Monday, September 30, 2013


Welcome to my blog!
The story you’re about to read is an excerpt from my last book, “Escape From Houdini Mountain”. My latest book, “Showgirl Condfidential” just came out on Punk Hostage Press. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for info on upcoming readings and purchasing either book in hard copy or Kindle.


Perhaps it was the lack of sleep, combined with PMS and a slight hangover, but I woke up feeling like I had to do something -- anything -- "worthwhile" so I could prove to myself that my life wasn’t a total waste. Looking around, that task would have to be cleaning the house, a chore I not only loathed and dreaded but also was no good at, anyway. I mean, I've been blessed with a lot of talents but housework is definitely not one of them.

Dragging my pathetic carcass into action, I washed a week's worth of scummy dishes. Filled with a sense of responsibility and accomplishment, I decided that vacuuming would be in order.  No sooner had I started, the vacuum bag burst, scattering
who knows how many month's worth of condensed dust-bunnies, cat hair, and general filth all over the room.

I went to the pantry and knocked over a bunch of seldom-used and haphazardly stored cleaning products. Unfortunately, there were no vacuum cleaner bags among them. But I was on a mission, goddamit, so that meant I had to go and get some. Popping a couple of Midol and fortifying myself with a shot of tequila, I walked to the store. It was unbearably humid and the moment I got outside my allergies began to act up, causing my
eyes and nose to run.

I made it to the store, sneezing and wheezing, with period cramps from hell, but of course they didn't have the right kind of bags. A clerk suggested I try a hardware store that was fairly close by. "Close" turned out to be seven L-O-N-G blocks in the glaring noonday sun. Sweating and sniffing, I got lost in the maze of faucets, toilet tank covers, lighting fixtures, fan belts, screws, nuts, bolts, and tools. The machine that grinds keys was whining at a supersonic volume, insulting my increasingly bad hangover, and the entire place smelled like some lethal solvent. Even though the store was incredibly crowded, there were no salespeople in sight. Finally, after about twenty minutes of mindless wandering, I found the correct aisle by myself.

I was so dazed at this point, I could barely remember what I was looking for in the first place. Luckily, a rotund, balding little man in a dirty gray smock came up to me, offering assistance. Even though he stunk like garlic and B.O., and had an abundance of hair sprouting from his ears and nostrils, I was happy to see him, feeling more like a damsel in distress with every passing, agonizing second. I told him what sort of bag I needed and he nodded sagaciously, pointing out possibilities, riffling through the bags displayed.

"You have an upright model then,” he said, as though I'd be pleased at his vast and all-encompassing knowledge.

"Yup," I said, monosyllabic by this time.

"I don't see the right kind of bags,” he said. "Do you?"
"No, that's what I was hoping you'd help me with,” I replied.

"Well, maybe if you can't find them, then maybe  you need a new vacuum cleaner."

"I don’t think so," I said. "My vacuum cleaner is brand new."

A few months ago, a department store had been foolish enough to send me a charge card, and I immediately went and bought all sorts of household items I never would've purchased with cash. I bought this particular vacuum cleaner because it had pale blue and purple New Wave splatters all over it, and was called The Boss. In a perverse way, I thought it would be funny to have an appliance named after Bruce Springsteen, even though I detested his music.

The troll didn't seem to get it though, and pressed the issue.

"If you need a new vacuum cleaner, I have lots of them,” he said. "I repair vacuum cleaners. I have a whole garage full!"

"How great," I said vaguely, discreetly wiping allergy snot onto my sleeve.

 "But my vacuum is brand new, I just need the right type of bag."

I was beginning to feel lightheaded and dizzy from the fumes inside the store. Who was I to think that cleaning the house on a Sunday morning would add any meaning to my life? What was I thinking? What I really wanted was more Midol, a slushy margarita, a foot rub and an afternoon filled with trashy 1940s movies.

 A Valium would be nice, too, and maybe some Fritos. Oh, and a maid.

"I could get you a nice used vacuum," Rumplestiltskin continued. "I have lots of them!"

"I already told you,” I said, losing what little patience I had left, "I don't need one!"

Just then, I noticed two clerks standing at the end of the aisle. Both of them were young, tall, and lanky, wearing nametags and t-shirts emblazoned with the logo of the hardware store as uniforms. They looked nothing like this horrible small old man in his greasy smock. He looked like an industrial-powered, perverted Munchkin. Regarding him carefully, I noticed he wasn't wearing a nametag, either. His garlic breath singed my nostrils and I noticed that his cheeks and scalp were covered with moles and liver spots, as he leaned in close, standing on tiptoes to reach my face.

"I could help you," he said in an urgent whisper, stroking my arm and simultaneously raising a propositioning eyebrow meaningfully.

All of a sudden, the horrifying reality of the situation dawned on me and I couldn't control either my repulsion or my tone of voice.


A few nearby customers whirled around and stared at us in shock. The little man winced but stood his ground for a second before scurrying away in humiliation, his pick-up attempt foiled. I laughed dementedly at my own outburst as the other customers pretended  that nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

 On the way home, I rented a couple of videos and grabbed some margarita mix.
The pile of filth in my living room sat there for, oh... a couple of weeks, I guess.

Book release party at Skinny's in LA: flanked by my Graphic Grrrl Maharet & Punk Hostage Press publisher Iris Berry

 Upcoming  “Showgirl Confidential” readings/book signings:

The Continental Club
1315 S. Congress     8:30 pm   Free

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 16, 2013:  LA, CA
Skylight Books
 1818 N. Vermont Ave.    7:00pm   Free

   “Showgirl Confidential”  paperback on Amazon:

Purchase “Escape From Houdini Mountain” for Kindle on Amazon:

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