20 October 2012

PlumeNotes - There's a Crazy Bitch in the Attic

WARNING: Spoiler Alerts. But, if you haven’t read Jane Eyre by now – seriously, who are you kidding? You never will, and now you don’t have to. You’re welcome – but I would hesitate to use this version if taking an exam.

Jane Eyre begins her life by having her parents die; so already, we’re pretty sure things aren’t going to be copacetic for her. She’s sent to Gateshead, her aunt’s estate, to be cared for. In those days “cared for” meant something different; so when I say “cared for”, I mean Aunty hates Jane openly and denies her any contact with her cousins—except for the malevolent John, who enjoys beating Jane with whatever’s in his hand. One day, Jane has enough of John and punches him out. Aunty gets angry and has Jane locked in the same room where Aunty’s husband died.

Already we’re off to a swinging good time.

PlumeNotes - What a Good Egg, Ol' Chap

Hey there folks! I’ve got a humdinger of a story for you. It’s a tale about a swell named Gatsby, as told by a gent named Nick Carraway.

We’ll get to all the skeletons rattling around in Gatsby’s closet, right after we examine the closets themselves, which are awesome. I do feel I should point out, however: Robert Redford is nowhere in this book, which I found rather disappointing; but pish-posh, onward! Let’s start with breakfast and for breakfast I like eggs; two of them, one on the East and one on the West. The East one should be hard-boiled and tidy; the West one is soft-boiled with a little fancy watercress garnish…

I duped you, folks, I’m not talking about breakfast but, of course, about two sides of the fabulously wealthy. That egg thing is called a metaphor and you should get used to them, because you’ll be drowning in a metaphorical ocean by the time we’re done. Swim, reader, swim!

PlumeNotes - Gone with the Bourbon

Margaret Mitchell, who toiled under the impression that the South had actually won the Civil War until she was 18, decided to write a story about a fiery belle named Scarlett who has to come of age despite herself. She named this story Gone With the Wind, and let me tell you, there isn’t anything like a bloody, drawn out war between brothers to dampen a girl’s good time.

Even though she could have any man in the Charleston-Savannah-Atlanta metro area, Scarlett sets her sights on her nearest neighbor Ashley Wilkes*, and decides the barbecue at his Twelve Oaks plantation is the place to tell him so. The barbecue turns out to be filled with surprises; Ashley’s engagement to his milquetoast cousin, Melanie Hamilton, is announced (the Wilkes’ always marry their cousins…::cough::), all three of Scarlett’s future husbands are present and she doesn’t get her way.

Oh, and that silly ol’ War Between the States was declared. Fiddle-dee-dee!

PlumeNotes - As the Wedding Dress Rots

Oh, hello. You must be the reader. You’ve come all this way just to read this page. Please sit down. No, not there; a reader never sits there. I have a tale to tell you that will explain so much… or nothing at all. You will soon come to realize I don’t care.

Let me introduce you to Pip. Yes, that’s right, Pip. Oh, certainly, it’s a darling nickname for the young man we find on the moors, but alas, nicknames can become a bit of an albatross when one least expects it. Pip’s family is dead, poor boy; all except his intolerably cruel sister, Mrs. Joe. A ridiculous name? Oh, just wait. Mrs. Joe is married to a blacksmith (that would be Joe), a truly lovely man.

Fair warning: lovely people are rare in this area.

Wash Me Deadly

Even with my eyes open, I couldn’t testify in court that I was actually awake.

Whatever bonding agent sleep used to seal them closed was getting harder to break. The fog that had settled in my mind took its time clearing out. I felt movement behind me. Turning, I saw his sleeping form buried under the blankets. I reached my hand out to touch his exposed shoulder – he snorted and rolled away.

No Sunrise Surprise for me today.

Out of bed like a fumbled football, I ransacked my bureau, grabbing what I hoped would amount to enough clothing to allow me on the street. Shoes in hand, I wandered into the bathroom to change. Nothing I wore matched, but who would care at this hour? The shoes were a problem though. I had grabbed one running shoe and one leopard print heel. I considered hacking the stiletto off before I remembered my old man had cut my shoe budget. Well, that settled that. I snuck back into the darkened room and dug around for the second sneaker and got out before my old man knew I’d been there. I smiled at my stealth; that was, until I ran into the door. I swore I heard a muffled chuckle coming from the bed.


Jayne’s eyes fluttered, adjusting to the light as thin beams of sun sliced up the grey hue of the room. She pulled her blanket tighter and looked around without moving her head. She knew every facet of the room’s interior; she’d been here long enough.

Taking deep breaths, Jayne lifted herself to a sitting position. Her body ached; she rubbed her limbs to release the tension they held. A small knot formed in her stomach as she contemplated her first step.

“Stay strong, Jayne. You will get out of this.” The words were a mantra now. She said them again and again, just as if she believed them.

She stood up, giving herself a moment for the dizziness to subside. She was so carefully tread the same path she took every morning. Jayne stood in front of the door and willed it to open; telling herself that she could, in fact, will it open. She reached out to take hold of the handle, but froze when she heard footsteps.

01 September 2012

The Wish Granters

Samuel rolled the idea around in his head. He ran through the possible outcomes; none of them proved satisfactory. In fact, he had been thinking about this for most of the morning and was not able to come to a decisive conclusion.

He decided it was time to go to his mom on this. She always knew the answers… and his dad was at work.

“Mom?” Samuel said as he entered the kitchen. An electrical plug hung off the counter. He picked it up and wondered to what it belonged. It was a much thicker cord than most of the plugs his parents used for their electronics, the ones they reminded him were not to play with. Samuel put the plug in the palm of his hand to gauge its weight. He wondered if it was heavy enough to break open a walnut with this plug; he bet it was. He pulled the cord to reach the bowl that his mom kept the walnuts in. The cord stopped short.

Samuel tugged it harder. The large mixer toppled over and brought three containers sitting next to it over as well. Flour and sugar spilled out onto the counter’s wood surface.



No, sorry, you go first.

OK… my name is Selena. Well, no, it’s Gretchen, but I think Selena is so much more interesting, don’t you?

What? Oh, I think John is a fine name. Do you know Tanya?

Our host, Tanya. Do you know her?

No, I don’t know who Phil is, but I’m glad he brought you. I’ve known Tanya for years. Our kids were in a playgroup together.

My kids? They were… are 12 and 15. Rambunctious, but what kids aren’t, right? Teenagers – boy! Just can’t be warned enough.


All flights are grounded due to the storm

Regardless of when the flights took off, it was going to be bedlam, a fact that did nothing to improve Trish’s state of mind. Her two-day business trip, the one she had to take because Sanders couldn’t, would now be a three-day one. She would fall yet another day behind in reports, paperwork, mail and the other minutia that kept her wheels spinning without ever getting her ahead. Goddamned Sanders; if that wife of his tightened his leash any further he wouldn’t be able to leave home.

Her boss knew his cards and played his hand thoughtfully.

Hey, you want to be treated equal – you would be the number two for this trip. But if your kids take precedence…of course they take precedence, you prick. This should not be unique to my sex.


The only sounds echoing throughout the darkened castle were the clapping of her wooden walking stick against the stone floor and the staccato ticking of the clock.

Medb pulls her bent form with great effort to the heavy wooden door of her bed chamber. After a pause to regain strength, she continues her trawl to the worn circular rug, its brilliance faded from use, in front of a standing mirror. Mustering all of her might, she heaves off her robes; allowing them to fall, leaden, in a velvety pool around her. Sunken eyes, the color of algae, stare back at her from the mirror. She winces at the sight of her naked body; her wrinkled, pale torso; arms stained in a web of thin blue veins and wiry, gray hair, barely contained with an old sliver of driftwood. She points a trembling finger at the clock as flakes of powdery skin float from her. Faint chimes from the town’s clock tower strike. Marred teeth emerge from behind indiscernible lips in a smile – the hour is nigh.

Her bones crack and joints pop as she straightens to full height. The scent of mold emanating from her is replaced by a faint kiss of clover. Her chafing skin is replaced by creamy, unblemished epidermis. Shriveled, hanging breasts become full and round.

The Night the Gin Froze - Epilogue

In 410 A.D., a Roman soldier stood, sword in hand. At the other end of the sword, on the ground, lay his fellow soldier. The lifeless body belonged to the husband of the woman he desired. The fierce wind, known in this part of the world as an ally on the battlefield, whipped through the field with such force it caused the murderer to falter in his step. He welcomed the wind—counted on it to spread the smell of blood. Hungry dogs with the scent in their noses found the body quickly. The soldier watched as they devoured the corpse. He was so pleased with his cunning—he wished he could brag of his ingenuity. But the soldier had been sliced in the struggle; blood pulsed from his forearm. The dogs were starving, and had been for some time. Girth was helpful in battle, but not in flight.

The soldier was outnumbered. His blood mingled with that of his victim, as it seeped into the soil.

The Night the Gin Froze - Part VII


Oh Shit, the Orange Blossom!” Thomas yelled leaping up from the couch. Puzzlement passed through the room.
“The Orange Blossom!” Thomas said, making agitated hand gestures.

“Saying it at a higher pitch is not clearing anything up,” Alan said.

“The Orange Blossom tradition – we haven’t done it yet.”

The others let out a collective “ohhhh.” All except Brittany, who was again left out. Charlene leaned forward to explain, “We have this silly tradition of drinking an Orange Blossom whenever we get together. It is tres importante.”

Brittany, leaning as close as she could without falling, nodded while thinking that kissing Charlene might not repulse her.

13 February 2012

The Night the Gin Froze - Part VI


Janie squealed as Charlene and Thomas took their final spin, bowed and collapsed on the oversized chair to her left. Thomas rose almost as soon as they sat and took a straight backed chair next to the couch. Charlene adjusted herself in the seat as if Thomas had never been there and turned back to Janie.
Charlene’s attention left Janie conflicted. She was never comfortable in the spotlight and Charlene’s affection was the brightest light of all. Charlene kept her on a pedestal, whereas Paul felt she’d fallen off years ago. He got more arrogant each year; even Alexander no longer met Paul’s exacting standards. If only he came home more, he could show Paul what an amazing man he’s become. If only Paul would let up on him, he may, in fact, come home more.
“Oh Paul, this one is delicious.” Janie said, licking her lips and giving him a thumbs-up. His study of current wine theory prior to their trip was worthless as the wine shop owners in Arles trounced him on the subject. Pandering to Paul kept away his condescension; pandering to the others brought it on.
“What flavors are you picking out of it?” Paul asked her, sitting on the arm of the couch.

05 February 2012

The Night the Gin Froze - Part V

Part V - Subterfuge

Paul continued to rub the area on the back of his head. It had felt like a jolt, but was unlike any electric shock he had ever received before. He glared at the research material sitting in his chair. His latest book, and its importance to his career, was consuming him. Once a Keynote Speaker, he was barely invited to participate in second tier panel discussions anymore. Paul did not know how to handle his diminished relevance. He set the bar; he didn’t strive to meet it.
He was so tired of Sir George Puttney’s theory on Teutonic lore, it choked him. Everything about his elite field choked him lately. He wished he could go back to resting on his laurels.
“Oh that sounds like fun! Paul?” He heard Janie say.
“Charlene wants to go into St. Remy tomorrow and find the hospital where Van Gogh stayed. Then we can drive back at sunset and take pictures of the countryside. What do you think? Doesn’t that sound groovy?”
“Groovy?” Paul replied.

The Night the Gin Froze - Part IV

Part IV - Stasis

Charlene drained her glass. She looked to Thomas to refill it. He was engrossed with the wall. She looked to the others. No one was available to help her. She hefted herself up, stumbled to the table and emptied the last of the brandy into her snifter. Winded, she rested a moment. She would have to consider some form of exercise routine when they returned. She silently toasted Raul and took another pull on her glass. Others might be nervous that they needed this much alcohol to feel.
Raul made a good confidante for Charlene, as she had no confidantes. Her family didn’t bother with such things; the only people you disclosed your feelings to were paid. But Charlene found that when you don’t talk about yourself, people jump to all sorts of conclusions and that suited her. It saved her the trouble of having to make up a persona.
“OK, one more time. Bonjour. Je m’appelle Brittany. Comment allez vous?” Thomas slurred.

27 January 2012

The Night the Gin Froze - Part III

Part III – Abandon

Alan laughed when Brittany blocked his meager show of affection.  They had known each other for six months prior to the trip and little of that time had spent upright.  He knew she wouldn’t be around come the New Year but he had thought they would make it back to the States.  He regretted losing her given how lovely she was to look at.  He would hang her as art in his bedroom if he could. 

Thomas was his usual concupiscent self.  Alan occasionally picked women for these trips with him in mind.  Poor Thomas still considered himself the lothario he was in college.  But Charlene would only turn a blind eye for so many before she would reel Thomas back in with one of their vehement fights. 

The Night the Gin Froze - Part II

Part II – Indenture

“Oh for God’s sake, Char!  When are you going to stop trotting out that moth-eaten story?”  Thomas said pouring another round of wine for all.  He gave a wink to Brittany as he topped her off, sure she appreciated the attention.  Thomas elected himself ambassador to all of Alan’s girls. Somebody had to pay attention to them during the day.
Charlene finished her story, laughing as much as those listening.  The wine had saturated everyone’s mood.  “The little brat!”  Charlene cackled. 
Brittany, who had been watching Alan’s phone as he played some game, tuned back into the story.  “Was it your kid?”
The group’s laughter died to an awkward titter. Glances darted from one member to the next.