From: (Mumthra)

Subject: Memories, Like the Corners of Time Out

Date: 15 Apr 1999 00:00:00 GMT


Newsgroups: alt.foot.fat-free



It was class picture day at the preschool today, and high emotion was

in attendance. I imagine that all the little people had been through

the same bribery and flattery wringer that Spunky went through with me

in the morning.


She's not really a hard case, however, when it comes to beauty. She

likes to dress up for school and has started a minor fashion rebellion

by routinely showing up for class in costume. Most days she wears a

battered hat with a floppy flower in the front; occasionally she dons

misplaced screw-on earrings also, but always--and I do mean

always--she insists on a BEEYOOTEEFULL dress.


The children ricocheted into the room and meandered until they all

circled around the teacher's rocker. Some of the boys had actual hair

gel to keep their locks tidy and everyone was dressed practically in

nicer-than-usual play clothes.


Lulu and I were the volunteer helpers for the day. It would be a

slightly altered routine because we were expected to keep the children

in non-messy suspense until the photographer beckoned. Only fully

encapsulated easel painting and minimal play dough exposure would be



Circle time was a bit rowdier than usual, since most everyone was

terribly proud of their extra presentableness. "See this barrette in

my hair?" asked Margie, "It's from OHIO!"


"That's so cool, Margie," I enthused, "I can't remember the last time

I saw an actual Ohio Barrette."


"It's not an 'Ohio Barrette'! It's FROM Ohio!" Margie pouted



Everyone had lots of work to do, we planted seeds and watered them,

colored and glued, puppet showed and conquered pirate seas, and that

was only in the first twenty minutes. Spunky insisted on interrupting

me for kisses only twice and otherwise was very busy keeping close to

her best boyfriend, Charlie.


When Charlie sat down, he patted the space next to him and crowed her

name until she acknowledged him and sidled nearer. They exchange love

notes in crayon and talk about each other incessantly at home. Lately,

though, Spunky has started to mention James just as often.


It's a complicated soap bubble opera, but as nearly as I can see,

Margie is still wild about Spunky even though she has heisted

Charlie's affections for the last couple of whiles. Margie used to be

his number one girl, you see, but now she is more interested in

Spunky, as is Charlie, so it's nearly a love triangle that works.

Until you add James, of course.


Lulu and I gossiped about the kids in hushed tones when we could, but

mostly we were too busy keeping them from soiling each other. She is

easily the best partner I've had at school, not just because she's fun

but also because she's so supernaturally efficient. I'd reach for the

paper towels and WHOOSH, the spill was gone, erased by her



Little Boris took a hit while the teacher was out of room, we didn't

see anything, but Lulu was right there trying to pick him up and

console him while I was still trying to untangle the roll of tape that

had wound around my hand. Boris rejected her utterly and muttered a

Slavic warning.


"It's okay, Boris," I said, "Nobody likes Lulu. We won't bother you

anymore." Even Boris would have thought that was funny if he spoke

English. Lulu just shot me a look and laughed.


Picture time came suddenly, and the teacher whispered to me as we

trailed the children outside, "I wonder if anyone will cry this time.

Usually somebody needs to cry."


Lulu's Millie took the job. Millie didn't just sniffle, she sat in the

middle of the portrait grouping and scrunched her face and howled and

drooled and tried to force her chin through her chest.


"I KNEW she was going to do this again," hissed Lulu. "HONEY, MILLIE


believe this...SAY CHEESE MILLIE...she's only doing this because I'm


MILLIE...THERE, THAT'S BETTER...another picture spoiled...might as

well just take that six bucks and throw it in the trash...EVERYBODY



The photographer and Lulu and I danced for her. Poor Millie. By the

time he snapped three exposures, she was the center of attention, and

that was exactly what she didn't need, although I suppose it's

possibly what she wanted.


Millie is making aggravating her mother her chosen artform. We all

agree that Millie is a visitation of Karma or justice or whatever you

want to call it, and Lulu knows that she has to pay BIG. This is only

the beginning.


I'm grateful, I suppose, that I'm Spunky's second choice of mischief

focus now that she's discovered men. As we herded the kids back into

the building, Spunky refused to hold hands with Charlie and waved him

off in order to clutch James.


Charlie was wild with frustration, and smacked Paul for trying to kiss

him. Paul crumbled and cried, Millie remembered that she was supposed

to be the most miserable, and a minor avalanche of tears built.


Then we snacked, we played, we dried our tears and got messy.



This was probably from Mumthra.

"So you'd have to take it on faith that it was in fact

a tentacle and not, say, a potato." --Jahweh Dave Lynch