The Righteous Tax Evaders


Ironically, they have begun levying taxes. Or “tithes” as they prefer to say.

What began as an earnest protest, and journeys downriver to avoid the tollbooth on the very road they had helped preserve and protect, has ended as do all journeys towards regional importance.

The thing about protecting places is that it inevitably costs money – a militia, walls, wells, equipment. And if you, the ruler, pay for it all out-of-pocket, you might create enough inflationary pressure that monsters become a lesser concern. The dragons, they could deal with. The forces of macroeconomics not so much.

So the Righteous Tax Evaders are in the process of quietly burying their old moniker, much aided by the fact that until recently – despite all their giant- and undead-slaying – no one had really known who they were.

One could say they are disgruntled, but above all, they are realists.

The trouble with melons


Bobby Werther, at a luncheon

Partook of melon medley sorbet

And then reacted so badly, he

Was laid up the next four days

So he called for an appointment

And two years later, duly went

To be plastered with little patches

Of potent allergens

“This is the fruit sampler?” he asked

To which, “Oh yes,” the nurses said

So Bobby went home and itched

The next week and a bit

Then he returned to the clinic

With its exhorbitant parking rate

Unshowered, as instructed

Since his last appointment date

That day, the doctor appeared

And seeing him, declared

“You are quite allergic to shelfish,

And that is all I see – take care!”

“But what about the melons?”

Bobby asked as she rose to go

“Well, we didn’t have all the samples,”

She said. “They’re a hassle to get, you know.

So you may be allergic to a melon

And it may be prudent to abstain,

But its the shellfish and the crayfish

That would surely fry your brains.”

“Oh, but that I knew,” said Bobby

“I always avoid crustaceans

Had I known about those patches

I’d have asked to skip them.”

But the doctor was long gone

Nurses hustling in her wake

So Bobby shrugged and got his coat

And went to pay the parking rate

Her Nineteenth Letter to Kate – and Others


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Back to the Beginning

Dear Mother,

I am indeed getting to know my neighbours. Only yesterday I took tea with one of the rancher families of Kingstowne, the Thurstons, who number among the town’s founders. They have the loveliest porch you ever saw. Young Miss Thurston had only just returned from Cartaeser, and was a most genial and polite hostess.

The matter of your joints aching is quite concerning, have you gone back to Doctor Watts? I own I suspect you of complaining without the intent to consult a medical professional! But you know these things never get better on their own.

Irene must be very busy, or in one of her moods, for I have not heard from her the last few letters I wrote. Perhaps I managed to offend her with one of my missives!

Get well,

Your Georgia

Dear Kate,

As the heavens and all their naked cherubs be my witness, I am not fit to deal with the intricacies of small town life. Being out here has brought home to me how much I appreciate big towns and cities, where one can easily disappear, whilst interactions necessary to daily life are greased by that veneer of universal, uninterested politeness that is the great achievement, in my opinion, of the modern age.

Would that your Everett might advise me. He sounds like quite the diplomat, suggested seating arrangements such that your mother and his shan’t have any reason to take offence at the wedding. Unfortunately, that is the very sort of thing I fail to consider.

I was having a lovely day – the very first, real, lovely day since I arrived in Kingstowne. The week prior a Mr. and Mrs. Thurston came to call on me at the Haverly, Saturday tea-time. They are, in fact, the well-to-do ranchers I mentioned in the context of the cow incident. Mrs. Brougham was at her most polished as she brought me down to sit with them in the front room and then whisked herself away. The Thurstons were most genteel; a light joke about the heat, but nothing about the cow; and they asked me to tea at their home, for their daughter was due back from a visit among friends in the city, and she would certainly be delighted to make my acquaintance.

So this afternoon I saddled Lorenzo (yes, he remains an unknown quantity) and went up to their ranch, for which Mrs. Brougham gave me most thorough directions, and advised me – with only a twinge of sarcasm – to wear a hat this time. I went to the trouble of acquiring a proper sort of split-skirt riding habit for the occasion, also on Mrs. Brougham’s advice, and was very glad when I arrived, for Miss Thurston was so prettily turned out that I should have felt immeasurably worse in my usual.

The Thurstons, however, were so pleasant so as to make me speedily forget any comparisons between myself and the daughter. And they seeming to be a busy sort of people, I was left for the bulk of the tea-time tete-a-tete with Miss Thurston, who was terribly engaging.

What a breeze, coming off the rolling grasses, and there in the shade of the porch, learning all sorts of gossip and drinking a cold tea, I felt I understood why some folk adore this place.

Only, when I took my leave and rode away down the cart-track, a passel of ranch hands made a great show of stepping out of my path, and ducking their heads. Not only was there was plenty of room to pass, but I own I was shocked to be treated like a lady as I was in England; ever since arriving in New Britain I have thought of myself – and have been received – as a District Official in a dusty coat. Now I should have forgotten all about the ranch hands, except that I had to stop by the general store for a hand salve on my way back to the Haverly, after having stabled the inscrutable Lorenzo. And at the store, when Mr. Lorelli asked after my day, and I said I had taken a very nice tea with Miss Thurston, there was a general oddness in the air. When I got back to my rooms, I realized that Mr. Lorelli’s usual volubility had converged to a more normal state – normal, that is, were it not he.

Now I am huddled at my desk in the Office, wondering whether I am paranoid but mostly sure that I am not; and mostly sure that Mr. Ridgetop’s muttered question about how I had liked Thurston’s ranch was both piercing and significant, in a way I cannot appreciate; and I am not in much state to consider the significance of winding valley formations right now, so I am writing to you instead.

I wonder whether all small towns are so troublesome. Who went telling Mr. Ridgetop that I was up at Thurston’s, anyhow? And why should anyone care whether my tea was a weak mint with one of Mrs. Broughams biscuits, or an Earl Grey with milk and little cakes with Miss Thurston?

Your bumbling cousin,

Georgia

P.S. Perhaps Kingstownians are prejudiced against tea-cakes, Kate, and now that I have ingested some on New British soil I shall be persona-non-grata forever.

Next

When I took a break (snack)


I made burrito bowls and falafels

And protein-type snack

At last a recipe of my own

One point five cups oatmeal

Blended into flour

Point five cups protein powder

(chocolate, of course)

Point five cups bran flakes

(crushed up but still crunchy)

Point five cups peanut butter

(smooth, just peanuts)

One tablespoon of coconut oil

And a dash of salt

Rolled into balls of whatever size

And I just kept on eating

Instead of

Blogging

 

Origins


“No, I don’t believe in our having been chimpanzees, or cavemen, or peasants without indoor plumbing, or the like. Don’t go calling me a creationist, though – I can see it in your face. I think the creationists have it wrong, too.

“I’ll allow for the possibility of dinosaurs and the planet being however many eons old. But I’m not going to be suckered in by the theory that our ancestors ran around for millennia without cotton underwear, Advil, or knowing to boil their water.

“You’ll see why, if you think about it. So many untreatable itches and infections would have gotten us. No black pants or clean pads – if the predators didn’t get you, the vaginosis would have. No oatmeal baths or baby-grade laundry detergent. No cranberry juice, probiotics, antibiotics, acid capsules, or surgeons to pick out stray bits of uterus.

“No. We all had to be born somehow, and there’s just no way that vaginas could have survived in the wild.”

Mostly Rhyming


Boudoir-01.png

I’m really excited to say that I have completed my first illustrated anthology, “Mostly Rhyming”. This is a collection of my poems interspersed with black and white digital sketches like the bunny in the boudoir above 🙂

The e-book is on Amazon in Kindle format –  and the Kindle app is free!

Pine


Her nails were pine green to match her dress, and she knew that he was looking at them. She didn’t usually paint her fingernails. Even looking away, at this point, could be a provocation.

She looked away anyways. She wished that they were stranded deep in a forest in winter, snow creeping hot then wet then blisteringly cold up from her ankles.

Somehow, for him to actually lift up one of her hands – fingertips under fingertips – was the last thing she expected.

“Did you paint them just for the party?”

It was crowded, the sour haze of alcohol, and they were standing in their own little pocket by the sink. A window flung wide open, a searing January wind. That was what she needed. Her hand shot backward to hide between her skirt and the counter.

She could not do anything about the hand holding her glass, however.