Grade School Anthropology

by Suda Miller

Elsa and I rode the bus home from Curtis School when I was in fifth grade and she was in fourth grade.  We were the same age; at the beginning of the year I had skipped grades after six weeks of school. I skipped grades because the teacher, Ms Badham, got totally sick of me practicing my spit gland ejaculation technique. I managed to come across this trick by accident, but if you jerked a muscle under your tongue at the right moment and keep your mouth slightly open, you could catapult drops of saliva as far as a foot away. 

    Ms Badham was a pretty, young brunette; she wore mascara and lipstick and she was the daughter of the principal, Mr. Badham or Baddy as we liked to call him. We liked Baddy but we were also afraid of him because he had a paddle hanging on the wall above his desk. He used the Paddle when kids were bad. So we tried not to be bad.

    Eddy Hansen was bad a lot and we knew he had gotten the paddle once or twice. Except in fourth grade his mother blew her brains out and after that he was mild as a dove. We felt bad for Eddy when he came back to school, so we left him alone. In those days this was about as compassionate as kids would get. Everyone pretended that nothing had happened. He looked pretty sad. Usually he looked feisty and angry, but not anymore. He didn’t get the paddle after that, either. There was no cause for it.

Gran the Friendly Ghost

By Melina Watts

My mother stopped speaking to me when I was pregnant with my firstborn for six or seven months.  

Another time, in my late twenties, my then boyfriend and I decided not to go out to the movies and she was certain that we had; she accused me of lying to her and then stopped speaking to me for months. I actually knew one of the stars of the film – a gifted child actor, Joseph Mazzello and I knew that he had been thrilled to work with one of his own personal heroes, Meryl Streep, so I really wanted to go see The River Wild.  Honestly though, those accusatory conversations were so painful that I never did go to see the film – too much emotional overlay. 

The Hallowed One

by T. Halophile

Where it is explained further what it means to have standards that cannot be realistically be met. Last in a series exploring the Sponge Thief’s complex relationships with his vehicles, and by extension, his life, and by extension, our lives.

In Loving Memory of the Prized Jeep

His mourning leads him, as it always does when he loses yet another car to dereliction, to recount the long drawn-out history of defunct cars of his past­. There are a dozen or more whose demise I have personally witnessed, starting with the cherished cream colored CJ 7 Jeep that he drove when we first met 22-years ago. The Jeep is the prized auto to which all other jalopies have paled in comparison for decades, and no car conversation ever ends without a trip down memory lane to the days of the hallowed Jeep.

 

Beware the Introspective Sponge Thief

by T. Halophile

Second in a series examining the Sponge Thief and the Symbolism of His Cars.

“At least I haven’t had to give blow jobs for money.”*

My ex-husband is standing next to the crawlspace over a garage he calls home while this declaration comes rushing out as part of a flooded and tangential monologue. He is reviewing in great detail why none of the catastrophes in his life of late, and therefore in mine, are his fault.

Atop the list of recent calamities is his only hours-dead jalopy that met a fiery end on the side of the freeway while our teenage son was driving. My relief that my child did not meet the same fiery end on the side of the 101 freeway, and the fury that it was even a possibility compels me to make an effort to look for logic where none ever exists. Though our kid’s brush with a flood of automotive fluids, billowing smoke, and flames is my only concern, the word salad being tossed from my ex-husband’s lips also includes his plight that nobody will hire him after being fired three times in as many months; and not shockingly it also contains a lengthy explanation of why he needs to borrow my second car.

The Stillborn Transmission

R.I.P. 1990-April 21, 1994 • 128 lbs. 9 oz. • Mazda 323 • “C’mon Baby!”

by T. Halophile

One may recall that J. Mitigate posted a piece about her Sponge Thief’s affection for his Jeep CJ7.  It became apparent that an accompanying piece was necessary in order to explain T. Halophile’s Sponge Thief’s parallel regard for his Jeep CJ7. After all, this more-than-coincidental over-regard for the Jeep CJ7 became one of the forensic milestones in discovering we may have the same ExHusband.  However, it became apparent that in order to fully deconstruct T. Halophile’s Sponge Thief’s regard for his Jeep CJ7, the entire archaelogy of his vehicles must first be examined.  

I was five centimeters dialated when giving birth to my son when I started to have brief moments of clarity about my life. I was nineteen, a freshman in college, and married to a man twice my age whose life choices were questionable at best. In that moment I begin to see this was an ill-thought-out life choice to have a baby with such a man, but the real eye-opener, was 36 hours later when my husband was driving my newborn son and I home from the hospital and our 1990 Mazda 323 gave birth to its stillborn transmission in the intersection of Kalakaua Avenue and Kaiulani Street.

My breast milk flowed freely in that intersection, as did my tears for I now foresaw the years of struggle ahead with previously unknown clarity, and the cars that followed the lifeless Mazda told the tale.