Sunday, October 28, 2018

Arjon #2

Their biology class over, Arjon and Caleb walked out of the room together. “I think biology is my favorite class. I like learning about the other species on this planet and it helps foster a oneness with nature,” Arjon explained.

“I think it’s my favorite class, too,” Caleb said.

“Oh? What do you find interesting about it?”

“Brittany Simonson is so hot,” Caleb exclaimed through gritted teeth. “Did you see she wasn’t wearing a bra today?”

“I don’t understand anything you just said.”

“Well, I think Brittany is good-looking and a bra...You know, that doesn’t matter,” Caleb waved. “Ooh. You should start a biology study group so I can get to know her.”

“Why don’t you just go and talk to her? It’ll probably be easier,” Arjon said.

“Nope. I’ve already decided that you’re going to start a biology study group.”

“Why can’t you start it?”

“She’ll be suspicious if I do it. It has to be you,” Caleb slapped Arjon on the back. “It’ll be fine. I’ll get my friend Randy to join us. He also has biology just on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

“She’s right there,” Arjon pointed. “‘Hi, Brittany, I’m Caleb. Would you like to grab lunch today?’ It’s so easy.”

“Maybe on our third or fourth time meeting each other. Come on, I’ll print up a flyer that you can give to her.”

A few days later, Caleb reserved one of the spaces in the library and he and Arjon waited for 3 o’clock. At 3:05 they were about to pick up and leave when someone walked in. “We were just about to leave. The room’s all yours,” Caleb said.

“Did I miss the biology study group? The flyer says it’s at 3,” the guy held up the flyer.

Caleb grabbed it from him. “I only made one flyer. How’d you get this?”

“From the trash. I’m not good at science so I thought I’d come and try to head my Fs off at the pass.”

“All right. What’s your name?” Caleb asked.

“I go by Dewey.”

“Is that a nickname?”

“I chose it because Dewey is my favorite Donald Duck nephew,” Dewey explained.

“Aren’t they all pretty interchangeable?”

“Sorry I’m late,” Randy came in. “Where’s the girl?”

“I don’t think she’s coming,” Caleb sighed. “This was a stupid idea.”

“No, it was a good idea,” Brittany came into the room. “What was stupid was just printing one flyer.” She looked around the room at Arjon, Caleb, Randy, and Dewey. “So this is a real study group? Not just some part of an elaborate plan?”

“Yep, this is a totally real study group for psychology,” Caleb smiled.

“Biology,” Arjon corrected.


“This does feel more like an elaborate ruse when you think about it,” Dewey said. “Only one flyer. No textbooks. The organizer doesn’t know what we’re studying for.”

“I think you’re overthinking it, Dewey,” Caleb gritted his teeth.

“No, this has all the markings of a TV show where a character tries to deceive another character. The only problem is that those characters are usually friends and always make up half an hour later. You two aren’t friends so there’s no guarantee you will make up half an hour later.”

Everyone stared at Dewey.

“So it is a plan. A plan to, what? Get in my pants?” Brittany asked.

“I just want to get good grades,” Dewey threw up his hands.

“It was all Caleb’s idea,” Randy pointed.

“I had good intentions,” Caleb became defensive. “I wanted to get to know you. Maybe have lunch or something.”

“Then just ask me out. ‘Brittany? Would you like to grab some lunch with me?’ ‘That’d be nice, Caleb. When and where?’”

“Sorry. I guess I should’ve listened to you, Arjon,” Caleb said. “So. Brittany. Would you like to grab some lunch with me?” he smiled.

“You should’ve asked that before you had this printed,” she grabbed the flyer from Dewey. She threw it down and left the meeting room.

“That went well,” Randy said. “I’ll see you back at the dorm, man,” Randy clapped Caleb on the back.

Later, as Arjon left the library, he ran into Brittany who was walking back in. “Is Caleb gone?” she asked.

“Not yet. Once everyone knew it was a kind-of-fake study group everybody went home. Why?”

“I wanted to apologize. The truth is that while I don’t like being tricked like I was but I was there under false pretenses as well.”


“I went there because I knew you would be there. I thought I could be your new and cool American friend.”

Arjon gasped. “So you are no better than Caleb?”

“I just wanted to be your friend. Caleb wanted to have sex with me,” Brittany corrected.

“Let’s go back inside and let’s start from the beginning,” Arjon said.

Arjon and Brittany went back to the study hall. Caleb was about to leave but stopped when he saw them come in. “You came back?”

“Look, I didn’t like being tricked but I was just here for Arjon so we were both here under false pretenses,” Brittany said. “Can we start over?”

“If you want. I’m sorry I started this fake study group. I mean, seriously, Dewey is terrible at science,” Caleb said.

“Probably because that part of his brain is filled up with TV theme songs.”

“He knows both the opening and ending credits theme to WKRP In Cincinnati.”

“We can help him,” Arjon said. “With the science, I mean.”

“Do you want to grab a burger with us?” Caleb asked Brittany.

“Yeah. I’ll join you,” Brittany confirmed. “Thanks for asking like a normal person.”

“I can do normal. I can do the hell out of normal,” Caleb said.

“Please stop,” Brittany sighed.

As Caleb, Brittany, and Arjon left the library, a street performer started playing his guitar.

“That sounds really familiar,” Caleb said.

The street performer began singing. “Mad tooth bar chin up boxing out her hair. Still do the modern day whack-a-mole ditto, uh-huh.”

“Also starring Dr. Malcolm Coot,” Arjon said.

“Executive producer Brian Hall,” Brittany shrugged.

“What’s that bartender, I had better head out. I said I wouldn’t do it if a poodle had a lid on, uh-huh.”

“Meow,” all three said in unison.

Let's Go To the Mall

It's been a week. Not for me but for lots of other people who did nothing to deserve a week like this. We started out reassuring the trans community that we would stand with them and not allow the trump administration to take their status away. We then spent most the week reading about pipe bombs being sent to various people who have spoken up against trump including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, and the offices of CNN, among seven other high profile people. The middle of the week gave us a racially motivated shooting where a man entered a Kroger in Kentucky and shot two African Americans while declaring that he doesn't "shoot white people." We then end the week with 11 people getting shot and killed in a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

I don't know what words to say (or write) that will make everything better. I know what words are being said that is causing all of this but no one who has the power is willing or able to step up and condemn what is going on. They say (or write) that they are standing up and condemning what is happening but their inaction on everything that could stop the rhetoric and violence speaks louder than anything they say.

Hatred and bigotry have no place in this world and we can let those who try to bring hatred and bigotry into this world what we thing about that on November 6th. Make sure you're registration is up-to-date, that you know where your polling place is, and that you get out and VOTE!

Malls are a dying entity. All the stores in it could easily occupy a simple space in a nearby strip mall or a small building downtown. The best thing about having one of the many malls that are slowly dying is that it is never difficult to find my car and I don't really have to go very far to get to my parking space. I do still have to write down the make and model of my car because who ever remembers that minute detail when there are much more important things out there to remember.

I am taking next week off to focus on writing. If you would like to support my writing or research, you can buy me a cup of coffee on Ko-Fi. Until next Sunday, be kind to each other, and I remain...

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Liberty Horror #2: The Romance of Certain Old Clothes

The Romance of Certain Old Clothes
by Henry James

Toward the middle of the eighteenth century there lived in the Province of Massachusetts a widowed gentlewoman, the mother of three children. Her name is of little account: I shall take the liberty of calling her Mrs. Willoughby, a name, like her own, of a highly respectable sound. She had been left a widow after some six years of marriage, and had devoted herself to the care of her progeny. These young persons grew up in a manner to reward her zeal and to gratify her fondest hopes. The first born was a son, whom she had called Bernard, after his father. The others were daughters,—born at an interval of three years apart. Good looks were traditional in the family, and this youthful trio were not likely to allow the tradition to perish. The boy was of that fair and ruddy complexion and of that athletic mould which in those days (as in these) were the sign of genuine English blood,—a frank, affectionate young fellow, a deferential son, a patronizing brother, and a steadfast friend. Clever, however, he was not; the wit of the family had been apportioned chiefly to his sisters. Mr. Willoughby had been a great reader of Shakespeare, at a time when this pursuit implied more liberality of taste than at the present day, and in a community where it required much courage to patronize the drama even in the closet; and he had wished to record his admiration of the great poet by calling his daughters out of his favorite plays. Upon the elder he had bestowed the romantic name of Viola; and upon the younger, the more serious one of Perdita, in memory of a little girl born between them, who had lived but a few weeks.

When Bernard Willoughby came to his sixteenth year, his mother put a brave face upon it, and prepared to execute her husband's last request. This had been an earnest entreaty that, at the proper age, his son should be sent out to England, to complete his education at the University of Oxford, which had been the seat of his own studies. Mrs. Willoughby fancied that the lad's equal was not to be found in the two hemispheres, but she had the antique wifely submissiveness. She swallowed her sobs, and made up her boy's trunk and his simple provincial outfit, and sent him on his way across the seas. Bernard was entered at his father's college, and spent five years in England, without great honor, indeed, but with a vast deal of pleasure and no discredit. On leaving the University he made the journey to France. In his twenty-third year he took ship for home, prepared to find poor little New England (New England was very small in those days) an utterly intolerable place of abode. But there had been changes at home, as well as in Mr. Bernard's opinions. He found his mother's house quite habitable, and his sisters grown into two very charming young ladies, with all the accomplishments and graces of the young women of Britain, and a certain native-grown gentle brusquerie and wildness, which, if it was not an accomplishment, was certainly a grace the more. Bernard privately assured his mother that his sisters were fully a match for the most genteel young women in England; where upon poor Mrs. Willoughby, you may be sure, bade them hold up their heads. Such was Bernard's opinion, and such, in a tenfold higher degree, was the opinion of Mr. Arthur Lloyd. This gentleman, I hasten to add, was a college-mate of Mr. Bernard, a young man of reputable family, of a good person and a handsome inheritance; which latter appurtenance he proposed to invest in trade in this country. He and Bernard were warm friends; they had crossed the ocean together, and the young American had lost no time in presenting him at his mother's house, where he had made quite as good an impression as that which he had received, and of which I have just given a hint.

The two sisters were at this time in all the freshness of their youthful bloom; each wearing, of course, this natural brilliancy in the manner that became her best. They were equally dissimilar in appearance and character. Viola, the elder,—now in her twenty-second year,—was tall and fair, with calm gray eyes and auburn tresses; a very faint likeness to the Viola of Shakespeare's comedy, whom I imagine as a brunette (if you will), but a slender, airy creature, full of the softest and finest emotions. Miss Willoughby, with her candid complexion, her fine arms, her majestic height, and her slow utterance, was not cut out for adventures. She would never have put on a man's jacket and hose; and, indeed, being a very plump beauty, it is perhaps as well that she would not. Perdita, too, might very well have exchanged the sweet melancholy of her name against something more in consonance with her aspect and disposition. She was a positive brunette, short of stature, light of foot, with a vivid dark brown eye. She had been from her childhood a creature of smiles and gayety; and so far from making you wait for an answer to your speech, as her handsome sister was wont to do (while she gazed at you with her somewhat cold gray eyes), she had given you the choice of half a dozen, suggested by the successive clauses of your proposition, before you had got to the end of it.

The young girls were very glad to see their brother once more; but they found themselves quite able to maintain a reserve of good-will for their brother's friend. Among the young men their friends and neighbors, the belle jeunesse of the Colony, there were many excellent fellows, several devoted swains, and some two or three who enjoyed the reputation of universal charmers and conquerors. But the home-bred arts and the somewhat boisterous gallantry of those honest young colonists were completely eclipsed by the good looks, the fine clothes, the punctilious courtesy, the perfect elegance, the immense information, of Mr. Arthur Lloyd. He was in reality no paragon; he was an honest, resolute, intelligent young man, rich in pounds sterling, in his health and comfortable hopes, and his little capital of uninvested affections. But he was a gentleman; he had a handsome face; he had studied and travelled; he spoke French, he played on the flute, and he read verses aloud with very great taste. There were a dozen reasons why Miss Willoughby and her sister should forthwith have been rendered fastidious in the choice of their male acquaintance. The imagination of woman is especially adapted to the various small conventions and mysteries of polite society. Mr. Lloyd's talk told our little New England maidens a vast deal more of the ways and means of people of fashion in European capitals than he had any idea of doing. It was delightful to sit by and hear him and Bernard discourse upon the fine people and fine things they had seen. They would all gather round the fire after tea, in the little wainscoted parlor,—quite innocent then of any intention of being picturesque or of being anything else, indeed, than economical, and saving an outlay in stamped papers and tapestries,—and the two young men would remind each other, across the rug, of this, that, and the other adventure. Viola and Perdita would often have given their ears to know exactly what adventure it was, and where it happened, and who was there, and what the ladies had on; but in those days a well-bred young woman was not expected to break into the conversation of her own movement or to ask too many questions; and the poor girls used therefore to sit fluttering behind the more languid—or more discreet—curiosity of their mother.

That they were both very fine girls Arthur Lloyd was not slow to discover; but it took him some time to satisfy himself as to the apportionment of their charms. He had a strong presentiment—an emotion of a nature entirely too cheerful to be called a foreboding—that he was destined to marry one of them; yet he was unable to arrive at a preference, and for such a consummation a preference was certainly indispensable, inasmuch as Lloyd was quite too gallant a fellow to make a choice by lot and be cheated of the heavenly delight of falling in love. He resolved to take things easily, and to let his heart speak. Meanwhile, he was on a very pleasant footing. Mrs. Willoughby showed a dignified indifference to his "intentions," equally remote from a carelessness of her daughters' honor and from that odious alacrity to make him commit himself, which, in his quality of a young man of property, he had but too often encountered in the venerable dames of his native islands. As for Bernard, all that he asked was that his friend should take his sisters as his own; and as for the poor girls themselves, however each may have secretly longed for the monopoly of Mr. Lloyd's attentions, they observed a very decent and modest and contented demeanor.

Towards each other, however, they were somewhat more on the offensive. They were good sisterly friends, betwixt whom it would take more than a day for the seeds of jealousy to sprout and bear fruit; but the young girls felt that the seeds had been sown on the day that Mr. Lloyd came into the house. Each made up her mind that, if she should be slighted, she would bear her grief in silence, and that no one should be any the wiser; for if they had a great deal of love, they had also a great deal of pride. But each prayed in secret, nevertheless, that upon her the glory might fall. They had need of a vast deal of patience, of self-control, and of dissimulation. In those days a young girl of decent breeding could make no advances whatever, and barely respond, indeed, to those that were made. She was expected to sit still in her chair with her eyes on the carpet, watching the spot where the mystic handkerchief should fall. Poor Arthur Lloyd was obliged to undertake his wooing in the little wainscoted parlor, before the eyes of Mrs. Willoughby, her son, and his prospective sister-in-law. But youth and love are so cunning that a hundred signs and tokens might travel to and fro, and not one of these three pair of eyes detect them in their passage. The young girls had but one chamber and one bed between them, and for long hours together they were under each other's direct inspection. That each knew that she was being watched, however, made not a grain of difference in those little offices which they mutually rendered, or in the various household tasks which they performed in common. Neither flinched nor fluttered beneath the silent batteries of her sister's eyes. The only apparent change in their habits was that they had less to say to each other. It was impossible to talk about Mr. Lloyd, and it was ridiculous to talk about anything else. By tacit agreement they began to wear all their choice finery, and to devise such little implements of coquetry, in the way of ribbons and topknots and furbelows as were sanctioned by indubitable modesty. They executed in the same inarticulate fashion an agreement of sincerity on these delicate matters. "Is it better so?" Viola would ask, tying a bunch of ribbons on her bosom, and turning about from her glass to her sister. Perdita would look up gravely from her work and examine the decoration. "I think you had better give it another loop," she would say, with great solemnity, looking hard at her sister with eyes that added, "upon my honor!" So they were forever stitching and trimming their petticoats, and pressing out their muslins, and contriving washes and ointments and cosmetics, like the ladies in the household of the Vicar of Wakefield. Some three or four months went by; it grew to be midwinter, and as yet Viola knew that if Perdita had nothing more to boast of than she, there was not much to be feared from her rivalry. But Perdita by this time, the charming Perdita, felt that her secret had grown to be tenfold more precious than her sister's.

One afternoon Miss Willoughby sat alone before her toilet-glass combing out her long hair. It was getting too dark to see; she lit the two candles in their sockets on the frame of her mirror, and then went to the window to draw her curtains. It was a gray December evening; the landscape was bare and bleak, and the sky heavy with snow-clouds. At the end of the long garden into which her window looked was a wall with a little postern door, opening into a lane. The door stood ajar, as she could vaguely see in the gathering darkness, and moved slowly to and fro, as if some one were swaying it from the lane without. It was doubtless a servant-maid. But as she was about to drop her curtain, Viola saw her sister step within the garden, and hurry along the path toward the house. She dropped the curtain, all save a little crevice for her eyes. As Perdita came up the path, she seemed to be examining something in her hand, holding it close to her eyes. When she reached the house she stopped a moment, looked intently at the object, and pressed it to her lips.

Poor Viola slowly came back to her chair, and sat down before her glass, where, if she had looked at it less abstractedly, she would have seen her handsome features sadly disfigured by jealousy. A moment afterwards the door opened behind her, and her sister came into the room, out of breath, and her cheeks aglow with the chilly air.

Perdita started. "Ah," said she, "I thought you were with our mother." The ladies were to go to a tea-party, and on such occasions it was the habit of one of the young girls to help their mother to dress. Instead of coming in, Perdita lingered at the door.

"Come in, come in," said Viola. "We've more than an hour yet. I should like you very much to give a few strokes to my hair." She knew that her sister wished to retreat, and that she could see in the glass all her movements in the room. "Nay, just help me with my hair," she said, "and I'll go to mamma."

Perdita came reluctantly, and took the brush. She saw her sister's eyes, in the glass, fastened hard upon her hands. She had not made three passes, when Viola clapped her own right hand upon her sister's left, and started out of her chair. "Whose ring is that?" she cried passionately, drawing her towards the light.

On the young girl's third finger glistened a little gold ring, adorned with a couple of small rubies. Perdita felt that she need no longer keep her secret, yet that she must put a bold face on her avowal. "It's mine," she said proudly.

"Who gave it to you?" cried the other.

Perdita hesitated a moment. "Mr. Lloyd."

"Mr. Lloyd is generous, all of a sudden."

"Ah no," cried Perdita, with spirit, "not all of a sudden. He offered it to me a month ago."

"And you needed a month's begging to take it?" said Viola, looking at the little trinket; which indeed was not especially elegant, although it was the best that the jeweller of the Province could furnish. "I should n't have taken it in less than two."

"It is n't the ring," said Perdita, "it's what it means!"

"It means that you 're not a modest girl," cried Viola. "Pray does your mother know of your conduct? does Bernard?"

"My mother has approved my 'conduct', as you call it. Mr. Lloyd has asked my hand, and mamma has given it. Would you have had him apply to you, sister?"

Viola gave her sister a long look, full of passionate envy and sorrow. Then she dropped her lashes on her pale cheeks and turned away. Perdita felt that it had not been a pretty scene; but it was her sister's fault. But the elder girl rapidly called back her pride, and turned herself about again. "You have my very best wishes," she said, with a low curtsey. "I wish you every happiness, and a very long life."

Perdita gave a bitter laugh. "Don't speak in that tone," she cried. "I'd rather you cursed me outright. Come, sister," she added, "he could n't marry both of us."

"I wish you very great joy," Viola repeated mechanically, sitting down to her glass again, "and a very long life, and plenty of children."

There was something in the sound of these words not at all to Perdita's taste. "Will you give me a year, at least?" she said. "In a year I can have one little boy, or one little girl at least. If you'll give me your brush again I'll do your hair."

"Thank you," said Viola. "You had better go to mamma. It is n't becoming that a young lady with a promised husband should wait on a girl with none."

"Nay," said Perdita, good-humoredly, "I have Arthur to wait upon me. You need my service more than I need yours."

But her sister motioned her away, and she left the room. When she had gone poor Viola fell on her knees before her dressing-table, buried her head in her arms, and poured out a flood of tears and sobs. She felt very much the better for this effusion of sorrow. When her sister came back, she insisted upon helping her to dress, and upon her wearing her prettiest things. She forced upon her acceptance a bit of lace of her own, and declared that now that she was to be married she should do her best to appear worthy of her lover's choice. She discharged these offices in stern silence; but, such as they were, they had to do duty as an apology and an atonement; she never made any other. Now that Lloyd was received by the family as an accepted suitor, nothing remained but to fix the wedding-day. It was appointed for the following April, and in the interval preparations were diligently made for the marriage. Lloyd, on his side, was busy with his commercial arrangements, and with establishing a correspondence with the great mercantile house to which he had attached himself in England. He was therefore not so frequent a visitor at Mrs. Willoughby's as during the months of his diffidence and irresolution, and poor Viola had less to suffer than she had feared from the sight of the mutual endearments of the young lovers. Touching his future sister-in-law, Lloyd had a perfectly clear conscience. There had not been a particle of sentiment uttered between them, and he had not the slightest suspicion that she coveted anything more than his fraternal regard. He was quite at his ease; life promised so well, both domestically and financially. The lurid clouds of revolution were as yet twenty years beneath the horizon, and that his connubial felicity should take a tragic turn it was absurd, it was blasphemous, to apprehend. Meanwhile at Mrs. Willoughby's there was a greater rustling of silks, a more rapid clicking of scissors and flying of needles, than ever. Mrs. Willoughby had determined that her daughter should carry from home the most elegant outfit that her money could buy, or that the country could furnish. All the sage women in the county were convened, and their united taste was brought to bear on Perdita's wardrobe. Viola's situation, at this moment, was assuredly not to be envied. The poor girl had an inordinate love of dress, and the very best taste in the world, as her sister perfectly well knew. Viola was tall, she was stately and sweeping, she was made to carry stiff brocade and masses of heavy lace, such as belong to the toilet of a rich man's wife. But Viola sat aloof, with her beautiful arms folded and her head averted, while her mother and sister and the venerable women aforesaid worried and wondered over their materials, oppressed by the multitude of their resources. One day there came in a beautiful piece of white silk, brocaded with celestial blue and silver, sent by the bridegroom himself,—it not being thought amiss in those days that the husband elect should contribute to the bride's trousseau. Perdita was quite at loss to imagine a fashion which should do sufficient honor to the splendor of the material.

"Blue's your color, sister, more than mine," she said, with appealing eyes. "It's a pity it's not for you. You'd know what to do with it."

Viola got up from her place and looked at the great shining fabric as it lay spread over the back of a chair. Then she took it up in her hands and felt it,—lovingly, as Perdita could see,—and turned about toward the mirror with it. She let it roll down to her feet, and flung the other end over her shoulder, gathering it in about her waist with her white arm bare to the elbow. She threw back her head, and looked at her image, and a hanging tress of her auburn hair fell upon the gorgeous surface of the silk. It made a dazzling picture. The women standing about uttered a little "Ah!" of admiration. "Yes, indeed," said Viola, quietly, "blue is my color." But Perdita could see that her fancy had been stirred, and that she would now fall to work and solve all their silken riddles. And indeed she behaved very well, as Perdita, knowing her insatiable love of millinery, was quite ready to declare. Innumerable yards of lustrous silk and satin, of muslin, velvet, and lace, passed through her cunning hands, without a word of envy coming from her lips. Thanks to her industry, when the wedding-day came Perdita was prepared to espouse more of the vanities of life than any fluttering young bride who had yet challenged the sacramental blessing of a New England divine.

It had been arranged that the young couple should go out and spend the first days of their wedded life at the country house of an English gentleman,—a man of rank and a very kind friend to Lloyd. He was an unmarried man; he professed himself delighted to withdraw and leave them for a week to their billing and cooing. After the ceremony at church,—it had been performed by an English parson,—young Mrs. Lloyd hastened back to her mother's house to change her wedding gear for a riding-dress. Viola helped her to effect the change, in the little old room in which they had been fond sisters together. Perdita then hurried off to bid farewell to her mother, leaving Viola to follow. The parting was short; the horses were at the door and Arthur impatient to start. But Viola had not followed, and Perdita hastened back to her room, opening the door abruptly. Viola, as usual, was before the glass, but in a position which caused the other to stand still, amazed. She had dressed herself in Perdita's cast-off wedding veil and wreath, and on her neck she had hung the heavy string of pearls which the young girl had received from her husband as a wedding-gift. These things had been hastily laid aside, to await their possessor's disposal on her return from the country. Bedizened in this unnatural garb, Viola stood at the mirror, plunging a long look into its depths, and reading Heaven knows what audacious visions. Perdita was horrified. It was a hideous image of their old rivalry come to life again. She made a step toward her sister, as if to pull off the veil and the flowers. But catching her eyes in the glass, she stopped.

"Farewell, Viola," she said. "You might at least have waited till I had got out of the house." And she hurried away from the room.

Mr. Lloyd had purchased in Boston a house which, in the taste of those days, was considered a marvel of elegance and comfort; and here he very soon established himself with his young wife. He was thus separated by a distance of twenty miles from the residence of his mother-in-law. Twenty miles, in that primitive era of roads and conveyances, were as serious a matter as a hundred at the present day, and Mrs. Willoughby saw but little of her daughter during the first twelvemonth of her marriage. She suffered in no small degree from her absence; and her affliction was not diminished by the fact that Viola had fallen into terribly low spirits and was not to be roused or cheered but by change of air and circumstances. The real cause of the young girl's dejection the reader will not be slow to suspect. Mrs. Willoughby and her gossips, however, deemed her complaint a purely physical one, and doubted not that she would obtain relief from the remedy just mentioned. Her mother accordingly proposed on her behalf a visit to certain relatives on the paternal side, established in New York, who had long complained that they were able to see so little of their New England cousins. Viola was despatched to these good people, under a suitable escort, and remained with them for several months. In the interval her brother Bernard, who had begun the practice of the law, made up his mind to take a wife. Viola came home to the wedding, apparently cured of her heartache, with honest roses and lilies in her face, and a proud smile on her lips. Arthur Lloyd came over from Boston to see his brother-in-law married, but without his wife, who was expecting shortly to present him with an heir. It was nearly a year since Viola had seen him. She was glad—she hardly knew why—that Perdita had stayed at home. Arthur looked happy, but he was more grave and solemn than before his marriage. She thought he looked "interesting,"—for although the word in its modern sense was not then invented, we may be sure that the idea was. The truth is, he was simply preoccupied with his wife's condition. Nevertheless, he by no means failed to observe Viola's beauty and splendor, and how she quite effaced the poor little bride. The allowance that Perdita had enjoyed for her dress had now been transferred to her sister, who turned it to prodigious account. On the morning after the wedding, he had a lady's saddle put on the horse of the servant who had come with him from town, and went out with the young girl for a ride. It was a keen, clear morning in January; the ground was bare and hard, and the horses in good condition,—to say nothing of Viola, who was charming in her hat and plume, and her dark blue riding-coat, trimmed with fur. They rode all the morning, they lost their way, and were obliged to stop for dinner at a farm-house. The early winter dusk had fallen when they got home. Mrs. Willoughby met them with a long face. A messenger had arrived at noon from Mrs. Lloyd; she was beginning to be ill, and desired her husband's immediate return. The young man, at the thought that he had lost several hours, and that by hard riding he might already have been with his wife, uttered a passionate oath. He barely consented to stop for a mouthful of supper, but mounted the messenger's horse and started off at a gallop.

He reached home at midnight. His wife had been delivered of a little girl. "Ah, why were n't you with me?" she said, as he came to her bedside.

"I was out of the house when the man came. I was with Viola," said Lloyd, innocently.

Mrs. Lloyd made a little moan, and turned about. But she continued to do very well, and for a week her improvement was uninterrupted. Finally, however, through some indiscretion in the way of diet or of exposure, it was checked, and the poor lady grew rapidly worse. Lloyd was in despair. It very soon became evident that she was breathing her last. Mrs. Lloyd came to a sense of her approaching end, and declared that she was reconciled with death. On the third evening after the change took place she told her husband that she felt she would not outlast the night. She dismissed her servants, and also requested her mother to withdraw,—Mrs. Willoughby having arrived on the preceding day. She had had her infant placed on the bed beside her, and she lay on her side, with the child against her breast, holding her husband's hands. The night-lamp was hidden behind the heavy curtains of the bed, but the room was illumined with a red glow from the immense fire of logs on the hearth.

"It seems strange to die by such a fire as that," the young woman said, feebly trying to smile. "If I had but a little of such fire in my veins! But I've given it all to this little spark of mortality." And she dropped her eyes on her child. Then raising them she looked at her husband with a long penetrating gaze. The last feeling which lingered in her heart was one of mistrust. She had not recovered from the shock which Arthur had given her by telling her that in the hour of her agony he had been with Viola. She trusted her husband very nearly as well as she loved him; but now that she was called away forever, she felt a cold horror of her sister. She felt in her soul that Viola had never ceased to envy her good fortune; and a year of happy security had not effaced the young girl's image, dressed in her wedding garments, and smiling with coveted triumph. Now that Arthur was to be alone, what might not Viola do? She was beautiful, she was engaging; what arts might she not use, what impression might she not make upon the young man's melancholy heart? Mrs. Lloyd looked at her husband in silence. It seemed hard, after all, to doubt of his constancy. His fine eyes were filled with tears; his face was convulsed with weeping; the clasp of his hands was warm and passionate. How noble he looked, how tender, how faithful and devoted! "Nay," thought Perdita, "he's not for such as Viola. He'll never forget me. Nor does Viola truly care for him; she cares only for vanities and finery and jewels." And she dropped her eyes on her white hands, which her husband's liberality had covered with rings, and on the lace ruffles which trimmed the edge of her night dress. "She covets my rings and my laces more than she covets my husband."

At this moment the thought of her sister's rapacity seemed to cast a dark shadow between her and the helpless figure of her little girl. "Arthur," she said, "you must take off my rings. I shall not be buried in them. One of these days my daughter shall wear them,—my rings and my laces and silks. I had them all brought out and shown me to-day. It's a great wardrobe,—there's not such another in the Province; I can say it without vanity now that I've done with it. It will be a great inheritance for my daughter, when she grows into a young woman. There are things there that a man never buys twice, and if they're lost you'll never again see the like. So you'll watch them well. Some dozen things I've left to Viola; I've named them to my mother. I've given her that blue and silver; it was meant for her; I wore it only once, I looked ill in it. But the rest are to be sacredly kept for this little innocent. It's such a providence that she should be my color; she can wear my gowns; she has her mother's eyes. You know the same fashions come back every twenty years. She can wear my gowns as they are. They 'll lie there quietly waiting till she grows into them,—wrapped in camphor and rose-leaves, and keeping their colors in the sweet-scented darkness. She shall have black hair, she shall wear my carnation satin. Do you promise me, Arthur?"

"Promise you what, dearest?"

"Promise me to keep your poor little wife's old gowns."

"Are you afraid I'll sell them?"

"No, but that they may get scattered. My mother will have them properly wrapped up, and you shall lay them away under a double-lock. Do you know the great chest in the attic, with the iron bands? There's no end to what it will hold. You can lay them all there. My mother and the housekeeper will do it, and give you the key. And you'll keep the key in your secretary, and never give it to any one but your child. Do you promise me?"

"Ah, yes, I promise you," said Lloyd, puzzled at the intensity with which his wife appeared to cling to this idea.

"Will you swear?" repeated Perdita.

"Yes, I swear."

"Well—I trust you—I trust you," said the poor lady, looking into his eyes with eyes in which, if he had suspected her vague apprehensions, he might have read an appeal quite as much as an assurance.

Lloyd bore his bereavement soberly and manfully. A month after his wife's death, in the course of commerce, circumstances arose which offered him an opportunity of going to England. He embraced it as a diversion from gloomy thoughts. He was absent nearly a year, during which his little girl was tenderly nursed and cherished by her grandmother. On his return he had his house again thrown open, and announced his intention of keeping the same state as during his wife's lifetime. It very soon came to be predicted that he would marry again, and there were at least a dozen young women of whom one may say that it was by no fault of theirs that, for six months after his return, the prediction did not come true. During this interval he still left his little daughter in Mrs. Willoughby's hands, the latter assuring him that a change of residence at so tender an age was perilous to her health. Finally, however, he declared that his heart longed for his daughter's presence, and that she must be brought up to town. He sent his coach and his housekeeper to fetch her home. Mrs. Willoughby was in terror lest something should befall her on the road; and, in accordance with this feeling, Viola offered to ride along with her. She could return the next day. So she went up to town with her little niece, and Mr. Lloyd met her on the threshold of his house, overcome with her kindness and with gratitude. Instead of returning the next day, Viola stayed out the week; and when at last she reappeared, she had only come for her clothes. Arthur would not hear of her coming home, nor would the baby. She cried and moaned if Viola left her; and at the sight of her grief Arthur lost his wits, and swore that she was going to die. In fine, nothing would suit them but that Viola should remain until the poor child had grown used to strange faces.

It took two months to bring this consummation about; for it was not until this period had elapsed that Viola took leave of her brother-in-law. Mrs. Willoughby had shaken her head over her daughter's absence; she had declared that it was not becoming, and that it was the talk of the town. She had reconciled herself to it only because, during the young girl's visit, the household enjoyed an unwonted term of peace. Bernard Willoughby had brought his wife home to live, between whom and her sister-in-law there existed a bitter hostility. Viola was perhaps no angel; but in the daily practice of life she was a sufficiently good-natured girl, and if she quarrelled with Mrs. Bernard, it was not without provocation. Quarrel, however, she did, to the great annoyance not only of her antagonist, but of the two spectators of these constant altercations. Her stay in the household of her brother-in-law, therefore, would have been delightful, if only because it removed her from contact with the object of her antipathy at home. It was doubly—it was ten times—delightful, in that it kept her near the object of her old passion. Mrs. Lloyd's poignant mistrust had fallen very far short of the truth. Viola's sentiment had been a passion at first, and a passion it remained,—a passion of whose radiant heat, tempered to the delicate state of his feelings, Mr. Lloyd very soon felt the influence. Lloyd, as I have hinted, was not a modern Petrarch; it was not in his nature to practise an ideal constancy. He had not been many days in the house with his sister-in-law before he began to assure himself that she was, in the language of that day, a devilish fine woman. Whether Viola really practised those insidious arts that her sister had been tempted to impute to her it is needless to inquire. It is enough to say that she found means to appear to the very best advantage. She used to seat herself every morning before the great fireplace in the dining-room, at work upon a piece of tapestry, with her little niece disporting herself on the carpet at her feet, or on the train of her dress, and playing with her woollen balls. Lloyd would have been a very stupid fellow if he had remained insensible to the rich suggestions of this charming picture. He was prodigiously fond of his little girl, and was never weary of taking her in his arms and tossing her up and down, and making her crow with delight. Very often, however, he would venture upon greater liberties than the young lady was yet prepared to allow, and she would suddenly vociferate her displeasure. Viola would then drop her tapestry, and put out her handsome hands with the serious smile of the young girl whose virgin fancy has revealed to her all a mother's healing arts. Lloyd would give up the child, their eyes would meet, their hands would touch, and Viola would extinguish the little girl's sobs upon the snowy folds of the kerchief that crossed her bosom. Her dignity was perfect, and nothing could be more discreet than the manner in which she accepted her brother-in-law's hospitality. It may be almost said, perhaps, that there was something harsh in her reserve. Lloyd had a provoking feeling that she was in the house, and yet that she was unapproachable. Half an hour after supper, at the very outset of the long winter evenings, she would light her candle, and make the young man a most respectful curtsey, and march off to bed. If these were arts, Viola was a great artist. But their effect was so gentle, so gradual, they were calculated to work upon the young widower's fancy with such a finely shaded crescendo, that, as the reader has seen, several weeks elapsed before Viola began to feel sure that her return would cover her outlay. When this became morally certain, she packed up her trunk, and returned to her mother's house. For three days she waited; on the fourth Mr. Lloyd made his appearance,—a respectful but ardent suitor. Viola heard him out with great humility, and accepted him with infinite modesty. It is hard to imagine that Mrs. Lloyd should have forgiven her husband; but if anything might have disarmed her resentment, it would have been the ceremonious continence of this interview. Viola imposed upon her lover but a short probation. They were married, as was becoming, with great privacy,—almost with secrecy,—in the hope perhaps, as was waggishly remarked at the time, that the late Mrs. Lloyd would n't hear of it.

The marriage was to all appearance a happy one, and each party obtained what each had desired— Lloyd "a devilish fine woman," and Viola—but Viola's desires, as the reader will have observed, have remained a good deal of a mystery. There were, indeed, two blots upon their felicity; but time would, perhaps, efface them. During the first three years of her marriage Mrs. Lloyd failed to become a mother, and her husband on his side suffered heavy losses of money. This latter circumstance compelled a material retrenchment in his expenditure, and Viola was perforce less of a great lady than her sister had been. She contrived, however, to sustain with unbroken consistency the part of an elegant woman, although it must be confessed that it required the exercise of more ingenuity than belongs to your real aristocratic repose. She had long since ascertained that her sister's immense wardrobe had been sequestrated for the benefit of her daughter, and that it lay languishing in thankless gloom in the dusty attic. It was a revolting thought that these exquisite fabrics should await the commands of a little girl who sat in a high chair and ate bread-and-milk with a wooden spoon. Viola had the good taste, however, to say nothing about the matter until several months had expired. Then, at last, she timidly broached it to her husband. Was it not a pity that so much finery should be lost?—for lost it would be, what with colors fading, and moths eating it up, and the change of fashions. But Lloyd gave so abrupt and peremptory a negative to her inquiry, that she saw that for the present her attempt was vain. Six months went by, however, and brought with them new needs and new fancies. Viola's thoughts hovered lovingly about her sister's relics. She went up and looked at the chest in which they lay imprisoned. There was a sullen defiance in its three great padlocks and its iron bands, which only quickened her desires. There was something exasperating in its incorruptible immobility. It was like a grim and grizzled old household servant, who locks his jaws over a family secret. And then there was a look of capacity in its vast extent, and a sound as of dense fulness, when Viola knocked its side with the toe of her little slipper, which caused her to flush with baffled longing. "It 's absurd," she cried; "it 's improper, it 's wicked"; and she forthwith resolved upon another attack upon her husband. On the following day, after dinner, when he had had his wine, she bravely began it. But he cut her short with great sternness.

"Once for all, Viola," said he, "it 's out of the question. I shall be gravely displeased if you return to the matter."

"Very good," said Viola. "I 'm glad to learn the value at which I 'm held. Great Heaven!" she cried, "I 'm a happy woman. It 's an agreeable thing to feel one's self sacrificed to a caprice!" And her eyes filled with tears of anger and disappointment.

Lloyd had a good-natured man's horror of a woman's sobs, and he attempted—I may say he condescended—to explain. "It 's not a caprice, dear, it 's a promise," he said,—"an oath."

"An oath? It 's a pretty matter for oaths! and to whom, pray?"

"To Perdita," said the young man, raising his eyes for an instant, but immediately dropping them.

"Perdita,—ah, Perdita!' and Viola's tears broke forth. Her bosom heaved with stormy sobs,—sobs which were the long-deferred counterpart of the violent fit of weeping in which she had indulged herself on the night when she discovered her sister's betrothal. She had hoped, in her better moments, that she had done with her jealousy; but her temper, on that occasion, had taken an ineffaceable fold. "And pray, what right," she cried, "had Perdita to dispose of my future? What right had she to bind you to meanness and cruelty? Ah, I occupy a dignified place, and I make a very fine figure! I 'm welcome to what Perdita has left! And what has she left? I never knew till now how little! Nothing, nothing, nothing."

This was very poor logic, but it was very good passion. Lloyd put his arm around his wife's waist and tried to kiss her, but she shook him off with magnificent scorn. Poor fellow! he had coveted a "devilish fine woman," and he had got one. Her scorn was intolerable. He walked away with his ears tingling,—irresolute, distracted. Before him was his secretary, and in it the sacred key which with his own hand he had turned in the triple lock. He marched up and opened it, and took the key from a secret drawer, wrapped in a little packet which he had sealed with his own honest bit of blazonry. Teneo, said the motto,—"I hold." But he was ashamed to put it back. He flung it upon the table beside his wife.

"Keep it!" she cried. "I want it not. I hate it!"

"I wash my hands of it," cried her husband. "God forgive me!"

Mrs. Lloyd gave an indignant shrug of her shoulders, and swept out of the room, while the young man retreated by another door. Ten minutes later Mrs. Lloyd returned, and found the room occupied by her little step-daughter and the nursery-maid. The key was not on the table. She glanced at the child. The child was perched on a chair with the packet in her hands. She had broken the seal with her own little fingers. Mrs. Lloyd hastily took possession of the key.

At the habitual supper-hour Arthur Lloyd came back from his counting-room. It was the month of June, and supper was served by daylight. The meal was placed on the table, but Mrs. Lloyd failed to make her appearance. The servant whom his master sent to call her came back with the assurance that her room was empty, and that the women informed him that she had not been seen since dinner. They had in truth observed her to have been in tears, and, supposing her to be shut up in her chamber, had not disturbed her. Her husband called her name in various parts of the house, but without response. At last it occurred to him that he might find her by taking the way to the attic. The thought gave him a strange feeling of discomfort, and he bade his servants remain behind, wishing no witness in his quest. He reached the foot of the staircase leading to the topmost flat, and stood with his hand on the banisters, pronouncing his wife's name. His voice trembled. He called again, louder and more firmly. The only sound which disturbed the absolute silence was a faint echo of his own tones, repeating his question under the great eaves. He nevertheless felt irresistibly moved to ascend the staircase. It opened upon a wide hall, lined with wooden closets, and terminating in a window which looked westward, and admitted the last rays of the sun. Before the window stood the great chest. Before the chest, on her knees, the young man saw with amazement and horror the figure of his wife. In an instant he crossed the interval between them, bereft of utterance. The lid of the chest stood open, exposing, amid their perfumed napkins, its treasure of stuffs and jewels. Viola had fallen backward from a kneeling posture, with one hand supporting her on the floor and the other pressed to her heart. On her limbs was the stiffness of death, and on her face, in the fading light of the sun, the terror of something more than death. Her lips were parted in entreaty, in dismay, in agony; and on her bloodless brow and cheeks there glowed the marks of ten hideous wounds from two vengeful ghostly hands.

Honeymoon Plans

Wilberforce, you've seen how your parents act. Clearly something didn't take during their first honeymoon which has messed them up over the last 20+ years.

I don't know where Brutus and Gladys think they are going for this second honeymoon. Al's Roadside Motel, where they spent their first, just outside beautiful Parma, Ohio closed back in 1987 and the Thornapples sure as hell can't afford to actually go anywhere.

Friday, October 26, 2018

You May Be Right

Two days in a row of Mother Gargle? That seems cruel and unusual. And she's just being a terrible person unlike last year when we spent a couple days on her birthday when she was relatively polite.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

What Does Mother Gargle Know About Marriage? Her Husband Is Dead!

It is too early in the morning for this crap, Ramona. Gladys still has curlers in her hair, is in her robe, and has barely touched her coffee. Why can't you wait to belittle Brutus and your daughter's marriage until after lunch? Or if I'd rather, you could not do it at all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Fetch the Dowsing Rod

Why did Brutus take Kewpie all the way to the Gobi Desert to play with her? Either that or this dying vacant lot was turned into the worst dog park ever.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

70 Is the New Black

Uncle Ted turned 71 earlier this year. I don't understand why it's up to me to keep track of continuity in this strip. You'd think Uncle Ted would tell Brutus to quit obsessing over age. "Look, Brutus, I know that you are scared of your own mortality--who isn't--but you need to quit being so focused on age. It's like you're trying to figure out lottery numbers or something."

Monday, October 22, 2018


Make more food...? That's what my wife and I do if we want a recipe to go farther and give us leftovers. We know that there are recipes where that just isn't possible but then we try to plan those for days off or the weekend.

Why is he so angry in the first panel? "My friend Arnie always has leftovers and *slams fist onto counter* goddammit I want leftovers too!"

I'm just glad we finally get an explanation why Brutus is always eating at that terrible diner.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Mom's Taxi #4

“I can just ride on Kaa,” Samar said as Lindsay and the girls moved things around in the hatchback.

“If he’s coming with us, he needs to ride in the back or it’ll take us longer to get to town,” Lindsay explained. “Kaa can also stay here.”

“He may be needed. He comes,” Samar said and gently petted the tufts of fur on Kaa’s cheek. “And I don’t care how fast this thing can go, we have to go through the forest. I’ll take at least a day to get to town.”

“Better one than three,” Lindsay said. “We have to get back. We have families waiting for us. You girls ready?”

“Yes,” they all said.

“Everybody get in. Samar gets shotgun.”

What is shotgun?” Samar asked.

“It just means that you get to sit up front,” Lindsay replied and opened the door to get in the car. The girls followed, all cramming into the back. Samar helped Kaa get in the hatchback and then got in the passenger seat. “Buckle up.”

“Why? It’s not like there are other cars on the road,” Georgia said.

“Just buckle your belt,” Lindsay snapped. She started the car and began driving out of the cave and down a path to the north.

“You lied to us about where you were yesterday morning,” the officer said.

“I know. My husband was standing right there. I didn’t want him to know that I was with another man,” Christine sighed.

“So this man you were with, he can vouch for your whereabouts and you his?” the officer asked.

“Yes, but he didn’t do anything.”

“We still need to talk to him, Ms. Hetrick. Is there anything else you haven’t told us?”


“What’s the man’s name? His address?”

“Michael Rolfe, let me write it down for you,” the officer slid a notepad and pen over to Christine who began writing down Michael’s name, address, and phone number. “Do you have any leads on what happened to Lindsay and the girls?”

The officer sighed. “No. No one recalls seeing the car after reaching the road construction. We have a witness who said she saw the car turn right off of Atwood. We can’t find anyone who saw her after that,” the officer revealed. “We’ve searched down the next two streets along 32nd--Hepner, which is a dead end, and Alexandria--and found nothing.”

“So what’s the plan now?” Christine asked.

The officer tapped the pen he had in his hand on the table. “Let me walk you out. We will let you know if we find anything out.”

“That sounds reassuring,” Christine sighed.

“Dammit,” Lindsay muttered. The road had narrowed to nearly nothing. A path went off into the trees but the car could not continue through. “Now what?”

“We can continue on foot or turn back and take the north path,” Samar said.

“Why didn’t you tell me that that the road disappeared?” Lindsay said loudly to Samar.

“I’m always on Kaa when I travel to the village. I didn’t think of it,” Samara matter-of-factly said while looking at Lindsay blamingly.

Lindsay sighed and crossed her arms. “Eff.”

“I know what you wanted to say,” Georgia singsonged.

“Not now, Georgia,” Lindsay huffed.


“Georgia, cut it out,” Lindsay snapped at Georgia, her brow furrowed. Georgia immediately went silent and lowered her head. “If we go back and take the north path, when will we get to town?”

“Leaving now? Tomorrow night,” said Samar.

“What if we just call today a wash and leave tomorrow morning?”

“Early evening, maybe.”

Lindsay sighed again. “Then we’ll do that,” Lindsay went back to the car. “Is there a place we can camp nearby?”

Samar led them just a few feet from the road. Samar and Lindsay made a fire and sat on the ground. The girls stayed in the car and Brooklyn, Karmen, and Maddie were playing a travel version of Trouble. Karmen and Brooklyn were sitting in the front seat and Maddie was reaching through the seats to the game sitting on the console in the middle.

“I’m glad this game was still in the glove compartment,” Karmen said. “I’m so bored here.”

“Who would’ve thought the land of dinosaurs would be so boring,” Maddie said.

“Georgia, are you sure you don’t want to play? We can still put you in,” Brooklyn offered.

“No,” Georgia answered. Georgia was sitting with her back to the other girls with the passenger side back door open, her feet hanging out of the car.

“Are you okay?” Karmen asked her.


“I think she’s mad because Mom yelled at her,” Brooklyn said.

“Georgia was acting really annoying. Your Mom is probably stressed enough without Georgia acting like a baby,” Maddie said.

The car door closed. Georgia had left. “Where’s she going?” Karmen asked.

“Probably to sulk in the woods,” Brooklyn answered.

“Should we keep an eye on her?” Maddie peered up out of the car. “She might get lost.”

“Mom and Samar are out there,” Brooklyn said. “She won’t go far and they can keep an eye on her. We’re not her babysitters.”

Georgia wandered away from the car and into the forest. As far as she knew, neither Lindsay or Samar heard or saw her. She kept walking, the way that they were driving, in her mind wanting to get to the town before all of them but mostly just wanting to get away from them.

After a few minutes of walking, her attitude changed and she began to forget why she was angry. She crossed a creek on a fallen log and the trees got denser. She heard a growl of an animal and stopped in her tracks. “I guess it’s time to head back now,” she said to herself and turned around to leave.

Nothing looked familiar. She walked back the way she thought she came but never came to a creek. She went a different direction for a bit but still nothing changed. Georgia then decided to point herself back toward the town and continue walking.

“Where’s Georgia?” Lindsay asked. “Off peeing or something?”

“She was mad so she left,” Brooklyn said.

“Left? Where’d she go?”

All three girls shrugged.

“Dammit,” Lindsay cursed and put her hands on her hips. “You girls should know not to wander away in strange places like this.”

“Yeah, we know that,” Maddie said. “Georgia doesn’t, I guess.”

“Well, we can’t go looking for her unless we want everyone else to get lost. I guess we’ll just wait until morning and hope she comes back or that she’s easy to find tomorrow.” Lindsay turned and looked at the trees. “Dammit.”

What's Going On In Inventory?

Woo. This is a brightly colored strip.

It's 2018, do kids (and by 'kids' I mean 'boys') still do the "my dad can beat up your dad" shtick? It at least still happens in Chip's mind.

My favorite wake-up smell is bacon. Every night I lay out three strips of bacon on my George Foreman grill by my bed. My alarm goes off and I turn on the grill and go back to sleep. Then, in a few minutes, I wake up to the smell of crackling bacon. It's delicious. It's good for me. What could possibly go wrong?

If you would like to support my writing and my research, you can buy me a cup of coffee on Ko-Fi.

Friday, October 19, 2018

That Couch Looks Uncomfortable

🎵It's no surprise to me I am my own worst enemy
Cause every now and then I kick the living shit out of me🎶
Can we forget about the things I said when I was drunk
I didn't mean to call you that🎵

Charlie Brown says all the time that people don't like him. While that's not true, Charlie Brown has plenty of friends and acquaintances, we feel bad for him because he's just a kid. Kids should be friends with each other until they hit puberty and turn into a bunch of bastards. Brutus is an adult--yeah, maybe nobody does like you. What does it matter? Get over it, ya chump.

Hey, if you are in the area of eastern Kansas this weekend, come out to Baldwin City where the Maple Leaf Festival is being held. Maple Leaf is a the largest arts and craft festival in the area and has been happening every year since the 1950s. I'll be hanging out there Saturday.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Uncle Ted Is Gonna Swipe Right...Or Is It Left?

Why are you talking about living happily ever after? Neither of you are near your expiration date to start reminescing about that. *Gasp!* Is Brutus going to commit murder-suicide? Considering his salary has barely changed since the strip began in 1965, it's quite possible Brutus is ready to just put this misery to an end.

I don't care how open and honest Brutus and Uncle Ted are with each other. They shouldn't be talking so openly about having threesomes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tauy Creek Digest #49: Garfield Alone

The following comics are from a Garfield storyline in October of 1989 where Garfield wakes up completely alone. It's an oddly jarring piece of work with different art style than what was normally used in the comic at the time.

According to the 20th Anniversary book, Jim Davis wanted to do something different with Garfield for Halloween and came up with this short story. As he said, what's scarier than being alone?

I can't remember where I read it but Davis said the "experiment" only lasted a week because he didn't want to alienate readers or upset the syndicate.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

That's Boss

Why would you get cake for a made-up holiday created by some secretary who worked for her father at a State Farm Insurance company in Illinois? Basically, Boss's Day was created as a second Father's Day and that's garbage.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Tank N Tummy #8

MaryJane has nice legs. Ryan texted to Dominic.

What? Dominic replied.

She’s home sick too. She just posted a lewd on Instagram. See? Ryan sent the picture he screenshotted from Instagram and sent it to Dominic.

Oh god. If she’s sick then why is she posting while sitting on the toilet?

Still hot tho.

Dominic got a message from MaryJane. He tapped on the notification and pulled up her message. I nearly threw up from masturbating I’m so dizzy.

You have a problem.

Feel free to come over. I may be sick but I’m totally good to go.

I saw your Insta. Slut.

You’re just jealous. Get over here. One time offer.

I’m sick too. I can barely make it to the bathroom.

I feel you. Which end?

Mostly the back.

Still would. 😄


MaryJane was then silent for half an hour. Dominic slid out of his bed and crawled along the floor to the bathroom. Along the way, he lost his pajama pants and boxers. “I guess they will just find my naked body sprawled on the bathroom floor in my own filth,” Dominic groaned to himself. He began typing something on his phone.

There’s a clear difference between poop and vital bodily organ, right?

I hope so. I’ve flushed so much down the toilet.

Ryan had just opted to move into the bathroom. He was sitting nude in the shower with the water running. The water was cold as he was burning up because of his fever. He was starting to feel better but still very dizzy. As he laid on the shower floor, he fell asleep again.

“Thanks, Chief,” a customer said as he stepped away from the counter. The next two customers did the same thing. It was weird. Chief hadn’t said one word since he came on duty but everyone was talking to him. Not full-on conversations but your normal pleasantries. Chief usually nodded in acknowledgement.

“How long have you worked here?” Aaron asked.

Chief stayed silent.

“All right. Good talk.”

When their rush of people were gone, Chief immediately went to the back and grabbed a broom. Aaron grabbed a magazine and began reading but was also glancing up at Chief still working. He was sweeping the floor and as he swept, cleaned up the items in the aisles, making sure they were neat and organized and that all the boxes were full.

After Chief had swept, he returned the broom and looked at the beverage center. He refilled the coffee pots and made sure the cappuccino machine still had powder in it. He checked the CO2 for the soda and put out fresh hot dogs and brats on the rollers. He then tossed out a couple of WET FLOOR signs and went to the back to make a fresh bucket of mop water.

“Slow down, Chief. I haven’t even started to work today and I’m already exhausted just from watching you,” Aaron joked. Chief held the mop handle and looked at Aaron. He then sloshed the mop in the water, wrung it out, and began mopping. “All right,” Aaron said.

Dominic’s phone chimed. He weakly lifted it to she could see it. I threw up on a guy while going down on him so I get 150 experience points. “Oh, MJ,” Dominic groaned. Another ding. He went to take a shower and another guy came over. 3Way!! 😍🍆💦👧🏻💦🍆 “What is wrong with her?” Dominic wearily muttered to himself. Another ding. “Leave me along, MJ,” Dominic growled. He looked at the phone screen.

It was Ryan. I think I’m feeling better. Only pooped once in the last two hours.

I still feel just as bad. And MaryJane keeps texting me about how being sick makes her horny. She’s had guys in and out all day.

In and out. I see what you did there. Think I could go over? Is there a line?

Dominic smiled. There probably is. She’s been offering herself up all day.

Eh. I’ll just stay here. I feel another poop coming on.

You spoke too soon.

Yep. Later.

Dominic weakly threw his phone and closed his eyes to go back to sleep.

MaryJane ushered the two guys out of her apartment. She was still nude and a little wobbly. She stood in the hallway of her apartment building and said good-bye to the guys. “Thanks, guys. Maybe we can do this again sometime.”

One of MaryJane’s neighbors turned the corner and quickly covered his eyes. He blushed a little.

“Oh, don’t be such a prude, Oscar. You were probably gonna see it sooner or later.”

MaryJane went back in her apartment and headed toward her bedroom. There was a knock on the front door. MaryJane paused and turned around. She opened the door and a guy was standing in the hall.

“Looks like you’re ready to go,” the man smiled, noting MaryJane’s nudity.

MaryJane smiled. “Yeah, I could go for another romp in the hay.”

“I figured you would be. Let’s go. You know how I love sloppy sevenths.”

MaryJane giggled stupidly.

Aaron and Chief clocked out and began leaving the Tank N Tummy. “It was nice working with you today, Chief,” Aaron said. “You’re not much of a talker but one hell of a worker.”

Chief said nothing as they left the store.

“See you around, Chief,” Aaron said. “Hold up, want some gum?” Aaron held up a pack of gum.

Chief looked down then took a piece. He unwrapped it and popped it in his mouth. He made a couple of chews and his eyes grew wide. “Mm. Juicy Fruit,” he said.

Aaron smiled big.


Happy birthday to Harry Anderson, who would've been 66 today. Always and forever an inspiration to me. In remembrance, here is an appearance Anderson made on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from 1988.

Well, since "Take Me Out To the Ball Game" is normally sung in the seventh inning then it would be sung at a football game in the third quarter--probably when the home team has the ball.

Interestingly, my last football game I went to in person popped up on my Facebook memories. It was cold, rainy, the game had to stop because of lightning, and we lost. Perfect.

Check out them seats: Row ZZ.

If you would like to support my writing and research, you can buy me a cup of coffee on Ko-Fi.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Eat Your Veggies

From what I gather, string beans are just green beans that have some weird strand of something attached to it. I like green beans and for the life of me I cannot understand why Gladys chose to cook green beans with a string still in them instead of the normal green beans that have been stringless since 1894.

Friday, October 12, 2018

A Better Man

*shudders* Veeblefester is holding/hugging/cuddling Brutus in that weird way again.

Being third out of three people is pretty good. I'm honestly surprised Brutus was even in the final three. Brutus must be getting at his job after 25 years at it.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Fault In Our Veeblefester

In what world would a normal human being chose those shades of green for the furniture? I get that maybe you are trying to differentiate from the dark colored suits but you couldn't pick a soft maroon or tan or something? I know it's the job of the daily syndication colorist to just color these as quickly as possible but still, someone colored that furniture green, looked at and went "Yeah, that's some fine work. Next!"

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Save the Date

Millard Fillmore wasn't even born on October 10th. Very few famous people of clout were born on October 10th. The only one to reach the...well, I don't want to call it 'caliber'...of Millard Fillmore is Winston Churchill. For some reason, I think it would be funnier if Brutus knew today was Winston Churchill's birthday but not his own wife's.

Right? That's funny, right? Forgetting your wife's birthday? Hilarious.

Tauy Creek Digest #48: West Lawn

George David Lytle was born in New York in 1857 and came to Topeka in 1889 when he was 32. He was only in Topeka a short before he left for southern Kansas where he worked in the oil industry in Wichita, Independence, and other Kansas towns. He returned to Topeka in 1905 where he began investing in the city, buying properties and revitalizing blighted areas. In 1906, Lytle established a neighborhood a block from the Governor’s Mansion at 8th and Buchanan. His plan was to create an upscale neighborhood with big houses costing at least $2,000.

An ad for West Lawn in a May 1907
edition of the Topeka Daily Capital.
West Lawn was advertised in the Topeka Daily Capital in early 1907 and offered a roomy completed house complete with papered walls and finished walks all on two lots. West Lawn extended from 8th to 10th Streets and was on both sides of Lane Street. Lytle himself even had a house in West Lawn that he also used as an office and model home. Lytle also owned a farm northeast of Topeka. Lytle would not see what West Lawn would ultimately become however.

Lytle became sick with typhoid in mid-August 1909. It was assumed that he was getting better but, after a cheerful and upbeat conversation with his wife, died unexpectedly of an internal hemorrhage on September 6, 1909. A later column in the Topeka Daily Capital estimated at Lytle built over 200 houses in Topeka and that much of Topeka’s growth was owed to Lytle and his crowning achievement was West Lawn. George David Lytle was buried in Topeka Cemetery underneath a beautiful stone with “Builder of West Lawn” engraved on it.
George Lytle gravestone in Topeka Cemetery.

West Lawn, when completed probably about 1915, had about 36 houses. Today, only two remain. Over the years, the nearby hospital, Stormont Vail, has expanded and grown into the West Lawn neighborhood. In the 1950s or 1960s, an apartment complex was built in the 800 block of Lane, it was torn down just recently. Most of the west side of West Lawn is a parking lot for Stormont Vail and nearby medical offices, the east side consists of a branch of Family Guidance Counseling, a prosthetics company and abandoned bank, and a newly built medical building. The two houses are located in the southeast corner or 9th & Lane, the last remnant of a neighborhood that George Lytle, and at one time all of Topeka, were so proud of.

904 Lane, built approximately 1910.

900 Lane, built approximately 1910.
Hanger Prosthetics and abandoned UMB Bank, built approximately 1980.
West side of the 800 block of Lane Street.
West side of the 900 block of Lane Street.
Article on Lytle and West Lawn in the Topeka Daily Capital, May 19, 1907.