30 Stories in 30 Days: Day 6By Darci Ratliff
November 06, 2011
For an explanation of 30 Stories in 30 Days, start at Day 1.
It’s Day 6 and I don’t feel like writing anything today. But when I asked myself how I would like to describe my day to someone who might ask tomorrow, I decided “I spent the day writing” sounded better than “I slept in and watched a bunch of Lifetime movies.”
So, I spent the day writing and I ended up with three almost finished stories that are way too long and rambly and pointless and self indulgent and just generally kind of the worst. Kind of like the Lifetime movies of stories. I threw them all away and decided instead to write down three very short anecdotes about my grandmother.
ONE: The Wrong Word.
Once my grandmother was with my aunt and my teenage cousin when their car would not start. They spent a few minutes trying to get it to start, and then lifted the hood like people do when their cars won’t start, even if they do not know how to fix cars. Finally, my aunt went to find help and returned a few minutes later with a nice man carrying jumper cables.
My grandmother said to my cousin, “Oh, I bet that man’s going to jack us off!”
TWO: Baby It’s Cold Outside
For a few years in the mid 1980s my grandfather, who worked in the oil biz, got stationed in North Dakota. I remember going to visit them and being blown away that they were living in an apartment, instead of a house or mobile home. It seemed very cosmopolitan.
My grandmother told a story about shopping in Bismarck–how she stopped to admire some hand sewn pot holders and embroidered pillow cases in a booth in the middle of the mall. The woman running the booth was ancient–“in her 90s, at least,” according to my grandmother. She approached the old woman holding a pot holder and said, “These are beautifully made. They must have taken a very long time.”
The woman replied, “Well, gets so cold here in the winter, the only thing there is to do is sew… and fuck.”
THREE: Ancient Herstory
None of us know anything about my biological grandfather, really. My grandmother’s first husband, my father’s father, was out of the picture when my dad was still a kid. And as far as my grandmother was concerned, he no longer existed. There were no photos, no stories. I only knew that his nickname was “Puss” and that he died before I was born.
That’s the thing about my grandmother–once you messed with her or her kids, you became a ghost. You were out of the picture–and I mean that literally. When I inherited her photo albums I found hundreds of pictures of my aunt cut in half, or with gaping holes in them. They were all photos of her first husband who had been unceremoniously removed after their divorce. My grandmother wasn’t satisfied in just cutting him out of our future–she cut him out of our past as well.
When I think of my Uncle Dick, I can’t quite picture his face, so I just think of a phantom arm around someone’s neck. If my grandmother had been in the CIA she would have been really good at giving burn notices.
I got jacked off by a nice man with jumper cables. It’s not as fun as it sounds.
You got jacked off by a man who had jumper cables, or you got jacked off with jumper cables by a nice man?
Makes a difference.