Lock and Load
If I’ve seemed distant lately, I honestly do have a good reason. And it’s not because I’ve been on some glamorous book tour for Allie Finkle’s latest adventure, which is, believe it or not, in stores now.
No, the truth is, my husband has left me. Before you start worrying, he’ll be back. He’s been gone on and off all summer. His parents needed help relocating from the six bedroom house in which he grew up—and which they no longer find themselves able to manage these days—to the new senior living community I picked out for them, because I don’t want to turn on CNN and see that this has happened to them.
(Which, believe me, it could, knowing them.)
So we (because even though I’m not physically there, I’ve been the Chloe to his Jack Bauer) have had quite a summer. If you have ever moved a senior, you know what I mean. It’s actually a lot like moving a college student, only most college students don’t want to cram 900,000,000 boxes marked “Holiday Candles” into their new dorm room. And generally, you don’t have to worry about college students causing this, whereas with certain seniors, well, you know.
On the plus side, He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog being gone has left me free to return to my favorite deadline diet of tortilla chips, fudge from Winn-Dixie, TaB, and M&Ms (having Celiac disease AND a book due AND in-laws you now have to keep from being eaten by wild dogs is really hard, you guys), and bond with his cat, Slutty-McSlut-Slut-A-Lot, who maybe likes me a little TOO much:
My own cat, Henrietta, had to be taken to the vet because she’s just generally been acting weird (it’s hard to tell though, with her). But she behaved so wildly when it came time to draw blood to check her thyroid levels that the decision was made to give her a little anesthesia to calm her down.
Please, don’t even say it. I was already forming my CTU style rescue mission in my head BEFORE I heard the screams. One Jack Bauer-style kick to the door later, and I found Henrietta projectile spraying diarrhea from her cage onto the rest of the animals, who were cowering in shock, while my cat, foaming at the mouth, attempted to assassinate them one-by-one.
“We can’t contain her!” shrieked the technician.
“Everyone out,” I shouted. “Chloe, have you downloaded the schematics?”
“No, Jack, I need more time!” Chloe barked into my headset.
“Goddammit, Chloe, we haven’t got time! I’m going in!”
“Don’t do it, Jack! It’s suicide!”
“I’ve got to, Chloe. It’s our only chance of survival.”
I had no choice. I reached into that cage and pulled Henrietta out by her head, dodging nuclear missile style claws (and poop) as I stuffed her back into her Sherpa bag, then dove for safety before she was able to call for back up.
Weirdly, as I stood panting in the lobby, thanking the vet and saying we would have Henrietta’s blood drawn another day (when I am dead), paying, and apologizing for the mess, a woman asked me where I had found a medium-sized Sherpa bag in black. Coming out of that bag were sounds previously never detected by the human ear.
“Is that a weasel?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said. “That is my pet weasel.”
As soon as we got home and let her out of the bag, the weasel sauntered over to her favorite place by our toilet that always clogs, sat down, looked up innocently at He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog and I with her stylishly shaved neck, and meowed sweetly for Pounce.
In other news, since I paid a LOT for a generator, I’m guessing Florida is going to get hit by our share of hurricanes while I’m at this groovy book signing in Denver in a couple weeks, where I won’t be able to enjoy using it, and then in October, when I’ll be heading off to the Texas Book Festival, where I further won’t be able to enjoy it. Because that is my luck.
And in non-hurricane related news, I am judging this writing contest, for kids ONLY. So please, Jonathan Franzen, BACK OFF!
Ha, that’s my only Jonathon Franzen joke, I haven’t got anymore. I rarely read literary novels, as I find them unwieldy in the bath.
My favorite bath time reads are mysteries, and if they happen to be set in wartime England and have a little romance in them, all the better! I’ve pretty much read every mystery ever written in this genre, from Agatha Christie to Patricia Wentworth, who is mostly out of print. Her Miss Silver mysteries are like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mysteries, but better. Not that I don’t like Agatha Christie.
But what I like best about Agatha Christie is something I just learned in this fascinating New Yorker piece by Joan Acocella. And that’s that Agatha once disappeared for two weeks after her husband announced he was leaving her for a lady he’d met on the golf course (Agatha’s husband never worked. She supported him with her book writing. So, this was nice of him, to leave her for a lady golfer).
People are STILL trying to piece together what happened to Agatha during her disappearance.
Here’s what we DO know: when Agatha disappeared, she checked into a hotel using the lady golfer’s last name, and then sat playing bridge with the other guests in the lobby, listening to the accounts of her own disappearance on the radio, and agreeing with everyone else that it was QUITE a mystery where Agatha Christie could have gone. A bit scandalous, even! Perhaps she was MURDERED.
People now say Agatha must have gone into a fugue state (a sort of amnesiatic trance about who and where she was). Why else wouldn’t she have responded to all the stories in the papers, saying that her publisher, her family, EVERYONE, was frantically looking for her?
She didn’t give up until a bellboy recognized her from all the pictures in the paper, called the police, and her husband showed up to fetch her.
For Agatha, the jig was up. And her publisher (and embarrassed family) hurried to insist the incident hadn’t been a publicity stunt, but something called “fugue state.”
And it worked, since her next book sky-rocketed to the bestseller list (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was her first really big seller).
Agatha Christie went on to have a totally successful career AND a deliriously happy marriage to an archeologist (who was much younger than she was) that she met after her divorce. She accompanied him to many digs, and died at a ripe old age.
But if you ask me, Agatha wasn’t suffering from fugue. I think she was suffering from a different F word . . . one Cee Lo describes so perfectly in his hot new hit song, F*** You (and your girlfriend too), which is how I think Agatha would have put it.
I LOVE it! Go lady mystery writers. Now THIS is what I want to read about.