Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee, or until the salt circle has been confirmed inviolate, the sacred stones lit, the Soul Blenders put on standby, the Circle of Eight gathered, the chanting of the verses that unstick time completed, the clouds have fallen, and The Queen of Blue Sorrows is ascendant.
You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but you do need to supply us with a hank of hair, a vial of blood, complete the three day chant of binding, sign a nondisclosure agreement, summon a minor thoughtform and have it perform up to three tricks or japes, get fitted for a hooded robe, sage your cubicle, and give a cancelled check to payroll.
The medium flips a card. I lean over to read the label: THE FLIPPING CARD.
The card features a tiny illustration of a medium flipping a card and a tiny illustrated me reading the label.
“Is that good?”
The medium shrugs. “It’s accurate.”
*flips over cards reading STOP EATING GARBAGE and GET REGULAR SLEEP*
“That’s the thing with the Tarot: It’s so open to interpretation. No way to know what it means.”
Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Familiar:
- Is it familiar? Don’t pick animals you don’t know or your mind can’t recognize b/c of an other-dimensional origin.
- Does it match your aesthetic? Or can you afford a wardrobe change? (e.g. a crow likes shiny… is your hair already threaded with reflective bits and bobs?)
- Price range: A small budget shouldn’t be an obstacle. Bugs and slugs are plentiful and free.
- Does it like magic stuff? A familiar that yawns a lot is distracting.
Things We Have Thrown Into the Lake and What Has Thereby Been Summoned:
- A pineapple: Nothing
- A lover’s gift: Regret
- A fish: Friendship with all fish
- A wax sphere: Nothing
- A doll bound in string & hair: Nothing
- A tooth: The Tooth Spirit of the Lake
- A magazine: A forest ranger who asked me to stop littering in the lake
It’s Friday and you know what that means! It’s time to put on your boots and head out into the deep swamp to leave treats for the Bog Witch! Seven more days of pleasant damp dreams for all of us! Seven more days of crocodile thoughts and slow mangrove vibrations! Hooray for the Bog Witch! Treats for the Bog Witch!
It’s Friday and you know what that means!
It’s time to shift all of the blame for the terrible things we’ve done to a goat. And then we have to parade the goat through the whole village and let the goat apologize to everyone.
The the goat is crowned and rules the village for the entire weekend. Hail Queen Goat! How you have suffered for us! Our souls are clean and you are damned to rule!
lost time incident 56
Ladies and germs, welcome, welcome. The world hasn’t ended yet, so here’s something else to read while we wait. It’s a gorgeous day. I’ve seen it. I was out there. I tossed a peanut to a crow who stared down at me from a power line, seemingly unaware of what its role in this transaction was supposed to be.
You’re supposed to eat the peanut, dummy.
And those words of wisdom are broadly applicable, so I hope you take them to heart, all of you. Wherever you are today: Eat that peanut, dummy.
Can you believe this newsletter is free? With advice like that? Dang. My hand reflexively opened a tab to Paypal to send myself all my money.
time keeps on slippin’
When I wrote this tweet, I was thinking about the fact that I had a paper route as a teenager. I can remember that I had these tiny envelopes, one for every customer on the route from whom I was supposed to collect subscription funds directly. Some would write checks, some would pay in cash. For some of them, I’d leave the envelope and they’d leave it for pick-up on their mailbox.
But for the life of me, I can’t remember what I did with those checks.
The cash, over time, made its way into my pocket to form my meager salary.
The checks, though… they must have needed to be routed to an adult on a regular basis, but I have no idea how I did that. I don’t remember dropping them anywhere… leaving them for pick-up somewhere… mailing them… nothing.
A friend on Facebook wrote up an autobiographical post based on some passed-around set of questions about one’s high school years. One question was: It’s Friday night… where would you be and what would you be doing?
I have no idea.
That young man, the teenage Michael… so much of him is gone. Irrecoverable. And that’s fine.
When I wake up in the middle of the night and am ambushed by the horror that at some future date, I will die, I try to remember that the toddler me, the school-aged me, the teenager me… in some sense, they’ve already passed on, and it didn’t trouble them much.
What am I, the current me, but one more collection of memories, not-yet-forgotten.
I have a cat who has decided to rest on the arms that are typing these words. His head jounces a bit when I hit the spacebar. His tail keeps hitting me in the face in perhaps a subtle protest.
This is nice.
I hope I remember this.
Today, out of the blue, my mom sent me a photo of my father and I on the back of his motorcycle in San Jose, CA. Guessing based on my size, I must have been 2 or 3. It’s probably 1978 or ’79, somewhere in there. I do remember riding on that motorcycle with my dad. Once. Maybe this photo wasn’t just posed. Maybe this was it.
My dad fired up the engine and the motorcycle made an astonishing amount of noise… noise I could feel in my chest. He steered us down the block at a running pace, and turned onto the big road that had all the traffic. The road that I wouldn’t initially be allowed to ride my own pedal bike along during the early years of my self-propelled-on-wheels period. I had to have some experience under my belt before I graduated to being allowed to circle the entire block, attempting little front wheel hops on the shallow inclines of suburban driveways.
After we turned onto the big road, Aborn Road, it didn’t take long for the bike to get up to speed, roaring, the wind blowing on us, and all I remember is fear. I felt dangerously exposed on the bike, among so many cars, at a speed that would certainly hurt if we crashed. Just… gut deep fear that if I even blinked, I’d go flying off the bike and under the tires of a car.
You can see my tiny hands on the body of the bike. There was nothing to white-knuckle grip as the fear hit me.
We only went up and down the road once before slowing down and gliding back home. I think he expected me to be thrilled. I was not. Did I cry as I got set back on the ground, after we safely glided home? I don’t know.
The experience was never repeated. Maybe I refused future offers. I have no memory of it.
My preference, even at that age, was to spend a nice day like the one on the photo lolling about on my parent’s water bed, surrounded by picture books from the library, working my way through most of them the day I got them.
So now you know, in case you were wondering, why my adulthood did not include an ascension into the ranks of some Sons of Anarchy collective.
Not yet, anyway.
ending theme song
Thanks for reading for another week, or at least thanks for not going out of your way to reply and tell me you delete these things without reading. This was a good warm-up. Now I gotta get back to my current book project, now that these fingers have been limbered up and the cat stretched across my arms seems pretty settled. Don’t forget to shoot for the stars! Even if you miss, the stars will get the message! Watch your step, stars! We haven’t forgotten! We haven’t forgotten a THING!
“I have also heard that one of us may be an alien, friend. Do you suppose it might be Carl? Note how he tugs his skeleton around with paired muscle sets. It’s weird, right?”
“Look, if one of us is an alien, then we all need to be tested. So let’s just line up in order by saliva color and we’ll get this figured out!”
“I can’t believe Carl wasn’t an alien. I thought for sure that an alien would definitely say ‘You guys don’t seriously think it’s me, do you? It’s obviously THAT GUY! Did you not just hear what he said about my skeleton?’ Just like Carl said. That just sounds so much like what an alien would say. Oh well.”
“I know we’re all under a lot of stress, but am I the only one a little concerned that if we burn every body we come across, that we’re kinda wasting nutrients?”
“I agree. We should ask each other questions that only humans will know the answers to. I will give my answers now: A sporting team. Kissing. You don’t bury the survivors. A different sporting team. The name of the President. Okay, now you go.”