The Wood

I never wanted to live in the enchanted forest.

I’d inherited the shoe from great aunt Gertrude a few years before if for no other reason than that I was her last surviving relative- tales of profuse breeding habits notwithstanding.

sw_NotThisWay_cvx01277I’d been up there a couple times as a kid, whole summers with Mom (never Dad- he never went near the wood) and although I remember there being many children on the property, Bertie had established her day care facility on the grounds precisely BECAUSE she’d never had children of her own. Never met the right man or something, I don’t remember the details. We were never close. So anyway, when I got the call from her attorney, Anthony “Squealy” Porkman (of Porkman Porkman and Porkman Property Law) about the shoe, it was also the first I’d heard that old Gertie was even dead.

I was surprised by the bequeathal, honestly. my mother’s aunt had always been something of a bitch to mom and me, something about her marrying a damn ‘outwooder’, and myself being the product of that apparently unholy union. Frankly my few childhood visits to the shoe, and to the other ‘charming’ locations inhabited by the few other relatives alive at that time, were more disturbing than fun. I wished I could have been swimming in a clean, chlorinated pool, or hanging out with friends at an air conditioned mall. Instead, I had a stagnant green pond I wouldn’t set foot in, and the constant stink of well-used footwear. Twice I was led off into the woods by wolves dressed as ‘grandma’ (i don’t know how they do it), and once I’d almost got stomped by an angry giant when ‘cousin’ Jack raided his garden for magic beans, and then fingered me for the crime instead of himself. The big guys aren’t particularly bright, I gather. Granted, there was some cool stuff in the forest. Castles- more of them than you’d think-caves, a couple of houses that if they WEREN’T haunted, should have been.

Nevertheless, I soon became bored with the place, not least of all because there was no one around that I was comfortable playing or exploring with. Jack was a shit. Kids in the wood are.. strange. ‘Touched by magic’, dear Gertie said more than once, making it sound like a judgment against me. Sometimes her and mom would have screaming arguments about that, or other things I really didn’t understand or didn’t care to. Mom used to tell me how lucky I was to grow up in a city, with consistently running water, and television, and the internet. I mean obviously, right?

Anyway, after that shyster pig called me, I’d made arrangements to have the place rented, without even bothering to go check it out in person. I could have tried to sell it, but c’mon- who the fuck wants to live in a giant shoe?

The land, situated about as far from a decent road as you could get and still make a round trip to town in one day, was worthless. I let Porkman handle it. Put it out of my mind. Then the job market fell apart. My company crashed and burned, I didn’t have savings to speak of, and suddenly I found myself on the verge of eviction from my tiny Brooklyn apartment. My girlfriend left me because she didn’t date ‘deadbeats’. I got the impression she was relieved to have found a reason. I took my last paycheck and bought an elderly Ford pickup, packed my shit in it, and headed to the wood and the recently-vacated dwelling.

This was about three years after Gertrude’s more-or-less unlamented demise. In that time the shoe (which really looked more like a weather-beaten, unpolished combat boot missing it’s laces) had… taken a turn for the worse. The windows I remembered studding the ankle of the thing were mostly busted out. The garden my great aunt had tended so carefully had totally gone to shit. Best yet, the stout door on the side had obviously been kicked in and not secured. I later found out that Gertie’s shyster had rented the place out to smurfs for twice what he’d told me, and pocketed the difference. Eventually, rangers had busted up the 24-hour drug market the little blue menaces were operating on my property. Porky made no apologies. Frakking anthropomorphic pigs. Can’t trust ’em. Law degrees just make ’em worse.

So I am forced to move into the shoe. The shoe is wrecked. I barely have enough coming in from unemployment to pay the extortionate utilities, let alone buy building materials. and then my old ‘pal’ Jack starts hanging around. Jack wants money.

“I don’t have it.”
“just a few bucks, bro.”
“I DON’T HAVE IT.”
“OK man chill.. chill… can I bum a smoke?”

Jack would hang around in my kitchen uninvited, or out in the destroyed garden if I didn’t let him in. always scheming, always trying to get rich quick. I swear he spent twice as much time trying to find ways not to work than most folk spend working. Always fucking around. The kid was a genius of sorts but had turned his efforts toward being a con man, rather than any sort of good citizen. Not terribly many good citizens in the wood, as it turns out.

I think there must be some bigger once-upon-a-time world beyond the blue mountains on the horizon, and the wood is like the…I don’t know maybe the Alabama? of fairyland. It certainly held it’s share of double wide trailers, interspersed between log cabins and medieval looking fortifications of all descriptions.

No gingerbread houses, to my knowledge.

My neck of the wood was chock-FULL of smurfs, shrunken, bent, skin blue from the cellular oxygen deprivation that came with addiction to smurfoids. I assumed they’d been the ones who’d stolen the shoe’s copper plumbing, sold it for drugs, forcing me to dig an outdoor latrine to really bring home the illusion of living in white- trash-fairy-land.

The ‘fairies’ themselves were a plague. about as effervescently colorful as dragonflies, about as big as rats, and with all the charm of giant horseflies.
There’s something unpleasant about dirty little naked human-looking creatures (sans genitalia) out to steal your lunch, no matter how much their wings sparkle.
They had cruel, stupid faces and irritating, screeching vocalizations. I’d put out fairy poison but somehow (even though I couldn’t stand them) that just felt wrong.

Since Jack was hanging around all the time, smoking my smokes and eating whatever of my food was left after the sparkly vermin got to it- and he didn’t seem to be going anywhere- I tried to put him to work on the property. He was somewhat more helpful than I expected, not with manual labor but because he had connections in the wood. The guy got around.

You’ve heard the stories. a lot of them are… sort of true? The beanstalk incident? that was ‘cousin’ Jack. Had a fling with a girl named Jill. Once worked in a pie factory under the pseudonym ‘Horner’. He was a fair fire jumper too- always showing off. Tried to impress me once by walking barefoot on hot coals. I know there’s some trick to that. Haven’t figured out the con yet. What else?
Something about wolves.. hell I don’t know. I just know that he knew a shit-ton of people, and even if HE was pretty worthless as a workhorse, some of them were OK.

‘Papa Bear’ lived about half an hour away via winding, rutted path. a big fucking queen, but good with his hands. Paws. Whatever. there was a ‘baby bear’ too (some sort of sex thing- they weren’t related and there was no ‘mama bear’) but THAT one rarely came around, and wouldn’t work. worse, he distracted the hell out of Papa- who doted on him- when he did deign to make an appearance. Pampered little shit. Some of the elves were OK, and there was this one ball-capped, dirty-wife-beater-wearing red-neck troll, Bo-George, who was quite helpful when we replaced the worn heal of the shoe with a concrete pad. not pretty, but functional. I figured I could grow bushes or vines or something to hide it if i had to stay in the wood indefinitely. Good enough.

There weren’t any jobs in the forest, and I really didn’t know what I was going to do when my unemployment ran out. Jack had a few ideas.

“I hear the giant has a goose that lays golden eggs–”
“The giant again? I swear that guy is going to mash your ass up someday and smear you on toast.”
“Not much meat on these bones, boyo. Anyway he’s got a harp that plays by itself-”
“what good is that? Are you going to pawn it?”

We’d go round and round, wasting whole afternoons that could have been better spent doing almost anything else.

Next thing I know winter is coming and I still don’t have window glass, the plumbing is still fucked, and I find out during the first real autumn downpour of the year that the whole structure is somewhat less than water-tight. Lovely. The electrical system was made out of uninsulated aluminum wire, so whenever it rained I had to make sure to disengage all the circuits and wait it out in the dark.
Welcome or not, Jack was frequently there with me. I have no idea where he lived, if he did live somewhere in particular. He sometimes called his estranged mother’s farmhouse ‘home’ but that didn’t mean much if you knew the story about how he’d lost her lone milk-cow to goblins in a dice game, despite his penchant for cheating. Never play dice with Jack. Unless you’re a goblin I guess.

I’m told that, like dwarves, they see right through magical glamor, which I suppose is one of Jack’s unfocused natural talents. He could have made a fortune running three-card monte scams back in the city. But the idea of leaving the wood was a bit ambitious for ‘cousin’ Jack, no matter the potential gain.

Honestly, the whole wood was a nest of xenophobia (again, quite like aforementioned Alabama). The only reason they put up with me probably had more to do with my mother than with anything *I* brought to the table. Sweet mother.

“Did she ever tell you she was a princess?”
“Yeah yeah I know. Aunt Gertrude used to shriek that at least twice every time they argued.”
“The black magician stole her land…”
“Whatever.”

I never even knew ma’s proper forest name. She didn’t like talking about the past. when she’d met dad, they’d quickly married and she’d devoted herself to being the perfect housewife and mother. Dad was an accountant, or a stockbroker or something. Had a coronary when I was twelve. Mom ate a bunch of pills two years later. Happily ever after. Bitch. Not to say I didn’t love my mother, because I did, but when she kicked I had to go live with my fathers sister, Pelonia.

Pelonia had…issues. She was a hoarder. There was so much stuff in her house that every window was blocked and the front door only opened about ten inches. She got a check from the government, and took about a hundred prescription pills every day. I’m sure that if child-welfare had ever got notice that she was actually nominally in charge of safeguarding another human life- well I imagine they’d have put a stop to that with a quickness. But she was OK, and she’d ADORED my mother, and so, by default, she adored me.

“Now you be a good kid, and you stay in school, and you make your mother proud.”

“Sure, Aunt Pelonia.”
“Your mama was a PRINCESS…”
“yeah yeah…”

Whatever. When I was twenty I got my bachelors upstate (at a CC near Pelonia’s place in Albany) and headed back down to NYC, childhood hometown, my own man. I was sure I could make my way in the world. I had education, confidence, and good looks (if i do say so myself). Got a great job, found the ‘love of my life’ (my how fast things can change…), and then the whole goddamned story fell to shit and I was sitting in a drafty, dark shoe waiting for the cold rain to stop drip-drip-dripping all over every goddamned thing I owned, while a guy I never much cared for chattered on and on and ON about what he’d do if he ever caught THAT ONE BIG BREAK. If the universe would just once GIVE HIM A CHANCE…

“Shut up.”
“What’s that?”
“Shut the fuck UP. I’m tired of hearing about how the world is always screwing you. you’re smart, you’ve got talent. I’m tired of listening to your self-sorry bullshit- and I didn’t TELL you you could have another cigarette!”

Whenever I got that way, Jack would become humble in mannerism, innocently accepting my criticisms almost as though he could hear the words coming out of my mouth. At least he had the sense to be quiet. But he didn’t leave. By the time that first Xmas came around, we’d got most of the windows boarded up, or plasticed up, or covered with nailed-up old blankets, leftover from the ‘buildings’ nursery school days. There was always plenty of firewood to be had, so at least it was warm– if you stayed in the kitchen and didn’t get more than six feet away from the rusty cast-iron stove. And you didn’t have to go outside to take a shit. Once it started snowing, getting supplies started to become a problem. There were no public services in the forest, and even if there had been snow-clearing equipment at our disposal, I suspect uneven gravel and frozen mud don’t take well to being plowed.

My checks were direct deposit, but the wood is a cash economy so I had to make at least ONE monthly trip into what passed for a town thereabouts, the ‘picturesque’ little hamlet of ‘Merryweather’. The snow cover improved the visual, but even so you could see what a sorry, run-down state those few dozen structures, constructed of local materials, were in. Not a very nice place, full of suspicious eyes and quiet whisperings. Ranger Dave, a surly, rough sort of man, had agreed to take me down and back (in a sled dragged behind his ATV) for forty dollars, to be delivered upon reaching the lone general store and the automatic teller machine located therein. Twice his daily pay as a guardian of the forest fair, by the way. Small wonder none of those ‘protectors of the wood’ seemed to take the work very seriously.

Like everyone, he had a fine opinion of ma.

“Your mother was a princess.”
“Yeah. thanks.”
“The black magician stole her ancestral lands…”
“Yeah. I know.”

The engine noise and the wind took half his words, and for that I was grateful. The machine dispensed my bills, and I loaded the sled with as much as I thought I could secure without losing anything on the bumpy ride home. The gypsy woman behind the counter easily charged me twice what the goods were worth. At least she didn’t mention my mother. Eventually spring came around and with it a new crop of those disturbing, noisy fairies. Jack declared he’d found a job, disappeared for a week, then skulked back, unwilling to talk about his absence. I didn’t push. I didn’t CARE. Summer arrived, hot and shitty. I spent June brushing hot wax on the shoe, trying to plug the small spaces where seams in the thick leather had pulled apart, admitting the cold air that had tormented me over the worst stretch of winter. In July I paid a kobold contractor $400 to do something about my windows. that was the last i ever saw of him. Shoulda known that price was too good, but what the fuck did i know about installing window glass in a shoe?

August.

September.

And it was already starting to get fucking cold again.

“There’s a giant on Lone Mountain. I’ve heard has a mound of treasure –”
“What is it with you and giants?”

December came and went.

January.

It was still freezing in our residence, but not like i remembered.

Maybe ‘we’ had managed to do some good after all.

If only the damn shoe had come with an enormous thermal sock…

“You know, the black magician-”
“I don’t know ANYTHING about the black magician. I’m not interested.”
“– I hear he’s got quite a fortune of his own.”
“So you want to go take on a black magician. You go ahead. my lucky day if he turns you into a goat.”
“No, boyo- YOU should take him on. He stole your birthright. Drove you mother out of the wood with grief.”
“*I* wouldn’t have been born if she hadn’t left the wood. I don’t understand why all you people are FIXATED on this jerk. it’s got nothing to do with me. I’m not one of you.”
“You got that right, cuz.”

And even though I was the one that said it, It stung me somehow. Because this wood was my mothers home, and I was her only son, and maybe it SHOULD matter, what people had done to my Ma’s family, years before I was born. But I didn’t share any of that with Jack.

He’d just be looking for an angle.

I’d already been feeding the prick for more than a year, for fuck’s sake- why allow him to think i was on board with one of his stupid schemes? But some small part of me was actually interested, for the first time, in finding out just exactly WHY mom had left her beloved homeland in the first place. Why HAD she chosen to turn her back on ‘the land of magic’- as poor as it was and tried to become something she could never really be? What had driven her to settle for a balding, big-bellied man twenty years her senior, out in the large, mean, REAL world?
and who- or what- was the black magician?
I started asking around.

Not Jack, I didn’t want him to know, but he soon found out from others and started needling me daily.
“You could find out where he is, then distract him somehow–”
“No.”
“– and I could sneak in and find his treasure hoard– just take a little, he’d never miss it-”
“No.”
“– of course we’d have to case the joint first.”

*Sigh*

Making the rounds in the wood near my abode it was actually quite fascinating how very many authoritative-sounding people knew so very little about what had happened to mi madre those thirty years gone. That didn’t stop them talking though.
bullet points:

*mom was beautiful
*mom was a princess
*mom was virtuous (as any princess worth her veil must be)
*mom had her future in the wood stolen by a black magician
*did i mention she was a princess?

What I didn’t get from these persons was any sort of honest detail. None.
There were plenty of embellishments, but it was easy enough to boil the tales I was told down to the above short list.

As for the black magician, even less useful information was to be had concerning him.
Half whispered hiss after half whispered hiss:

“He’s BLACK.”

I get it. Bad man. Anything else? Nothing? Thanks. I finally decided I’d have to go take a little walking tour of the wood, gather some other perspectives, if possible. I spent that spring hiking literally from the Walmart (then still in construction, right up against the outside border of the forest) to the bases of the shadowy indistinct mountains out west. Lotta ground to cover on foot, but it wouldn’t have been much quicker in the truck, and I couldn’t afford the gas anyway.

Jack wanted to tag along but I shut him down.

“No.”
“The woods are dangerous cuz. You’d best have someone with you that knows the land. trust me.”

Well THAT was exactly the wrong thing to say. Trusting Jack would have been a mistake even if I HADN’T had some knowledge about how many of the realm’s inhabitants he had screwed over the years, figuratively as well as literally. Best just to be the inquisitive outsider seeking his roots. Cheaper. Fewer fights. But all my wandering, talking to witches, and brownies, and harpies, and scruffy looking unicorns didn’t do a whole hell of a lot of good in the end. Frustrated, I decided to return to the shoe. and then the most useful lead, the one that actually panned out, came from the middle aged gypsy madame who’d repeatedly gouged me at the familiar general store in Merryweather.

“Oh, i KNOW heem. a great man. Very much magic. Maybe i know vhere he leev?”

Twenty dollars convinced her that she did.
The encampment didn’t look like much. a few tents, one of them one of those great big GP larges they use in the military, draped in like a thousand scarves in almost that many colors.

There was a goat, a VW van emblazoned ‘THE ASTOUNDING SAMEDI!’, A pack of well-fed but mangy dogs, and a bored looking gnome sitting on a rock smoking a pipe next to the fire. The whole place reeked of chicken stew and marijuana.
“Warza growl inniki sagga!”
“I’m sorry?”
“War-za grow-l in-ni-ki sag-ga.” he rolled
his eyes.
“No, I’m not getting it. Sorry.”
“Bah!”

The little man threw up his hands and trundled off to the large shelter, white, dreadlocked beard dragging awkwardly between his legs. i don’t know how he didn’t step on it.

Somewhere a chicken bawked.

I wasn’t sure if the little dude with his big knitted hat had gone to get someone, or if he was going to go crash, or what. I stood stupidly, shuffling my feet.
fairys buzzed around the pot and I shooed them off. They perched in branches nearby and glared at me angrily, making sounds I’m sure were supposed to be insulting and gestures they must have picked up watching goblins.

The light started to fade and I was pretty sure gnome guy wasn’t coming back when a tent-flap opened- not the big tent- and a tall, wet man wearing a bath towel, a worn top hat and ragged flip-flops stepped out. He might have been strapping once but now he looked old, and tired, and a bit out of shape.
his wrapping was decorated with stars, suns, and moons.

“Oh! sorry- I didn’t realize we had company! Fell asleep in the tub… ‘

He was black.

“Your mother was beautiful, sweet, a real lady. she was-”
“A princess. I know.”
“Well that too, yes. I was going to say she was a wonderful cook. She could do wonders with chicken. It gets old, you know? Chicken? Everything tastes like chicken because everything IS chicken. Every morning, every night- chicken.”

*pause*

“..and eggs, of course. Gets real old. I’ve never been fond of poultry. had way too much as a kid.”

I briefly wondered why the obvious staple of the local environ was something the lord of the household didn’t care for, but i didn’t ask and he didn’t elaborate, yet.

“Elanase was an extraordinary woman. Well not quite woman I guess- she was seventeen when we were together–”
“You dated mom?” I didn’t even register that the sad looking man now garbed in bunny house slippers and a faded brown robe had just given me ma’s forest name, her true name.

“Yeah- me and Berry– I called her Berry– we used to run the circuit. Doing tricks, cards, sleight of hand. I had a few credible illusions involving trapdoors on our stage. A little traveling show, just me and her and a little two wheeled wagon…couple dogs… happiest days of my life. I never recovered when they sent her away. Even left the wood to look for her, but never had any luck. Didn’t know where to look, you know? it’s huge out there. and this was before internet. wasn’t as easy to find someone that didn’t want to be found back then.”

So much information. I didn’t know where to start.

Before I was able to form a response, the black magician removed his well-past-prime top hat and handed it to me.

“Could you hold that for a minute, son?”

“Um-OK…”

It was lighter than I thought it should be, then it suddenly got heavier. he reached in and fumblingly removed a struggling, squawking, mid-sized white bird, twisted it’s neck. feathers flew everywhere.

“Chicken again. what I wouldn’t give for a rabbit. A piglet. Even a fish.”
The black magician wasn’t rich- far from it- or particularly magical for that matter.

The only REAL magic he admitted to having was the hat, passed down literally since such things were the fashion and wearing one wouldn’t have struck anyone as an anachronism.

“They tell you magic doesn’t work out there, honest to god magic, but it does. This hat has been in my family for over a hundred years, and we’re not from here. But what good is a hat that shits a few chickens every few days? More trouble than it’s worth I’d say. But it’s mine, and you should treasure what’s yours, while you can, before you die and it all becomes meaningless. I lost my will to live when I heard Berry’d passed away…”

“People kept telling me you stole ma’s birthright…”

The elderly performer looked uncomfortable and I became aware of snoring nearby in the more-or-less darkness. Gnome dude, maybe. The silence lengthened. Finally, after the most pregnant pause in our conversation thus far, the man answered softly:

“I didn’t know.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I didn’t know the way of things.. I’m not from here, I told you…”
“What?”
“… a princess… has to be virtuous…”

As he filled in the details, the truth finally dawned on me. the teary eyed man sitting before me had been my mothers first lover. and she’d had her perfect princess status revoked as a consequence of that union. Her lands had reverted to an established royal forest conservation trust. He hadn’t stolen anything from her. She’d given it away. I went home that day brooding on the past and wondering what other holes there were in my knowledge base, especially concerning my mothers family. I wondered about the strange old man with his dogs and his gnome companion and his chicken shitting hat. I’d given Samedi my address at the shoe and invited him to come by for lunch or dinner whenever he felt like it, but after a week I gave up on the idea. maybe I’d made him uncomfortable with all my questioning, or maybe just sad. Either way I didn’t expect him to come around. But I was wrong about that. The dog days of summer came on and I was out fixing loose wiring on the truck when i heard an old VW engine with it’s high-pitched, distinctive whine laboriously working it’s way up the pock-marked gravel path. He pulled the rusted green van up in front of the shoe and popped the clutch, stalling it out. then he reached across the passenger seat and cranked down the window as I walked up.

“I’ve decided to take you up on that offer, if you’ll have me.”

He was wearing the top hat, and a cape, over what appeared to be pajamas. Dogs flooded through the door behind him when he stepped out, and he made a vain attempt to restrain them til I waved him off. I made sandwiches and we sat on a fallen log at the edge of the clearing, chatting amicably til it started getting dark. After that he came around sorta regularly, once or twice a week. we talked about old times, and mom, but mostly we didn’t– I genuinely found him interesting on many different levels. He hit it off with Jack right away- and good naturedly beat the HELL out of him at cards. I stayed clear. During our talks I found that my mother’s once-upon-a-time boyfriend had been down on his luck for some years, robbing Peter to pay Paul, as he said. His back was bad and a traveling magic show wasn’t the draw it had once been. Rent was due on the river lot where he and his assistant camped and he was running out of options. I’m not much for sob stories but he wasn’t asking for anything, and I’da helped him if I coulda- but my future wasn’t looking too bright just then either. Though we touched on these depressing subjects, mostly we kept the communication positive.

The black magician was good people. After one of those friendly visits, A few months later, I was laying on a hard cold mattress in a hard cold room with a board over the window reviewing my day as I dozed off. Another chicken had appeared as we’d conversed earlier, and I’d got to witness Jack’s big blue eyes going wide with astonishment, which surprised me because I’d just assumed he’d seen everything. I remember dozing off with chicken on the brain. In the dream Samedi was a young man, sharp, shaven. the hat was shiny and well cared for, and the tux he wore had tails, and a red rose on the lapel. he’d removed his headgear, waved his hands mysteriously, and all the sudden the thing was pouring out coins- thousands upon thousands of coins€” like a slot machine. unlike said machine, these kept coming and coming til we were up to our necks in them. ‘bawk!’ squawked the magician.
i responded in kind.

Then I bit a silvery coin and it tasted like chicken.

I woke up laughing.

The idea of BREEDING the birds had never occurred to old Sammy Samedi.

“I don’t see the point- I’ve got too many of the damned things as it is!”

Jack got it right away.

“Nah, man- we breed the birds and we SELL them. Buy whatever we want with that money. it’s genius!”

How such an obvious idea had never occurred to Sammy, or, apparently, any of his progenitors, i have no idea, but when he finally got it his face shone with inspiration.

“Then we buy… burgers… bacon… steak!” he’d slapped his forehead, “PIZZA! Oh Lord I’ve been so stupid! all these years…”
We purchased a fine, proud rooster (the hat only shits female birds) and devoted ourselves to building pens, not too close to the shoe, but still on the property. There was actually quite a lot of land gifted me by dear old Aunt Gertrude, maybe twenty acres as you reckon things outside. Even Jack helped with the construction, and discovered he had a real flair for design in the process. Within a year “Samedi Organics” was selling “forest raised poultry” to health conscious people with too much money from Connecticut to Carolina… and eggs, of course.

When my unemployment ran out i didn’t even miss it. Nowadays we all live at my place, me, and Jack, and Sam, and Moses (I’d found out that the beard is a religious thing, like the weed…). There’s plenty of room. We employ a dozen forest denizens in one capacity or another, and pay them fair wages for their efforts. Ranger Dave drives for us part time. Papa Bear tends the grounds. The dogs keep the fairy population down– I still can’t watch them in action- and the shoe is kinda pleasant now. black, glossy, new laces. it has working indoor plumbing, it’s heated, and it’s equipped with ceiling fans throughout. We even have cable- regular TV reception has always been shit up here for some reason. We’ve got casement windows that catch the breeze in the warmer months, but I haven’t planted bushes to obscure the concrete heel yet. At some point I want to get the place rewired. We’ve been talking about making a bed and breakfast out of it. Maybe call it “Berry’s Place”.

If you ever find yourself in our neck of the wood, stop by.

I make a hell of a chicken casserole.

There’s always leftovers.

© 2015 – 2017, e eric vulgate. All rights reserved.

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