Friday, June 24, 2011


By the Monday after the party all of the booze were gone, as were the Yoplait yogurts. The fridge needed to be cleaned, but no one was around to do so. Everyone had left the apartment, and as evidenced by the house plants, they, or anyone had not returned. It would be another week before a key would be inserted into the lock and turned and the door would be opened releasing some of the frowsty air.

There were still sea salt and vinegar chips in the carpet.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Amelia found the garbage bags in the towel closet, right where Frank had said they were. Why would someone keep garbage bags there?, she wondered. In the closet was also a kindergarten class sized refill container of bubble solution (with two wands! according to the label). There was also one shelf that had extra statuettes still in their collectable boxes, much like the ones she had seen Penelope standing by earlier. What a quirky guy, that Frank, she thought, and smiled widely, eyes aflutter.

She could hear Penelope and Frank still debating something in the bedroom, behind her, behind the closed door, and behind her hair which covered her ears. That Penelope was an odd duck, but she knew she could count on her to help her with her romantic objectives with Frank. Despite Penelope’s comments, she knew it was probably just reverse psychology.

Everyone always used reverse psychology on her. Go away!, they would say; she knew they were just happy to have her around. Shut up!, they would say; and she knew they were just playing and were interested in the stories and opinions she freely shared. Amelia liked knowing she was the most popular person at the party. Now, if only she could remember how she got there.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Outside on the fire escape there was a fight. A pigeon fight. Feathers were flying everywhere. It was some sort of avian street battle that took everyone’s attention away from Penelope and Frank leaving the room. In the midst of the squab squabble no one had also noticed Amelia pocket the other missing statue foot that she had noticed when she lowered her head after being insulted. A couple people did notice the man in the non-payless brand shoes making a pattern on the coffee table with multicolored candy shelled chocolates.

Penelope spoke first once they reached the bedroom, “What the F, Frank!”

She stomped over to Franks nightstand where she pulled out Franks copy of the King James bible. Opening it up she continued, “Why are we even here? If we did this at your office I could at least pull the fire alarm and clear the place out. I don’t really think either of us are in a state to be entertaining right now.” Inside the bible was a small collection of airplane cocktail bottles. She broke the seal on a tiny Dewers and chugged it.

“Can we call the police on our own party?” Frank, still waiting his meds to kick in grabbed a small bottle of something blue in the bible and opened it up.

“We could if your co-worker, Helen’s, cop husband wasn’t here with her…” Penelope lifted up the mattress from the bed frame and removed a cigar box.

“We could set off the sprinkler system… No, that would make a mess.”

Penelope opened the cigar box and pulled out some dried mango in a zipper-locked bag and passed the box to Frank. Frank removed a bag of dried cranberries and put the box back under the mattress.

Things seemed to be picking up again in the party in the other room. Chatter was heard, someone turned up the music, cabinet doors were opening and closing. The flighted fracas must have ceased, one bird was no doubt victorious.

An awkward knock rapped on the door. Two quick knocks, a pregnant pause, and then one unsure knock. After a moment of no reply the door opened and Amelia popped her head in. The two quickly hid their dried fruit behind their backs.

“Frank, it looks… Um… the trash can seems to be… Do you want me to put another out?” Clearly she was really staking out the situation. Frank’s eyes fluttered slightly as he prepared to reply.


From across the room, Penelope saw her one-time nemesis, Amelia Murglethorpe. She had always found Amelia's name amusing and appropriate, as she greatly resembled Amelia Bedelia, and Penelope felt her to be just as silly. Amelia, clad in four shades of asymmetrical black, which she mistakenly thought to be chic, galumphed towards her. Penelope clutched mini-Edward's nose and breathed deeply.

"Penelope! What are you--how are--"

Penelope waited; she had forgotten Amelia's peculiar inability to start and end a sentence with a clear through-line.

--what's that--I mean, how's Frank?" Amelia managed to finish.

"I am fine, if that's what you are asking, and Frank is fine," replied Penelope.

"That's--I think--just great, don't you think?"

"What I think is that I would like to stab you in the face."

"Great, thanks! Wait, what?"

"I wanted to grab you and have a race!"

A little uncertainly, "That sounds fun."

"I hate you, and Frank will never date you!"

"You--he won't?"

"He won't, what?" Frank suddenly appeared.

Penelope froze with guilt. 'Umm, that's a really good question. Who knows what "he" will or won't do? And by "he," of course, we mean God.'

Frank raised an eyebrow. "Oh, do we believe in God today?"

Penelope shrugged, "Marginally."

"Okay, enough people time for you. Excuse us, Amelia." Frank steered Penelope away.

As they walked away, Penelope heard Amelia whisper, "I had no idea she was so peculiar."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Frank was tuning out the two ladies he was “talking” with. They started going on and on about the economy, something he knew was important but couldn’t really talk about. The women, identical twins from the accounting department in his office, were nice, but bland. This seemed to be something he learned about people in the accounting office. Instead of paying attention to them, or to the salsa that had been dripping off of the chip in hand for the last 5 minutes, he was staring at the man in the bland shoes talking with his sister.

A: How did this guy end up at the party?, and B: What could he have in common with his neurotic but delicate sister? He wondered this and nodded to the twins, feigning attention. C: Was this the guy who shared a bus with him on weekday evenings? It must have been, but he couldn't tell since the man wasn't dressed in his business attire. By that time of day Frank would be zoning out anyway, and thus not paying attention to his surroundings, having been exhausted by the banal tedium of the office day. He watched the interaction, still damp and confused, and dripping salsa.

D: Why was he so into list making? And E: wouldn’t this make him more likely to get along with accountants?

“Excuse me,” he interrupted the twins, dropping the chip back into the salsa, leaving it there, and walking toward the bathroom to grab his pills. Sometimes the room went silent when he was focused. Sometimes he stared at people while they talked knowing full well that he couldn't hear a word they were saying. He knew this was not a physical malady; his hearing was fine. So he didn’t hear his sister calling to him in short utterances, hoping he might be crossing the room to help extricate her from her conversation.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


"There's something poetic about that, don't you think?" he said, causing Penelope to silently agree on the "stupid question" issue.

"Your foot crushing his foot? I suppose." More awkwardness. She hated when strangers spoke to her, even attractive ones. Which probably accounted for her general loneliness and outrageous co-dependency. She studied his nondescript shoes in the hope that they would suddenly walk away, and she could mourn mini-Edward in peace.

"These aren't Payless sneakers, by the way. They look like them but really aren't. It's a statement on bland, mass consumerism."

Penelope wished (not for the first or last time) that she could roll her eyes. She lacked the motor skills and coordination. It was, perhaps, a good thing. She did not, however, lack the motor skills to walk away. So she did.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Maybe not attractive in the Hollywood-picture sense, more handsome. Yes, handsome was the word. Not handsome like the late Bea Arthur, but handsome in the Grecian figure studies sense. The familiarity was mysterious to her. Did she actually recognize him? Or did he have a familiar face. He was not average, so his unique features shouldn’t allow for confusion.

“Is this your nose?” he asked, handing her a little nose connected to a corner of cheek.

“Oh… Um. It’s Edwards.” She was still trying to figure out his face, while holding the fragment of Edward’s. “I mean, it belongs to this statue I broke, it belongs to my brother. This is his party. “ Here was her in, “How do you know him?”

“I don’t actually. My friend Transom asked me to join him on our way to a couple gatherings tonight. I am joining him here, and then he is going with me to the opening of a friend’s antique shop.” Was he floundering? Was he nervous? “And how do you know him?” he asked, trying to pass back the conversation baton.

“Well, I know him ‘cause he’s my brother.” Her brow furrowed.

“Right. Stupid questions.” He looked at the floor. Realizing he could help more he knelt down and helped Penelope pick up the remaining pieces of her secret shattered infatuation. He continued, “people like to say that there are no such thing as stupid questions, but that is clearly an insane thing to say. You know?”

“Careful. You’re about to step on his little ceramic foot.” She pointed at the ankle about to be squashed under his payless brand sneakers.