The Attic

Below the loose floorboard in the attic was space. Lots of space for me. I’m only six and can fit in there and even move around some. Mostly I go to a smaller space over Mom and Dad’s bedroom. I can’t go at night when they are sleeping, ’cause I can’t get caught out of bed at night. But during the day, when I’m supposed to be outside, I slide over to the peep hole between the cracks and look down at the bedroom.

Usually it’s boring, nothing going on, nobody even there. But sometimes Mom comes in to sleep. And sometimes the man from down the road a piece — Jessie, his name is — comes in to help. He helps Mom off with her dress and then does his own so’s she won’t feel bad being the only naked one in the room. And then they roll around under the covers, gettin’ comfortable, I guess, and then they talk too soft for me to hear. I fall asleep watching them, most times.

I’d been wantin’ to tell Mom that I’d seen them, how nice it was what she was doing, but I’d get whupped for being where I wasn’t supposed to be. I just didn’t dare tell Mom. So I told Dad.

Hell Found Me

Well, it wasn’t much of a hell, as such things go, I guess, ’cause I’ve sure heard of worse stuff happnin’ to folks. But for a few hours last week I sure did think that ole Scratch had his scaly mitts on me.

It started when Homer down at the store saw somebody stealin’ some crackers. But his eyes aren’t so good, nor his memory neither. He tole the sheriff it was me. Couldn’t a been, ’cause I was down at the county seat gettin’ my third fishin’ license. I keep droppin’ them into the river, so I was twenty miles away when them soda crackers walked outta Homer’s store.

But then the sheriff came lookin’ for me and a plank off’n the porch roof fell on his head and he went out. So I dragged him out to his cruiser and piled him in the back seat and took off for the hospital. Only the quickest way there was over the Tumbly Creek bridge and it chose that exact time I was drivin’ over it to crack up and fall.

And that’s when the sheriff woke up, with water comin’ in the car and him hollering I was tryin’ to drown him. I didn’t have no choice but to walk back to town with him. He called Momma — I’m only twelve. She left work and that’s when hell found me.


She stepped off the plane and said, “Damn. Is this where I wanted to go?”

But she had no answer for herself, ’cause she couldn’t remember  where she’d wanted to go. If she ever knew. More than likely she’d boarded the plane to go for a ride. Enjoyed the ride. And now she was here.

The name of the place escaped her. but it seemed pleasant enough, kind of. The people friendly enough, maybe. She checked her purse for passport, credit card. Couldn’t find them.

She didn’t know what she’d do here. How to start supporting herself. But she knew what she needed, pulled that tiny airline bottle of liquor out of her purse. And started another ride.

Ye Olde Greene-Eyed Monster

Ross was kind enough to pass around the Writer’s Digest newsletter that included, as one of the seven sins for writers, denying your jealousy.  Not FEELING jealousy but DENYING it.


Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, says that jealousy can give us a map. If we’re jealous about someone else’s situation or accomplishments, it may suggest some useful directions for us to go–anything from fixing up the spare room as a studio to trying your hand at writing a crime novel to submitting your long-hoarded poems for publication.

The key here is recognizing the unfulfilled creative desire behind the jealousy and then acting on it.  This requires self-awareness and the courage to act, to try something new, to risk your dreams.

I would add that repressed jealousy–or any other feeling–probably isn’t good for us as people and as writers.


This is my first experiment in adding an image to a post.  You should be able to see a baby African elephant standing between his mother’s legs. 

But you can’t.  Hmm.  Back to the drawing board.

Oh, now you can see him!  Here’s one of his Asian cousins, too.  Just takes a little fiddling around to figure out how it works.  You can resize the pictures and everything.


I live at the connection point of three circles of friends. That doesn’t quite work in the Venn Diagram sense, because none of the circles overlap. Maybe I should say I live at the apex (apexes? apices?) of three triangles that share no sides. Whatever.

Anyway, the point is, not only do these three circles/triangles/whatevers share no members, they consist of three distinctly different groups of people, particularly when it comes to their political persuasions. My writer-friends circle has a definitely liberal cast, as the writing world, especially the fiction writing world, does generally. The non-liberal fiction writer is a rare thing, indeed. My Air Force Association/veterans circle has a definitively conservative bent, although veterans, as a group, cover the entire political waterfront. And my BMW club circle is, well, pretty much all over the place.

Which makes life interesting. Among liberals, I’m a conservative. Among conservatives, I’m a liberal. Guess that puts me right about where I want to be: in the middle.

And it gives me lots–I mean, LOTS–of material to draw from when I write a story that has political overtones or undertones. Or undertows. Or UnderAlls(R). Or something.

Earlier this week, Washington Post columnist Robert J. Samuelson wrote an interesting piece on our current political, um, situation called “Radicals, reactionaries, and an unhappy Fourth.” It’s not as depressing as the title might suggest and you’ll likely be surprised by whom he labels “radicals” and who “reactionaries.”

How to Become Dehydrated on 96 Ounces of Water a Day

First of all, I’m all right. 

Secondly, you guys lucked out and didn’t have to deal with this. 

At four o’clock the morning after we had our meeting and our dinner at the Olive Garden, I woke up with a severe leg cramp and the worst set of physical sensations I’ve ever experienced in my life.  The objective symptoms were dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, a drenching cold sweat, and an intense need to void.  The internal sensation is much harder to put into words.  My best descriptions so far are “something is terribly wrong in my body” and “I’m going to die, sitting right here on the edge of the bed.”

We dialed 911 and said I was having a possible heart attack.  Why?  Because woman (and men less frequently) have asymptomatic heart attacks with no pain.  My mother had one.  Heart attack was the only thing I could think of that suggested the severity of my symptoms.  I knew it would get the paramedics rolling.

The meeting we arranged with the ambulance on Davis Road between McNeal and our home went off without a hitch.  As Dan hustled us toward the hospital in Douglas, Martin (accent on the last syllable–don’t know how to do that yet) did the usual hooking up of blood pressure, cardio, and oxygen saturation instruments.  Everything looked fine, though I still felt awful.

Martin did me an enormous favor.  Based on what I told him about the amount of water I was drinking as part of my kidney treatment, he suggested that I was DEHYDRATED.  Right away, the stuff I read about this twenty or thirty years ago kicked in, and I knew he was right.  All that water without added electrolytes had flushed the potassium and other salts out of my body.  I had already suspected dehydration because of the muscle cramp and intense thirst I had after the worst of the attack passed.  Our sensation of thirst is triggered by a drop in blood pressure from not having enough fluids in the bloodstream.

At the emergency room, they ran some tests that confirmed Martin’s suggestion.  The rest of my results were well within the normal range.  They gave me some potassium and a list of things to do to get my electrolytes up and sent me home. 

Ross later mentioned that this is why runners drink electrolyte drinks like Gatorade.

So . . . 

Ninety-six ounces of FLUIDS a day may be fine, but NOT ALL STRAIGHT WATER.  I’ve started with diluted fruit juices, especially those with plenty of potassium like bananas.  Dennis is on his way to the vitamin supplement store in Douglas for a couple of things, too.

The moral of this post is DON’T BE STUPID, AS I WAS!  I’d forgotten part of the picture about how the body works.  Fortunately, I lived to learn.  And to come to another Cochise Writers meeting!