The Pain Reliever

Expectation:

Will relieve pain. All pain.

Heartbreak from immature brat who found someone better. Bruised pride from begging Jayson to cover her rent. Soreness from best friend who ‘could’t’ let me crash with him. Twisted arm from agreeing to live with other friend in roach infested apartment. Throbbing headache from hearing her complain about vintage Beastie Boys CDs that are not played too loudly. Burned by the desire we share every Tuesday in the laundry room. Burned because she’s friends with the brat who found someone better. A pain in the neck from explaining she’s not really a brat. Stiffed on the rent money when she, too, moves out.

Headache gone.

The Paper Clips

By the desk near the fax machine that nobody really wants, there is a special drawer for paper clips and erasers. It’s in the corner, like an afterthought, just like the paper clips themselves. Only slide projectors and viewing screens can be seen up front, but it wasn’t worth the fight for visibility. 

Paper clips like their unobtrusive, low-commitment-oriented life. The front of the room is too bright. Really the only ones that like center stage are the kind of assholes that run for a political office. Even local law has mirrors for windows.

Paper will become obsolete, the up-fronters say. As if this is something I want to hear. Monitors are popular, but they’ll die off too. Who doesn’t remember Elmo?

It’s the importance, the integrity of the position that really matters. Not the actual position. There is no twisting involved with a screen. Lazy by nature, they demonstrate the shapes and activity that only in-betweeners have. 

Not the display. Not the object on display. Paper clips fit somewhere in the middle. 

Don’t you worry about being replaced?

The up-fronters think honesty and tact are two separate things. 

I look at the stapler. He’s still here. I look at the rubber bands. They’re still here too. I try to find the pencil sharpener, but it’s not in the desk. The erasers are on borrowed time. 

The Kettle

Two cups sat one on top of the other, upright and full to fat. They bulged, the top hanging over the bottom, while the bottom cup burned underneath. If the kettle was like other kettles, there would be only one. Each cup could be separately cherished. 

Curled together with vines that twinkled, they thought of themselves as bright. Too bright to be in this predicament. But too tied to get away.

One afternoon, when they were shuffled out to a low sitting table in the den, the cups felt heavier than normal. They would never belong to a woman’s full attention. They would always share their afternoon in the sun.

The bottom cup lurched to the kitchen and felt its liquid shift. The top cup moved away. 

“Move toward the one that loves us most.” The top cup said to the bottom.

The bottom cup looked at their guest. Bored, chewing at her nails, a half-eaten bear claw remained on the dish. 

The bottom lurched. It inched closer to the sink. From a slant, the two began to topple.  

When they faltered and staggered, splashing tea to the ground, it was the bottom cup that finally cooled off. It was mopped up and drained out, but the cups remained dazzling. Their love was now filled from their shapes.  

The Kiva

Deep in the desert, it almost looked dead. Beige dirt and tufts of bushes were all the eye could see. But below the eyes and below the brush, mutated life still lived.

The best mutant, a tiny rodent-like piece of fur with lizard eyes and a sandpapered beak, tried to make itself invisible. 

Nobody will see me under the brush. 

The mutant curled closer to the roots. In the daytime this worked well and he could watch the others scatter as they pretended not to be scared.

There were big ones. The size of basketballs with rubbery mouths and black tongues. There were tiny ones. Insects with 9 legs and a limp. All of them to be carefully avoided.

At night it was cold. Freezing winds and chattering teeth, the mutant needed a break. Any break. A hole in the wall of a cabin. The inside of a hanging cliff. He knew there was nothing available.

In the distance there was smoke and the round mouth of stucco. An outdoor fireplace. A bellow of gray. A kiva. 

You can use me to keep you warm.

The kiva said.

I have a fire in my mouth that won’t go out. Sit, stay awhile. It will be fun.

The kiva said.

The fire didn’t look out of control. The warm glow from inside reminded the mutant of a perfectly proportioned potato, but with spark. He’d heard of the fires before, untamed and spreading throughout the brush. This was not half of that. 

You’ve come such a long way. 

The kiva said.

But then the mutant remembered the skulls. Wide, gaping mouths hollowed out as if they were screaming. They were littered throughout the desert. Some were cows. Some were undefinable. The distinct smell of char lingered.

You must be tired.

The kiva said.

The mutant noticed a few dead mice at the corner of the building. Their mouths, too, were open. Gray mice. They were not black. Not charred. They must have died from something else.

The mutant shivered.

What will you do without warmth in the night?

The kiva asked.

The mutant could not find an answer. He saw nobody else like him for miles. Except for the one possibility of another who had been ripped by something else. A simple beak stuck out of several weeds. It could have been trash. It could have been plastic.

I don’t know.

The mutant said.

I really don’t know.

The kiva illuminated the desert with one bright smile. Mutants scurried in the wind. Bigger mutants. Prickly puckered mutants with six furry legs and giant yellow teeth. They would eat him. Without a doubt. For dinner.

Why not just stay here? You can get warm and figure out something else for tomorrow. 

The kiva said.

Climbing up the brown structure, the flames flickered higher. 

Just on the edge, the mutant thought. I’ll just sit right on the edge.

In the corner space of the mouth, the mutant sat on its ledge.
It was warm.

He was happy.

There was nothing else to be said. 

The Button

“Like” used to be more optimistic. It was happy with high school reunions, weddings, and job interviews. Nestled at the bottom of something grandiose, it was a humble smile. A thumbs up for success.

“Like” made its way through family albums, 18th birthday parties, and dinners with old friends from college. “Like” was there for the video of your friend playing with the lobsters before supper. It was a funny gesture, something admirable. “Like” valued this.

But then “Like” became popular. “Like” hung out with girls in stilettos. “Like” went to see My Morning Jacket in an abandoned warehouse. “Like” started focusing on other people’s boyfriends.

Everyone wanted a Like for their party. That smiling selfie you took, gazing up at a cell phone camera with newly applied makeup? That was liked. A filter with cat eyes and pointy ears? “Like” enjoyed the stalking.

“Like” showed up to all the biggest parties.

The Halloween bash where your friend threw up all over the backseat of your mom’s car? That party was liked. The obituary of a distant relative that was met more than once? That was liked too.

“Like” became snarky. Hard edged thumbs felt more like middle fingers. That trip to Nantucket? Liked after three days. Kids dressed as NPR hosts for a costume party? Liked at 1AM.

After years of polite smiles and bouncy enthusiasm, “Like” had finally met its match.

Dislike was approaching the horizon.

The Gingerbread House

1 Room Gingerbread House  

550 Pinstripe lane

Bangor, ME

Enjoy a safe distance away from the bustling streets of downtown Bangor with the perfect home. This cozy studio-cottage has all the charm of Christmas. All year round. Located near the Blueberry School for Boys, this district is highly coveted for its snow removal program. 

Pinstripe is a friendly neighborhood. Although the area is not currently on the Bangor power grid, this means little to the community. Many houses are connected by an old-fasioned “string and dixie” line. This fascinating form of antique communication involves only two cups and a long string to attach to other houses of your choice. Since most communication is nonverbal, many neighbors still prefer to nod or wave from their own property. Either style creates a socializing haven for those outside Bangor.

Speaking of property, this gingerbread house has one of the best lots in the area. Underneath real walls of ginger, the cottage sits on authentic, stone slab. This slab was originally used in Bangor for tourist season. It is now a symbol of growth and development.

If interested in a one story gingerbread house with high, lofted ceilings and frosted windows, please call one of our agents ASAP. While the current tenant is still there, he is extremely flexible.

The Gift

Is My Child Gifted?

Many parents with exceptionally talented children wonder if their child may actually be gifted. Since there is no official diagnosis, gifted children can vary in their abilities. Any child can be gifted for a fee, but there is no guarantee they will be received well. 

What Does It Mean To Be Gifted?

According to the National Association for Gifted Children, children are considered gifted when their ability is significantly above normal range. According to the Post Office Association, a child is considered gifted when they reach the front door of any house, apartment or place of residence.  

They do not need to be gifted in one particular specialty such as math or science. They can be gifted in multiple areas of interest including Alaska, Iowa and the IGA. Florida is off limits. 

Common Traits of A Gifted Child

All children are unique in their own way, but some are more distinct than others.  Two specific traits are often seen in many gifted children.

  1. ) A developed sensitivity. Certain children are sensitive. This can be a sign of a gifted child or something else. Many gifted children who excel at math and science are often bothered by loud noises or certain fabric. Children who are gifted must be wrapped in non-styrofoam peanuts for the majority of their transition. Upon arrival, crushed velvet is preferred.  
  1. ) Puzzle play. Abstract thinking that involves complex problem solving abilities can be seen in the early development of gifted children. Gifted children may have been subjected to confined spaces and complex postal systems. This may be particularly disturbing during the holiday season. Many gifted children prefer to find a way out as soon as they are gifted.  

Early Testing

Parents can and should opt for testing. If you suspect your child is gifted, they may seem strange and out of place. To better detect any possible diseases, fleas or emotional disturbance, testing is recommended for any child that thinks outside the box. 

The Power Lines

There was once just one. A long skinny line strung up in the sky carried voices. So many tunneled in. It seemed there should be two.

Two lines of communication running parallel could do the trick. One could carry half the load. The other, the other.

One kept quiet. When the other wondered about their share of the conversation, whatever was said remained silent.

Inside the telephone wire there were people with problems. Casserole recipes. Questions about estrogen. Their friend. Their friends. Their other friend’s friends. All day both lines heard the frequent chatter of others.

“As big as a watermelon.” One voice recounted.

“Babies are too fat these days.” Throughout time they transferred information to each other.

But the wires were quiet. Side by side they did not intersect. This was because one was the other. And the other was the other just the same.