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!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mind-Control Self-Defense, or Do Ya Feel Lucky Punk? Well Do Ya?


The people next door are building a Trojan Horse.

Or perhaps they are very heavy Irish Step dancers.

It’s been a long time since I’ve lived in an apartment, but it’s all coming back to me now.

Of course, this is no ordinary apartment.  A security building, it boasts six floors of brick and exposed duct work, enormous windows that look onto downtown.  Look straight ahead.  See that?  There’s the building I work in.  And there’s Target Field.  And there’s Déjà Vu, a strip club featuring, according to the billboard that runs along the top of its garish, pink exterior, “100's of Beautiful Girls and 3 Ugly Ones”.

“The bus stop is just across the way,” Sarah tells me. 

I look down, from the sixth floor, to the street.  “What’s the hood ratio around here?”

“Like in hoodlum?”

“Yeah.”

She thinks.  “Hmm.  Well, when you go to work, there are zero hoods about.  And when you get off work, not a problem.  But late at night?  Bar-close late?  A little shady, yeah.”

We stare at each other.  The last few weeks have been difficult for both of us.  She leaves for Brussels in four hours.

“How big’s your purse?” she says.

I point to it, a mustard-yellow valise with large metal rivets on its outward-facing side.

Sarah smiles.  “Really?” 

“What,” I say.  “You don’t like it?  The gals on the bus love it!”

“Hmm,” she says. 

Sarah stands up, hoists the afore-mentioned satchel over one shoulder.  “Pay attention,” she says.  She puts her free hand in the bag, lowers her chin at me, looks at me from under her brow, and then, with a nuance of facial expression rarely found amongst the common folk, lifts her eyebrows, a movement so small yet so threatening that one is compelled to step backward.  From within the bag she makes a small hand movement, as if to imply she's packin'.

I burst into laughter.  “What are you, now?  Scarface?”

Sarah grins.  “Hand to God,” she says.  “Looks like I have a gun, right?  I pulled that very same maneuver at two guys on the corner last summer and they stepped away like their feet were on fire.  ”

“Well, yeah,” I laughed.  “And there’s probably a poster of you somewhere now, a police sketch-artist rendition of a short white woman in expensive shoes threatening people with implied weaponry.”

Sarah smiles, shrugs.  “They mess with the pretend bull, they get the imaginary horns.”

42 comments:

Susan in the Boonies said...

You move with folk who are every bit as tough as you yourself, my lovely Pearl.
I never would have thought to pretend to pack heat, but I find sheer brilliance in the idea.
I hope this move works out well for you, friend. HUGS!

Pearl said...

Thanks, Susan! Sarah's bravado is a wonder to behold. Took my first bus trip this morning, and I'm so close to downtown now that the ride was less than six minutes. Nevertheless, there is an entirely new crew of weirdos to write about on the ol' 14...

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Hmmmm.....the cats have a clear view of you leaving for work and coming home......clearly this move is advantageous to them.

Pearl said...

Delores, it will give them time to clear away the cigarette butts...

Robbie Grey said...

Sun Tzu once said deception is the key to victory.

Leenie said...

More people need to take eyebrow lessons from Sarah. This could lower the crime rate in the whole nation.

Looking forward to hearing tales about the people on your new bus.

Chantel said...

Sarah sounds awesome, but not as awesome as that purse.

Pearl said...

Robbie, I'd not heard that, but I agree wholeheartedly. That is so cool -- I'm writing that down.

Leenie, it's amazing, how early the homeless need to get up. Walking to the stop this morning I passed three elderly women and an elderly man, all clearly homeless, off to who-knows-where. There are definitely stories out here...

Chantel, seriously, it IS a pretty awesome purse. :-) And Sarah's wonderful.

~Sia McKye~ said...

It's all in the attitude, lol! Mine, when in a city, you really don't want to mess with me. lol!

I thought they might be building a Trojan horse or step dancing in living room the other day. Sure sounded like it. But no, it was my Great Dane scratching her collar area. What do mean you have an itch? I put Frontline flea stuff on you there should be no itches. She just looked me and woofed and went back to thumping, er, I mean scratching. Ps, she has no fleas, I looked. Silly dog.

Enjoyed it.

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

ellen abbott said...

attitude is everything.

bill lisleman said...

Just collecting a thought here - wait a sec - Trojan, Strip Club, hoodlum, Scarface - This post could have gone in a completely different direction but I'm glad it ended with "the imaginary horns". great writing.

Ms Sparrow said...

Sounds like your friend Sarah is one savvy gal!

Camille said...

I love Sarah and her blog and I'm grateful that you've got each others back right now. Feeling a little better about all of this Pearl...still a bit worried, but gaining :-)

Vinny C said...

Like I always say, it's all in the eyebrows. You can carry on an entire conversation with well coordinated eyebrow gestures.

On a side note, the "3 ugly to 100's beautiful" girl rule is actually scientifically proven to give perfect balance to any nightspot.

Joyful Things said...

Sounds like my kind of purse and my kind of gun. and I think I would go into the strip bar just to see the 3 ugly ones :>)

TexWisGirl said...

i like your roomie. i'm sure you'll have plenty of adjustments to make, but hope you're well on your way.

Mr. Charleston said...

Around here black people are getting shot by the police left and right for acting like they've got a weapon. Of course, it could work on a thug.

L-Kat said...

A few more lessons from Sarah and no one will want to mess with you, Pearl! Sounds like you have a pretty view at least: I love downtown Minneapolis!

jenny_o said...

Either wear flats so you can walk/run fast, or practice the art of kicking your spike heels off, catching them and using them as weapons until it's one smooth motion, and whatever you do, be careful out there :)

esbboston said...

I do a similar threatening move with my iPad. I have yet to be mugged successfuLLy in my half century plus.

Ka ra te

fishducky said...

I love Sarah already! Can't wait to hear about your new traveling companions.

Joanne said...

Good to know someone's looking out for you while you look out for yourself. I'm with Camille here. And, I just clicked on her and found she has to Cairns. One of whom bears an uncanny resemblence to our Angus, up there in the sky. i think of you. Take care.

Eva Gallant said...

Nice that your commute to work is shorter; but I worry where Squeak Toy will practice~!

Susan Kane said...

I wonder if Scarface gives lessons on intimidation?

Mandy_Fish said...

Your friend should offer seminars. I would gladly pay for this training.

Mel said...

Pearl,

Somehow I think you'll do just fine on your city adventure. Whenever I am doing something new and scary, I tell myself how brave and adventurous I am, and it helps me adjust a little.

About the hoodlums? Subtle but deliberate eye contact, as in I'm watching you watch me, pick another mark cuz I'm hyper alert. That and I sing the little song Ripley sings when she's trying not to get eaten by the alien - "you are my lucky star" - that's my go-to strategy when I'm alone in Chicago. You're welcome to it. And I've read all the books by Gavin Debecker about self defense and survival, and he says if you feel real fear, listen to it, otherwise don't manufacture it. I think about that one a lot when I'm outside of my element, which is almost anywhere outside my door. Clearly, it's very busy inside my head.

Not to worry, though, unless you're out late closing down bars, right?

Best of luck to you in your new adventures.

CarrieBoo said...

My eyebrows don't do what I tell them and I don't have a handbag, so I have to resort to talking to myself and laughing maniacally. It seems to work.

Oh my, I'm wearing a hoodie...

Indigo Roth said...

Ooooh, she's downtown...

This puts you dangerously close to the bars, so expect the cats to drag the feline dregs in after hours. Still, plenty of good blog material there, even if you don't get any sleep.

Murr Brewster said...

Before I (just) got a cell phone, I'd pretend to be talking to someone on my phone, making sure to mention what intersection I was at, if someone was looking a little sketchy to me. Now that I have one, I hear I can dial 9-1-1 with my butt. I never knew those things were pneumatically driven.

Linda O'Connell said...

You can pull it off, Pearl. You know how to intimidate the city dwellers and bus riders. Think of all the stories you'll have to tell.

esbboston said...

At first glance at the map it looks like you are living on the strong/wrong side of the tracks, but then I saw there was an opera house nearby.

Gigi said...

Wow, she can pull that off with just an eyebrow twitch? I can't do anything with my eyebrows at all, they just kinda sit there on my face. Okay, I'm off to practice eyebrow maneuvers now.

Pat said...

Luckily for you you are a lert.
Just be careful.

Silliyak said...

"You're going to make it after allllll..." Seriously, is she bringing back sprouts?

ThreeOldKeys said...

If the eyebrows and implied weaspon don't work, be ready with whatever animal you can imitate.

For instance, I do not suggest the possum. The skunk might be effective. But a barnyard hen really knows how to ruffle and expand ....

HermanTurnip said...

Yeah, people tend to back away post-haste when they believe a firearm is involved. Learned that lesson a couple of weeks ago when two stingers appeared on my doorstep late at night.

And if the gun didn't scare 'em, I was armed with a purse as well...

The Elephant's Child said...

What a wonderful friend to have. Particularly if you are out late, and the bars have closed.

Tempo said...

:-)

River said...

Interesting neighbourhood you've moved to. I must have missed the post where you said you were moving and why. But never mind. Looking forward to reading about the new bus companions. Don't forget to practise that move Sarah showed you.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Nah, Pearl, never mind pretending, just pack a real .44 snubby, pearl-handled and all. That way you don't have to pretend. Some people aren't too good at reading eyebrows and subtle hand movements inside a purse, but you can be sure most people can interpret the hot end of a .44 just fine.... ~R

NellieVaughn said...

I live a few miles away from a Déjà vu. I've heard that this isn't a safe neighborhood, but I tell you, I've never felt anything but safe here. Even tonight when I heard gunshots, I felt I was not in any danger.

Sarah Has Moxie said...

Well, Grandpa always said, "walk softly but carry a big stick." I'd rather carry a big purse and keep 'em guessing. ;)

lots of love from Paris!
S