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.

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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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