I've been included in a Minnesota anthology "Under Purple Skies", now available on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

But Sometimes it IS Cold

It’s layoff season over here at Acme Shovels, Grommets, and Rope (A Worldwide Octopi Corporation, Pty, LTD, M-O-U-S-E) and the bell?

For whom does she toll?

The bell tolls for Jerry.

A 26-year veteran of these carpeted halls, Jerry got the ol’ corporate heave-ho yesterday. 

I like Jerry.  He once walked blocks out of his way on a bitterly windy January night to ensure I got to the bus stop free of the unwieldy encumbrances of the city, ie., panhandlers, skeeves, and earnestly entitled executives. 

He confesses that he has lost the ability to feel cold, something I have never heard of.

“What do you mean, you don’t feel the cold?”

He shrugs.  “I was working in the barn one night –“

“Wait,” I say.  “The barn?”

“I have a place in South Dakota.”

“Ah.”

“And it was, I don’t know, January?  February?  Super cold.  I mean, I knew it was cold?  But I wasn’t.  I stood in the barn in just a tee shirt and long pants and threw hay for a good two hours before I felt even remotely cold…”  He trails off.  “That can’t be right, can it?”

“Well,” I say, “you were doing physical labor.”

“No,” he says.  “Come on.  Ten degrees.  And that barn’s not heated.” 

We cross Marquette at the lights and I notice that while it is probably 10 degrees right now, he’s not wearing a coat.

We’ve been walking for several blocks, and he isn’t shivering.  I reach out, pull a glove off, and lay my hand on his bare arm. 

Warm.




There's a crowd as he leaves.  It is no longer winter, and yet there's a nip in the air at the elevator banks.  The same man who once called me "honey" in a meeting ("It's what I call my girlfriend.  I'm so sorry!  Please don't call HR!") waves good-bye.  

"I hope you feel cold some day!" I say.

And the others in the office turn to stare.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I'm Maturing; or Hey! Pearl's Doin' Stuff!

Now, normally I don’t believe in the verbification of words (even writing that was painful); but having said that, I have to admit:  I am now adulting at an unprecedented level.

Sorry.

I sometimes walk around my house, though, late at night – putzing, we call it in the Great White North – shaking the cat dish into an appearance of being full, randomly dusting small glass birdies, picking up something from one room and taking it to another  – and I wonder:  When did all this happen?

To be honest, I had forgotten how much work it is to run a life.  I’d been married, you know, for a good dozen years.  Over that time, chores peeled off, to me, to him, and pretty much stayed the purview of whoever gravitated toward them.  To that end, it is safe to say that I had not taken out the garbage, filled my own gas tank, or brought my own laundry up from the basement in that same amount of time. 

And now?  I've been forced to - ugh - grow.  I mean, I must be seven feet tall by now.

Look at me!  I’m picking up sticks in the yard.  I’m schlepping laundry.  For cryin’ out loud, people, I know when it's time to take out my recycling! 

Would you believe me when I tell you that I am the proud owner of a lawn mower, a weed whipper, and a snowblower. 

What's next?  Lawn furniture?  Card tables?  RUBBER BOOTS?

I tell ya; anything could happen.




Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Plumbin'; Or Jack the Dripper!


The house is old.

“Hey, I hate to say this,’ she says, “but there’s a bit of water in the basement.”  The tenants upstairs are leaving as I am coming home. 

There had been an absolute deluge the night before, and there’s nothing like a 124-year-old house for water in the basement after a storm, so I take the information with a grain of salt.  I pull out one of my earbuds.  “No worries,” I say.  “I’ll take a look.’

“Well,” Susie worries, “I’ll be back in a couple hours if you need any help.”

Help?  I think.  Have they seen me?  Do I not give off an air of self-sufficiency? Nay, of common sensical ability?

I jam my earbud back in, go directly to the basement. 

It is a reasonable basement, if not a bit dank at the moment; and last year’s cobwebs, having been swept from the exposed ceiling, have been replaced by new ones.

Two hours later, still in the clothes I wore to work, the cement floor, while damp, is cleaner than it’s been since, oh, the last big rain.  And yet – why is there still water?  I have been listening to a podcast about crime in Merry Old England, and I’m just coming to the realization that there seems to be water leaking from under the dishwasher when –

“PEARL!”

And though in hindsight what I heard was most certainly “PEARL!”, what I understand it to be at the moment is “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!”

I leap into the air.

Kurt has come down the stairs.  “Don’t you hear that?”

I pull both earbuds out.  “I don’t hear anything,” I said.  “I’m busy wet-vac-ing all this water…”

He makes a face.  “But don’t you hear the water?”

And then I do – the spray of water that has burst from a hose behind the washing machine.

“Well,” I laugh, “that explains why I can’t quite finish up!”  I follow the pipes to the shut-off valves, and the spray falls to a steady drip that no amount of tightening will help.

The plumbers have been called.  And I am still alive.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Please Accept this Individually Packaged Coffee Creamer as a Token of my Esteem


I don’t want to get bogged down in the facts – as one does – but I’ve been working for a little more than 100 years now.

What?  Sure I’m including the door-to-door selling of greetings cards in second grade.

I’m also including the clarinet-polka stylings of my misbegotten teenage years.

As my father once confided to me over a can of Pabst (his, not mine), “You work and you work and then you die.  Are you writing this down?”

I was not - I was six, after all - but I recall the words as if spoken yesterday; and I relay this to you now:  HELP ME.

Not big help.  Not pay-my-bills help.  A joke, maybe.  A Netflix recommendation.  Because if there’s one thing I think we could all use, every now and then, is a distraction.

My new boss has been wonderfully distracting. 

We are in our honeymoon period, and I'm thinking of buying her flowers.

“Can I just tell you that I feel we could be friends outside of work?”

I grin at her.  “And can I just tell you that I feel that we are friends, inside of work?”

She smiles.  Rochelle is attractive and slim, a quick-witted chick.  She stands.  "I know this is our touchbase, but can I leave you here while I run to the bathroom?  Sorry."

"Of course," I say.

She leaves.  I rifle through her drawers, take out a credit card in her name, and send her husband a picture of my feet.

"Sorry about that," she says.  "I have no bladder."

"Really?" I say.  "None at all?"

She sits down at her desk, frowns at her phone and puts it back in her purse.  "Not really,"  she says.  "I am just the peeing-ist person you'll ever meet."

"We should do a Happy Hour," I say.

"In the bathroom," she beams.

We laugh; and for a moment, we're both distracted. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Showdown at the OK-But-Can-Ya-Make-It-Happen Corral


A slip of paper with what appears to be a prescription written on it appears at my desk.  I look up.

“I need this meeting this week.”

I slide the paper over and read:  MTG next 48?  Oh no.  I look up.  “A meeting this week?  In the next two days?”

“Yes.”

I have a sudden view of the back of my own skull.  “We can try.  Who should be in it?”

“Me, Lorena, Hein, and Christoph.”

I squint, in that adorably astigmated way I have.  “Lorena and Christoph are in Frankfurt.”

“Yes.”

“But you don’t come in until 9:00,” I say.  “That’s their 4:00."  I wiggle my eyebrows.  "In European, that's 1600.”

“Yes.”

“And...”

“Can you make it happen?”

“My first thought, I say, smiling, “is that you make yourself available earlier.”

“No.”

“No?”

“Nein.  I work late.  I need that time in the morning.”  She sighs.

“Well, I can look.”  Clack clack clack.  “Nope.  They do not have 1600 available either day.”

“Can you ask them if they’ll stay late?”

I set my elbow on my desk, set my chin in my hands.  “Why would they want to stay late?”

“Hmm.  But you can ask them, right?”

I smile.  “Do you want to ask them?”

“No.”

“Sure,” I say.  “Yeah.  I can ask them.”

“Work your magic, Pearl.  Really appreciate this.”  She gives me pistol-fingers as she backs away from my desk.



Pew pew!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Maybe I Should Reevaluate

I am standing on Hennepin Avenue, waiting for a bus.

Hennepin, as you may recall, is the only street in the world where I have been mistaken for a prostitute.

Twice.

Today, however, I am not mistaken for a prostitute but an ATM.

“Do you have any change?”

I look at her.  “Yes,” I deadpan.

"Can I have some?"

"No."

She moves on to the next person.

By the time the bus arrives, I have been standing in the sun for a full 40 minutes -- which, by the way, is enough time to freckle yet retain office pallor.  

It is a good ten minutes into the ride that I realize that this is not my beautiful bus (with apologies to The Talking Heads).  The funny thing is that, once you’ve boarded a bus, there’s no real way of knowing what bus you’re on.  I mean, sure, you could ask someone, but where’s the sport?

Behind the bus driver is a wall of bus schedules.  I’m on either the 18 or the 11.  The 18 would’ve dropped me off a few blocks ago.  The 11 takes me roughly 12 blocks from home.

Eventually I de-bus and point my feet in the correct direction.  Less than a block in front of me is a weathered man dressed for urban camping.  He appears to be speaking into what may or may not be a walkie-talkie.  

When I reach him, I stop, look at what he's looking at. On the ground, lying in the grass and reaching for the hedge there is a white squirrel.  He is perfect, no trauma, and yet he is dead.  

“He is never going to reach that hedge,” I say.

The man with the walkie talkie gives me a stern look.  “But ya just gotta keep reaching, right?”


And I walk home thinking about that.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Oh, Just Shut Up and Lie Down Somewhere

I’ve been sitting here for, oh, three days or so, breathing through my mouth and contemplating a future in voice-over.

Surely everyone would be as amused as I with my voice?  Somewhere between the croak of a hungover amphibian and the creak of a rusty hinge, I amuse myself intermittently with “Ave Maria” and my impersonation of me, with a cold.

“What’s that, Pearl?  You’d like some cough syrup?  Ha ha ha!  You don’t have any!”

Apparently Prior Pearl has failed Present Pearl in this.

She will be spoken to. 

Through the advances of technology, of course, I am no longer just sick, but I am now Sick and Working From Home, or as we in the business like to say, “Swiffing”.  Working in this state leads directly to emails that begin “Come in, Tokyo!” and end “Hugs and Kisses, Pearl”.

I may be exaggerating.  Or maybe not.  I worked until 10:00 last night, and who knows what those last few emails said?  Sure, I could check; but what’s the fun in that?  Better I wait for a response – or some sort of communique from Human Resources.

In the meantime, Dolly Gee Squeakers (formerly of the Humane Society Squeakers) is confused.  She crawls in and out of the backpack in which I brought the laptop home, mews piteously at her food bowl (which is only three quarters of the way full), walks from the couch to the dining room table back to the couch in hopes that I will join her.


Cats.  What do they know, huh?