Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dear Me

Dear Me

For once, after months of listening to the tenant over my ceiling stomp on my subsidized efficiency ceiling with stiletto heels, digging and dancing to savage music that one could do a death march to, I have decided to go upstairs, knock and complain. But first, I am going to finish this chicken and cheese Hot Pocket and write a letter to my friend, Betty. Her real name is Alicia, but I call her Betty. She calls me Beverly.

The microwave is the friend and foe of the Hot Pocket. Nothing can ever get so fiery hot as this cheesy stuff. One time I burned my lip, so I wrote a letter to the Hot Pocket company to complain. They sent me 101 coupons for free Hot Pockets. I tried to give my Daddy a coupon, but he said, “How can you eat those things?”

I have never said that to him, especially when he eats nasty sardines out of the can with mustard. I don’t think God ever intended for a bunch of minnow-sized fish to be drowned in oil and entombed in a can you can put in your pocket. I know they don’t have a sardine Hot Pocket yet. If they did maybe Daddy would come around.

I wonder if anyone has ever tried to bring a can of sardines through the airport security.

*************************
Dear Betty,

I am sending you some extra blank paper. I have a hard time reading the bottom of your letters because you have this tendency to make you words very tiny and they all see to commingle into the lower right hand corner. I wish I had a big magnifying glass like those police detectives have so I could make out the letters. I have to wonder if people who wrote letters during the paper shortage of World War II had this issue too.
I am also including a check for $1.08 so you can go to the dollar store and buy 80 sheets of loose leaf paper. Or, if you feel that wasting paper is sinful, just do whatever you want.
I did read in your last letter that you had broken a toe. You didn’t say which toe. I was curious because I broke my middle left toe in 2004 when I fell down four stairs. So, it is nice to have something in common, even if it is an excruciating thing.

My Daddy is tired of being my representative payee for my Social Security money. I wanted one of those row boat exercise machines that Chuck Norris sells on TV. Daddy said I was calling him in the middle of the night wanting silly stuff and now he turns his phone off. I hardly think Mr. Chuck Norris would endorse silly stuff. His TV show got cancelled and everyone has to make a dollar somehow.

I did make it to church. It was a bit too religious for me, if you know what I mean. Too much preaching and not enough singing.

I am sorry about your daughter’s arrest. I didn’t think they put people in jail for bad checks anymore since everybody has debit cards.

Hugs & Love,
Beverly

************************************

I used to have a boyfriend. His name was Matt.

He lived with me and he didn’t do much of anything. He liked the food channel and he wanted me to get a nudie channel, but I told him I could expose my tittie to him for a lot less than $12.95 a month.

He really liked his Pringles. He wouldn’t share them so he didn’t bring a single Pringle into our relationship. I like to think of him as my subsidized boyfriend.

One time Matt went upstairs to tell the tenant to be quiet. His ears were bleeding when he came back. He packed his dirty clothes into a Glad trash bag and left. I never saw him again. Drips of ear blood still mark the tile hallway outside. The blood came out of my carpet with a mixture of vinegar and Dawn and salt.

I’m going to do something about the guy upstairs. The police knocked on the man’s door and then they went back into their squad car. My manager is at this 555-4441 number and he’s aware of the problem.

Getting the mail can be a big part of my day. Sometimes I write to Mama. Mama has boobs that are as big as adult human heads, so her neck hurts. She lives in Mobile, Alabama and she has a boyfriend, Art, who takes her to the dog track. Art has a pond he’s invited over to fish in it. I have a hard time picturing myself fishing at that pond. My skin is sensitive to sun and I can’t get excited about worms and corks. It would be nice to go there see and compare my cable T.V. with Art’s dish T.V. though.

***********************
Dear Mama,

I am using the second to the last stamp to mail this. I have to save the other stamp in case of an emergency.

The people upstairs still make a heap of night racket. Sometimes I wish a tornado would swoop down and carry their apartment away and of course, leave mine.

I have a new picture of Jesus on my wall. I took down the Hustler art that Matt left. He also left his Scoobie Doo slippers here. I sometimes think he will come back for my love and not those slippers. He had big feet. I reckon I kind of sponsored Matt’s inability to have any ambition while he was here.

I have decided if I ever have a boy, I am going to name him after a big city like Orleans or Atlanta or Abiline. I am not currently pregnant, although the cashier at the Wal-Mart thought I was.

I bought some more Hot Pockets. I only have 18 more coupons. I never get tired of the breakfast Hot Pockets.

I hope Art is okay. I am sorry to hear about his erectile dysfunction. You know, there are lots of men in nice sweaters on T.V. who can tell Art where to get help for that problem.
Please write to Daddy and tell him to send me more money. It is not easy for me as it is.

Love & hugs,
Beverly

*************************

Dear Beverly,

I am also down to 2 stamps. I will mail this to you. I really can’t or shouldn’t contact your father. The order of protection is still in effect, but when it is lifted next October, I will write him a thoughtful letter. I never meant to run over his left foot.

Art is doing well. He asked again if you would like to fish in the pond. He seems to like people he has never met. Someday you two will meet and then we’ll see if he really likes you. Tell your father that I heard that the seeds of the milk thistle plant may serve as a remedy for his liver ailments.

I hope the situation with your loud neighbor works itself out. You should try E-Harmony. That’s how I met Art. I think you still have my Harlan Cobain book. Can you mail it to me?

Love & Hugs,
Mama

***************************

I keep putting off going upstairs. Sometimes the racket starts at ten-thirty at night when I am watching the Golden Girls. I think Bea Arthur sounds like my Mama’s brother Earl.
Anyway, it sounds like somebody is rearranging the furniture to some loud, heavy metal music. I haven’t changed the furniture at all here since I moved in, except when all the fish died. I put the aquarium in the bathroom. It would be nice to have fish again someday.

I guess I could always move back in with Daddy, but he always complained that I used too much toilet paper and his dog Sneaky, has moved into my old room. Daddy didn’t keep his silverware real clean either. Who needs more germs? Not me. Sixteen hours a day in an efficiency residence is not so bad.

**************

Dear Beverly,

I hope this letter finds you in a good mood. Jeopardy is on T.V. I watch Jeopardy because my Mother always watches it. It is a hard show.

I have problems with my neighbor, too. He and his wife make love in the place above me. Every time I hear them go at it, I miss my first husband, Shorty.

Oh well, my priest is coming over to give me one of those wafer things. Do you eat wafer things in your church?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Hugs & Kisses,
Betty

***

The racket was worse than ever. It was like an eighteen-wheeler took a tour through our building. There was a boom boom, or a boo boo, or maybe a boom boo that came from up there. The music was loud enough to loosen the screws in my George Foreman Grill. And then, just like that I couldn’t hear the thuds of them dancing with the devil anymore.
I wrapped my body in my terry-cloth robe and stepped into Matt’s Scoobie Doo slippers. I had a sense of curiosity and purpose like the time I looked up the word ‘salacious’ in the dictionary.

I trudged upstairs.

The door was open and two guys with hand guns were lying on the floor. One had a winter vest on with a hoody – he was twitching – and the other guy was wearing tighty whities. There’d be no more twists and shouts for him.

“Do you mind if I turn down the stereo?’ I asked. Neither guy seemed to care, so I walked over to the stereo. I think they were listening to a CD called Spiders Bladder. There was an open red gym bag on the floor with money in it.

“Do you guys mind if I take this bag?” I asked.

They didn’t respond, so I picked up the bag and went back to my apartment. I noticed that Matt’s Scooby slippers now had blood on them. I walked them outside and ran into the building in my socks. One sock was black. One was purple.

We get snow in Alabama sometimes and this time I was glad to see it. In no time at all, it covered up my near-the-dumpster footprints.

I must have been thinking crazy because I didn’t bring my own bag of garbage down with the slippers and there were a lot of Hot Pocket boxes in it, too.

I set the gym bag down on a chair. It was a really bright red St. Louis Cardinal bag. I was a Braves fan because my Uncle Keith was a Braves fan and when I was little he gave me a little Braves monkey with a big A on it that had Dale Murphy’s autograph on the rear end. I saw Uncle Keith at the Winn Dixie and he asked for it back. I lied and told him I lost it. Actually, it is in a platic bag under the sink next to the Drano.

There appeared to be a lot of money in the bag, a twenty with a deceased president’s face stared up at me. He stared with such abandoned passion. I wondered if this dead president ever realized how his sensuality affected young women.

I didn’t feel like counting money right now. Joan Rivers was trying to sell me a unique extra-sensational sparkly earring. If I bought one, I’d get the other one free. I had never bought anything from the Jewelry channel before. Daddy said this channel sucked. He prefers sports, news and documentaries about Russian mail-order brides.

I was thinking a lot about the noisy neighbors. I was waiting for a bunch of cops to stomp up the stairs and do CSI stuff. I thought about calling them myself. I also thought about how those guys had been really uncivilized, even rude, being so boisterous above me and my ceiling.

One of my favorite things to do is get out my number two pencil and write a letter to myself. If it’s a good letter, I take it to Kinko’s and copy it for Mama and Betty.


********************************
Dear Me,

Once, on an episode of Gilligan’s Island, they kept saying the word preposterous. I have never looked up that word. I have lived a long time with some regret about this.
Now I have come to place where if I was driving a Hovercraft I would either swerve or I would stop and go. If I share the situation with the neighbors and the red bag, somebody might tell me to go to church and before you know it, I would give the church some money and a minister might fall in love with me. Hmmm.

You know, I might go someplace to consider what to do. I have never told anybody, not even me before, that if my life ever became preposterous, I would take a smelly old Greyhound to Dollywood’s Splash Country because I like wave machines. Some folks may think this is nutty, but it has always been my far flung dream.

Someday I will write a book about my life. I don’t know who would read it, but somebody keeps buying those Harry Potter mysteries. And, if it got turned into a movie like Harry Potter, I’d like Audrey Hepburn to come to life, gain thirty-seven pounds and play me.
Anyway me, I’m getting way off the railroad track with this. I can share with myself that I have to go number two pretty soon. So me, I will take the cursed Cardinal bag and stick it in my Braves suitcase and I will have my entire body bussed to Dollywood. Hopefully when I get back to town the upstairs tenants will have been totally evicted, evacuated and ejected to heaven where they can just try to make noise in the clouds. Thanks for everything, me. I love me most of the time.

Sincerely,
Me

***

With lots of paper president’s in my purse, I called Corky’s Cab Company. I gave him seventy-six cents for a tip. I don’t really like giving tips. No one gives me pocket change.
I would have to go to Birmingham first, then to Nashville and then Dollywood. I thought about all that money stuck in my Braves suitcase.

I wondered if I should have invited my Daddy to come along. Lately, he started using this saying, “It’s all good”. I never know what that means because he is always pissed off. He has a bong. He says it reminds him of happier times. I can’t see Daddy being the kind of man who would sit in a big pool and wait for the waves to come. I’m glad I didn’t invite him.

***

Dear Betty,

I am writing this with a green felt pen. I found it on the bathroom floor in the Greyhound station in Montgomery.

I have recently come into some money, but I can’t tell you anything about it. I am taking a vacation in Dollywood. I want to sit in the indoor pool and feel artificial warm Dollywood waves caress my buttocks, which reminds me. Why do you think my breasts never developed very much?

Maybe I will send you a postcard. I hope the hotel sells stamps. If I can, I will write you everyday. It will be like a travel journal.

The bus just passed a Krispy Kreme donut shop. I had a taste for a ham and cheese Hot Pocket.

There is this guy with a computer in front of me watching an R rated movie with boobs and his little boy is watching it too. What is this world coming to Betty?

Hugs & Love,
Beverly

***

The hotel is so nice. My room is right by the elevator, the ice machine and a couple who pound on the wall and praise God each night, which upsets their pagan German Shepard, who howls the whole time.

I started counting the money in the bag. I was going to spread the money on the bed and roll in it with my naked body, but then I thought about money germs. I decided I would count it later.

The chlorine treated waves surpassed my glorified expectations. The dishwasher from Denny’s was there and smiled in my direction.

I watched a porno movie and I decided never to order a thick crust pizza again. I have now been gone four days and I want to go home. I wish I was Samantha Steven and not because of Dick York or Dick Sargeant, but because I could rotate my nose ninety degrees and I would be home. I will write my mama and tell her I’m on a trip with my church group.

***********************

Dear Mama,

I’m on a trip to Dollywood with my church group. Tell Art I say Hi, and what do you want for Valentine’s Day?

Love & Hugs,
Beverly

The other side of the postcard was a color picture of a squirrel with ski’s on his bottom feet. The postcard would make a nice addition to anyone’s refrigerator door. I pictured letters from Mom and Betty and Comcast when I got home. Life is funny. Your tummy can get so happy on a Hot Pockets diet, but then Denny’s makes you have to go to the bathroom a lot.

I’m sitting next to an Asian man. The bus is full. He has headphones on and he’s playing a game with tiny soldiers on his tiny phone. I never catch him staring at my knees. Maybe he’s gay.

If I had flown to Dollywood, I would have had to pay extra for my Cardinal’s luggage. Twenty dollars! What is this world coming to? I hope the bus doesn’t hit a deer or if it does, I hope it’s an old deer and not a young feller.

***

Dear Me,

I can’t wait to get back home and go back to my cherished routines. TV is always more better at home and I don’t think I have bed bugs. I’m not sure why I even brought that up. I just want my life back the way it was. I think my mattress is from my Daddy’s Aunt Anita. I could buy a newer one now.

I believe my life is going to be quiet. The tenants are probably in a drawer in the morgue. The manager is probably shampooing the carpets. Maybe a nice, quiet immigrant from a quiet nation will move in. The nice thing about writing to yourself besides studying on the important things is that you do not need a stamp.

I’m pretty sure Mama will not believe my church group story but I think a little bit of falsifying brings out juicy mystery and Mama likes to read Harlan Cobain books so let it be, God.

What will I do with the money? I will keep it piled up in that Cardinal bag. I will try to buy Hot Pockets Lite when Lent comes up. Hear that God? I’m gonna be good for lent except for Fridays because there ain’t a fishy Hot Pocket yet. So, please and thank you too, God, for the opportunity to live my life as I am accustomed.

Love &; Hugs,
Me

***

Dear Mama,

I am back from my church group trip to Dollywood. We went to Dolly’s Splash Adventure and went down some water slides. I quit the church club because all the other members are in their seventies.

I haven’t read your letter yet. Do you know that it could cost me $2.92 to send that Harlan Cobain book back to you? Why don’t you go to a Goodwill and buy a used Harlan Cobain book? You are driving me crazy about that and I have nothing more to say about it.

Love & Hugs,
Beverly

P.S. Give Art my love.

***

Dear Betty,

I had a good trip to Dollywood. I almost met a dishwasher at Denny’s, but it wasn’t meant to be. There was no exuding of sexual sparks.

It is good to be home. Someday I will tell you the whole story about how I got a whole bunch of money in a funny way. I am sharing too much.

I am sorry to hear of your hamster’s untimely bout with gout. I am sure with our prayers and your loving hands, the little pooper will be okay.

I don’t hear a lot of noise from upstairs. I feel funny about that. It’s like Daddy says, ‘Be careful what you ask for’.

Love &; Hugs,
Beverly

***

I could hear my T.V. without all the racket from upstairs. I felt a little like an apprentice criminal. I wondered if I should go upstairs.

First, I warmed up a Salisbury Steak Hot Pocket. It tasted a little funny. I think that’s called freezer burn.

You would think another person in this building would see me in the hall and say, ‘Hey Beverly. Those guys upstairs are dead.’ People around here don’t talk much though. I can’t decide whether they don’t like me or they don’t speak American.

It seemed like work to lift my foot up each stair. I could still hear the Spider’s Bladder music in the foyer. I pushed open the door and much to my dismay, the guys were still dead, but now dead in a stinky way. I decided it wasn’t my business and closed the door.
I went back to my apartment and watched a Golden Girls episode on TV even though I had the DVD and had already seen it nine times.

***

Beverly,

You have acted like a little brat since you went to Dollywood--a big brat! I couldn’t help it but to say it.

You sound different. You don’t sound like yourself. Art is concerned too, even though he has never spoken to you. Maybe you should take some of that St. John’s Wart medicine. I hear it makes people’s souls soar with happiness.

The reason that the Harlan Cobain book was important to me is because that’s the book I bought in the hospital when you had your appendix out. Some of your throw up is on page 211. Please respect an old woman’s wishes and send it to me. Here is 5 dollars in cash. Have fun with the extra 2 bucks.

Art needs me right now. I love you bunches.

Hugs &a Love,
Mama
***

Dear Me,

An empty mailbox triggers feelings of sadness in me. It’s kind of like the feeling you get when you shoot a queen frog off a Lilly pad with your Mama’s BB gun.

One thing about me is if I write a letter, even a ‘dear me’ letter, I always write back. Not many people experience the joy of receiving letters from me.

I have decided to donate some of the money in the red bag to the Turtle Habitat for Shyness, at least twenty-seven dollars of it. I also thought of joining Curves and now I will definitely do it because I can’t bend over and tie my shoe without having childbirth-like pain. After that I will try and find different ways to spend it away.

Dad gummit! I think I warmed up my Pepperoni Pizza Hot Pocket too much. It looks like it’s bleeding. I know in my heart and my bigger than average gut that it will still taste fine and dandy when it cools down.

Love & Hugs,
Me

_________________________________

Author: Gary Doherty

I have a master's degree in social work or an MSW. I have worked for the State of Illinois for 20 years as a guardian for disabled adults. 

I am involved in writing for several years via a writing group called the Red Herring Fiction Writers in Urbana, IL.  I have done public readings of both non-fiction and fiction pieces at local coffee shops, churches and bars. 

I enjoy a theme of down and out persons living out their simple lives. I like to add humor and sensitivity to my characters and my stories.

No comments: