Monthly Archives: February 2014


Just yesterday she’d said to herself: “Never again!”

And now look what happened. She swore under her breath.

Minnie sat herself down on the john and put her face in her hands, while the room spun around her. It was late. Danny had gone to bed more than an hour ago while Minnie sat up pouring “just one more”, blearily watching TV. Somehow she would have to straighten this drinking thing out. Get squared away. Find some inner strength, some self-control. She held the wall while standing up, and the dinner she’d consumed hours ago surged up into her throat. She spun around and bent over just in time.

That didn’t take long, she thought, after she gargled and brushed her teeth. Drink for hours and loose it and your dinner in a minute. Her head was clearer anyway.

Linus, her cat, settled himself on her chest as he did every night when she got into bed, until he bolted, launching himself with a big push just as she was falling asleep, the suddenness practically giving her heart failure. Before the launch he purred, kneaded her throat, and tried to get her to sing to him, but since Danny was asleep Minnie kept quiet. She drifted off. Linus bolted.

 In the morning she didn’t feel too bad. The good side of loosing your cookies she thought. Her hand shook slightly while she drank her tea. Minnie contemplated calling Ralph at rehab, but the last time she met with the group he threatened to send her to Drunk Person Day Camp so she stopped going. There was no time for day camp. What was he thinking? She needed to work, after all.

“What time did you get to bed last night?” Danny asked, walking into the dining room carrying his laptop and a cup of coffee. “I see you polished off another bottle.” He sat down opposite Minnie, opened up his computer and started to type, after slurping some coffee. Minnie wished she’d remembered to throw away the empty.

“Maybe around two. I was finishing a movie.”

Danny rattled away at the keyboard, working on another screenplay, his brow creased, his eyes focused on the monitor. He paused for a swallow of coffee, leaned back in his chair and contemplated Minnie.

“Going to work today?” he asked. “Or are you going to call in sick again?” Minnie had taken a sick day yesterday because she was hung over from her binge the previous night.

“No. I’m going. I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine. You look gray and wasted.”

“Thanks a bunch.”

“I worry about you Minnie. You’re drinking way too much. Again.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m working on it.”


“Look. I’d better get ready for work, don’t you think? I don’t have time to talk right now.” Minnie stood up, collected her mug and cereal bowl, and headed for the kitchen. Danny watched her walk away, then went back to his work.

Her Closet

When they were children, Minnie and her brother and sisters spent many happy days in their Grandmother’s house on Carleton Street. Years later, Minnie wrote about one of her memories from that time.

Her Closet

Her closet smells like perfume and powder.

We huddle between coats and dresses, my sister and I.

One coat’s collar is made from a seal and

We bury our small fingers in the butter soft fur.

Pumps, high heels, tennis shoes, slippers,

Green, brown, black, white, red, and tan, stand in neat rows

On the carpeted floor, under hanging clothes.

Purses, sweaters, and hats stack up high to the ceiling.

Our voices are muffled in the long narrow space.

Daylight filters between two walls of coats, skirts, blouses and dresses.

I brush through them to reach the small window in the far wall where

I can see far over her neighbor’s roof to other roofs.

Our days are long and quiet on Carleton Street.

We sit in her closet, off and on, as we

wait for her to come home from work, or

until Grandma Mae calls us to supper.

Minnie’s Mom

Inching her way through her mother’s living room, Minnie squeezes between the south wall, where the fireplace used to be, and one of the massive piles of stuff that has built up to shoulder height over a period of time. Technically, the fireplace is still there, but Minnie hasn’t set eyes on it for years. Her mother long ago used the brick cave that was designed to hold a fire for a repository of old bank statements, tax returns, newspapers and magazines. Stacks of stuff now engulf the hearth and continue precariously up to cover the mantel and the wall above the mantel.

Turning sideways to make the going easier, she continues down the “goat path”, occasionally catching a glimpse of the carpeted floor below. She knows her mother is home because the old Buick is parked in the driveway.

“Mother?” she calls.

Minnie’s voice is muffled in the densely packed room. She edges past one of the pianos that can still be played, if you don’t mind standing up to play and leaning over the cardboard boxes full of clothing and purses and gloves that are stacked on the piano bench. The top and legs of the piano are invisible, hidden behind and under more stacks of sheets and towels, clothes needing folding, and books. Lots of books.

The room is dimly lit. All of the windows are obliterated by stuff and the afternoon sunshine only shines through an occasional chink. From the street the house looks unoccupied, even at night, unless Gloria remembers to turn on the porch light. ‘Good thing they bought a house with skylights’, Minnie muses to herself, looking up. There is so much leaf debris on the skylights that they don’t do much good. It’s been five years since she last visited her mom, and not much has changed. Except that there are now several large plastic storage units lined up on the driveway, taking up the space of a second car. Gloria told her about those last year. “I need a bigger house,” she had said.

The opening to the kitchen is a few paces ahead and to the right. The door is half blocked leaving space enough for only one person to squeeze through. The kitchen used to be the center of their family life when Minnie was a child. Minnie caught a whiff of a very bad odor when she was out in the front room. Now she can barely stand it. In front of her is the kitchen table, which is piled high with a mountain of papers, books, magazines and mail. One corner – about the size of a dinner plate – of the yellow Formica tabletop is visible. Fruit flies hover over a wooden bowl full of decomposing oranges.

Daylight leaks in through the plants outside the window over the kitchen sink, which is piled high with dirty dishes. There is just enough floor space in the kitchen to move from table to sink to stove to refrigerator. The kitchen door to the yard out back is completely blocked by empty grocery bags stuffed with plastic bags, empty cans and wine bottles, and trash. Minnie edges around the table, past the sink to the refrigerator. The door hangs ajar, and she cannot push it shut because of the overflow of food. The meat drawer and vegetable drawer won’t close, and each shelf is crammed with food.            

“Mom!” she yells, turning away, her stomach lurching from the stench, tears pricking her eyes.


March 13, 2011

Minnie and the Man in the Top Hat

Minnie left the house at 4:30 on her way to meet Danny at the Christmas tree lot. She pulled the front door shut and cut across the front lawn to the corner, kicking the dry leaves fallen from the giant sycamore. She had a smile on her face. The weeks before Christmas always made her happy. Minnie took a deep breath, relaxing into the cool autumn southern California evening, while she waited for the ‘walk’ signal. Tall palm trees lining the boulevard detracted a bit from her holiday mood, but the long red and white candy canes she fingered in her pocket brought the good old yuletide feeling back.

As she crossed the wide roadway Minnie smiled at the sight of Christmas trees on the tops of cars and wreaths with red bows on front grills.

Minnie arrived at the tree lot before Danny, so she sat down to wait on a bus stop bench, watching the traffic and the sunset. Presently a bus came along and disgorged some passengers. The last person to swing down from the back door was a man wearing a black top hat, a red muffler, green tennis shoes and nothing else. Minnie drew in her breath.

The bus pulled away. Top Hat stood looking up and down the street, not more than six feet from Minnie, as if deciding which way to go. He was very thin, tall, and hairy. Minnie started to rise and back away, but found her path blocked by a trash receptacle. Drivers in passing cars began to slow to a stop. Some of them honked their horns, some of them whistled. The naked man took no notice, but turned on his heel and looked right at Minnie. Her heart sank. She tried to make herself smaller, thinking the man would pass right by. She was the only other person around except for people in their cars.

He started to sing Jingle Bells as he approached the bench, in a high-pitched child-like voice. Minnie looked around, hoping to see Danny, or someone else who could help her. The man sat down next to her, on the probably very cold bench, and grabbed her left wrist in both of his hands. He leaned over to plant a kiss on the back of her hand. Minnie let out a yelp, and tried to jerk her hand back.

“Let go!” she yelled, and swung her right fist, smashing her candy canes into his face, knocking his hat off. “Help!” she screamed.

A siren blared across the street, and a voice coming over a loud speaker commanded: “Don’t move anyone, stay right where you are.” Minnie saw an officer running in between stopped cars heading her way. Shaking, Minnie pulled and twisted her arm, but to no avail. Now, singing “Oh Holy Night”, Top Hat held on to Minnie’s wrist with one hand, and was reaching for his top hat with the other, when the cop cuffed him.

Startled, the naked guy released Minnie. She slumped to the sidewalk, rubbing her abused wrist, tears streaming down her cheeks. Another cop helped her to her feet. Top Hat was escorted to the patrol car singing Frosty the Snowman, while his top hat blew down the street. Danny arrived just then, took in the scene, and wrapped his warm arms around Minnie.



Notes before my second post

I started this blog for myself, as a tool to prompt me to work on my stories. It seems to be working! I asked WordPress to send me a reminder once a week. I got my first reminder yesterday. “Time to post”. Very friendly.

I have not explored all the bells and whistles of WordPress. I spent more time playing around with cool themes and fonts and uploading photographs than I did posting my first post. The appearance of my blog will undoubtedly change over time, until I finally settle. Bear with me.

If anybody happens to stumble upon this blog in the great Sea of Billions of Blogs, please feel welcome. I hope you enjoy reading about Minnie and her adventures. My writing group likes her a lot.

Cheers! And, happy February!! Visualize Rain!images