Fridays With Dale: Ants…Ants…Ants

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

Ants…Ants…Ants

By

Dale Angel

It’s true—ants follow an established trail.

Uninvited ants come every year and stay until the rains. This is on-going, so…I don’t even get ruffled or distressed anymore. Each family has their own schedule for visiting my house. I don’t like uninvited company that often

My sink back splash is a runway for the early arrivals. This morning as I stirred my coffee, I watched them.

It’s obvious they got a head start on the day. I picked up the wet dish cloth and rubbed a little area on their trail. I watch as two coming from home skipping and laughing along the trail stop. They run around and around searching the area.  Others have arrived. They don’t for a minute believe the trail is lost. They try to show the others where it is, but after a few miles of back tracking, they’re confused.

They come together to discuss the problem.

A laggard is unhurriedly lumbering along, bringing up the rear. They tell him about it. He swaggers as he tries the wall; no luck, the trail’s cold there too. Panic is their body language as they go over and over the same area.

Here comes the entitled one who has overslept. They tolerate him as they force themselves to be polite. They want to call him lazy; no one likes a lazy ant.

They bring him up to date on the missing trail all are trying to be adult about this.

I add a bit of sugar to my coffee and say out loud, “Just an inch farther, you will find the trail.”

Coming from the opposite direction is their friend with his jowls and mouth full of last night’s banana peel that was left in the sink. He stops and is bewildered. He just came over that road, now it’s gone.  He backtracks and begins to wander around the area. He tries the wall, both up and down, but comes back and sits down.

“You’re only an inch apart,” I tell him. I would have put my bet on him. He’s a self-starter. He’s half way back with the loot before anyone else is up. I would have lost my money.

Meanwhile the ongoing conference on the opposite side is deep in discussion as others show up to throw in their two cents worth. Runners are headed back to report there’s a problem and order more recruits. There may not be many, as I have a whole vacuum full.

Some are distressed, some are laughing and sharing jokes but no one is angry or blaming others.

It’s the laggard who blunders across the obliterated trail and meets his friend on the other side, who has eaten the banana peel and quit. They renew old acquaintances and he encourages his friend, who is staggering under his appetite, to go ahead and try it, it’s open and safe.

His legs are weak from hauling the excess, he makes a run for it and gets across. The trail is open at last!

Most everyone gets serious about their job and goes to work, except some of the timid ones. They want a secure, tested and safe path and are reluctant to go for it. They wait around until others have reestablished the foot paths. Some people are like that, they want a risk free life.

My coffee is getting cold so I left them to continue their day. After all, they have outwitted my attempts to keep the peace. I’ve already used up five gallons of home defense and have ant traps all over the place. Each family requires a different formula. I don’t know which tribe these are. I think the ants see the traps as decorations. Maybe there’s something I can learn here. It does say in the good book ‘Take a lesson from the ants.’ Maybe I need to walk the more established paths of life….

Naw.


Writers Forum is open to submissions for the blog or the newsletter. Please submit copy to the editor at writersforumeditor@gmail.com . Electronic submissions only. Microsoft Word format, with the .docx file extension, is preferred but any compatible format is acceptable. The staff reserves the right to perform minor copy editing in the interest of the website’s style and space.

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Fridays With Dale: Virus Phantoms

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

Virus Phantoms

by

Dale Angel

I don’t know how he found his way to my house but as soon as I closed the door he attacked me. Hind sight helped me realize he was shadowing me, undermining my reserves by way of a fatigue…I refused to acknowledge.

A coma-like sleep fell over me. When I awoke in the middle of the night I was compromised—my  throat was in a full red alert. He had me down and was inflicting pain. I could hardly breathe my head was spinning, re-arranging all I had stored there. I was under full unprovoked assault but unsure which enemy was laying siege. Lifting my head off the pillow to look at the clock, this battle is only a few hours old. I felt defenseless.

He squeezed my chest and I reacted by coughing and coughing and coughing it left me limp. Every time I felt like I may get a handle on the problem he barbed me somewhere. I could only react by coughing.  It hurt. My throat made raspy noises and croaky sounds. I was helpless.

Stumbling to my arsenal, I swallowed pills for pain and syrup for respite and tea to make it go down…  At the edge there were piercing chills stabbing me all over……  My arsenal is pitiful it has no teeth…a striking the air.

This war name is Virus. Their phantoms masquerading under many names that can only be identified by letters and numbers in code, it has no enemies.  It brings you to your knees and you cry for mercy it pounds you for days and days…

It will eventually wear itself out on what’s left of your weak and shaky strength…. Meantime, it allows you to think you’re making progress. It returns and revisits, leaving behind shards of glass in your chest until exhaustion caves you in.

More tea please; don’t over dose the cough syrup. It keeps you quiet for a couple of hours, meantime the stuff inside your chest is multiplying in gallons. There are regions of unexplored reservoirs there.

Your nose weeps, your hair hurts, your eyes turn inside out. Your whole body malfunctions. I could hear echo’s in my ears.

I thought I was lying on hot beaches in Hawaii. It was the electric blanket. I visited the Siberian Mountains during the winter season and froze.

After weeks I go shopping for something to eat; I’m sort of feeling in charge again, as soon as I get up to the cash register the virus attacks me and I go into fits of coughing, it sent everyone running.

It occurred to me this may be the previews of the coming attraction of the main event of the swine virus…bird virus…or a code number, now with top billing: CoVid-19. It’s stalking the Earth.

Get out of its way…


Writers Forum is open to submissions for the blog or the newsletter. Please submit copy to the editor at writersforumeditor@gmail.com . Electronic submissions only. Microsoft Word format, with the .docx file extension, is preferred but any compatible format is acceptable. The staff reserves the right to perform minor copy editing in the interest of the website’s style and space.

Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction 9.) Poetry

Fridays With Dale: Riding Shotgun

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

Riding Shotgun

by Dale Angel

I was riding shotgun with sweaty teenagers who have all bathed in hormones and after shave; the current trendy kind called “Leather Straps” …. I’m having second thoughts, undermining my self-confidence, while trying to do chaperoning ….I mean damage control.

Looking into the windows as we drive past, I see their parents watching TV and lifting pie a la mode to their lips. …. That should have been a red flag.

Some people have selective emotional distresses that prevent their presence at their children’s educational activities but never interfere with adult trips, adult parties or fun voyages. I was slow.  Today there are pills to replace loss of coping skills. However Gin and Vodka is still used for this malady and of course….. that other medicine.

I actually volunteered to accept responsibility for an educational event in San Francisco. There were seven in my Chevy station wagon. They had taken driving instruction that semester and their attention paid to my lack of ability to drive was running high. All were experts. They did have some valid criticisms. As we sped across the Bay Bridge every few feet were signs warning of the fines levied for running out of gas. And…I was out of gas! We glided over on imagination; there’s a reason for that gas station at the end of the bridge.

It is getting foggy and I don’t have a clue where our rooms are. I go up and down, hill after hill so steep I thought I was on a ski slope and entered intersections blind; the fog was so thick I couldn’t see the stop light until I was part way through. Inside the car someone was elbowing, some were boxing each other, others were mad and teary, and some had the giggles. The confusion increased as the fog got worse and we went up and up more hills, I felt bumps and more bumps. I had adrenaline problems myself, kids were hitting the roof with their heads. I stopped and asked someone to get out and see what the problem was.

We were in a grave yard driving over grave stones. The screaming shouts of laughter were bouncing off monoliths as big as houses. I backed up and had to drive across more to find our way to a street. Oh lord, I need to get out of town before they catch me! It’s dangerous to take extra kids when you are under-staffed. I was so inexperienced I thought you could reason with these strangers. They lost their hearing.

There are things worse, like the next day trying to keep us together moving through thousands with little cooperation in my group. Sam went for refreshments.  Working his way through the crowd a beautiful little doll was trailing behind him with perfect teeth. She sat next to him. Where is her mother! He was addled the rest of the trip. This budding romance lasted for a year through the mail. Their next meeting he came running across the field flung himself under the bleachers and said “She’s here! She’s big as a Mack truck”, she clung to her mother and sobbed “He’s a little shrimp”…he was a late bloomer.

After everyone was in bed, I checked for damage control and picked up wet towels, cleaned up messes, someone had left their swim suit on the floor. When I picked it up, part of the floor came with it; it looked like the floor had been recently shellacked.

It was early a.m. Our hostess grabbed me by the hand and began telling me about Jesus Christ keeping her up all night talking to her.

Thank God, we are on our way home with no casualties when a fight erupted in the back seat.

Linda was eating a banana, Steve helped by pushing it in her face. There was hand to hand combat taking place inside the car as I tried to keep in our lane going over The Golden Gate Bridge.

I appreciate this education but I like pie Ala Mode better. I still got scars; be careful what you volunteer for. Riding Shot Gun can be detrimental to your health.


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Fridays With Dale: Ads and Cowhides

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 

Ads and Cowhides

by Dale Angel

The ads feature all kinds of stuff we need to enjoy life more. There are pictures of huge chairs and couches made of black or brown leather…a refined word for ‘cowhide’.

For a little extra money you can have a place built in the arms of couches or chairs for your beverage of choice. It relieves one of using their arms, and alleviates the few steps to the refrigerator.

The ads indicate you need a wide screen to go with those loungers of great comfort.

Is selling these objects a subtle way of cultivating an appetite for self-destruction?

I’ve noticed after one falls into these comfort zones they fail to recover for hours. These lifeless areas of life add five pounds. Monday mornings their pants shrink and the buttons won’t work.

After a few years of practicing riding these cow hides they can’t breathe going up a single flight of stairs. Fancy names like Lazy Boy should be a red flag.

If the screen breaks down during a really big sports event, anxiety and distress indicate withdrawal symptoms. Bigger pickups apparently soothe and meet that need. Maybe because they have lost an important part of the masculine anatomy.

A limp self-destructing life may be caused by a failure to believe in raking the leaves or painting the house, so you pay the gym for the privilege of pumping iron. That same physical activity can enlarge all aspects of the body by running behind the lawn mower or repair the roof or some other useful work. An added benefit is you can learn to breathe again, maybe even climb ladders.

One of my neighbors returned a lounger because the neck rest was not angled right. Now, necks are so soft one can lose his ability to hold up one’s head. Can back problems be healed if one crawls off the cow hide? I hope before the neck fails to do its job, there are special doctors on every corner for failed backs and necks.

I’m keeping in mind shopping on line is a form of self-destruction when you’ve sit so long one’s feet have no feeling, a good indication of my own symptoms of chasing the ads while sitting on cow hides.

There were awesome bargains for personnel, she got first dibs and took home pick-up loads, after she plundered the spoils. I was left with a bikini, size 2, entry level bras, and old women’s shoes, the kind you wouldn’t be caught dead in. The kind I wear today.

Beautiful instrumental music came through the intercom. She sighed and said “That is the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard.” I grabbed my polished sword and plunged it between the third and fourth rib as my lips answered “Yes, it is. It was written by The Beatles.”

She told me to set up a display for vases. I said “There’s a mistake. It says the price is $12.98. I just bought one of these at the dollar store.” She appeared defensive, fatigued, weary, and said that I lacked ‘retail savvy’. I think that includes salable skills.

It got worse. They put me in fabrics. Me! I suffer from ‘textile dementia’.

When the soft rose paisley brushed against me, I buckled and took it home. Then there was the blue polyester silk I saw myself draped in it. I couldn’t pass up 16 yards for so small a sum, there was more, at the end of the week, I had to pay them to work there.

I couldn’t count past my fingers and toes to, when a customer asked for a yard and three-sixteenths…six inches of the yellow and a half yard of the green…add the quarters of five eighths to that…cut three and one fourth plus half inch pieces…add another quart of the blue…a cup of tea and a half gallon of the stripped and one fourth of a teaspoon and a mile and a half and eight tenths of a pound two ounces plus five grams…

I had to excuse myself. I needed to scream.


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Fridays With Dale: If I Had a Jeeves

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 

If I Had a Jeeves

By Dale Angel

He’d find my car that gets lost in the parking lot.

And when I’m waiting with my blinkers on, and a little car the looks like a shoe box on roller skates drives under me and gets my spot, he’d remind me how serious a parking lot homicide can be. He would say, “Just unfriend him.”

He’d graciously make me think I was doing him a favor by letting him fill up the car with gas. He’d know how much I hate to fill up the car.

Even though it would require hand-to-hand combat, he’d drag me out of bed for a two-mile walk every day. Plus forty push-ups.

He’d go through the corporate menu hour after hour searching for a human voice to settle their mistake. And he wouldn’t cuss.

He’d pry the spoon out of my fingers when I’m entertaining myself with a quart of ice cream.

He’d pull the little hairs on the back of my neck to interrupt my ‘Used To’s’. You know… “Used to be that they’d fill up your tank and wash the windshield and check your oil…Used to be able to buy a whole bag of fruit for what you pay for two pieces now…Used to be that a family could survive with only one phone in the house.”

When Jeeves takes me shopping, he’d remind me that the industrial sized packs are designed to feed institutions, and the pennies I save in the store become dollars I lose when I have to throw it out because of age or freezer burn or, worse, recycle it and feed it to my friends because I don’t want it to go to waste.

If I had a Jeeves, he wouldn’t allow me to stock up on 911 foods of the kind that sends one to the hospital for stents.

He’d say things like “The army uses little towels efficiently for thousands of men with no fatality.  Why are you interested in those beach sized towels it takes six dollars and two days to dry?”

When I decided to make jalapeno pickles, standard issue was not enough to do battle with. When he saw that I couldn’t protect myself, he’d yell “Disengage! Disengage!” He earns his money.

“Do you really need the set with all eight pieces? Do you really want to store all that stuff?”

When I cover over and coddle my children, he asks “Why would you be so unkind as to deprive him of the consequences and interfere, and thus delay his maturity?”

He reminds me as we drive past the fire station that there are two things you can drop off there: dead batteries and live babies.

He’d understand…I want to suffer empty nest syndrome.

He’d stand in long lines using his precious fleeting life to find ‘they’re out’ what they advertised and that they never even had. And he wouldn’t gripe.


Writers Forum is open to submissions for the blog or the newsletter. Please submit copy to the editor at writersforumeditor@gmail.com . Electronic submissions only. Microsoft Word format, with the .docx file extension, is preferred but any compatible format is acceptable. The staff reserves the right to perform minor copy editing in the interest of the website’s style and space.

Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction 9.) Poetry