Wk 12 – Allergic Reactions

Tulip Mask by Llyvonne Barber

Write by Matt Potter

I pasted a sample paragraph of my writing on the website Who do you write like?

The response was immediate. I suddenly saw myself in long beard and flowing tunic, dispensing wisdom and loaves and fishes.

Switching off the computer, I caught my enigmatic smile on the blank screen.

My wife hurried past, holding an empty tray. “What’re you smiling at?”

She disappeared, no time for an answer, door slamming.

I sat, considering this new enormity. I could found my own religion. Some man – prophet, seer, philosopher – develops a system of thinking and wham! they’re building worship centres and theme parks and re-naming interstate highways after him.

Makes you think.

My wife hurried through again, tray stacked high with plates.

“I pasted a paragraph of my writing on the website Who do you write like? and it said I write like The Bible.”

She glanced as I followed her into the kitchen. She put the tray down, filled the coffee machine with tap water, spooned coffee into the two-cup filter, stamped it down vehemently, snapped the filter holder into place, flicked the on-switch, and stood, waiting for the first hiss.

She looked me in the face. “So I guess you’ll be starting your own religion, then?”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because I did the same thing and it said I write like the Dalai Lama, so I thought we should move to Tibet. Coffee?”

Normally I’m allergic to bullshit but sometimes it can be a sneaky bitch.

Allergic Reactions #1: the Sun by Darryl Price

Well I too woke up and outside there was the shining sun
literally smashing itself against the window like a crazed yet determined yellow

bird but it just couldn’t break through the little rows of shuttered
blinds like it wanted to. It would hit and fall and recircle

and try again over and over again. Okay, I said, I guess
I’m up. You can knock it off now. I stuffed the rest

of my sleep under the pillow for later. The usual things followed.
I opened the door and there the sun tried to stick its

huge foot in but it still couldn’t enter the house altogether. I
got in the car and the sun immediately clamped down on the

silver top and beat it with its fiery fists until I turned
on the radio. This seemed to scare it away to some distance.

However it continued to glare at me from behind several boulder shaped
clouds. These clouds in turn were trying desperately to roll away and

gather against some other part of the sky. The sun hung on
with all ten fingers. I rolled down the window and none other

than the wind reached a hand in and tossled my hair about
and then swam on beside the front tires like a friendly dolphin.

The sun poured on the heat and finally the wind went beneath
the pavement and stayed there. I pulled up to work and got

out just as the sun settled on a corner of the old
building like a vulture looking disinterested but nonetheless a little bit hungry.

Cinnamon by Kait Mauro

“So, Anna, do you know why you’re here?” she asks.

“Because my mother doesn’t understand the difference between having a plan and planning.” I tell her. I try to be matter-of-fact, I try to match her professionalism, but irritation glimmers at the edge of my voice.

“Hm,” she says. I can tell she isn’t really concerned. She scribbles a few words on her clipboard, looks up at me. “And what makes you feel this way?”

“It’s the cinnamon.” I tell her. She looks at me, raises her eyebrows a little, the universal signal for ‘please continue.’ So I do, “I’m deathly allergic to cinnamon so I make sure to always have some with me. Here,” I reach for my purse, pull out a thin, sealed tube, hand it to her. “I like to keep my options open, see?”

“Anna, if you’re having suicidal thoughts…” she begins, but I cut her off. If you’re planning to kill yourself, you’re having ‘suicidal thoughts.’ If you simply have a plan but no direct intention to follow through, then you’re just thinking about suicide. This is the difference no one seems to understand. She’s looking at me like I’m crazy.

“It’s only about keeping my options open. If I am going to be here, and I have no intention not to be, I want to be here by choice, by my choice, everyday,” I tell her again. “If you’re not in control then you’re the victim.”

More scribbles on the clipboard.

You came for the carpet by Doug Bond

When the buzzer rang I freaked. Ohmygod, he’s really fucking here. It
was so hot you were wearing a tank top and jeans, told me you were in
your moving clothes.

You walked right in and looked at the shit on my walls, said “You’ve
got nice shit on your walls.” And then, “So where’s the carpet?”

I told you I’d go get it, asked you to wait. By the time I’d yanked
the edges out from under the bed, I was a stinking mess, but thought
I’d fling my streaked hair back, tell you, “It’s all yours now.”

Instead I stood there slinking to the side as you practically galloped
past me to grab it. You did check out my tits, I saw you, or maybe it
was a sweat splotch, I’m not sure.

“So how the fuck are you going to get that thing home?”

“Piece of cake! I used to be a mover. Carpets are the easiest. You
just roll ‘em and ride ‘em up on your shoulder.”

It came loose so you grabbed and rustled it into a tight little
package. I couldn’t help thinking of you doing me the same way.

You said, “Kind of shaggy?” And then began sneezing. I counted eight,
maybe nine big blasts.

By the time you’d gotten through my door your nose was dripping a long
thin string down your tank top. I buzzed the gate. You just rammed the
carpet roll to swing it open. You timed it perfectly.

Fun by Susan Tepper

Spottie’s black spots are falling off from an allergic reaction. The vet proclaiming: “This is a very rare condition in Dalmations.” Like that would make me feel better.

On the patio next to the pool, our trainer, Ralph, is bent over studying the round pink flesh spots that used to be black dog hair. He throws up his hands having a conniption. “If we don’t get them back he’ll be disqualified!”

“Well you’re the trainer, Ralph, what have you done to my prize dog?”

“He sure won’t be weeening any prizes this time.” Though it’s muttered sotto vocé, Italian style, I don’t want Antonio’s point of view.

“Stick to cleaning up the rose garden!” I yell.

Antonio flicks those Sicilian eyes. But he doesn’t pick up his trowel and leave, either. Once you hanky-panky the gardener, there is no going back.

Rubbing the dog’s head I say, “What do you think, Spottie?” His tail wags.

“We can’t very well paint him,” says Ralph.

“Paint heeeeem!” Antonio holds his stomach rolling with laughter.

“Take a hike, Antonio!”

“You cannot speak that way to me.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“I weeeel tell your husband.”

“He would never believe you.”

“He weeeel. When I tell him about your double neeeple.”

Ralph’s head jerks. “Your double what?”

“It’s a small mole, that’s all.”

“Double neeeeeeeeeeeeeple,” Antonio sings out across the patio.

Then Spottie runs around in circles from the fun.

Back to Wk #11 – Red Meat

Forward to Wk #13 – Space Camp


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