The Panic Mutton

It’s time to hit the panic mutton.


I mean, I’m a bundle of nerds.


We’re all waiting here, with braided breath —

Come again?

Come on, you know what I’m talking about. We are all on tenderhooves here.

Sorry. What?

Oh, don’t be so tongue tight.

It is time to hit the panic mutton, I think.

Good. I’m glad we’re on the same wavelet.

Yes. Talk is sheep.

Sketches – 35

It’s not been a good day

What’s going on?

I plan stuff with friends, but then
They cancel —
My mom seems to find fault with
Everything I do —
You know,
“Ever think of getting a real job?”
Like my painting
Is some kind of game

Which friends?

In the last couple weeks,
Both Claire and Leslie

And your mom giving career advice?
She let hers nearly consume her

Yeah, well, she’s
Getting up there in age, there’s
No real reasoning with her

I think what you do is
A ‘real’ job, for what that’s worth

Thank you, dear, but
If I add it all up, I’m barely scraping
Minimum wage

Well, first of all,
That’s not true, your math
Is horrible.
Second of all…
Do you think she is right?
She’s not, but
Do you think so?

When you have no value as
A friend and
You have no value as
A worker
It’s not been a good day

Both Claire and Leslie
Have relied on you when times got tough,
Haven’t they?

Being useful and
Being loved are
Two different things.
I know what you’re saying,
And you are right, of course,
But it hurts to feel like
You aren’t any kind of priority

I totally get that

And as for my mom,
I don’t know how many years she has left, but
I wish I could think
She was proud of me, instead
Of critical

‘Not a good day’
Is a fair way to describe it.
At least you have that pillow.

It’s very reliable and

We need more of those


Conversations – 1

“People are just people,” he said to me, “which means every bad thing you can imagine, plus some bad things I’m sure that you and I cannot imagine.”

“Doesn’t being human mean good things, too?”

“People are born, ” he said slowly. “Humans have to be raised.”

“If they are not?” I asked, looking into his tired old face, now half in shadow.

“You get inhumans,” he said.


Sketches – 34

How do you like the new hair?

It looks great!
As long as it has the original woman under it —

Did you just say
‘Old’ woman?

No. I said
‘Original’ woman,
‘Original,’ as in
‘Never gets old’.

You like it?
It looked better
Right after she did it…

I do like it, very much, Seriously.
I have a question for you,
A money question.


I wanted to plan
A four day vacation for
Our anniversary, but
I wanted to make sure you
Were cool with the options.
Some of them are pricey.

Let’s take a look.
Option 1 — um, no.
Option 2 — that looks okay.
Option 3 — not happening.
Option 4 — nice, but – save that for your next wife.

So Savannah it is.
I’ll book it.

On second thought…
Don’t have a next wife.

I wasn’t planning on it.

I’ll have a lot more fun knowing
We’re not wasting money.
Would you have spent that much on a trip?

Me? Yes. It’s making memories.

We can make memories anywhere

I like the sound of that

You would

Sketches – 33

The past — it isn’t what it used to be.

Hey, love.

Hey, sweetie.

Whatcha working on?

Ideas for paintings.

And how’s that coming?

Six pages so far.

That’s great!

Thank you, thank you, I am impressive. What have you been writing about these days?

Oh, the last dating relationship I had before you.

That Karen girl, from work?

No, there was one other one. Lisa.

And who was she?

She worked in… the medical field.

A nurse? A doctor?

Not exactly…

A crash test dummy? A cadaver?

Something like that.

How come you’ve never mentioned her?

Because I met you and all other women were forgotten….

… until you started blogging.

Until I started blogging, yes.

So what are you saying about her?

That the relationship was hollow and meaningless.

Yeah, right. Seriously, I should do a series of paintings on my old boyfriends.

They were a bunch of weightlifters. What would you call it? “The Roids Not Taken”?

Okay, that was actually pretty funny. No, I would call it, “People I Dated Before I Was Taken Completely For Granted By Someone Who Claims To Love Me.”

Snappy name, that should bring in buyers. And I do not take you for granted.

Then why relive your glory days?

They weren’t glory days.
They were just days I had to go through.
I am a romantic, I always was.
You were what I was looking for,
You seriously were,
And you seriously are.

I can live with that.

Sketches – 32

A desultory sort of coziness. And hammocks, revisted.

Look, I got us a hammock.

You most certainly did —
It seems kind of small.

Yeah, well.
I prefer the word ‘cozy’.

‘Cozy’ is a strange word.

This little room is cozy.
Our whole house is cozy.
I will not have
Its coziness questioned!

Oh, I’m questioning its coziness.
In fact,
There are parts of this house
That are more desultory than cozy.
There, I said it.

Maybe you’d prefer
A nice, cozy hotel room?
One you can have to yourself?

Well – no.

Ok, then.
Is what I’d call an ‘Insultory’

Sorry, house, room, and hammock.
Your coziness is without question,
At least,
Out loud.

Not good enough.

I was warned
That relationships
Eventually devolve
Into bald power dynamics.
You want to control my thoughts.
We might have different
Coziness paradigms.
Have you ever thought of that?
Differing concepts of what it is
To be desultory.

That’s fair.
However, let’s approach this practically.
I was thinking we could share this hammock.
It is, as I believe you said,
Rather small.
For two of us to occupy it simultaneously,
Would be rather… rather…


Do you want to experience it
Or debate it?

Point granted.
You do realize
Using my desire for intimacy
To win arguments is manipulative.
Which is not to say I don’t like it, because
I do.

Hmmm. Your concession seems rather
Are you going to put this
Inane conversation
On your blog?

That’s where all
Our most ridiculous ones go

You are very, very odd, my dear.

“I Want to Ride a Unicorn to School…”

Is that a unicorn?

It is.
I want to ride a unicorn to school.

Well, so do I.
It would be worth going back to school
Just for that.

This is a tree.

It looks exactly like one.
And that’s the sun?

No, that’s my sun.
And your fence.

I always wanted a fence.
Can I keep out scary people with it?

Like Red Hulk.

The unicorn won’t scare him away?

No, he would scare the unicorn.
Unicorns don’t like Red Hulk.

I’m sure they don’t.
Do you want to be an artist when you grow up?