True Story or Urban Legend? 

I woke up this morning remembering a story I heard about in high school. I can’t remember if it was a news story or just an urban legend. I was about to google it to find out, but I decided not to. I feel like thinking about it instead, and reaching out to other people who might have heard about it too. Without looking it up, this is what I remember:

A popular teenage girl goes to a tanning salon to get a nice tan before her senior prom. She talks the people who work at the salon into letting her do multiple sessions in a row. She spends hours in a tanning bed and literally cooks herself to death. I don’t remember if she dies in the bed or later on that day. I feel like I read about this in the newspaper- I can almost picture the girl, but my mind could also be playing tricks on me. There is also an episode of Bones where a woman is murdered by being locked in a tanning bed, so obviously it’s possible.

Does anyone else remember this story?! What do you think- true story or urban legend?

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No Big Deal

Every Wednesday night, my husband and I have friends over to our house for dinner. Sometimes we play games, sometimes we make art, but no matter what, every evening ends up in some pretty interesting conversation. We’ve grown close and since most of us are not from Seattle, we’ve become a home away from home for each other. We talk about our lives, what we did that week, and who’s been pissing us off. Sometimes our conversations take on recurring themes and though the evenings come to an end, the topics come right back to life the following Wednesday.

One such topic was sparked by a comment I made one night about not understanding why cannibalism was such a big deal. I get why murder is a big deal, but if the person is already dead, what’s the problem? I told my friends that if we were stranded somewhere together and one of them died, I would have no problem eating that person. They had A LOT of questions for me and this became a popular dinnertime conversation.

A while back, I was visiting my mom in L.A. and I told her about it. I wondered if she would think of me differently. I said “Mom, I’ve thought about this a lot and I feel pretty sure that I could eat a person if I had to. Even someone I knew. So if I die and you’re starving, I just want you to know, it’s totally fine with me if you eat me.”

My mom looked at me smiling and said, “Honey, I don’t need your permission.”

 

Like this story? Check out The Proposal

Imogene

Imogene was the kind of beautiful that’s not beautiful on the outside. She wondered if she’d be alone forever. Hardly anyone in Bedford County even noticed her. Except for Linus. He’d follow Imogene everywhere she went, filming her, picking her trash outta the garbage and what not.

He wasn’t really right in the head, but Imogene didn’t have any other admirers, so she always gave him a smile when their eyes met. Plus, he wasn’t ugly, just a lil bit off. He’d been one of those kids who couldn’t have pets cause they’d always end up dead and opened up. A few neighbors who’d lost their cats suspected him of foul play, but nothing was ever proven. Imogene didn’t have any pets, so she wasn’t really worried about Linus.

Well, and so it was on most days, Imogene would walk through town nearly invisible with Linus trailing about ten steps behind her. She never knew why he followed her on some days and not on others – and the truth is, she was starting to care. So on the days he wasn’t watching her, she went looking for him. He was easy to find. He was most always smashing on rocks in his front yard with no shirt on. It was a good look for him, thought Imogene. He’d look up from smashing and smile at her and then go right back to smashing.

One day when Linus wasn’t following her, and he wasn’t in his front yard, Imogene went up to the house. Now, that took a lot of courage. Linus’s father was known for yelling and throwing beer cans, though no one had seen him for a while. “Linus,” called Imogene, “you in there?” There was no answer.

Imogene peeked through the window. She could see Linus’s dad sitting on an armchair with a beer in his hand. Looked like he was asleep. She called out again “Linus?” Still no answer. Imogene noticed the door was open, so she let herself in. She took a closer look at Linus’s dad and realized he wasn’t sitting in the chair, he was the chair. He’d been expertly stuffed and positioned. Imogene heard someone grunting behind her. She spun around to find Linus standing right there. “Linus, did you do this?” she asked. Linus nodded slowly. “It’s just beautiful. May I take a seat?” Again, Linus nodded, smiling shyly.

Imogene sat on Linus’s dad and leaned back. The chair rocked a little with her weight. A rocking chair! Imogene had always wanted a rocking chair. Linus took the beer can out of his daddy’s hand and replaced it with a nice cold fresh one for Imogene.

She looked at Linus and it was like she could see into the future. They’d be married. It’d be a simple life, but a nice one. He’d make all the furniture and she’d do the cooking and cleaning and of course she’d read to the kids. She wasn’t sure Linus could even talk, let alone read.

Still, she thought, he sure would make a fine husband.

The Undergroundhog

Lorelai was the most beautiful undergroundhog in all the underground. She had big puffy lips and her hair was so long she almost tripped on it all the time. She had no muffin tops or pimples at all. Not even one.

All the hot undergroundhog guys were totally into her. They carried her books and gave her gum. Everyone wanted to date her because she looked so much like Beyonce. That is everyone except for Pretzel.

Pretzel was Lorelai’s best friend. She really tried to like Lorelai, but like all best friends, she secretly hated her. Pretzel’s hair was chunky and short and she barely had any lips at all. No one ever gave Pretzel any gum. She wanted Lorelai gone.

One day, Prezel convinced Lorelai that she could be a model, but in order to do so, she’d have to run away and leave the underground.

Pretzel and Lorelai came out of the underground and walked over to the main road to New York City. Lorelai hugged Pretzel goodbye and started off down the road. A few seconds later, a big 18 wheeler truck came by and squashed Lorelai into the ground.

Pretzel cut the long hair from Lorelai’s smushed up body and made herself some realistic looking extensions. That night, she got pregnant for the first time.

Kids: If you want to be happy, you have to work for it. No one will love you for who you are unless you’re better than you are.

And remember, if you’re pretty, don’t ever leave your hole.

The end.

Oscar Taladopia

My best friend is Oscar Taladopia because his house has a swimming pool covered with leaves and sometimes even floating cockroaches. Crunch! Sometimes we play shipwreck and dive for treasure at the bottom of the pool. Oscar’s dad throws in all sorts of great stuff for us to find. Yesterday we found 3 bottles from alcohol, some DVDs and a book. He said if we could find his hunting knife he would give us each a dollar. We are still looking. I love swimming at Oscar’s- we don’t even have to get out to pee.

Oscar’s dad is totally cool. He never makes us stop playing to eat dinner. He doesn’t even care if we eat! He wears a moustache and a bathrobe and he never makes us wash our hands. One time, we found a dead rat in Oscar’s kitchen and his dad let him keep it! My dad would never let me have a rat. Not even a dead one.

There is so much fun stuff to do at Oscar’s. Our favorite game is peeling the yellow paint off all the walls in Oscar’s room. Under the yellow it is blue and then under the blue it’s yellow again. My favorites are the big pieces of paint. I’m saving them to throw into the fire. Oscar’s dad makes giant fires in the backyard and we get to throw stuff inside of it. Last time we threw in a photo album and some lady clothes and Oscar’s dad cried. It was fun, but my favorite is when we throw popcorn seeds into the fire and popcorn flies out. Oscar’s dad says, “If you can catch ‘em you can eat ‘em!” I love that game.

Oscar’s house also has my favorite food. Spam. We eat it every time I come over. Oscar’s dad puts it on sticks for us to roast over the fire. It is the best food I have ever eaten. Sometimes when I am at school I think about eating Spam. I wish my mom knew how to make it. She just makes regular food. Oscar loves it. It’s funny because Oscar really likes coming to my house and I really like his. He says he likes that we have blankets and toilet paper and doors. He is my best friend but really, sometimes he is so weird.

Hot Room Nap Dream

Ryan Reynolds, a male lion, and eight dogs (all different kinds) were lying out on the lawn in front of my dad’s house. Ryan was trying to take a selfie with his phone to put on facebook, but he couldn’t get enough of the animals in the picture. He asked me to take a picture of them. I tried, but he was moving around too much so it was hard to get a good shot. He kept fake-fighting the lion and then the lion really started mauling him. Ryan kept laughing like everything was fine. I felt bad because I knew he wasn’t going to like how the shots were coming out. They were all blurry and he was getting mauled for no reason. I gave him his phone back. Then he and all the animals went inside to help my dad get ready for his audition. There were so many of them and they really wanted to help my dad. It was a sweet gesture, but all I could think about was that my dad was not going to be happy about all those dogs in his house.

Then I am lying in bed and my mom is rubbing some white goo on my cuticles. She says its good stuff she stole from the hospital, but she only has enough for one of my hands. She then tells me I should think about getting out of bed and giving Ryan his phone back. His lawyers are calling. They want to delete all of the pictures. I told her I had given the phone back, but she was right, I had it in my hand. We decided to look through his contacts to see if there was anyone cool we wanted to talk to before we gave the phone back. We tried a few numbers, but all of Ryan’s friends had really bad speech impediments. We couldn’t understand any of them. Then my mom said, “ I don’t understand why Ryan Gosling is friends with these people.” I said, “he’s not. These are Ryan Reynolds’s friends.” “Oh,” she said looking relieved, “Okay. Well, make sure you give the phone back.”

Another Trip

Today I figured out why I’m not a drug addict. It’s because I associate all the best highs of my life with being at the dentist. I went back today for part two of my cleaning. Part one consisted mostly of me laughing uncontrollably due to the Nitrus gas. So naturally when the hygienist asked me if I would be needing the Nitrus again today, I said yes. There was no laughing today- I came prepared. I decided earlier in the day that I would take the opportunity to just relax and let myself fall into it.

Within minutes, my mind was flooded with memories. I remembered playing at my friend Rachel’s house, on the floor next to her bed. I remembered her flowered bedspread with matching pillowcases and the bed skirt that would brush up against my leg as we played with our Barbies. My bed at home didn’t have a bed skirt and I was fascinated by it. I wondered if I put one of Rachel’s Barbies under her bed if she would ever find it.

I remembered swimming in her pool and how the water seemed darker than the water in our pool. Somehow it seemed much deeper and almost like an adventure to swim at her house. I remembered getting out of the water and the feeling of my swimsuit slowly drying on my skin, lightly scratching me as it returned to its original shape. I thought I looked better in my swimsuit than I did in my clothes. I wished I could wear it to school. I felt that the people who weren’t nice to me would be nicer if they saw me in my swimsuit. A voice called me out of my memory and asked me to open my mouth a little wider.

As I drifted away again, I thought about how I ended up at this dentist in the first place. I was eating popcorn and it pulled out my crown. I then remembered being very small and watching movies with my parents. I worried that we would run out of popcorn. I wished there was infinite popcorn. I would watch my parents almost as much as I watched the movie- to make sure I laughed when they laughed. I remembered my dad noticing this and telling me to enjoy the movie and to laugh at what I thought was funny. I said I understood, but I lied. It was so important to me to laugh when he laughed.

This happens to me at the daycare all the time. If I laugh, even if it is at something I have just read on my phone, at least one kid near me will catch my eye and laugh too. I think it’s about feeling like they are part of something with me. Maybe it makes them feel closer to me. Or maybe they just like to laugh.

The chair moved me into a more upright position. She started cleaning my lower teeth. There was more poking and scraping, but not enough to keep me out of my memories. I remembered lying on my bed, drawing with my mom. I wanted her to be there and watch me. I remember needing help drawing the arms of a girl, but not wanting to need help. I remember getting angry with my mom for how she drew the arms. She added the crease of the girl’s elbows, and I didn’t want it there. I erased it furiously and shook off all the eraser bits. My mom asked me if I knew where all those bits went when I blew them. I looked up at her in wonder, and asked “where?”- Anticipating some magical answer. “The floor,” she said, smiling.

Remembering this made me laugh out loud, startling the dental hygienist. I had been so quiet up until that point. She asked how I was doing and told me it was time for my polish. She said I could pick my flavor. I had the choice of mint or a whole bunch of disgusting flavors, so I chose mint. Because of the noise, I couldn’t really escape. When she finished, she went to find out if my insurance covered fluoride treatments and she left me alone with my gas. I started to miss Rodrigo. I wished he were in the chair next to me with a gas mask on as well. I imagined us holding hands and talking about how each of our days had gone. I told Rodrigo I had to pee and asked him if I should even bother getting up and going to the bathroom or if I should just go in the chair. He said he wouldn’t judge me if I went in the chair, but I’d probably be happier if I went to the bathroom. I was smiling when the hygienist came back and told me my insurance did not cover fluoride treatments. She turned off the gas and turned up the oxygen. Within moments I was completely clear and back in the present.

The Overflow

It was lunchtime at the daycare and I was trying to get the kids into the dining room. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one of the girls fascinated by something on the floor. She was poking at it and squishing it in her fingers. I asked her what it was and she said, “Chicken poop.” I told her it looked a little bit too big to be chicken poop. “Oh,” she said holding it closer to her face, “then it’s kid poop.” It sure was.

I picked her up fast and washed her hands before she could stick her fingers in her mouth. As I was washing her hands for the third time, she told me whose poop she thought it was and then she said “its okay. He’s like me. I poop too.” Inspired by her inclusive and non-judgmental attitude I said, “that’s right, everyone poops. I poop too.” She stared at me for a second and asked “But do you poop on the floor?” No. I guess I don’t.

After she was clean, I decided to go check on the possible culprit. He was sitting on the floor smashing two tractors into each other. I asked him if he had poop in his diaper. He nodded his head and kept on smashing. He seemed pretty indifferent about his poo filled diaper. I took this as a good sign. If he didn’t care, then maybe it wasn’t that bad. I was wrong.

There was so much poop in that diaper that for a moment I just stood there staring at it. I looked at the boy and then at the poop and then back at the boy. It just didn’t seem possible. I finally snapped out of it, and began to change my first diaper ever. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I mean, I got it in theory – take off the dirty diaper, clean the kid off, put on a clean diaper. It’s just that there are some in between steps that are not explained in that theory. I had seen regular pee diapers changed on the changing table, but this was a whole different story. I’m not even sure where I went wrong. I think it might have been how I grabbed the diaper. I underestimated its weight and it kind of flopped the other way. Poop fell all over the place. My forearms, the table, the floor. Again, I just stared at it.

Luckily the kid was in a really good mood. He was smiling at me and saying poop a lot. I cant imagine what it would have been like if he were crying.

I finally cleaned everything up and we made it to lunch. To my surprise, I had not lost my appetite. In fact, I was starving. Apparently so was the boy. He made his way through three bowls of rice and peas. I looked up at the clock and smiled. I only had five more minutes of work. He could eat as much as he wanted. The next diaper he filled would be for someone else.

Elementary Letter

Elementary Letter

Dear Julie,

Mrs. Sherman is making the whole class write you letters because you moved to Kenya Africa. I can’t believe you are IN Kenya! Did a giraffe really lick your face? That is what Caroline told everyone. I wish you were still at school, but don’t ever come back. Jessica told everyone you smell like Cup-O-Noodles and now everyone is laughing at you. Even me! I’m sorry but I can’t help it because it is true. Justin said you smell like that because you have a big booty. Then he said “Julie’s butt is so big you can see it from the front!” Is that true? I don’t remember your butt from the front.

I am sorry everyone is making fun of you, but you wouldn’t want to come back anyway because the classes are a lot harder this year and you know you are not really good at school. What is school like in Kenya? I think it is hard. Don’t be sad if you don’t have any friends. I will still be your friend even though you are so far away. I will write to you again even though I don’t have to. If you want to be my pen pal then write me back! Maybe you could send me something nice from Kenya.

PS: I really didn’t want you to go.

Sincerey, Olive

That Nasty Brew

We are living in an age where it is possible to clone human beings and regrow hands with magic science powder. We are obviously living in the future. So how is it possible that cough syrup tastes just as awful as it did when I was a kid? It makes me gag. It makes me shiver. It makes my right eye close up. It tastes like alcohol and sugar and rubber and gasoline. I would rather be sick for a few days than swallow a spoonful of NyQuil.  I would rather have a sore throat and a cough. I would rather suffer in silence and complain out loud than drink that nasty brew.

Rodrigo however, does not agree. He stares at me as I argue and whine and present really well thought out arguments as to why I don’t need the medicine. He stands next to me patiently, cough syrup in one hand, spoon in the other, as I lie right to his face and promise to take it later. He smiles at me and pours the syrup. I threaten him. I look at him through squinty eyes and a wrinkled brow. I tell him the only reason I am taking it is for him. He hands me the spoon. I take the medicine.

I gag and I shiver and my right eye closes a little bit. I run to the kitchen and stuff my mouth with blueberries and cheese and I drink Gatorade. Everything tastes like cough syrup. I glare at Rodrigo and tell him he just likes to see me suffer. “How does your throat feel now?” he asks.

Dammit! It feels better.