I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now 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!

Monday, December 15, 2014

And Now, For Something Ever-So-Slightly Different

Hello, everyone.

Pearl is experiencing issues, as in holy-hannah-there-isn't-enough-hours-in-the-day kind of issues, leading to stomach problems, headaches, and the increasingly tempting thought of whisky shots followed by hard cider chasers.

/sigh/

I will be back in the new year.

Until then, wear boots where appropriate.

Hugs and Kisses,

Pearl

Friday, December 5, 2014

And A Tiny Kitty Shall Lead Them


“Pearl.  Pearl.

The room dark, the sound of my white noise machine pleasantly static-ing in the background, I have quite recently become aware of a weight on my chest and the sound of my name being whispered.

Am I dying?

I frown in my sleep.  “Yes, Lord?”

There is the sound of light, tinkling laughter, the strong scent of limes in the area just north of my face.  I open one eye.  “Liza Bean?  Why – Where – What time is it?”

She sighs.  More limes.  “Oh, Pearl,” she says, “does anyone really know what time it is?”

Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, her tiny paws placed just so, is sitting atop my chest.   Symmetrically striped, meticulously groomed and possessor of both the World Record in the Domestic Mouse Dangle and a piece of the True Cross, she is no respecter of time.

I open both eyes.  “OK,” I say.  “Don’t tell me.  I don’t care.”

She adjusts herself, now occupying an even smaller amount of space than before.  “I just, uh, wanted to thank you for letting me use your car.”

My eyes widen.  “Oh, no.  What happened?”

Liza Bean’s eyes glint in the available light, the very essence of amused charm.  “What makes you think something happened?”

“Well for one thing,” I say, sitting up and pushing the kitty to the bed, “You used the word “uh” just a moment ago.”

Liza Bean straightens herself defensively.  “Can’t a kitty suffer a minor speech disfluency now and then?”

“Uhhhhh, you?” I say.  “No.”

“Sarcasm,” she says, scandalized, “is no substitute for wit.”

Oh, this is too much.  “You woke me up!  You know I don’t sleep, and now I’m awake at –“  I lean over, grab my cell phone from the night stand.  “3:22 a.m.!  I’ll never get back to sleep.  Ah, Liza, for cryin’ out loud, I’m doomed!”

I stop abruptly.  There is naught but the sound of white noise and a small, striped cat clearing her throat.

I’ve gone too far.

“Sorry.”

Liza Bean reaches back, casually licks her shoulder blade.  “We can forget it this time.”

The white noise machine hums.

“So what did you wake me for?  Surely not to thank me for the car.”

“Actually,” and here the cat glances rather anxiously, I think, toward the front door, “If anyone, say a policeman or some other uniformed authority figure , were to ask you where I was tonight, I can count on you to say we were here, together, all night, catching up on Dexter, yes?”

I sigh heavily, close my eyes.  “What happened.”

The cat chuckles, the sound of champagne being poured over ice.  “Well,” she says, “I’ve taken a stand against baggy-bottomed youngsters and their center-of-the-road-walking ways.”

I can’t help myself.  I open my eyes again, smiling broadly.  “You didn’t.”

Liza Bean raises a paw, licks it thoughtfully.  “I did.”  She places her paw carefully next to its counterpart.  “I tire of them, frankly.  They wouldn’t move, despite my request that they do so immediately, and so I handled it.”

She smiles.  “You know how every now and then you’ll see a pair of shoes strung over a telephone line in a bad neighborhood?”

I nod.

“Glance upwards on your way to the bus tomorrow morning,” she says.  “Three pairs of oversized drawers now festoon the lines.”

And with that, Liza Bean yawns, an elegant show of tiny, pointed teeth, and curls up next to me on the bed.

“We shan’t see them around here again,” she murmurs.

I run a hand down her soft, purring body.  “You should run for President, Liza Bean.”

Eyes closed, she smiles as she visibly drops off to sleep.  “I really should, shouldn’t I?”

Thursday, December 4, 2014

That Time I Ditched The Car

A number of years ago, back when I was invincible, I felt it important that I drive from one tiny town to another during a blizzard.

Why would I do such a thing?  Well, one, there was the invincibility thing I had going on and two, there were beers with a friend waiting!

Do they have blizzards where you are? They don’t? Blizzards are a combination of cold temperatures, snow pushed from one serpentine drift to another, and yet more snow coming down, sometimes horizontally.

Consider it a test of your fortitude, your driving skills, your imagination, and your intelligence.

Can you handle the stress of not seeing more than a couple feet in front of you?

Can you keep the car on the road?

Can you see the road? Can you see the exit?

What in the world are you doing out in a blizzard, anyway?

All of your abilities will be tested – some of them just by getting in the car in the first place.

Believe me when I tell you that the majority of the time there’s no where you need to go during a blizzard except to the closet for another blanket.

Or perhaps to the fridge.

But like I said: I used to be invincible.

I was invincible right up to two miles outside of town, when my ’74 Ford LTD, a car you and seven of your best friends could sit in easily, slid, ever so slowly, off the side of the road and sideways into a shallow ditch.

Huh.

Now, when you find yourself with your tail pipe in the snow, you also find yourself seeing the beauty in what you should’ve seen earlier and you turn everything off and sit in the cold, gray silence.  You consider the possibility that you may be a bit slow on the uptake and that those closest to you, for some reason, have been reluctant to say so.

You think about how the sun is setting and how there’s a friend waiting just eight miles away.

This is sometimes the part in the story where you proceed to read of the writer’s slow and painful demise, how they found her body, the way her last words were recorded on the interior of the car in lipstick.

Either that or it’s the part where a large red pick-up comes down this same deserted county road and how four large, corn-fed Wisconsin boys in seed-and-feed caps pull over, jump out in jeans and sweatshirts and head towards your car.

“Ma’am?” says the biggest one, holding his arms out.

Yes, yes, please! I open my car door and hold my arms up for Farm Boy #1 and he lifts me, easily, out of the car and out of the ditch, and places me inside the cab of the truck.

My feet never touch the ground.

He shuts the door, and Farm Boys One through Four step down into the ditch, each of them taking a corner of my car. They lift the LTD as if it is hollow, step carefully up the shallow ditch, and place the car back on the road.

And then they refuse to take my money.

And I drive on to Paula’s house, where we drink beer, play Scrabble, and go out for breakfast in the morning.

I just love Wisconsin. If you’re going to slide off the road, I suggest you do it there.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

We'll Let This One Slide, As You're Clearly Wet Behind the Ears

We’ve gotten away, I think, from the many, many amusements that are provided to us, free of charge, amusements too often not seen as the social faux pas and awkward stages that they are.

I refer, of course, to teenagers.

Fuzzy, awkward, insecure, I’m afraid that too many people have stopped seeing what these mostly-grown children truly are and see only what they fear.

Baggy-pantsed ingrates! Hormonally-raging pups! Texting, sexting, foul-mouthed, line-jumping, no-manners-having cretins!

Or maybe that’s just on my bus?

Or perhaps we’ve stopped seeing so many of them for what they because of what we adults secretly envy.

I mean, sure. I’d like my teenage body back. Heck, I’d like YOUR teenage body back, but you had your time, didn’t you? And so did I. I’m not suggesting that we lie down in the middle of the road and pray that The End is quick. All I’m saying is that maybe you shouldn’t wear that tube top.

Or maybe you should. Maybe I would write about it.

Why have we given teenagers so much power? Frankly, I blame Marketing – and the fact that the little buggers have so much disposable income. Would it be wrong to mandate savings accounts? Yes, I suppose it would.

We’ve focused so heavily on petting the tops of their shiny pubescent heads whilst crooning, Hey! how ‘bout a new cell phone? How ‘bout you personalize everything you own? How ‘bout you travel blindly, assured that you are supremely special and entitled to whatever you like?

Some of them seem drunk with this power, sure of their omnipotence.

Hey, I would be too, if I were being raised in a culture that worships youth.

There was a group of teenagers at the back of the bus the other day. Slumped in their seats, admirably walking the line between expressions intended to display that they’d seen it all and faces eagerly exuberant, they were, as James Brown would say, talking loud and saying nothing.

Easily heard above my iPod, I gave in and shut it off.

“You know what I hate the most?” says the one clearly winning the exposed-underwear category of this particular pageant.

“Hmmm?”

“White people, man. I just hates white people.”

The bulk of commuters around me, all white, go stiff and silent as the kids nod in agreement with each other as they go over the list of things they hate, these 15, 16 year-old citizens of the world. Me, too! Me, too! I hates Cheerios! I hates unsalted fries! I hates white people!

I turn around, smile, with my best Aunt Pearl face, into the eyes of the one who seemed to have the most to say.

“Oh, n-not you, ma’am,” apologizes Droopy-Drawers. He is mortified, and it shows in his eyes. “I didn’t mean you.”

“Oh, I know you didn’t mean me,” I said, leaning toward him, “but you never know who’s listening when you talk that loud, do you?”

And then I went back to my iPod.

I got off the bus a couple stops later, hoping they’d think about that: about what was said, about the future that they wanted to be a part of.

Pups.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Part V and Finale: To Err is Human, to Forgive, Feline


I push my fork into an asparagus spear and turn my somewhat blurry attention to Liza Bean. 

Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, co-owner of the last two winners of the Kentucky Derby and volunteer fireman, contemplates the extended claw upon which rests the last deep-fried cheese curd.

“Thanksgiving was a full house.  And the turrabster,” she intones, “was, of course, wonderful.  The hamsters, especially, were a juicy and, if you don’t mind my saying, unpretentious bit of genius on my part.”

“Turr—“

She smiles.  “A little invention of mine, with a nod to the turducken.  Hamsters stuffed into a rabbit stuffed into a turkey.”

I am lukewarm on the subject of rodents, roasted or otherwise, and carefully arrange my face to convey this sentiment.  “Yum.”

Liza Bean laughs.  “It was off-putting, you know, seeing Fuzzy.  The cat is incorrigible, of course.  One so often finds musicians – and drummers in particular! – difficult, but in the end, so clever, so handsome.”  She shrugs. 

I stare at her.  “Please tell me you made him beg.”

She holds her drink up, moves the glass so that the ice cubes swirl, clock-wise.  “When Fuzzwald and I broke up, I blamed him.  I ranted. I carried on.  How dare he be attracted to someone else?  Who did he think he was, anyway?”

I lean forward, peer at her intently.  “He stole $400 from you!”

The cat shrugs.  “I once lit his tail on fire.”

“He got drunk at the Christmas party and did the most inappropriate impression of Helen Keller I’ve ever seen.”

“I put a deceased goldfish in the hem of his good jacket.”

“He taped,” I counter, “your paws to the bar.”

The cat is dismissive.  “And I dropped his cell phone into a beer stein and then put it in the freezer.”

I bark gleefully.  “Ha!”  I sip at my gin and tonic and shake my head. 

She gazes past the bartender, through the expanse of glass doors that leads out to the tiki deck and from there to the Mississippi River.  The tip of her tail whips from side to side.

“He told me he’d made a mistake.”

She turns to me, emerald eyes sparkling.  “From the look on his face, one would think he’d never used the word before.”

Nikki appears at the booth with another round.  Liza Bean slips her a five every third round, and the server takes the bill with a big smile. 

I beam at the cat from across the table.  “Specifics, please.”

“Wellll,” she says, squeezing one lime after another into her fresh drink, “For starters, he said the beginning of the end came when he found out she didn’t know who was in The Beatles.”

I smile.  “Horrors.”

“He said she considers Red Bull a mixer.”

“A complete lack of couth.”

“The kicker, he told me, was the night that she told him that she hadn’t heard hide nor hair from someone.”

I laugh into my drink.  “So that’s it?  You feed Fuzzy turrabster, he tells you what a child What’s-Her-Lips was, that he made a mistake and all is forgiven?”

Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, sets her drink on the table.  She reaches into her backpack and pulls out a black leather wallet from which she pulls several one-hundred bills. 

“Let’s just say,” she says, “that Fuzzy put his coat on my bed with all the other coats on Thanksgiving Day and I took it upon myself to emancipate a bit of his property.” 

She smiles at me from across the table.  “Dessert?”





In answer to a question yesterday:  A Brown Sugar Baby is a bacon-wrapped smoky (little smoky wiener) in a bourbon brown-sugar glaze.  :-)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Part Three: Fuzzwald Rears His Striped Head; or Hey! It's Hard to Tell a Story in 400 Words!


I sip carefully at my gin and tonic. 

Drinking with a cat is no small matter.  The last time I failed to take this into consideration I found myself singing karaoke at the Vegas in a pair of yoga pants and a bikini top.

I don’t own a bikini.

Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, a small tiger-ish puddy with a conceal-and-carry license, holds up a paw.  “What do you think?  I’m ready for another one if you are.”

Surprisingly, my drink appears to be gone.

Now how did that happen?

Nikki returns with the drinks and a bowl of peanuts from the bar.  “On the house,” she says.

Liza Bean presses a five into her hand.  "A server among servers,” the cat says.  She turns back to me, a lime already in paw.  “Now where was I?”

“You’ere unna – “ I start again.  “You were gunna …” I frown in concentration.

“Tsk, tsk,” the cat laughs.  “That low-carb diet leaves precious room for error, doesn’t it?”  She deftly squeezes two limes at once into her drink.  “One goes out, one partakes, of course.  No worries, old bean.”

Liza has been reading P.G. Wodehouse lately.

I blink, smiling, carefully envision the words before I say them.  “You were going to tell me about Fuzzy.”

Liza Bean licks a spot on her back as if to discover, suddenly, that it is dirty.  “Ahh.”  The subject of Fuzzwald T. Stripersson is a sore one with her.  Many inebriated nights were spent discussing him and his sudden defection from her to a much younger cat.  Their last night as a couple included a fight in which the tensile strength of a bottle of gin was tested against Fuzzy’s head and her drunken discovery, upon awakening, that her paws had been duct-taped to the bar at Jimmy’s – ostensibly to keep her from hurting herself should she fall off her stool.

The last time they saw each other – the night Squeak Toy played at the Casket Arts Building? – he bilked her out of a substantial amount of money.

Fuzzy:  He’s handsome, he’s charming, and he’s utterly unreliable.

“So what was the business opportunity?”

“What?”  The cat looks up as if from out of a dream. 

“You said there was mention of a business opportunity.”

“Oh, there’s nothing like that. That’s just something I like to say.”

I sigh.  “Just as well,” I say.  “That SOB owes you $400.”

The cat bends toward her drink.  Her tiny black lips curl around the straw.  “Hmmm,” she murmurs. 


Is there more?  Of course there is!  Tomorrow, baby!  Tomorrow!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Part Two: What the Woman and The Cat at the Next Table are Talking About: or I Hope They've Laid in Enough Limes...


By the time I get to Psycho Suzi’s, the cat is half-way through her second drink.

“Pearl!” she bawls. 

I smile.  Pink-faced and sweating under the hooded sleeping bag I appear to be wearing, I slide into the booth next to her.

“That,” she says emphatically, “is simply a tragic coat.  Why don’t you have a fur?  They’re fabulous.”

“I would,” I say, trying to catch the eye of the waitress and unzip my coat at the same time, “but the money’s all gone to the Sheikh Zayed International Camel Endurance Race.”

Liza Bean perks up.  “Really?”

“No,” I say.

Liza Bean, of the Minneapolis Biteys, four-legged symmetrically-striped animal of the cat persuasion and serial lime abuser, fishes one of four limes out of her gin and tonic.  “Droll,” she murmurs, a slight smile on her face, “very droll, Pearl.”

She winks at me, holds up a paw – the one with the mostly-squeezed lime in it – and a waitress appears.  “Nikki, honey,” Liza Bean drawls.  “Would you get Pearl here a gin and tonic?  Heavy on the limes, please.”

Nikki, bless her little tattooed legs, beats a mini-skirted dash to the bar.  Cats, while they can be demanding patrons, are substantial tippers, and the servers in the know are extravagant in their desire to please.

“So what’s this all about,” I say.  “You pop in in the middle of the night, and – hey!  I want my key back!”

“Look at you,” she chortles, “all indignant.  I rather like that look on you.  It says, I’m irate, I’m righteous, and I’m ready for my gin and tonic.  And here – thank you, honey – it is!  Bottoms up, old girl!”

I quickly squeeze all four limes into my drink, give it a try.

“I do love a gin and tonic,” I say.

“As well you should,” she croons. 

There is a momentary silence as we consider the beauty of a well-made drink. 

“Bottoms up,” she purrs.  “You’re going to want another.”

I raise my eyebrows.

“Yessssss,” she says.  “And raise them you might.  I ran into Fuzzwald last night.”

I slam the rest of my drink.  Fuzzwald Tiberius Stripersson, one-time heir to the Stripersson foundation garment dynasty and recently released of the Hennepin-County jailed, is Liza Bean Bitey’s ex. 

“Nikki!” I holler.  “Two more gin and tonics, please!”