As You Wish

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The police officer stepped out of her car, leaving the lights flashing and approached the older man. “Sir, is this your vehicle?”

The man’s face was bathed in the red and blue flashes. “No, but I was just…” He gestured toward the silver sedan.

The officer put up one hand, the other moving toward her hip. “Please step away from the vehicle. We’ve gotten reports of someone rummaging through cars in the area.”

“I wasn’t rummaging.”

“What are you looking for? Money?”

“No, no, not at all.” He took a step toward the rear door. “Let me show you.”

“Don’t touch the car. Do you live around here?”

“A few blocks away but I’ve already hit up all the cars on my street.”

She stared at him. “So you admit you’ve been breaking into cars.”

“No, of course not. I never break into cars. I only go into the ones that are unlocked.”

The officer rubbed her forehead. It had already been a long night and her shift was technically over. She just wanted to go home, pour a glass of wine and watch Princess Bride for the hundredth time. “You can’t just go into people’s cars.”

“I really don’t think they’ll mind.”

“Sir! That is not the point! Do you understand that I could arrest you?”

The man shrugged. “But I don’t take anything.”

She took a deep breath. Losing her temper wouldn’t help anything. “Then what are you doing?”

“I’m leaving bags of zucchini.”

“You’re leaving—what?”

“Bags of zucchini. You know how it is at this time of year. My garden has so much zucchini and I don’t want to waste it.” The man put up one finger at a time as he listed off items, “I’ve made zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini bread, roasted zucchini, fried zucchini, zucchini gratin and zoodles. Have you ever heard of zoodles. I just learned about them. You can buy this machine…”

Her head was pounding. She pictured Princess Buttercup bossing Wesley around in the Princess Bride. No matter what she told him to do he always answered the same way, “As you wish!”

But what she wished right now was that she had chosen a different career. She looked in the car window and sure enough, there was a plastic bag overflowing with zucchini.

“Sir. You can’t just leave stuff in people’s cars.”

He crossed his arms in front of him. “Why not?”

She spluttered and pointed a finger at him. “Because! Because I could take you in for a ROUS violation, that’s why.”

“A what?”

“ROUS, Redistribution Of Unwanted Squash.”

They both froze, staring at each other and then at the same time they cracked up. A couple walking by stared at them as the two snorted with laughter.

After a minute the man asked, “Wait, isn’t ROUS from Princess Bride? Rodents Of Unusual Size?” He wiped his streaming eyes.

“Maybe.” The officer doubled over trying to catch her breath.

They finally stopped laughing.

“But really,” she said, “you can’t keep doing this. You’re going to get in trouble.”

“Alright, I’ll stop.”

“Promise?” She narrowed her eyes at him.

“Promise.” He put a hand over his heart.

“Okay then.” She started toward her car.

He called after her “Would it be okay if some chocolate zucchini bread happened to show up at your precinct?”

She grinned. “As you wish.”

How to Turn 50

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Go ahead and question your life

because you know you will—

What have I achieved who am I what am I

going to do now why didn’t I start earlier I wish

I learned how to play the drums

 

and then

 

throw yourself a fancy party and invite your

scantily clad insecurities for tea

display your candied doubts in a cut

glass dish slice your fear and serve

with a dollop of homemade whipped cream

 

and dance

 

like everyone

 

is watching

 

Book Announcement!

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I’m so excited to share with you that my middle grade novel SOMETIMES BRAVE is available wherever books are sold. Ten-year-old Hazel has always had an amazing imagination–a little too amazing her dad sometimes says–but even she can’t pretend away the fact that her family has just become homeless, her best friend Jilly isn’t speaking to her, and a tornado is on the way. Through friendship, family and the love of a sweet old dog, Hazel will discover there are many different kinds of brave.

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Lake

 

Little hands arrow

toward the water,

toes tempting the dock’s edge.

 

Lean forward, I say.

A little further, I urge.

You can do it my brave boy.

 

Wide eyes watch—

trusting ,

determined.

 

In one bold movement

he takes flight

and dives.

 

My eyes watch—

attentive,

alert.

 

Making sure I

have taught him

how to swim.

 

His world grows

as he stands

toes tempting the edge of life.

 

Filled with first

dates, college,

job, apartment,

love, heartbreak,

disappointment, joy.

 

Lean forward, I say.

A little further, I urge.

You can do it my brave boy.

 

He dives in.

And I hope

I have taught him

how to swim.

 

 

Who’s in your bubble?

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Hello?

Hi John. This is Steph. You know, from WSU?

Oh-yeah, hey! How are you doing with all of this? I totally miss actually going to classes.

Me too! So I was just wondering—if you might want to be in my bubble.

In your—what’s that again?

You know, as states open they’re recommending people pick their bubble of ten people that they interact with. And everyone in the bubble agrees not to interact with people from another bubble and it keeps us safer until, well I don’t know, there’s a vaccine or no more new cases or something.

Oh! That’s a cool idea. Sure. Well I mean, probably. But I might want to just check out what other bubbles are out there. Like what if Melissa McCarthy just happens to have an open spot in her bubble. She’s like hysterical! I mean this is a big commitment.

Dude, Melissa McCarthy does not have a spot in her bubble for you.

I know, but now I just want to make sure to get in the right bubble.

You didn’t even know about the bubbles until I told you!

But now that I know about them, I have to really think about this. The bubble you’re in could really affect the future.

Not really. Its just who you hang out with.

Exactly!

Oh John! So sorry, just got a text from Grace. She’s taking the last spot in the bubble.

Wait! You can’t just ask me and then kick me out already!

I guess I actually can. Good luck finding your bubble.

Shit. I wonder if I can find Melissa McCarthy on facebook.

When Zoom Bookclub Goes Wrong

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Janet: Hi Sheila! Thanks so much for planning this Zoom bookclub. What a great idea!

 

Sheila: You’re so welcome. And welcome to Grace! Glad you could make it.

 

Grace: Thanks for inviting me.

 

Laila: Hi all! I’ve missed seeing you in person. Good to at least see your faces. And nice to meet you Grace.

 

Grace: Thanks. You too.

 

Michelle: Hey girls! Got your wine ready?

 

Sheila: Got it girl! Cheers!

 

Janet: Okay, everyone have their snacks ready?

 

Michelle: This is so like the Brady Bunch! Hi Marsha! Hi Cindy!

 

Sheila: Hi Mrs. Brady! Hey Alice!

 

Janet: You guys are ridiculous! I’ve missed you. Okay, but really. Did everyone make a snack that goes with the theme of the book?

 

Grace: Oh, sorry I didn’t know about that.

 

Janet: No problem. Just when we can meet again in person, we all bring a snack that goes with the book. It’s really fun.

 

Michelle: As long as we have wine!

 

Janet: Sheila is that your cat? She’s really loud.

 

Sheila: Say hi to Marshmallow! I don’t know what I would have done without her during this quarantine. She’s such a sweetie!

 

Janet: Okay but she is really fucking loud right now. Can you put her in another room or something?

 

Sheila: Really Janet!? No I will not put her in another room!

 

Michelle: Okay, let’s just chill out girls. Have some more wine! Cheers!

 

Sheila: Michelle, you really do drink too much.

 

Michelle: Fuck you Sheila you fucking cat lady!

 

Janet: Actually you do Michelle. Let’s be real.

 

Michelle: Oh yeah, Ms. stupid theme fucking snacks? No one thinks that is a good idea, Janet.

 

Sheila: Yeah, that is really annoying Janet. No one actually wants to do that.

 

Grace: Um, sorry but are we going to talk about the book?

 

Michelle: Grace, I’m not sure you’re going to fit in here.

 

Janet: Yeah, sorry Grace but I don’t think this is going to work out.

 

Sheila: I’m going to boot you out of the Zoom call Grace. Sorry! Bye!

 

Janet: She was such a downer.

 

Sheila: Yeah, we should stick to our original group from now on. No newbies.

 

Michelle: Totally agree. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink Slip

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Dear Temp Services Manager,

 

We would like to lodge a complaint

against your employee,

Boredom.

 

Hired, due to his

supposedly stellar skills

highlighted on your website.

 

Boredom is the impetus for

reviving long lost skills

 

He will create the space

for developing new talents

 

And be an engine for introspection

meditation and grace

 

The perfect antidote to worry, rush

and chaos

 

After many weeks in our employ,

he has shown himself to be dull, draining and full of despair.

 

And has, in fact, created a workplace culture of apathy and anger,

an atmosphere of staleness and stagnation.

 

The other employees have reported finding themselves

in a fog of fraying nerves, fading hope and lost marbles.

 

In conclusion, we believe you greatly exaggerated Boredom’s skills

and abilities and we request a full and immediate refund.

 

Also, please come fetch him because we cannot get him to leave.

 

Sincerely,

 

The World