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THE NEIGHBORS

May 16, 2018

There was a gravely thumping, a scooping, a gnashing in the next room over.  One of those kerump-krackety smacks that could spin your skull till you vomit. The thump was sperunketing through the bedroom wall I share with dear old mom and dad. It was such a fricken’ ruckus I peeled the prickles from the crannies of my oily eyeballs and smashed my two feet on the floor. My ears were sore as hell and I splashed through that door to give them a piece of my mind.

 

“What’s the fuckin’ ruckus?!” I shook my scrawny fist around letting them know I mean business.

 

My sister Bernice had beat me to the spot. That bitch always has to be first. She and I were wearing the same frickin’ pajamas, the dumb Christmas kind, real embarrassing. Anyway, Mom, Dad and Bernice were huddled witch-like round a ditch thick as a bathtub. Dad’s fist gripped a fat shovel and the rug was scurbled shoved tight against the bed. A strand of mucky pearls plunked real cozy atop a pile of rubbish crap pulled from the hole.

 

“I heard a big commotion going on under there,” Dad said, eyes squeezing through the sockets, twisting the shovel this way and that. I could hear it, too. Snippity uppity chatter gurgling hahaha hehehe and “Oo’s” and “Ahh’s” leaking through cracks.

 

Dad thwacked the shovel smack into the ground gash till it buckled, dropped the shovel and slobbed himself into the shallow room below. Bernice jumped in, too.

 

“I’ll keep an eye out up here for you, hunny,” said Mom to no one, leaning ‘gainst the bed lighting a cigarette.

 

I wasn’t gonna wait up there like a sucker so I plunked in the hole, m’self. Dad had yanked up a trapdoor, so we crawled down the ladder neath it real slick. Soon as we cut through the black, shit, this place was fitted for a goddamn duchess; the walls were all curly-q carved crisp like a cake. Frosted like real sickening, like I don’t think you could even dream it.

 

All kinds of folks were milling about the place. There were real tiny like people, like the size of cats and some big ones big enough they had to slouch droopy to squeeze into the thirty-foot ceiling. There were others, too, even a spiny seahorse Zebra in a polkadot gown float slipping about, a single high heeled shoe hanging from the bent up tail. This crowd had real nerve, poke shoving their noses and their cameras into displays of tiny handbags, each one smaller and more ghastly than the other, with plaques like, “Mrs. Blankendashere wore this handbag on the 9th of May in the year of the humbersnatch to the Queen of Castleberry’s 99th birthday soiree.”

 

I guessed Mrs. Hoosiwhatsit must be one of the statues. Two mammoth wax statues of some sniffly geezers snoozing snobbed up the middle of the goddamn room. I had to climb up the side of the bed but I took a good peek into her nostrils all pitted and hairy, real lifelike. Mr. and Mrs. must have been real special cause this place was filled to the boot with their crap. All kinds of garbage plooshed into glass cupboards and on pedestals and nailed onto the caked up walls.

 

Strange thing was no one seemed to notice we were there.

 

“Alright, grab what you can, kids,” said Dad.

 

“What do you mean, Dad?” said Bernice. Goddamn Bernice, loves to pretend she doesn’t have a fuckin’ clue.

 

Dad tramped over to a hodge-podge stew of a painting, which looked rather like a lopsided creamy muck of the Mrs. smiling wild in salmon, puke yellows and greens, and slammed his hands on either side of the frame.

 

Bernice scooped up a hulking pair of wingtips. I snatched a tea set. And lickety-splot as Dad plucked that god awful painting smack off the wall, an alarm let out a bloodcurdling screech.

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