Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Christmas time is here! Yay! For many of you that's an exciting notion, filled with festive activities and days filled with glee. For me it means working five days a week, which kicks my ass because I'm a naturally lazy person. I also have been getting messages from my body that I might be getting too old for this job.

I realized the other day that I have not been getting email notification of comments, so I apologize if it seems I have been ignoring you. I wasn't. I just didn't realize you were there.

I met with a friend of mine last week who is an English teacher. She went through The Carriage Trade and made notations where I used incorrect punctuation, grammar, or sentence structure. I suck at those things and I appreciate her assistance very much. I will be uploading a corrected version of The Carriage Trade to both Smashwords and Amazon for Kindle very soon.

In the mean time, I leave you with a snippet from The Re-Education of the One Trick Pony:


Carlos checked her phone for the time. 3:10. When did I get here? She frowned, and then shrugged, unconcerned with minor details, but a little surprised that the girls hadn't bothered to come and find her yet. Nora wouldn't care about returning home at the scheduled time. Teagan, on the other hand, considered herself late if she arrived a mere ten minutes early. Teagan's personal time zone consistently ran at least thirty minutes ahead of everyone else's.
I should go back to the RV and tell them about the flea market, see if any of them want to stop in for a while. Looking around to get her bearings, she shuffled past rows of shiny knick knacks, used clothing, puzzles, toys, paintings on velvet, car stereos and assorted junk, making her way to the exit.
In the parking lot of the gas station Carlos slowly turned around in the spot the RV once occupied. Her mouth opened and closed like a fish, but no sound came forth. For once in her life, for reasons not due to a medical condition, Carlos Farley-Fantazma was absolutely speechless. With her fisted hands stiff at her sides, she stamped her left foot on the asphalt and simultaneously raised her face to the sky, releasing a loud growl of frustration.
She dug deep to conjure up the worst curses she could, considering they were all really good friends of hers. "Those assholes ditched me! Dirty rat bastards! Drunken, lying, puppy thieves! Fucknuts!" Carlos heard a door close nearby. Glancing over her shoulder she watched an elderly man in church clothes give her a dirty look as he walked around to the driver's side after depositing his white haired passenger in her seat.
She slapped her hand on her belt, searching for the cell phone clipped to it. Wrenching it out of the holster she hit Teagan’s speed dial. The phone made a series of noises but did not connect. Carlos looked at the signal strength. Zero bars.
"Now I remember why I don’t like Idaho. Fuck!" She looked around immediately after swearing, seeing whom she might have offended this time, but the parking lot was vacant.
Carlos decided to hang around a little while longer, hoping that they would turn up eventually. She tried every number in her contact list, but none would connect. Finally, boredom and the lure of the treasures behind the drive-in fence got the better of her and she returned to the flea market.
She stopped in front of a pen containing a puppy that she remembered passing earlier when it was full, nearly bursting with their unfettered energy. She frowned. Now there was only one dog left. It looked pathetic, and a little on the sickly side.
“What happened to the rest of them? There was a bunch just a minute ago,” she asked the red haired, freckled boy hovering around the pen. Picking up the lethargic puppy, she looked it over. It had a pot belly and rheumy eyes, with goop stuck in the corners. Wormy and it needs an anti…anti something or another, she thought. It needs a vet.
He gave her a strange look. “We got rid of them all, like, an hour ago, except for that one,” he said. “Want him?" The boy glanced around quickly, "He’s free.”
“How much were the other ones?” She couldn't remember if there had been a sign or not. She turned the puppy around in her hands, inspecting him. I don’t need another dog. Bill will kill me…
“The others were a hundred dollars each. He’s got good bloodlines,” the boy told her, looking around cautiously. “Lady,” his voice dropped so low she could hardly hear him, “if I don’t find him a home my parents will have him destroyed. He’s the runt."
“Destroyed? What kind of person does that?” Carlos herself was somewhat of a runt, especially when she stood next to her husband. She was barely over five foot tall compared to Bill's six and a half. Growing up together he'd called her 'munchkin' a few times, until she'd beaten the snot out of him for it.
“My parents are breeders, they have no use for the runts,” he said, still keeping his voice quiet.
“What kind of dog is this?” she asked, unfamiliar with the puppy’s breed or color; if it had been a horse, she would have called it a blue roan. Carlos had always been an equestrienne, and wasn't too familiar with canines. Through customers at the dog grooming business that Teagan owned, Bill found a retired show dog, a female Pomeranian with the registered name of 'Miss Tinkers Kitty Boo' that Bill adopted for her not long after they got married. 'Miss Tinkers Kitty Boo' was too convoluted of a name for Carlos to remember, so Bill called the dog Kitty. He figured that an older pet would be much easier on both of them than a puppy. Too bad Teagan’s not here, I should check with her before I make a decision. She always bitches about people buying dogs from the back of cars in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Something about impulse buying and ten to fifteen years…
“He’s a Heeler,” the boy's reply interrupted her thoughts.
“What is that? Like a Native American Medicine dog? I don’t understand. What does it heal?” Cuddling the puppy against her chest, she frowned at the boy.
A burly looking man walked up behind the boy, who noticeably cringed as the man spoke in a booming voice. “That there dog can heel what ever you got!”
“Really?” Carlos said, impressed. “Can it heal itself?”
The father appeared to be confused. “I suppose, but you have to train it,” he told her, with less volume and enthusiasm than before.
The boy’s eyes made a silent plea. Carlos's glance flicked from the boy, to the man, to the pup in her arms.
Carlos sighed and rolled her eyes. “Fine, I’ll take it,” she said sullenly.
Burly Man slapped his hands together with renewed enthusiasm. “That’ll be a hundred dollars,” he said. Then Burly Man, whom Carlos was growing to intensely dislike with each passing second, held out his hand for payment.
Carlos looked from the outstretched hand to the boy, and back again to the man, her brows knitted together. “He said it was free because it’s the runt.” She tossed her head to indicate the boy.
Burly Man’s face darkened, and he turned, glaring at the boy, raising his arm as if to smack him. Realizing he had Carlos for an audience he curled his flat hand into a pointing finger, shaking it in the boys face.
“Marlin! You quit tellin’ people dogs are free!" he hissed. "I’d put a dog down ‘fore I give ‘em for nothin’! I got a lot in–vested in them dogs. Stupid boy.” He turned back to Carlos and gave her a greasy smile. “Now that dog is a little feller, so I give him to you for fifty dollars, bein’ that he’s the last one and all. That’s half price, a real bargain.”
Carlos narrowed her eyes at the man, taking a slow, deep breath, and thinking; I really want to knock the shit out of him, but being pregnant and holding a puppy are big disadvantages, so I think I’ll pull a 'Bill' and just let it pass. Bill was into body building, and combined with his enormous size, was always being challenged by guys who wanted to prove their masculinity. He frequently told Carlos he was a lover, not a fighter. He liked to demonstrate that a lot, too. The thought made her smile. Then she remembered she was marooned at a flea market in Idaho and her anger boiled up all over again.
Frowning, she switched the puppy from her chest to the crook of her arm, nestling it between her stomach and her breast, and pulled her wallet out of her back pocket. Peeling off a fifty from her considerable wad she silently handed it to Burly Man.
Burly Man's expression brightened. “Why, thank you, missy. I’ll go and get his papers.” He ducked behind their sunshade and started rifling through a file box on the front seat of a battered pickup truck.
In a quiet voice Carlos asked the boy, "Marlin, is it?"
The boy nodded.
She squinted her eyes at him. "You look more like a goldfish. How old are you?"
"Eighteen," he answered just as quietly, giving her a guarded look.
Carlos, still holding her wallet, pulled another fifty out along with a business card and handed them to Marlin. “Hide this. Save it. When you get sick of your old man's crap, come to Salt Lake and I’ll give you a job.” The teen tucked the card and money in the front pocket of his jeans just as Burly Man returned, papers in hand.
“Here you are, girley. You just fill the rest of that out and send them in to the address along with a check and you’ll git yer registration information in the mail.” He nodded as he handed her the documents.
Carlos folded the papers into thirds and stuffed them into her back pocket as she walked away, muttering, “Asshole,” under her breath. She decided since she was still close to the exit she would check the parking lot again and see if her tribe had returned. That they would she never doubted. She knew it was only a matter of time.