Posted on October 28th, 2014 in Stories



In disgust,

The creepy and the crawly,

The weird and the ungodly,

And even the scary and terrifying,

Gathered together Halloween Night,

Praying it would be a trick-or-treater free sight.


“No one wants any decent spells,” the witch grumbled,

“All they want is love and money,

Looking good and getting skinny.

If it weren’t so sad, it might be funny.”


“At least you don’t sit all day,” the jack o’ lantern cried,

“Fearing you’ll get carved up or made into a pie.

Ol’ Bob got bought and painted to look like a princess—

Pigtails made of yarn and rhinestones glued to his head!”


“Oh blah blah blah,” the ghost mimicked,

“I’m a pumpkin and I’m so persecuted.

Kids today aren’t scared of anything!

Walking through walls, moving stuff across the ceiling—

I set fire to curtains the other day and they just giggled—

GIGGLED! If I were a poltergeist, they’d be screaming.”


“At least you don’t have a movie franchise,” the vampire groused.

“A bunch of teenagers wearing glitter mooning around,

Fighting with werewolves like a bunch of clowns.

Getting girls has never been easier,

But instead of just their blood, they want forever!”


The black cat licked her black paw. “It could be worse,” she mused,

“You could all be running the streets in cheap costumes,

begging for candy for bratty children,

just to put them to bed and be called a villain.”


The creatures looked at each other and shuddered,

For the cat was right.

Perhaps it was the perfect Halloween night.

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Harvest Moon Festival

Posted on October 26th, 2014 in Stories

Under the Harvest Moon


Saturday night, the whole town was at the Harvest Moon Fest,

It was free, after all, and you couldn’t do better than that.

The City held it in the historic visitor’s center,

Really known as the Wal-Mart parking lot,

So you could stroll in and get some batteries, duck tape and a six-pack,

Before conquering the Moon Bounce and buying a hand painted gun rack.


Well, my editor sent me to take photos,

And it’s amazing what the camera sees,

Like Darth Vader flirting with Nefertiti.

The Fire Department’s oogling the Park and Rec girls again,

So you best hope no one knocks over their Jack O Lantern tonight,

Looks like our boys are otherwise occupied.


Turn the corner and there’s the newlyweds making out,

A Kleenex Box chasing a Pizza Slice with pigtails.

The psychic just told a little girl she was going to grow up and have seven children,

While being an astronaut, curing cancer and winning Miss America Christian.

If she offers up some ocean front property,

I’m going to call over the belly dancers,

And get their slithery friend to help squeeze the truth out of her.

Man, won’t that make for a great picture!


Grandma’s pitching a fit in the face painting line,

Wrinkled butterfly wings across her nose wasn’t what she had in mind.

Guess she and the grandkid won’t be twins after all,

But there’s always the henna tattoos,

If the preacher doesn’t leave the Lutheran Church booth.


The Celtic dancers are starting up,

Clogs don’t really work on grass, but they’re smiling,

You got to give them props for trying.

The professor is having a conniption

Because the mentalist guessed his birthday on a magical Post it,

Better get a close up of the enchanted dice while I’m at it.


Someone tugs on my dress,

And what do I see,

But three little princesses grinning up at me.

“Excuse me, ma’am, can you take our picture?  We’d like to be in the paper.”

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Mitzi Matterhorn was not afraid of scientists, either

Posted on October 21st, 2014 in Stories


Part one here. 


While Priscilla the pug chatted with a butterfly (one might interpret her snapping jaws as trying to eat the butterfly, but really, it was an animated conversation), Mitzie paced back and forth on the scientist’s porch.  On the stroke of two, she rapped on the wood.  The door flung open.  If possible, the scientists’ hair was even wilder.  A laptop was tapped under one arm and a cat squirmed under the other.  Mitzie raised her eyebrow.  ”What are you doing?”


“Ordering Mr. Boots some boots.  His paws get cold.” Herr Vempkauff’s eyebrows crowded together like fuzzy caterpillars huddling for warmth.  ”What are you doing?”


She scowled and pointed to the folded clippings clenched in his fingers.  ”Are you ordering boots with the coupons I gave you?”


“No.”  Herr Vempkauff’s cheeks reddened.  He was a terrible liar.  Mitzie waited until he sputtered, all the air blustering out of his cheeks in one puff.  ”Fine!  I’ll order Mr. Boots’ boots later– even though a cold front is coming and he won’t be able to roam outdoors in comfort, thanks to your impatience.”


“A cold front means an influx of spiders, and Priscilla hates spiders,” Mitzie informed him, sweeping inside with Priscilla, who was perhaps the only pug who did not hate spiders.  She gazed inside the messy living room, where papers were stacked on top of papers and books on top of books.  In fact, a stack of books made up the wobbly coffee table, the stiff looking chairs and filled several cardboard boxes that pressed together, served as a couch.  She squinted toward the kitchen and shuddered.  The only thing Mitzie hated more than spiders was messes, and this house was making her skin crawl more than a tarantula.  ”Shall we get started?” she asked Herr Vempkauff, delicately perching on one stack of books that was high enough to serve as a stool.


“No need.”  He patted his lab coat pockets until he located a small vial.  With a flourish, he presented it to her.  ”Here you are.  Three drops in a bucket is all you need.  It’s Spider Hiroshima– it’ll take them all out.”


Mitzie crinkled her nose.  ”Is it pug proof?”




“Is it Mr. Boots proof?”


“Oh, heavens no!”  Herr Vempkauff was so horrified he scooped up his cat and pressed his cheek to the feline’s whiskers.


“Then I suppose you better get back to work,” Mitzie drawled, smoothing her skirts.  ”And I’d like it to smell good, if you don’t mind.  Vanilla or honeysuckle, something of that nature.”


“You want it to smell good?” Herr Vempkauff repeated.  His caterpillar brows were about to vibrate off his creased forehead.


“Of course!  I despise spiders!  If I’ll be splashing this about, I want it to smell lovely.  It must be pug safe, human safe and butterfly safe.”  At Herr Vempkauff’s puzzled look, Mitzie explained, “Priscilla loves butterflies.”


“Of course.”  Herr Vempkauff shook his head.  Grumbling under his breath, he started downstairs toward his lab.  ”Why do you hate spiders so much anyway?”


Mitzie drew in a deep breath.  ”That’s a long story.”  Before Herr Vempkauff could protest, she began.  ”It all started when I was three…”


To be continued, Invisible Friends!

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Good night deer

Posted on October 19th, 2014 in Stories

In the big, big house,

Far, far from town,

The old man has put up the horses,

Even the deer have cut their losses.


Inside, Mama’s wiping down the counters,

The little ones are curled up in their beds.

Even the dogs have given up sniffing,

In favor of some old comfy rug dreaming.


The old man comes in for his bedtime bath,

Mama shuts off the lights and whispers,

“All right, ya’ll.  Time to say good night,

And don’t let the bed bugs bite.”


Good night, old man with bubbles in his beard.

Good night, Mama in her stained apron.

Good night, chattering little birds.


Good night dreaming dogs,

Good night snoring hogs,

Good night whispering kids—

That’s right, Mama can always hear this.


Good night horses,

Good night goats,

Don’t eat until you choke.

But most of all, good night deer,

Good night stars,

Good night wherever you are.









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Mitzi Matterhorn Was Not Afraid Of Bugs

Posted on October 17th, 2014 in Stories


She was, however, terrified of spiders.


When her mother pointed the fallacy of this to her, Mitzie scrunched up her nose and turned her head.  ”Bugs are not spiders, spiders are not bugs.”  That’s all she would say about that, and her mother threw her hands up and went to make dinner.


As one afraid of spiders, there were many places Mitzi Matterhorn did not dwell.  Stairwells were out, particularly dark and shadowy ones with lots of dusty corners perfect for spiderwebs.  Closets, unless well lighted and walk-in, were off limits.  Pantries, laundry rooms and the coat room at school also made the list, and her exasperated friends grew quite tired of fetching her boots and her snacks daily.  ”Why can’t you get  your own crackers?” they would whine, and Mitzi would scrunch her  nose and cross her arms over her chest, glaring her best glare.  ”Do you WANT me to be bit by spiders?  Do you want a black widow to crawl into my left ear and out my right?  Do you want a tarantula to tap dance on my skull?”


At this point, yes, her friends rather did, but one never said such things aloud.  Instead they’d hand her the boots and crackers and grumble under their breath as they chewed.  Mitzi would pretend not to hear them, and everything would start all over again the next day.


Of course, there was no way this could continue forever. At some point Mitzi would grow up and have a home of her own, and unless she married the world’s richest exterminator, her future husband couldn’t spend his every waking hour scouting spiders for her.  Her friends would have jobs or children, and as much as she tried, she couldn’t train her pudgy pug Priscilla to search for spiders.  Instead of pointing out the spiders, Priscilla would slurp up their webs– and sometimes, much to Mitzi’s disgust, the spiders as well.  After the one incident with the jumping spider, she’d scrubbed Priscilla’s tongue so hard she was sure the pug couldn’t taste her kibble for a week.  After that, Priscilla ignored every spider– particularly the tasty looking ones.


So, there was only one thing to do.  Mitzie Matterhorn would have to develop the world’s best, 100 percent foolproof spider away spray. Oh, sure, she could just get over her fear like her mother suggested, but what would the fun of that be?  Why would she have to change? It was the spiders that were the problem, not her.  As Mitzie tended to enjoy art and writing more than science, she didn’t just need the world’s best, 100 percent foolproof spider away spray, but a scientist to create it.


That’s how she ended up on Herr Vempkauff’s porch at nine on a Saturday morning.  Everyone knows you never disturb a mad scientist that early, particularly on a weekend as they’ve been up creating chaos all night, but Mitzie didn’t care.  There was a tiny web in her kitchen right by the fridge that morning.  If she didn’t act fast, she’d have to throw everything out for fear a spider slipped inside and stamped their sticky eight feet all over everything and if she did that, her mother would have to go to the store.  Her mother hated going to the store.  This was not a good situation for anyone.  ”Herr Vempkauff?” she shouted, knocking.  ”Herr Vempkauff, hello?”


The door flung open and a wild-haired, bug-eyed, lanky old dotterer thrust his head out the screen.  ”Grasshoppers!  Can’t you see I’m sleeping?”


“It’s nine in the morning.”  Mitzie was unimpressed.  Actually, she was downright judgmental.

“Fine.  I’ll march over to your home at four in the morning and we’ll call it square.”  Herr Vempkauff started to slam the door.

“Wait!” Mitzie cried.  ”I have a job for you.”

“Can you pay?” Herr Vempkauff was unimpressed.  Actually, he was downright judgmental.

“I can pay you in love and endless appreciation.”

Herr Vempkauff started to slam the door.

“And coupons!” Mitzie howled.

The frizzy head poked back out.  Mad scientists, as a rule, were frugal.  Herr Vempkauff was downright cheap.  ”What’s the catch?”

“No catch.”  Mitzie’s mother was a champion coupon clipper.  If she had to go to the store, she wanted it to count for something.  Mitzie extended the envelope of coupons she’d swiped from her mother’s box.  It was a hefty price to pay, but sacrifices must be made in the name of science.  Herr Vempkauff peeked inside and whistled.  ”Ok.  You got me.  What’s the job?”

“I need a spider-away spray.  One that’s 100 percent foolproof.”


Herr Vempkauff smirked.  ”Are you scared of bugs?”


“No, spiders.  And I’m not scared, I just don’t appreciate them.  Particularly anywhere near me.”


“Bugs are spiders,” Herr Vempkauff pointed out.


“No, they are not.”  Mitzie gnashed her teeth together.  ”Spiders are not bugs and bugs are not spiders.”  She scrunched her nose and stuck out her hand, determined to seal this deal properly.  ”Deal?”

Herr Vempkauff tucked the envelope under his arm and closed his callused hand around hers.  ”Deal.”  This time, he gently slammed the door.  ”Come back at two!”


Mitzie rolled her eyes.  She was going to have to train this mad scientist to work on proper hours and not burn daylight.  ”Isn’t this exciting, Priscilla?” she asked her faithful pug, lounging in the sunlit steps.  ”Soon, we’ll have no spiders.”


Priscilla’s stomach rumbled in sympathy.


To be continued….


Thanks for your kind words on my last post!  I’ll come visit everyone this weekend!




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