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Rabid Weasels Are Attacking My Runners




Rabid Weasels Are Attacking My Runners

 

Madness merely depends on which end of the knife blade you’re staring at and who’s holding the gun to your head. Or so said my mother, before we lost her on that first night of our holidays. She’d taken up jogging the day before she disappeared and to this day we still don’t know where she is.  I was eight at the time.

I remember him staring out the window of that Mexican beach house with a strange look on his face as Mom ran off and it wasn’t from Montezuma’s revenge either.  I’ll never get adults; life as a kid seems so easy. Only mom never came back. I cried for days. Dad said she was just running. It took me many years to know from what.

            Don't know why we went to Mexico; usually on holidays we'd go camping. I love camping. Except for the time a weasel was eating my shoe.  We were getting ready for bed when mom sat up and said, "What is that God-awful smell? Has some wild animal crawled into our tent and died? No, it's these." She picked up my runners, pinching her nose shut, and tossed them outside. "You need to take a shower and these need to be put in an incinerator before you attract wild animals from miles around, maybe even a bear. They can smell a dead animal carcass from across the valley." The last thing she said before I fell asleep.

            A rustling noise awoke me and I peeked bravely out of the tent, armed with a bag of marshmallows and my water pistol, only to watch a weasel devouring my shoe with the same relish he'd give to wolfing down chocolate dessert. Although their idea of chocolate dessert is probably slugs rolled in slimy mud and sprinkled with maggots.

            In the morning I hobbled humbly into the showers, cringing at the inevitable. Would I get the shower that could scald lava or the one that set polar bears teeth on instant chatter. "My dear, it's time to start growing up and becoming a woman. Off you go," Dad added. I thought about all those years of caked-on crust I'd worked so hard to build up that had now come to an end.  I didn't want to be a lady.

Yes, back to Mexico. I did tell Mom to make sure she earned brownie points by telling everyone at the Festival of the Dead, even the zombies, that she should buy them a drink, because they can't. They try but by the time the drink reaches their mouths your typical zombie has either crushed the glass or spilled it all over themselves.  Oh, and note to self. Don't waste your best jokes on zombies, they don't get it. Humor I've discovered is way beyond them.

            But yo-yos are another matter. Keeps them entertained for hours on end. They just stand there watching the yo-yo going up and down, up and down, up and down and believe it or not, up and down. Don't think they get past the string and realize there's someone at the end controlling it. So survival tip #101 when walking through parts of town that are quite dodgy; if attacked by zombies or anyone resembling characters from the Walking Dead TV series or Shaun Of The Dead, whip out your yo-yo, give it to someone with spasmodic seizures and run like hell.

            I know Dad loved mom like crazy. “She drives me nuts”, he’d always say and sometimes “me pistachios as well.” They thought kids said the craziest things! I knew adults were weird and feared I’d become one of them someday.

            At twelve I sit in a duck blind with my dad, wondering does puberty really make you do crazy things like want to kiss boys and let them put their tongues down your throat, like I’d see on TV.

            Unfortunately my trip into adulthood had begun. I’ve begun to develop boobies, as Mom called them, why I don’t know, they’ve nothing to do with TV.

Well, Mom said my breasts had begun to develop, but even now they’re still nothing much more than a baker's delight, two raisins on a breadboard. Some lucky girls had their breasts balloon early. Those, especially the pretty ones, the boys couldn't keep their hands off.  Then there was me with my mop of red hair, gangly legs and arms. I knew I'd not get asked out except by some pimply-faced geek with taped-up glasses. The type that spends all their time on the computer trying to figure out how to beat the triple-breasted Amazon of Myros. Apparently her breasts enlarge another cup size every time you hit or stab her. So every testosterone-fueled teenage male wants to fight her, but take their time defeating her. Oh, I forgot to mention that after she hits 42DDD, you get to the next level when her bra armor explodes.

            My dad told me Mom was pretty good at cards, she’d always win at strip poker. I wanted to be like her and had no intentions of losing my sirloin strips, or any kind of meat, to a boy, man, dog or overstuffed armchair.

            Why are all armchairs overstuffed? I asked her. I think when people sat on the first armchairs made they all replied, “Oh this makes my arms look so fat.” I reckon that someone got the brilliant idea of overstuffing them and made a fortune selling to old ladies. “Mrs. Penderson, you look darn good in that overstuffed armchair and your arms, I might say, look so thin.”

            “Oh, you’re such a sweetie. I’ll take it.”

            The rest is history.

            I miss Mom. Dad never remarried. I hear him cry some nights watching soppy movies. Not understanding. I remember Mom ironing clothes in only her bra and panties cursing the summer’s heat, sometimes wearing a playboy bunny tee-shirt tied into a knot around her midsection, hair bobbed into a beehive and listening to eighties bands like Bon Jovi, singing Living on a Prayer and Bed of Roses at the top of her shrill voice.

            I never got it. Not at six, seven or eight. But every time Mom tucked me into bed she’d tell me she loved me, I was her world. Dad was in awe of her. They’d dance drunk on Saturday nights, I’d watch or join in on occasion, the dancing, not the drinking. I never saw them fight and couldn’t figure out why anyone would drink stuff that would make flies stagger around in a daze if they’d fallen into the glass and looked and smelled like bad pee.

            “Dad, if the ducks can’t see us, why are we hiding?”

            “No, silly girl,” Dad said, “It’s to make us blind to ducks. You’re starting to sound like your mom.”

            Wouldn’t it make more sense to put one of those fake decoys on our heads, walk around with white canes and a card reading, “No legally blind humans here with guns, really.”

            I suppose ducks probably can’t read anyways or at least not English, because mom always said “ever see a duck reading a menu at your local restaurant or sitting at a bus stop waiting for the number eight bus?” Mom told me that ducks were quite smart at numbers and they have been known to steal credit card information in order to book up all the cheap rooms via the internet, and airplane flights for the trip back south in the fall. But not Greyhound buses. They never booked Greyhound buses, the dog on the side always freaked them out. So if any ducks are around, always screen your pin and bark loudly.

            A flock approached. Dad tensed. I cringed thinking of the hours I’d spend holding lifeless necks all the way to the car, their limp, still-warm bodies oozing life from a dozen pellet holes and later plucking feather after feather from riddled corpses.

            How many times had I scrambled across the fields to get dead or dying fowl. The thump of gunshots in the background. Hearts faintly beating as blood ran into cold earth. Not knowing they were on their way to becoming my peppered-with-buckshot duck soup.

            I wondered if the bad ones ever came back as pop-up decoys in an arcade. Repeating their crimes against fowl-kind over and over again. Plink, Plink, Plink. Their torture only ending when some sweaty human wins his stuffed teddy bear.

            Why did mom have to leave and make me the golden retriever?

            I craned my neck skyward. These weren’t the usual honks. Regal sweeping wings buttered the sky. Sandhill cranes floated down amid the mallards and teals, like angels protecting the flock.

            I remember the tee-shirt she wore the day she disappeared, ‘Majestic Crane Ltd. We lift everything. Big or small.’ Mom loved cranes.

            Dad said it didn’t help her, she’d already gone from 36DD to 42 long.

            She’d make Dad stop by the downtown parks, we’d sit on the benches and watch the cranes. Long, elegant necks stretching out deftly picking up their morsels and lifting the captured prey high in the air before depositing the cargo at the top of a high-rise under construction.

            Mom still swears A&W stole the idea of waitresses on roller blades coming to your car window from her, except she wanted to do it Hooters style. Yup, Mom lived a full life. I think some people aren’t ever meant to be conventional or settle down. As the country song sang, “it’s five o’clock somewhere and someday I’ll be Saturday night.” Oh, that’s a different song but then that was Mom. Different. Did I want to be like her or walk limp fowl to our car? I sat quietly.

            I know now he couldn’t hold her. She had wings that needed to unfold. Like cranes that threatened to soar, the inbred instinct to use their wings. I watched the flock landing. Regal wings spread as honking, that always sounded like the ducks had some kind of inside joke, cracked the stillness and from somewhere my mom calling as she danced the night away. Laughing, rock music blaring in the background.

It came to me recently she’d been clipped living with Dad and myself, and I don’t know if he ever saw it. Mom was like a thoroughbred horse that was only used to rent out to people for forty bucks an hour to ride through some well-worn trail in the woods.

            Dad lifted his gun.

            “NO.”

            I ran from the blind waving my arms wildly.

            “Be free! Be free!”

            Like I knew my mom was, somewhere.

            Dad never did take me duck hunting again.

 

 


 
Frank Talaber

 

 Frank Talaber was born in Beaverlodge, Alberta, where the claim to fame is a fox with flashing eyes in the only pub, yeah, big place, that's why his family left when he was knee high to a grasshopper and moved to Edmonton, Alberta. Eventually he got tired of ten months of winter and two of bad slush and moved to Chilliwack, BC. Great place, Cedar trees, can cut the grass nine months of the year and, oh it does snow here once or twice. Just enough to have to find out what happened to the bloody snow shovel and have to use it. GRRR.

 
He's spent most of his life either fixing cars or managing automotive shops and is a licensed automotive technician. However it’s the little muses that keep twigging on his pencil won’t let his writing pad stay blank.’
 

He's had several short stories published, short-listed in contests over the years and a few automotive articles published in RV magazines. He has several novels published through BWL publishing, which include the genres of urban fantasy, thriller, crime and romance. He also has written in science fiction, spiritual, erotica and comedy genres as well.

When asked once, "where does this creativity spring from?" He answered, "It’s the Gypsy blood from my mother’s Hungarian ancestry."

Literary madness that drives his wife crazy when he leaves their bed in the middle of the night to pound out some sort of prosaic induced brilliance. “Here we go again, the next War and Peace, Aka 21st century,” she moans, only to realize it’s either gibberish or there’s no lead in his pencil and he's scribbled on sixteen blank pages in the dark.

When asked about Frank Talaber’s Writing Style? He usually responds with: Mix Dan Millman (Way of The Peaceful Warrior) with Charles De Lint (Moonheart) and throw in a mad scattering of Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get The Blues). 

PS: He’s better looking than Stephen King (Carrie, The Stand, It, The Shining) and his romantic stuff will have you gasping quicker than Robert James Waller (Bridges Of Madison County).Or as is often said: You don’t have to be mad to be a writer, but it sure helps.

He is also working on a script and movie project and plans to get his works into films at some point.


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