March 30, 2011

Two Turntables and a Microphone

March 30, 2011

I think I'm tired of people telling me to write a novel.  Nope. I'm positive I'm tired of it.  I thought I wanted to for a while.  It just seemed like the sensible course of action from as far back as grade school.  That's what writers do, yes? 

I've figured something out.  My mind doesn't work that way.  It isn't fun.  It makes no sense to me.  It just makes no goddamn sense. 

I just want to play.  I want to build a lego castle with words and then stomp on it with big, heavy boots.  That's fun.  I want to stuff a bunch of letters and words into water guns and have a water gun fight.  I could drive around neighborhoods at night and smash mailboxes with a story.  THAT would be awesome.

But a book? 

Not so much. 

Carefully flowing from one ingeniously conceived concept to the next?  Not me.  Something wriggling and slimy will come along and my interest will be held captive.

Meticulously crafted plot lines and riveting twists?  Oh no.  I'd use a sparkly purple dragon as a super sexy deus ex machina in an 18th century British political drama.  That makes total sense.

So.  I've decided.  I will not write a novel.  Instead, I will be a sparkly purple dragon. 

Carry on. 

March 24, 2011

My Cross To Bear

March 24, 2011

It is no revelation to many of you that I have a little... ummm.... problem.  With my height.  I'm sure all of this will be quite redundant for you.  So, if you've known me since I was a little shit dropping my pencil in Mrs. Shambley's class, seductively enticing you to look up my dress when I bent over to pick it up, and then telling on you, you can just go ahead and click out of this and read something else.  Yeah, buddy.  I'm callin' you out.  I know you're here.  You love me.  Don't lie.

Right.  Anyway.  It seems I have quite a few new minions all up in my shit lately, so I figured I'd revisit this little issue of mine.

To be specific, I am 4 feet 6 inches tall.  Stop laughing.  STOP IT.  I'm not a midget, a dwarf, a pygmy, a smurf, a troll, or anything else you must be thinking.  Perhaps a touch of hobbit blood?  I always liked Rosie Cotton.  Sam's girl.  Dancing.  But, certainly not.  I'm kind of like a normal person, only kind of, but miniature.  Except my brain.  Which is probably bigger than yours.  And you can't have it.  So go away.

My younger sister is taller than me.  By an inch.  So is my mother.  By an inch.  Do you know what that means?  It means I'm a runt.  That's what that means.  But it's cool.  I'm over it.

Depending on the brand, my shoe size is between 2 and 4.  At normal stores, I have to buy kids shoes.  There is only one store that I know of that makes heels for women like me.  Cinderella of Boston.   If you have freakishly small feet, I highly recommend them.  They rock.

I've had the smallest clothes in the laundry for 5 or 6 years already.  When the kids do the laundry, they like tossing my shirts back and forth and making jokes about doll clothes.  The refuse to touch my panties.  I don't make them.  But I should.  That would be funny.

I can shop in the little girls department for some things, but shirts are tricky.  They don't make little girls size clothes cut for size 32C boobs.  32C.  Do you know how fucking impossible it is to find bras?  Don't ask.  Nightmare.  

From a very young age, I discovered that there are people in this world who have no qualms about commenting on a complete stranger's height.  Kids are great.  I love it when they ask me questions.  They're so honest.  So far, my favorite question of all time is, "Are you a lady or a girl?" COOLEST. QUESTION. EVER.

About a year ago, I was in the grocery store.  An older man, easily in his 70s, stopped in his tracks.  Turned and looked at me.  Stared for a few seconds.  I smiled politely, nervously, slightly.  And he said, "I hope you don't mind if I say something, and I don't mean to be rude, but you are a beautiful woman.  There aren't many women like you, you know.  You're such a treasure."  Swear to god.  A treasure?  I didn't think anyone used that word anymore if Dungeons and Dragons wasn't involved.  I vacillated between being complimented beyond belief and wondering if he had a midget porn fetish.  I didn't ask.

When we are shopping, I frequently hand the boys the car keys and follow them around the store begging for shit and acting like their bratty little sister.  So much fun.

I've gotten in trouble for climbing the shelves in Wal-Mart to reach the top.  As an adult.

I have no doubt I could get away with beating the fuck outta my kids and claiming self defense.  They know this.  They don't fuck with me.

It is frequently assumed that I am my husband's daughter or sister when we're in public.  He usually doesn't correct them, and then plants a gigantic incestuous kiss right on my mouth.  Sick mother fucker.

There is at least 1 ride at Universal Studios that I can't ride.  Andrew was very happy about that since he was too scared to ride it.  I think he actually bent his knees a little bit so he could be too short, too.   That was 5 years ago.  He was already taller than me 5 years ago.

I have never owned a pair of jeans that didn't have to be cut and hemmed.  Until this past year.  Old Navy came out with their skinny jeans.  Size 2.  NO HEMMING.  I was blown away.  I actually stood in the mirror and admired my feet for several minutes.  It was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. 

I can stretch out and fall asleep in coach.

I can barely reach the bottom shelf in the kitchen cabinets.

I have fallen inside a washing machine head first.  

I got a stool for a wedding gift. I still have it.

I can almost lay flat in the bathtub without bending my knees.  Almost.

A boy actually told me in the 3rd grade that he couldn't be my boyfriend because I looked like a baby.  Fuck you.  

And to all of you ass lickin mother fuckers who kept trying to set me up with the shortest guys in school, I'd just like to extend a big fat FUCK YOU.  Sorry short guys, but that shit's a no-go for me.  I'm sure someone would have a field day psychoanalyzing my insatiable hunger for the tallest, broadest, most neanderthal guy in the room, but tis true.  I have a tall boy fetish.  Always have.

So there ya go.  Now you know.  The floor is now open for your comments, questions, porn fetishes, and short jokes.  Have a blast at my expense.  Go ahead.  I know you want to.

March 21, 2011


March 21, 2011

I used to live in South Korea.  A couple of times, actually.  I didn't live in Seoul or any other big city.  I lived in a small village.  There was a little farm on the path that led up a hill to our apartment.  I woke up in the morning to rooster calls.  Small village.

My landlord was a lady named Ana.  She loved my boys, especially Andrew because he would eat ANYTHING.  So, she'd always come get him when it was lunch time so he could have lunch with her.  So sweet.

Jake would only eat chicken fingers and french fries.  He still only eats chicken fingers and french fries.

I'd go over to Ms. Ana's house and we would sit on the floor with tea and talk.  She'd tell me about her sister who was married to an American soldier and lived in Colorado.  I'd tell her about my sister who lived in Okinawa, and my momma, and those kinds of things. 

She lived in a 1 room apartment.  Not 1 bedroom, 1 room.  She had a chest of drawers, a typical Korean bed, a small kitchenette, and a TV.  And that was pretty much it.

One day, I finally got up the nerve to ask her the question I'd always wanted to.  "Don't you ever wish you lived in America where they have big houses and grocery stores?"

Gimme a break.  I was young and dumb.  I know there are big houses and grocery stores in South Korea.  Just not anywhere we lived.

She obliged me, though.  She wasn't offended.  And she answered my question.

She said no.  America is too busy.  Too many big things and big voices and big places.  South Korea is my home, she said.  Why do I need a big, fancy house?  I love my house, she said.  Why do I need a grocery store or Wal-Mart or a mall?  I have everything I need in walking distance.  South Korea is my home, she said.  Her home.

Interestingly enough, I never felt homesick for my home while I was there.  Not even the first time, when I was only 17.

The only time I ever felt homesick were the times we had to leave. And I still miss that damn place. Tiny apartment, roosters, running out of hot water, hanging my clothes on a clothes line.  I miss all of it. 

It's such a little thing.  Almost insignificant really.  But I was an "army wife," constantly bombarded with patriotism in ridiculous excess and chest-beating and flag-flying.  So many messages that America is the sparkling pot at the end of the rainbow.  It's where all the popular kids live.  It's the club everyone wants to join.  My eyes and my heart were opened so much more that day.  Your home shouldn't be where things are shiny and big and convenient and expensive.  Your home should be where your soul lives.

* This is my contribution to Studio 30+ weekly writing prompt- Irony.  Yay! (you're supposed to clap, damn it)

March 19, 2011

The Way I Roll

March 19, 2011

I went out last night.

Five pleasantly innocuous words grouped together and spoken millions of times in a day.  But when they're applied to Sarge and I, it means something.  Especially lately.

It might surprise you to know that I don't talk much.  People I went to school with might be peeing their pants and falling out of their chairs right now.  People who first met me as an adult will be nodding their heads and smiling.  I'm not antisocial, because the medical definition of antisocial is very different from the way most people use the word.

I'm just quiet.  I watch.  I listen.  Believe me when I say I listen.  I hear every conversation in the room.  I know the guy sitting 5 feet to the right of me would rather suck someone's dick than drink that tequila shot some mysterious bar patron bought for him.  I know his girlfriend was none too impressed with his lack of fortitude.

I know the guy standing behind me was a medic in the Army.  I'd never seen him before in my life, but he felt it necessary to massage my shoulder to the beat of his speech, squeezing harder when he was excited or serious, rubbing back and forth when he was listening intently.

I know the bar owner was a 17-year veteran and spent some time in Vietnam, and has some sort of deep-seated vendetta against Army officers. It was his birthday yesterday.  His name was Steve.  White hair.  Striped shirt.  I think he was in love with my husband's friend's wife, Virginia.

Virginia.  What a woman.  Her son is deathly allergic to shrimp.  She has 3 kids.  She took them to Olive Garden and the boy allergic to shrimp broke out in hives.  She loves hanging out with Sarge and I because she doesn't know anyone else who married so young and are still together.  Her nostrils are perfect triangles.  Her skin is flawless.  And her hair was in some sort of a wicked up-do that left me tracing her curls with my eyes, trying to find where they began and ended, like an MC Escher drawing.  Her parents came to town just to babysit the kids so they could go out for the night.  She asked how old my boys were 6 times.  I counted.

The bartender had trouble getting to work yesterday because her car battery was dead.  She almost choked on her gum when I told her I had two children, and said I was "far too pretty" to be the mother of teenagers.  Apparently, mothers of teenagers are supposed to be ugly.  But it made me feel good. 

The girl sitting beside me had a bottle of 8 mg Zofran in her purse.  She used to work for a family practice clinic.  Dr. David.

The girl sitting to the other side of me was still wearing her formal dress.  She had stripper dust sprinkled on her shoulders that had rubbed off on her date, who was of Indian ethnicity (from India), yet had a southern accent.

When I'm in situations like this, I find myself sinking into some strange catatonic state.  I try to look as see-through as possible.  But it's a catch-22.  Because the less you want to talk, the more you're talked to.  The most basic questions are, "Are you bored?" and "Are you tired?" and "Are you okay?"

I'm fine.  Just listening.

And then I feel obligated to apologize to Sarge for not being the pretty party girl I was once.  But I just don't have the energy for that game anymore.  Or the desire.  I'd prefer to nurse my screwdriver with grenadine slowly, rock it hardcore in my yoga pants and hoodie, and just listen.

But he never accepts the apology.  Because it's never necessary.  "I know you."  He says.  "You just roll with the punches."

The punches.  Yes.  Perhaps that's what I'm doing.  Just rolling.  One mouth to the next.  Sizing up their noses to see if they're proportionate.  Wondering how hard they work to wash off their mascara before they lay down.  Wondering how much weight he benches to maintain those biceps that are bigger than my head.

Saving to the 3.5 floppy diskette that is my brain things like the opened can of Sierra Mist and half-empty carton of Winston cigarettes sitting underneath the cash register.  The red purse dropped underneath the table.  The smattering of freckles on the boobs of the girl with stripper dust.  The air of emasculation surrounding tequila boy.  The my-last-name-is-not-Patel jokes from the Indian boy from Georgia.  

And now I know all of these people that I didn't know 24 hours ago.  I know their fears.  I know the things that make them smile for real and smile for fake.  I know the things that make the man behind me excited or angry because I felt it in my shoulder.  And I know that Steve has lived to see yet another year.

So when Sarge asks me whether or not I had fun, I say of course.  Of course I had fun.  Watching how humanity operates in its universal language of give and take.  You say things to me, I say things to you, we laugh, we take a sip, and say something else.

And I find myself a little bit jealous of people who have so many words to waste.

March 17, 2011


March 18, 2011

This week's Red Writing Hood assignment is to write - fiction or non-fiction - about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?

Clearly I took a bit of poetic license here.  Ha.  Get it.  Nevermind.  

I wracked my brain for days over this one, considering my life is just one huge detour on the scenic route.  But no matter how hard I smashed my noggin, nothing fell out.  

So, I decided to change it up a bit.  And write about a decision- whether or not to take that detour.  This is all I got.  And then I put a really cool song after it so you can forget about the garbage that is my poetry.

You tempt me with words
like hot coals that linger
and smolder
but never quite blaze.

The dance of your fingers
has twisted my rails
more than once, more than twice
in a day.

You maraud dirty corners
secrets under floors
and pocket my truths
like they’re yours

One toe in your hand
one toe in the dirt
On a silk carrefour

Should I curl in your crook
trace your smile with my nails
fall in leaves
that weren’t raked for me?

Or stay in my cage
on this darkling road
with a compass
but never a sail

March 13, 2011


March 13, 2011

My sister,
her husband,
and my 2 nieces
lived in Japan for 3 years.

They moved
Three months ago.

The End


Studio30 Plus word prompt-

March 12, 2011

BFF Or Ball and Chain?

March 12, 2011

Sarge and I went out to eat last night at one of those Japanese steakhouse places.  Andrew went to Gramma's this weekend, so it was Jake, Sarge, and me.  We shared a table with a younger couple and their 3 very young children.  And I noticed something in retrospect that I find quite sad.

See, Sarge is my best bud.  And when we're together, we have stuff to talk about.  Lots of stuff.  Even if it's just people-watching and cracking jokes.  And this evening, like we always do, we spent the entire dinner talking, laughing, and cracking private jokes.  You have to understand. We've been up each others asses since we were kids, ya know. (figuratively speaking.... for the most part)

But, in retrospect, I realized something.  The only time the younger couple talked to each other was to pass off a kid, reach the diaper bag, maybe pick something off each others plate.  That's it.  Now, I realize that having toddlers (they had 3) is stressful as fuck.  Especially loading all 3 of them up and taking them out in public.  But those kids were remarkably well behaved.  Mom and Dad sat next to each other.  Completely silent.  Eating their dinner. 

Maybe they're going through a rough patch?

Maybe they both had a stressful day and just wanted to eat?

Maybe Sarge and I just talk too fucking much and are painfully immature and obnoxious?

Maybe I've forgotten what it's like to have toddlers?

Of course, it's easy for me to judge from where I stand now.  I don't have clingers anymore. Shitty diapers. Screaming.  Bottles.  Being absolutely saturated and underwater in an ocean that is a toddler.

But I do know that there is no way in hell Sarge and I could sit next to each other and NOT. SAY. ANYTHING.

Somebody's gonna crack a sex joke.  Somebody's going to bring up some inconsequential tid bit of our day that is inevitably going to lead into an "OH. MY GAH! I have to tell you about ____!" type of conversation, which usually gets so involved that we don't even hear or notice when the cook asks how we want our meat cooked.  And if none of that happpens, somebody is going to pinch somebody.  Just for the hell of it.

We can have entire conversations about how much laundry soap I should use and whether towels should be washed in cold or hot water.  Sarge will even use sound effects.  No lie. 

He'll mispronounce a word and we'll proceed to talk about the definition, word forms, and latin roots for the next hour.  Sarge will even use sound effects.

We could be in a completely sterile room with white padded walls and..... well.... we'd probably have sex first.... and then we'd  talk about the chemical composition of said padding.  Sarge will even use sound effects.

Now, of course, all of this goes against everything I've ever said about disliking idle chat....but that only counts for other people.  Sarge doesn't count.

So, back to my young couple at the table.

Without knowing shit about anything in regard to their circumstance, I find it sad.  Sad that they can make these babies, raise these babies, sit at a table and eat dinner, and have absolutely nothing to talk about.  Not even any sound effects.

So what gives all you married peeps?  I know it's quite common to hear people say that their spouse is their "best friend," but really?

Are Sarge and I just those immature, obnoxious besties who giggle and text each other through the entire movie just for the hell of it?  Hell, we have already dyed each others hair.

Are you a stuffed shirt when you're hangin' out with your ball and chain? Do you feel stifled? A sense of obligation to ask about their day?

Do you even hang out?  Not like date night.  But really, just hang out?  Not like watching the same TV program in the same room.  But really hangin' out?

Oh, by the way. Sarge has informed me that today is the day Frodo and Sam encounter Shelob just outside Mount Doom.  And then I informed him that Bilbo's birthday is the same day as his mother's birthday, and, of course, the same day as Frodo's birthday. So far, no sound effects. 

March 11, 2011

Simple Request

March 9, 2011

Jake- "If I decide to go to Gramma's house this weekend, can you do me a solid?"

"What's that?"

Jake- "Can you and Dad NOT do it on my bed, please?"

 (In my defense, this has absolutely NEVER happened)

March 8, 2011

Oh Child

March 8, 2011

I remember you inside me. Raising hell.
You took my body as your own.
Molded my bones to build your temple.
Stretched me, swelled me, fenced your home to spin your web.
You saw your budding toes while mine became hidden.
The darkness inside me saved you from the harshness outside me.
My heart beating above you, my breath fighting for space against you- all the soundtrack of your squirming little dance.
A seed of a child sown within a child- sapling to infant, girl to woman.
I grew you.
You grew me.

You took what you wanted, stole it. But I would have given it to you.
The gentle havoc you wrought left me dazed. Was this body enough for you?
You took it all, took it over, erased the child I was to color the child you’d become.
The tiny heart of you beat for every step I took as a girl, and every tear I’d cry as a woman.
I made you.
You made me.

I’ve watched you outside me. Raising hell.
The tearing, gnawing, ripping of your wicked escape healed.
My bones are stronger for you, for all the times you’ve sought my shelter.
The evidence of your presence remains- the web you stretched me to spin.
Your toes are bigger than mine.
And the harshness outside me is no match for your fierce indignation.
My heart beats in secret for every moment of freedom you steal, the open windows, the stretching- inch by inch- of the cord between us.
I hold you.
You let go.

March 6, 2011


March 6, 2011

That's right, folks.  The big FIVE-OH.  My little corner of the globe officially has 50 minions, frozen immovably in front of their computer screens, hanging on my every word. 

Or at least 50 people who clicked the little button over there under my picture.

Either way, it's fine with me. 

So, in honor of this most blessed and festive occasion, I'm gonna feature #49 and #50 right here in this blog post.  Mainly because I don't have anything else to blog about at the current moment.  And so I figured that would be super cool, don't you? 

Of course you do.  Because you're hanging on my every word. 

Repeat after me, "Aimee is fucking cool.  We love her.  Even though she ate a Sonic footlong coney with chili, cheese, and onions yesterday and now her ass is as wide as she is tall."

Don't repeat that last part. 

So, anyway.  On with the featuring. 

#49 is a guy named Tom.  He writes over at Straight From The Padded Cell.  And frankly, I think he's awesome.  I've been following his blog for a while now, and from the very first time I read his stuff, I totally got it.  And that's rare for me.  He's one of those rare gems that are able to tie a million different unrelated subjects together to create something that not only makes sense, but makes you wonder how the hell your life was ever complete without it.  So, if you care anything about me at all, just shut the hell up and click on that link up there.  Oh, and it's just a bonus that he's pretty hot, too. 

#50 is brand-spankin' new to me.  Her name is Ash and she writes over at Shades of Blue and Green.  From what I've gathered, she used to be a big shot, but now she's a momma of two little boys who apparently need their noses wiped a lot.  No surprise there, right?  I've sooo been there.  Little boy snot.....oh, the trauma!  Oh, and she must be the only human being on the planet that can tie the words "Tupperware" and "Charlie Sheen" into one story.  No, seriously, she did that

Now go read!

March 3, 2011


March 3, 2011

 So there I was, no shit. Walking into the pet store with my mom (no doubt in search of provisions for the guinea pig breeding factory in our backyard), and my eyeballs honed in on them like a Janet Jackson nipple slip. I couldn't stop looking. They were in an aquarium on the counter next to the cash register. So many of them, it almost seemed like they were one giant blob of lava in a lava lamp, moving and morphing together into different abstract shapes. I stood and stared. Fascinating. They seemed so exaggerated compared to their smaller, more pestilent brothers. Of course, there was the signature elongated oval shape, but twice as big. The deep copper and brown coloring, but twice as brilliant. And, of course, twice as utterly filthy. The whole concept of it was so damn repugnant it was almost sexy. And I had to have them. My dear momma, being the under-appreciated superhero that she was, didn't even question me. Of course I would want them. She wasn't even surprised. The pet store owner was, though. Shocked really. So much so that he gave them to me for free. "Not only are you the first girl to show any interest in them, you're the first person to show any interest in them," He said.

And off I went to pick out my aquarium;
to pick out my climbing things so they could...well...climb,
and maybe some toys so they could....umm.... play.

Food? What the hell do they eat? There was no Google back then. I guessed they probably ate anything, considering it was already common knowledge that they would be one of the few living things to survive nuclear holocaust.

After piling my loot up on the counter, I picked them out. Both of them. Don't misunderstand me, I stuck my hand in there and picked them out. And I named them. You shall be Julius. And you shall be Cesar. Indeed. I loved them. And, for a while, our life together was copacetic.

I'd sit indian-style on the floor in my room, nose pressed against the glass. I'd slowly lift the screened top on the aquarium and stick my hand in just far enough to make them rear back and hiss. The corner of my mouth would form an ever-so-nefarious sneer. Marvelous. Magical! I loved them.

One day, I decided something was wrong. No, they weren't sick. They hadn't gone missing. But they were clearly missing something. How have they even lived this long without the one thing all living things can't forgo? My babies must have water! I postulated. Eyebrow contorted into a faux devil's horn. My babies must have water. Yessssss. Only then shall their dominion be worthy.

Taking no chances on my ability to ever again remember that they did, indeed, need water (and remembering that poor stiff bunny my momma peeled from its sarcophagus of newspaper and rotten lettuce- and empty water bowl- only weeks prior), I decided my little scaly minions should get nothing less than the best. A whole cereal bowl full of water. Because it just fucking made sense.

And this is about the time in the story where I look back on my life and think of all the ineptitude I could have been spared as a kid if only I'd had Google. Because then I'd know that Madagascar hissing cockroaches get all the water they need from their food. And I'd know the possibility of either Julius or Cesar being female, having a gazillion eggs incubating in her little roach vagina, and subsequently laying those eggs to hatch in my bedroom. But more importantly, I would have been saved the trauma and heartache of waking up the next morning to find my current brilliantly insidious plot for world domination floating upside down in a cereal bowl full of water.

Water gives life. It also takes it away.
Write a short piece
- fiction or non-fiction -
inspired by one or both of these statements.
Word maximum is 600.

March 1, 2011


March 1, 2011

Dear concrete,

I'm writing to congratulate you on behalf being chosen as a writing prompt for a bunch of crazy ass bloggers on Studio 30+ this week.  That's right! You were chosen.  You should totally pat yourself on the back.

I considered using simply the idea of what you stand for, an allegory of sorts based on your inherent nature, to write a wonderfully abstract and soulful piece, perhaps probing the depths of my mind, lamenting an unchangeable fault or circumstance or some such nonsense.  Regardless, I'm sure it would have been psychologically deep, maybe even beautiful, with all sorts of crazy adjectives and orgasmic paroxysms (see, I just snuck that right in there, didn't I?).

But I digress.  I've decided not to do that.  Mainly because I really don't think you need all of that garbage to be the best concrete you can possibly be, and to love yourself exactly the way you are.  Your shade of gray is the best shade of gray ever.  And as long as your creator doesn't get all cheap and lazy and mix too much sand in with you, your fantabulous hardness makes for a pretty awesome driveway and back porch.  I really do have the best back porch ever, and it's all because of you!

Now, I know I've cracked you on the driveway.  And I can't apologize enough for that.  I know I should fix you.  I know you must feel taken for granted so often.  You get used and ignored.  We just get in our cars or sit on the back porch sipping our tea, and expect you to always be there for us.  I never show you the appreciation you deserve.  And for that, I am sorry.  I promise I will fix your cracks!  Please believe me. 

I know it must totally suck when we have to edge you with the Weedeater.  I can't imagine being treated like that.  But you take it like a man, you do!  I've never heard you complain, not even once.  And you must feel so silly and humiliated when all the neighborhood kids draw all over you with their pastel chalk.  I would totally die if I had to lie down and let a bunch of kids draw squares on me and then jump around on them.  Wow.  You're strength and silent resignation are absolutely enviable.

Soooo....yeah.  I've just realized I'm sitting here talking to concrete.  I'm supposed to be working at a job that actually pays me money, but I'm talking to fucking concrete.

Must... step... away... from... writing... prompts.