I Am A French Riot

Etch-a-Sketch of Grass

Autumn deepens and the field behind our house ages red and brown.

Because the grasses are sleeping they no longer right themselves after being trampled, so they give us a glimpse into the secret lives of the field animals -- where they meet the creek to drink, where they lie down to sleep. Like iron filing describing lines of magnetism the direction of the pressed grass reveals the angle of travel or the orientation of the supine.

Even the usually invisible rabbit warrens are marked by bent blades. Today the field remembers every passage.

The abandoned railway is a highway for coyotes. The scat-dotted trails of the deer veer from it in favour of cover. The wet gullies on either side of the track are a thoroughfare for beavers, dragging logs or scouting for new lumber.

Like the rabbits, if you approach too close the beavers thump the dirt in rapid staccato bursts. They are issuing a warning to us and simultaneously sounding a retreat for their mates.

The beavers are seldom seen, and when they are seen it's usually just as a shadow slipping beneath the surface of the creek. You hear them thump and splash. You see their teeth-marks on stumps. They are an animal composed largely of symptoms.

In a shallow dale we see a dormitory for deer, half a dozen side by each pockets of flat grass pushed into rounded depressions by mammalian nestling. In the nearby lee of old tree is a mud terrace by the creek, pounded into a firm deck by all seasons and years of hooves. It is a place to congregate and drink, with every deer's shoulders beneath the grassline and sheltered by the gnarled old frame. You can see why they would choose it.

The birds are gone. They have flown south. It is quiet beneath the breeze.

The Invisible Squadron

My daughter owns a cast of imaginary friends. Their names are Jambi, Red Guy, Darth Vader and Boba Fett. She herds them around the house and tells them what to do.

Darth Vader and Boba Fett are both "robots" who sometimes act up and become "troublemakers." Jambi, a head who lives in a box, is "just a little guy" so we often have to avoid stepping on him. Red Guy wears red pajamas and enjoys jumping.

Most of these characters are drawn from images on DVD packages, which she sometimes browses with intent interest while she's lounging by the bookshelf. While her inspirations for Darth Vader and Boba Fett were obvious, and it was clear that Jambi comes from Pee-Wee's Playhouse, it took some investigating to determine that Red Guy was, in fact, Spider-Man. She had deduced that he likes to jump around from the fact that he is pictured on the DVD case clinging to a wall.

"Jambi and Red Guy is eatine honey wis Winnie-a-Pooh," she informs me when I ask. She scolds Jambi for burping without excusing himself, and declares Red Guy to be "silly" because he won't sit still. She cackles knowingly and touches my arm. "He a big troublemaker, that silly Red Guy."

I ask after the missing robots.

"My friend Darth Vader is takine his nap, and Boba Fett is also takine his nap, too. I want to watch Star Wars, Papa."

"You can't watch Star Wars, darling."

"But whyyyy?"

"You know why."

"Because Mama no like a shootine and fightine, and Boba Fett's not nice. Boba Fett is mean. But R2-D2's not mean."

"That's true."

"You want some honey, Papa? Jambi sharine wis you."

"Thanks, Jambi."

"Jambi is not mean, too."

"I bask in his generosity."

"What you say, Papa? What those words mean?"

"It means I'm happy that Jambi is generous -- that he is sharing with me."

"Yes, Jambi is nice. And his face is a blue face."

"I like blue people."

"Me too."

"Are you blue?"

"No. I'm skin."

"What colour is your skin?"


"That's a reasonable answer."

"Oh, Papa. You so silly."

Rest In Peace, Pitter

Pitter's body has been recovered from a gully beside the highway, and planted in the yard. Now all of our most daring cats are dead.

His sister misses him terribly.

The Cock Crows

I have recovered my sense of Writer's Cock, and typing has resumed. At long last my brain has managed to cough up a premise for my new novel. As usual for me, the premise is not in and of itself terribly original, but I hope to weave between the plot-lines a well-patterned texture that will make the consumption provocative.

Once again I have a thousand ideas. Once again I'm ready to export.

So, if you're a fan of my fiction or fiction-like output: stay tuned. I am preparing several packages for delivery, including a science-fiction novella based on one of my most popular stories and a volume of my collected autobiographical adventures.

A Beloved Joke For Your Consideration

Q: Why did the little girl fall off of the swing?

A: Because she didn't have arms.


Teddy said...

scifi novella based on popular story...would that be the expansion on "two moments of invention" you were thinking about doing? i liked that story, but the extreme selfishness of the main character disturbed me. i suppose it was supposed to...

looking forward to more work! and by my count, if you're still going evens, should be about the season for another trimester report, this one the 14th.


Peter N. Glaskowsky said...

I'm sorry to hear about Pitter, and pleased to hear you're writing again.

But mostly I'm sorry to hear about Pitter.

. png

Cheeseburger Brown said...


You've guessed right, that is the novella I'm expanding. But don't worry -- the protagonist will undergo some growth as events unfold.

"The Trimester Reports" will shortly be issued as a Lulu book, along with a previously unreleased final chapter called "First Trimester Report, Redux" which concerns my daughter's reactions to the imminent arrival of my son.


Yeah, it's a crying shame about Pitter. I'm not quite sure how I will react the next time my wife wants to bring home more kittens. I can't tolerate losing one every year.



Sith Snoopy said...

Sorry about your cat. :(

Looking forward to you new novel. ;)

Lee Nelson said...

I sometimes worry about my lack of life as I mourn the loss of Pitter and celebrate the joy of your daughter's imagination.

Am anxiously waiting for Simon to be printed and cannot wait to read more. I still have my Darth Vader blog that I force friends to read (it's brilliant, I proclaim!).

Shahriman Latif said...

Terribly sorry about Pitter the cat. I've buried many cats in the past, so I know how horrible it feels.

I'm looking forward to your invigorated writings!

Jillster said...

Damn -- I was hoping for better news of Pitter, but I can't say I'm surprised. At least we know what happened now.