Blessed by Silliness, Page One

  • “Too much” novel writing, no time to blog this week .  But, in the spirit of 500 words a week, here’s page one of Blessed by Silliness.

  • Chapter One  Nice is for Mice

  • Sunday, March 19, 2004

     Nessa Allen lay flat on her back on the cold kitchen floor. She’d been studying the contents of that comedic staple, the Refrigerator from Hell, complete with clotting milk, strawberry yogurt gone green, and a never-ending gallon jar of undefinable soup from the Mirth Café, when a hot flash got the best of her. No room for her inside the crammed-full appliance, so she’d come down here. Lay, lady, laid. Wouldn’t that be nice? Nice is for mice. Seeing the underside of any guy, ever again, wasn’t in the cards. Mice on the other hand, were lurking in every corner.

    There were traps set all over both of these run-down cabins. She could see an unsprung one hidden in the grimy gap between the fridge and the cabinets. She sat up, slightly cooled, but still stymied by the day. She’d gotten up at five-thirty this morning with Pansy. In the five years that Pansy has lived with Nessa, she’s never wavered from the habits she’d acquired growing up in “the school.”

    Early to bed, early to rise. Never mind that Nessa had suffered through another insomniac night shadowed with bad dreams. Duke in the truck again. She can’t think about that now. It’s four-thirty already and Pansy will be home from the café by a quarter after five. By six, darkness will have fallen, inevitable as the Washington-not-D.C. rains. Spring was three wet days away. Ten days later comes April Fool’s Day, her birthday. The wicked unfunny joke this year is that she’ll be fifty. The horrid Five-O. “O” for old. She won’t think about that either.

    Her sisters, Donna and Daphne, plan to celebrate the Spring Equinox in the big old geodesic greenhouse next door. Half-sisters, together they make a whole. The Vashon Island women’s circle fills in the hole left by an insufficient presence of sisters of the blood relations variety in her current life. Born into a family of sisters and herded into a house of step-sisters as a teenager, Nessa Allen used to regale America with Girl House stories.

    “I’m number ten,” she mumbled, dragging herself upright. How had that ever been funny? On Celebrate!, with Duke laughing at her every word, she’d been nothing but funny. Funny Ness. Well, that’s history, or herstory, as the feminists would say. Her story, in strict accuracy, was that she was only ninth in the birth order of the girl clan. Daph-the-half is the tenth-born. Donna, the eldest alive, is technically a step-sister. Pansy, born of Nessa’s same crazy mother, is her “real” sister in this family mess. Pansy, having laboriously mastered these subtleties of sister relations, demands consistently accurate vocabulary.

    “Your wish is my demand,” she says cheerfully, among other malapropisms that compensate slightly for her more difficult eccentricities, such as loving the mice. “Men are caves” is always a favorite with their women’s circle friends.

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