Wednesday, December 30, 2009


GRAMMY:  Is that you, Barbara?

ME:  Yes, Grammy.  Where are you?

GRAMMY:  In the bathroom.  Call the vet.

ME:  The vet?  Did something happen to snowflake?

GRAMMY:  The damn fish ate her!

ME:  Oh, Grammy.  For a minute I thought you were serious.

GRAMMY:  I am serious.  Now call the damn vet!  Or better yet, pull out the ipecac.  We have to make this fish vomit.

ME:  (sigh)  The things I do to humor that woman.  Where is it, Grammy?

GRAMMY:  In here.  In the medicine cabinet.

ME:  Well, can’t you get it?  You’re already in there.

GRAMMY:  I’m trying to save your damn cat!  So if you ever want to see the stupid thing again, get me that ipecac!

ME:  All right, Grammy.  I’ll get the . . . .  Oh my God!  What have you been feeding that thing?

GRAMMY:  Get me the damn . . . .

ME:  Here.

GRAMMY:  Good.  Now hold the sucker down while I pry its mouth open.  You got it?

ME:  Got it.

FISH:  Blech.

ME:  Snowflake!  You saved her, Grammy!  But the fish . . . it’s . . . dead.

GRAMMY:  Serves the sucker right.  Now how about some fish filets for supper?

Photo:  Stanislav O.

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Monday, December 28, 2009


ME:  Grammy?  (cough, hack)  Grammy, are you all right?  Where are you?

GRAMMY:  In the kitchen.  Where else would I be?

ME:  What’s going on? (cough, hack)  Where is all this smoke coming from?  I thought there was a fire.

GRAMMY:  Right.  Like I’d sit here having coffee if the place was burning down around me.  Lord, Barbara, get a brain.

ME:  Then what’s all this (cough, hack) smoke from?

GRAMMY:  (wagging cigarette in the air)  Gee, Barbara, where do you think it came from?  I had some company.  Typhus’ mother came over with a few friends who, unlike you, enjoy a smoke and the occasional shot of whiskey.

ME:  (opening window)  Really, Grammy, I don’t know how you’ve managed to live so long.

GRAMMY:  That’s easy.  Nobody wants me.  I’m too mean for God, and not nasty enough for the devil.  Yep, it's a fine line I'm walking, Barbara.  The way I see it, I’ll probably live forever.  Unless, of course, you push me into an early grave.  Now shut that damn window before I catch phneumonia or freeze to death.

Haizea Amezaga

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Saturday, December 26, 2009


ME:  Christmas dinner went pretty well, don’t you think, Grammy?

GRAMMY:  I’ll say.  I was sure that ex of yours and his friends would screw it up royally.  And who knew what that weirdo Alfie was going to do or say.

ME:  And I was certain Typhus and his mother were going to be really vulgar.  It’s amazing how everything went so well.  And did you see how they all got along?  It was like everyone seemed to really like everyone else.  Even you were nice, Grammy.

GRAMMY:  Yeah.  Weird, wasn’t it?

ME:  Maybe we should do it again.  You know, for New Years.  Have a little party of sorts.

GRAMMY:  Nah.  It’ll never work.  A Christmas miracle is one thing.  New Years is just . . . well, New Years.

ME:  (sigh)  I suppose you’re right.

GRAMMY:  Of course I’m right.  I’m always right.  Now help me out of this damn chair and let’s hit the mall and return all this crap they gave us.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009


GRAMMY:  Jules?  What the hell do you want?

JULES:  I’ve come to spend Christmas with my son.

GRAMMY:  So you came here?  And brought friends?

JULES:  It’s Wednesday.  Isn’t Barbara usually here on Wednesdays?

GRAMMY:  It’s almost midnight, dimbulb.  She does go home once in a while.  You know - to eat and sleep.

JULES:  Oh. Well . . . .

GRAMMY:  Did you bring presents for the boy?

JULES:  I’m, ah . . . a bit short right now.

GRAMMY:  Yeah, I can see that.  Must have spent it all on those fancy duds, huh?

JULES:  Well, you know what they say, Grammy.  Clothes make the man.

GRAMMY:  Yeah, they do.  But we were talking about you. (slams door in his face)

JULES:  Grammy!  We’re not going anywhere!  We’ll be here for Christmas dinner!

GRAMMY:  Good.  Dinner’s at five.  Bring your appetites!
Now where did I put that rat poison?

Photo:  Neil Girling

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Monday, December 21, 2009


ME:  It feels so good to finally sit down.  My feet are killing me.  I think I walked at least twenty miles today.

GRAMMY:  Serves you right.  What kind of idiot goes Christmas shopping in high heels?

ME:  Lots of women, Grammy.  Some of us care what we look like when we leave the house.

GRAMMY:  Yep.  And some of us are comfortable with who we are.  If God had wanted us to have pointy feet, He would have given us pointy feet.

ME:  You know, Grammy, that really is a stupid remark.

GRAMMY:  Not as stupid as jamming your feet into those things.  Are your feet pointy?

ME:  No.

GRAMMY:  Are the shoes comfortable?

ME:  No.  Not really.

GRAMMY:  Then why would you squeeze your feet into them?

ME:  Because they’re sexy, Grammy, and I like the way I look in them.  Now can we please talk about something else?

GRAMMY:  Sure.  What do you prefer?  World peace or the sucky economy?

ME:  Actually, I was thinking of Jeannie Myers, next door to me.  She got breast implants hoping they’d help her find a husband.  Can you imagine doing something so ridiculous?

GRAMMY:  (sigh)

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Friday, December 18, 2009


GRAMMY:  Well, look who’s here.  What happened?  Your new boyfriend busy?

ME:  I’m sorry, Grammy.  But I couldn’t tell you the truth with Julius standing right there.  It didn’t have anything to do with Alfie.  It’s that Typhus.  I don’t want Julius hanging around with him.  He’s a bad influence.  And Julius says he’s sixteen.  Why isn’t he hanging around with friends his own age?

GRAMMY:  How the hell do I know?  I’m not a damn mind-reader.

ME:  Why do you even bother with someone like him?

GRAMMY:  He’s a good kid, Barbara. In his own way.

ME:  Well, his way isn’t my way, and I don’t want it to be Julius’ way.

GRAMMY:  Too late.

ME:  What do you mean ‘too late?’

GRAMMY:  (pointing out the window)  Because there he goes. With Typhus. And his slingshot.

ME:  Julius?  Come back here, Julius!  Oh, this is all your fault, Grammy!

GRAMMY:  Calm down, Barbara.  With any luck, they’ll each rub off on the other and balance themselves out.  And if they don’t . . . well, you might want to find out where the local juvenile hall is.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


GRAMMY:  (on phone)  Barbara, where are you?  You should have been here a half hour ago.

ME:  Sorry, Grammy.  I meant to call.  I don’t think I’m going to make it today.

GRAMMY:  Why not?  What happened?

ME:  Nothing happened.  Alfie stopped by.  He wants to take me and Julius to the junk yard.

GRAMMY:  The junkyard?

ME:  He’s building something in his garage and I guess he gets most of his materials there.

GRAMMY:  And you’d rather go to the junkyard than come here?

ME:  Grammy . . . .

GRAMMY:  You know, it’s not just me you’re abandoning.  Typhus is here waiting for Julius.

ME:  I’m sorry, Grammy but . . . .

GRAMMY:  Lord, you’re such a girl. (hangs up)

TYPHUS:  They ain’t comin’?

GRAMMY:  Nope.

TYPHUS:  Probably mad about the graffiti, huh?

GRAMMY:  Probably.

TYPHUS:  Well, I guess I’ll get goin’ then.

GRAMMY:  To where?

TYPHUS:  I don’t know.

GRAMMY:  Know how to play poker?

TYPHUS:  Sure.

GRAMMY:  Good.  ‘Cause I’ve got me this internet thingy.  Pull up a chair.

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Monday, December 14, 2009


ME:  Hello!  Grammy?  Julius?  I’m back!


ME:  How’s my little boy?  Did you miss me?  What did you do while I was gone?

JULIUS:  I went to the fruit stand, all by myself.  And Grammy gave me a slingshot and I shot a bird right out of the sky!  And I made a new friend.  His name is Typhus.

ME:  Typhus?  Isn’t that a disease?

GRAMMY:  Oh, let it go, Barbara.  Kids can’t help what their parents name them.

ME:  Who is Typhus?

GRAMMY:  Just a neighborhood kid.

JULIUS:  He’s really cool, Mom.  He likes art, just like me.  And he’s a really good painter, even if the police say he isn’t.

 ME: The police?  Grammy, why is he mentioning the police?

GRAMMY:  Oh, the boy just had a little misadventure, is all.  But it’s all done and over with now.

ME:  What kind of misadventure?

JULIUS:  We painted a train, Mom!  You should see it!

ME:  Grammy!

GRAMMY:  Hey, he told me he wanted to paint a train.  I thought he wanted to paint a picture of one. How was I supposed to know he meant the actual damn thing? 

Photo:  Banksy

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Friday, December 11, 2009


JULIUS:  Grammy!  Come see what I made!

GRAMMY:  Not something made out of toilet paper rolls, I hope?

JULIUS:  Uh, uh.  I made it with Typhus.

GRAMMY:  Typhus?  What happened to Brian?

JULIUS:  Typhus is cool.  Brian is boring.

GRAMMY:  Well, that sure as hell backfired.

JULIUS:  What?

GRAMMY:  Nothing.  Show me what you made.

JULIUS:  How do you like it?

GRAMMY:  Snow bunnies!  Not bad, Julius.  Not bad at all.  And that’s a nice little nest you got there for the babies.

JULIUS:  That’s not a nest, Grammy.

GRAMMY:  No?  Then what the hell is it?

JULIUS:  The daddy bunny ate the Mommy and the baby bunnies.  Can’t you see his teeth?

GRAMMY:  Why would he eat his family?

JULIUS:  Because they tried to get away.  Typhus said if the daddy bunny couldn’t have them, no one could.  So he ate them.

GRAMMY:  Oh, geez.

JULIUS:  What’s the matter, Grammy?

GRAMMY:  Your mother’s gonna tar and feather me.  That’s what.  (sigh)  Come on.  Let’s go inside.  I think I need a shot of whiskey.

Photo:  V.E. Velanis

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009


JULIUS:  Grammy!  I’m back.

GRAMMY:  Did you get what I wanted?

JULIUS:  Uh, huh.  Six apples and six oranges.  And you were right.  Mr. Green tried to give me the smooshed ones.

GRAMMY:  You didn’t let him, did you?

JULIUS:  Unh, uh.  I told him I was gonna pick my own.  And guess what?  I made a friend.  Brian.  He’s really fun.  Can I go back out and play with him?

GRAMMY:  Sure.  Go ahead.  And take an orange for both of you.

(Julius leaves.  Grammy dials phone)

GRAMMY:  Hi Gladys.  Yeah.  It worked.  They’re here.  Now I gotta go.  I still have to call Mr. Green and I’ve got Typhus, that punk from the corner, pounding on the back door.

(hangs up)

GRAMMY:  Hold your horses!  I’m coming!

TYPHUS:  He got there and back, safe and sound.  That’ll be fifty bucks.

GRAMMY:  Here.  And remember, he’s your special project.  Nothing happens to him.  Ever.  Got it?

TYPHUS:  Got it.  See you next week.

GRAMMY:  (sigh) This has got to be the most expensive fruit I ever bought.

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Monday, December 7, 2009


JULIUS:  What is it, Grammy?

GRAMMY:  It’s a slingshot.  And not some rinky-dink little toy, either.  This is the real deal.  You could bring down a deer with this if you knew what you were doing.

JULIUS:  I don’t want to hurt a deer.

GRAMMY:  I’m not telling you to.  Take a few empty whisky bottles from my recycle bin.  You can practice shooting at them in the back yard.  And take these goggles.  If you take an eye out, I’ll have to listen to your mother for the rest of my life, and I’ve got better things to do before I die.

JULIUS:  Thanks, Grammy!

GRAMMY:  You’re welcome.  And there’s ice cream for dessert if you can miss the whiskey bottles and accidentally bean Mr. Muddle's dog, if you get my drift.  A good knock in the head should shut that thing up for a minute or two.  Now go on out and have some fun.

(Julius leaves)

GRAMMY:  Well, that should occupy him for a few hours.

JULIUS:  Grammy!  Grammy!  Come look!  I got it!  On the first shot!

GRAMMY:  Well I’ll be . . . . Looks like you got some of your great-grampy's blood after all.  Now wasn’t that fun?

Photo:  Tom Robinson

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Friday, December 4, 2009


GRAMMY:  Here, Barbara.  Two tickets to the Bahamas.  You’re going on vacation.  Everything’s paid for.   You leave tomorrow.

ME:  What?  I can’t leave tomorrow.

GRAMMY:  Why not?  You’re not working.  You have no responsibilities.

ME:  I don’t, but Julius . . . .

GRAMMY:  Julius isn’t going.  He’ll stay here with me.

ME:  But you don’t drive.  He’ll miss school.

GRAMMY:  It’s first grade.  What the hell is he gonna miss?  Now go find a friend, or take that Alfie fella.  Or go alone. But go.

ME:  Why are you doing this for me, Grammy?  You must have an ulterior motive.

GRAMMY:  What the hell motive could I have?  Can’t a person do something nice one in a while?

ME:  A person, yes.  You, I’m not so sure.

GRAMMY:  Forget it then.  Give me back the tickets.

ME:  Okay, I’m sorry.  I’ll go.  I guess I should go home and pack then.

GRAMMY:  Yeah.  I guess you should.

ME:  Well . . . bye, Grammy.  And thanks!

GRAMMY:  Lord, I thought she’d never leave.  Now how the hell do you save a boy in a week?  (sigh) Julius, put that duct tape away.  Your Grammy’s gonna show you how to have some fun.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009


ME:  I’ve been thinking about what you said, Grammy.  About Julius needing a friend.  What do you think about buying him a pet?

GRAMMY:  Oh, sure.  Everyone should have a pet instead of a friend.  Lord, Barbara. That’s the dumbest idea you ever had.  No, wait.  Having a baby girl just so you can play dress-up with her is the dumbest idea you ever had.  But this idea is pretty close.

ME:  Well, what do you suggest I do?

GRAMMY:  Send him outside by himself.  You can watch him from the window.  Within five minutes, one of the other kids from the neighborhood will be talking to him.  In ten minutes, he’ll be having fun.

ME:  But Grammy, I don’t know the kids in this neighborhood.  I don’t know their parents.

GRAMMY:  This isn’t about you.

ME:  You’re right.  It’s not about me.  It’s about Julius.  And I know my boy.  He needs a nice, fluffy, cuddly pet.

GRAMMY:  (sigh)  And people wonder why kids grow up and shoot their parents.

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Monday, November 30, 2009


GRAMMY:  You’re early.

ME:  They let me go, Grammy.  And not just me.  They closed the entire office.

GRAMMY:  Well, that sucks.  What are you gonna do?

ME:  I don’t know.  I haven’t had time to think about it.

GRAMMY:  Well, I’d find the time, unless you want to end up on the street, or in here with me.  You’re no Kevin Federline with a rich wife you can leech off of.

ME:  Oh, it’s not that bad, Grammy.  I have some savings.  And you know, this could be the perfect opportunity to find a new career. 

GRAMMY:  Or it could be just the thing to drive you into the dirt.

ME:  Why do you always see the bad side of things, Grammy?  Things will work out.  Like they say, it’s always darkest before the dawn.  Every cloud has a silver lining.  When God closes a door He opens a window.

GRAMMY:  Yeah, and when you’re looking out that window in your rose-colored glasses, remember to duck when the shit hits the fan.

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Friday, November 27, 2009


ME:  Grammy, I’d like you to meet Alfie Kristanopolous.

GRAMMY:  Lord, will you look at that thing.  It must take you hours to get ready to go out, huh?

ALFIE:  Time doesn’t matter where art is concerned.

GRAMMY:  You think that’s art?

ALFIE:  Everything I do is art.  Would you like to touch it?

GRAMMY:  What the hell for?

ALFIE:  Oh, come on.  Everyone wants to touch it.  They’re just afraid to ask.

JULIUS:  Can I touch it?

ALFIE:  Go right ahead.

JULIUS:  Eeew!  I thought it would be soft.

ALFIE:  Hair spray is the secret to any great beard, Julius.  In fact, it’s the secret to just about everything.  That and duct tape.  And I have brought you one of each.

JULIUS:  Wow!  Thanks!

ALFIE:  And for you, Grammy, a fifth of the finest whiskey man ever created, and a carton of the deadliest menthol cigarettes ever manufactured.  VivĂ© la Mort!

GRAMMY:  Wow!  Thanks!

ALFIE:  It seems I have won them over.

ME:  They’re easier to flip than pancakes.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009


GRAMMY:  Well, for a couple of vegetarians, you sure picked that bird to the bone.

ME:  I don’t know what it was, Grammy, but I just couldn’t seem to get enough.  I don’t remember ever having turkey that tasted that good.

GRAMMY:  It’s the whiskey.  I injected the turkey with some Jack Daniels.  A squirt here, a squirt there, a cup mixed in with the juices for basting.  Yep.  Ain’t nothing better than a whiskey-basted bird.  Unless it’s a nice shot or two of whiskey to wash it all down.  Looks like it knocked Julius right out.

ME:  He’s such a good boy.  But I wonder why Alfie didn’t show up?

GRAMMY:  He’s in Florida with his parents.

ME:  How do you know?

GRAMMY:  He told me when I invited him.

ME:  So you knew he wasn’t coming?  Why did you tell me he was?

GRAMMY:  I never said he was coming.  I said I invited him.  It’s not my fault you didn’t ask follow-up questions.

ME:  Gram . . .  Oh, forget it.  I should be mad as hell, but I just don’t care.

GRAMMY:  It’s the whiskey.  And the tryptophan.  Don’t you just love Thanksgiving?

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Monday, November 23, 2009


GRAMMY:  Barbara, you’ve gotta find that boy a friend.

ME:  Julius has friends.

GRAMMY:  The kind he can hang out with, or just kids he knows from school?

ME:  Well, they’re from school, but he’s had play dates with several of them.

GRAMMY:  Play dates?

ME:  I arrange it with the other Moms, or they arrange it with me.

GRAMMY:  Lord, you don’t even let him pick his own friends?

ME:  He’s six, Grammy.  I can’t have him running off with kids I don’t know.  Or whose parents I don’t know.  And why are you even going on about this?

GRAMMY:  I’ll tell you why.  Because he’s out in the yard talking to the squirrels.  Squirrels, Barbara.  And you know what’s really sad?  They’re chittering away at each other, ignoring him.

ME:  Come on, Grammy.  That’s utter nonsense.

GRAMMY:  Call it what you want, but I’m telling you, Barbara, that boy needs a real friend.  (sigh)  Good thing he can’t understand squirrel.  I’ll bet you a dollar to a stale donut they’re making fun of him.

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Friday, November 20, 2009


ME:  What are you doing, Grammy?

GRAMMY:  What does it look like I’m doing? I’m picking up a turkey.

ME:  But you know we don’t eat meat, Grammy.

GRAMMY:  Who cares what you eat.  It’s my house and I like turkey so I’m buying turkey.  What’s wrong with you anyway?  It’s Thanksgiving.  Who doesn’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving?

ME:  Vegetarians, that’s who.

GRAMMY:  Well, it’s not like it’s a religion, Barbara.  You can have meat one day a year.  You know.  Just to prove you’re as American as the rest of us.

ME:  I don’t have to prove anything, Grammy.

GRAMMY:  Well then, don’t come.  Stay home and eat alone.  I’m having turkey and if you come to my house, that’s what you’re getting.  Alfie doesn’t mind turkey.

ME:  Alfie?

GRAMMY:  Yep.  I invited him.  Thought you might like the company.

ME:  Well, I suppose we could do turkey one day a year.

GRAMMY:  Lord, no wonder you were gone three days.  You’re easier to flip than a pancake.

Photo:  Sage

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009


GRAMMY:  There goes another one.

ME:  I think that makes seventeen.   Too bad Julius fell asleep.

GRAMMY:  Well, he got to see some of them.  How’d you know there were going to be meteor showers tonight, anyway?

ME:  Alfie told me.

GRAMMY:  Figures.

ME:  Why does it ‘figure?’

GRAMMY:  Just seems a fella like him would know about stuff like this.  Look.  There goes another one.

ME:  You know, Grammy, he really is a nice guy.  I mean, I’ll agree he is a bit weird.  But it’s weird in a good way.

GRAMMY:  Well, I suppose I shouldn’t complain.  At least he’s not Jules.  So.  You gonna kiss and tell?

ME:  Grammy!

GRAMMY:   Come on, Barbara.  You were gone three damn days.  Something good had to be happening.

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Monday, November 16, 2009


ME:  I should get going.  It’s been three days.  Grammy probably thinks I’m dead.

ALFIE:  Oh, I’m sure that’s not true.

ME:  You don’t know Grammy.  She doesn’t believe I can do anything on my own, and she didn’t think I should go out with you in the first place.  And then there’s the fact that I’ve never stayed out all night in my life, let alone three days.  By now, she’s probably certain I’ve either drowned in your swan boat or been abducted by elves.

ALFIE:  Well that’s silly.  The boat’s made of toilet paper.  I’d never put it in the water.  And who ever heard of evil elves?

ME:  All the same, I’m sure she’s worried.

ALFIE:  I really don’t think so, Barbara.  In fact, I’m certain she knows you're safe.

ME:  How can you know that?

ALFIE:  Look.  (points to building across the street)  She’s been watching us for two days.

GRAMMY:  You gonna get your ass home or are you gonna move in over there?

Photo:  Tim Noble and Sue Webster

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Friday, November 13, 2009


GRAMMY:  What are you all dressed up for?

ME:  I have a date.

GRAMMY:  Oh, Lord.  Does that mean Jules is back in town.

ME:  No, Grammy.  It’s not with Jules.

GRAMMY:  You mean you’re actually going out with a real man?  A strange man?

ME:  Well, he’s not really a stranger.  It’s that artist fellow next door.  His name is Alfie.

GRAMMY:  Oh, he’s strange all right.  Ask him for a tour of his back yard.  So where are you going?’

ME:  We’re having dinner down at the pier and then we’re going out on his boat.

GRAMMY:  You know his boat is a swan made out of toilet paper, don’t you?  And his crew is a bunch of elves?

ME:  Don’t be silly, Grammy.  Now I have to go.  Keep an eye on Julius for me.

GRAMMY:  Are you sure you don’t want to take a life jacket?  Or leave me your insurance policy? (Sigh) She’s gone from Tweedle-dum to Tweedle-dee.  Where the hell did her mother go wrong?

Photo:  Frank Herholdt

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009


JULIUS:  All these are dead people?


JULIUS:  How did they die?


JULIUS:  What’s a war?

GRAMMY:  A stupid game governments play for money and profit.


ME:  Grammy, he’s six years old.

GRAMMY:  So what am I supposed to do?  Lie to the boy?  Okay.  Start humming.

ME:  What?

GRAMMY:  Pick a song.  Any song.  Battle Hymn of the Republic,  Star Spangled Banner, and I’ll tell him about fighting to save democracy, and how he should be happy to die for his country so some rich guy can get richer. (sigh)  Did you ever see two boys in a fight, Julius?

JULIUS:  Uh, huh.

GRAMMY:  Well, that’s what a war is.  Except instead of two boys, there are thousands of them.  And instead of hitting, they shoot each other and drop bombs on each other, and kill people who aren’t even in the fight.  And some of them are happy to do it and some of them just want to go home.  But none of them want to die.

JULIUS:  Is that how Grampa Joe died?  In a war?


JULIUS:  I’m sorry, Grammy.

GRAMMY:  Me, too, boy.  Me, too.

Photo:  Raginglily

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Monday, November 9, 2009


ME:  Grammy, don’t you think you’ve put enough salt on those French fries?

GRAMMY:  Gee, Barbara, I don’t know.  I’m such an idiot, I can’t tell.  (sprinkles more salt)

ME:  I’m only mentioning it because it’s bad for you.

GRAMMY:  You’re only mentioning it because you’re not happy unless you’re sticking your nose in someone else’s business.

ME:  That’s not true, Grammy.  Too much salt will give you high blood pressure.  It’s common knowledge.

GRAMMY:  Yeah.  Common knowledge for the common folk.  I happen to know how to think for myself.  And I think since I’ve made it to a hundred and you haven’t, you should mind your own damn business.
JULIUS:  What’s a French fry?

GRAMMY:  Oh Lord.  Look at that Barbara.  The boy lives in the United States of America and doesn’t know what a French fry is.  It’s a potato, Julius.  Here.  Have one.

ME:  (taking fry from Julius)  Don’t eat it Julius.  It’s full of grease and salt.

GRAMMY: Yeah, and you certainly wouldn’t want to eat that when you can have a nice bowl of leafy greens covered in poison pesticide dressing.

Photo:  Ralph L. Goings

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Friday, November 6, 2009


ME:  What are you doing, Grammy?

GRAMMY:  Playing poker.  This internet thingy is better than Vegas.  You wouldn’t believe the morons on the other end of this thing.  I wiped out a dentist who didn’t know three of a kind beat two pairs.  And I don’t think any of them ever heard of bluffing.

ME:  You know, Grammy, you can do more on the internet than play poker.

GRAMMY:  That’s for sure.  Did you know they have porn on here?

ME:  Yes, Grammy, but I don’t go there.

GRAMMY:  No, didn’t think you would.

(ding! ding! ding!)

GRAMMY: Hot damn! I just won another pot!

ME:  (sigh)  I guess I’ll head home then.

GRAMMY:  Whatever.  But take this before you go.

ME:  Grammy? This is a check for $16,000.00.  I can’t take this.

GRAMMY:  You want to pay for a car you don’t have for the rest of your life?

ME:  But you can’t afford this, Grammy.

GRAMMY:  I can as long as idiots want to play poker.

ME:  You won it all?

GRAMMY:  Bet your ass I did.  All that, and more.

ME:  Move over, Grammy.  I’m going to set up my laptop.

Photo Source
Art:  C. M. Coolidge

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009


JULIUS:  Where are we going, Grammy?

GRAMMY:   Next door.  We’re gonna go see that artist fella.  If you’re destined to become a damned artist, you need to be around other artists.  But don’t tell your mother.

JULIUS:  How come?

GRAMMY:  Because she thinks everyone’s a weirdo.  She’ll turn a little visit into a big production.  She’ll want to do background checks and hire detectives and who knows what else.

JULIUS:  How come?

GRAMMY:  Because she loves you, and love makes people stupid.

JULIUS:  How come?

GRAMMY:  Damned if I know.  If anybody ever figures that one out, they’ll make millions.  Now go bang on the fence.  He said he’d be in the yard.  Maybe he’ll show you how to make stuff out of something besides toilet paper rolls.

(knock, knock)

GRAMMY:  By the way, what did you do with all the toilet paper that was on all those rolls?

JULIUS:  I threw it out the window.

ARTIST FELLA:  Come on in!

GRAMMY:  Oh, my Lord!  Turn around, boy.  We’re going home.

Photo: Tim Walker

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Monday, November 2, 2009


ME:  Grammy.  Come see what Julius made.

GRAMMY:  Lord.  I can just imagine.

ME:  Look Grammy.  This one is me.  The other is you.

GRAMMY:  Ha!  It does look like you.  Same crooked nose.  Same pouty lips.

ME:  And look. He even got in your scar.  You know, the one you got when you stowed away on Admiral Byrd's airplane.

GRAMMY:  I didn’t stow away.  He took me along, then got mad when I wouldn’t put out.  So he put me out - on the ice in the middle of nowhere and that’s when I met your Grampy.  Your real Grampy.  Now there was a man.  He wouldn’t have produced a son who played with toilet paper rolls.

ME:  Grammy!  This is art.  This is talent!  I mean, look at that scar. He lined it up exactly right.  If you ask me, I think we’ve found Julius’ calling.

GRAMMY:  Oh, great.  Some men are called to serve God, some are called to serve their country, and my great-grandson is called to mangle toilet paper rolls.

Art:  Junior Fritz Jaquet
Photo:  Bored

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Friday, October 30, 2009


NEIGHBOR: And what are you supposed to be, little boy? You don’t look like you’re dressed up at all.

GRAMMY: He’s the son of an atheist liberal.

NEIGHBOR: Oh, sorry. Here you go.

JULIUS: Thank you,

ME: What did he get, Grammy?

GRAMMY: A bite-sized Hershey’s bar.

ME: And what’s the address.

GRAMMY: 27 Candykiller lane.

ME: Grammy, this isn’t funny.

GRAMMY: No. It’s not. The boy spends two hours in the freezing cold with no costume, and all he gets are bite-sized bits of fake chocolate. Talk about having a lousy day. Lord, I remember when chocolate was real and came in bars as long as your hand.

JULIUS (looking in bag) It’s not real?

GRAMMY: Well, it’s real. It exists. But it’s not really real. Not the chocolate. Know what I mean?


GRAMMY: No. I guess not. Kinda like trying to explain color to a blind man. Oh well. At least there’s an up side. If someone is trying to poison you, there won’t be enough here to kill you.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009


JULIUS: Who’s that, Grammy?


JULIUS: Who’s God?

GRAMMY: Who’s God? Barbara, what the hell are you teaching this boy? He just asked who God was.

ME: God is make-believe, Julius. Like the Tooth Fairy and Santa.

GRAMMY: What? Julius, go in the kitchen and play with your toilet paper.

JULIUS: Okay, Grammy.

ME: Sorry, Grammy. I thought we’d have that conversation when he was a bit older.

GRAMMY: Conversation? Assassination is more like it! You just killed God, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa!

ME: Don’t be silly, Grammy. You can’t kill something that doesn’t exist. And he’s known about the Tooth Fairy and Santa since he was three.

GRAMMY: What the hell kind of mother are you? No wonder the boy has no concept of fun.

ME: God is hardly fun, Grammy.

GRAMMY: That’s for sure. And you just pissed Him off. I’d be afraid to sleep tonight if I was you.

ME: Really, Grammy. If God existed and wanted to punish me, He wouldn’t have to wait until I was asle . . . .


JULIUS: Mommy! Mommy! A garbage truck just ran over your new car.

GRAMMY: You were saying?

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Monday, October 26, 2009


ME: Isn’t this a beautiful day for a drive, Grammy?

GRAMMY: Oh, yeah. Main streets and back roads of beautiful Cow Hampshire. Hit another frost heave and my teeth are gonna fall out. And just because you bought a brand new convertible doesn’t mean we have to ride with the top down. It’s friggin' October, you know.

ME: I just want to be sure everything works.

GRAMMY: Show off is more like it.

JULIUS: Mrs. Joy says we shouldn’t show off.

GRAMMY: Yeah, and Mrs. Joy also thinks coral is spelled with two R’s. You don’t want to put too much faith in anything that dim bulb says.

ME: Oh Grammy, it was just a spelling error.

GRAMMY: Teachers don’t get to make spelling errors. Now can we go home? You got to play with your brand new car. I want to play with my internet thingy.

JULIUS: What do I get to play with? I didn’t get anything new.

ME: Well, what would you like?

JULIUS: Toilet paper.

GRAMMY: Lord. Just when you think the boy is coming along.

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Friday, October 23, 2009


ME: Grammy? What happened to all your furniture?

GRAMMY: I paid some kids on the corner to move it all into the cellar. I bought me one of those internet thingies.

ME: Okay. But why would you move all your furniture?

GRAMMY: It’s gotta fit somewhere, doesn’t it?

ME: Yes. I suppose. But it would have fit nicely of the desk you had in front of the windows.

GRAMMY: Are you kidding me? I didn’t buy some rinky-dink piece of junk. This is top of the line. Computer, internet, flat screen, printer, scanner, camera, speakers. I’m telling you, Barbara, I got the whole shebang for 500 bucks. I’m betting it was a typo. Shoulda probably cost five grand.

ME: No, Grammy. $500 sounds about right. But I don’t think you know what you’ll be getting. Look. Here’s a picture of Julius by his computer.

GRAMMY: That’s it? That little box? That little screen?

ME: Uh, huh.

GRAMMY: Dammit. (Goes to window) Hey, you two! Get your asses back up here. I have another job for you.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009


GRAMMY: I’m going to the restroom.

ME: But you’ll miss Julius’ dive.

GRAMMY: He’s been standing there for twenty minutes, Barbara. He’ll be there when I get back.

ME: He’s scared, Grammy. It’s his first dive.

GRAMMY: He’s scared because you filled his head with drowning stories. He needs encouragement, not doom and gloom.

ME: I encourage Julius all the time.

GRAMMY: Yeah, to be the world’s biggest wuss. What are the other kids gonna think if he doesn’t jump?

ME: It doesn’t matter what they think, Grammy.

GRAMMY: Yeah. You keep telling yourself that. I’ll be back.

ME: I'd like her so much more if she was a senile invalid. (sigh) Come on, Julius. You can do it. Jump. Jum . . . . What the . . . ? Grammy! Get off that board!

JULIUS: Grammy?

GRAMMY: Hi, boy. Remember that day you said you’d like to push me off the pier?

JULIUS: (going home) Did you see me, Mom? I jumped right off. And higher than anybody!

ME: You sure did, Julius!

GRAMMY: I told you. All he needed was a little encouragement.

Photo: Magnus Muhr

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Monday, October 19, 2009


GRAMMY: There you go. Now have some fun.

JULIUS: (stares)

GRAMMY: They’re leaves, boy. You jump in them. You roll around. You have fun.

JULIUS: But they’ll get messy, Grammy.

GRAMMY: That’s the point, boy.

JULIUS: (stares)

GRAMMY: Oh, Lord. Look. Give them a fluff.

JULIUS: But Mommy said . . . .

GRAMMY: Grab a handful. Throw them in the air.

JULIUS: But Mommy said . . . .

GRAMMY: Oh, dammit, boy! I don’t care what Mommy said. Give them a good kick. Like this. And this. And . . . Aaaah!

JULIUS: Are you okay, Grammy?

GRAMMY: No, I’m not okay. I’m too old to be playing in the damn leaves. You should have been doing all this nonsense. Not me. Now help me up.

ME: Grammy? What are you doing down there?

GRAMMY: I was trying to show the boy how to have fun.

ME: In wet leaves? Don’t you know that’s dangerous? You could slip and fall.

JULIUS: I tried to tell her, Mommy. She wouldn’t listen.

ME: (sigh) She never does. Come on. Let’s go inside and have some cocoa.

GRAMMY: Uhm, excuse me? I’m still laying here!

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Friday, October 16, 2009


ME: What are you doing, Grammy?

GRAMMY: What does it look like I’m doing? I’m trying to kill that damned fly. It’s been buzzing around here all day.

ME: Well, get off the table and wait until it lands. If you fall off, you’ll kill yourself.

GRAMMY: Oh, you’d like that, wouldn’t you? I die, you inherit everything, and give it to that low-life ex of yours as a bribe to take you back.

ME: Grammy!

GRAMMY: Here. Take the swatter. It’s on my foot. Give it a whack.

ME: (Whack!)

GRAMMY: Ow! Dammit! I said my foot, not my hand! Ow! Hey! Stop that!

ME: Take it back, Grammy. Take it back!

GRAMMY: All right, all ready. I take it back.

ME: Good. Now get down from there before you get hurt.

Photo: Fabrice Parais

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009


ME: Grammy? What were the police doing here?

GRAMMY: Oh, it’s that damned artist fella next door. Come here. See that guy in the manhole. It’s not a guy. It’s not even a manhole. It’s a statue.

ME: You didn’t call the police about that, did you?

GRAMMY: Damn right I did! I thought it was real. I thought it was some pervert trying to look up women’s skirts. But no. It’s that idiot next door trying to be ‘creative.’ Made me look like a fool.

ME: Well, it does look pretty real. Although, I wouldn’t have thought pervert. I would have thought he was trying to escape from one of those urban alligators you always hear about in the sewers.

GRAMMY: Oh yeah. He looks really scared. Look at his hands, dimbulb! He’s as calm as can be.

ME: He is wearing a helmet. Maybe’s he’s an underground soldier. Get it, Grammy? ‘Underground.’

GRAMMY: Stupid, Barbara. As stupid as calling that thing art. I’ll take a good, old-fashioned painting any day.

ME: (looking around room) Yes, I know. What could be more artistic than Dogs Playing Poker, and Elvis on velvet?

Photo Source

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Monday, October 12, 2009


GRAMMY: Where the hell are all my damned popsicles? I just bought a twenty-four pack and they’re all gone.

JULIUS: Sorry, Grammy. I took them.

GRAMMY: You ate twenty-four popsicles in three hours?

JULIUS: I didn’t eat them, Grammy.

GRAMMY: You just said you did. You just said . . . . No. You said you took them. Your mother probably doesn’t even let you eat popsicles, I’ll bet. So what the hell did you do with twenty-four of them, boy?

JULIUS: I made this. For you. It’s a coaster. You can put your whisky glass on it. Or the glass with your teeth in it.

GRAMMY: You made it for me, huh?

JULIUS: Uh, huh.

GRAMMY: Barbara! Get your ass in here and look at what my great-grandson made me!

ME: In a minute, Grammy. I seem to have a puddle of . . . popsicles . . . in my purse.

Photo: Jim Sneddon

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Friday, October 9, 2009


ME: How would you like to have a great-granddaughter, Grammy?

GRAMMY: Will she be more of a man than my great-grandson?

ME: Grammy!

GRAMMY: Hey, I’m just asking. Now why are you asking? Don’t tell me that ex of yours got you pregnant again?

ME: No, Grammy. I was thinking about artificial insemination. You know, with a sperm donor. From a sperm bank.

GRAMMY: Sorry, Barbara. I don’t know. I always got my sperm direct deposit.

ME: Oh, Grammy. I’m serious.

GRAMMY: So am I. Now why do you suddenly want a little girl?

ME: Well, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to dress up and pamper and treat like a little princess?

GRAMMY: Oh, Lord. Now there’s a good reason to have a baby. But on the other hand, it would sure take the pressure off of Julius.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009


ME: Did I tell you, Grammy? Julius has a girlfriend.

GRAMMY: A girlfriend? He’s six years old.

ME: Well, it’s not as though they’re dating, Grammy. It’s just one of those puppy love things.

GRAMMY: So who is she? Some six year old girl as mamby pamby as him? Lord, I can see it now. Mamby pamby’s in love, having mamby pamby children. Gives me the creeps.

ME: No, Grammy. Remember the duck that got eaten in the play? That’s her. They’re in the same class at school. He brought her flowers - dandelions he picked in the school yard.

GRAMMY: Oh, now there’s trouble. Better hope she’s not allergic, or you’ll have a law suit on your hands. And tell him never to touch her. Even if they’re playing tag. They’ll accuse him of sexual harassment.

ME: Grammy, it’s first grade. He doesn’t even know what sex is.

GRAMMY: Oh, get your head out of the gutter, Barbara. This isn’t about sex. This is Julius we’re talking about.

ME: What’s that supposed to mean?

GRAMMY: Murphy’s Law, Barbara. If anything can go wrong, it will. The boy’s doomed.

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Monday, October 5, 2009


ME: Where were you, Grammy? I’ve been worried sick.

GRAMMY: I went to see a friend at the home.

ME: The home?

GRAMMY: Yeah. You know. That place you occasionally suggest I might like.

ME: That’s not true, Grammy. I’d never put you in a home.

GRAMMY: Damn right. You’d never see a penny of my money if you did.

ME: So, how is your friend?

GRAMMY: Nuttier than peanut brittle. Thinks she’s the Queen of England. Thought I was Princess Margaret.

ME: Princess Margaret?

GRAMMY: The Queen of England’s sister. How dense are you? Anyway, I played along. Got the whole damned place in on the act.

ME: You encouraged her delusion?

GRAMMY: She was happy, Barbara. For fifteen minutes of her lousy life she was happy.

ME: Fifteen minutes? That was a short visit.

GRAMMY: Yeah, well, the idiots who run the place threw me out.

ME: Why? What did you do?

GRAMMY: Oh, one of the aides refused to curtsy, so we tied her up and ordered a beheading.

ME: Grammy, you didn’t!

GRAMMY: Of course I didn’t. She apologized and we granted her a pardon. (sigh) Someone always has to ruin the fun.

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Friday, October 2, 2009


GRAMMY: Well, this is a crappy place to have a picnic. Why can’t we sit over there under the tree?

ME: Because you can’t sit on the grass over there. There’s a sign.

GRAMMY: Oooh. There’s a sign. I don’t see any damn grass police. And even if there where, what are they gonna do? Tazer an old lady?

ME: Sorry, Grammy. I’m not breaking the law?

GRAMMY: The law? It’s grass, Barbara. What the hell’s gonna happen if someone sits on it? They’re gonna cut it in a week anyway.

ME: Grammy, where are you going?

GRAMMY: I’m a taxpayer, dammit, and this is a public park. That grass belongs to me.

ME: Grammy, come back here. Grammy! (sigh) She’s worse than a two-year old.

JULIUS: She’s coming back, Mommy.

ME: Well, that was a quick sit.

GRAMMY: Changed my mind. Now let’s go home. I’m getting tired.

ME: But we just got . . . what is that smell? Grammy, you didn’t . . . .

GRAMMY: Where the hell is the ‘No Dogs Allowed’ sign? That’s what I want to know.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009


GRAMMY: Well, that was a fiasco, wasn’t it?

ME: What kind of children’s play was that? I saw Peter and the Wolf. The duck didn’t die.

GRAMMY: Damned idiot used the Russian version. At least Disney gave the boy a gun.

ME: There’s another version? Where the duck does die?

GRAMMY: No, he doesn’t die. The damn thing gets swallowed up whole and lives unhappily ever after in the belly of the wolf.

ME: Well, that’s just sick. Who would write a story like that for children? And what kind of woman puts on a play like that for kids?

GRAMMY: Wouldn’t have happened if they gave the boy a rifle. If he had a rifle, he could have shot the wolf before it ate the duck. If he had a rifle, he’d be a hero instead of a screaming sack of Jello.

ME: Well, I’m not putting up with this. I’m starting a petition to have that woman fired.

GRAMMY: Fired? I say we shut this sucker down. This is America, damn it. The boy should have had a gun! Where the hell is the NRA when you need them?

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Monday, September 28, 2009


GRAMMY: What’s with the get up? You look like a two dollar hooker on a Saturday night. Gonna hang out on the corner with the rest of the girls?

ME: No, Grammy. Jules got me a part in a play he’s producing. It’s just a small part. I don’t say anything. I just stand there and smoke a cigarette.

GRAMMY: Ha! That’ll be the day. Here. Take a drag. You’re gonna need the practice.

ME: I don’t need the practice. The cigarette won’t be lit. You can’t smoke in a public building.

GRAMMY: Don’t I know it. So. You gonna get paid for this acting gig?

ME: No, Grammy. I’m doing Jules a favor. The girl who normally plays the part isn’t feeling well.

GRAMMY: So let me get this straight. You don’t speak, you don’t smoke, and you don’t get paid. Is there anything you do get to do?

ME: Yes. I get to sleep with the producer.

GRAMMY: Oh, now there’s a treat. Sex with an asexual idiot. Lord, some hooker you turned out be. At least a hooker gets paid.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009


ME: Grammy? What happened to the fish I bought you? There were four, now there’s only one.

GRAMMY: That damned cat of yours decided to have one for lunch.

ME: Oh, no!

GRAMMY: Oh, yeah. Then Julius decided to give it a try. Swallowed his down quicker than the cat.

ME: He . . . he ate it?

GRAMMY: Well, what else would he do with it? The kid is a bag of bones. He must be starving on that diet of tofu and leaves you feed him.

ME: But . . . it was a fish. It was . . . alive. And you let him eat it?

GRAMMY: I didn’t let him, Barbara. I told you he was quick about it. And what’s the big deal? Haven’t you ever heard of sushi?

ME: Grammy!

GRAMMY: Oh, calm down. I made it to the fishbowl before he ate the rest.

ME: But then, what happened to the third fish?

GRAMMY: . . . . .

ME: Grammy?

GRAMMY: Well, I had to see what all the fuss was about. They don’t taste half as good as they look.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009


ME: Guess what, Grammy? Julius is now a member of the Little Folks Drama Club. He’s going to be acting, just like his father.

GRAMMY: Now there’s something to look forward to. I hope he’s better at it than his father, otherwise you’re going to have two men to support.

ME: I don’t support, Jules, Grammy.

GRAMMY: No. You just give him your hard-earned cash while he loafs. Too bad we don’t live in a time before DNA and fingerprints. We could arrange a nice little accident for the loser. Or better yet, I could challenge him to a duel.

ME: Jules would never agree to that, Grammy. He loathes guns. And why are we even talking about this?

GRAMMY: Damned if I know. You’re the one who brought it up.

ME: Me? I was talking about Julius. They’re picking parts today for Peter and the Wolf. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he got to play Peter?

GRAMMY: Sure would. He’d get to carry a rifle and capture a wolf.

ME: Peter carries a rifle?

GRAMMY: (forming rifle with hands) Sure does. KABOOM!

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Monday, September 21, 2009


ME: Grammy, have you been telling stories to Julius again?

GRAMMY: I tell him stories all the time. What’s the problem now?

ME: His teacher sent home a note. He’s scaring all the other kids. He’s telling them he has an invisible friend called Kindlifresser who kidnaps and eats little children.

GRAMMY: And the problem?

ME: Why would you tell him a story like that?

GRAMMY: Because you named the kid Julius. Because you dress him like a little girl. Because if he isn’t scary in some way, he’s going to get the crap beat out of him everyday for no other reason than that he exists.

ME: I don’t dress him like a girl, Grammy. And it’s first grade. No one’s going to beat him up.

GRAMMY: That’s for sure. Not as long as he has a friend like Kindlifresser

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Friday, September 18, 2009


ME: Grammy, are you dancing?

GRAMMY: What if I am?

ME: Sorry, Grammy. It’s just . . . .

GRAMMY: It’s just old people aren’t supposed to dance. Isn’t it. We’re supposed to shrivel up and die.

ME: No, Grammy. That’s not what I meant at all. I just didn’t know you liked to dance.

GRAMMY: Well, I do. Or I used to. I dreamed of being a ballerina once upon a time.

ME: Really, Grammy? What happened?

GRAMMY: What happened? I was born at the wrong damn time, that’s what happened. War. Influenza. Depression. More war. Who the hell had time to think about themselves? Hey! What are you doing? Let me go.

ME: Sorry, Grammy. You’re not dead yet and we have all afternoon.

GRAMMY: You’re trying to kill me. Aren’t you? It’s payback for telling Julius to wash your sofa.

ME: Well, now that you mention it - prepare yourself, Grammy. You are about to be dipped!

GRAMMY: Oh Lord. I knew I should have had that whiskey with lunch.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009


ME: Grammy, have you seen Julius? I can’t find him.

GRAMMY: I sent him outside to play.

ME: By himself?

GRAMMY: No. With the neighborhood kids.

ME: Oh my God! What were you thinking, Grammy? Anything could happen to him out there.

GRAMMY: Yeah. He could make a friend. Grow up a bit. Where are you going?

ME: To look for him. Where else?

GRAMMY: Lord, if anyone in this world needs a shrink, it’s her. (sigh) Okay, Julius, you can come out now.

JULIUS: Did I win?

GRAMMY: You certainly did. Now pull up a chair and see if you can beat an old lady at checkers.

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Monday, September 14, 2009


GRAMMY: Oh, geez, he’s at it again.

ME: Who, Grammy? At what?

GRAMMY: That artist fella next door. Thinks he’s a regular Edward Scissorhands.

ME: Maybe you should try your hand at some art, Grammy. I could get you one of those bonsai trees. You know, like in the Karate Kid.

GRAMMY: Yeah. And after I mangle it to death with these arthritic hands, I can use them to choke the breath out of you. You know, like in The Claw.

ME: That was a good movie. Wasn’t it?

GRAMMY: (sigh) Well, that was a waste of perfectly good sarcasm.

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Friday, September 11, 2009


ME: You look awful happy today, Grammy. What’s up?

GRAMMY: Did you see the paper this morning? Looks like they finally did something about those noisy brats on the corner bus stop. You can bet your ass there won’t be any more trouble with that guy around.

ME: Grammy, that’s not here. That’s in Iraq.

GRAMMY: Iraq? Where that Obama guy is?

ME: No, Grammy. It’s Osama. And he’s in Afghanistan.

GRAMMY: You just said it was Iraq?

ME: The picture’s Iraq. Osama’s in Afghanistan. Obama’s in the White House. He’s the President.

GRAMMY: Obama-Osama! Who the hell cares? I just want to know if those hell-hounds at the bus stop are going to be taken care of!

ME: (sigh) Yes, Grammy. The kids at the bus stop will start behaving better. I’m sure that man will see to it.

GRAMMY: Hmmm. I don’t know. They are smiling. They should have given that guy a bigger gun.

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