fire-breathers on the road to nowhere

You know you're in a 'mixed' or 'in transition' or 'up and coming' neighbourhood when you find yourself swerving the stroller to avoid the needle on the sidewalk.

* * * * *

The guy in front of the coffee place was telling the girl in the tank top and the tattoos and the stare about when he 'dropped' the other guy. He pantomimed an uppercut with his fist curled around a cigarette. I went in and got my coffee.

* * * * *

When I came out he was still talking. He had big gaps in his front teeth and the kind of dark rings around his eyes that I associate with people from my dad's generation. Only this guy was maybe twenty-seven, twenty-eight. His complexion was rabbit grey. He wore a muscle shirt and a baseball cap on backwards. A crooked ponytail hung out the back. He weaved back and forth as he talked, like a bad Jack Sparrow impersonation (which is itself a bad Keith Richards impersonation).

"... oh yeah, and you know Stinky Bill?" he asked the girl.

The girl just continued to stand there behind her sunglasses. I kept going. People looked at me because there was no baby in the stroller.

* * * * *

At a light, a guy leaned out his truck window to yell, "I think you're missing something there."

* * * * *

Dropping your baby off at daycare is a bit like executing a policeman's driving demonstration: you always accelerate away smoothly.


  1. I enjoyed this so much - love how you tell a story :)

  2. do you always get the same one you took in when you go back later?

    I'd swap 'em about ...

  3. I love the imagery of your posts

    And I'd love to know who Stinky Bill is, and how stinky he really is

  4. I had to come and read this again. I just love this piece so much-from the photo at the beginning, the title, and the story from start to finish! I always love your stories and art so much-somehow they are speaking to most "Merle" part of me which is hard to explain. It is kind of like the whole "gallon of milk, stick of butter, loaf of bread thing" which my crazy cousins(including hilarious cousin Tevlin-I think you have his photo with Princess Lea)made a little Religion around. That whole "Stick of Butter thing" will always make me laugh so hard.

    If done right in our chapel of glow in the dark stuff and black lights-no we aren't crazy or serious-we just take some little thing and make it hilarious which I think is a parent's dream as they can do what they want and pretend like they don't even have kids.

    Just imagine-we are in the basement with the lights off and the black light on for hours(killing our eyeballs at the same time since no one knew about those things back then) and the parents yell down to see how we are doing and we yell back, "Leave us alone! We are praying! Go away! This is going to take a long time!" I think I am going to make a little shrine around this whole story and do a daily meditation on it because it follows my view of "life is crazy, unpredictable, and sometimes painful, but if you pay attention to the details you will also see all the hilarious things that are happening all the time as well!

    And, did you really think I could just leave a comment with one word?
    I also think you should have a doll that you replace in the stroller after you have dropped off you sweet baby girl or something hilarious-use your imagination-you have scores of that!
    Good for you DJ! Keep up the fabulous work!

  5. great life story ...
    i thought keith richards too the first time i saw jack sparrow. how is the little dumpling? isn't it time for another photo?


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