy.”

When the players held hands and closed eyes, Aubrina nodded in approval. The stage was perfectly set. The lights glowed dimly. The pillows lay scattered like headstones. Her parents slept soundly in the east wing. Even a full moon lit the night sky. Everything was perfect, except for the absence of rumbling thunder and flashing lightning, which would have added tremendously cool atmosphere.

The only unsettling thing was the eye staring back at her. Glossy and black, evil and crazed, nearly glaring in disapproval. The dusty, old carousel unicorn she’d drudged up from the basement for charity seemed to ogle from the corner where it had been standing erect all week, awaiting pickup. Aubrina wasn’t especially charitable, but her parents left her in charge of cleaning out the basement to make space for the home theater she wanted. The stupid, colored catastrophe with its twisted golden spike had been a gift from them on some past birthday. The sixth one maybe. Why’d I want it? She’d begged for it but had hardly touched it since the initial gasp of surprise. It was large enough to sit on, but she’d never done so. Can’t remember. Oh well. Now it can clutter up some other kid’s basement. She couldn’t wait for the creepy thing to disappear. Especially now. Hopefully, Sarah wouldn’t mind it. She was sensitive. Aubrina should have considered that, but it was too late to move the carnival reject now.

Aubrina shrugged. “Okay. Let’s begin. Concentrate and believe…Everyone repeat after me…Light as a feather. Stiff as a board.”

After they chanted, “Light as a feather. Stiff as a board…Light as a feather. Stiff as a board,” for a couple minutes, Aubrina muttered, “Now, raise her up as we say it.”

The girls lifted Holly about a foot off the carpet and cheered their success.

“You did it,” said Holly from her bed of fingers.

“No. The spirits are here,” Aubrina whispered with her gaze roaming. “I’ll prove it. Lift her some more.”

Evie started to quiver and cry. “Stop it,” she sobbed, “please. This doesn’t feel right.”

“Shut up, Evie. Or you’ll make them leave. Lift her, I said.”

Aubrina smiled as the twits inched Holly up until she was over all their heads. Aubrina lavished the astonishment and awe of her friends, except Evie, who was still shaking.

“Guys,” Madison shrieked. “Her weight’s off me. Look.” Madison lowered her hands from Holly’s side with palms outstretched, fingers wiggling.

All hell broke loose. Screams erupted as everyone let go of Holly, who remained stuck in the air, held there on some invisible platform, despite all her squealing and flailing and kicking. She pretty much resembled a trapped pig. Definitely hilarious up in the air.

Aubrina burst out laughing as Madison tried to help Holly. Even with all the grunting and groaning, pulling and tugging, she wouldn’t budge.

This is the best birthday present ever. Sarah had definitely delivered the spookfest she’d promised.

“Okay, that was awesome. You’re so cool, Sarah. Let her down.” Aubrina expected Holly to drop like a side of cow, but she stayed where she was. Aubrina cringed.

It should have been funny, a joke on all them, but it began to feel eerie. Aubrina’s arm hair stretched for the heavens in tingly goose-bumps. “Sarah, put her down!” It’s not supposed to be like this. Sarah said she’d scare the guests, frighten them a little. She knew what this was. She'd wanted it, planned for it, begged for it. So why couldn't she keep her teeth for chattering?

The lights flickered. The neglected piano played, a tinkering broken-music-box sound building up to chaotic frenzy. A biting chill slithered into the room. Unable to see Sarah, not even as indigo mist, Aubrina shivered more from terror than heat's descent. She could sense Sarah’s fury.

Sarah spun Holly spun around and around like a record. Holly screamed and wailed in terror. The girls ran and hid wherever they could find cover. Aubrina knew there was no place to hide. They’d just have to wait out Sarah’s tantrum.

“I knew something bad would happen,” Evie bleated. “I told you.”

“Shhh. Quiet. She’s never this bad.”

Aubrina and her guests bellowed when Holly zipped across the room into some unseen wall.

Holly levitated above the unicorn until invisible hands jerked her down on the horn with tremendous force, impaling her through the upper back before crashing the hideous thing to the floor.

Aubrina couldn’t believe her eyes. A bloody horn stuck out of Holly’s tainted chest. Her eyes widened to saucers. Her mouth remained agape, frozen with a scream that never found voice. Her body convulsed and then ceased moving, leaving her in a ragdoll slump. It was the most gory sight Aubrina had ever seen…but also just a little bit cool.

As Sarah departed the game room with a door slam, the draft followed. The girls ran up to Holly shrieking. Claire puked and peed on the carpet as Madison grabbed Holly and shook her, sobbing for her to still be alive, even though she was clearly in some hereafter.

A shudder shook Aubrina from shoulders to knees. Apparently Sarah hates unicorns…or redheads.

The lights stopped flickering. The concerto ended in the off-key high notes. But the screams persisted, Aubrina’s especially. Not only had she witnessed her friend’s demise in a most gruesome way, but she was also quite peeved that her pretty, pink cupcakes now bore sprinkles of blood. I’m never ever asking for presents again...Not ever.

* * *

Annoyances be gone. After my little release of frustration in this creative burst of grossness, I feel so much better. Does it make everything hunky-dory? No. But at least I'm able to channel my negative emotions and splinters into something else, like one of those model ships. Using my creativity with a pen or paint brush has always been an outlet for me. What do you do to vent?

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

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