Right now I relate to that clip of Paul Rudd on "Hot Ones" where they are saying, “Look at us. Who would have thought? Not me!” You know that clip, right? Go google it right now. I'll wait.
I started Little em. with very Little direction. Plus I’m sort of a quitter, but LOOK AT US, who would have thought? Two whole years of being in business, like actual business! Not just me funding my own hobby. Little em is definitely not where it should be after two years of business, but it has been able to reach some really great milestones.
We’ve sold over 1,000 air fresheners, and the new items launched earlier this year are doing just as great. Speaking of the launch, I started the Little blog, and while only my mother reads it, I’ve been really enjoying working on it. (Hi Mom!) We’ve shipped to 38 states, and we’re in 5 different retail stores. Really early on, we were featured in Voyage Houston Magazine! I thought this paragraph would be longer, but that’s okay! Maybe in two more years I’ll have a longer list of accomplishments.
Little em. wouldn’t be anywhere without the customers (and the silent admirers!). So, I want to thank you. Thank you for the support, and thank you for loving the stuff I design! I want to keep doing this for as long as you’ll let me. I have so many more ideas, and new stuff in the works! So, please stick around!
I know, I know, Sunday Comics were phoned in, there was no Monday Message, and there wasn’t a fun Wednesday graphic. It’s been a busy week. To make a long story short, at this moment, we think my dad is finally cancer free after a three and a half year battle! Please Knock on wood, kiss your lucky rabbit foot, and keep your fingers crossed! (Fun fact about Little em, I opened the shop the same day my sister had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from her lung. The launch was planned, the cancer was not.)
A few weeks ago, my dad was pitching product ideas to me, and he mentioned the word, ENDURE. He said Endure has sort of been his mantra through this whole cancer thing, but it would probably resonate with a lot people. The dictionary definition of Endure gives me complacency vibes, but that’s not how I’m choosing to define it. To me, it means staying tough while you fight through whatever it is that is causing you pain, or discomfort, or frustration. When you’re about to give up, don’t. Endure it. Work through it. You can do it! You are so much tougher than you think.
This post is super cheesy, but I’m optimistic today. And I'm rooting for you.
How is everyone doing?
Me? I’m fine, thanks for asking.
I don’t have any silly story to give, or any nostalgia to hit you in the face with this week. Just me checking in on you.
We are finally seeing the other side of ~The Quarantine~ tunnel. Some people are really excited about it, and some people aren’t so excited about it. Both feelings are okay!
Shoot, I’m excited to not hear, “In times like these…”, “In these unprecedented times…”, or “With everyone staying home…”, on my TV anymore! But I’m not excited about all the tension it’s caused.
I’m already feeling nostalgic for this time. Obviously, I can do without the fear, the deaths, and the economy tanking, but there weren’t any expectations of me. My time didn’t belong to anyone else but me. Have you ever said, “If I just had the time, I could…”? Well, you know what, I had 3 months worth of time, and still didn’t do any of that stuff I talked about doing. Not to say I didn’t do anything productive, because I did. But no, I did NOT learn how to play Feelin’ Alright on my Casio like I’ve been wanting to do since Christmas.
I hope all of you learned a little bit about yourself, because I know I did. I think that is most important. Living through a Pandemic is awful. There is no doubt I’ll remember it that way, but I want to also remember it as a time where I made some positive changes in my life. Like learning how to prioritize my time better, or learning how not to touch my face so much (honestly! Who knew it would be so hard?). And I hope that for you, too. I hope you’re doing alright. I hope you aren’t sitting at home pouting about all the things that were taken away from you. Pouting feels good, but it’s never the answer. Same goes for cheese, trust me.
Before I go, I want to thank all of you who have supported this little business through…sigh…these unprecedented times. You have kept me busy, hopeful, and happy. I am going to add a video below of a song that has been stuck in my head the last few days. It goes along with this post. I hope you dance a little bit while listening to it. But just a little.
Be cool, & (responsibly) party on.
I Don’t Plan I Plot Journal Sold HERE 15 Minute Read
I’m going to be honest with you; I’m not as smart & creative as you think I am. Sometimes, I need a little bit of help. Tonight, my help comes from a book called, 642 Things to Write About by The San Francisco Writers' Grotto. I got my copy at Target, but here is an amazon link.
You are a loser who lives alone with a cat and have for quite some time. One day your cat can’t take it anymore and starts talking. What does he say?
At 7:00am the alarm goes off, and my eyes pop open. It’s dark, I can’t see anything, and something is covering my mouth! I can hardly breathe! Am I being kidnapped? Suddenly, there’s light and I can see again. My cat, Mr. Muffins, just stepped on my face. He’s been sleeping there a lot lately. Sometimes, I think he’s secretly trying to kill me! No, I’m just kidding! He could never do that! He loves me too much.
Time to get up and start the day! While walking to the bathroom I take a look in the mirror. I don’t see anything special. Just me. I’ve got the body, and the complexion of a woman who eats entirely too much fast food. Mostly, because I am a woman who eats entirely too much fast food. My hair is short, and brown. Not the shiny kind of brown, but the dull, starting to gray, brown. I keep it really short so I don’t have to fuss with it. As for fashion, I’ve pretty much been rocking the same wardrobe for the last 20 years. I wear a uniform to work, and I keep good care of my play clothes. I do replace the occasional sock that Mr. Mittens has shredded, but other than that, there hasn’t really been a reason to get anything new.
My life is pretty simple. I get up at 7, get to work by 9, come home at 5, eat dinner with Mr. Muffins, watch TV, then go to bed. I do that everyday. Except for Saturdays and Sundays. I replace work with hobbies like knitting, crocheting, and weaving. My full time job is being a Toll Booth Operator, but I sell my fiber art on Etsy. I haven’t made any sales yet, but I’m hopeful! My stuff is good! Mr. Muffins fully supports my ambition. He loves my weavings. He’s always trying to bat at them. I’m so glad we have something we can enjoy together. My entire house is decorated with my art. It’s just Mr. Muffins and me at home. We live in the house I grew up in. I was an only child, so when my parents died, they left it to me. Not that I wasn’t already living here when they died, because I was. I’ve always lived here with them. They died about 10 years ago. Nothing tragic though. They lived for a long time. They found each other late in life and had me when they were close to 50. Dad got sick, and was never able to recover. Mom died pretty soon after. I think it was because her heart was broken.
I miss them, but that’s just how life goes.
I used to have a boyfriend, Tony. We met through the Prison Pen Pal Program. I got involved with the program after my parents died. I was feeling lonely and wanted someone to talk to. He was incarcerated for running a scam on a bunch of old ladies. He conned them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I thought, he must be smart at least! We wrote letters back and forth to each other for 2 years, and I fell head over heals in love. When he got out, I told him he could come live with me until he got back on his feet. I was secretly hoping he would never get back on his feet, and we could get married, and live together forever. Just me, him, and Mr. Muffins. When he got here, he took one look around and left. Well, first he asked for 20 bucks, and then he left.
I miss him, but that’s just how life goes.
Mr. Muffins is the only man I need in my life anyway. He’s a big orange tabby cat. I rescued him off the street after my parents died. Or rather, he rescued me. I was knitting on a park bench, when some teenagers came up, and started picking on me. Getting picked on was something I was used to, so I was just letting it happen, when out of nowhere I saw this orange flash. It was Mr. Muffins! He jumped on one of the teenagers and started clawing at his face! He was hissing like crazy! They were all so scared they ran away! He came to my rescue! He was my little hero. I took the McMuffin I was saving out of my bag and we split it. That’s how he got his name. He followed me home, and the rest is history.
It was a pretty easy day at work. No one threw their change at me, spit at me, or shouted anything vulgar at me. So I chalk that up to a win! After work, I went straight home to make a healthy dinner for me, and for Mr. Muffins. I was thinking, a Greek salad for me, and smoked salmon for the Mister. No, you know that’s not true! I drove straight to the McDonald’s drive thru, and ordered a Big Mac, (okay, 2 Big Macs) and large fries. When I got home I called out for Mr. Muffins while I fill his dish with canned tuna. I would have picked up a Filet-O-Fish sandwich, but he’s starting to look a little chunky, and boy is he heavy! After a few minutes of waiting, he finally jumps through the kitchen window. I always keep it cracked for him. He likes to come and go when I’m at work. He sees the McDonald’s bag and starts purring. “No, no Mr. Muffins. You know you’re on a diet. If you want to continue to sleep on my face, you need to lose some weight. I thought I was suffocating this morning!” I know it’s impossible, but I’m pretty sure I saw him roll his eyes. He’s such a special cat.
The Evening News just started when I shoved the last handful of fries in my mouth. I don’t know how it happened, but I start choking! Full on red face, eyes watering, slapping my chest, choking. I look down at Mr. Muffins to see him staring at me with no expression on his face. What is he doing? He’s supposed to be my hero! I try yelling at him, but nothing comes out. I’m about to pass out, when finally Mr. Muffins makes a move. He takes a running start, then leaps right into my gut. Thank goodness he’s put on so much weight because it worked! The fries fly out of my mouth, and they go everywhere, and I mean everywhere! But I’m alive! My hero saved me again! Now I feel bad I didn’t get him the Filet-O-Fish. It’s not that late, I can still go get him one. “Oh, Mr. Mittens! Thank you so much! I thought that was it for me! Wouldn’t it be ironic if I died choking on something I love so much? How about I get back in the car, and go get you a celebratory Filet-O-Fish and maybe another Big Mac for Momma?”
For a second I think maybe he has brain damage from hitting me so hard, because he’s making the strangest sound. It’s a different sound than his usual hairball sound. This was more of an internal screaming sound. He’s turns and look me dead in the eye, and he says (yes, SAYS), “Bonnie, baby, you’re a mess! How can this be your life? You do the same thing day after day, night after night, Big Mac after Big Mac! Have you given up?” His voice is so deep, and hip, really, really hip. It’s not at all how I expected him to sound. Not that I really ever expected him to have a voice. “Don’t you have any friends? Anyone to talk to, to go out with? I can’t be all you’ve got! You’re not even all I’ve got! There’s a pretty kitty up the street named Jinxie. We’ve been going together for awhile now, things are good, they’re getting serious.” I don’t know what to say. I literally do not know what to say in response to my cat. MY CAT. All I can squeak out is,
“Mr. Muff…” He cuts me off. “I prefer to go by Fins.” Fins? That’s not fancy at all! Cats names should always be fancy! “Okay, Fins. First, congratulations on your relationship, that’s awesome for you. Second, did I actually die when I choked on those fries, because this can’t be real.”
“No, you’re alive, but not well, doll face. As for the talking thing, well, I’ve always been able to talk. Most People are square, so I’ve never felt the need to, until now.” He’s actually talking to me! This is the best day of my entire life! “You’re sad, Bonnie. You’ve lost your spark for life. You used to do things, see people, bathe regularly. I’ve tried subtle ways to shock the life back into you. Mostly by trying to suffocate you, and then stopping right before you pass out. I thought if you came close to death you would feel inspired to live. But just now, when you looked like it was time for you to move towards The Light, and you want to go out for a Filet-O-Fish and ANOTHER Big Mac? You need to change, Bonnie. Get yourself out there again. And maybe not with a prisoner this time. You deserve better than that.” I’m shocked. This is simultaneously the nicest, and meanest thing anyone has ever said to me. And it was said to me by my cat. I try to speak, but my mouth is dry. Suddenly, I’m feeling very lightheaded.
I must have passed out because now I’m on the floor and it’s pitch black outside. There’s a blanket on me. Mr. Muff… I mean, Fins does usually puts one on me when I pass out on the couch. Wait, Fins! He can talk! Where is he? I look around for him, but I don’t see him anywhere. I can hear a noise coming from the kitchen. I get up and peek around the corner. I can see Fins at the window with a cat I’ve never seen before. Is that Jinxie? No, it can’t be. This cat looks big, and mean, and they look mad at each other! Big, Mean Cat lets out a hiss, and takes a swing at Fins, but he dodges it. He counters the move with a harder, faster swing, and makes contact. It turns into a full on cat fight on my window sill, and then onto my kitchen cabinet. They are rolling around howling and hissing, and knocking stuff onto the floor. I turn the light on, and that stops them in their tracks. They look over at me, and Big, Mean Cat leaps out the window. I run over and slam it shut behind him.
“What was that?” I shout at him. His ears go flat, and he’s trying to make his body small. He’s guilty! He gives me the same look when I find his little presents he leaves in my slippers. “Don’t give me that look Mister! Why are you inviting cats into my kitchen, and why are you fighting them?” He doesn’t answer me. “I know you can talk! Why are you fighting cats in my kitchen?” He still doesn’t say anything. Am I crazy? Was he not giving me some grand, Get it Together, Oprah kind of speech earlier? I wait a second longer for a response before deciding that I must be the one with brain damage. “Okay fine, have it your way.” I turn to go to the fridge. I need some cheese after all this.
“No! No not the emergency cheese, Bonnie! I’ll explain everything if you promise to not eat anymore cheese tonight.” He shouts at me. Alright, so he can talk!
“Okay, no more cheese, tonight. Pinky promise.”
“You might want to sit down for this.” I sit. “What I’m about to say might shock you, but then again, you do need a good shock. What you saw, Bonnie was we in the business call, a bad deal. That cat you saw, he was coming here to buy something from me, but he didn’t have enough for a payment. He got mad at me because I wouldn’t fork over the goods. I tried to settle it with meows, but he wanted to get physical. I’m a catnip dealer, Bonnie. And no one messes with me. I’m well known around the alleys. That’s why I go by Fins. Mr. Muffins is cute and all, and it worked for me and you, but it’s not a name for the streets. Speaking of, this diet you have me on is killing me! All this “fat” you think I have, it’s pure muscle, baby! You have to be able to take care of yourself when you run a business like mine. Not to mention, I have to protect you. That’s my full time job.” I’m overwhelmed with all this information. I have so many questions. I just start firing them off.
“Why do cats need a catnip dealer? It’s not illegal, is it? Are you also a user, or do you just sell? Where are you getting the catnip, because I’ve never bought it before? Are you being safe? Does Jinxie know? Is she the one who got you into this?” I say all in one breath.
“Whoa, slow down, Bonnie, baby. It’s alright. Take a deep breath. . And yes, I’m being very safe. I mostly deal to local alleycats. They don’t have a way to get the nip on their own. I do have a few house cat customers as well. Not all People allow their cats to have nip. Jinxie does know what I do, and she’s been a big help in expanding my business, but no, she didn’t get me into it. Your scumbag boyfriend, Tony did. Right before he left, he tossed me some nip from his pocket and said good luck. I enjoyed it so much I thought my friends in the alley would too. I grew up on the streets, remember? I know what it’s like to have to fight for every meal. They deserve to go nuts from time to time.”
“Okay, I can rationalize all that, i think, but you left something out. Where do you get it?” He sighs at me. I didn’t know cats could sigh. Well, I didn’t know they could talk either.
“This is the part you’re not going to like. You know Old Lady Kowalski next door? She has a nip plant in her garden. I don’t think she even knows what she’s got. I seem to be the only cat around who knows about it. Late at night, I hop over the fence, and harvest it the best I can.” He looks sort of ashamed. And he should be! Dealing nip, fighting Big, Mean Cats in my kitchen, and STEALING from Mrs. Kowalski! She already doesn’t like me. When Tony left, I went through a rough patch. She said my loud middle of the night crying kept her up. She’s been cold to me ever since. If she finds out what Mr. Muffins is doing she might call animal control on him.
“So you’re nip dealer AND a cat burglar? Wait, what are they paying you with? It can’t possibly be cash!”
“That’s the thing doll, the pay, the pay is the best part. It’s the reason I do all this, for us. They pay me in…yarn. I love it, you love it. It works out perfectly.” He purrs when he says perfect.
“But you’re stealing! It’s not right! As much as I love yarn, I love following the rules even more! We don’t do this kind of stuff Mr. Muffins! We have a routine and we follow it. Wake up, work, dinner, TV, then bed. There’s no room for crime!” That’s when it hits me. This is how I get out of my rut. I go into business selling catnip for yarn with my cat, Mr. Muffins. No, excuse me, my cat, Fins.
We’ve been in business for almost 2 months, and things couldn’t be better. I’ve got a few catnip plants growing in my own garden. My part in all this is to grow it and harvest it. From there, Fins takes it and sells it to our clients. I’ve been learning so much about gardening. I’m thinking soon I can grow my own strain. Then we can see exactly how many cats are getting their supply from us. We pulled Jinxie in for help too. She’s dealing at nights at the west side Alley. Fins is wanting to recruit more dealers, but the game is so dangerous. It’s hard to trust anyone. I can’t complain though, I’ve got enough yarn to wrap around the sun! My Etsy shop has become pretty popular too! Jinxie had a brilliant idea of having the house cat clients take their Person to my site, by walking across their keyboard. I haven’t been able to quit my day job, but I might if we keep it up! I’ve got Fins back on his high calorie diet, while he has be sticking to a low calorie diet. What he doesn’t know is that I stop off everyday to get a large order of fries on my way home, and eat all of them before I get there. We’re really making this work!
Isn’t that the way it happens though? Just when you think everything is right in the world, something happens and it all comes crashing down. It’s 3am and a furry paw just hit me in the face. I open my eyes to see Fins sitting on my chest staring at me. I’m startled, but thankful he’s not trying to suffocate me anymore.
“Bonnie, come quick. We need your help!” He sounds so serious. I get up, throw on my robe, and follow him into the kitchen. He jumps out the window, peeks his head back in, and says, “Get your shoes on. We’re going to the Alley.” This must be serious because People aren’t welcome in the alley. We hustle down the street, and as we’re going all these other cats are starting to follow us. They’re all howling and hissing. We turn the corner to the Alley, and I see even more cats. They see me coming with Fins so instead of fighting me, they scatter. That’s when I see her. It’s Jinxie and she’s laying in the middle of the Alley motionless. Her breathing is shallow, her eyes are bugging out, and she’s making a strange gurgling sound. What is going on? Fins runs over to comfort her. He looks up at me and howls, “I think it’s an overdose! I don’t know how to help her!” I need to act fast.
“Okay, let’s get her to the animal hospital. They can help her there.” I go to scoop her up, but Fins stops me.
“Aren’t they going to ask a bunch of questions? Is it safe to take her there?” Fins shouts.
“At this point, if we don’t get her some help she’s going to die!”
We get to the animal hospital in record time. The doctors take her back, and leaves us in the waiting room. It’s just us in there, so Fins feels comfortable to talk with me.
“I didn’t think cats could overdose on nip.” I say quietly.
“You are learning all the time, aren’t you Bonnie? When you’re around it as much as we, you’re bound to get too much. Oh Bast, I hope she’ll be okay!” He looks so sad. The saddest I’ve ever seen him.
“Maybe it’s time for us to retire, Fins. The Etsy shop is doing well, and I have plenty of yarn now. When she gets out, Jinxie can move in with us. We can get you guys clean, off the streets, and be a family again. Doesn’t that sound nice?”
“I can’t give it up now, Bonnie. I know I made it sound like I’m in it for the yarn, but I’m not. There’s so much more. I love the power it gives me. I love how the other cats respect me. They get out of my way when they see me coming. I’m loved and feared all at the same time. Growing up I was always the scaredy cat. It wasn’t until I took on those teenagers in the park for you, that I realized I could be tough, and dealing nip has only made me tougher. I feel like I have 18 lives instead of 9!”
“It’s so dangerous though! Look what is happening to Jinxie! She may not make it! None of this would have happened if we weren’t dealing. You’re willing to risk the ones you love just to stay in the game? Just to feel powerful? I can’t understand that, Muffy.” He’s breaking my heart. Jinxie was nearly dead in that Alley, and he doesn’t see how it was our actions that put her there? I’ve learned a lot over the last few months, but I never thought I would learn that my cat was a true thug. This business is bigger to him than I thought. “What if I stop growing it for you? You’ll have to stop then, because i forbid you to steal it.”
“Bonnie, doll, I’m Fins. I have connections now. I can get it if I really wanted to. And I really want to. We can go back to how it was before, me dealing, and you having no part of it.”
“No, it has to stop! I don’t want to find you in the Alley overdosing on nip, Mr. Muffins. You know you’re all I have!” I feel like crying.
“Bonnie, don’t do this. Don’t make me pick between you and the business. It will tear me a part.” Now I am crying.
That was the last time I saw him. We waited together until Jinxie was released from the hospital. She was going to be fine, just needed a few days rest. After that, we went our separate ways. That almost was a year ago. I’ve pretty much gone back to my old routine. I don’t weave, or knit anymore. It makes me too sad. Instead, I’ve taken up kickboxing. I spend every Saturday and Sunday in the gym. I’m taking care of myself now. I got a letter in the mail last week from Tony. He’s back in jail. He is looking to start things up again while he’s in there. I was going to respond, but I dropped the letter in the shredder instead. Sometimes, when I’m out, I’ll walk slower in front of the Alley. At times I think I catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye, but when I turn to look, he’s not there. It took a long time to get over what happened. I still don’t think I’m completely over it. I still leave the kitchen window cracked, just in case.
I miss him, but that’s just how life goes.
10 Minute Read
This is a story about my friend, Jen. I use the term, friend, loosely (you’ll see why later). She was a legend in our school. Something wild was always happening to her. We went to different elementary schools, but I heard kids at my school talk about her. How so many kids from my school knew about her, I’ll never know. I heard so many wild things about her. I heard she was an extra in the movie Spy Kids. I heard she had a new outfit every day for the first 100 days of 5th grade, and I heard John Stamos told her she was pretty. No, I’m kidding about the last one. That’s from Mean Girls, but honestly she had big Regina George vibes, before Regina George was a thing.
I finally met her in 6th grade English class. She sat behind me, and to the left. I remember being excited when I found out I was going to be sitting so close to her. Maybe she would want to be friends with me, and I could be popular like her. Maybe she could get me a part in Spy Kids 2! However, I quickly changed my mind. I thought she was the worst! She wouldn’t shut up! Everyone in class seemed to really like her, and I was having a hard time understanding why. I thought she was absolutely full of it. She had these really wild stories! One of the first ones I ever heard her tell was about a ghost that lives in her house. A ghost! She said he lived in the walls, and only came out when she was sleeping. She said every night they would talk, and his name was Fred, but she called him Freddy. He was only around for a short time after they moved into the house, so she thought maybe her family scared him off. I couldn’t believe it, but the other kids were eating it up. Did they really think she was friends with Casper, or were they just being nice? I mean, when a kid tells you something like that, it’s hard to believe anything else they say. It bothered me so much that she was getting away with it! So, when she would go off on one of her stories I would question her to see if she would get confused, or mixed up. I would poke holes in her stories to try and get her to admit she was lying to us. She had the memory of an elephant, and had an answer for everything. It was so frustrating! I was starting to believe that maybe this 11 year old really did have a wild life.
Then, I thought maybe she was an embellisher, or an exaggerator. That maybe her stories were mostly true, but she adds lots of fluff to make the story seem really impressive. Like, maybe she was an extra on Spy Kids, but just because her mom knew someone, who knew someone else, who got her on set for the day. She knew exactly how much detail to add to make the story crazy, yet still seem believable. Everyone knows a person like this. You may call them, Pathological Liars, or Habitual Liars, but I call them Fancy Liars. Fancy Liars aren’t always bad people. In fact, most are harmless. They don’t lie so they can get something out of you. They lie so they can impress you. A lot of people get fooled by Fancy Liars. You hear them tell these wild stories that you want to be a part of, but when you go along, you end up on the couch at some strangers house watching Ratatouille while everyone around you is doing Whip Its, and passing out. You have a terrible time, but end up going out with the Fancy Liar another time, because maybe, just maybe something wild will happen. But no, just more strangers, and more Whip Its.
The first time I encountered one, I was in 2nd grade. I was standing in the lunch line when a girl (not Jen), turned around and told me that when she went to the bathroom earlier, it was all blood. My jaw literally dropped. I could not believe what I had just heard. She didn’t seem scared at all! At the time, I was 7, and I didn’t know what a woman’s period was, so bleeding from that area was a thought that shook me to my core. And I honestly don’t think that’s what was happening to her because she was even younger than me. I think I said something like, wow that’s bad, you should tell the teacher. Then she shrugged at me, and walked off. She shrugged at me like she didn’t just tell me the scariest thing I had ever heard. She walked right over to the salad bar, and started making a salad. Why wasn’t she telling the teacher? I was so confused and scared for her! I thought about it for the entire day. I wasn’t about to do her any favors, and tell the teacher for her. I was that kind of kid. I could have witnessed a murder, and never said a thing to anyone about it. Not my murder, not my problem. But, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Even though I was scared she was going to give me more details, I just had to ask. The next day at lunch I tapped her on the shoulder, and asked her if she remembered what she told me yesterday. She said she remembers that she told me her pee was red. My jaw dropped again. That’s NOT what she told me. She specifically said BLOOD. Then, she told me that she takes medicine sometimes that turns her pee red. That’s how I coined the term, Fancy Liar. I thought she was kind of a liar, but I also thought she was fancy because she liked salads. I’ve met many Fancy Liars since.
Two days after meeting Jen, she was no longer just Jen to me. In my head, she was Fancy Liar Jen. And I needed to get to the bottom of all of Fancy Liar Jen’s lies. Side note: I was obviously very jealous of Jen, but at the time I couldn’t see that. I don’t know what I thought I would get out of “exposing” her, but I wanted it so bad. I spent a whole Saturday watching Spy Kids over and over again, trying to find her in the background. When I called her out on not being able to see her in the movie, she said that it was just a rumor. She wasn’t in the movie, but she did audition for it, and made it to the final rounds. I learned how to roll my eyes that year.
A few months into the school year, she invited me to her birthday party at the skating rink. I know, I said I couldn’t stand Jen, so I bet you’re wondering why I went to her party? It’s because I was a preteen, and I would have rather died, than let anyone know I didn’t like the popular girl (don’t you dare judge me!). It was October so the place was decorated for Halloween. Spider webs everywhere, skeletons posed to look like they are skating, and ghosts hanging down from the ceiling. That’s when it happened. That’s when I got the idea. I was going to ask Jen to tell the story about her ghost friend in front of everyone, everyone including her mother. Since it was Jen’s party, her mom was there to be the adult. I figured she wouldn’t want to tell the story in front of her mom because it was a big, fat, LIE! It wasn’t a great plan, but I was 11, cut me some slack.
When we sat down to open presents and eat cake, I sat next to Jen at the head of the table. Her mom was standing next to her cutting, and passing down slices of cake. The time had come. I picked up the ghost centerpiece that was on the table, and did the whole “Booo!” thing to Jen. She laughed and played along. So that’s when I decided to ask her.
“Wasn’t your house haunted by a ghost?” And then Jen said,
“No, it wasn’t haunted. We had Freddy, the nice, friendly ghost! Do you remember him, Mom?”
I want to pause here to repeat myself. I don’t know what my end game was in catching Jen in a lie. All I knew, was that I had one thing I wanted to say to her when it finally happened. It was, “How can we believe anything you say?” I liked it because it sounded really dramatic, and it would make people think twice about the stories Jen told. I didn’t hate Jen, and want to ruin her life. I just didn’t want her to be the coolest girl in school anymore. What happened next still haunts my dreams. And it’s not because of a ghost.
Jen’s mom gives her a strange look and says,
“Freddy? Do you mean Fred Boyle? He wasn’t a ghost, he was that man we found living in our crawlspace!” She says it so matter of factly that I nearly choked on my cake. I wasn’t alone. Everyone stopped eating, and looked over at us. Jen immediately turned red. I turned red. What did she just say? A man, living in the crawlspace, talking to Jen every night through the wall? She looked completely drenched in fear. Just like I did when that girl told me that she peed blood. We all begged to hear the whole story.
So, Jen’s mom tells us that Fred was a homeless man that wandering into the neighborhood, and saw that their house was empty. It was right before Jen’s family moved in so technically, it was empty. He snuck into the house, but when they started moving in, he made camp in the crawlspace that shares a wall with Jen’s room. One night, Jen heard him moving around, and knocked on the wall. Fred didn’t know what to do, so he pretended to be a ghost. He said he was a nice, friendly ghost, so there was nothing to worry about. What he meant by nothing to worry about was, nothing to tell your parents about. He thought he had a good thing going, especially when she started leaving out cookies for him. One night, while Jen and her siblings were spending the night at their grandma’s house, her dad heard strange sounds coming from Jen’s room. He eventually finds Fred in the crawlspace and calls the cops to have him arrested. She said it was in all the papers. By then, Jen is totally embarrassed, and she’s crying. At that moment, Jen did stop being the coolest girl in school. All the boys started calling her Ghost Lover (which honestly, doesn’t make sense, but kids are mean).
It’s pretty clear to me that Jen had no idea Fred was a real man. Her mom swears up and down that they told her, but then lands on the idea that, maybe, because she was so young, they did let her keep believing he was just a ghost.
Jen may have been a Fancy Liar, but I’m a Real Jerk.
I'm Little Em
The Little blog was created so I could have a place to share my graphics, and love of pop culture.