My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

A Naked Bulb

2006-07-22

Last week was better. I was doing okay. And then I took Dusty to a birthday at Pump 1t Up and the thick dark cloud descended within seconds. I was really shocked with how strongly my reaction was to the place, how quickly I felt dreadful. Truly, if there's been a blow-up gas oven in the corner of the room, I would have considered putting my head into it and turning up the blow-up gas.

I don't have the strength to talk about how horrible an experience it was but many of my observations dovetail with a few thoughts I had reading harri3tspy's entry today - her reaction to...if I'm getting this straight (I haven't been able to fully focus on any one thing since I've been home so I haven't read it closely enough)...an article written in reaction to a blog spouting SAHM hatred. Well. All I can say is - it ain't just SAHM, it's people. People with little in their lives, little in their brains. I found myself, like harri3t, having short little innane conversations with women (who work) I have zero in common with except for the fact that our children attend the same preschool. If I have time to think about this more, and time to read the article, the blog, etc., and time to write my response, I will do so.

Dusty is allowing me to "buy" books in the bedroom bookshelf and has just written me up a "ticket" that reads:

TWO GREAT BOOKS

The Great Gatsby
Travels of William Bartram

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Okay. One more piece of fiction. This one is just a beginning, an exercise. I believe the task was to take the phrase, "A naked bulb revealed..." and make a story out of it - or free write for an alloted amount of time. Here's what I wrote.

A Naked Bulb

The naked bulb revealed a life’s worth of crap growing moldy. Had he expected anything different? To his left was the workshop he’d built when the girls were small and he’d spent that whole summer constructing a doll house and avoiding Edna’s relatives. The tiny chairs and tables, bedstead, dressers, sofas he’d fashioned out of balsa wood. The fainting couch he’d copied from a display of miniature 18th century rooms at the local museum.

That was his favorite room in the whole museum, the whole goddamn town in fact. The room was dark. The tiny boxes were illuminated from behind, set into the walls at eye level. Here was Thomas Jefferson’s study with his bed stuck in the walls between his two rooms and tiny reproductions of his inventions—the copying machine with movable parts and two quill pens so miniscule he needed a magnifying glass to see the feathers.

Here was the formal receiving parlour of Charles the Whatever. An unpopular king if he remembered his history. The wooden pineapples over the door frames, the picture moldings on which hung miniature portraits of family members. The artist of this little room had captured the inbred look of them all in astonishing detail: the large, protruding noses, the inset close-together eyes of unknown color.

He heard her heavy feet above him. They padded about in slippers, those ratty matted blue things she wouldn’t throw away, but they sounded like anvils being dropped. Bang, bang! Bang, bang! From the sink to the dishwasher and back.

He could remember a time when Edna’d been slender, a wisp of a thing. Packed in boxes, wet and mildewy from the leak in the window he hadn’t yet fixed, were her clothes from the time before the children. Dresses he could still recall with fondness. Dresses with silly patterns on them—toast or irons—all with cloth covered belts that fit through knitted loops.

He didn’t know why she’d kept them unless she’d forgotten they were down here. Would she be shocked to discover them, damp and falling apart at the touch? Would a cloud of moths fly out like a Phoenix if he opened one of them? Or, like exhuming a century-old corpse, would he instead find nothing but dust?

Funny things about those miniature rooms—there were no people in them. The rooms were vacant, waiting. He could almost feel the expectancy. Despite how much he loved them, he was bothered by the fact of their aloneness. Where was Charles? Off tending to kingly duties? Where was Thomas? Off in Richmond signing a bill into law? It bothered him, it really did, for no good reason.

Still standing on the bottom step—not even actually in the basement—he turned around and walked back up. He switched off the light and closed the door behind him. He couldn’t detect Edna. Perhaps she’d gone upstairs to run her bath.

********

If I can stand myself, I'll be back on Monday.

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6:46 p.m. ::
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