If We Were Having Coffee…

Good morning! It’s finally September, right? Then I’ll have a pumpkin spiced latte. Hold the whipped cream. Almond milk, please. I’m taking a break from dairy.

Don’t look at me like that. I’m not becoming another one of those nondairy, plant-based, “eating animals is bad,” basic, valley, vegan chicks (just a basic pumpkin spice chick) flooding the interwebs…

But, I may be going… lactose intolerant.

I don’t know, can someone suddenly become lactose intolerant when they’ve never had an issue before? All I know is I’ve been having some major digestive problems whenever I eat or drink anything with dairy in it. Noticed it mostly with the butter I put in my food because I actually don’t drink cow’s milk anymore… unless it’s in coffee…or mac and cheese.

Haven’t noticed a problem with cheese yet, but if that happens, I think I will literally die.

There is no vegan substitute for cheese. Period.

With a “T.”

PERIODT!!!

It’s like tofu. I don’t care how you dress it up, I know it ain’t chicken. And no matter how much cashew milk and nutritional yeast you put in your little witch’s brew…IT DON’T TASTE LIKE CHEESE!

Fight me.

But we’re getting a bit off topic. Let’s talk about the real reason you’re here…

Where the frack have I been?

I know, I know. It’s been about three months since my last post—five months since the last time you saw a post from me daily (April A to Z Challenge). Do I have an explanation for my absence?

Nope.

Well, I do… but I’m not going to tell you because I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. (Still dealing with the inner trauma of an ex calling me a nagging complainer… *cue uncomfortable laugh*)

If you really must know, let’s just say computers have not been a friend to my eyes lately. The whole office environment, really. Have you ever notice how bright those florescent lights are? Geez, would it kill ya to put in a dimmer??

But seriously, I think I’m finally learning how hard it is to balance a day job with my creative passions. Because let’s be honest, at my last job, I hardly did anything. Just sat at a desk and answered a phone that rarely rang. The highlight of my day was organizing some files, okay?

Now that I’m in a world of deadlines and production spikes and ever-changing style guides and meeting an editing proficiency of four pages per hour (which can sometimes be difficult when the material is really dense, poorly written, or God forbid, ESL!) all under too bright florescent lights and computer backlights, ya girl is T-I-R-E-D.

There, I said it. There’s your explanation.

When I come home from work, sometimes I just want to lie in bed, in the dark, with a cool, wet compress over my eyes. Getting back on a computer is furthest from my mind, unfortunately for you guys. Though, I appreciate those who still come back to visit my old posts.

And especially on those occasions when I do muster up the energy to write something and post, I thank you for giving me a second chance at entertaining you…

Like today…

Even though it’s with less than 600 words…

And it’s not fiction or poetry.

Hopefully, that will come back soon. When I’ve emptied my mind of all my work-related obsessions and stresses and have left them…at work.

And hopefully, it won’t be another three months before you hear from me again.

But for now, I have to say goodbye. I must rest my eyes.

Office Small Talk

“Good Morning! Did you enjoy your Thanksgiving?”

God, I hate her. Some people are just too damn chipper at 9 AM. Everybody hates Mondays, but the Monday after a holiday is particularly unbearable, and here she is, standing outside my cubicle, rocking on the balls of her feet, barely taller than my 3-draw filing cabinet, eager to hear me reminisce about my Thanksgiving feast. God, I hate her!

“I ate, watched football, went to sleep.”

“What did you have to eat? Did you have family over? Did you go somewhere?”

Now she’s sitting on the corner of my desk, the toes of her red faux alligator skin flats just grazing the carpet. God! Just scan whatever papers you need to and go! Just because the copy machine is located behind my cubicle, that does not give you reason to make small talk with me. Do you see this face? The bags under my eyes, the slight curl at the corner of my mouth, the wrinkle on the bridge of my nose. This is a face that is not interested in small talk. Do you feel how your lips blab on and on? Like the sputtering exhaust pipe to a classic 1950’s Chevy truck. You are small talk. I am not interested in you.

“The typical Thanksgiving dinner, I guess. Turkey, ham, mac and cheese, dressing—”

“Dressing or stuffing?” she says with a wink. I just look at her. She flaps her hand in my face, as if to say she’s only kidding. I really don’t care.

“Either way, it’s delicious. With stuffing, you get the juice from the turkey to season it even more.” She licks her lips. “Mmm! I love the Stovetop brand.”

“I prefer it fresh,” I say flatly.

She sits there quietly. Her eyes roll as she searches her mind for something else to say. God, just go already! I swear, some people come to work with so much vigor while the rest of us are only here to collect a paycheck. The highlight of our day is logging false facilities tickets and having the cute maintenance guy from the basement bend over in front of us to check on a problem we know isn’t there. Sexual harassment, my ass. Eight hours dealing with dumb asses like her—we’ve got to find a little light to bring into our day.

Because we damn sure aren’t trying to be friends with our co-workers. We definitely don’t want to waste another second of our lives with them going out for a drink after work. And we absolutely abhor pointless copier conversation. God, it’s worse than elevator talk! Nice weather we’re having—yes, this day is moving by so slow—four more days to Friday. 

UGH! Kill me now! Does she see me making a gun with my thumb and index finger, pointing it to my head? I know she sees me. God, let her see me. Pull the fucking trigger!

“Well my daughter and son-in-law came up from Tallahassee. Tallahassee, Florida?”

Like I don’t fucking know.

“It was great seeing them. He travels a lot for work, so—”

I wish I could travel for work. Book me a trip to India. Half our jobs are outsourced there, anyway. Anything to rid myself of this incessant woman.

“I’m still waiting on grandkids. They’ve been married five years, you’d think it’s time.” She brushes her hair off her forehead. “I know, I don’t look like a grandma.”

We all know you dye your hair, bitch. With that Ellen DeGeneres haircut, and that Whoville nose, and those 101 Dalmatians freckles—better get those checked, bitch, they could be skin cancer. Heaven please, let them be skin cancer!

Maybe I’m just a bitch.

—Nortina

Black Poetry Writing Month: Write a Poem in Dialect

Southern Road

Swing dat hammer—hunh—
Steady, bo’;
Swing dat hammer—hunh—
Steady, bo’;
Ain’t no rush, bebby,
Long ways to go.

Burner tore his—hunh—
Black heart away;
Burner tore his—hunh—
Black heart away;
Got me life, bebby,
An’ a day.

Gal’s on Fifth Street—hunh—
Son done gone;
Gal’s on Fifth Street—hunh—
Son done gone;
Wife’s in de ward, bebby,
Babe’s not bo’n.

My ole man died—hunh—
Cussin’ me;
My ole man died—hunh—
Cussin’ me;
Ole lady rocks, bebby,
Huh misery.

Doubleshackled—hunh—
Guard behin’;
Doubleshackled—hunh—
Guard behin’;
Ball and chain, bebby,
On my min’.

White man tells me—hunh—
Damn yo’ soul;
White man tells me—hunh—
Damn yo’ soul;
Got no need, bebby,
To be tole.

Chain gain nevah—hunh—
Let me go;
Chain gain nevah—hunh—
Let me go;
Po’ los’ boy, bebby,
Evahmo’. . . .

—Sterling A. Brown, from Southern Road (1932)

 

Dialect was historically viewed as unsophisticated by the literary elite. They thought the use of vernacular exposed a writer’s failure to use correct grammar and understand proper English.

The presumption is present in art even today. Rihanna’s latest single, “Work,” was received negatively by a lot of reviewers because they didn’t understand the lyrics and assumed it was just lazy gibberish, when in fact, she was speaking Jamaican Patois, an English-based creole language with West African influences. Knowing that Rihanna is a native of Barbados, her singing in a language/dialect common to her region would represent a big part of her identity and artistry.

Work, work, work, work, work, work
He said me haffi (He said I have to)
Work, work, work, work, work, work!
He see me do mi (He saw me do my)
Dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt!
So me put in (So I put in)
Work, work, work, work, work, work
When you ah guh (When are you going to)
Learn, learn, learn, learn, learn
Meh nuh cyar if him (I don’t care if he’s)
Hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt, hurting

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Sterling A. Brown’s “Southern Road” uses choppy dialogue and local colloquialisms to illustrate a chain gang member lamenting his woes while performing hard labor. The repetition of lines and the ababcb rhyme scheme creates a musical tone to the poem. While on the surface, it appears very simple, “Southern Road” is a lyrical poem that creates a strong sense of setting, strikes the visual and audio senses with the repetition of “hunh” as the speaker brings down the hammer over and over, and provides a literary medium for social discourse and conversations about race.

Today for BlaPoWriMo, write a poem in dialect. How do you express your identity using colloquialisms? What sophisticated concepts can you express with uncomplicated words and phrases? Illustrate a scene that invokes the senses and summarizes our culture.

—Nortina

Dreams of Paradise

I hate my job. The customer is not always right. In fact, the customer is almost never right. You can be damn sure that the customer will be wrong every single time.

And no, I will not give you that sweet deal; it will end up coming out of my commission; if you can’t afford the phone, don’t buy it. And yes, your data plan will still cost $34.95 a month. And no, that does not include the price of your phone, which is extra. And why on earth do you think you can get away with only paying $6.99 for an iPhone 6?

“We’ve had several complaints about you, Diane,” my manager says. “They think you’re rude and unfriendly.”

“I will not entertain stupid questions.”

“I think I’ll let you go for the day. Don’t bother coming in tomorrow.”

So this is how one gets fired, I think to myself as I sit on the bench at the subway station, waiting on my train. I gotta tell ya, I was kind of hoping he would go all Donald Trump on me—one eye squinted, lips half pursed, pointing his finger at me like a pistol. Pow! “You’re fired!”

I fall asleep and find myself transported to an island paradise where the water is as blue as the sky, the sand white as snow, and the plush vegetation a deep green, fertilized by the rich, volcanic soil. I stand on the edge of a cliff, hold my hands above my head, and dive into the clear water.

They found my body on the tracks after the #5 train passed through. I guess I was sleepwalking.

word count . . . let’s just say I went over 😉

—Nortina


This is in response to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: write a story in 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) using the provided photo prompt as inspiration.

I was inspired by one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes: “A Stop at Willoughby

Click on the froggy icon to read other stories and add your own!

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