From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mumthra)
Subject: Memories, Like the Corners of Time Out
Date: 15 Apr 1999 00:00:00 GMT
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
"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
HONEY! REMEMBER YOUR BIRTHDAY IS COMING REALLY SOON...I don't fucking
believe this...SAY CHEESE MILLIE...she's only doing this because I'm
here...I'M GOING TO GO BACK INSIDE IF YOU DON'T STOP CRYING,
MILLIE...THERE, THAT'S BETTER...another picture spoiled...might as
well just take that six bucks and throw it in the trash...EVERYBODY
ELSE IS SMILING HONEY. WOOO! WOOO! WE'RE DANCING FOR YOU MILLIE!"
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
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