The Healthy Benefits of Popcornopolis

48385267_10156330725843052_7276558164391100416_o

Manager: “Hey, Bill, we’ve got some ad space we need to fill on the front. Here’s the list of our usual…”

Bill: “Hmmm… ‘fat free’ -nope; ‘vitamins and min-‘ nope; ‘low in -‘ nope, it’s not low in anything except nutrition…”

M: “C’mon, man, it has popcorn. Popcorn’s healthy, right?”

B: …..

M: “Oh. Right. Hmmm. Looks like we’re gonna have to pull from the Emergency Terms.”

B: “American-made and gluten-free it is.” …”We’ve still got a lotta space at the top -”

M: “I know! Non-GMO!”

B: “IS it?”

M: “Who cares? The stuff has 52% of your saturated fat in a cup!”

B: …”I’ll adjust the serving size, too.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

To My Guilty Pleasure

Dearest Combo Meal,

How long has it been since I last saw you? How long has it been since I last smelled you? How long has it been since my lips touched your face? If only you possessed the anatomy to speak, I know the answer would be, “Too long.”

I remember, Dear, the first time I held you. My fingers caressed your top bun; my thumbs, your bottom. Your succulent, savory middle oozed; temptingly tantalizing. “Sense me,” your sesame seeds whispered. “Breathe me,” called your charbroiled meat. “Crush me,” cooed your shredded lettuce. “You’ll never need another,” the tomato slice promised. What your special sauce said, however, will stay between us forever.

“But don’t forget,” they all reprimanded, “Our friends sitting there, nearby.”

“I wouldn’t!” I promised. “I couldn’t!” I swore. To prove my word, I retrieved a golden spear. Tenderly, lovingly, I dipped it in light orange heaven. I ate. I savored the sauce, the salt, the crunch, and the piping-hot innards beneath.

Of course, my darling, we both know that was not all. Subtly, smugly, silently making table rings beneath its cup sat your final piece: a shake. If perfection was not achieved before that point, your frosted cylindrical container’s contents were there to oblige. What wondrous elements lay within? Ice cream? Fruit? Whipped cream? Yes! All those elements embraced each other in a swirl of frozen flavor, igniting passion as they froze my eager taste buds.

Surely, Dear, you recall that first time? Surely you felt the same as I.

Those thoughts crossed my mind, my mouth, my gastrointestinal system just this evening. For, unbeknownst to my resistant will, my errands took me past your residence. I smelled you before I saw the familiar neon sign: a mixture of flame, meat, oil, and Greek wallpaper. Your beefy goodness wafted through my air conditioning, beckoning to me like a cartoon smoke-finger.

“Remember…” whispered the scented smoke, as my mind fought a losing battle with my appetite.

“I do,” I replied. My children stared.

What could I do? Who could resist? Even my offspring knew the irresistible draw of your charms. They knew the indefinable pleasure of unwrapping your crinkling papers, retrieving your deep-fried goodness, and drinking your creamy richness.

I found myself turning the wheel, entering the parking lot. There, my jealous heart nearly failed. How many poor fools had you drawn in besides me? The line of cars stretched around the building; engines idling as stomachs rumbled. Nothing, save a fry sauce memory and the tick-ticking of the dinner clock, could have induced me to face you with such a voyeuristic crowd.

“Three junior burgers, three fries, three shakes,” I ordered, once we finally had our turn. How; when did I need a speaker-toned man to bring us together? When did we drift apart and become so formal?

My fingers drummed the dashboard as I waited. My anxious appetite watched eager hands take bags into vehicles before me. They stole you, my love, for under $10 apiece. My heart ached as my mouth salivated. Would you leave any there, for me?

Not soon enough, we arrived at the window. “$28.80,” droned our go-between. I paid. I reached through and accepted the proffered paper bags. I peeked inside. Your heavenly goodness clouded our car, enticing and embracing in one.

I looked at your minimum-wage deliverer, now sainted in my eyes. He met my gaze. As if to confirm his deific status, he added six golden words, “I put extra fry sauce in.”

I drive home, impatient. With literal bated breath, my love, we await our communion. If only there were not so many traffic lights ‘twixt your home and mine. Once there, as you know, we will finally be together again.

 

Until then, affectionately,
Chelsea

 

(Written for an assignment to address a love letter to an unusual love of ours, for my Pathways class.)

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Hilarious Baby Onesies (in the Meantime)

Whilst we all eagerly await the results of this week’s Terrible Poetry Contest, here are a few of my Amazon favorites for funny baby onesies. Admittedly, I specifically searched for ‘geek onesies for baby’…

Cutest Tax

World’s Cutest Tax Deduction

We’re having our baby at the best time of year for tax deduction purposes. We may as well own it, right?

—–

It’s a Crap!

Poor Ackbar. I don’t think he knew his catchphrase would stoop so low.

—–

I Just Boldly Went

For those who don’t know, babies need a lot of diaper changes. The theme may be crude, but it’s a recurring one.

—–

I Still Live With My Parents

Well, I would hope the baby’s a bit young to consider a mortgage already…

—–

Damn Lag Took Me Nine Months to Respawn

The gamer in me laughed and laughed at this one. Perhaps I also hear about respawning all the time in this video game household of ours.

—–

Storm Pooper

Well, I did warn you that babies poop a lot.

A Tribute to Masercot

I love the bloggers I’ve met online! As such, I want to pay a monthly tribute to my favorites with a post in their style.

Today’s author is Charles, AKA masercot. Although his “Moosehead Stratagem,” “Ask a Genetically-Modified Bio-Engineered Super-Intelligent Dog,” and history lessons are …interesting reads; Charles is most famous for his irreverent lists on varying topics. I will therefore attempt just such a list, in the voice of masercot.

Why It’s Better to Not Be Bright

daniel-mingook-kim-pd-boa-mzqs-unsplash.jpg

Instead of staying up all night wondering if life has meaning, you can stay up all night watching reruns of “Saved by the Bell: The New Class.”

bulb-2029707_1280

If your girlfriend just smashed the car into a cement piling and called your number, she’ll immediately say, “Oh! I forgot!” and call someone who can help instead.

bulb-2029707_1280

Pretty much nothing at work is your fault. Even though it probably is.

bulb-2029707_1280

You’re a shoe-in for any political office. Don’t worry about how to get there; people with money and slightly more brains will help you.

bulb-2029707_1280

Whenever your grandmother turns to you and asks what Thirteen Across is, your dazed and blinking expression will help her realize you’re singing the theme song to “Saved by the Bell” and she’ll have to ring for the nurse.

bulb-2029707_1280

Offers like “extended warranty” and “variable interest” sound interesting and exotic.

bulb-2029707_1280

Since ignorance is bliss, you’ll be euphoric. (That means you’ll be stupid.)

—–

I know I fall a bit short of the master so, if you liked what you read, give masercot a Follow.

 

Photo Credit:
Daniel Mingook Kim
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Silent but Tardy

Stan heard his door’s assailant before the knocking; a shush-shush against the cement leading to his flat. He rose; walked; opened; stared. There, upon his stoop, was Death himself.

“Er,” Stan managed. What does one say to Death?

In what should have been an anticipated reaction, Stan’s guest only stared.

Stan scuffed a foot against his carpet. He bit his lip. Swung his arms.

Death still stared.

“So….” Stan tried. “May I help you?”

A nod. Silence.

Stan hadn’t thought Death would be so awkward. *Ahem* “How so?”

Impossible as it seemed; Stan knew, somehow, that his somber companion frowned in thought. Death reached a skeletal hand from draping cloak-sleeve to internal robe and withdrew a scrap of parchment. Hand and paper extended toward Stan.

Stan received the paper; declined the hand. Stan Dubrough, 17:00, he read. His palms felt chill and his body followed right after. Both jumped at Death’s bony finger, tapping to point at the name. His name: Stan Dubrough.

“That’s-” Stan squeaked. “That’s me.”

His guest’s other hand appeared from near the door-post. It gripped an awful, glinting scythe.

“The time’s not right, though,” Stan said, as though observing the weather.

The scythe paused. Stan sensed confusion. He also, inexplicably, recalled his mother’s exasperated reprimand, “Always a stickler for accuracy, aren’t you, Stan?”

Death stared. Asking.

“It says ’17:00,’ right?”

A slow nod.

“And, that’s 5 p.m.; yes?”

Nod.

“Well,” Stan concluded in a cheery tone, “It’s now going on 6.” He chuckled a bit till he recalled who his visitor was, and then wisely swallowed. “Hm; yes. Thing is: you’re a bit late.”

If a dark-cloaked being without voice could look gobsmacked, Death did. Without a word, he extended his non-scythe hand. Stan returned the paper and watched it disappear within the cloak folds. Then, just as silently, Death and his scythe turned and left.

Stan listened to the shush-shush of departure turn the corner before shutting his door. Returning to his couch seat, another of his mother’s oft-spoken sayings came to mind: “Stan, you’re so bent on being right you’d tell Death himself if he were late.”

“Well, mum,” he said, looking to the urn atop his mantel, “Looks like you were right after all.”

death-164761_1280

Submitted, at the last, for The 2019 Bloggers Bash Competition.

 

Photo Credit:
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Mondays and Memories

The pictures people post of life are beautiful, artistic, happy, and well-framed. They are also less than a second of time, and 4×6 inches of a multi-perspective panorama. Better make them the best, right?

So, when you see this pile of mess I’ve included, you may wonder where the beauty is. Why would I post this?

For the story. For the reality.

This pile is what was left after my two youngest (ages 7 and 4) mixed and baked a chocolate cake completely by themselves. They did so after making grilled cheese sandwiches and (somewhat charred) tomato soup for dinner.

I’m not certain why the “cakes” boiled over into the oven since I was returning from martial arts at the time. My twelve-year-old suspects they severely over-measured the baking soda. My husband was with them and told me how excited the six-year-old was for me to come home to a surprise dinner and a whole cake!

If I were aiming for artistry, I could pose the bakers’ chocolate-stained faces in front of a symmetrically-messy counter. I could write that my darling, budding chefs made dinner and dessert. Then I could elaborate, saying we ended the evening singing songs of family unity and went to bed before sundown.

The problem is that the evening did not end with dessert and singing. The problem is that I tried to clean up the remains of amateur baking with the oven’s self-clean option. That method didn’t last long.

As I sit in our smoke-scented house and listen to the roaring fans downstairs, I can’t help but consider how much easier this day would have been if I’d not allowed them to create their dessert surprise.

Then, I remember what my husband said about our budding baker. “That was so sweet of you!” I tell my six-year-old as we tuck him in. “I am so impressed that you made dinner and a whole cake by yourself!” As he swells with self-pride I suggest gently, “Let’s make it together next time.”

20180910_210346.jpg

It’s All A Lie

I just love life aphorisms. I love them about as much as the daily grind of housework that regenerates every five seconds.

“Don’t worry; everyone feels that way.”

Really? If everyone felt the way I do, the world would be on fire. At the very least, I would not see so many smiling people getting out of the house and purchasing avocados for their lunch break.

In an actual session, my counselor voiced this advice. “I don’t think that’s true,” I countered. “Most people, when asked about a recent vacation, don’t go on about world disparity.” She laughed, and I noticed she didn’t disagree. Face it: everyone does not feel the way I do.

dawn-armfield-66060-unsplash

“People will love you for who you are.”

No, people will not. People sense or see or smell the negative vibes emanating from my socially-anxious person before I even speak about world disparity. I see it in the falter of their smile (if it was there), in the excuse to go… anywhere and get out of the conversation.

Close family members are the only ones to use “love” with me, and do so with hesitation. I can tell they expect that world-burning explosion part of me to bite them in response. I probably ought to stop doing that…

joshua-hoehne-580063-unsplash

“You can do anything you set your mind to.”

Yeah, maybe after the laundry is done. Even then, ‘anything I set my mind to’ is probably going to be an uninterrupted trip to the bathroom.

I’ve thought of writing a bestseller, but that requires daycare and emotional stress on family life. I’ve considered a job outside the house, but that requires daycare and emotional stress on family life. I’ve also toyed around with going back to school, but that requires an insane amount of debt and daycare and emotional stress on family life.

abundance-bank-banking-259027

“We only regret the chances we didn’t take.”

I regret everything. I second-guess myself before the chance, during it, and after it’s passed.

Besides, in my profession as mother, I can’t simply decide to be a roving gypsy. Child Protective Services frowns upon decisions like that.

 

Perhaps good advice works; you know, for ‘everyone.’ For me and others who may view things similarly, what do you say? “Tomorrow is another day?” Of course it is, stupid. Yesterday was another day, too.

There’s got to be an evolutionary advantage to cynicism, right?

Encounter in the Alley

A fine mist dances across the dark street gutters. A cat calls. An angry woman answers it. Besides these, nothing.

Just the way Julias likes it.

He checks his watch, knowing full well what time it is by the nighttime noises; playing at patience in an impatient mood. Where is that boy?!

Just then, in the absence of cat and woman mewls, his keen ears make out the soft pattern of Wal-Mart sneakers on misty sidewalks. He pulls against the cool stucco of the nearby house, pulls out of view of any wandering streetlamp circles.

The sneakers draw closer, stop, scuffle, squeak, scuffle again. Julias hears a hissing, whispered, “Julias?

Won’t the kid ever use the code names? He steps out; Sneaker Boy nearly yelps out of his skin. Julias gives the youth a look. “Use the names, Squirt.”

A nod, barely perceptible in the drifting fog. “Right.”

Julias sighs, slouches. “Did you get them, or not?”

Squirt grows animated, and pulls a rustling, bulging grocery sack from his jacket. The contents nearly spill all over the dirty, cracked, moodily-lit gutter.

“Shhhhh! Careful!” Julias admonishes, almost losing his normal, chill demeanor. Man, I really need my hit.

“Sorry, Juli- I mean, Sorry, Emperor-Maul-of-the-Alleys.”

Julias stares at the runt for a full five seconds, and then sticks out a hand for the bag.

Gulping, Squirt appeases the empty palm. He watches Julias (AKA Emperor Maul of the Alleys) close his fist on the handle and withdraw his arm. Squirt gulps again. “So… erm, about payment….?”

Julias fixes the boy in another silent stare. The cat and woman from a few alleys over converse again in the silent, swirling air. Slowly, Julias sticks the other hand into a deep pocket. It returns, bearing $40.16. Squirt lifts his own hand to receive it; counts the full amount in the dim lighting.

“Hhh- how’d you know the current exchange rate?” Squirt asks, his voice full of awe.

Julias looks up from rifling through the grocery sack; pauses. “I always do,” he says, in a mysterious way. “Now, get outta here before I use yesterday’s rates.”

Just remembering not to yelp again in fright, the boy jumps and takes off down the dark sidewalk, down the fog-lit alley of night. His retreating sneakers echo a more rapid pace than the percussive song they played at their entry.

Smirking beneath the guise of darkness and mists, Julias pulls out his prizes: 1 packet of Fox’s Glacier Mints and 24 cans of Diet Coke. It’d been a steep price to also pay for the kid’s gasoline, but a man doesn’t haggle when he needs his fix. Thinking on this, he sets the cans and package at his feet and carefully withdraws an empty bottle from yet another pocket.

For the first time that night, he hears only the occasional passing car or burst of wind. The dame and her pet must have gone to bed. Uncapping the bottle and opening the package of mints, he fills one with a few of the other. Next, he removes a can of soda from its plastic ring and tilts the tab till it opens in a satisfying *ptissssh*. He pours the Diet Coke into the bottled mints, caps the top, and allows himself a few seconds’ pause.

With an expression of pure bliss, he suddenly shakes the contents like a madman. He uncaps the bottle and dances, grinning fully, in the sticky shower sparkling down amongst the mists and streetlights.

Laughing, quietly, he dumps the remaining solution down the gutter and turns again to his purchases. One down, 23 to go…

Receipt

 

In response to Fractured Faith Blog’s Flash Fiction Challenge.