You Were There

If it wouldn’t have been for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.  Even so, the repulsive troll under the campus bridge seemed to think I was his chosen prey.  Pork rinds became my daily diet—and Mountain Dew.  I needed more sleep.

38 responses to “You Were There

  1. Oh my, Anne. As I sit here with my laptop warming my thighs on a Saturday morning, I’m too simple-minded to come up with a quick response to your writing stimuli. If anything stirs in my noggin, I’ll be back.

    Happy Easter to all

  2. Hi, my name’s Arizona, named after where my parents were passing thru when they separated just before I was born before I lately decided to be a famous writer but I figured maybe I oughta try it out to see if I like writing stuff or should be a live-nude-pole-dancer instead, so here’s my take on the test thing above and if anyone wants to sign me up for publishing whatever book I’m gonna write, just leave a message under this post.

    The online college entry exam was tricky, but luckily I was doing it on my iPhone out in the stable and also just as luckily or even more so my horse Fang had spent his foalage in a circus before he bit a fat lady and got sold to the guy we stole him from, and when I wondered aloud to myself what two plus two maybe added up to, Fang stamped four times, so I thought what the hell and entered four and it was right and that pushed my score into the green zone coz to tell the truth it wasn’t much of a college as colleges go, especially the guys and even more especially that troll Repulsive Ralph who one time invited me under the campus bridge pretending he wanted to have sex with me but even before I got all my clothes off I realized all he wanted was the usual thing all the guys at that college always wanted from me (coz most of them were gay) which was some of my pork rinds that I had plenty of all the time even though I spent most of my allowance on drugs coz my cousin Elmo worked at a fast food joint called The Fast Food Joint and collected lotsa only partly eaten spare ribs for me from the leftovers he scraped from customers’ plates which was his job in the kitchen coz he was too clumsy to wash dishes and also he’d sometimes sneak me a bottle or two of Mountain Dew that mightn’t have got broken when he dropped a crate every so often coz that was also his job except he wasn’t supposed to drop them, but because the only time he could sneak them to me was after The Fast Food Joint closed which was around anywhere between midnight and three or four in the morning depending on whether there were any customers left or cops taking interviews about the latest hold-up which was about twice a week coz it was on the worst side of the wrong side of the tracks, I’d have to wait around in the alley until the customers and/or cops (but never crooks who always got away) finally left before Elmo could slip me the ribs and Mountain Dew or even for me to find out if he had any non-breakages that night or not, and so I usually often didn’t get to bed before dawn and so when they finally kicked me out of the college for snoring in class all the time I didn’t mind a lot coz frankly I needed more sleep than you can get in a classroom full of loud wannabe hairdressers yelling over the sound of blow-drying in Customer Small Talk 101.

    • Excellent. Now, let me introduce you to another bit of puncuation, other than the comma. It’s called a period. It looks like a small dot on the page. When you see it, it means stop and take a breath, much like the comma, but when you see the period it means full-on stop, not a California stop like the comma. Hope you enjoy getting acquainted with the period.

    • Fig, I liked this coz I didn’t sleep last night coz my puppy had the runs and my carpet isn’t that color, so I had to be letting her in and out all night coz of the runs and stuff, but I do like the troll coz he reminded me of an English Prof I had in college coz he liked bridges too and was kinda short and messy and a real stickler for proper punctuation, which I always rebelled against coz I’m just that kinda gal coz my Mama dropped me on my head when I was little and it cozed me to be a little slow.

    • You know what’s good? 115 people read this last week. Now they are all signing up for my Writing Essentials class.

      • folks signing up for writing essentials – very interesting!!! anyone I know taking the April 18 session? I might join in. Can’t do the one starting May – upcoming medical thing coming then.
        -Patsy Watsy

    • Maybe I’m going through my Proustian period.
      Which, as I understand it, means using as few as possible.

    • I wonder if Hemingway was a genius, or did he suffer from dysgrammatophobia? I wonder if Joyce wished he would have used more punctuation. I wonder if there are any more of those chocolate chip cookies in the cupboard. Hmmmm.

  3. I feel as though I’ve fallen to a planet where the inhabitants use words I know and have used myself, but those words are placed in such a way upon the page that I haven’t any idea what they mean.

  4. As I rode through the morning mist, the sand beneath Sandy’s hoofs left a trail of prints the tide would wash away later. He and I had the morning to ourselves, no one was on the beach yet. So I let him have a free hand, I needed it as much as he did. Sandy was my one true friend. His head was held high, carrying himself like the magical stallion he is.
    We would stop to enjoy a few treats and a drink later . I would have my Mountain Dew, he would get a nice cool drink of water. The pork rinds ,I had grown fond of, were waiting in my saddle bag. Sandy turned his nose up at them ,so I had packed an apple for him.
    After our rest we headed back to the stable but first we had to outwit the bridge troll, he waited to scare Sandy. We vowed it would not happen this time. As we neared the bridge Sandy galloped stronger and jumped the bridge, outwitting the troll once again.

    As I woke from my dream I felt refreshed, when I dream of Sandy, the dreams always make me started the day full of good thoughts.

    (Just thought i would get in on the fun)

  5. My goodness, there she was. Martha, wasp-like waist, full bosom and gently rounded hips in a blood orange-colored getup meant for hardened thugs, murders, rapists, and other assorted riff-raffy underworld mixed nuts and bolts. Sweet Martha who had shot John in the foot for what she thought he had done. She thought; that was the problem.

    The truth is that he was with me that evening. We were planning a way for him to woo her again. Their fifth wedding anniversary was only days away. We had designed an enormous night of dinner, theater and late-night hoofing. Now neither of them was in a position to dance; he with a shattered fetlock, and she in the County jail, locked up secure as a medieval maiden in a chastity belt.

    My personal love affair with John (of course he didn’t know) began in college. I was forced to attend, or go to jail for an unfortunate heroin addition. Horse had the best of me until I saw John. We were neighbors in Oswego Hall, an all male dorm at campus edge. He was extraordinary, slender and acne-ridden with skin a permanent shade of cranberry. Shoulder length muddy brown locks and a ZZ Top tattoo on his left shoulder made me wonder how he’d made it this far in life without someone attaching him or herself, like a barnacle on a garbage scow, to this pimpled, blackhead-laden Adonis. Cupid had slung his arrow and hit me somewhere below my heart.

    Almost immediately I began sending him gifts anonymously–trinkets at first–then real treasures like 12 ounce bags of pork rinds from my personal stash, and six packs of Mountain Dew. My own daily staff of life would be his. We’d share manna, but he wouldn’t know from whence it came. My only fear was that his roomie, Hector Ferris, knew or would find out. Hector was a football-playing pachyderm, only he was uncharacteristically smart. If I even looked at their room in passing, Hector the manatee troll would glare at me as though he was wise to my longing for John. I spent many sleepless nights over it.

    All things pass, even Hector.

    I saw my chance and darted to John’s room to ask if he’d like a new roommate. I was begging, although he didn’t seem to know, and said, “Sure, why not?” Every day was heavenly. Instead of an alarm clock, Gabriel blew his horn each morning. I floated seraphim-like to every class. Some days I was a cherubim or an archangel.

    Then SHE came along. One afternoon I blissfully wafted into our cozy-nook-away-from-the-world and caught them locked in passionate embrace. My world crumbled like a month old ginger snap. I had to move across the hall. Now he was hers. There was nothing I could do except gather them both to my bosom. I couldn’t totally release him, nor could I forgive her, but I had maintained at least of a shadow of my past Utopia.
    We three became fast friends for life. I was even in their wedding. (I served as best man and maid of honor)

    Tears plummeted from my eyes as I picked up the intercom phone on the visitor side of the bullet-proof glass. I told her the complete truth. We wept together

    • That is the most unlikely Martha/John/love trianglel/troll story I’ve ever read. Make that manatee troll. How do you come up with these things?

      • Ann,
        Thanks for the kind words. Someone you know very well recently recommended a volume called Free Play, by Stephen Nachmanovitch. It is one of the most delightful, upbeat books I’ve ever read. I haven’t finished it yet, but there are enough ideas on every page to fill even more books on the subject. The plan is to allow ideas to come to you. I’ve never been able to search them out. They hide. As the early nineteenth century nursery rhyme poet said: Leave them alone and they’ll come home wagging their tails behind them. Address your muse, or inner diety, whomever you go to for such stuff; ask, then let it go. The answers always come.


    • So many great details – the ZZ Top tatoo, Martha in jail for shooting john in the foot, haaaa. A great twist on the John and Martha saga.
      -Patsy Watsy

    • Fred, you rascal. That was fun.

      • LS,

        Wow. Where you been woman? I missed you. This is your kind of prompt. You could have more fun than anybody with this. How’s the novel coming?

      • Fred,
        I am halted by an emotional shortcoming one commonly associates with poultry…..

  6. FigMince, that was awesome! I have to come back on later to read the rest.

  7. LS,

    HMMM. That bad, eh? I think devout cowardess can be overcome. My personal bete noir is Yorkshire swine-related. I set my sights lower.
    I know it’ll get better for you.

  8. I mean cowardice.

  9. I just make these things up, you know. Me, Bertha Formaldehyde Rustoleum. Well, yes, I do have a horse. His name is Nacho Cheese which is a private joke, but I love him just the same. He is the horse I always wanted but no one would ever buy me, so I went out and bought him myself. But I am only eighteen. Working at A&W Root Beer over the summer means you can save money for a horse as long as you have nice parents. So I bought a horse, much to my parents’ chagrin. I am supposed to go to college in the fall, but now I have this horse instead. My father was so mad last night, he had to go bowling so he wouldn’t kill me. I hid in my room until my mother woke me up this morning, demanding to know my plans. Uh, ride my horse to San Francisco so I can live with my big sister? So weak.

    The deal has been struck. I will go to college, but Nachos will remain stabled near my parents who promise to watch over him. Ugh. College. No more riding off into the sunset with a bed roll like in the movies. And now I live in a seven-story dorm. I have two weird roommates from small towns in Iowa who think I am a bad influence. I do try to be good. I work in the campus grill, making burgers and chatting up the customers. Good tips! I take courses, but my new passion is skateboarding. This brings me in contact with a repulsive troll who lives under the Iowa River Bridge. I am never sure if he is real or a figment, but he likes the idea that when I cruise by on my skateboard, he can reach up and snatch at my ankles. Creep! Only pork rinds and Mountain Dew keep me sane. I don’t like beer yet, just curving roads, pork fat, and caffeine. Poor Nachos has been replaced by a skateboard. But I will be home by Christmas. I’m thinking about saving up for a motorcycle now. I can picture myself in black leather and a helmet with a black visor. The bedroll would still work, plus a skate board sticking out of one saddle bag, pork rinds in the other. Bertha Formaldehyde cruises to San Francisco!

    • like Nachos’s tail of adventure and life. fun read. thanks.

    • Ann,

      You startled me for a moment. I have a friend named Bertha Formaldemarcos-Hyde. And believe it or not, she has a horse named Rustoleum; he’s a paint. Did you sniff the formaldehyde before writing this beauty? If there’s room for two on your chopper, I’d like to see where this journey goes. Thanks for a great dose of jollification.

      • It took me a minute to get the Formaldemarcos-Hyde. Shoes! I think you stay up late thinking these things up.

  10. Ha! Not at all. The words and syllables are already there. Have been for hundreds of years, lying around waiting for someone to pick them up and arrange them in whatever configuration suits the writer. We either use them or not. Simple, no? We don’t have to think much at all…just get out of the way and let it happen.

  11. Blue Smithe sat on a concrete parking block and poked at the dirt with a stick. It was getting darker, and he needed to go over his checklist before stealing the horse. Stealing the horse, no, was actually returning it.
    Nacho. He wrote the name in the dirt with the pointy end of the stick.
    “Nacho”, he said softly.
    Blue removed his phone from his pocket and dialed.
    “Hello, Blue!”
    “Hello Lida, I’m just checking in. I found Old Nelson. He with some young girl, that part of it should be easy. But the troll came too, so it may take longer than I want it to.”
    “That’s alright baby, I’ll wait for you, you know how crazy I am about you.” said Lida.
    Blue started making heart shapes into the dirt with the stick.
    “I suspect I can make to the portal in enough time to get General Washington his horse back. But as far as tonight goes, let’s just play it by ear, okay?”
    “Don’t be so hard to get, cowboy,” Lida’s voice was getting fainter.
    “Where are you?” Blue had to shout to over the static.
    “Eighteenth Century, Paris…” she said before the static finally won.
    Blue stood up and stretched his back. He shoved his phone into the pocket of his jeans and smiled. He had written BS + LP inside the heart without realizing it.

    • Wow! I’m guessing you’re working on a novel about love between two time travellers. If not, you certainly came up with a fine context for all these odd elements. Take a bow!

      • I confess to watching ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ for the fifth time while munching on Doritos. That dark haired actor makes my heart go pitter-pat !

  12. LS,
    Oh, how I wish my mind could take me to places like these. Your willingness to wander, nay, race off the ordinary-trod path amazes me.
    Good stuff. Thanks.

  13. LS,

    Indeed. I am not that clever. No puns intended. If I had tea with Carrie White (during BWW), you have just had lunch with Ogden Nash. Silly me. I thought Old Nelson was Ozzie.

  14. More like father or grandfather.

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