Well, this is an interesting writing prompt. “Go to your Stats page and check your top 3-5 posts. Why do you think they’ve been successful? Find the connection between them, and write about it.”
As it happens, my top three posts today are “Nomadic Retirement: The American Way“, “The Gap” and “To Kill a Mountain Lion . . . With a Spatula“. Never mind why they’re successful; I like the idea of writing (about) the connection. The subjects of these three posts have all nicely settled down in my subconscious, where they find common ground. The dream I wrote about in “Mountain Lion” is one result of this coming together. Who knows what other stories they are working on as I
speak sleep. But since this is the writing prompt for today, I can’t exactly wait to see what I’ll dream of next, so let me try and conjure up some of the silly stream-of-consciousness stuff of dreams right here.
How about this:
Our big black destructo cat Freddie turns into a mountain lion He holds up one paw and like a stiletto knife one single perfect sharp sickle-shaped nail pops out with which now destructo mountain lion Freddie proceeds to rip a three-inch wide gap in our brand new second-hand leather couch He then squats and pees in said gap As I try to soak the lion pee out of the foam filling thousands of cockroaches emerge (see a future post) which I start hitting enthusiastically with my favorite wooden spatula You’d think it would be impossible to kill so many cockroaches with a spatula especially because of the erratic way they run around but you’d be wrong I have lived in America for almost twenty years I have observed the education system the political system the justice system and I have two teenage children Erratic is my middle name haha! So I succeed in killing every single roach As a reward the couch turns into the couch in my dream RV the rip has conveniently disappeared and T and I fly off to guaranteed retirement at age . . . well, right now.
I’m on a road trip with my family Our RV only just fits on some of the narrow switchbacks to our favorite national park where the gaps in the toilet stalls are as wide as Sequoias so you never have to leave your vehicle to go to the restroom which is a good thing since the mountain lions are on the prowl They pretend to be just your regular elderly suburban Bakersfield women in seventies pant suits peering through butterfly glasses They shuffle into restaurants and order the seniors’ standard chicken-fried steaks and margaritas to blend in until at some point one of them goes eeny meeny miny moe to decide which of them gets to say excuse me for a moment I have to go to the little girls’ room They all grin their big-teeth grins and their green eyes flicker dangerously behind their specs but they recover so quickly that no one else notices that they don’t actually have dentures or cataracts Then the chosen one of the mountain lions aka cougars gets up and shuffles to the restrooms where she waits for unsuspecting younger men like . . . MY HUSBAND!!! Where did he go?! He was here just a minute ago! I told him not to leave the RV but does he listen? Later I get a postcard from Florida She may be much older but his mountain lion mama is one lean mean purring machine and they’re retiring happily ever after.
A pride of mountain lions retires to the Rio Grande Valley in their RV because dental care is so much cheaper in Reynosa, Mexico Their favorite pastime is dressing up like elderly Bakersfield women from the seventies and going out to eat but they didn’t realize that in the Rio Grande Valley cockroaches are as abundant as racists in Florida and when their chicken-fried steaks are served the roaches are usually already eating them Our mountain lions who hail from South Dakota are not used to this and so they have purchased spatulas to bring along in their purses In the next restaurant when their chicken-fried steaks are again served with cockroaches they take out their spatulas and start whacking their food with gusto much to the consternation of the local human population which is famous for being easily shocked by anything new Bits of chicken-fried steak go flying all over the place some of it covered in mashed cockroach gravy and now it turns out that some of the local humans were only pretending to be shocked in fact they were only pretending to be local humans The pride of our story wasn’t the only one hanging out in restaurants in the Rio Grande Valley pretending to be people though the other prides are not all dressed as elderly seventies Bakerfield women Some are dressed as regular local restaurant customers whose conversation is strictly limited to meals they recently had in other local restaurants Some are pretending to be corrupt local school superintendents some are dressed as the Mexican families of Zetas members dressed up as local country club members and some are pretending to be local bankers exchanging notes about the mountain lion that has been roaming their ranches Anyway these other disguised mountain lions now all jump onto the tables and start catching the flying bits of plain chicken-fried steak in their mouths The bits with roach gravy they bat away with what are now openly their sand-colored paws Some of these insect-gravy-covered bits of chicken-fried steak land in the real local humans’ hair The real local humans seeing that their fellow diners are actually mountain lions and realizing that the chicken-fried steak pieces landing in their hair are covered in cockroach gravy collectively lose their minds as witnessed by the fact that some of them try to hide in the toilet stalls haha! The local grackles hanging out on the wires above the restaurant parking lot had just been discussing the best places to eat mashed roach when real local humans start coming out of the restaurant in numbers and at a speed usually reserved for entering Wal-Mart on Black Friday These grackles who unlike the local humans adapt effortlessly to anything new are tickled pink by this novel way of serving up mashed roach and they dig in with enthusiasm. The real local humans some of whom are actual corrupt local school superintendents and Zetas families dressed up as country club members and ranching bankers run away screeching pulling out their hair all the way home At home they all call moving companies to come get their stuff no matter the cost the key will be under the mat the delivery address will follow Then they jump in their second and third cars and trucks since they forgot their first ones at the restaurant and head north to Austin just as fast as their Ford-tough engines will carry them not even stopping at the checkpoint south of Falfurrias The grackles are happy because next season’s nests will all be lined with real local human hair and the mountain lions who now only need to take turns eeny meeny miny moe dressing like humans once a month to sign the frozen chicken-fried steak delivery guy’s receipts decide that eating chicken-fried steak this new-fangled way is far more fun than anything they ever did in South Dakota and who knew that pesky cockroaches could lead to such innovations so they live happily ever after in South Texas retirement The real local humans reach Austin at sunset and as they cross the Congress Avenue Bridge they see the one and a half million Mexican freetail bats emerge and since they have sworn they will never put up with any black flying things ever again they press the pedal even closer to the metal but they are forced to slow down when they get to 6th Street where they see the late and great Leslie in only his beard boa thong and high heels which is way too weird for their taste and they decide to keep driving right on up to Dallas and beyond to the Midwest never to be heard from again The end.