Saint Peter and Mrs. Saint Peter

Just think. For three years, you’ve been out doing the Lord’s work. “On the job training,” Jesus called it. You come home for a few days rest and relaxation. You’d think the wife would be happy to see you. But here’s what you get.

Mrs. Saint Peter runs out to meet her husband. Hugs him. “I’ve missed you a lot.”

Saint Peter hugs his wife real good. “I’ve missed you too, Agatha. It’s been three years on the road. I sure could use one of your extra special back rubs and a pile of your homecooking. And it’s been three years since I’ve had a good bath.”

“I can tell.” They walk hand in hand back to the two bedroom house Saint calls home. “Well, it’s good to have you back.”

“But you know what? Jesus—”

“You’re home for good?” she interrupts as they walk into the living room.

“He rose from the dead. It was the most amazing—”

“There’s so much work to be done around here,” she says enthusiastically, her voice full of hope.

“thing,” he finishes his sentence. “And He put me in charge. I sure have a lot to do. It’s not—”

“The roof needs mending and there’s the boat to patch. Things have just gone to rot since you left.”

“BUT WOMAN, I CAN’T STAY. I HAVE TO LEAD THE DISCIPLES OF JESUS.”

“Don’t shout. It’s not the Christian thing to do.”

“Well, He put me in charge.” Saint is adamant now.

“Jesus did what?” Hands on her waist, she stares at him with disbelief.

“Jesus left me in charge,” he says with pride, a big grin on his face. “He even called me Rock.”

She laughs. “Rockhead more likely. If Jesus left you in charge, he sure made a big mistake.”

Peter’s face is starting to turn red from anger. “You never did believe in me. And you just don’t understand.”

“Understand? What’s there to understand? All I know is there’s a lot of work around here that needs doing and you’re never around to help.”

“Woman, all you do is—nag, nag, nag. Tar the roof, mend the floor, fix the wall, hinge the door. Catch the fish, sail the boat, paint the house. I’m a joke.”

“Peter, Peter, I wish you could hear yourself. All you do is brag, brag, brag. Walk the sea, heal the blind, change the water into wine. Thousands fed, raise the dead. He chose you, you dumpy head.”

Saint storms out of the house. “I don’t know why I ever came back, Nagatha.”

“Me neither. You never change.” She stands at the door.

“That’s not true. I do change.”

“Peter, you’re a good man, but you’re awfully hard-headed.”

“I’m not going to stay here and listen to this. I’ll go where I’m appreciated. And can be in charge. I’ll see you in three more years.” He stalks off into the darkness. “Women.”

“Men! Hmph!” She slams the door.

A Cindy Rella Story

You think you’ve got problems. What if you’re a prince and you show up at your girlfriend’s house, then she rejects you?

A little back story. Our heroine, let’s just call her Cindy Rella for lack of a better name. Our heroine happened to be washing the dishes, as she did every Saturday night, when it all came down. The crud on the dishes on this particular evening was not cooperating. It didn’t want to be cleaned off.

“Why doesn’t she just get a dishwasher. I hear Whirlpool is a good model,” she muttered. Cindy was referring to her stepmother. You can see that there was no love lost between the two. Fact was they hated each other’s guts.”It’s not like she can’t afford one. She has the money she stole from daddy before he died.” Then, “Bitch.”

Cindy was 16 and never been kissed. Never even had a date. Just how was she supposed to get a date with the soot all over her from cleaning the chimney day-in night-out. There wasn’t a day she didn’t have to clean it. The darn thing just wouldn’t stay cleaned. And no matter how hard she tried, the soot would not scrub off. It had gone skin deep.

And her hair was black, though she was a blonde underneath. She was a mess. Right about this particular time she could have used a nice, leasurely bath. Soaking in some of that Sleeping Beauty Bath Wash must be heaven. If only her daddy was still alive, she would show The Bitch and her two daughters just what was what.

When she asked Stepbitch about going out on a date, the woman said to Cindy, “You want to date? No way. You’ll end up getting yourself knocked up. Then I’ll have another mouth to feed.” In those days, knocked up meant getting pregnant. “No, you’re better off staying home and doing the laundry and cleaning the chimney. You may need a job later and this is good training.”

“What about my two stepsisters? You know, the ones you pamper all the time. Won’t they get pregnant?”

“Don’t you talk to me like that, young lady. Such impertinence. If only your father was here. And to answer your question, they are on the pill, thank you very much, Little Miss Smartass.”

The two glared at each other. Then they each went on about their business, Cindy cleaning the chimney, Stepbitch stomping off to pamper herself. You may not believe this. Pampering can be a full time job, and it’s hard work too.

Well, you know the story. The two stepsisters went off to a ball, all prettified and everything. But the prettification didn’t help. They still had the warts. Stepbitch went off to sleep early. She needed her beauty sleep. Some would call it laziness, but let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. Let’s call it beauty sleep. In the kitchen, Cindy was doing yesterday’s and the day before’s dishes. What with chimney cleaning, slopping hogs, feeding the chickens, running the wolf out of the hen house, and getting all the clutter out of the garage, Cindy had not had any time to do them.

Just as Cindy was about to faint from hunger (she hadn’t eaten her allowed daily meal of bread crumbs and water), this little old lady appeared in the kitchen doorway. “Want to go to the ball?” Old lady asked.

“Can’t,” Cindy answered, thinking it was a pigment of her imagination. “I’m starved and I have all this work to do.”

Before you can say abracadabra, there was a big plate of food on the table waiting for Cindy to dig in. What kind of food was it? I don’t know. I didn’t take a picture. Besides this is a fairy tale and details of this kind don’t rightly matter. Let’s just say that it wasn’t gruel.

Now Cindy didn’t just flop into a chair and scarf that food down. As famished as she was, she minded her manners, sat down and ate daintily like the lady she was. After all, her dead daddy sent her away to Southern Belle School before he went horizontal. When she finished, she drank the last bit of wine in her glass, then she poured another glass. It was a Bordeaux, a Cheval Blanc. A very fine wine indeed, so you know this was no run-of-the-mill fairy godmother, for fairy godmother the old lady was.

Just as Cindy was about to lift the second glass, the godmother put her hand on the glass. “You’re getting a little tipsy there, girl. No more wine for you. We’ve got some work to do.”

A tap of her wand on the table, a quick shazamarama and the dishes were done and neatly stacked in the cupboard. Then she turned to Cindy, “You want to go to the ball?”

“Does Mylie Cyrus know how to stick out her tongue and twerp? You betcha I do.”

“Come with me then,” godmother said and went through the wall.

Cindy watched in amazement. Then she heard mumbles. A hand stretched out and grabbed her and pulled her into the wall. On the other side of the wall was a coach with six white horses and two coachmen in fancy-dancy coachmen uniforms. She looked at herself and she was all snazzed up. Godmom handed her a mirror. She couldn’t believe what she saw in the glass. Her hair was done up by the best hairdresser in the land. The dress would make her a standout in any room. Wow! This is me. It’s really me.

“What do you think?” Godmom asked.

“It’s just like all the fairy tales I read when I was knee-high to a grasshopper.”

“Well, get in,” she urged Cindy. “Just one thing though. You have to be home by midnight.”

“What happens if I’m not?” Cindy asked after she crawled into the coach.

“Oh, you’ll be giving Lady Godiva a run for her money.”

With that, Cindy was off to the ball. Well, we know what happened there. The ball was a real wing-dinger. Cindy’s dance card was filled up in two shakes. The prince looked across the room, and that was it. He was smitten. This was the girl for him. And being the prince, he got to dance all the dances with Cindy.

Then the clock went dong, and it went dong again. It was midnight. Cindy was glad for it all to be over. All that attention and those shoes. The shoes were way too much of a tight fit. Cindy left without a goodnight kiss. Halfway home the carriage turned into a pumpkin and Cindy crawled out of the darn thing with pumpkin pulp all over her. She ran her fingers through her hair, combing the pumpkin seeds out. What a mess.

Princie just had to know who the girl was. She would be his bride, and they would live happily ever after. Being a resourceful fellow he searched the ballroom for anything that would help him find his golden girl. Finally he found a shoe. So he went off and searched. And he searched. And he searched. He left no stone unturned. He knocked on every door in the kingdom. Till finally he came to Stepmom’s house.

Think about it, ladies. Would you marry a guy who couldn’t even remember your face the next day? The only way he would know you was by your shoe size? I don’t think so. Which brings me to Cindy Rella. She went to a party. Danced all night with a guy. Took off before midnight. He realized he’s in love but he can’t even remember her smile, much less her eyes. Reason being we know what he was looking at. Don’t we? And it wasn’t her face.

So he showed up at Cindy’s doorstep. Only thing he didn’t even take a second look at Cindy. Nope. He went after the steps. After all, even with the warts, they were the local cheerleaders. What’s a better wife for a prince than a cheerleader?

Not only didn’t Charming, oh, that is what all the folks called him. Nobody could remember why. He sure wasn’t charming these days. More like a fuss bucket. Well, not only didn’t Charming not know Cindy’s face. He didn’t even know her shoe size. He went through the sisters lickety split, then it was Cindy’s turn. He almost left, thinking he wouldn’t be seen dead with a woman in the clothes she wore.

But his man, Jeeves, said that he’d better give the poor girl a chance. Elsewise his kingdom would be rioting gangbusters. If it got on the six o’clock news, he would be seen for the snob he was. Letting her try the shoe on would make him seem like a man of the people.

“But what if she has smelly feet?” Princie wanted to know.

“Sire, you can spray those feet with a whiff of Chanel No. 5.” Jeevies took out an ounce of the perfume.

Charming snapped his fingers as if Cindy was supposed to jump. She didn’t move. She had work to do. Clean the chimney. Do the laundry. Wash the dishes. Clean the chimney some more. She didn’t have time for no fancy pants prince. He had blown his chances the night of the ball by not following her, taking her in his arms and showing her the stuff a prince was made of. But Jeevesy was having none of that. He took her by the hand and led her over to his Audatiousness.

She did the polite thing. She curtsied. Charming showed her the shoes. And what do you think she said? “I wouldn’t be caught dead in those clodhoppers.” That was what she said.

She turned and headed off to the kitchen. Her fairy godmother stopped her. “Such an opportunity,” Fairy said, “to get all your wishes met.”

“Then you marry him,” Cindy said. “‘Sides everything else, he smells.”

To make a long story short, she went out the back door. She had decisions to make. The first one being that it was time to get a new Fairy Godmother. This one was a royal screw-up. The second one was to get some new shoes. The ones she had worn the night before had hurt like all get-out. When she’d been dancing, she felt like she was walking on fire. And not the kind of fire Anthony Robbins has his semineers walk. No, the really real stuff. The kind that burned Joan of Arc up into a puff of smoke.

The way of things

A Japanese woman’s long face, wrinkled with age. Her hair, black and in place. Solemn. Mature. Wise. She does not speak, but waits.

She wears her best kimono. It is a formal dark-blue and she has worn it since she was a young bride of only fifteen. It is very appropriate for one who waits.

Soon he will come, the one she is waiting for. She will serve him tea. She is a Tea Mistress and her abode is this tea house, where she waits. This tea house that is seven generations old. But now she waits.

She never smiles for smiling is not in her nature. She knows the things she knows, how her karma has brought her to this life. And she is serene.

She was born to a rice farmer in the north. It was cold there, very cold during the winter season, cold enough to write a haiku about. She remembers the chill of that place, how she could never get it out of her bones, that chill. But that was the way of things there.

When the war took her son, she knew it was the way of things.

After her husband dishonored himself and his Emperor, surrendering his command to the Americans, he committed seppuku, the ceremonial disembowelment. She knew it was the way of things and she was serene.

When she was chosen to be the Tea Mistress of this Tea House, she knew it was the way of things. She was serene.

Now she stands here in her best kimono, the one her father gave her fifty years ago; she stands in this seven-generations-old tea house and she is serene as she waits for him.

Soon the Emperor will come. And he will come to drink her tea. And she will be serene. It is the way of things

“I’m not coming home”

“I’m not coming home,” Denise speaks into her cell, then smiles at Sarah across the table.

She listens for several minutes. Then she says, “No, I’m not coming home.”

A minute later, “But.”

Then, “No, absolutely not. I don’t care what you say. I’m not coming home.”

After more listening, Denise continues, “Look, understand, you’re just going to have to do this without me. I’m not coming home.”

Again she listens, then interrupts, “But, Mom…Mom.”

Sarah shakes her head, thinking, “Been there, done that many times over.”

Gritting her teeth, her voice revealing her frustration, Denise says, “Mom, I told you. I am not coming home.”

In frustration she ends the call, stuffs the cell into her pocket, turns to her friend, and says, “Well, I guess that’s settled. I’m going home.”

A Peanut Butter Sandwich Story

So you think it’s easy making a peanut butter sandwich? Think again. The other night Dagwood couldn’t sleep. It was around midnight. He knows the time because he checked the clock beside his bed. He turned to see his wife, Helen, slightly snoring next to him.

Lying in bed under the sheets, he realized he was hungry for a snack. He thought about what would relieve that desire. Finally enough was enough and his  feet touched the floor. He pulled his slippers onto his feet. Felt good. He headed for the door.

Wham! Caught the small toe of his left foot on a chair and almost let out one yell of a yell as he jumped around on his right foot. Man, that hurt. Looked back at the bed. He saw the dark shadow of his wife, still asleep. Thank God she was a sound sleeper. She’d had such a hard day at work and another long one was coming up the next day. She needed her sleep.

He hopped into the hall and finally set his left foot down onto the carpet. Better be more careful, he thought. He walked slowly toward the kitchen, letting his toes do the thinking for him as they felt their way down the hall. He stepped into the kitchen and pulled the door closed behind him. Turned on the light and walked over to the cupboard.

Yep, a peanut butter sandwich, maybe two, sure would taste good. He opened the cupboard and there was an unopened loaf of bread. Whole wheat, just like he liked. But where was the peanut butter?

He checked the cabinet above the bread. Not there. Where was it? The more he searched the greater his craving. He would have even settled for crunchy, not his favorite. He was like an alcoholic after a bottle, looking for that peanut butter. Looked in the bottom cabinet. Nope. Checked behind the pasta, the salt, the rice, the maple syrup, the seasonings. Helen had let them run out of Peter Pan Creamy.

There was one last hope. He went over to the refrigerator, its friendly invitation calling out to him, “C’mon in, the food’s fine.” He searched and he searched but no peanut butter. He pushed the refrigerator door closed with a finality.

He had to have that peanut butter sandwich. He just had to have it. There was only one thing to do. He turned off the kitchen light and sneaked back into the bedroom. He pulled a pair of jeans out of the closet and put them on, trying to be as quiet as he could. Helen slept deeply on the bed. He slipped on his sneakers, left the bedroom, went out the front door.

The Seven-Eleven was only two blocks away. He was there in no time. In and out, and he was on his way back home, the Peter Pan Creamy snug in its plastic bag on the passenger seat. Pulled into the driveway and got out of the car, grabbing the bag with the p.b. in it. He walked toward the front door of his house with purpose. He put the key in the lock and turned it and opened the door.

That’s when it hit me. The bullet.

Next thing he knew he woke up in the hospital and heard a sobbing near his bed. It was Helen. She looked up at him and her face turned into the biggest smile.

“Thank, God,” she said, leaning over to kiss him.

“What happened?”

“I shot you,” she said. “I woke up and you were gone. Where were you anyway?”

He choked out the words, “I went to the store.”

“Then I heard a sound. Somebody was trying to break into the house. I grabbed the gun from the closet and tippy-toed into the living room. I saw him go out the front door. Evidently I scared him. I must’ve waited in the dark for five, ten minutes. Heard the door knob turn and I was so afraid…..I…I…I thought it was him coming back….So I pulled the trigger and shot. It was you I hit. I told you we shouldn’t have a gun in the house. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay.” he said, realizing his craving for peanut butter was gone.