It’s said that around the end of October the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, allowing the Living to hobnob with the Dearly Departed. One unsettling tradition this time of year is a Dumb Supper: a silent dinner held in honor of those who have passed on. Since there would be many such delightful celebrations on Samhain, Sister Madly decided to host hers early.
Now last year’s attempt was fraught with problems, including an uncertainty as to how to invite the Dead to dinner, and not having enough space to accommodate the guests. The latter of these issues was easily solved this time around as Sister Madly would be house-sitting for her sister – the impeccable Tallulah – and her husband while they venture off and do saintly anniversary things.
As for inviting the Dead… there are Spells specifically tailored for summoning the spirits, but spelling was one of Sister Madly’s weaker subjects when she was a school-aged brat and she is proud to say that she hasn’t improved much since. And as neither the Dead nor Sister Madly is on social media, she resorted to verbal invitations, arbitrarily shouting them out these last few months regardless of the hour, especially when passing a cemetery.*
* She also invited a cow, a vagrant in plaid pants, a scrub jay, and a tow truck while utilizing this method.
The arrangements were nearly perfect: the house is set back from the street, thus away from the prying eyes of the HOA should calling up the Dead be in violation of the Bylaws. Also, should the more impish of the Dearly Departed choose to stick around after the Supper, they will be haunting Tallulah and possessing her 2 toffee-nosed cats.
And perhaps an appliance or two.
When hosting a Dumb Supper, one is required one to feed the guests; not only is it polite, it speaks well of one’s upbringing. Naturally, Sister Madly decided to raid Tallulah’s pantry to fulfill the menu- no doubt Tallulah would be pleased to find her cupboards stripped bare for the sake of the Dearly Departed, just as she would be happy to find that her humble abode ransacked for the event.
However, this did not go as planned. The only fare that had potential was a can of Spam,* a post-ripe mango, half a bottle of vodka, and a tin of Oh, My Cod! cat food- it was not unlike the Peanuts Thanksgiving of jelly beans, popcorn, and buttered toast- and that was unacceptable. After all, the Dead might be gluten-free, and it would be inhospitable of Sister Madly not to accommodate the dietary needs of her ephemeral guests. It was most impolite of the impeccable Tallulah to have not been more prepared for the Dumb Supper she didn’t know Sister Madly was going to host.
* The Spam was a wedding gift to Tallulah 3 years prior, and manners forbid Sister Madly from revealing the giver.
Just as she was mentally rehearsing her Why-Is-There-No-Food-For-The-Dead Reprimand (complete with dramatic eyebrow-arching at appropriate intervals) Sister Madly became aware of a low and oh-so mysterious hum somewhere at the dark end of the house.
Sister Madly does not like the dark end of the house, not when there’s mysterious hums and no curtains on the windows (seriously, Tallulah, that last one- what gives?)
But then, she became indignant: the Supper was not for 2 days yet! While simple etiquette tells us that fashionably late to a party is acceptable, 2 days early is nothing more than outrageously boorish, regardless of one’s mortal state. Sister Madly will have to see about leaving a Book of Manners at the cemetery the next time she passes by.
Armed with the adorable Ebenezer (ghosts, she decided, become weak in their nebulous knees at the sight of a grumpy Persian,) Sister Madly investigated this ghostly transmission and soon discovered the source: standing upright at the edge of the bathroom sink was Tallulah’s electric toothbrush, at full-power on its own accord, slowly rotating in its place.
If this was not the early arrival of the Invite, then this must be a transmission* of a wretched soul who had passed on in this very room. Everybody knows that ghosts commonly haunt the place of their death, particularly if that death was tragic.
And Sister Madly knows exactly how that happened:
* The transmission was a request of Chinese Takeout. Sister Madly, of course, obliged.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
~ * ~ * ~
POMEGRANATE GLAZED CHICKEN
- 8-10 chicken drumsticks/thighs
- 1 Tbsp sumac
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/3 cup olive oil
POMEGRANATE GLAZE ~ (yields approx. ½ cup)
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2-3 Tbsp honey (to taste)
- ¼-½ tsp harissa or sriracha (to taste)
- ½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- salt, to taste
Mix together marinade ingredients
Add chicken; shake/mix to coat
Refrigerate 30min – 24hrs
Mix together all ingredients except Worcestershire
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer to reduce (glaze will coat the back of spoon)
Add Worcestershire; mix and simmer 2-3 minutes
Adjust honey and harissa/sriracha to taste
Remove from heat; set aside
Preheat oven to 400*
Place chicken in a baking tray (for crispier chicken, add baking rack to tray)
Bake for 45 min
Remove from oven, brush chicken with glaze
Return to oven; bake 10-15 min, or until cooked through
Brush with remaining glaze straight from oven
THEME SONG: Ghost Story, Charming Disaster
“What are quantum mechanics?”
“I don’t know. People who repair quantums, I suppose.” ~ Terry Pratchett
Quite frankly, Sister Madly knows more about the mechanics of a toilet than she feels is necessary.
But this was not always the case; while weekly chores were implemented early in life, basic home repair was never a part of her childhood rearing- apparently, that’s what dads are for. Responsibility was given to her in the form of a psychopathic alarm clock- indeed, Sister Madly doesn’t know how to change a tire, or why the refrigerator makes that funny noise, or how to light the pilot (probably for the best, that last one) but make no mistake: she knows exactly what to do when the alarm clock detonates beside her when she is asleep.
However, these death-defying, skillet-wielding, alarm-silencing ninja-skills are totally useless when it comes to fixing a toilet.
Some 10 years ago, Sister Madly came home to the sound of water running in the tank. While this wasn’t a particularly new phenomenon on planet Earth, Sister Madly never really understood why it happened; thus she decided to investigate.
When she lifted the lid off the tank, so much steam was released that Sister Madly was certain Vincent Price was about to emerge from its depths to Tchaikovsky’s Lake in the Moonlight. When that did not happen- and a bitter disappointment, it was- Sister Madly investigated further to find that the tank was filled with hot water.
Somewhere deep within her twisted psyche was the inkling that this wasn’t suppose to be; however, a tank full of hot water may come in handy should she ever need to thaw a cryogenically-frozen chicken’s head at a moment’s notice. Sister Madly is practical like that.
Still, this did not explain the running water. So upon visiting her parents the next day, the Pater Madly gave her a brief lesson on toilet repair, making a point to say that if the screw was stripped, she would have to bend the float manually.*
* Despite his staggering intellect, the Pater Madly failed to mention certain key phrases, such as ‘call maintenance to fix it for you’… alright, he DID say that, but he should’ve put more emphasis on it.
Now Sister Madly has seen some weird things in her life, but the inner workings of her toilet were just so alien that she was pretty certain it was from another dimension entirely. Still, she managed to find the offending float amidst the fog and, since the screw was stripped, bent the float as directed- well, not bend the float so much as break it off completely.
A note for those smart enough to have called Maintenance in the first place: when one breaks the float off, the tank begins to fill with water.
And it does not stop.
Now the typical Sister Madly response to when something goes horribly wrong is to stare at the disaster and wonder just how long she can live with it. Unfortunately, Sister Madly couldn’t approach the Broken Float Situation with the same devil-may-care attitude, as the risk of a global flood was clearly imminent. Since she could not fix the toilet by staring the hell out of it (she tried) Sister Madly decided to call the Pater Madly, 1AM or not.
For a parent receiving a call in the middle of the night, her dad was remarkably unconcerned; there was more anxiety when she asked him about the Birds and the Bees back in the day. After being a good father by not saying “I told you to call Maintenance!” he informed her of the life-changing, humanity-saving apparatus lurking beneath the fog: the shut-off valve.
While this did not work completely, it did reduce the imminence of a global flood (you are welcome, human race!) by requiring Sister Madly to flush the toilet every 2 minutes instead of the previous 12 seconds. This of course was cause for celebration, and Sister Madly invited over her neighbor, Velma, where they spent the next 3 hours drinking Bailey’s and flushing the toilet, while rehearsing lines for Velma’s upcoming play: Arthur Miller’s The Creation of the World and Other Business.*
The plumber had never seen 2 such chipper near-victims of toilet tank drowning.
* The ‘Other Business,’ no doubt, being adventures in toilet tank repair. Very perceptive, that Miller fella.
SRIRACHA MANGO CHICKEN
- 10-12 chicken drumsticks/thighs
- Yogurt/Sour cream, to serve (opt)
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 3-4 tbsp oil
- 1 cup mango, cubed
- 1/4 cup sriracha
- 1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp butter
Mix together ingredients for Marinade
Add chicken; shake/mix to coat
Cover; refrigerate for 30 min – 24 hrs
Puree together mango, sriracha, and garlic
Transfer to saucepan
Add butter and water; heat for 15 min, stirring occasionally
Preheat oven to 400*
Place chicken in a baking tray (for crispier chicken, add baking rack to tray)
Bake for 45 min
Remove from oven, brush chicken with sauce
Return to oven; bake for 10-15 min, or until cooked through
Brush with remaining sauce straight from oven
Serve with yogurt or sour cream
THEME SONG: Lake in the Moonlight (Swan Lake), Tchaikovsky
An Eye for an Eye
Will Only Make
The Whole World Blind.
2.) Majla Art
There Comes a Time
When You Realize
The Only Person
Standing in Your Way
When the Professor announced that she was invited to a ‘Cougar and Dutch Baby’ party, Sister Madly concluded that she was being considered for membership to a secret society, and was suitably intrigued.
There was another outsider invited to this gathering of PhD elite: no doubt Josephine was recruited to join the ranks of Cougar which, despite her affinity for leopard print, seemed far-fetched as her boyfriend was only a few months younger than herself. Sister Madly, naturally, was chosen for the Dutch Baby not just for her age, but for the way she cheerfully embraces all the joys of infantile behavior at the expense of others.
However, there was just one flaw: Sister Madly is not Dutch.
Now this should have been fairly obvious, as Sister Madly lacks characteristics common of those who proudly claim a Dutch heritage, such as a passion for Gouda (she is fond of Gouda, but not passionately so) the ability to pronounce Eekhoorntjesbrood without bursting into tears, or deciding to be tall.*
* As Holland is such a small country, the only choice is to be tall- otherwise they would crowd themselves into Belgium.
Still, it’s nice to be included.
But a shadow soon fell over that festive gathering when Josephine produced a package of peculiar purple meat.
“It’s cougar, Sister Madly. It’s the main course.”
Wait- does this mean that Sister Madly was suppose to supply the Dutch Baby? Where was she suppose to dig up one of those without suspicion? It’s not like one finds curly-haired tots growing wild on the side of the road, and she can’t just pop over to Holland on a whim. And since Sister Madly failed on this mission- no doubt, the initiation- does that mean she is to substitute?
Now before you do anything foolish, Sister Madly, let’s think this over: as this society’s name ends with ‘Dutch Baby,’ your sacrifice will most likely be later in the evening, which leaves you with a few hours to plan a spectacular escape…
But this was interrupted when she found herself subjected to that diabolical apparatus known as the ‘Smart Phone’ (a misnomer, no doubt) when the Professor requested that she find the nutritional info on cougar.
Instead, she ended up with the info for Twinkies, which irritated the Professor despite it being well-known that Sister Madly is terribly inept in using Smart Phones. Cougar can’t be much worse than Twinkies, after all.
But since you are so concerned with nutrition, Professor, she must warn you that Sister Madlys are not FDA approved, and come with a Surgeon General’s Warning stating that they are bio-hazardous, processed in a plant that contains gluten, and highly-venomous.
Despite the nutritional uncertainty of cougar meat, the Professors decided to risk it all by preparing a delicacy worthy of any red-blooded, PhD barbarian: Schnitzel.
Throughout the meal Sister Madly should have been planning her escape; rather, she spent the time wondering if the Cougar would have thought twice about eating the alpaca had he known he would end up a Schnitzel. That’s got to be a severe blow to one’s pride…
..and you missed your chance, Sister Madly. Everyone is finished with the cougar, and seem to be eyeing you with famished glee.
Is this the part where you sacrifice the baby, Professor? Do remember that Sister Madly is not Dutch.
The incredulous silence was soon broken by an explanation on how Josephine, who raises alpacas and flocks of terrifying little children, had a few days prior found the fence behind her farm destroyed and one of the alpacas missing.
Well, most of the alpaca…
Typically, when cougar is spotted in a populated district, it is trapped and moved to a wilderness area- unless it proves to be aggressive or has harmed a person or domesticated/farm animal, in which case it is put down. Finding the beast responsible for this attack was relatively simple as it returned to the farm for second breakfast, became most displeased to find it unavailable, and attempted to take out this displeasure on Animal Control.
How convenient for Josephine. But what about the Dutch Baby? It’s not like infants are conveniently breaking into Sister Madly’s apartment and killing her dust bunnies; she simply does not have that luxury.
“It’s a pancake, Sister Madly. It’s baked in an oven in a cast-iron skillet.”
“No, with cinnamon.”
Well, that’s alright then.
CITY CHICKEN SKEWERS
- 1 cup Panko or pork rinds, crushed
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 lb. ground veal
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sage
- 1/2 tsp marjoram
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for min. 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 350*
Combine pork, veal, Worcestershire, garlic, sage, marjoram, salt & pepper
Mix Panko/pork rinds with smoked paprika
Form meat into kebabs
Coat kebab in egg, then crumbs
Place on tray and bake for 25-30 min, or until cooked through*
* Try not to overcook kebabs. It will only make you depressed.
THEME SONG: Nobody’s Baby Now, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Last night, our PTA meeting ended in bloodshed ~ Welcome to Night Vale
Once upon a time, fellow WordPress wayfarer, Locksley, embarked upon a sweet little escapade around the Archipelago of Malta– albeit without the saintly Sister Madly. Not that he should feel the least bit guilty about this, mind you, with Sister Madly being something of a stranger;* however, it should be noted that any misfortune that befell Locksley during this Madly-free holiday- such as a plague of flying ants falling from the sky- was simply a coincidence.
* Yes, yes- rumors persist about how Sister Madly’s traveling companions are never seen nor heard from again, but these are the risks one takes when traveling. Besides, no one has ever proven a thing.
So after rambling around this exotic locale (without her) the valiant Locksley passed along to Sister Madly a recipe for a local delicacy- seriously, it uses an entire bottle of wine; what’s not to love? A most gracious gesture indeed, my friend.
However, finding rabbit meat in her hometown was not as easy as it should have been. The local butcher scene remains rabbit-free to this day, no doubt from the appalling lack of such creatures in the immediate area. Apparently, her town is nothing like the lush, fertile landscape of Malta (where she as never been) which is essential to the cottontail diet.
This search eventually led Sister Madly into the dark recesses of a farmer’s market, where she found a freezer simply labeled ‘game meat.’ Not wishing to look like a vegetarian to the crusty ol’ rancher, Sister Madly approached the situation as carnivorously as possible:
What sound did this beast make when it was alive?
While she didn’t find rabbit that day, she now knows what a quail sounds like.
So just as Sister Madly was threatening to eat a chicken nugget for every minute she went without a rabbit, the universe came through with an unexpected source: the seaside-residing, yet ever resourceful, Tallulah.
Now one would think that a small, coastal town would be known for its fresh seafood, not for its exotic meats- but then, who is she to decide what tickles the fancy of a seaside hamlet? Even if the carcass looked suspiciously like Tallulah’s intrepid little feline, Caviar…*
* Sans fur. And head. And feet. And everything else that makes amateur forensic identification impossible.
Until that moment, Sister Madly had been rather ambivalent on the subject of small game butchery, and would have remained so had the rabbit already been jointed. Sure, she’s cut up a chicken before, but it takes a great deal of imagination to tie this:
… to this:
Really, Mr. Butcher, if you took such care to remove the head and the feet, could you not also joint the creature? No doubt the savage finesse with which you wield a cleaver is nothing short of a culinary ballet, but stopping short of jointing is much like flossing your teeth halfway through a pirouette.
And by the way, it was most considerate of you, Mr. Butcher, to leave the kidneys in tact. It’s like finding a pearl in an oyster- a delightful, disgusting, little pearl.
At least, she assumes those were the kidneys…
After watching a video of a posh British lady jointing a rabbit on the internet- and indulging in a cider or two- Sister Madly found herself uttering those fatal words: how hard can it be?
But what started as an evening full of Let’s Make Rabbit Stew! optimism quickly became a nightmare of hacking, sawing, and a few choice words for Posh British Lady on the Internet. It’s no wonder the butcher didn’t joint the creature- it’s virtually impossible. The state penitentiary should consider reinforcing their cells with rabbit bones- nothing short of the Holy Hand Gernade was going to cut through those suckers. It would have been easier to slaughter and joint her brother-in-law.*
* Not really. Well… no, not really.
Needless to say, Sister Madly’s stew appears to be less than traditional in its presentation- that is, not served on the bone. She says ‘appears’ because she has never been to Malta, thus cannot say for certain. No doubt this was merely an oversight on the part of the valiant Locksley, much like the way one forgets to pack a toothbrush.
* A special ‘Thank You’ to Locksley– even if you did forget to take her along. She’ll overlook it- this time.
MALTESE RABBIT STEW
- 1 Rabbit, jointed
- 1 bottle full-bodied red wine, such as Cabernet
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6-8 sprigs of thyme
- 6 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp sumac
- 3-4 cups chicken stock
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 16-18 cipollini or pearl onions, peeled
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 10-12 baby potatoes, cubed
- 1 cup peas
- 2 tbsp capers, rinsed
- salt and pepper, to taste
- oil, for sauteing
Marinate rabbit in garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and 1 cup wine 1 hour to overnight
In dutch oven, brown rabbit on all sides; set aside (reserve marinade)
Saute chopped onion in oil; 5 min
Deglaze with 1 cup wine; 3-5 min
Add sumac and tomato paste, mix
Add carrots, potatoes, cippolini/pearl onions, mix
Add rabbit and marinade (including bay leaves, thyme and garlic)
Mix in stock and remaining wine; bring to a boil
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1½ – 2 hours, or until meat is tender
Add peas and capers 10-15 minutes before the end of cooking
Remove bay leaves before serving
THEME SONG: White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane
Mothers are strange creatures. They can be very contradictory in nature.
Take the Mater Madly: one Christmas, she gave a young Sister Madly a lovely box of crayons, then became most displeased when Sister Madly used those crayons to create a masterpiece worthy of Michelangelo* on the living room wall. Her mother displayed the same mystifying irrationality when Sister Madly, after receiving a stamp with her name on it, used said stamp all over her face.
* The Ninja Turtle, not the Artist.
Clearly Sister Madly didn’t know how to utilize the toys to her mother’s satisfaction. Hula Hoops routinely found themselves stuck up in trees, Frisbees spent weeks upon the roof, while the her dad’s cologne – which, apparently, wasn’t a toy at all – was often spotted consorting with the condiments in the refrigerator. The complexities of these toys bewildered Sister Madly so much that she would give up and wander into the woods, where she would be found playing with her growing collection of odd-looking rocks.*
* This shouldn’t have surprised her mother in the least, as ‘rock’ was Sister Madly’s first word- or so the story goes.
The final straw, no doubt, was the day Sister Madly was found living out an especially whimsical South Seas voyage in the toy box rather than with the toys kept inside of it. Her parents thought it best to procure some toys that would require Sister Madly to associate with other living beings- in this case, people- lest her isolated world became so extraordinary that she decided to dwell in it permanently.
That is when the dolls started appearing.
Now Sister Madly had nothing against dolls per se, other than the fact that all of her sweet, demented adventures would now be played out through the dolls when it should be through Sister Madly herself. They would be the ones uncovering sacred artifacts, they would be traveling in gypsy caravans, and they would be the ones exploring haunted houses on nonexistent planets accessed through secret panels located inside the bread box, while Sister Madly gets to sit there and watch. So unfair.
But that isn’t to say Sister Madly didn’t enjoy playing with the dolls; after all, she and Tallulah were typical little girls who did typical sibling things.
Take this storyline, for example (a popular one in the Madliverse) :
Aleister, who worked as an elevator attendant at a swanky resort, had one task and one task only: to retrieve the elevator whenever it went awry, as it habitually shot through the roof and landed somewhere down the beach. He was also hunted by the resort’s Head Chef, who used the Jacuzzi to make his culinary masterpieces and found the soupe du jour to be especially tasty after Aleister fell into said Jacuzzi (when one is returning an elevator to its proper place, one tends to walk blindly.)
Meanwhile, the entire town is haunted by a serial killer whose chosen M.O. includes a butcher’s knife. However, said Killer finds himself plagued with that pesky misfortune of being assigned a theme song at birth (‘The Pink Panther’ in this case) which starts to play whenever he raises his hand, thus alerting his potential victims to his presence. Due to his symphonic affliction, he is known as The Most Incompetent Serial Killer in History, with a victim count currently in the negative.
These two worlds finally converged the day Aleister retrieved the elevator from the Waffle House (where it was found working as a line cook) when he encountered The Most Incompetent Serial Killer in History. This startled Aleister so much that his legs broke off and ran away, which resulted in his arrest for indecency as his legs ran off with his pants.
Aleister’s coworker, Elliot, learned of his friend’s predicament when he encountered Aleister’s legs on the treadmill (they were training for an upcoming marathon.) Elliot, disguising himself as a Bean Sprout, broke into the jail and found a pair of diamond-studded swimming trunks (appraised at $4.2 million) in the Sergeant’s locker, which he gave to Aleister so he would not be arrested of indecency once again after escaping from jail. This theft, of course, made the Sergeant very cross…
The retrospect does not do it justice! It sounds so incredibly dull.
The bartender, however- having just overheard Sister Madly relate this story to the Professors- had but one nagging question:
“So, what was the soupe du jour?”
THAI CHICKEN AND SWEET POTATO CURRY
- 4-6 boneless chicken thighs, whole
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 chili peppers, chopped and seeded ~ OR ~ cayenne pepper, to taste
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 14oz. can coconut milk
- 2-3 Tbsp red curry paste
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp lime juice, or to taste
- salt to taste
Saute onion in ghee/oil until translucent, 5 min
Add garlic, saute 1-2 min
Add curry paste, chilies, spices and bay leaf, cook for 30 sec
Add sweet potato, chicken, broth, fish sauce and coconut milk
Mix and bring to a boil
Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25 min
Uncover and shred chicken (in sauce) with 2 forks
Continue to simmer uncovered to reduce and thicken, 10-15 min
Stir in lime juice and remove from heat
THEME SONG: Your Favourite Toy, Michael Cretu
2.) Doll Created by Julien Martinez
As of late, Sister Madly has been reluctant to hang around the Professors for fear of catching something nasty, such as a chronic desire to play golf,* or a fatal love of calamari. When she gets restless, she absorbs such diseases like a sponge.
* But not triathlons. Sister Madly is immune to triathlons.
But when she was invited over to ‘assist in preparations for the upcoming holiday party’ Sister Madly’s restlessness got the better of her: not only did she accept the invitation, she arrived 3 minutes early- and was greeted at the door by one of the Professors who, quite unexpectedly, presented her with a cigar box.
Certainly this was a lovely gesture on the part of the Professor… a gesture that became lovelier still when Sister Madly discovered that the box did not contain the cigars depicted on the label- those had been enjoyed by person or persons unknown- but a pair of Taco Socks.
Now even though Sister Madly was invited over to ‘assist in preparations for the upcoming holiday party,’ the Professors weren’t actually allowing her to do so. If it hadn’t been for the aforementioned Lovely Gesture, Sister Madly surely would have shuffled off this mortal coil out of uselessness, if not boredom; instead, she was able to pass the time by putting the Taco Socks on the cat,* which resulted in the cat screeching like a banshee and leaping into the compost bucket.
* Sister Madly never quite got the hang of maturity, having bypassed adulthood completely and landing face-first in the middle of dementia.
This wouldn’t have happened, Professor, had you assigned Sister Madly a culinary task.
But the Professors, having decided that Sister Madly was terribly upset, denied her such a task, saying that when one cooks while angry, it comes across in the food.
And just how does one assess the temperament of a cookie, Professor? Is Sister Madly to assume that, if she doesn’t like a particular dish, the cook was angry during its preparation? She wasn’t angry the day she made the wicked little delicacy known as Ham and Banana Hollandaise– a bit puckish, perhaps, but not angry. Sister Madly could have been soaring on a lovely rainbow bliss and that dish still would have tasted like boiled gym socks.
It turns out that the Ham and Banana Hollandaise Incident was still a touchy subject for the Professors, the mere mention of which drove them to banish Sister Madly to the corner as though she was a particularly dim-witted child. They weren’t about to allow Sister Madly to help with the baking now as the Professors didn’t want to give their colleagues a batch of dim-witted cookies.
So Sister Madly made her displeasure known through the most passive-aggressive means imaginable: by ripping the heads and limbs off the gingerbread and turning them into zombies.
For the next few hours, Sister Madly served up tray after tray of grotesque little men with missing limbs, bleeding hearts, and x-ed out eyes- indeed, it was more than a culinary masterpiece; it was pure art. Sister Madly was rather pleased with the result- why, she couldn’t have been more pleased if she had ordered a hit on the local bakery like some Culinary Crime Boss…
“What are you doing?!”
Well, Professor, she was under the impression that she was doing you all a favor. You said you wanted the gingerbread decorated.
“But zombies? For Christmas?”
Christmas does not discriminate against the undead, Professor, and neither does the Underworld. Besides, you never specified how the gingerbread were to be decorated, so Sister Madly took certain liberties. Just as one can’t get mad at mustard for tasting like mustard, one can’t get mad at Sister Madly for doing Sister Madly things. Seriously, never has she heard such ingratitude- you could very well end up with a gingerbread head in your bed tomorrow morning!
It‘s like this, Professor: even though it may not be what you want, it may be exactly what you need. Taco Socks, for instance; never would Sister Madly have thought that one day her livelihood would depend upon the integrity of a Taco Sock and a few bits of electrical tape, but that is precisely what happened later that night when her windshield wipers became totally incompetent in the middle of a storm.
And by Jove, it worked like a dream! Why, with such an ingenious feat of engineering, there is no need to purchase a new set of wiper blades. It is both practical and resourceful, not to mention a daring fashion statement worthy of a Culinary Crime Boss. Just one look at her Taco Sock Wiper Blade and people will say, ‘Aye, now there’s a girl who knows what she is doing!’
And what you are doing, Sister Madly, is repairing your car with tacky neon footwear!
In the end, you did catch something nasty from the Professors, Sister Madly…
THEME SONG: You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Rolling Stones
Even the Old Ones deserve a little holiday cheer…
AWAKE YE SCARY GREAT OLD ONES
Awake ye scary great Old Ones let everything dismay!
Remember great Cthulhu shall rise up from R’lyeh
To kill us all with tentacles if we should go his way!
O’ tidings of madness and woe, madness and woe,
O’ tidings of madness and woe! (and great woe)
In Yuggoth and in Aldebaran the great Old Ones were spawned
Imprisoned by the Elder Gods to wait for long eons!
Enticing humans to release them,
Chanting dreadful songs!
O’ tidings of madness and woe, madness and woe,
O’ tidings of madness and woe! (and great woe)
An Arab said “That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange eons you will find that even death may die”!
The great Old Ones will rule once more
Then all will be destroyed!
O’ tidings of madness and woe, madness and woe,
O’ tidings of madness and woe! (and great woe)
*Repost from 2014
So you want to make a Christian Scare Film. Where do you go from here?
To begin with, this is not just a propaganda film; this is a Christian Scare Film, whose holy objective of “scaring people into heaven” is to be regarded as
blackmail coercion love. If successful, you may one day find your film at a popular independent movie rental under Cult Classics, sub category YAHWEH IS ANGRY.
Once again, you want to make a Christian Scare Film. Where do you go from here?
Allow Sister Madly to provide you with a few simple steps:
But for those of you who are biologically engineered to ignore sound advice, Sister Madly has gathered for you the tips to divine infamy based upon an untidy little Christploitation Series known as A Thief in the Night.
For those of you whose childhood was unsullied by this low-budget trauma, A Thief in the Night and its sequels depicts all the joys and unapologetic good-times to be had for those living in a post-apocalyptic world. True, the same can be said for many made-for-TV quality movies of that era, but Thief has a special place in Sister Madly’s history for unintentionally portraying both religion and 70’s fashion as slightly less appealing than the Tribulation.
Also, Ritz Crackers.
So once again, you want to make a Christian Scare Film. Where do you go from here?
~ MUSIC ~
The theme song should not be an uplifting little ditty easily forgotten, but a depressing, soul-sucking earworm. Otherwise, your viewers will just end up listening to their rock music in reverse, trying to decode the satanic messages.
~ INTERPRET THE SOURCE LITERALLY ~
The Book of Revelations is to be interpreted literally- especially the bit about the locusts.*
* Revelations 9:3-10
As you can imagine, it is difficult to find a grasshopper of that caliber.
So here is a picture of the classic cocktail.
~ RITZ CRACKERS ~
While one might think this is shameless product placement, this delicacy of yesteryear serves to remind Sister Madly of the old linoleum adorning in her parent’s kitchen floor. People tend to become wistful, if not melancholic, when faced with cracker nostalgia, which makes them much more susceptible to the Divine Message.
~ BAR CODES ~
Bar codes. Bar codes everywhere.
~ SCIENCE ~
Science is simply overrated. For example, it is entirely safe to wander about a city located a few miles from the site of a very recent nuclear detonation. The aforementioned city will also be entirely in tact and free from radiation- but a looted sweater will take care of any pesky contamination leftover on that abandoned Corvette your characters intend to take on a 14ft joyride.*
* Make sure your characters return the sweater. Christian Scare Films do not condone sweater theft.
~ CONTINUITY ~
Continuity is also overrated. Hairstyles and moustaches are best represented in the current fashion, and there is no need to concern yourself with dreary continuity errors even though your next film picks up immediately from where the previous one left off 3 years prior.
Filmed 3 years apart.
Takes place 30 seconds apart.
~ PYREX ~
Not the measuring cups currently produced, but the decorative kitchenware released between the 1940’s – 1980’s, which has become the obsession of
Tallulah collectors. The piece making a guest appearance in Thief is known as ‘Early American,’ Tallulah was quick to inform- that is, after much indignation was expressed that the bowl was actually used for mixing rather than sitting pretty on a shelf.* Too many Pyrex cameos, however, will distract Tallulah viewers from the Divine Message.
* Sister Madly strongly believes this is why Tallulah cannot stay awake through Casablanca: no vintage Pyrex. None.
~ HAND PUPPETS ~
Including hand-puppets for people too old to be communicating with hand-puppets will distract the viewers from the fact that your actor is too old to be playing a character who routinely communicates with hand-puppets.
~ STAR IN YOUR OWN FILM ~
Just do it!
Implement these simple, yet classic Scare Film Staples, and you, too, may one day find your film at a popular independent movie rental under Cult Classics, sub category YAHWEH IS ANGRY.*
* Sister Madly would be angry, too, if someone made an incompetent movie about her.
You will also scare the butterbeans out of anyone under the age of 7. Trust her on this one.
But most importantly: Ritz Crackers.
THEME SONG: I Wish We’d All Been Ready, The Fishmarket Combo
1.) A Thief in the Night
3.) A Thief in the Night
5.) Thief in the Night
6.) A Distant Thunder
7.) The Prodigal Planet
8.) A Distant Thunder/Image of the Beast
9.) A Thief in the Night
10.) A Thief in the Night
11.) A Thief in the Night
They say that around the end of October, the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. While the mysterious netherworld intrigues, Sister Madly finds the living to be much more tolerant of her delightful petulance than the dead simply because they have no other choice.
However, her sister, Tallulah, had some sort of romantic getaway planned for something called an ‘anniversary,’ and in no uncertain terms implied that Sister Madly was not welcome to tag along, despite the fact that there was ample room at that seaside cottage. Seeing as the only other option was to face the holiday alone, Sister Madly figured she might as well consort with the Dead.
And what better way than with a traditional Dumb Supper? *
* A Dumb Supper is a dinner held in honor of those who have passed on, where the living remain silent while at the table in reverence of the dead.
It’s often said that the deceased guests of said Supper are ‘loved ones,’ but is this a requirement? Is she allowed to invite total strangers, even those whose lifestyles some might frown upon? She would love to mingle with the likes of Vincent Price, Somerset Maugham, and Ambrose Bierce. David Bowie. Sidney Bechet. Gene Tierney. Jack the Ripper- he ought to be dead by now… right?
Apart from the proper Dumb Supper Invite Protocol, Sister Madly found herself baffled by one question in particular: how, exactly, does one invite the deceased to a Dumb Supper? To where does one send the invitation? Is it via carrier pigeon? Smoke-Signals? Or are the means much more mystical, such as through her decrepit old Speak-N-Spell which is definitely haunted?
It was during these ponderings that Sister Madly faced the reality of her accommodations: she doesn’t have enough room at her table to seat all of the Invited Dead- and by that she means she does not have a kitchen table. She would have to make due by seating them on the floor, Moroccan style, which would be no problem as she has an unholy amount of pillows stockpiled on her bed. The seating arrangement may be a bit peculiar as it zigzags through the apartment, with some guests sitting the bathtub and others in the kitchen,* but in the end even the Dead will admit that comfort and convenience is no match for a free meal.
* Jack the Ripper would not be seated near the cutlery. No need to place temptation within his reach.
When all was said and done, the total number of guests came to 13… and you know that THAT means!
But for those who lives are all sunshine and butterflies, it is said that the first person to leave the table of 13 will die within a year. Being the only living creature at this supper, it is practically guaranteed that this someone will be Sister Madly. Sure, she could invite the Professors to safeguard against this nuisance- no doubt they would totally be down for a free supper; but the ‘dumb’ part would almost certainly trip them up. There is always an opinion, observance, or unsolicited advice which deviant genetics forbids them from keeping to themselves, and Sister Madly thought it best not to offend the Ripper while in her apartment
So she decided to remedy this by adding to the guest list… until she reached a total of 37.
Well, way to go, Sister Madly! A meal for 37 will certainly be a strain on the weekly budget; the Invited Dead will have nothing to look forward to other than a feast of Ramen Noodles and Pickled Beets- which means you might still wind up with 13 for Dinner because of a poorly executed menu. What if the some of the guests are gluten intolerant? What if they only want Pop-Tarts? And what if the Invited Dead are engaged elsewhere at the appointed time? Sure, you won’t mind if some arrive fashionably late, but some may not show up at all, and you could very-well end up with only 13 for dinner…
Which begs the question: how is Sister Madly to know if the Dead DO attend? What if they have no message to pass along from the great beyond? What if they are painfully shy? What if they take sides on the great Bette Davis/Joan Crawford rivalry, and a otherworldly food fight breaks out right there in the middle of her apartment? She doesn’t own a mop, and her security deposit does not cover poltergiest…
Then there is the possibility that none of the Invited Dead are able to attend, leaving Sister Madly alone in her apartment with 38 bowls of Pickled Beet Ramen- a nightmare guaranteed to send her into hysterics.
Rather than risk years of intense therapy due to a Feast of Pickled Beets, Sister Madly decided to cancel the party entirely and buy some cider instead.*
* Nice & Naughty, to be exact.
WILD RICE AND MUSHROOM SOUP
- 24 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 3 rainbow carrots, thinly sliced
- 1-2 stalks celery, sliced
- 3-4 cups veggie ~ or ~ chicken stock
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 cup (dry measure) wild rice, cooked
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp rosemary
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp pepper, or to taste (used chipotle)
- 1 bay leaf
- Oil for sauteing
- Lg pinch tumeric (opt, for color)
Heat oil in stock pot
Sauté onion until translucent; 5 minutes
Add garlic; sauté
Add mushrooms; sauté for 5 minutes
Mix in spices until fragrant, about 30 seconds
Add stock and coconut milk; mix
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally
Mix in rice
Simmer to set flavors (10 -15 minutes)
Remove bay leaf
Allow to rest for 2+ minutes before serving
THEME SONG: Death is Not the End, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Sister Madly recently told a friend that when it comes to a Crazy Cat Lady, ‘crazy’ depicts the cat, not the lady.
She stands by this claim, by golly.
Now Sister Madly, herself, has 13 cats by proxy- 3 through the Professors, 2 via Tallulah, 1 outside the Pub, and 7 throughout the neighborhood. But this was not always the case; just a few years ago, Sister Madly had but 1: Tallulah’s cat, Caviar.
On the surface, Caviar is all fluff and cuddles, driven by a bloodlust for moths, canned peas, and pine needles, and is as much of a fan of hard cider as Sister Madly. Many a winter’s night he would curl up in her lap, licking cider off her fingers while Tallulah tutted her maternal disapproval, which was largely ignored. Indeed, Caviar was a lazy, languorous drunk.
But if one were to look straight into his soul: madness- sweet, cider-marinated madness. Yes, Sister Madly is proud of that little demon psychopath, having perfected the art of crazy with methods entirely of his own devising. It was most unfortunate that Caviar was not around during Sister Madly’s childhood to pass along some Tallulah-terrorizing tips, although her own signature move of sitting as close as possible to Tallulah- without actually touching- was a wicked success.
Unfortunately, Tallulah was not around for Caviar’s Masterpiece; no, she was out on something called a ‘date’ with someone called a ‘boyfriend’ due to this newfangled thing called ‘love’ the moment Sister Madly realized that half of her shoelace was missing. Had Tallulah mentioned that she would be away for most of the weekend (like a good elder sibling should) no doubt Caviar would have postponed his gastronomic escapade until she was all cozy at home in pink bunny slippers, painting her nails.
One would think that the rancid, I-hope-that-was-mud-I-just-stepped-in aftertaste that all shoelaces possess would have persuaded Caviar to abandon his hearty consumption, but being of the Madly mindset, he reasoned that there could be no funky aftertaste if he just kept on eating.* This resulted in an unhappy Caviar who spent the weekend deliberately making himself unsoft- thus no fun to pet- all the while giving Sister Madly the evil eye as though she had stuffed him full of shoelaces like a turkey on Thanksgiving.
* Hearty shoelace consumption causes tummy-aches. For your FYI.
Once Caviar grew tired of that shoelace mucking up his system, he decided to rid himself of it in the most natural way possible- and by that, Sister Madly means the way that Mother Nature had designed.
This turned out to be rather unpleasant for all parties involved.
You see, the shoelace that is ingested whole is returned whole; it does not magically separate inside a cat’s tummy, nor does it disintegrate (as Sister Madly was hoping it would.) Thus the feline that consumes 20 inches of shoelace returns 20″ of shoelace.
Unfortunately, Caviar could only manage 18” on the return, which immediately sent him into a Prima Donna’s tantrum, hissing and caterwauling about the apartment willy-nilly. Sister Madly tried to reason with him, explaining that while his situation was not ideal, it was impossible to run away from the shoelace while the shoelace was still a part of him. She likened it to the few times he had tried chasing his tail, but Caviar was having none of it. Cat logic, you see, holds no respect for the reasoning of mankind.
Now the one thing Sister Madly was told was that under no circumstance should she pull the shoelace out, as it could harm the pathetic little creature. Not that she had any desire to do so; the shoelace made him look like a pull-string doll, and she wasn’t too keen on finding out what Caviar would say if she gave it a tug. She had seen the Talky Tina Twilight Zone episode and had learned a thing or two.
But what’s more is that, thanks to Mother Nature, the returning shoelace was not a clean shoelace, not by any stretch of the imagination. This presented a whole new set of problems as the apartment was rapidly become unsanitary; and as ignoring the problem wasn’t making it go away (oh, how she tried!) Sister Madly- accompanied by Dean Martin’s That’s Amore– spent upwards of 10 minutes chasing Caviar around with a towel, hoping to somehow herd him into the bathroom where he could work out his issues like an adult.
But it was not necessary; throwing the towel over Caviar resulted in a spastic, get-this-neon-terrycloth-horror-off-of-me ritual exorcism, which was enough to free him from the shoelace as well.
Five minutes later, he came begging for cider.
* To those with the horribly twisted minds that Sister Madly so admires, no- the shoelace was not reusable.
THEME SONG: That’s Amore, Dean Martin
The Mystery of Life.
It is not in the Eye ~
it is in the Mind.
~ Agnes Martin
Is never a Place ~
Rather a New Way
of Seeing Things.
1) Ali Gulec
2) Charles Allan Gilbert
It’s been said that eavesdropping is the epitome of bad manners, but the truth is that in every conversation that ‘doesn’t concern you,’ there is a wealth of beneficial information. Sister Madly is proud to say that she now knows the ins and the outs of a Jetta engine; how to cheat at cribbage (she doesn’t know how to play, but she knows how to cheat); that the Earth is flat, by golly; and that anyone can be hired as a phlebotomist without the least bit of know-how.
No doubt it is a comfort to you to know that Sister Madly needs neither experience nor a Bachelor’s Degree to stick a needle into your veins and drain you of your life source. Degrees* and experience are the sort of things reserved for important jobs, such as dog-walking and waiting tables at the local tavern, and woe betide he who applies for these professions without them.
*Degree ‘in any field’ according to the dog-walking Ad, which is good news for Sister Madly’s neighbor who doesn’t know what to do with that BA in History.
Since the moment of her conception, Sister Madly has had a strong disinterest in any career remotely related to the healthcare field. To date, it remains a contender for the last career field she’d ever consider along with politics, trigonometry, and some lingering questions as to what it is that the Department of Sanitation does all day. So when the Happy Phlebotomist embarked upon his recruitment campaign for Phlebotomy Inc., it was all that Sister Madly could do to keep from silencing him in unspeakably creative ways.
But as he stood there with a malicious good cheer that showed all of his teeth, Sister Madly decided that it would be totally unfair to dismiss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity without hearing all the details. Perhaps there was a less hands-on position available, like personal assistant to the Head of Phlebotomy (known as ‘P’, no doubt) as a sort of Moneypenny Dreadful. So she asked if the position would require her to deal with people. Directly.
And with blood. Directly.
Yes, that was all it took to silence the Happy Phlebotomist, but it was without satisfaction. The look on his face was the same horror that commonly results after witnessing a ruthless desperado tossing chocolate bunnies through the propeller of a plane. He was completely incapable of accepting the idea that anybody would not want to pursue this fabulous profession- just absolutely fabulous.
“Are you saying that you can’t stand the sight of blood?”
And people, yes. Is that a problem?
Admittedly, Sister Madly did stretch the truth a bit: it’s not blood in general that she can’t stand, it’s her blood in particular that is terribly upsetting. As living creatures who often find themselves bewildered over the proper way to eat an Oreo, we each are entitled to this life-sustaining nectar in our veins; she’d just rather see your blood splattered across the pavement than her own.
It’s a personal preference. Like how lunar dust tastes better than coffee.*
*Again, Sister Madly is guilty of stretching the truth: lunar dust IS better than coffee, make no mistake.
There is, however, a practical side to her refusal: being a phlebotomist requires a certain finesse that Sister Madly tends to lack- you know, sticking a living someone with a sharp, pointy object in such a manner that not only causes the least amount of pain, but ensures that the someone survives the ordeal without thinking of the term ‘lawsuit.’ It also requires an unholy amount of precision that is sure to snap her sanity in two if not alleviated by eating the nearest couch.
And what about natural phenomena, such as earthquakes and spontaneous combustion? What if she sneezes in the midst of a job? She is not a dainty sneezer- you have no idea how close she came to blasting this world into oblivion last allergy season. Or what if she suddenly gets bored? Sister Madly tends to move onto another activity at the mere thought of boredom, leaving the previous one unfinished. That behavior can’t be good for business, just leaving people with needles jammed into their veins while she sits in mop bucket playing the jaw-harp.
But the Happy Phlebotomist heard none of this. Instead, he handed her a business card, told her to think it over, and to apply online. Also, there is a cat who lives in the parking lot.
Where does she sign up?
*It was later noted that, when recruiting the male species, the mention of the kitty was replaced with the mention of a sandwich shop across the street.
What I am looking for is a blessing not in disguise. ~ Jerome K. Jerome
Aside from the occasional fortune cookie, Sister Madly is rather inexperienced when it comes to magic. She sulks when the stars refuse to tell her anything specific, like how to replace the spark plugs in her car or which market is having a sale on her favorite cider. Yet the practitioners she encountered at Utopia back in the day had either less knowledge of the craft than she, or proved to be one noodle short of a darling chow mein- like this fellow.
So when a plucky pagan lad dropped by with a homemade candle asking if Utopia would allow him to ritually ‘bless the store,’ Sister Madly wasn’t quite sure what to do with him. Even the employees weren’t that dedicated; they routinely had to be bribed with a paycheck just to show up.
Management utterly adored the idea of such a ritual- after all, it was the grand opening of Utopia in its new location and they clearly could use all the supernatural aid the universe could spare. But even in their starry-eyed giddiness did Management retain enough wisdom to take measures to ensure that the Blessing did not result in a Blessing in Disguise by assigning Sister Madly to stand guard over the candle while it burned.
Typically, a votive candle has a lifespan of 8-10 hours. That means Sister Madly will be spending the better part of her day making certain that neither the clientele, the building, the city, nor the Utopian Sweetheart -Sinner*- caught on fire. This Sister Madly was perfectly able to do; she just wasn’t looking forward to it.
*A cat. A fat, lazy cat.
It rather generous of the lad, calling that scent ‘Tahitian Vanilla;’ ‘Burnt Toast’ was more like it. As for the Blessing… well, Sister Madly isn’t too familiar with pagan rituals, but she was almost certain that what the lad was doing around the candle was not so much ‘magic’ as it was ‘Pilates.’ However, once he began chanting in a cryptic and, in Sister Madly’s opinion, nonexistent language, she began to suspect that the Plucky Pagan was a card-carrying member of Club Psych Med- in fact, his entire ritual looked like something he picked up from watching far too many Hammer Films.
And Management just gave him permission to play with fire. Precious.
Now existential thoughts are inevitable when staring at a candle for hours on end, such as contemplating the meaning of life and wondering if it is possible to make Sake out of Rice-A-Roni. Breaking into such thoughts can be just as hazardous as waking a sleepwalker, yet Management risked it all by interrupting her thousand-yard stare.
“Do you think you can hurry that up?”
And just how does one hurry up a Blessing? If Sister Madly knew how to do that, she would be the most well-to-do complex organism in the local galaxy. One cannot hurry along a Blessing anymore than one can ‘Get a Life!’ or ‘Grow Up!’ on command. On the other hand, it is only a candle, and a questionable one at that; and while there are those who swear by Pilates, the practice is hardly magical- what repercussions could there possibly be?
Let’s start with coming face to face with THIS:
Yes, no sooner did Sister Madly snuff out the Burnt Toast Candle that the Lion appeared, with little regards as to who (Sister Madly) or what (the wall) was in his way. No doubt it was like the legend of Bloody Mary, where one can summon the spirit by chanting her name three times while looking into a mirror; thus when one snuffs out a Burnt Toast Candle, one summons a Dancing Lion from some Chinese New Year Celebration of days gone by- which was all fine and dandy, but what was Sister Madly to do with a Dancing Lion?
While those in attendance found the Lion Dance fascinating, the same cannot be said for Sinner who, at the start of the performance, launched himself from the counter via Victor’s open container of guacamole, onto the stroller of a terrified toddler, whose shriek sent Sinner straight into a display of creepy African Masks where he overturned several trays of beads.
Many, many beads…
This is because of the candle, isn’t it? Due to her insufficient understanding of Burnt Toast Candle Rituals, Sister Madly rendered the Blessing null and void by snuffing out the flame early. The Grand Opening Celebration would be forever be remembered as the day Sister Madly let a Blessing go awry, immortalized by photos of a Dancing Lion, green paw prints across various antiques, pillows and children, and a fat cat who refused to climb off the bookshelf until he had finished licking his feet.
Indeed, Utopia missed out on a Blessing that day…
But Sinner has liked guacamole ever since.
*The Lion Dance was planned weeks before by Management; they just neglected to mention it. To anyone.
THEME SONG: Dance with the Dragon, Jefferson Starship
All Images via Pinterest
Crows have been known to build fake nests in order to fool predators. Sister Madly intends to utilize this strategy the next time she goes camping by pitching a fake tent to fool her friends.
She might even make use of a papier-mâché Sister Madly decoy, which no doubt will go unnoticed for the first 36 hours.*
* Possibly 40, if special mushrooms are involved.
In a rational world, there are many reasons that one would camp out in the wild: to get out of the city, to go on an adventure, to hide a body, or to simply experience nature.
Oh there was nature, all right, in those outdoor adventures of yore…
Professor- was that a peacock?!
While the Professors heard her question, they apparently did not hear the distinctive, prehistoric squawk as their only response was a look suggesting that Sister Madly was treading dangerously close to butterfly-net territory. It would seem that not one of the Professors’ credentials included a PhD in birds.*
* Or anything useful, for that matter.
Furthermore, the Professors must have assumed that Sister Madly not only hallucinated the Peacock’s Song, but did so out of hunger as she was handed a bag of vegan cat treats.
For those unfamiliar with the species, ‘cats’ are those cuddly creatures that purr when happy and strategically hack hairballs into your shoes without the slightest bit of shame. There are kitties in the wild, this much is true: but they are awfully big kitties, Professor- seriously, are these Treats for the cougars?
“For the… Peacock.”
Now Sister Madly’s parents didn’t raise a fool- a darling rapscallion with latent psychopathic tendencies, perhaps, but not a fool. She was well-aware that when the word Peacock was spoken, it was italicized. So they didn’t believe there was a Peacock in the vicinity; so they were merely humoring her like a dim-witted child. So Sister Madly, in return, humored those hollow smiles by indulging in the Cat Treats herself.
However, it seemed that the Treats were intended for the Italicized Peacock after all, for no sooner did Sister Madly start munching on the Treats that the bag was snatched out of her hand with a serious reprimand.
“If you must eat, Sister Madly, then eat this.”
‘This’ turned out to be a most luxurious lump of something akin to the color grey, of which even the Italicized Peacock would be jealous. As the Italicized Peacock was unavailable, Sister Madly had the luxurious lump- which she ritualistically drenched in ketchup like a petulant 2 year-old- all to herself. The ketchup, however, was all in vain as the lump tasted like a near-death experience.
‘This’ was not something she should be eating. ‘This’ was something she should be playing Jacks with while sitting on the sidewalk, and Sister Madly became very depressed that it was in her mouth.
Sensing her dissatisfaction in the second-hand lump, the Professor engaged in a lofty dissertation on how oysters are a source of vitamins this and that, antioxidants, iron, zinc and oh, they can make pearls, Sister Madly! Isn’t that one of your birthstones? Aren’t you just tickled pink?
Sister Madly couldn’t help but be skeptical of any nutritional advice coming from someone whose daily serving of fruits and vegetables had, until recently,* consisted of whatever was garnishing a cocktail glass. But when she heard that oysters are also said to be aphrodisiacs, she began to suspect that the Professors had ulterior motives.
* This Professor had been a pescetarian for 4 days at this point, and would continue to be one for another 6- because, bacon.
But that’s ridiculous; when one is out of one’s element, one tends to be skeptical of anything unfamiliar. No doubt the Professor accidentally packed the Cat Treats instead of trail mix, and the oyster was simply overcooked. Of course the Professors had no ulterior motives; they were in it strictly for the adventure- that is why they insisted on that rugged fundamental: individual foot-baths infused with salt, rosemary and mint.
Face it, Sister Madly: there are ulterior motives at play. You are secretly being seasoned- what other possible explanation is there? Not even a pampered city slicker would insist on a salted rosemary and mint foot-bath out in the wild- isn’t all the sweat, dirt, and funky foot aroma part of the primal allure?
This suspicion was confirmed by the horror displayed when Sister Madly absolutely refused to washed her feet, and no amount of cider could make her comply. It doesn’t take a genius to pick apart your dastardly plan, Professor: a trail of Cat Treats leading from the woods to a rosemary and mint-marinated Sister Madly* smorgasbord, thus satiating the cougar appetite and calling a truce between the civilized world and the wild.
* A free-range Sister Madly, of course.
“Those aren’t Cat Treats, Sister Madly; that’s eggplant and tofu jerky. It’s been marinated in beer. Aren’t you allergic to hops?”
Eggplant, tofu, and hops.
Eggplant and Tofu…
Definitely utilizing that papier-mâché decoy during the next camping trip.*
* The Italicized Peacock agrees.
It’s a known fact that every great business transaction begins with “Psst, Buddy…”
More so when the negotiation sequence is initiated by a sock.
It began a few hours prior in faux Medieval times,* where all attempts to out-cupcake the Dodo in the Battle of the Baked Goods failed in a most pathetic manner. True, it was because Sister Madly fled in what looked like a cowardly fashion, but she had a good reason: her sock was slipping off.
*A Renaissance Faire.
For those still following along, aye- this would be same sock that accosted Sister Madly behind the Hatchet-Throwing Range (perhaps not the ideal place for a little business tête-à-tête, but the nearest Waffle House was several states away.) She lost her sock, you see, when the Dodo made off with it after Sister Madly launched it out the window of the Citadel That Has No Pearls. What became of the Avian Horror immediately after was a mystery- that is, until she came upon a 2-ton* Viking well-versed in Barbarian-speak with her sock on his hand. Sister Madly didn’t think that was very sanitary, but then, hygiene didn’t seem to be a top priority with this particular philistine.
It came as no surprise to find that, amongst his other fiendish virtues, the Dodo was a heartless Sock Trafficker, having sold her paisley little friend to the Vikings for mere pennies on the dollar. Now her wretched Sock was doomed to a life of hard Viking labor, such as drinking and pillaging, and bellowing incoherent battle cries (faux Medieval-era Vikings didn’t do much else.)
But what baffled her was that the Sock didn’t seem particularly upset about this- in fact, it seemed rather chipper, if not downright happy. The Sock was never happy on her foot; after all, it did try to slip off earlier in the day. It did fly out the window at the first opportunity, and not once did it protest when shanghaied by the Dodo.
And when one considers the fact that it was the Sock, itself, negotiating its own safe return…
She promised the Sock prime real estate in her sock drawer. She promised him treats. She promised to hand-wash him in the kitchen sink rather than force him to endure the spin-cycle, which can’t be a pleasant experience. She even promised to buy him a cider here and now… an offer that was interrupted by the arrival of some good, old-fashioned, plague doctor melancholy.
You’re bribing a Sock Puppet with a pint?
My dear corpse-bird, if Sister Madly had a dollar for every time… that is, she has negotiated with socks before, especially during that crucial washer-to-dryer transfer- that they honor their commitment to each other, that they implement the buddy system- admittedly with mixed results. Besides, she wouldn’t be bribing her Sock with a pint if someone hadn’t handed him over to the Vikings in the first place!
I set him free. If he loves you, he will return to you.
Why aren’t you out treating the plague?!
Do you see a case of the plague that needs to be treated?
Rather than admit that he had a valid point- or worse, that he was good at his job- Sister Madly lamented that she didn’t have any cupcake ammo aimed at his stone-cold heart (if he had one.) The Dodo then obliged her with a handful of his customary Mystery Flavored Dum Dums.
Which she threw right back at him.
But soon she faced a different dilemma: her other sock clearly wasn’t happy about being left out of the barbarism- she knew this, because it was currently working its way down to her toes much like its mate had. It wouldn’t be long before she had a mutiny on her hands, and to be overthrown by sock puppets was not the way she wanted to leave this planet.* Besides, this particular sock species tends to mate for life- one never sees a paisley sock paired with an argyle. To destroy such a bond would be cruel, and Sister Madly had no choice but to let this sock join its mate. Her conscience can be totally bourgeois, sometimes.
And so Sister Madly pulled off her other sock and stuffed it into the Viking’s drinking horn.*
*Her conscience can be a total brat as well.
THEME SONG: Rock-A-Sock-A-Hop, Jimmy Crain
And on the air was the scent of hush puppies ~
Too cruel, she said, too cruel.
Poetry like this accounts for the continuing success of bongos and berets.
It also accounts for the long litany of Sister Madly’s unanswered applications over the years. Perhaps she shouldn’t have included that little ditty on her résumé after all.
Some years ago, Sister Madly was forced to admit that one can spend only so much time shape-shifting and harvesting organs down in the cellar without paying the electric bill. In an effort to remedy this, one particular Want Ad drew her attention like a fly to a lovely blue bug-zapper: a Hearse Driver for the Mortuary.
They didn’t demand much: professional appearance, clean driving record, willing to work for ten cents above minimum wage. No doubt the customer complaints would be on the low side- a plus during her darker, more introverted moments* – and let’s not overlook the generous perks, such as the use of the company car. Sister Madly delighted in the vision of gleefully joyriding that Doombuggy through the nearby HOA.
* i.e., all the time.
Of course every job has its drawbacks, such as the potential to seriously impede her already questionable social skills by associating with nothing but the dead, not to mention that a rundown of her day could really sour the mood at a party. She could call herself a chauffeur, if asked: whether the person she transports in that limousine alive or not is merely a technicality. Furthermore, it is better than come cushy job that requires her to harass little blue-haired ladies and mispronounce their names.
Though her motives were slightly suspicious, Sister Madly allowed herself to daydream that first magical day on the job…
Or perhaps she should keep looking.
And so Sister Madly spent the next 3 minutes daydreaming herself into all the brilliant careers that would inevitably cross her path, including:
~ Personal Trainer ~
~ Body Guard ~
~ Superhero ~
~ Ice Cream Truck ~
~ Celebrity ~
~ Celebrity Impersonator ~
~ Indie Musician Who Pours Taps at Local Craft Brewery on Wednesdays ~
~ Artist’s Model ~
~ Latest Fad-Diet Weight Loss Guru ~
~ Nanny ~
~ Personal Shopper ~
~ THIS ~
~ Undercover Security Agent at PDX International Airport ~
~ Little Bunny Foo-Foo ~
~ The T-1000 Terminator ~
~ Lead ‘Bud’tender at the Corner Head Shop ~
~ Navy Seal ~
Then again, mortuary work depends entirely upon bodies. Perhaps Sister Madly would be more successful in the business of creating those bodies rather than collecting them. An independent contractor, if you will.
So would any of you like some elderberry wine?
** Sister Madly tends to picture herself as a Smart Car. No one knows why.
THEME SONG: Working Girl, The Members
All Images: Pinterest
If only she were the Pizza Boy…
This Sister Madly lamented as she sulked outside the gated community that refused to let her in. Nobody, but nobody would refuse admittance to the Pizza Boy; he has access to some of the most exclusive, if not luxurious, districts in the world!
But if the truth be told, the only reason she wanted to intrude upon this neighborhood was that she simply wasn’t allowed, which resulted in a spectacular fit. However, it was this tantrum that led her to the INFO Box containing the Association’s bylaws, should Sister Madly wish to settle down in the community as there were several building sites available…
A few days later, Elitist Gated Community found themselves subjected to a new set of bylaws, as those in the INFO Box were replaced by
Sister Madly persons unknown, with the Manifesto outlined below.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
SUMMARY OF RESTRICTIONS
FOR ARKHAM ACRES SITE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION
1. Each unit is limited to one single-family residence. Home occupation is permitted subject to requirements set forth in the bylaws, wherein doomsday cults are prohibited without prior written permission from the Association, as additional fees are required per month until the pre-determined day of damnation.
2. Written approval by the Association is required for the following: outbuildings, flag poles, Zen gardens, bunkers, picnic tables, hammocks, spider webs, and pools.
2.1 Only kidney-shaped pools are permitted.
3. Construction and landscaping plans must be approved by the Association. If such plans are not satisfactory, the Association will takeover the construction and landscaping designs for the resident.
3.1 Houses made of stucco, stones, logs, cedar siding, aluminium siding, ice, sugar cubes, or gingerbread are prohibited.
3.2 Rose bushes, once approved by the Association, must be absent of thorns at all times.
4. Garage doors are to be kept closed at all times, except that which is reasonably necessary to gain access to and from any garage. Violators are subject to an HOA fine and a surly note from the Condo Board President, Great Cthulhu.
5. Signage is not permitted. This includes but is not limited to: hunting restrictions, trespass notices, bio-hazard warnings, billboards, and celebrations banners. The Community Newsletter, quarantine warnings, and foreclosure notices are exempt.
5.1 No political sign may be displayed during election years, unless and only if signs supporting all major candidates are displayed side by side, without showing prejudice or partiality to any one party in particular.
6. No animals, fish or fowl may be kept or maintained, except dogs, cats, Deep Ones, and ferrets, which may be kept in reasonable numbers are pets. The Association prohibits the stray wanderings of animals kept as pets, unless and only if the pet is the same or similar design, color and texture of the residence.
7. Recreational and commercial vehicles may not be parked, stored, used, looked at, or thought about without the prior written permission of the Association.
7.1. Zeppelins are exempt and may be used on the property at your leisure, subject only to the requirements set forth in the Association’s bylaws.
8. Trees, fences, gates, or dandelions cannot be located closer than 33 feet from the center line of the private road.
8.1 The center line of the private road is prohibited.
9. No accessory building may have more than 50.32 square feet, and must have the same or similar design, color and texture as the residence.
9.1 Outhouse accessory buildings are to follow Association guidelines, with the addition of the mandatory last quarter moon on the door. First quarter moons are strictly prohibited.
10. All garden hoses are to be coiled in a counter-clockwise spiral when not in use.
11. Parking vehicles in the driveway is not permitted, unless and only if the vehicle is the same or similar design, color and texture as the residence.
12. Swing sets, bird baths, plastic flamingos, and lawn ornaments are strictly prohibited. Violators are subjected to severe penalties by Great Cthulhu.
12.1 Garden Gnomes are exempt.
13. All leaves must be raked into no more than 3 piles. While one large pile is prohibited, 2 piles are ideal, but three is permissible.
13.1 Orange leaves are not to be mixed with yellow leaves, nor are they to be mixed with red leaves. Red and yellow leaves may be raked together, however, as red and yellow are the primary colors that create the singular color orange, thus creating two piles of orange leaves.
13.2 Brown leaves are prohibited and cannot be mixed with any other color leaf at any time.
13.3 All leaves are to be off the trees by the first of November.
14. Lawns must be mowed from left to right, and only on Thursday afternoons.
15. Barbecues or other Outdoor Celebrations without the prior written permission and the invitation of Great Cthulhu, as well as the active participation of the entire neighborhood, are prohibited.
15.1 Propane grills are strictly prohibited as the Association has decided that these grills are harmful to the ozone layer. It is pertinent to understand that the Association is environmentally-conscious as it retains its own militant EPA officer 24 hours a day.
15.1.2 Ozone is strictly prohibited.
16. In regards to the holidays:
16.1 The carving of pumpkins into unsightly, unfriendly, unhappy and otherwise unattractive faces is not permitted.
16.1.1 Pumpkins carved in honor of Great Cthulhu are exempt, as His beauty comes from within.
16.2 Exterior decorations are prohibited, including but not limited to: holiday lights, wreaths, inflatables, snowmen, snow angels, footprints, and holiday trees unless and only if the decorations are of the same or similar design, color and texture of the residence.
16.3 The salutation of ‘Merry Christmas’ amongst residents, guests, and postal servicemen within the Association is strictly prohibited as there are many who do not celebrate this holiday. Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Yule, International Day of Disabled Persons, National Bouillabaisse Day, Wear a Beard of Bees Day, and Upper Volta Independence Day also fall in the month of December, and you are reminded to greet all persons with the salutation of ‘Seasons Greetings’. Violators are subject to devouring by the very liberal Great Cthulhu.
17. See Restriction 19.3
18. While gluten-free pizza is permitted, its delivery by persons in vehicles outdated by 5 years, in vehicles whose electrical system is thoroughly un-American, or in vehicles held together by rust, duct tape, or cheeky bumper stickers is strictly prohibited. Gluten-free pizza must be delivered in discreet, unmarked vehicles and only by certified gluten-free pizza persons.
18.1 The safety of all Certified Persons participating in the delivery of gluten-free pizza cannot be guaranteed, even if that Certified Pizza Person follows the guidelines set forth in the bylaws, as Great Cthulhu has an appetite for Pizza Delivery Persons.
19. Numbers depicting the street address of the residence must be placed in a visible area no more than 4 inches from the left side of the door.
19.1 Only polished brass numbers are permitted. Numbers that have been exposed to the elements, thus causing a rainbow discoloration, are forbidden.
19.2 Missing numbers are prohibited. Violators, first time or repeat ones who somehow got away with it in the first place, are subject to the swift and terrible judgement of Great Cthulhu.
19.3 This restriction is intentionally left blank.
20. All mailboxes must be of the same or similar shape and design. Mailboxes depicting birds, flowers, rust, or those shoved heartlessly into a large-mouth bass, are prohibited.
20.1 Due to privacy concerns, mailboxes will not display the resident’s name or street address.
20.2 Mailbox keys are limited to one per residence. For security purposes, mail keys cannot be duplicated. Keys will be mailed to each resident by the move-in date.
21. A yearly Association fee of $0.03 is required of each residence for the upkeep of the community, including trash removal, landscaping and general maintenance. A monthly fee of $666 per person, per residence is required for no reason in particular.
22. Units 49 and 50 are exempt from the requirements set forth as they are, unfortunately, pre-existing units.
ARKHAM ACRES IS AN EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF USED CAR SALESMEN; HELL’S ANGELS AFFILIATES; THE UNCIVILIZED; CONVICTED FELONS; AND CLOVE-SMOKING, FEDORA-WEARING, VEGAN-ATHEIST-CROSSFITTING YUPPIES WITH WEBBED FEET.
Complaints, Comments, and Words of Worship are to be mailed to the Office of Great Cthulhu on the back of a $50 bill.
Office hours of Great Cthulhu are kept from 1 PM until 2 PM, with an hour off for lunch.
* Re-post from 2014