You’ll have to excuse the fact that this sounds somewhat as if it might have been recorded in a submarine in the icy waters beneath an alien planet; I haven’t been around for a while, and my audio equipment was dusty and had been playing bingo in a church basement, so it was a little creaky when I roused it from its folding chair. But I didn’t want to leave you without at least a shimmer of holiday leer, and think this does the job nicely. I’ve got more guests to post but will be back on the regular beat in January. Meantime, happiest of all of that. Now, have a story…
During a trip by car I noticed a guy on the phone in a parking lot frantically trying to start his car, a kid really, a kid in trouble, just laying into the ignition while the engine was turning halfway over which indicated, to my limited capacity for automotive troubleshooting, that maybe his vehicle was flooded.
Now, given that it’s superhero-movie-season, I asked to assist anyway, even though I -knew- it had nothing to do with the battery. I asked if he needed a jump, because where logic ends, blind altruism begins and I thought it’d be a good thing, to make somebody’s day, get him on the road again. So I offered the jump which was accepted, and pulled up beside him and got the cables and gave it a good effort, though it was doomed, pathetic really, as his under-hood ineptitude evidently rivaled mine own. Which is to say, it was worthless. And I couldn’t get the brake set right and was parked on a backward incline — or maybe a decline — in any event so I had to keep gassing to keep up the appearance of being idle, all the while trying HARD not to look like the idiot who can’t use the brake, much less get another car started.
And I’m not sure what I did end up looking like that night, but I’m fairly certain that it wasn’t confused with superheroics, and that it was clear to a discerning passerby, even if that passerby were to have been the subject of tonight’s story.
“But when it thinks, I feel like vomiting.”
With these words, it is clear that if Nigel Dennis were still around I’d be his groupie. I’d start the FaceBook Club and make mashups on Youtube for him and disguise myself as an editor at Rolling Stone Magazine to obtain his personal email address, which I would then use in ways the word “subterfuge” can only begin to imagine. And when I web-two-dot-ooh’ed the Nigel Dennis article in the Wikipedia and tag it up, the index would indicate that Nigel Dennis writes about obscene bile-spewing puking beasts kept as pets because that’s what people do, and at this, you would join my Nigel Dennis FaceBook Club and we’d all order matching t-shirts. I -know- you would.
I was thinking about the last story I read to you, and thinking it’d be nice if other events of this variety, the sort of events that are difficult to explain to small children, were similarly reimagined. And not just on a large scale, either. I’m talking about The Pulling of My Wisdom Teeth Considered as a Jaunt Through a Daisy Field, or The Love Affair Between Gravity and my Ceiling, Considered as a Synchronized Swimming Spectacular. And here’s another.
Andrea was kind enough to suggest and supply a sufficiently Halloweeny bit of ghoulishness to reconcile the setback of temporary lack of access to mine own troves. In the hopes of exponentially increasing the sympathy factor, let it be known that in addition to being without books, the chief operating offices of Miette’s bedtime have been largely internet-free for the past weeks, in what would, under normal circumstances, leave a girl like me a little mildewy-eyed, save for the fact that, when I -do- find myself at Some Wretched Faceless Coffeechain Conglomerate, I log on to find fresh stories, and letters, and other epistolary well-wishes from the likes of you, and thank you for it.
So listen, about today’s story, well, as you’ll know when you listen to the first minute, I’m running low on resources at the moment, tapped, so to speak, at least, until things are nice and orderlied again. And so those willing to share might send their finds and recommendations via the Electronic Scenicroadway to miette (at) hereabouts (domain-wise). And to repay you in advance, why not check here for one of the better audio finds I’ve made in these parts. But I think for best effect, tackle tonight’s story first, OK?
Oh, and well, at the recommendation (read: incessant prodding to the point of NUISANCE, and you know who you are) of more than you than I’m able to count, fine, I’ve made a page on that web site everybody’s talking about where you can be my, well, “Friend,” if you can find me. Though I still can’t imagine why anyone would want to be on any other web site but this?
Riding the big train today and started to daydream, in the daydreamy style of reductive logic unique to the accompaniment of a train horn, the subject which was What I Might Read to the Internet Tonight. And so, in the comparatively confined space of that dreamscape, the decision of What To Read, usually answered with the same response to the question “What am I reading right now? or “Who’s the First Writer That Comes to Mind… NOW?” become exponentially more imposing, as the question, in mid-daydream, instead became “What might I read tonight that will send pleasant dreams to the Entire Internet? And since when did accountability become an issue for a homespun raconteuse? And how can I live up to these sorts of pressures, and what will happen to the electromagnetic and fragile psychic balance of the universe AT LARGE if my sandmanic selection stirs even one listener to a point of restlessness, or worse, causes nightmares!” And it was just about at this point that the eyes started to roll in the head everywhich way but forward, and when the breath started to shorten, and when all signs turned to Level Four Anxiety Attack, did I snap open my eyes and discover that the big train daydream had, at some point, evolved into big train actual dream, and in doing so, I managed a tiny little daytime nightmare so that you wouldn’t have to. And with that, the decision is suddenly fraught with nothing more than the act of reaching up and grabbing whatever, because despite twenty hundred email spams and the need to read my self to sleep following the time on the train, I am now compulsively focused on satisfying your need for randomness. That, Internet, is commitment.
So here you are, the result of a page opened at random from the book grabbed at random from Miette’s Short Story Collection Shelf.
At times, this little podcast of ours is thought of not unlike a nice helping of ice milk– not bad for you, tasty even, in the right circumstances, but of questionable nutritional value. Not harmful, necessarily, but nothing that might be considered Useful For You. At then sometimes, someone will say otherwise, and that’s not bad, usefulness.
That said, for the most part, what we have here may or may not be available online, as they are plucked at whimsy from Miette’s Own Library, but for those who find Usefulness in reading along, sometimes you can. By request, some hot Saki.
Because I am a good, supportive, helpful sort, I took a friend recently to purchase a new pair of running trainers. Which isn’t a very exciting way to begin a pre-podcastal anecdote, but don’t go away yet! You see, it wasn’t at all what I’d come to expect from my Friendly Local Sneaker Salesperson. No! My friend was placed on the pedestal of a treadmill and told to run, a treadmill attached to video camera equipment and analytics software and a multi-screen view of his feet in action, from which the decision of the Perfect Trainer For Him had become a no-brainer. It was all very sci-fi and ultrasensory and cool, in an admittedly unhuman sort of way (and let’s face it, we can ruminate all day, but we’re just talking about sneakers).
And it gave me an idea. Indulge me a minute. Place your left thumb on the icon at the top of one of those ear-buds (either one is fine). (Come on, please? It’d make me so very happy.)
(Did you do it? Come on, just for a second)
The plot of tonight’s story involves a gaggle of young children who go to stay with their frail old grandmother, and who, more or less, are swallowed up by a house that I imagine to be uniformly mothballish and denture-gluey in nature. And I’m disclosing this to you now not so that I might spoil it for you (because I’m sure you’re all remarkably brilliant listeners who are after more than rote high-concept plot anyhow), BUT! If anyone has any advice on how to return the hairs on my neck to their natural supine state, which they haven’t been since reading this, I’d appreciate it. Not that I have many hairs on my neck, because that’s unsightly. But just because today’s is a frightly one. So prepare yourselves.