Archives for posts with tag: #shittyfirstdrafts


“And we are nearly ready to go.  The sisters have assumed their positions around the pot, each with cup in hand.  We have Oreo Cookie cup, New Orleans Jazz Fest cup, and rounding it out, there is 70s Flower Child mug.  It looks like a great day for coffee, don’t you think, Skip?”

“I do think so, Bob.  The participants are gathered around the Mr. Coffee, and all eyes are on the pot.  And these eyes are not pretty, Bob.  We have Oreo Cookie cup with the blood shot, red, swollen eyes of way too much fun last night.  Next to her, we have Jazz Fest, and these eyes are flying at half mast this morning.  Not sure how competitive this one is going to be able to be at this hour.  Flower Child looks like the perkiest of the bunch.  She seems rested and relaxed.  Those two other cups are going to have a run for their money with Flower Child in the mix.”

“Well, Skip, looks can be deceiving.  I never underestimate a tired, hungover woman when coffee is involved.  I remember once… Wait!  It looks like… Yes, the drip has stopped.  The drip has stopped, and we are off to the races!”

“Flower Child reaches out toward the pot as the last sputter of drip empties into its 12 cup receptacle.  It’s Flower Child at the start, but wait!  Here comes Oreo Cookie with a shockingly quick box out!  Flower Child crashes loudly against the cabinets.  Jazz Fest seems dazed by all of the ruckus and leans against the counter to gather herself. Flower Child attempts to recapture her position, but it is too late.  Oreo Cookie has swept in and grabbed that first cup of liquid sanity. It looks like Oreo Cookie is our winner, Bob.”

“Hold on, Skip.  There seems to be a commotion coming from the kitchen.  Oreo Cookie has taken that first, delicious sip.  Her face is screwed up in horror. What could possibly be happening down there?  It appears that Oreo Cookie is yelling something.  Let’s see if we can make it out.”

“All right.  Which one of you A**holes made decaf?!”


“Come on!  It’s right up here, past the clay bank,” Tommy shouted over his shoulder as the rest of us scampered behind on the trail.

“Gramma said that her name is Emily,” said Betz.

“I don’t see why we have to go down there.  What if she’s weird.   Then we have to pretend to be friends with a weird girl all summer,” Laura grumbled pulling up the rear.

“I’ll bet she’s nice.  Gramma says she’s our age.  We might really like her,” I chimed in.

“Nice try.  I doubt it.  I’ll bet she’s super weird and she’ll mess everything up.”

“Lighten up, Laura,” Betz said as we entered the clearing past the clay bank. “There’s the house.  Fancy, huh?”

We all looked in wonder at the A-framed structure rising up before us.  It was a far cry from our little cottage and certainly different from the sleeping cabin that Grampa ‘Kay built in 1940. That’s where we kids slept all summer.

“They have carpet!” Betz marveled gesturing toward the remnants left alongside the house.

“Shag,” whispered Tommy. We were accustomed to linoleum flooring.  Practical because of the beach sand and pine needles that hitchhiked on our bare feet to invade the floor of the cottage. Gramma waged a constant battle against the assault.

“OK, let’s get this over with,” Laura said walking up to the side door.  The front of the house was one giant window facing the lake, so the side door seemed like the right place to knock.  And knock, she did, with the rest of us crowding behind her.

A surly teen opened the door.  “Ya?” she said one hand on her hip.

“Can Emily come out and play?” Betz asked.

“There’s no Emily here,” replied the girl, and she abruptly turned and closed the door.  We stood in astonished silence on the porch.  Maybe Gramma was wrong.  Maybe there was no girl our age in the A-frame.

“Well, that’s just great,” Laura said sarcastically.  “Now what?”
“Back to the cottage for lunch, I guess.” I said heading back down the trail.  The others turned to follow me.

“Hey!” We all turned in unison toward the voice.  “I’m Amy.  Where you guys just at my house looking for me?”

Little did we know, that this moment would change our summers at the lake forever.

“Mo!  You better come here!  Looks like another one.”  My footsteps crunch the pine needles, leaves, and twigs beneath them.  My feet move me forward, but my eyes search behind for my sister as I approach the scene.  I sweat, despite the cool breeze, and my mouth goes dry when the buzz of flies and the smell of decay assault my senses.

“Jesus Christ!  Not again?  Why does this shit keep happening?”  Mo is all business.  She gets things done.  She shakes her head as she approaches the scene, hands on her hips, disgusted.  She’s done with this, but that won’t make it stop.  “This has become an epidemic.  Every single time we come here, we have to deal with this crap. When is enough, enough?”

We stare down at the bloody mess, no longer horrified, but annoyed.   Bones, cartilage, and torn flesh blanket a section of the wood’s floor like that spill that happens when old Chinese tumbles out of your too full fridge and the carton busts open right there on the linoleum.  What a freaking mess.

“What do you think happened, Mo?” Mo is short for Maureen, but I dare anyone to call her that.  My eyes search for answers in the crime scene, darting here and there, trying to make sense of the mess.  I wring my hands a bit, knowing that the clean up isn’t going to be pretty.  It never is.  But we can’t just leave it here.  Someone has to do it, and that someone is us.

I’m the nervous sister.  Not quite timid, but definitely more cautious and far less foul-mouthed than Mo.  She swears like a sailor on shore leave.  Nobody seems to mind.  It kind of suits her.  She’s bright red, I’m a dull yellow.  People call me Kit.  My name is Katherine, so it went from Kat, to Kitty Kat, to Kit.  Dad sometimes calls me Kitten, but he’s the only one that can get away with that.  I’m a little nervous, I’m not a doormat.

“How should I know, Kit? It’s the same every time.  Is it man?  Is it nature?  We don’t know, and we probably never will.  All I know is we better go suit up for disposal before Sonny gets here.  You remember what happened last year.”

I think back to last summer and suppress a grimace.  Sonny found last year’s contribution to the Circle of Life before we did.  He carried that spine around like he was leading the band with it.  Not just part of it, either.  The whole dang thing.  Finally, we wrestled it away from him.  Sonny’s not quite right in the head.  Generally sweet, but trying way too hard to be Alpha.

“I’ll go get a bag and some gloves, Kit.  You stay with the body.  This is some bullshit right here.  Damn it.”  Mo trudged off toward the house leaving me alone with the corpse.

“Bambi sleeps with the fishes,” i muttered to no one in particular.


Sadly, Sarah looks out over the water and listens as the gentle waves lap at the shore like a kitten lapping up the remnant cereal milk in your bowl.  When did it all get so complicated?  Has it ever not been?  She shakes her head and looks into her coffee cup as if tea leaves would appear and she would suddenly, miraculously know how to read them.

The sun was rising in the sky, the temperature rising with her anxiety.  She was leaving in a few days and she had accomplished nothing but to upset all of those around her.  Why couldn’t she just get along, or at least, just go along?  Why must she always make people uncomfortable?  She always had, she reflected, from the time she was a kid.  She spoke her mind regardless of the situation and feathers were often ruffled.  It was a curse.  It was a gift.  It was confusing.

Sarah pushed away the notebook in front of her and took a deep breath.  It was meant to be a cleansing breath, but it was shaggy and sputtered on its way in and out.  She had been at the lake house for over a week.  During that time she had managed to alienate her mother, argue with her older sister, and frustrate her sister’s husband.  She may still be on speaking terms with her aunt, but she couldn’t be sure because she had been taken to the hospital just the other day, further proof that old age is not for sissies.  Her father was blissfully unaware of the wake of havoc that followed Sarah everywhere she went.  This was quite possibly an advantage of old age, that every day is literally a brand new day, with no carry over from the day before.  People frequently commented to Sarah that she said what others were thinking and that they appreciated that.  It was meant as a compliment, but it always bothered Sarah.  Why do I have to jump on that grenade?  Why can’t you mewling simps stand up for yourselves.  Ungracious? Yes.  True?  She thought so.

There is a degree of entitlement embraced by the elderly that is dumped upon those around them. By elderly, I don’t necessarily mean old; I just mean older than you. It appears to be the plight of the baby of the family to be dismissed entirely by the older members of the family.

I was recently complaining about this to a friend as we swam around the lake with her 90 year old mother. By swim, I really mean walk around IN the water and complain. For a change of pace, we float and complain.

“It’s infuriating,” I said. “I’m fifty years old and I offer to make salmon for dinner. My mom chimes in, ‘Frank always cooks the fish!’ Well, if Frank always cooks the fish, far be it from me to offer to cook some damn fish. Jesus!”

“It’s the same over here,” my best friend Amy said nodding her head toward her cottage. “I don’t even bother to cook anymore. If I do, someone is always there telling me how they would do it. I don’t care how they would do it! It’s fucking chicken!”

I laughed and started to recall the seemingly endless string of times that I had been somehow dismissed by either my older sisters or my parents. Just this week alone, it occurred to me that they must not have bothered to learn my name as a child, because I was called Kathy, I was called Carrie, and for God’s sake, I was even called Frank!

I can’t remember the last time that I was able to sit on our lake house porch in the seat facing straight out onto the lake. Most meals I spend with my back to the lake, looking at it through the reflection in the porch windows. Granted, if none of the older siblings or parents are around, I can sit wherever I damn well please, but… with age appears to come entitlement and off I am sent to eat with the servants, all with their backs to the lake. Obviously these are first world problems, but it doesn’t make them any less annoying.

I spent three days working with a contractor to put together a series of bids for work to be done t the cottage. I met with the guy daily and asked him to put together quotes for three different projects. Meanwhile, my older sister was sailing, or boating, or drinking on the dock. When it was time to explain the quotes to my mother, Big Sis jumped right in and Mom shushed ME when I tried to correct something that BS was explaining incorrectly.

“It’s always like that,” Amy agreed. “Got a serious question? Better ask Big Sis.”

“You girls are silly,” Amy’s mom piped in. “Don’t you know that’s just the way it goes? Nobody listened to me in my family, either. I’m the baby too!” And there you have it.