The Boombox

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Dear Listener,

There comes a time in everyone’s life where the past seems better than the present.  You get old, you get tired, you don’t feel like driving twenty minutes to work every single day and you start to think, remember that time when I was seventeen?

            No.  You don’t remember that time when you were seventeen.  You don’t remember when your best friend’s mom screamed at you for feeding her son pot out of a hollowed out apple.  You don’t remember how your stomach bulged out of the neon green spandex that you had to buy because Stacy Q. was beyond amazing.  You don’t remember the first time you went to a night club and danced until you accidentally elbowed the shy guy in the eye.

You remember Sublime.  You remember sitting stretched out in the back of your friend’s 1980’s Honda Accord while you dangled your arm out the window.  You remember the rainbow-colored beanie that you could have sworn were the colors of the Jamaican flag.  You remember that guy with the dreads who said you didn’t ever need to shampoo again just as long as you had Bees Wax.  You remember thinking you could keep riding in that car forever.

But thank God, you got out.  You no longer had to stay on your mom’s couch eating pizza Pringles and watching reruns of bad sitcoms.   You made it past abstinence-only education, dodgeball, and pregnant cheerleaders.

Now you just have to change the CD.

It was never Sublime.  It will never have been Sublime.  It’s been over 20 years and you hate pop reggae.

Signed,

Your Boombox

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The Jelly Jar (reviewed)

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As with all whimsical gifts in style this year, the Country Quaint Raspberry Jelly has rediscovered itself.  Once presumed to have only been found in plastic containers pushed to the far end of a pantry, this newly packaged gem has made ‘expired’ the new vintage.

Country Quaint Raspberry Jelly is stunningly sweet, if not fulfilling. Its fruity, yet familiar flavor is sure to prime you for a real southern breakfast on the farm.   The unpretentious taste of jelly can easily be paired with Jiff Peanutbutter, or, if concerned about the artificiality of processed Jiff, try Jiff-In-A-Glass-Jar.  For just four extra dollars, Country Quaint Raspberry Jelly can marry the taste of dreams in a style best suited for consumption.

If you’re concerned about what friends may think of your inability to cook, Country Quaint Designer Condiments may be the preferred choice for precious eaters.  All condiments (and their new line of vegan kitty litter) can be purchased at SoulFoods off I-93 Northbound, exit 13.

Cat Dish

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CONFESSION INTERVIEW DICTATION

“What made you decide to do it?”

“Do what?”

“Kill Garfield.”

“Why would I kill Garfield?”

“You tell me.”

“I’ve been happily serving him since 1978.”

“So you do consider it serving.”

“What do you mean?”

“You consider yourself beneath him.”

“Of course.”

“So you find that demeaning, do you?”

“It’s my place.”

“To serve?”

“To sit.  On the floor.  With the water.”

“So you’re blaming the water.”

“The water didn’t have anything to do with this.”

“Then you admit it.”

“Admit what?”

“You poisoned Garfield.”

“That’s crazy.”

“Is it?”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You knew he’d eat the lasagna. That’s why you presented it to him last Tuesday evening.  So you could kill him before Wednesday.”

“Wednesday?”

“Yes.  Wednesday.”

“What happened Wednesday?”

“Wednesday was your ticket out.  You knew you’d never be able to leave the Arbuckle house if Garfield was still around.”

“I could leave whenever I wanted.”

“He’d be all over you. Guarding you the entire day.  You think he’d let you out of his sight even for one minute?”

“If the timing was right.”

“When would be the right time to leave?

“I never thought about it.”

“But if you did…”

“I don’t know.”

“How about Wednesday?”

“Why would I want to leave Wednesday?”

“Wednesday was different.”

“Because of the lasagna?”

“Because of your possible new future in a better home with a better cat in a better section of the kitchen.”

“Stop.”

“You know I’m right. Just say it.”

“What?”

“Say what happened on Wednesday.”

“I wanted to leave Garfield.”

“But why Wednesday?

“Because Wednesday…”

“What?”

“Wednesday was the day that Normal was coming.”

“And you wanted a Normal life, didn’t you?”

“Yes.”

“A life without neediness.”

“Yes.”

“A life without possession.”

“Yes.”

“A life without Garfield.”

“Yes.”

The Pierogi

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She’ll always love me.  She’ll always love me because she picks me first.

I see her come in from the wind and cold, her hair clumped in an odd arrangement of hairspray.  Ear phones jammed as far inside her ears as possible.  She is oblivious to everything except hunger.

She walks inside, scanning the aisles of the market with her life’s soundtrack following every step.  Grapefruit? Too sour.  Organic Sugar? Too pretentious. It’s a Bittersweet Symphony playing on repeat.

Nobody used to pick me.  I stayed in the back of the freezer, hoping a fat Polish woman might see me and exclaim, “Supper!”   

Day after day the market manager moved me to different areas of the store.  First I was next to the pizzas.  Surely someone would pick me if I was associated with something fast and cheap. I stared across the aisle, focusing intensely on the Leanfast bars.  A woman in a bikini with dyed blond hair and a spray tan devoured the chocolate seductively.  I was definitely in the wrong position.

Next, the market manager moved me to the ice cream section.  I tried to be cool and aloof, like one of those anorexic French women who thought hunger itself was a sign of shameless need. No one was biting.

At last, they stuck me with the vegetables where all good food goes to die.

But then she came.

I could tell she was of the boring variety by the absence of color in her wardrobe and the way she chatted with primarily women over sixty-five.

“Don’t bother with those batteries,” she pointed to a shelf full of Duracell’s while an older woman scratched her head. “They may be on sale, but they’re never as good as the Energizers.”

After moving on from the batteries, she scanned the fruits.  Too tart.

She scanned the pizza.  Too greasy.

She scanned the vegetables and shook her head with obvious disappointment.

And then she saw me.

“Pierogi!” She said with glee. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere!”

Book Release

Dear Readers,

Some of you have been asking when and where you can buy my book.  According to my publisher, the print version will be released later this month.  I will keep you updated.

The book, Object Relations, will feature many of the stories from this blog.  Illustrations are done by Petra Wagner and the photographer is Tom Haynes.

For additional information, please feel free to email me directly at: RebeccaColesLee@gmail.com

The Origami Bird

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The Origami Bird

There once was a bird who lived inside a paper house. The walls were so thin that he could hear everything from the other side. Afraid to make a sound, he sat by himself, stiff in an armchair.

On the days that he would fly from his window into the deep blue sky, he could not be there fully. Instead his mind was trapped inside the origami house, wondering what his neighbors were doing.

He wondered if they would be fighting about who would do the dishes. He wondered if he could smell their worm casserole through the walls. He wondered if he could hear them laughing and talking with friends late at night.

So consumed was he by these neighbors that he forgot where he was going. He forgot about the sky and its magical feeling of infinity. He forgot about his hunger for worms and mice. Instead, he stayed inside and listened to the lives around him.

His neighbors had children together and raised them to be strong. They had birthdays and wedding celebrations and dinners with guests. His neighbors would sometimes listen to loud music or shriek over the phone. There never seemed to be an end to their stories of excitement.

One day, when the neighbors were unusually quiet, the bird got an itch to find an adventure of his own.  When he got up to go to the window there was a sharpness in his side. He lifted his wing, but could no longer remember how to fly.  He hoped for the sky.  He hoped for the best. But when he looked down, his wings had turned to paper.

 

News:

The Fresca

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There once was a can of Fresca so small and tinny that he posed no threat to the other sodas. Other carbonated drinks sat fat in bottles, stretched to the neck with bubbles made of sugar. They were the first to go.

“Why am I never picked?” Fresca wondered.

Day after day, Fresca sat all by himself next to a few cans of lemon fizz. No one wanted the lemon fizz either, but who could blame them? Fresca had potential. Lemon fizz didn’t.

The Coke bottles disappeared first. Their shiny red plastic brand names glittered in the hands of strangers too eager to wait for the check out line. They popped off their tops and immediately drank from the bottle. Patience was no match for thirst.

 

But then something happened. At the end of the month, when the vendor hadn’t returned, the freezer was left empty. All of the plastic bottles were gone. The greedy children and absent-minded adults had plucked each and every coke, sprite, and root beer off the shelves. There was nothing left but Fresca.

At first the customers stared in horror at the emptiness that was once so full. A little boy with a Red Sox cap raced over to the freezer and eagerly reached for a bottle. His hand clumsily felt the first shelf and then the second. He began to cry.

His mother looked around the grocery store. A line was forming behind her.

“Shut up, Billy,” she whispered.

Billy’s tears began to flow.

“If you don’t shut up by the time I count to three, I’m going to lock you in your room for a week.”

Billy continued to sob, reaching his small hand into the freezer again and again. Still, there was no coke.

The mother, shoving Billy aside, reached for a glass shelf below the freezer and yanked out a can of Fresca.

“Look,” she hissed. “It’s fine.”

 

Fresca was overjoyed with his new lot in life. He watched the scenery glide by in Billy’s Mom’s station wagon. He loved the soft seat cushion that was good to his can. At last, Fresca was appreciated.

He sat in their fridge for a few days, wondering when he would be chosen. “It’s going to be a beautiful day, when they realize what I have inside me,” Fresca boasted to a carton of eggs.

“They won’t ever go back to those bottles again,” Fresca explained to the creamer.

 

Late one night when everyone had gone to bed, Fresca heard Billy’s mom bumble into the kitchen.

She opened the door, rummaged through the top shelf, and pulled out the Fresca.

“This is going to be the start of dreams made true,” Fresca said, winking at the frozen waffles.

And then he was devoured.

 

https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2017/02/17/maine-asks-feds-to-allow-ban-on-food-stamps-for-candy-soda