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Authors: Penelope Crowe

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BOOK: 100 Unfortunate Days
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Day 6

Sunny days are the worst. If you don’t put on your shorts and lip gloss and make plans to eat at the bistro at noon, you will seem so dull. But you
are
so dull. Someone has taken sandpaper and dulled your shine to powder. Smiling is now an obscene thing. The corners of your mouth stretch and stretch, and if you growl just a little bit they will have to put you in the zoo. Or call a priest. So now you have to fight with yourself because if you let yourself fall completely into the rainy days you may never get out.

But then there is the question of wanting to get out. So you walk the fence. On one side there are flowers and spring and Easter eggs and white gloves that your mom won’t let you wear because you might get them dirty. On the other side of the fence is endless sitting and thinking and your thoughts are so black and thick they make you not want to get up anyway, but at least no one else is there. So you check your email twenty-seven times today because someone might tell you that you actually
are
important. Or there might be something interesting you can read that you don’t actually have to get involved in.

Maybe you get up and clean the house because if you leave the crumbs on the counter too long the mice come. From a distance they are cute, but never forget they are disgusting. They come out at night and take your stuff and shit in your kitchen because after all, it’s cold outside and it’s warm in there. But too bad. It’s your house and you have a family to take care of and the mice bring the Black Plague like the rats did—so put out the traps. Put them in the cabinet where they ate your Life Savers which is kind of funny because everyone said they like peanut butter. So set the traps with Life Savers, Gummy Bears and peanut butter and wait for the snap. It only takes fifteen minutes but you hear more than a snap, you hear a clatter-clatter-scrape-scrape-clatter-clatter, and it doesn’t stop.

For an hour it doesn’t stop and now you can’t do anything but listen to the noise and try and figure out what is happening. You don’t want to look but you have to because no one else is there to help you. Your husband is away on a business trip where someone cooks his meals and serves him breakfast and makes his bed and he calls home every day and you talk for forty-five seconds. So you have to look.

Behind the cabinet door the trap is sprung and has gripped the mouse by its now bloody toothpick-thin leg. It is trying its best to scamper away, but the trap gets stuck next to the Lazy Susan making the mouse struggle so much that it pulls the skin off its leg. And it has been doing this for an hour. If you pick it up it could bite you and give you the Black Plague. Even though you will probably hurt it more by picking it up, you grab a wash cloth and do it anyway. You take the mouse outside next to the garage and pick up the end of the trap that is holding its ruined leg. It knows it is free and runs right next to the house and disappears around the corner. Now it’s only a matter of time until the rest of the traps do their jobs.

Day 7

I see pictures of families with a mom and dad together, with several brothers and many sisters and everyone is smiling. I know they are never alone and I get jealous. I have a feeling of loss because I don’t have that. But the back of me doesn’t want that. The darker side of me doesn’t want what I have. I want to be my own person and not have ties to anyone. I want to be able to leave when I want…I don’t want to have to care for something—not something simple like a job or a garden—but something that needs to be cared for constantly. It is the most horrible thing I can think of.

I don’t want to care about anyone’s happiness. I don’t want to care if they are hurt. I don’t want to have to give a shit if they are hungry or tired or failing. I want to pop in the party and leave, in my own car, when the fun is over. And believe me it has been over for longer than I can remember. Jobs can be hard and they can require long hours and intense concentration. But nothing is more repulsive than a crying baby. “But it will be so much different taking care of it when it is yours.” Well, I’ve got news for you: it’s not different. Well—maybe it is. It’s 10,000 times worse because now
you
have to figure out what the fuck is wrong and
you
have to listen to it and
you
can’t sleep and it’s
you
who is never
not
tired again.

Even if you don’t figure out what’s wrong, it never ever, ever, ever stops. You wake up again and again and you wonder if the jail time for murder would be worth it. But oh, the baby is so adorable! The most beautiful thing anyone has ever seen—and it is. And your husband can’t figure why you are such an idiot. Why can’t you like this like everyone else? The baby is perfect and healthy and beautiful and you should be ashamed of yourself. And you are. You are. You are. And now every hour seems like five hours and you do anything to get through the day. You walk and walk around the neighborhood dozens of times and you get so skinny and now you look so good—you are a skinny-mini!

How do you do it? Everyone is impressed. The woman around the corner with the nasty dogs asks how you are when you are out walking one day, and she tells you that having a baby is very isolating. Now you can’t stop crying for days and days and every day turns into every other day. Your husband is going golfing for a week with his friends which doesn’t matter because you don’t remember who he is anyway. When the baby naps for a long time you wonder if he is dead. Part of you hopes that he
is
dead. And that makes you a monster, and why would anyone ever want to be near you or be your friend again? And it’s not the baby’s fault—he is so beautiful after all. Perfect, really. So you feel sorry that you are his mother and you are going to ruin him. And you do.

Day 8

Your favorite candy store is within walking distance of your house, but you are still too little to walk there all alone. On the beautiful Saturday mornings you get in the car with everyone and drive there. You have some money, and the man behind the counter gives you a bag so you have a place for all your goodies. Once you got a cherry Chapstick and half an English muffin at the fountain. There were about 7,000 different kinds of candy in every color of the rainbow. You learned the funniest joke in the world there about a guy with a wooden leg. Then you all got back in the car and as you were pulling out of the driveway you saw a little girl standing all alone and still on the corner. She had a Casper the Friendly Ghost mask on, and she may have been holding some money.

Day 9

If you are afraid the devil is near, stomp on the ground and yell GO AWAY DEVIL! But most of the time he doesn’t leave, so you keep holy water in your kitchen cabinet.

Day 10

You can tell what kind of person someone is by the kind of pet they have. It is almost as accurate as a horoscope.

Dogs—Anyone who likes dogs is a nice person. Anyone who likes owning a dog is an idiot. They also like things like cooking and having people over for Thanksgiving. They don’t mind cleaning up and have a stronger stomach than others. They are afraid of the dark and of being alone. They believe in God and the devil. They do not think much. They are matter-of-fact. They are dull.

Cat—Cat people are selfish. They are either interesting or crazy. The more cats you have, the crazier you are, unless you have outside mousers. They can also see different colors than your average person. They are either interested in fashion or witchcraft. They have a hidden affinity for the occult. Anyone who owns a cat is slightly influenced by the devil because cats are familiars of evil. If you wake up a cat-lover unexpectedly their eyes will glow.

Fish—Fish owners are technical and possibly engineers or scientists. Or kids. Adults do not have fish unless they have a poor sex life. They can also be hard to figure out and slippery characters. Doctor’s and dentist’s offices do not apply here.

Lizards—People who like lizards like guns—and maybe knives. They may have or want to get tattoos. They think they’re special and do not care much about getting sick. They are loners and have good hearing. They may have more facial hair than average. They may drive a truck.

Birds—Bird owners either have no feelings or feel too much. Men who like birds that talk have the same type of issues as men who like ventriloquist dummies. Women who like birds like flowers and fancy themselves as better than everyone else. Sometimes they are right. Bird owners have a higher IQ than the general public.

Hamsters, gerbils and mice—These pets are usually for kids. No comment on the kids that own them. Adults that own them are weird.

Rats—People who own rats think they are very interesting. They think people look at them in awe and wonder how they can make their rat act so nice—even if the rat is not nice. They usually have some piercings or tattoos, like lizard people, and like heavy metal music and dress in black.

Ferrets—Owning a ferret usually means you are devious and a bit snippy. Sometimes very snippy. You are a bit of an oddball. You don’t like to read very much. You like TV. And you get the TV Guide delivered to your house—that kind of counts as a book.

Horses—People that own horses think they are free spirits and in touch with the earth. They may be rich, or are trying to act rich. They like to be the center of attention and may have big teeth and big smiles. They own too many cars and don’t mind traveling a far distance to get a good cup of coffee.

Snakes—There is just something wrong with people who have snakes for pets. Especially poisonous ones. And now you are going to read this and get mad that I said there is something wrong with you. If there wasn’t anything wrong with you, you would just ignore that statement.

Bugs, spiders, cockroaches and the like—just like snakes. Something is wrong with you.

There are people with no pets. They are probably the smartest people of all.

Day 11

We may all be looking at different colors. Since you were born, someone told you that the color you were looking at was, for instance, blue. So the color in your head is blue. But what if the color you actually see is red, but since someone told you it is blue since the day you were born, you call red, blue. The same could be true for every color you see. The color you call green could be pink, or orange could be purple. The same could be true for all of us. And there is no way we could ever prove otherwise.

Day 12

The church thing could be just like the color thing. Everyone thinks the antichrist is the devil, but it’s not. It’s a person just like you or me. Then the antichrist could tell you that if you do not go to church and follow him, you will go to hell. Or maybe he is right and
if
you go to church you are following not the teachings of God, but of Satan. Satan is the father of lies, right? If that’s true, how the hell are we supposed to know who is lying?

Day 13

I heard a woman telling her son there are fairies in the garden that make the flowers grow. And every thousand years or so the earth stops, then spins in the opposite direction. She was dead serious when she said it, too. She also told him the rivers all flow in reverse every now and then. And the world is run by lizards. According to her, if you watch people that are in high places, like the president or news correspondents, you will be able to see their eyes go reptilian every once in a while and this is a very bad thing.

This same woman also said Tom Cruise is probably the leader of the fairies, or at least one of their leaders because they are trying to take over the world. And we should be very, very good while we are here on earth because we are going to be reincarnated and if we are bad here we are going to have karmic lessons to learn and a hideous price to pay. There is proof of reincarnation, she said, because she knows a lot of people who were hypnotized and they realized they lived before.

One of her friends worked in a saloon in the Wild West and knew she had a sex disease that was rotting her insides so she killed men. Another friend was a nun in the 1700’s and had sex with priests. Good thing these women finally had past-life regressions to actually
see
what they did in their other lives because now they are happy and peaceful and they can pray and live a good life and make up for their cosmic mistakes so they will not be tortured in the afterlife (or worse when they are reincarnated).

BOOK: 100 Unfortunate Days
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