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.

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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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