fiction, silliness

Don’t Say It’s Quiet… another kinky short story for Sara…

A few days ago, I wrote a post called “Call the COVID Coven“. Originally, I meant to write a short story for my friend, Sara, who works on the COVID-19 unit at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. I had written another story for her back in May, when she complained about the excessive personal protection equipment she must wear every day to take care of patients with COVID-19.

But the day I tried to write the newer story, WordPress was being wonky and wouldn’t let me post. The mood passed, and I didn’t get around to actually writing the story. I just wrote about the preliminary idea I had to write one. Well… last night, Sara posted today’s featured photo and I was blessed (or cursed) again with the urge to write something creative. So here goes. This one’s for you, Sara. Hope you’ll still want to be friends.

When last we left our heroine, Sara, the COVID-19 warrior, she was being tortured by Nurse Echo, a sadistic and kinky nursing supervisor who thought Sara needed a lesson in empathy. Day after day, marathon shift after marathon shift, Nurse Echo stood over Sara like Sergeant Blast, forcing her to wear ever more hot and oppressive PPE as she tended to patients. It would have been bad enough if the PPE were the normal kind. But Sarah’s PPE was kinky, which could be a good or a bad thing, depending on one’s tastes.

Spitting image of Nurse Echo!

Nurse Echo wasn’t big on back talk, and she had a talent for design. Because she was tired of hearing her nurses complain about typing notes with gloves and face shields, she came up with a required face mask that also served as a very effective gag. Sometimes, if she was feeling especially charitable, Nurse Echo would let the nurses choose which type of gag they preferred: ball gag, ring gag, or penis shaped. Sara hated them all, but she needed her job. Besides, Nurse Echo wouldn’t let her leave the unit until every task was done to her satisfaction. And it seemed that Nurse Echo was never satisfied. She always felt things could be done better, and she would not back down when her nurses protested her slave driving style of management.

They had a strict rule on the COVID-19 floor at Kaputnik Hospital. “Don’t say it’s quiet.” The minute anyone ever said that, all hell would break loose. The craziest people would come in, their eyeballs hanging out of their sockets, or their noses bleeding incessantly, or vomit and diarrhea spewing from both ends… The nurses at the hospital knew. If things were slow, just enjoy it and eat bean dip and bon-bons. Things would inevitably pick up again, but maybe no one would be splattered with piss or pus or any of the other body fluids that show up on a busy hospital ward.

It was actually pretty quiet on the ward that night, as a trickle of sweat ran down Sara’s back under the rubbery gown she was forced to wear. She did feel confident that she would be able to finish her scut work earlier than usual. Maybe there would be time for a Gatorade and some Fritos before the next shift. But Sara was afraid to even think too long about how quiet it was. She had to get things done on time, or Nurse Echo would penalize her with extra thick gloves or an extra heavy visor on her helmet.

Shifting in her seat, Sara stole a glance at Nurse Echo. No one knew much about her. Where had she come from? Why was she so sadistic? She was an excellent nurse with meticulous skills, but she had the personality of a pissed off porcupine. Patients were lucky if she grunted “good morning” at them as she adjusted the tubes and wires that kept them connected to this life. Some of the patients who weren’t so sick whispered to Sara that Nurse Echo was scary. All Sara could do was nod in acknowledgment. She didn’t dare confirm the patient’s suspicions.

“Nurse!” Sara was jarred out of her reverie by the sound of Nurse Echo’s clipped British accent and the sound of her rubber pantaloons rubbing together as her thighs collided with each hobbled step.

Sara looked up at her boss, who was frowning, as usual. “Yes, Nurse Echo?” Sara responded, keeping her voice professional but betraying a certain timidness.

Nurse Echo scowled at her underling. She hated it when they sniveled. She hated it more when they were assertive.

“Are you finished with those notes yet? Mr. Trump has just made a huge mess in his bed and I expect you to clean it up promptly.” Nurse Echo snarled.

Sara rolled her eyes, thankful that the visor hid some of her deep resentment toward the orange haired cretin in room 432. He had recently been evicted from his housing and kicked out of his luxury hotel by his wife. After consorting with one too many Russian prostitutes, he had come down with the dreaded bug for the second time! But this time, no one at Walter Reed wanted to give him care.

“I’m almost finished Nurse Echo. It’s been a blessing tonight that things are so–” Sara said.

“Don’t you DARE say it!” Nurse Echo boomed. “Just for that, I think you need another layer of protection. Trade in that N95 for one of my special masks. NOW!”

“Aw… do I have to?” Sara whined. “I hate the taste of them.”

“You KNOW the rules! And clearly I can’t trust you to protect yourself by keeping quiet about–” Nurse Echo stopped herself just in time. There was one thing Sara did like about her boss. Nurse Echo never asked anyone to do anything she wouldn’t do herself. And if she had violated the rules, she too would need to “mask up”… and thensome.

Sara went into the medical supply room and found Nurse Echo’s special gag masks. She chose one that was shaped like a ring, covered it in bean dip, and was about to strap it on when she noticed the bottle of tequila in the corner. Feeling a little cheeky and more than a bit over Nurse Echo’s oppressive overbearingness, Sara quickly did a shot. Then she dutifully “protected herself” from more potentially ruinous outbursts, fastening the thick rubber straps around her head.

Nurse Echo smiled with satisfaction as she watched Sara stride resolutely toward Mr. Trump’s room. Taking a deep breath, she opened the door, gave herself a moment to recover from the bowling ball like way the stench hit her, and went into the room to deal with Mr. Trump’s trauma.

“Sorry…” Trump mumbled as Sara took in the mess. He wasn’t yet on a respirator, but his orange hair was complimented weirdly by the slightly bluish tinge to his skin. Sara smiled to herself as she realized that orange and blue are complementary colors. The mumbled apology didn’t sound the slightest bit sincere. She was surprised he’d said it. But then, he wasn’t very popular these days…

Unable to verbally respond to Trump’s “apology”, Sara willed herself to look kind as she nodded acknowledgment and cleaned up the mess. The many Big Macs and Whoppers Trump had enjoyed had really done a number. But Sara was a professional, and she had him clean and dry in no time.

She went back to her charting as Nurse Echo wandered the hall, looking in on patients, disciplining Sara’s co-workers, and tapping her ever present riding crop against her meaty hands. Nurse Echo was in a good mood, for once. She hadn’t yet made Sara wear the helmet, which was one of her favorite punitive garments for her nurses.

As she was typing the last notes into the computer, the doors to the COVID-19 unit burst open. Sara’s colleague, a young male nurse named Leon, came bursting on duty. Sara usually liked Leon. He was funny and energetic, and he worked very hard and at a high level of professionalism. But today, he said the dreaded words…

“Man! Why is it so quiet on the ward today?!” he boomed.

“On no…” Sara’s co-worker, Holly, moaned.

“What did I hear you say?” Nurse Echo growled.

“I didn’t mean it. Honest!” Leon moaned.

“You know what to do…” Nurse Echo hissed. Her eyes cast at the supply closet, and Sara knew that if Leon fucked up again, he’d be spending the night in the restraint wrap.

“Man, I wish I could quit this job…” Sara muttered behind the gag. “The money and hours are just too good to quit.”

“Move it!” Nurse Echo boomed as Leon scuttled away.

And just like that, the phones lit up and the first of many new patients arrived at the door. It was going to be a very long night. As Nurse Echo attended to the gasping young man who had just arrived on the hall, Sara noticed Mr. Trump’s call light blinking. She cast a furtive look at the private parts protector (PPP) Nurse Echo had designed expressly for patients like Mr. Trump, who wasn’t sick enough to stop grabbing women by the pussy. But Sara didn’t feel like suiting up…

She would come to regret that decision…

To be continued? Probably… but maybe not today.

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memories, nostalgia

Call the COVID Coven!

My friend Sara works as a nurse on the COVID ward at the Mayo Clinic. Back in May, she was complaining about how hot and uncomfortable her extreme personal protection equipment is. I thought her descriptions of it sounded kind of kinky, so I wrote a short story for her. I was mainly blowing off steam.

A couple of nights ago, she said I should write another short story. I was kind of surprised about that, because I wondered if maybe she didn’t think the first one was too bizarre. She said it was definitely “weird”, but also hilarious.

I used to love to write fiction. It was a great way of escaping the world, especially when I was in graduate school. But now, when I write short stories, they tend to be inspired by real life events rather than my imagination. But anyway, just to indulge Sara, I came up with a story proposal on the fly. I asked her what she thought of a story about a “coven” of 19 nurses, living in a dormitory as they tend to the COVID-19 patients.

There could be a core of nurse characters who live with each other in one unit, ruled by a cranky head nurse named Hilda who refuses to watch anything but medical dramas from the 1970s and 80s and has sexual fantasies about Pernell Roberts and Howard Keel. They could wear the same barbaric PPE and develop friendships as they eat bean dip and drink tequila shots on their nights off work.

Can you tell I recently overdosed on Call the Midwife? Now that’s a great show! Unlike Doctor Foster, the laughable drama I watched on Netflix this week, Call the Midwife has excellent and believable writing, likable characters, and fascinating storylines. I’m also a big fan of Doc Martin, another British medical show with elements of quirky comedy. No, I’m not a Brit, but my earliest years were in Britain and I’ve always had a fondness for the original motherland. Too bad all my ancestors migrated to the United States.

I was trying to post something yesterday, but WordPress was all weird and wouldn’t let me publish. I tried several different browsers and nothing worked, so I decided to just take the day off. It was rainy and depressing outside, so I watched the Netflix documentary about the Challenger disaster. I remember when that happened. I was only 13 years old, and living in Virginia, where we were dealing with a severe ice storm. I was not in school the day the space shuttle blew up because of the storm. The extreme cold was also one reason why the disaster happened.

Watching that series made me remember when I was 12, back in 1984. I had a really cool social studies teacher named Mary Kaylor who made class fun. She used games and “munchie days”, as well as videos… and I distinctly remember that before we’d start talking about the Revolutionary War, she’d discuss current events with us. I remember the fall of that year, Baby Faye was born with a rare heart defect. She was given a baboon’s heart in an effort to keep her alive until a human donor could be found. She died having lived a month. We talked about Baby Faye a lot in that class.

I also remember this teacher talking a lot about the Soviet Union and its leader, Konstantin Chernenko, who only lasted a few months before ill health sent him to the grave. He was a forgettable leader, but I remember him well because of that class. I don’t remember that much else about what we learned that year. She was a really good teacher, though. When I had her, she was very young and just starting her career. I wonder where she is now and if she’s still teaching.

It just goes to show you that you never know how you’ll touch someone. I mostly had very good teachers when I was growing up. They were all decent people, at least, but many of them were also good teachers. Some of them went on to do big things, too. My former homeroom teacher from tenth grade is now president of North Greenville University in South Carolina. I knew him when he was just starting his career, and it’s so cool to see where he is today. We keep in touch on Facebook.

I also had the privilege of attending a small college in Virginia (now a medium sized college). Twenty-six years after graduation, I still know some of the professors there, and they know me. My husband, who went to a much larger and more prestigious university, is flabbergasted by that. Of course, he finished college in 1986.

Anyway… lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the “good old days”. I didn’t realize how good they were back then. I wouldn’t want to relive them, but they are fun to revisit sometimes. And I like to post stuff like this on occasion so people don’t think I’m a total nut.

I’m glad it’s Friday, even though I doubt we’ll do anything special this weekend. COVID-19 is ramping up again over here, so restrictions have been renewed. I would rather stay home than deal with them. Fortunately, I’ve got things I can do, like work with the new dog and practice guitar… and write weird kinky stories for Sara. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow. As for today, we have the heating oil delivery to look forward to… something else that doesn’t happen that much in the United States.

Standard
fiction, silliness

When will this shift end? A kinky short story for Sara…

Now for something completely different…

Given what’s going on in the United States right now, it’s only natural that people feel the need to repeatedly comment on it. However, because so many people are commenting, it’s kind of like Facebook has turned into a tsunami of comments about COVID-19, racism, and riots… and just because I’m kind of a goofball with an odd sense of humor, I’ve decided that today’s post will be another one of my nonsensical short stories. This one is kind of by request. My friend Sara is a nurse who is working on the frontlines of COVID-19. She also happens to live in Minnesota. She was recently describing what it was like to have to wear PPE all day every day while on the job. I said it sounded kind of kinky. So Sara, this kinky story about PPE is for you. I hope it makes you chuckle. It’s completely tasteless and made up on the fly, so don’t blame me if it’s lame.

Sara sat at the nurse’s desk, head sheltered in plastic protective gear. She gazed tiredly at the computer screen, where her gloved fingers typed away at her notes on the latest patient to enter the unit. The man had been found wandering the streets of Minneapolis completely naked, except for his face mask, a long, blonde wig, and a cock ring. The mask he wore, made of orange naugahyde, bore an image of a gigantic large intestine on it. It clashed garishly with the pink cock ring encircled with feathers. The wig was platinum blonde, kind of akin to Barbie doll hair. But the man’s bushy black eyebrows and dark pubic hair gave away his secret.

Besides being a bit chilled by the nippy Minneapolis weather, the man got into trouble because the cock ring was cutting off his circulation. He was screaming in pain when someone finally called the paramedics to bring him to the emergency room. After a cursory check by the ER doctor who determined that the guy was not well mentally or physically, he landed on Sara’s unit to get help for his “unit”. Early the next morning, a microsurgeon would work his magic on the man’s magic wand.

Wearily, she typed his name on the record. It was Goat McCall. Yes, a naked man named Goat was admitted to a room on Sara’s unit. And now that the blood was flowing again, the man named Goat seemed only slightly less perturbed about being confined to a hospital bed. She had managed to get Mr. McCall into a gown… a special one that defied escape. It wasn’t unlike a straitjacket. She confiscated the platinum blonde wig. Mr. McCall refused to let Sara take his orange, naugahyde face mask, though. He claimed he didn’t feel safe without it. Not wanting to get into a fight with her latest patient, Sara shrugged and let him have his way.

Stealing a look at the clock, Sara typed faster. She had to have the record done in five minutes, or else she’d be penalized with another layer of personal protection equipment. Her supervisor, Nurse Ethel Echo, was a stickler about the rules. Sara had arrived to work that morning in just her usual scrubs, but every time she missed a deadline or made a mistake, Nurse Echo would levy another fine by way of forcing her to wear more oppressive PPE.

So far, Sara wore booties on her shoes, gloves on her hands, and a cumbersome face shield. She wasn’t yet wearing a face mask. That would come next if she missed her next deadline. But the face masks at Sara’s workplace weren’t your every day, average masks. Nurse Echo was sadistic and looked for ways to make the gear less comfortable and more kinky. Sara had never had to wear one of Nurse Echo’s kinky masks yet, but she’d heard from her colleagues that Nurse Echo had designed them to include penis like knobs. On the face, they looked very munch like your usual surgical masks, except for the sturdy rubber straps that caught in the nurses’ hair. Underneath, they were very effective gags.

Since Sara liked to talk and needed to be able to speak to do her job effectively, she wanted to avoid the mask. She knew that if she had to wear the mask, the rest of her night would be completely fucked. She’d never get her work done and would probably wind up spending the night in a “humane” restraint wrap. Nurse Echo liked to sentence her nurses to occasional nights in the restraint wraps to make them more empathetic to their patients.

She could have been Nurse Echo’s twin sister…

“Almost done…” Sara muttered as she finished up the last part of her SOAP. As she tapped the last key, she looked up to see the stern, stodgy, elderly supervisor standing there. Nurse Echo held a riding crop in her meaty hand and shook her long, scraggly red hair. Sara giggled to herself. Her boss always reminded her of Sergeant Bertha Blast from the 80s era Popeye cartoons Sara had watched as a child. Sometimes, she wondered if Nurse Echo had a twin who had inspired the character.

“That was very close, Sara.” Nurse Echo said as she slapped the riding crop in her palm. She had a clipped British accent. “You need to work on your efficiency. I won’t tolerate any slackers on my unit.”

Resisting the urge to roll eyes, Sara smiled weakly at her boss and smoothed her plastic smock. A bead of sweat rolled down her face under the face shield. She took a deep breath, grateful that she could still do that unfettered. How in the hell had she wound up working at the kinkiest hospital in Minnesota, anyway? Oh yeah. She’d answered an ad in the newspaper. I’ll never make that mistake again, Sara thought to herself as she slammed a drawer shut and prepared to take Goat McCall’s vitals. So many times, she’d considered quitting this job and working somewhere else. But she had to admit, the money was good and the hours were decent, even if her bosses were a bit unconventional.

“Have you checked the bedpan in room 435?” Nurse Echo nagged as Sara picked up her stethoscope. “I notice a strange smell coming from there. You remember what I told you about shunting the less pleasant work to your colleagues.”

“I haven’t had time yet, Nurse Echo.” Sara said crossly. Man, that woman got on her fucking nerves.

“You know what that means.” Nurse Echo chided as she headed for the dreaded PPE cabinet.

“Oh man… can’t you give me a break? I’ve been working like a dog today.” Sara whined.

“You know the rules.” Nurse Echo said sternly. “I suggest you cooperate or else I’ll throw in a helmet.”

“Dammit!” Sara snapped as her boss handed her a mask. Unlike the usual medical style masks people were wearing, Nurse Echo’s masks had two thick rubber straps that made the mask less comfortable, but much more secure.

“You have thirty seconds to put on the mask, Sara.” Nurse Echo said, her eyes steely.

She’s such a bitch… Sara thought to herself as she expertly put on the face mask gag. The heavy rubber gloves she wore made it difficult to fasten the straps, but the boss was still standing there, tapping her foot and looking at her watch.

“Ten seconds.” Nurse Echo warned as Sara fumbled with the buckles.

“Mmmmph.” Sara grunted.

“Excellent. Now see to that bedpan immediately.” Nurse Echo snapped. “I’ll check on Mr. McCall.”

Sara trudged off into the room where the funky bedpan was. The patient who had befouled the bedpan was not in the room. Mrs. Milton, whose bowels could put a bovine to shame, had been transferred to a specialty unit. But the remnants of her brief stay on Sara’s unit had definitely left a memorable impression. Sara considered putting a bit of ammonia in her nostrils just to neutralize the stench a bit. But then she decided she just wanted to get the job done and hope she didn’t pass out from the smell.

It took a few minutes to take care of the bedpan. After she was finished cleaning it, Sara felt a lot better. Yes, the face mask was a bit oppressive and the penis like knob tasted terrible, but she found that not being able to speak made her more efficient. Besides, she was now in such a mood that she doubted anyone would want to hear what she had to say, anyway.

If I can just get through the last hour of this shift, I’ll be home free… Sara thought to herself.

“SARA!” Nurse Echo barked. “Get over here this instant!”

“Mmmmph.” Sara grunted as she rushed to her boss’s side.

“Mr. McCall’s medications are late.” Nurse Echo said. “You know what that means.”

Oh no… Sara silently groaned.

“Go get the helmet.” Nurse Echo ordered.

Sara hated the helmet. It was hot, heavy, and obstructed her hearing and peripheral vision. The nurses were only supposed to wear them in unusual cases when they were dealing with highly infectious patients, but Nurse Echo liked to use them as punishment. She’d force her nurses to wear them when they were having bad days.

Man… I wish I could quit this job. Sara thought, chewing on the gag as she slipped the heavy helmet on her head and fastened the strap. But even if the money and hours weren’t excellent, Sara couldn’t quit her job. Working at this hospital was kind of like checking into the Hotel California. She could never leave, no matter how many times she quit working.

“Keep it up, Sara, and I’ll add the music.” Nurse Echo warned.

Oh gawd, no… Sarah moaned. The helmet had a built in music function that would play elevator Muzak. It would effectively cut off Sara’s ability to hear as it also drove her crazy. The Muzak used was the worst kind– softened versions of pop acts from the 70s and 80s played by cheap, tacky orchestras. It was enough to drive a person mad! She knew that if Nurse Echo tortured her with the music, she’d finish her shift with a four alarm headache and a need for a stiff cocktail.

“Mr. McCall is still waiting for his meds. See if you can get him to take off that mask. It’s filthy and clashes.” Nurse Echo said, her voice even louder within the confines of the padded helmet. The helmet had an annoying intercom feature making it impossible to tune out her boss, but canceling out most other sounds… except of course, the Muzak, which her boss hadn’t yet turned on. She knew it was only a matter of time, though. Nurse Echo loved to harass people who were under her command.

Sara got the medications for Mr. McCall. He was looking forlorn in his hospital gown, mouth still covered by the orange naugahyde mask. She couldn’t speak to the man, so she simply nodded at him and handed him the pills and some water.

Mr. McCall sighed as he peeled off the mask. Sara went to take the mask from his hand, but he had it in a death grip. Unable to explain why she needed to take the mask away, Sara watched as he took the pills, satisfied in knowing that one of them was a sleep aid. When he dropped off to sleep, then she could steal the mask and throw it into the incinerator. Sara took a perverse delight in throwing away things that were gross, like old, grimy face masks. But she also knew Nurse Echo would be angry at her for not removing the mask when she’d asked her to… and that would mean the dreaded Muzak therapy.

“Where is my cock ring?” Goat McCall asked.

Unable to answer, Sara simply shrugged and gave the man a little wave. In about ten minutes, she was sure he’d be sleeping and she could take away his mask. Meanwhile, the first annoying strains of the canned music were flooding the helmet. Obviously, Nurse Echo had been watching Sara on the closed circuit camera.

This last hour can’t end soon enough, Sara thought to herself. She cringed as a Muzak version of “Muskrat Love” started playing. (side note: I searched YouTube to see if I could find a Muzak version of “Muskrat Love” and was shocked to find that someone else must have also searched for it. Unfortunately, my search was fruitless.) So here’s a Muzak version of “Beat It”, followed by a horribly cringeworthy version of “Every Breath You Take”.

This actually reminds me a little of the original Beverly Hills 90210 theme…

When will this shift end… Sara groaned. Nurse Echo would probably break out the HAZMAT suit next, only it was made of latex. Sara had a latex allergy, but that didn’t matter to her sadistic boss, who was already dreaming up new ways to make life worse for her.

But Nurse Echo had a surprise for Sara. “I’ve got good news, Sara.” Nurse Echo said. “You’re getting off early today.”

“Mmmmph?” Sara mewled as saliva ran down her face.

“Yes… because I think you need a rest.” Nurse Echo said with a smile. “A little empathy lesson.”

Oh no… Sara thought to herself, casting her eyes at the on call room. That was where the restraint wrap was. But at least she could take off the rest of the PPE, right?

Nope.

To be continued? Maybe…

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fiction

Time for one of my famous fiction posts…

Yes, it’s time… and fuck anyone who thinks this story is about them or anyone they know. The usual disclaimer still stands. This is a work of FICTION. And just to clarify, it’s NOT about you or anyone you know. 😉 I made the whole thing up and I can prove it.

It was a happy day at the meat processing plant. Everyone on staff had gotten a five dollar raise, thanks to the president’s decision to cut Social Security benefits for the old geezers. Now, Big Bertha, Little Myrtie, and their trusty sidekick, Pretty Shitty could go out on the town. Not that there was much to the town where the trio of women lived. They were all long time workers at the processing plant. It was a dirty, nasty place to work, but at least they didn’t have anything to do with the truly grossest part of the work. That was handled by the men.

Little Myrtie was Bertha’s friend. She was much too squeamish to work with the pink slime. It offended her delicate sensibilities. Myrtie’s talents were for cleaning, which was a valuable skill at the processing plant. She kept everything sterile, which made it possible for the meat processing plant to make a good product that turned a profit rather than stomachs. Myrtie was also very frugal and knew how to pinch pennies until they cried. More than once, her efforts to cut costs had saved the plant from closing down. Of course, the plant was a blight on the landscape of their small, rural town in nowheresville. Maybe some people would welcome the closure of the foul smelling business. But, the truth was, it kept people working, even if it did detract from the town’s charm.

Pretty Shitty was not really a friend of Bertha’s and Myrtie’s. She was more of an admirer… a wanna be. She wanted what Bertha and Myrtie had. It didn’t even matter to her exactly what Bertha and Myrtie had– she just wanted it all. Shitty was a somewhat attractive woman, with long hair and fluttering eyelashes that framed her big brown eyes. In most other small towns, she’d be considered one of the prettier girls. Maybe she’d even be in with the “in crowd”. Unfortunately, her parents were from nowheresville, a town so inconsequential that they didn’t even bother to give it a proper capitalized name. And Shitty’s parents purposely named her Shitty because they thought it was a pretty name and they wanted to be creative. They had considered other names besides Shitty, like Uvula, Syphilis, Fallopia, and Gonorrhea. But they chose Shitty for its simplicity, ease of spelling, and the fact that it rhymed with the adjective, “pretty”. And pretty she certainly was, even if she did have the personality of a venomous snake.

nowheresville was mainly known for the meat processing plant, the simple, but relatively friendly population, and its one and only bar… Pink Tacos. One would assume the name might reference a certain unmentionable part of the female anatomy, but in fact, it really was Pink Tacos because it served pink tacos. The meat processing plant was famous for its production of pink slime, so important for the manufacture of fast food burgers. There was always a surplus of the stuff that couldn’t simply be dumped in a toxic waste facility. So the owner of the plant, Mr. Alfred Neumann, decided to sell it to Pink Tacos for just a few pennies on the pound.

Willy Reitzenhammer, the owner of Pink Tacos, would then turn the slime into fanciful creations that vaguely tasted of mystery meat and Old English furniture polish. No, it wasn’t the greatest food there was, but the beer was cheap and the tacos were filling. And Billy’s wife, Joshua, had a way with sculpting the stuff into fancy creations that looked good, but smelled and tasted like shit. Yes– her name was Joshua. Her parents were big fans of 19 Kids and Counting and had decided to name their only daughter after their favorite Duggar child. Every Sunday night, it was a sure bet that Joshua’s parents would lament about how unfair it was that their favorite Duggar no longer got any air time. But then they’d praise the Lord that he could still at least get his wife pregnant.

When the whistle blew in the processing plant, signaling the end of a shift, Myrtie, Bertha, and Shitty let out a collective “Yahoo!” and headed for the door. It was mud wrestling night at Pink Tacos. Sometimes Big Bertha would get in the ring and try to win an extra $25 for her beer and bunion surgery fund. Big Bertha, who weighed in at a substantial 250 pounds, was quite muscular thanks to her job hauling buckets of pink slime. She usually did well at the fights, especially when there was mudslinging. She wasn’t shy about jumping in– up to her armpits, if necessary– and wriggling around in the filth with any comer. She reveled in the stench and spread it around generously.

The three women decided to be thrifty and share a ride to Pink Tacos. Gas prices were going up and the women didn’t want to waste money on fuel. Besides, they did enjoy each other’s company at times. Big Bertha had a mean streak, but she could be funny when the mood struck her. Little Myrtie was always good with a mean spirited joke at someone else’s expense and she always knew how much everything cost, right down to the penny. Of course, one had to watch Little Myrtie when it came time to split the check. She wasn’t above taking advantage of the meek or the math challenged. And Pretty Shitty was good to have around because she attracted men… Granted, the men weren’t the most hygienic, educated, or sophisticated, but some of them still had their own teeth and some hair… even if the hair wasn’t necessarily on their heads. One of the best guys in nowheresville enjoyed letting his nose and ear hair grow, just to see if he could style it.

So, the ladies arrived at Pink Tacos at the usual time. The air hung like a thick, suffocating, woolen cloak, bursting with the aromas of smoke, sweat, vomit, and stale beer. The mood in there was ugly. It was mud wrestling night, and the pit was full… but not of the usual brown, viscous, earthy mud that Willy Reitzenhammer had regularly trucked in. No… tonight, it was full of pink slime and bits of light foam that flitted around above the mess.

“Hey Willy!” Bertha yelled, “What the hell is this? We can’t mud wrestle in this shit!”

“Sorry, Bertha,” Willy said apologetically, “but I couldn’t afford to buy any mud this week. I had lots of pink slime, though. I thought it would make a good substitute before it goes totally rancid.”

“Eeew…” Myrtie said, shying away from the mess. “That is disgusting. I think I might have to leave the premises.”

Shitty gave Myrtie an evil grin as she noticed how close her “friend” was to throwing up. It’s true. Myrtie could not stand it when things were dirty and out of place. She could barely tolerate the usual mud wrestling sessions and went only because otherwise, she’d be alone.

“Well, we’ve got an extra $15 between us,” Shitty said with a flirtatious wink. “and that’s enough for an extra pitcher or two of the best beer available at this dump. I say we start drinking…”

Myrtie’s eyes widened at the suggestion and it looked like she was about to say something. But Shitty headed her off and said, “You can have red wine, Myrtie. I know you don’t like beer. Not ladylike enough for you, I guess…”

Myrtie smirked as Willy handed her a glass of Barefoot Merlot. It was classy stuff in these parts.

“Well, I gotta get fortified if I’m gonna take on the beast this week.” Bertie said, flexing her muscles. “Hand me a tank of Schlitz, Willy.”

“Sorry, Bertha.” Willy apologized. “I ain’t got any Schlitz today. How about Pabst?”

“PBR?” Bertha sneered. “Well, I guess it’s better than nothing.” She accepted the head free liter of cheap suds and began guzzling it. When she was finished, she let out an odiferous belch that made Myrtie’s arm hair stand on end.

Just when the women didn’t think things could get any uglier in the bar, the Gatalin boys came callin’. Yep… the very same ones Kenny Rogers sang about in his hit song, “Coward of the County”. There were three of them. 41 years hadn’t been kind to the boys. They had long, stringy, greasy hair, big, fat beer guts, and a noticeable lack of teeth. They’d made a little bit of money on a defamation lawsuit they filed after “Coward of the County” became a hit in 1979, but the money was depleted. No one wanted to marry the Gatalin boys, because they were rumored to have defiled the town’s one respectable resident, Becky. Becky moved away without explanation in 1980, and everyone assumed it was the Gatalin boys’ fault. It didn’t help that Tommy went on to be a famous country singer with an odd affinity for plastic surgery.

“What you doin’ in here, Bertha?” one of the “boys” sneered. He was in his late sixties, but looked a bit older and smelled like he’d been dead for a couple of months already.

“Fuck you, Walt.” Bertha snapped. “You know it’s mud wrestlin’ night. I’m here to supplement my pay.”

Walt laughed. He and Bertha had a history. They were married for awhile… about seven years or so, until Bertha decided she could do better and Walt’s part of the settlement was depleted enough. She divorced Walt and extorted money from him whenever she could, all the while telling their children that Walt wasn’t their real father. And, the truth was, he wasn’t. Walt was sterile, thanks to an industrial accident at the meat processing plant. Bertha’s kids were mostly grown, though, so she needed a way to make more money. She was used to living the high life, buying whatever Franklin Mint trinkets she wanted when they were advertised on late night TV.

“Nice to see you workin’ for a change.” Walt sneered at his ex wife, as he turned to his brother, Larry. “Hey man… you got any snuff in that pocket?” he asked.

“For sure.” Larry said, digging into his pocket. He pulled out a small tin of snuff as well as a used condom and a tube of K-Y Jelly. Walt grinned when he saw the other items, and Larry said, “For later.”

“Hey there, Shitty” the third brother, Daryl, said to the pretty woman at the bar.

Shitty gave him her most shit eating grin and said, “Eat your heart out.”

“Might be an improvement over the pink tacos.” Larry quipped helpfully.

Daryl had a crush on Shitty. Most men in the town did. She was a comely wench with a strong, but skewed, sense of justice and a nose for nosiness. And she was pretty, dammit. That’s really all that mattered to most of them. If she never spoke, all of the men and half of the women would be happy to just look at her.

“So when do the festivities begin, anyway?” Bertha snapped impatiently. “I’m getting hungry and I don’t wrestle well on an empty stomach.”

“Five minutes.” Willy promised. “I think you’ll like tonight’s competition.” he added with a sly wink.

“Oooh… I do enjoy a challenge.” Bertha said as she left out a sonorous fart.

Myrtie cringed again, suddenly looking frightened as she daintily sipped at her wine. The truth was, she HATED her life. But she also hated being alone, and hanging out at Pink Tacos was the only way she could have any company. No one liked hanging out at Myrtie’s house because all of the furniture was covered in plastic. Every time anyone moved, the plastic creaked and it sounded like a cacophony of farts.

The door opened again and in walked a very handsome looking woman. Handsome, as in, she could have passed for a young man. She wore a suit, had very short hair, wore no makeup, and was scrupulously clean.

“Hey… speak of the devil!” Willy said with a broad smile. “Here’s the chick who’s come to take you on.”

Bertha snorted. “She’s no match for me. I could crush her. She looks like she can’t stand to get dirty.”

The woman cast her eyes at Bertha and licked her lips. But she didn’t say a word, which made Bertha feel nervous.

The Gatalin boys let out a simultaneous whoop when they saw her. “Hot damn!” they yelled.

The woman stayed silent, but put down her briefcase and removed her tidy suit. She wore a leotard, not unlike those worn by gymnasts, and revealed a trim, muscular body.

Bertha guffawed as she looked at her competition, who appeared to weigh about 100 pounds ringing wet. She was clearly much smaller than Bertha and would never be able to knock her down.

“What’s your name, little girl?” Bertha hissed at the newcomer.

“Joan.” she replied.

“Get in the fucking ring, Joan.” Bertha sneered.

“Are you kidding? You would pound the shit out of me. I’m not wrestling with you.” Joan said.

“This is wrestling night and you ARE going to get in the ring.” Bertha said.

“No, I don’t want to.” Joan said. “But I’ll pay you $100 if you and your friends get in the slime and wrestle.”

Bertha thought about it for a moment and said, “You gotta deal.” Of course, she didn’t think to ask Myrtie and Shitty how they felt about this arrangement. It didn’t matter. Bertha just went over and picked the two friends up, like cords of firewood, and handily deposited them in the pink slime. Then, plugging her nose, Bertha took a flying leap over the low slung boundaries and landed square in the middle of the nauseating pink sludge that smelled oddly of old meat and offal.

“Whooooo!” the people at the bar yelled as the three women went at each other like enraged pitbulls on crack. The music was turned up to something gritty and southern… perhaps a Lynyrd Skynyrd rip off. The Gatalin boys lit up cigarettes, swilled more beer, and threw a bit into the pit as the three meat processors grabbed and writhed in the stuff of nightmares that they worked with daily.

“Hey! Don’t pull my hair!” Myrtie shrieked as Bertha went into full on psychotic mode. Shitty jumped on Bertha’s back and whaled away at her with her tiny fists, not making a single dent in the mountain of a woman who was giving them a good thrashing.

Joan stood by the side of the pit, smiling victoriously at the scene. She took notes and video, still looking like a dynamo in her gymnastics leotard.

“Hey Joan!” Bertha squealed. “Why don’t you join us? It’s great in here!”

Joan wrinkled her nose and stepped back a couple of paces. The odor was overpowering and she never did enjoy rolling in shit. But this was just part of the job… and her job was a very powerful one…

Maybe I will continue this story if people are interested… for now, I’ll just say that this was fun to write, even if it makes no sense.

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Ex

Space invaders…

Lately, I’ve had a yearning to write fiction. I had that same hankering a year ago and even started a fiction blog. I took it down because a former (?) reader erroneously assumed she knew what my first story was going to be about and, for whatever reason, couldn’t restrain herself from invading my privacy and monitoring my online activities. This former reader (?), the tenant before me at our last house, is “friends” with my ex landlady and, evidently, has been returning and reporting to her about me for years. She as much as admitted it some months ago when she chastised me for being creative “in my space”. At the same time, this woman is very protective of her own online privacy and goes as far as to use fake names and other measures to minimize her online footprint. I guess she figures that since I don’t take the same extreme measures she does, I’m not deserving of privacy and basic respect.

It always amazes me when people who are protective of their privacy don’t exercise that same courtesy to others. I remember about eight years ago, Bill and I took a cruise and struck up a conversation with a guy from Texas who was extremely concerned about his privacy. During the cruise, he’d taken videos and pictures, and once he had returned to Texas, uploaded some videos to YouTube. When we got home from the cruise, the guy sent me an email offering to send me links to his unlisted YouTube videos of the parts that included Bill and me. But his offer included a lot of “strings attached”. For instance, he wrote that I wasn’t to share the links with anyone or show the videos to anyone who wasn’t Bill or me. It didn’t seem to occur to him that maybe we would have preferred not to be in his YouTube videos, unlisted or otherwise.

Actually, I realize that I’m probably in a lot of pictures and videos taken by others. People have probably written about me, too, the way I have written about others. There’s nothing I can do about that, so I don’t go searching to read other people’s thoughts on me. They’re none of my business, and knowing about them will only disrupt my peace. However, while I didn’t mind that the guy had included us in his videos and pictures, I didn’t really want to see myself in our acquaintance’s cruise videos, and wasn’t interested in receiving the links. I am not “camera ready”, so seeing myself in pictures and hearing myself in videos makes me cringe, and would have probably ruined my memories of what was mostly a great trip. I tried to tell him so in a roundabout way, but he didn’t quite get it. For some reason, being subtle and “polite” wasn’t getting the message across. So I was forced to be blunt, and tell him in no uncertain terms that we weren’t interested in seeing his videos. That seemed to offend him, even though our disinterest in the videos had nothing to do with him personally. I never heard from him again, which suited me just fine.

A year ago, I wrote about how I wanted to start a fiction blog with stories based on people and situations that annoy me. It’s something I do to blow off steam. The vast majority of people who inspire me don’t read my blog and, even if they did, don’t care enough about me or my opinions to be upset over an obviously made up story. The stories are all made up, even if the characters are sometimes based on real people. It would be impossible not to be inspired by real people when I write fiction, although I mostly try to vary them enough so that the characters are clearly fiction.

Anyway, this former (?) reader made the wrong assumption that the first story I was writing was going to be about someone she knows offline– the ex landlady’s daughter. What she evidently didn’t know is that the person she assumed my story was about was someone I had never actually met. In fact, I didn’t even know that person’s first name until I got a private message accusing me of writing a “nasty” story about her. The story wasn’t developed enough to be “nasty” and I’m not the type of person to go as low as what she was accusing me of, anyway. Former reader (?) simply assumed that I was going to do what I’d done in the past, even though I had started a completely new blog and it was a different concept than the snarky stories she’d read in my main blog.

While I can see why she came to the erroneous conclusion that I was going to “smear” her friend because the character had a physical characteristic that was similar to one her friend has, the story I was going to write wasn’t about her friend. Moreover, the character she objected to was going to be a minor player and, aside from having a prominent physical characteristic like her friend’s, wasn’t based on her at all. It couldn’t be, because I don’t even know her friend. We’ve never met, although I think Bill might have met her once. All I remember Bill saying was that her friend spoke excellent English, worked as a teacher, and seemed very intelligent. He never even mentioned what she looked like, nor did he tell me her name. I was never introduced to any of the ex landlady’s family members, aside from her husband. I don’t think she had enough regard for me to introduce me to her daughters. They were complete strangers to me.

Moreover, I know other people besides her friend who have that particular physical condition. If she had allowed me time to write more than a couple of chapters, she would have found that out very quickly, and realized that her fears were unfounded. The story was actually inspired by someone entirely different, and if she’d kept reading, that would have been abundantly clear. The truth is, I don’t even know how the story was going to end. I don’t usually have the whole story in my head when I write. A lot of times, the stories take on lives of their own as I compose them.

The blog was up for a matter of hours before I got a bitchy private message from the former (?) reader, shaming me and accusing me of something I hadn’t even done yet. I was very tempted to respond to her ridiculous accusations, but I had already blocked her on Facebook before she’d messaged me and decided I didn’t want to unblock her just so I could plead my case. I realized that no good could come from communicating with her, especially since she’d made it clear that she and her friends had been violating my privacy and probably laughing about me among themselves for years. She’d already made up her mind about me and wasn’t going to be dissuaded by reason.

I had tried to be understanding and accommodating to her in the past, when she was “uncomfortable” with something I’d written that she felt was wrong or unfair. On more than one occasion, I had edited something I’d written because she’d requested it. But I also knew that she’d read how I feel about people “invading my space” and trying to tell me what I can and can’t write about. In her last note to me, she’d sarcastically commented on how she “knew she was invading my space” as she then falsely accused me of attempting to “smear” her friend. In reality, she clearly didn’t respect my space at all, and felt that my comments about “space invaders” didn’t apply to her. I could tell that she didn’t have any regard for me as a person or respect for what I do. So, at that time, I chose not to directly respond to her comment and simply moved my blogs. She didn’t have the self-discipline to leave me alone, so I made the decision for her.

Moving the blogs has been a mixed bag. It took awhile to get used to the new format. I’m still learning about how to operate with WordPress, as Blogger was a lot easier to use and cost me nothing. I’ve lost a lot of readers, which is kind of a blow to the ego– although the ones who read now are of better quality and, in some ways, it’s nicer to have a more intimate audience. WordPress has one feature that I really love, and that’s the ability to password protect posts so that they don’t either have to be shared with everyone or be made completely private. There are people who genuinely like what I do and haven’t accused me of being someone I’m not simply because they don’t like me. Those are the ones I write this blog for, besides myself. It’s good that I can share some posts with those people and lock out “space invaders” like my former (?) stalker. It’s also good that I can shut down individual posts that become problematic.

After I got that very insulting private message from “Facebook user”, I decided it wasn’t worth it to indulge my desire to write fiction at that time. I took down the blog and spent the next few months a bit traumatized, even though the former (?) reader was wrong about my intentions and is wrong about me. She evidently thinks she knows me, though, because she was apparently an avid reader of my writings and assumes that I reveal everything in my blogs. Actually, I don’t. Even if I did write everything about my life in my blogs, she still doesn’t know me, hasn’t made the attempt to understand me, and I doubt she has the ability to “mindread”. In fact, I don’t even think she’s particularly good at gathering intel.

While it’s true that in the past, I’ve written snarky fiction stories about people who have pissed me off, I had no intention of writing anything along those same lines in the story she’d complained about. But even if had, why was it her job to intrude? Did she expect me to run my posts past her to see if they passed muster? Would she like it if I monitored her on the Internet? Because… she’s not as anonymous as she thinks she is.

It’s been a year. I want to write fiction. I have insurance up to the eyeballs. I could probably do it with little risk. But, if I’m honest, I’m still feeling kind of violated. This whole situation has left me gun shy and traumatized. It’s only been within the past few weeks that I’ve started feeling comfortable again about writing, which is a real tragedy, since that’s what I’ve done since I was a child. I know not everyone likes or appreciates me, but writing keeps me sane and engages my mind. I feel like I should be allowed to do it, even if some people get offended. I wish those who don’t like what I’d do would simply move on to their next Internet station and leave me alone. In fact, that’s the best way to avoid “inspiring” me. Simply leave me alone.

So… maybe I will start that blog, after all. But if I do, it will be to invited readers only, at least at first. I will say this, though… the story I wanted to write will eventually come out. Even if you convince me to stop writing something at the time, I have the rest of my life to write my stories. I’ve written stuff based on things that happened decades ago. I can wait… and during the time I’m waiting, my imagination will be working. Maybe the story that comes out later will be even better than it would have been. We’ll see.

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