Showing posts from 2010

Bitches Brew Rev 4

It’s 3am, and we are headed home from the pub. Crossing the dimly lit side street, displacing the leaves that blanket the crusty surface. Holding hands, I trail behind both reeking of cigarettes and Guinness. I follow him through a gap in the buildings to a sort of storage room behind a house, one of three on the property that are rented out to local musicians by Elizabeth, a woman of indeterminate age, who inherited the property in a wealthy suburb of an Australian city from her grandfather. There was an old washer across the courtyard in a closet sized room but as in many homes in the city, dryers are not common. The rough nap of sun dried towels always reminds me of my time there. There is a noticeable absence of the sweet smell of anti-static sheets that have become a subtle definition of clean for at least 4 generations in America. He unlocks the door of the drafty unheated 2 room flat, the only furniture an old table and two scuffed wooden chairs. The air is stale and musty

Tahoe New Years Rev 1

It’s so frigging cold I thought, walking along the side of the wet slushy road. My water resistant boots had given up the ghost a half hour ago, and I was sweating despite the cold, from all the layers. My neck felt like I had a necklace of ice cubes, the square edges scraping my chapped skin as I stumbled down the road. I hate walking in these conditions. One irregular stone,a slight loss of balance, a sharp edge and I’ll be on the ground with bloody shins sticking to my jeans. My green un-calloused palms will be swollen and scraped, through the holes in my mittens. It is so depressing out here this time of year; all you want to do is sleep. I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing bright colors, like a lapis lazuli sky, just to make people smile and lighten their mood. Glancing up I see the lights that signal my Friday night journey is almost finished. The South Tahoe Lodge, at the end of a windy driveway is beckoning me forward seductively, with an irish coffee or a kahlua coffee wi

Karma Revealed Rev 1

Leaving my car at the burger joint, I decided to walk over to the store. When the a customer approached the front door, I slipped in behind him and perched just inside on an old overstuffed armchair, faux leather. Let the story begin. The first sign that something wasn’t right was when Elizabeth saw him at the register waving the cashier away. She was still outside and knew he was focusing on the customers in the store, and who might see him, and hadn’t thought it through. That’s odd, she thought. Instead of going inside, she went back to the car and eased into the driver’s seat. She knew that he would never notice her  unless she moved around. She saw the cashier, looking scared, and very stressed, motion to the other employees and nod towards the the back rom. There were at least 6 of them on the floor and they all moved together being very careful to avoid looking at the cash wrap and the open register in front of the regional manager, Jerry. Jerry, Jerry, Jerry. How could

Seduced by Chicken Rev 1

I was going to run in, grab the lamb and get in the checkout line. What a positive, sensitive girl I am.  In less than 5 minutes the cart was already filled with 4 bottles of wine, some rice crackers with nuts in the 5 gallon tub, and a box of granola bars and I was just approaching the section of the warehouse where the meat was displayed. I swerved in and out of the deli section in search of the lobster ravioli they carried a few years back, and as I rounded the last corner, I caught the scent of the roasted chicken. I walked right past the giant platters of fake sushi and shrimp, the giant pies and cakes, the gallon containers of hummus, on a direct path to the hot box full of dozens of individually roasted chickens, marinated in an intoxicating blend of spices, that was nearly driving me insane. I lusted for a small piece of the crispy greasy skin.Hmmm,  I wonder if I could grab one, casually stroll down the deserted luggage aisle, pop off off the lid and grab a little bit from t

The Bitch Rev 2

I love attending gardening workshops. Learning all the quirky little things about growing a perfect rose, or remounting stag horns from people with passion, or to be more precise, an obsession. It was mid way through the day when I spotted a friend over at the plant sale, another reason these day long workshops are so fun. Great deals from people’s back yard cuttings or specialty nurseries. I called called out “hey, Sarah” and she looked up and smiled. I headed in her direction through the narrow aisles. I was maybe six feet away when I saw another woman, who I will call Jessie, that I don’t particularly like. As I continued walking Jessie met my eves then turned her back and blocked the pathway with her cart- diverting dozens of people including me into a different section of the maze. The look she gave was so unexpected and so mean it took my breath away. Fuck it, I thought to myself, and headed back towards the entrance and out to my car.  There was still over 45 minutes till

Upper Body Strength Rev 1

I have no upper body strength. I mean no significant upper body strength. I can lift a 11 year old 55 pound dog into an SUV, I can lift a 48 lb bag of dog food long enough to pour it in its airtight container in the garage. I can haul potting soil or mulch from the car into the yard, and it turns out, I can stay on top of a camel while it is standing up or sitting down without landing on my head or ending up on my ass in the sand. I know, I’ve done it. I’ve watched a bunch of other people do that too, many heavier, and much less fit than I am. Maybe the camels have been trained so if peopl’es butts leave the saddle/blanket thing, it stands up or sits down faster. I love to sail. I decided it would be really cool to crew on the Star of India, a tall ship moored on the bay in San Diego. I signed up for an orientation session, which was held one evening on that ferryboat that houses the maritime museum. On the designated night I arrived, and found the room filled with about 300 people,

Confidence Rev 1

Johnny turned fifty last week, and has added a few pounds to his girth since his marriage to Vidanya three years ago. Always clean and neatly dressed, but he is beginning to pop a few buttons, so he always carries a chain of safety pins in his pocket. At a glance you wouldn’t know that he is bi-polar, legally blind and has never been able to hear or speak. He lived in a world of visual memories frozen in time, serious gaps in common sense, and vibrations without sound. He does know how to write but I’m not sure if his knowledge is from school, before he lost his sight at age 12 from an illness. He met his wife on the internet, the fifth girl he’d been engaged to since he decided he wanted to start his own family. He’d lived with this mother since birth. His marriage didn’t have a significant impact on his living arrangements other than the sweet soft smell and touch of the woman who now shared his bed, and the squirming and wiggling of his young son as he tossed and turned in his sl

The Encounter Rev 1

She stepped into the train and headed right, up the stairs to the mezzanine. Every seat section (two facing a wall and 4 sets of 4 seats facing each other) had a least one person in them, but she wanted to sit here, the quiet part of the car at this time of day. In the back of her mind she considered whether she should try upstairs, then decided there was plenty of room here, and it was pretty calm- no one on a cell phone, no loud raucous laughers, just readers and sleepers. Where should I sit? Back left: An engineer type, dark pants, and ill fitting rumpled, white shirt partly un-tucked, over a bulging middle aged belly, black belt, dark tie and dark zippered jacket. Cheap shoes, faux leather, lace up, probably from a discount store, home styled haircut, cheap glasses, small brown bag lunch, peering at me expectantly. PASS Back right- Young girl, long blonde hair, manicured nails painted pink, short skirt, 4” platforms, tattoos peeking over the top of her blouse and around her

Fired & Out Rev 1

All that compromising for nada, nothing, not a damn thing. All the money I wasted on meds to help me cope and sleep, all the trips to the work therapy group (dedicated employees with asshole bosses or supervisors). I’ve put up with so much crap the last 40 years. My mantra “I understand” has gotten me through some tough situations. But it didn’t work this time. She’s such a bitch, he thought as he headed out the door, not even noticing the “good nights”, “see you tomorrow”, or” Jim, Jim, wait up!” He pulled out his keys, and pushed the remote button. Nothing. He realized he was standing in the parking lot of his former employer and his car was gone. Oh shit! Perfect! he screamed, and sat down on the curb, tears streaming down his cheeks. He sat there sobbing quietly, just out of view of the employees clocking out for the day. If you asked him what he was thinking, or what happened during that time, he would give you a blank stare, slowly focusing and responding with “what? And then

Flying Away Rev 1

I have to be in Houston by noon tomorrow she thought. Better book a seat- so I know if I have to leave tonight. She grabbed her coffee and headed inside to the spare room where the computer was. We have to get wireless installed she mused silently to herself for the hundredth time (at least). Working as a flight attendant since the days when they were called stewardesses she had her life down to a structured routine. She bid for jobs that took her on the road from Sunday to Wednesday if possible because her husband worked retail and had Thursday and Friday off. She also liked lunching with friends in LA or San Diego on Saturdays after her morning yoga class and the farmers market. She pushed the power button and heard the familiar tune as the computer woke up from a night of rest. Quickly opening the browser the flight schedules appeared on her home page and she saw with dismay that all of tomorrows early flights were fully booked and she would have to hustle to make one this after

Yard Sailing Rev 1

We pulled up in front of the first house and got out. The house was a rundown ranch style structure with peeling paint on the wood trim. The double garage door was open and a small man with a big smile looked at us as we approached and shouted welcome. At this feet were two small children in diapers crawling on a thick pink fleece blanket. Look around; give me a shout if you see anything you like. Jenny walked over to a table in the corner and was picking up small items and then setting them down again. Since she looked more bored than excited I didn’t bother to see what they were. I was looking at the sleeping bag covered with books to see if there were any cookbooks I didn’t have- although in reality I have more than I need at home already. Jenny looked at me and we both said thank you at the same time as we headed back to the car. I hope the next one has some more interesting things, she said, and I nodded my head in agreement. A lone blue balloon was tied to the mailbox at the

The Pool Boy Rev 2

She was lying by the pool, marinating head to toe in Coppertone, her sticky thighs splattered and glued to the vinyl ribs of the lounge chair as the elastic in her bikini bottoms snapped, sagged, and slipped through the cracks. On her back, her saggy tired breasts looked like balloons slowly deflating, and a quick dip in the pool had left her hair frizzing up like Ike Turner in suspenders. The sand invading the pathway to the pool left a gritty mess on the top steps at the shallow end. Her makeup was running, leaving ochre smudges on the white towels the pool boys carelessly tossed at the guests as they scurried back and forth like bait on a hook. The slurping sound of bodies sliding into water was accompanied by the sound of the bartender starting yet another daiquiri- ice clinking violently against the walls of the blender, sliced by the whirling metal blades. I, finished off the last of the rum, scattering tiny red umbrellas, and watched as the tropical breeze sent them spinning r

Cava & Flowers Rev 1

Winning the lotto had changed so many things in his life. Joey however, was a gift from the old days, and they were celebrating 20 successful years in the import business this May, and 30 years of companionship. Neither man was gay, they would both describe their sex drive as ambivalent, but they had given up trying to convince their families and friends years ago. It didn’t matter. They had just arrived in Barcelona last night; one of their favorite cities in the world. La Boqueria, how could any other market in the world compare to that bustling building full of vendors, and colors and tourists and locals and smells. It always felt like a homecoming and he could find his way to Las Ramblas and the entrance to the market, even if he somehow lost his sight or his mind. It was a haven, a delightful journey away from the rest of the world. Driving into town from the airport sitting on the sticky back seat of an old taxi cab, gazing out the window at the crypts built into the hillside,

Romeo & Juliana Rev 1

Hey! She called down from her balcony. What are you doing back so soon? Oh my god. He’s a Christian. Not just a Christian, a reborn, bible thumping, I have an overwhelming need to convert you, I’m going to hold you hostage until you agree, Christian. Sandy burst into a raucous laugh. Well, Christians aren’t so bad. But for you….maybe not your soul mate. We had decided to meet to get to know each other better, and had agreed on a wine bar near the trolley and his office. I was there first, and ordered a prosecco for myself. I planned to pay my own tab, unless he insisted, and to get something to eat. He walked into the cafĂ©, and joined me outdoors at a small table. The waiter dashed over “What would you like to drink?” and he said coffee. Coffee. Coffee at a wine bar. I felt like an alcoholic. This is not beginning well. He went on to explain that his ex wife had cleaned him out, and he was living in a house with six other guys in their 50s near the border. He was totally broke

Freeway Personals Rev 1

I should’ve had the a/c fixed and gassed up this morning, Sarah thought; well, there’s no sense dwelling on it now since I’m going to be either stuck here in traffic, or stranded at the side of the road- a mile or two from the Genesee exit. There are no gas stations nearby, so I’ve really got a couple of hours to kill. What’ve we got here? She wondered aloud. I’m bored. The car just ahead was about two months overdue for a wash., although it was a late model Lexus. The rear bumper was covered with stickers” Hang up the damn phone and drive” “Jesus loves unborn babies”, “My child was a royal screw up at Billings Elementary. The back windshield continued the diatribe “You suck, I’ll eat baby deer if I want to", next to a large rifle shaped sticker screaming “Shut the F### Up!" Oh boy, I thought, here we have a real winner. Is it a man or a woman, how old is they? Where do they work? The driver of the Lexus turned her head and Sarah realized it was a woman. Oh God no. Her

Made in China Rev 1

Made in China Do you want to go to disco? The guide asked me as the group returned from the day trip on the river to our hotel in Guilin. It was bitterly cold, the week before Chinese New Year and the 500 room hotel had 495 vacant rooms. I’m a solo traveler but I seldom venture out alone after dark, preferring instead to launch myself into the awakening dawn and spend the day exhausting myself with vibrant images of other cultures. No I said. I have an early flight and I’m worn out from the cold. He bowed slightly and moved quietly through the front door of the hotel- not pushing, no expectations, polite and resigned to another night alone in his tiny cement room down the 3rd alley- where the smells of the city were frozen into his flesh. ©2010 sharonjcorrigan

Sleeping with Dogs Rev 1

Sleeping with dogs begins when you are quietly reading or watching TV or paying your bills and they are sprawled out nearby legs in the air, sometimes running in place or twitching, and making funny little sounds. Then in an instant they smell another dog outside, or a bird, or a rabbit and they are on their feet in full protective mode, racing from one end of the house to another, barking barking barking. Moments later they are back in their spot snoozing away. At my home 8:00 is bed time. Just like the alarm in the morning, my dogs know how to read clocks and they let me know when it is time. Daylight savings and other time changes throw them off by an hour either way, and sometimes they just feel like playing in the middle of the night for no reason I can figure. So I’m sitting calmly and have two dogs sitting right in front of me, searching my face, and letting me know it’s time to turn off the computer or the TV and head for the bedroom. If I choose to ignore them, they wil

The Hook Up Rev 1

Fred and Kathy both opened the doors of the SUV at the same time, stepping down to the sandy earth one foot at a time. The three younger kids were imprisoned in their car seats; two in the second row and one in the back. The older two were wedged in between, wearing exasperated expressions from the ride, the heat, and the fact that they had to waste their summer at the beach in Southern California when all their friends were staying on the lake or heading to that expensive resort in Canada just across the border near home. Fred lifted up the hatch to get at the newly purchased beach chairs, shoved in the back behind the seat. He handed two each to the older kids and then began pulling the canopy from the roof where it was secured with several bungee cords. We should've left the motel earlier, he thought, as he surveyed the stretch of sand lining the ocean front. There’s got to be over a thousand people here already. How the heck am I supposed to find a place to put this thing u

The Green House Rev 1

Thank god for the trolley system, they thought as they hopped off at the corner of Leucadia Blvd and Orpheus. For the last decade since the oil ran out and gasoline fueled cars became obsolete, local and state government agencies had finally been forced to work together to deliver a workable transportation system.. Heading south on Orpheus, they spotted the first flag, waving wildly in the ocean breeze and silently announcing an open house. Sally waved her right wrist over the scanner near the front gate and Paul did the same- allowing them to enter the property together. It was so nice to be able to look at the place without a pesky real estate agent hovering on every word. The pathway through the vegetable garden looked like gravel but was soft and spongy- obviously some sort of recycled material. Every window on the front of the house was a different shape and size, but the placement of each opening had been carefully planned to give it a balanced aura in the late morning sun.

Red Light District Rev 1

I just dropped by for a glass of wine while I was walking the dogs. When Ginny is home and her front door is ajar, it’s like a red light for a prostitute, Bar’s open, companionship welcomed. I told her I had to pee, and she waved me towards the bathroom in the hall saying “Excuse the mess; I just got home from a trip.” I closed the door behind me and took care of business. I’d had garlic for lunch and it had upset my stomach. The taste was still lingering on my tongue, and the smell on my fingertips. Maybe I’ll use a bit of toothpaste and brush the inside of my mouth. It might also make my fingers smell minty which would be an improvement over the garlic. I pulled opened the left drawer and found it was full of bottles of nail polish and used emery boards. Odd to put that in the top drawer I thought. The second drawer was stuck and almost came out of the cabinet as it opened. I let out a gasp fearing that my neighbor would suspect what I was up to if it hit the floor.  How embarr

Footprints Rev 2

Dry sand erupted beneath my flip flops as I trailed the dogs down to the waterline at dog beach. Spadefuls crunching and scattering like handfuls of rice on a hardwood floor, a few grains detaching from a the herd Off like the wind, paws slapping the wet mucky quicksand along the shoreline, the rising tide receding into the horizon scattering crystal bubbles in a random pattern overlapping and repeating as they slalomed across each other’s tracks . Tiny knatty insects diving into ribbons of kelp washed ashore during the last high tide, round and round like a miniature tornado. The pups joyfully leap into the spongy slippery piles of ocean greens and roll around wriggling their bodies until the pungent smell permeates their fur. Then they are off, greeting the other canine visitors, dashing into the pack with uninhibited yelping and whooping, veering south to the abandoned Starbucks muffin someone left behind. Score! Footsteps above me, creaking planks giving way as others cross o

Martinique Rev 1

It’s a warm tropical night in Martinique. I’ve been here for 2 days and the weather has been perfect, warm but with a breeze and cloud cover. I spent today with James and Scott, life partners and business partners in a hair salon, in a suburb of Milwaukee. I’m not too sure about Scott’s background but I do know his mother is alive because he mentions her frequently. James is classically handsome, an Adonis, chiseled features and a great body. His father is supposedly the last of the mafia dons- although his hair is blonde, and he looks more Scandinavian than Italian. I’d met them on the plane from Miami to Guadalupe. Air France- free booze on the Club Med express. They were trading hair cuts for beads, the currency used at the club for call drinks, and extras. The disco was open tonight and Scott and James and I , and Lila from NY, Debbie from Dallas (no, not that Debbie), Brad from Redondo and the brothers from Newport- were all getting primed in the boy’s pavilion room, one of

Late for lunch Rev 1

I was running late for my workshop and decided to try pulling in the QUALCOMM driveway because the building where the meeting is held shared the parking lot; at least I think it does. I sometimes shoot right past the left turn, even with the signal, because I miss the sign and don’t know the name of the street. As I reach the crest of the hill I knew that the strategy had worked. I stepped out of the van at 11:58 and ran across the lot towards the entrance. Our vans always smell funny. It must be something EVS uses to try to clean the upholstery or carpet. It’s like all the drivers have been working at Jiffy Lube and forgot to wash their hands. I asked the ladies at reception where to go this month and I see the group admin coming out to close the door at the end of a hallway. She sees me coming and hands me a name tag with a smile, as we both go into the room. They are just getting started with the program and everyone already has their lunch. In the past, when the meetings hav

Cashing Out- Tales from the Retail Floor Rev 1

Let me introduce myself. I’m a single mom with a kid who is just about to enter high school. My ex is pretty consistent with the child support but it’s not really enough to cover everything I need. I’ve been working at this warehouse store for a year now. I have a bachelor’s degree but I got married right out of college and pregnant within six months. He’s long gone now and the store is within walking distance of my house and my hours are perfect match for John’s school schedule. I put on a few pounds before I went back to work, and have a tendency to wear pants with elastic waists, running shoes, oversize tops and little makeup or jewelry. Right now I’ve also got on a Chargers jacket that my ex left behind in the hall closet. Everyone I work with is very nice. In Australia they’d call them battlers, people who know that they have to work hard to survive. That they can’t forget for a second, or get sick, or take a two week vacation and still have the money to pay the rent. I jus

In and Out Rev 2

The smell of polish surrounded the chair where she sat awaiting the top coat on her pedicure. Shiny blue toes rested on the cushioned sliding stool that Tommy used to place himself in the proper position for the job. Today the conversation revolved around iphone apps. Marissa, Tommy’s wife, had the new iphone and she wanted Sandy to help hedr locate the webcam. There were three ladies sitting side by side in various stages of the beautifying process, all with iphones. The sweet feminine smell of the heavy moisturizing cream used for the massage part of the process helped to balance the chemical smell of the polish remover. The salon was dimly lit with traces of gold in the landscape mural on the wall, in the decorative silk orchids and on Marissa’s hands and reading glasses. Oh shit its 5:57. Sandy looked at the clock, checked her phone, and realized she had to get to the car, make it through traffic, 3 stop signs, and a signal, find a parking spot, and run all the way to the far e

Bag Lady Rev 1

Prologue What’s in the bagzzzz he said, laughing at his own corny line. He pointed in the direction of the rolling metal shopping cart and tilted his head slightly towards this mysterious woman named Pat with a goofy sort of grin. These? She said loudly in a deep dusky voice that caused everyone around them to stop in the middle of their conversations, glance at Pat and each other a bit nervously. These bloody bags are how I carry my burdens from place to place. These bloody bags are heavy and fragile and easily pierced by angry words. Tim began to feel a little edgy at the force of her response and he shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He met the eyes of a woman in the next row of seats who shook her head slowly and then grabbed a large cross hanging from a thick golden chain around her neck. Lifting it slightly, she moved it quickly upward, touched it to her forehead, her heart, then tapped both her shoulders, and brought it towards her face, pressing it firmly against the l

Old Loves Rev 2

Oh my god They are all here. All the men I’ve loved or cared for. Dead and alive. The men who have inspired me, motivated me, made me cry, made me laugh, every single one of them. Can I send some of them back and keep the ones I choose. Or do I have to take all or nothing? If I have to choose I’ll take them all The ones who loved me, the ones who didn’t the ones with gentle spirits the ones who drove me insane, the musicians and the cops, the Artists and the bankers, the sailors and the engineers they are all a part of who is standing on the threshold today , the person I am today. Do I have to invite them all in at once or can I pass out numbers and let some of them stand outside for a day or a month or I don’t know. I’ll have to come up with some sort of a rating system for most of them but some require no thought at all. How exhilarating to see them all in one place at one time. The most important and compelling almost seem to glow from within. The assholes fade into the cement

Gifts of the Father Rev 1

I am bloody 40 years old, please not another stuffed animal. My father, so smart in many ways, such a smart ass in others, has once again given me a stuffed animal, a bear. There is nothing about me, my home, my lifestyle, that would suggest that a stuffed animal would be a gift I would enjoy, ask for , or know what to do with, other than give it away. I won’t even take the price tag off; I’ll just pass it on to the first child I see, with their parents of course, so they don’t think I’m up to no good. Put it on the foyer table so I’ll see it as I leave in the morning, and not have it haunting my house for weeks out of guilt for ditching yet another useless gift from my dad. Is it a joke? I wondered? As always when these odd presents appear, I spend hours obsessing on the intention or the hidden secret behind the gift. It is soft, like a kitty’s ears, but much too small to use as a pillow, and I’d hate to see it decapitated by the dogs, so I’ve got to start it on its journey to a n

The Machine Rev 1

May I help you? He said, striding towards her like panther intent on its prey. The shop was long, narrow and dark, the shelves jammed with electronics of all makes and models. There were no other customers right now, and from the hungry look, in his eyes there hadn’t been for some time. He told her this combo machine could handle faxes, copies, phone calls and voicemail. He spent an hour with her explaining every possible solution to the issue that brought her into the store in the first place. She had been feeling increasingly uncomfortable at his single minded attention, particularly since he had been slowly maneuvering her towards the back of the shop where she could see a door, slightly ajar, a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling. He was between her and the front door and there was no way to get past him without their bodies touching. He leered at her, growing wet rings of sweat forming under both his arms and down the middle of his chest. Then a phone rang. It was a

Harris Park Lebonese Rev 1

I was searching for a job before the “migration” dept knew that my employer had laid me off. I was given 2 months grace period to find a new job where the company would agree to sponsor me for an extension of my work visa. When you’re in another country on a visa, at least in my experience, the minute your job ends, and your visa is invalid- no breaks. I was an illegal as of 12/31/92 I was living in an English speaking country on the other side of the world. I had given up the apartment I had rented for the last few years, sold all my furniture and was living in a small room behind a friend’s art gallery /coffee house. She and her boyfriend lived upstairs. I placed a display ad in the Australian Financial Times with the headline “HELP, born on the wrong continent”, which the publication loved, and put on the inside left page right after the editorial. Unfortunately, the only response was from network marketing types and a couple of guys looking for a green card, willing to marry