An Alternate Reality

Archive for the ‘short story’ Category

My Favorite Childhood Place

I was 11 when Star Trek arrived on the TV screen. The characters and stories so captivated me that I created my own Star Trek world. I shared a room with my sister, and the window seat between the two built in dressers became my transporter. I would stand in that space and be beamed across the universe to a place and time where a smart, shy girl could fit in and feel special. I even made a communicator out of a blue jewelry box, a button, and a piece of my Dad’s calculator machine tape, which I carried in my purse for many years. (And that I still have it in a box somewhere, just in case!) So, I had my own grand space adventures with the crew, saving worlds and discovering new and amazing things.
My transporter carried me into a world of imagination that I still visit to this day. Star Trek, with its exploration, adventure, and social conscience is still, very much, the story of my life.

Live long, and prosper!

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The Joy of Pets?

Guinea pigs are dumb. They pretty much squeal, eat and poop, and occasionally make more guinea pigs.

Of course, my view is probably a bit biased. I was a short time guinea pig owner and an even shorter time enthusiast.

Somewhere in my 40’s I decided I needed a pet. I am allergic to cats, never cared much for dogs and am totally against fish and birds outside of their natural habitat.

The pet store had these adorable, fuzzy little creatures call guinea pigs. The first one I brought home was a brown curly hair variety I named Abby. I got all the things I would need to go along with this new pride and joy – cage, hideaway box, hay, feed, water bottle, vitamins, fresh spinach. I was all set.

Excited, I brought my new baby home. She squealed this high pitched “wheeep” all the way home. Little did I know, I should have turned around right then and there and taken her back, but I was determined to love my new friend.

I got her all cozy under the window in the basement. She squirmed when I tried to hold her. Then she darted up my sleeve and peed on my shoulder. Not a good first impression.

Maybe it was my fault that I didn’t train her well, but she never wanted to be held and, not wanting to force her, she never did become the cuddly companion I so desired.

Plus, I felt so bad for her, that I went out and bought her a friend that she would like – another curly, albeit black, female guinea pig I named Moon.

Moon was actually shyer than Abby. She never came out of the hideaway box. At least not while I was around.

Since I couldn’t hold them and was afraid to hurt them by grabbing them, I used a piece of PVC pipe to corner them to move them when I cleaned their cage. It was a three time a week game we always played, to my chagrin.

One day, just after I got Moon, an odd shaped cotton ball appeared in the cage. Apparently, Abby had been pregnant when I got her and thus was born a bouncing baby boy. Of course, with incest not an option, I had to give him away, and life returned to normal.

So, for four years they squealed and ate and peed. And for four years I sighed and fed and cleaned.

Then, one day Moon stopped eating, her hair fell out, and the vet said there wasn’t much to be done, so I had her put down. A few months later, Abby went the same way.

I cleaned out the cage for the last time and gave it away. I cleaned up the hay, ate the last bag of spinach myself.

For weeks, I would expect to hear their “wheeep wheeep” when I opened the basement door. I had to remember that I didn’t need to buy hay or feed or raw spinach. And my Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings were now free of cage cleaning duties.

Not that I’d ever get another one, but gosh, sometimes I missed those dumb guinea pigs…

A Walk on the Wild Side

She watched the world from the big picture window. Her universe lay in two trees, a stubbly lawn, a short strip of asphalt. And yet, so much traversed that narrow scope.

Brown sparrows, yellow orioles, red cardinals peppered the tree branches. A rare hawk found a quiet perch. Squirrels and chipmunks chased up and down the trunks. Cats sauntered past. Rabbits scampered through the grass. A occasional groundhog waddled its way across the road.

And people. Kids on bikes. Families pushing baby strollers. Elderly companions out for a walk. Dogs pulling joggers on leashes.

She wondered what they were all thinking, what their lives were like beyond her limited view. Even the houses across the street, with their closed mouth doors and wide-eyed windows, must have their stories.

And she longed to join them, to ask them, to share their world.

But, a half an inch of glass separated their lives from hers. That, and the hospital bed she would never again leave.

So, she watched. All the while, her heart longing to be free, free to walk on the wild side of her own impenetrable window.