Casino House - Kinsale Forum - Tripadvisor

SKRIBBL WORD LIST

Pac-Man
bow
Apple
chest
six pack
nail
tornado
Mickey Mouse
Youtube
lightning
traffic light
waterfall
McDonalds
Donald Trump
Patrick
stop sign
Superman
tooth
sunflower
keyboard
island
Pikachu
Harry Potter
Nintendo Switch
Facebook
eyebrow
Peppa Pig
SpongeBob
Creeper
octopus
church
Eiffel tower
tongue
snowflake
fish
Twitter
pan
Jesus Christ
butt cheeks
jail
Pepsi
hospital
pregnant
thunderstorm
smile
skull
flower
palm tree
Angry Birds
America
lips
cloud
compass
mustache
Captain America
pimple
Easter Bunny
chicken
Elmo
watch
prison
skeleton
arrow
volcano
Minion
school
tie
lighthouse
fountain
Cookie Monster
Iron Man
Santa
blood
river
bar
Mount Everest
chest hair
Gumball
north
water
cactus
treehouse
bridge
short
thumb
beach
mountain
Nike
flag
Paris
eyelash
Shrek
brain
iceberg
fingernail
playground
ice cream
Google
dead
knife
spoon
unibrow
Spiderman
black
graveyard
elbow
golden egg
yellow
Germany
Adidas
nose hair
Deadpool
Homer Simpson
Bart Simpson
rainbow
ruler
building
raindrop
storm
coffee shop
windmill
fidget spinner
yo-yo
ice
legs
tent
mouth
ocean
Fanta
homeless
tablet
muscle
Pinocchio
tear
nose
snow
nostrils
Olaf
belly button
Lion King
car wash
Egypt
Statue of Liberty
Hello Kitty
pinky
Winnie the Pooh
guitar
Hulk
Grinch
Nutella
cold
flagpole
Canada
rainforest
blue
rose
tree
hot
mailbox
Nemo
crab
knee
doghouse
Chrome
cotton candy
Barack Obama
hot chocolate
Michael Jackson
map
Samsung
shoulder
Microsoft
parking
forest
full moon
cherry blossom
apple seed
Donald Duck
leaf
bat
earwax
Italy
finger
seed
lilypad
brush
record
wrist
thunder
gummy
Kirby
fire hydrant
overweight
hot dog
house
fork
pink
Sonic
street
Nasa
arm
fast
tunnel
full
library
pet shop
Yoshi
Russia
drum kit
Android
Finn and Jake
price tag
Tooth Fairy
bus stop
rain
heart
face
tower
bank
cheeks
Batman
speaker
Thor
skinny
electric guitar
belly
cute
ice cream truck
bubble gum
top hat
Pink Panther
hand
bald
freckles
clover
armpit
Japan
thin
traffic
spaghetti
Phineas and Ferb
broken heart
fingertip
funny
poisonous
Wonder Woman
Squidward
Mark Zuckerberg
twig
red
China
dream
Dora
daisy
France
Discord
toenail
positive
forehead
earthquake
iron
Zeus
Mercedes
Big Ben
supermarket
Bugs Bunny
Yin and Yang
drink
rock
drum
piano
white
bench
fall
royal
seashell
Audi
stomach
aquarium
Bitcoin
volleyball
marshmallow
Cat Woman
underground
Green Lantern
bottle flip
toothbrush
globe
sand
zoo
west
puddle
lobster
North Korea
Luigi
bamboo
Great Wall
Kim Jong-un
bad
credit card
swimming pool
Wolverine
head
hair
Yoda
Elsa
turkey
heel
maracas
clean
droplet
cinema
poor
stamp
Africa
whistle
Teletubby
wind
Aladdin
tissue box
fire truck
Usain Bolt
water gun
farm
iPad
well
warm
booger
WhatsApp
Skype
landscape
pine cone
Mexico
slow
organ
fish bowl
teddy bear
John Cena
Frankenstein
tennis racket
gummy bear
Mount Rushmore
swing
Mario
lake
point
vein
cave
smell
chin
desert
scary
Dracula
airport
kiwi
seaweed
incognito
Pluto
statue
hairy
strawberry
low
invisible
blindfold
tuna
controller
Paypal
King Kong
neck
lung
weather
Xbox
tiny
icicle
flashlight
scissors
emoji
strong
saliva
firefighter
salmon
basketball
spring
Tarzan
red carpet
drain
coral reef
nose ring
caterpillar
Wall-e
seat belt
polar bear
Scooby Doo
wave
sea
grass
pancake
park
lipstick
pickaxe
east
grenade
village
Flash
throat
dizzy
Asia
petal
Gru
country
spaceship
restaurant
copy
skin
glue stick
Garfield
equator
blizzard
golden apple
Robin Hood
fast food
barbed wire
Bill Gates
Tower of Pisa
neighborhood
lightsaber
video game
high heels
dirty
flamethrower
pencil sharpener
hill
old
flute
cheek
violin
fireball
spine
bathtub
cell phone
breath
open
Australia
toothpaste
Tails
skyscraper
cowbell
rib
ceiling fan
Eminem
Jimmy Neutron
photo frame
barn
sandstorm
Jackie Chan
Abraham Lincoln
T-rex
pot of gold
KFC
shell
poison
acne
avocado
study
bandana
England
Medusa
scar
Skittles
Pokemon
branch
Dumbo
factory
Hollywood
deep
knuckle
popular
piggy bank
Las Vegas
microphone
Tower Bridge
butterfly
slide
hut
shovel
hamburger
shop
fort
Ikea
planet
border
panda
highway
swamp
tropical
lightbulb
Kermit
headphones
jungle
Reddit
young
trumpet
cheeseburger
gas mask
apartment
manhole
nutcracker
Antarctica
mansion
bunk bed
sunglasses
spray paint
Jack-o-lantern
saltwater
tank
cliff
campfire
palm
pumpkin
elephant
banjo
nature
alley
fireproof
earbuds
crossbow
Elon Musk
quicksand
Playstation
Hawaii
good
corn dog
Gandalf
dock
magic wand
field
Solar System
photograph
ukulele
James Bond
The Beatles
Katy Perry
pirate ship
Poseidon
Netherlands
photographer
Lego
hourglass
glass
path
hotel
ramp
dandelion
Brazil
coral
cigarette
messy
Dexter
valley
parachute
wine glass
matchbox
Morgan Freeman
black hole
midnight
astronaut
paper bag
sand castle
forest fire
hot sauce
social media
William Shakespeare
trash can
fire alarm
lawn mower
nail polish
Band-Aid
Star Wars
clothes hanger
toe
mud
coconut
jaw
bomb
south
firework
sailboat
loading
iPhone
toothpick
BMW
ketchup
fossil
explosion
Finn
Einstein
infinite
dictionary
Photoshop
trombone
clarinet
rubber
saxophone
helicopter
temperature
bus driver
cello
London
newspaper
blackberry
shopping cart
Florida
Daffy Duck
mayonnaise
gummy worm
flying pig
underweight
Crash Bandicoot
bungee jumping
kindergarten
umbrella
hammer
night
laser
glove
square
Morty
firehouse
dynamite
chainsaw
melon
waist
Chewbacca
kidney
stoned
Rick
ticket
skateboard
microwave
television
soil
exam
cocktail
India
Colosseum
missile
hilarious
Popeye
nuke
silo
chemical
museum
Vault boy
adorable
fast forward
firecracker
grandmother
Porky Pig
roadblock
continent
wrinkle
shaving cream
Northern Lights
tug
London Eye
Israel
shipwreck
xylophone
motorcycle
diamond
root
coffee
princess
Oreo
goldfish
wizard
chocolate
garbage
ladybug
shotgun
kazoo
Minecraft
video
message
lily
fisherman
cucumber
password
western
ambulance
doorknob
glowstick
makeup
barbecue
jazz
hedgehog
bark
tombstone
coast
pitchfork
Christmas
opera
office
insect
hunger
download
hairbrush
blueberry
cookie jar
canyon
Happy Meal
high five
fern
quarter
peninsula
imagination
microscope
table tennis
whisper
fly swatter
pencil case
harmonica
Family Guy
New Zealand
apple pie
warehouse
cookie
USB
jellyfish
bubble
battery
fireman
pizza
angry
taco
harp
alcohol
pound
bedtime
megaphone
husband
oval
rail
stab
dwarf
milkshake
witch
bakery
president
weak
second
sushi
mall
complete
hip hop
slippery
horizon
prawn
plumber
blowfish
Madagascar
Europe
bazooka
pogo stick
Terminator
Hercules
notification
snowball fight
high score
Kung Fu
Lady Gaga
geography
sledgehammer
bear trap
sky
cheese
vine
clown
catfish
snowman
bowl
waffle
vegetable
hook
shadow
dinosaur
lane
dance
scarf
cabin
Tweety
bookshelf
swordfish
skyline
base
straw
biscuit
Greece
bleach
pepper
reflection
universe
skateboarder
triplets
gold chain
electric car
policeman
electricity
mother
Bambi
croissant
Ireland
sandbox
stadium
depressed
Johnny Bravo
silverware
raspberry
dandruff
Scotland
comic book
cylinder
Milky Way
taxi driver
magic trick
sunrise
popcorn
eat
cola
cake
pond
mushroom
rocket
surfboard
baby
cape
glasses
sunburn
chef
gate
charger
crack
mohawk
triangle
carpet
dessert
taser
afro
cobra
ringtone
cockroach
levitate
mailman
rockstar
lyrics
grumpy
stand
Norway
binoculars
nightclub
puppet
novel
injection
thief
pray
chandelier
exercise
lava lamp
lap
massage
thermometer
golf cart
postcard
bell pepper
bed bug
paintball
Notch
yogurt
graffiti
burglar
butler
seafood
Sydney Opera House
Susan Wojcicki
parents
bed sheet
Leonardo da Vinci
intersection
palace
shrub
lumberjack
relationship
observatory
junk food
eye
log
dice
bicycle
pineapple
camera
circle
lemonade
soda
comb
cube
Doritos
love
table
honey
lighter
broccoli
fireplace
drive
Titanic
backpack
emerald
giraffe
world
internet
kitten
volume
Spain
daughter
armor
noob
rectangle
driver
raccoon
bacon
lady
bull
camping
poppy
snowball
farmer
lasso
breakfast
oxygen
milkman
caveman
laboratory
bandage
neighbor
Cupid
Sudoku
wedding
seagull
spatula
atom
dew
fortress
vegetarian
ivy
snowboard
conversation
treasure
chopsticks
garlic
vacuum
swimsuit
divorce
advertisement
vuvuzela
Mr Bean
Fred Flintstone
pet food
upgrade
voodoo
punishment
Charlie Chaplin
Rome
graduation
beatbox
communism
yeti
ear
dots
octagon
kite
lion
winner
muffin
cupcake
unicorn
smoke
lime
monster
Mars
moss
summer
lollipop
coffin
paint
lottery
wife
pirate
sandwich
lantern
seahorse
Cuba
archer
sweat
deodorant
plank
Steam
birthday
submarine
zombie
casino
gas
stove
helmet
mosquito
ponytail
corpse
subway
spy
jump rope
baguette
grin
centipede
gorilla
website
text
workplace
bookmark
anglerfish
wireless
Zorro
sports
abstract
detective
Amsterdam
elevator
chimney
reindeer
Singapore
perfume
soldier
bodyguard
magnifier
freezer
radiation
assassin
yawn
backbone
disaster
giant
pillow fight
grasshopper
Vin Diesel
geyser
burrito
celebrity
Lasagna
Pumba
karaoke
hypnotize
platypus
Leonardo DiCaprio
bird bath
battleship
back pain
rapper
werewolf
Black Friday
cathedral
Sherlock Holmes
ABBA
hard hat
sword
mirror
toilet
eggplant
jelly
hero
starfish
bread
snail
person
plunger
computer
nosebleed
goat
joker
sponge
mop
owl
beef
portal
genie
crocodile
murderer
magic
pine
winter
robber
pepperoni
shoebox
fog
screen
son
folder
mask
Goofy
Mercury
zipline
wall
dragonfly
zipper
meatball
slingshot
Pringles
circus
mammoth
nugget
mousetrap
recycling
revolver
champion
zigzag
meat
drought
vodka
notepad
porcupine
tuba
hacker
broomstick
kitchen
cheesecake
satellite
JayZ
squirrel
leprechaun
jello
gangster
raincoat
eyeshadow
shopping
gardener
scythe
portrait
jackhammer
allergy
honeycomb
headache
Miniclip
Mona Lisa
cheetah
virtual reality
virus
Argentina
blanket
military
headband
superpower
language
handshake
reptile
thirst
fake teeth
duct tape
macaroni
color-blind
comfortable
Robbie Rotten
coast guard
cab driver
pistachio
Angelina Jolie
autograph
sea lion
Morse code
clickbait
star
girl
lemon
alarm
shoe
soap
button
kiss
grave
telephone
fridge
katana
switch
eraser
signature
pasta
flamingo
crayon
puzzle
hard
juice
socks
crystal
telescope
galaxy
squid
tattoo
bowling
lamb
silver
lid
taxi
basket
step
stapler
pigeon
zoom
teacher
holiday
score
Tetris
frame
garden
stage
unicycle
cream
sombrero
error
battle
starfruit
hamster
chalk
spiral
bounce
hairspray
lizard
victory
balance
hexagon
Ferrari
MTV
network
weapon
fist fight
vault
mattress
viola
birch
stereo
Jenga
plug
chihuahua
plow
pavement
wart
ribbon
otter
magazine
Bomberman
vaccine
elder
Romania
champagne
semicircle
Suez Canal
Mr Meeseeks
villain
inside
spade
gravedigger
Bruce Lee
gentle
stingray
can opener
funeral
jet ski
wheelbarrow
thug
undo
fabulous
space suit
cappuccino
Minotaur
skydiving
cheerleader
Stone Age
Chinatown
razorblade
crawl space
cauldron
trick shot
Steve Jobs
audience
time machine
sewing machine
face paint
truck driver
x-ray
fly
salt
spider
boy
dollar
turtle
book
chain
dolphin
sing
milk
wing
pencil
snake
scream
toast
vomit
salad
radio
potion
dominoes
balloon
monkey
trophy
feather
leash
loser
bite
notebook
happy
Mummy
sneeze
koala
tired
sick
pipe
jalapeno
diaper
deer
priest
youtuber
boomerang
pro
ruby
hop
hopscotch
barcode
vote
wrench
tissue
doll
clownfish
halo
Monday
tentacle
grid
Uranus
oil
scarecrow
tarantula
germ
glow
haircut
Vatican
tape
judge
cell
diagonal
science
mustard
fur
janitor
ballerina
pike
nun
chime
tuxedo
Cerberus
panpipes
surface
coal
knot
willow
pajamas
fizz
student
eclipse
asteroid
Portugal
pigsty
brand
crowbar
chimpanzee
Chuck Norris
raft
carnival
treadmill
professor
tricycle
apocalypse
vitamin
orchestra
groom
cringe
knight
litter box
macho
brownie
hummingbird
Hula Hoop
motorbike
type
catapult
take off
wake up
concert
floppy disk
BMX
bulldozer
manicure
brainwash
William Wallace
guinea pig
motherboard
wheel
brick
egg
lava
queen
gold
God
ladder
coin
laptop
toaster
butter
bag
doctor
sit
tennis
half
Bible
noodle
golf
eagle
cash
vampire
sweater
father
remote
safe
jeans
darts
graph
nothing
dagger
stone
wig
cupboard
minute
match
slime
garage
tomb
soup
bathroom
llama
shampoo
swan
frown
toolbox
jacket
adult
crate
quill
spin
waiter
mint
kangaroo
captain
loot
maid
shoelace
luggage
cage
bagpipes
loaf
aircraft
shelf
safari
afterlife
napkin
steam
coach
slope
marigold
Mozart
bumper
Asterix
vanilla
papaya
ostrich
failure
scoop
tangerine
firefly
centaur
harbor
uniform
Beethoven
Intel
moth
Spartacus
fluid
acid
sparkles
talent show
ski jump
polo
ravioli
delivery
woodpecker
logo
Stegosaurus
diss track
Darwin Watterson
filmmaker
silence
dashboard
echo
windshield
Home Alone
tablecloth
backflip
headboard
licorice
sunshade
Picasso
airbag
water cycle
meatloaf
insomnia
broom
whale
pie
demon
bed
braces
fence
orange
sleep
gift
Popsicle
spear
zebra
Saturn
maze
chess
wire
angel
skates
pyramid
shower
claw
hell
goal
bottle
dress
walk
AC/DC
tampon
goatee
prince
flask
cut
cord
roof
movie
ash
tiger
player
magician
wool
saddle
cowboy
derp
suitcase
sugar
nest
anchor
onion
magma
limbo
collar
mole
bingo
walnut
wealth
security
leader
melt
Gandhi
arch
toy
turd
scientist
hippo
glue
kneel
orbit
below
totem
health
towel
diet
crow
addiction
minigolf
clay
boar
navy
butcher
trigger
referee
bruise
translate
yearbook
confused
engine
poke
wreath
omelet
gravity
bride
godfather
flu
accordion
engineer
cocoon
minivan
bean bag
antivirus
billiards
rake
cement
cauliflower
espresso
violence
blender
chew
bartender
witness
hobbit
corkscrew
chameleon
cymbal
Excalibur
grapefruit
action
outside
guillotine
timpani
frostbite
leave
Mont Blanc
palette
electrician
fitness trainer
journalist
fashion designer
bucket
penguin
sheep
torch
robot
peanut
UFO
belt
Earth
magnet
dragon
soccer
desk
search
seal
scribble
gender
food
anvil
crust
bean
hockey
pot
pretzel
needle
blimp
plate
drool
frog
basement
idea
bracelet
cork
sauce
gang
sprinkler
shout
morning
poodle
karate
bagel
wolf
sausage
heat
wasp
calendar
tadpole
religion
hose
sleeve
acorn
sting
market
marble
comet
pain
cloth
drawer
orca
hurdle
pinball
narwhal
pollution
metal
race
end
razor
dollhouse
distance
prism
pub
lotion
vanish
vulture
beanie
burp
periscope
cousin
customer
label
mold
kebab
beaver
spark
meme
pudding
almond
mafia
gasp
nightmare
mermaid
season
gasoline
evening
eel
cast
hive
beetle
diploma
jeep
bulge
wrestler
Anubis
mascot
spinach
hieroglyph
anaconda
handicap
walrus
blacksmith
robin
reception
invasion
fencing
sphinx
evolution
brunette
traveler
jaguar
diagram
hovercraft
parade
dome
credit
tow truck
shallow
vlogger
veterinarian
furniture
commercial
cyborg
scent
defense
accident
marathon
demonstration
NASCAR
Velociraptor
pharmacist
Xerox
gentleman
dough
rhinoceros
air conditioner
poop
clock
carrot
cherry
candle
boots
target
wine
die
moon
airplane
think
pause
pill
pocket
Easter
horse
child
lamp
pillow
yolk
potato
pickle
nurse
ham
ninja
screw
board
pin
lettuce
console
climb
goose
bill
tortoise
sink
ski
glitter
miner
parrot
clap
spit
wiggle
peacock
roll
ballet
ceiling
celebrate
blind
yacht
addition
flock
powder
paddle
harpoon
kraken
baboon
antenna
classroom
bronze
writer
Obelix
touch
sensei
rest
puma
dent
shake
goblin
laundry
cloak
detonate
Neptune
cotton
generator
canary
horsewhip
racecar
Croatia
tip
cardboard
commander
seasick
anthill
vinegar
hippie
dentist
animation
Slinky
wallpaper
pendulum
vertical
chestplate
anime
beanstalk
survivor
florist
faucet
spore
risk
wonderland
wrestling
hazelnut
cushion
W-LAN
mayor
community
raisin
udder
oyster
sew
hazard
curry
pastry
mime
victim
mechanic
hibernate
bouncer
Iron Giant
floodlight
pear
sad
paw
space
bullet
skribbl.io
shirt
cow
worm
king
tea
truck
pants
hashtag
DNA
bird
Monster
beer
curtain
tire
nachos
bear
cricket
teapot
nerd
deaf
fruit
meteorite
rice
sniper
sale
gnome
shock
shape
alligator
meal
nickel
party
hurt
Segway
Mr. Bean
banker
cartoon
double
hammock
juggle
pope
leak
room
throne
hoof
radar
wound
luck
swag
panther
flush
Venus
disease
fortune
porch
machine
pilot
copper
mantis
keg
biology
wax
gloss
leech
sculpture
pelican
trapdoor
plague
quilt
yardstick
lounge
teaspoon
broadcast
uncle
comedian
mannequin
peasant
streamer
oar
drama
cornfield
carnivore
wingnut
vent
cabinet
vacation
applause
vision
radish
picnic
Skrillex
jester
preach
armadillo
hyena
librarian
interview
sauna
surgeon
dishrag
manatee
symphony
queue
industry
Atlantis
excavator
canister
model
flight attendant
ghost
pig
key
banana
tomato
axe
line
present
duck
alien
peas
gem
web
grapes
corn
can
fairy
camel
paper
beak
corner
penny
dig
link
donkey
fox
rug
drip
hunter
horn
purse
gumball
pony
musket
flea
kettle
rooster
balcony
seesaw
stork
dinner
greed
bait
duel
trap
heist
origami
skunk
coaster
leather
socket
fireside
cannon
ram
filter
alpaca
Zelda
condiment
server
antelope
emu
chestnut
dalmatian
swarm
sloth
reality
Darwin
torpedo
toucan
pedal
tabletop
frosting
bellow
vortex
bayonet
margarine
orchid
beet
journey
slam
marmalade
employer
stylus
spoiler
repeat
tiramisu
cuckoo
collapse
eskimo
assault
orangutan
wrapping
albatross
mothball
evaporate
turnip
puffin
reeds
receptionist
impact
dispenser
nutshell
procrastination
architect
programmer
bricklayer
boat
bell
ring
fries
money
chair
door
bee
tail
ball
mouse
rat
window
peace
nut
blush
page
toad
hug
ace
tractor
peach
whisk
hen
day
shy
lawyer
rewind
tripod
trailer
hermit
welder
festival
punk
handle
protest
lens
attic
foil
promotion
work
limousine
patriot
badger
studio
athlete
quokka
trend
pinwheel
gravel
fabric
lemur
provoke
rune
display
nail file
embers
asymmetry
actor
carpenter
aristocrat
Zuma
chinchilla
archaeologist
apple
hat
sun
box
cat
cup
train
bunny
sound
run
barrel
barber
grill
read
family
moose
boil
printer
poster
sledge
nutmeg
heading
cruise
pillar
retail
monk
spool
catalog
scuba
anteater
pensioner
coyote
vise
bobsled
purity
tailor
meerkat
weasel
invention
lynx
kendama
zeppelin
patient
gladiator
slump
Capricorn
baklava
prune
stress
crucible
hitchhiker
election
caviar
marmot
hair roller
pistol
cone
ant
lock
hanger
cap
Mr. Meeseeks
comedy
coat
tourist
tickle
facade
shrew
diva
patio
apricot
spelunker
parakeet
barbarian
tumor
figurine
desperate
landlord
bus
mug
dog
shark
abyss
betray HUH SO HARD
submitted by Temporary_Scratch_14 to skribbl [link] [comments]

Default English word list

Alright so, I took the default database from there https://skribbliohints.github.io/ and with the help of html, I extracted the words to a list separated by commas. It's useful when you want to translate those words into your native language.
Word of advice, when using google translate, do not put all words at once there, it can rapidly worsen the translation.
(And there is a last thing. Their algorithm of picking only custom words is not working really good, at least for me. Meaning that I often get duplicates, despite having a list this big and without duplicates. I'm still trying to find some solution to this, so if somebody is experiencing this as well, share the knowledge please, I will do the same.)
SOLUTION: Thanks for the reply from PepegaWR who identified the cause. I also tested it and there seems to be a custom words limit of 5000 characters. The easiest way in my opinion is to shuffle the words before each session to minimize the impact. Also thanks to the flynger who had the same idea before me :)
Finally, here it is, enjoy the scribbling ^^ :

ABBA, AC/DC, Abraham Lincoln, Adidas, Africa, Aladdin, America, Amsterdam, Android, Angelina Jolie, Angry Birds, Antarctica, Anubis, Apple, Argentina, Asia, Asterix, Atlantis, Audi, Australia, BMW, BMX, Bambi, Band-Aid, Barack Obama, Bart Simpson, Batman, Beethoven, Bible, Big Ben, Bill Gates, Bitcoin, Black Friday, Bomberman, Brazil, Bruce Lee, Bugs Bunny, Canada, Capricorn, Captain America, Cat Woman, Cerberus, Charlie Chaplin, Chewbacca, China, Chinatown, Christmas, Chrome, Chuck Norris, Colosseum, Cookie Monster, Crash Bandicoot, Creeper, Croatia, Cuba, Cupid, DNA, Daffy Duck, Darwin, Darwin Watterson, Deadpool, Dexter, Discord, Donald Duck, Donald Trump, Dora, Doritos, Dracula, Dumbo, Earth, Easter, Easter Bunny, Egypt, Eiffel tower, Einstein, Elmo, Elon Musk, Elsa, Eminem, England, Europe, Excalibur, Facebook, Family Guy, Fanta, Ferrari, Finn, Finn and Jake, Flash, Florida, France, Frankenstein, Fred Flintstone, Gandalf, Gandhi, Garfield, Germany, God, Goofy, Google, Great Wall, Greece, Green Lantern, Grinch, Gru, Gumball, Happy Meal, Harry Potter, Hawaii, Hello Kitty, Hercules, Hollywood, Home Alone, Homer Simpson, Hula Hoop, Hulk, Ikea, India, Intel, Ireland, Iron Giant, Iron Man, Israel, Italy, Jack-o-lantern, Jackie Chan, James Bond, Japan, JayZ, Jenga, Jesus Christ, Jimmy Neutron, John Cena, Johnny Bravo, KFC, Katy Perry, Kermit, Kim Jong-un, King Kong, Kirby, Kung Fu, Lady Gaga, Las Vegas, Lasagna, Lego, Leonardo DiCaprio, Leonardo da Vinci, Lion King, London, London Eye, Luigi, MTV, Madagascar, Mario, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars, McDonalds, Medusa, Mercedes, Mercury, Mexico, Michael Jackson, Mickey Mouse, Microsoft, Milky Way, Minecraft, Miniclip, Minion, Minotaur, Mona Lisa, Monday, Monster, Mont Blanc, Morgan Freeman, Morse code, Morty, Mount Everest, Mount Rushmore, Mozart, Mr. Bean, Mr. Meeseeks, Mr Bean, Mr Meeseeks, Mummy, NASCAR, Nasa, Nemo, Neptune, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nike, Nintendo Switch, North Korea, Northern Lights, Norway, Notch, Nutella, Obelix, Olaf, Oreo, Pac-Man, Paris, Patrick, Paypal, Peppa Pig, Pepsi, Phineas and Ferb, Photoshop, Picasso, Pikachu, Pink Panther, Pinocchio, Playstation, Pluto, Pokemon, Popeye, Popsicle, Porky Pig, Portugal, Poseidon, Pringles, Pumba, Reddit, Rick, Robbie Rotten, Robin Hood, Romania, Rome, Russia, Samsung, Santa, Saturn, Scooby Doo, Scotland, Segway, Sherlock Holmes, Shrek, Singapore, Skittles, Skrillex, Skype, Slinky, Solar System, Sonic, Spain, Spartacus, Spiderman, SpongeBob, Squidward, Star Wars, Statue of Liberty, Steam, Stegosaurus, Steve Jobs, Stone Age, Sudoku, Suez Canal, Superman, Susan Wojcicki, Sydney Opera House, T-rex, Tails, Tarzan, Teletubby, Terminator, Tetris, The Beatles, Thor, Titanic, Tooth Fairy, Tower Bridge, Tower of Pisa, Tweety, Twitter, UFO, USB, Uranus, Usain Bolt, Vatican, Vault boy, Velociraptor, Venus, Vin Diesel, W-LAN, Wall-e, WhatsApp, William Shakespeare, William Wallace, Winnie the Pooh, Wolverine, Wonder Woman, Xbox, Xerox, Yin and Yang, Yoda, Yoshi, Youtube, Zelda, Zeus, Zorro, Zuma, abstract, abyss, accident, accordion, ace, acid, acne, acorn, action, actor, addiction, addition, adorable, adult, advertisement, afro, afterlife, air conditioner, airbag, aircraft, airplane, airport, alarm, albatross, alcohol, alien, allergy, alley, alligator, almond, alpaca, ambulance, anaconda, anchor, angel, anglerfish, angry, animation, anime, ant, anteater, antelope, antenna, anthill, antivirus, anvil, apartment, apocalypse, applause, apple, apple pie, apple seed, apricot, aquarium, arch, archaeologist, archer, architect, aristocrat, arm, armadillo, armor, armpit, arrow, ash, assassin, assault, asteroid, astronaut, asymmetry, athlete, atom, attic, audience, autograph, avocado, axe, baboon, baby, back pain, backbone, backflip, backpack, bacon, bad, badger, bag, bagel, bagpipes, baguette, bait, bakery, baklava, balance, balcony, bald, ball, ballerina, ballet, balloon, bamboo, banana, bandage, bandana, banjo, bank, banker, bar, barbarian, barbecue, barbed wire, barber, barcode, bark, barn, barrel, bartender, base, basement, basket, basketball, bat, bathroom, bathtub, battery, battle, battleship, bayonet, bazooka, beach, beak, bean, bean bag, beanie, beanstalk, bear, bear trap, beatbox, beaver, bed, bed bug, bed sheet, bedtime, bee, beef, beer, beet, beetle, bell, bell pepper, bellow, belly, belly button, below, belt, bench, betray, bicycle, bill, billiards, bingo, binoculars, biology, birch, bird, bird bath, birthday, biscuit, bite, black, black hole, blackberry, blacksmith, blanket, bleach, blender, blimp, blind, blindfold, blizzard, blood, blowfish, blue, blueberry, blush, boar, board, boat, bobsled, bodyguard, boil, bomb, booger, book, bookmark, bookshelf, boomerang, boots, border, bottle, bottle flip, bounce, bouncer, bow, bowl, bowling, box, boy, bracelet, braces, brain, brainwash, branch, brand, bread, breakfast, breath, brick, bricklayer, bride, bridge, broadcast, broccoli, broken heart, bronze, broom, broomstick, brownie, bruise, brunette, brush, bubble, bubble gum, bucket, building, bulge, bull, bulldozer, bullet, bumper, bungee jumping, bunk bed, bunny, burglar, burp, burrito, bus, bus driver, bus stop, butcher, butler, butt cheeks, butter, butterfly, button, cab driver, cabin, cabinet, cactus, cage, cake, calendar, camel, camera, campfire, camping, can, can opener, canary, candle, canister, cannon, canyon, cap, cape, cappuccino, captain, car wash, cardboard, carnival, carnivore, carpenter, carpet, carrot, cartoon, cash, casino, cast, cat, catalog, catapult, caterpillar, catfish, cathedral, cauldron, cauliflower, cave, caveman, caviar, ceiling, ceiling fan, celebrate, celebrity, cell, cell phone, cello, cement, centaur, centipede, chain, chainsaw, chair, chalk, chameleon, champagne, champion, chandelier, charger, cheek, cheeks, cheerleader, cheese, cheeseburger, cheesecake, cheetah, chef, chemical, cherry, cherry blossom, chess, chest, chest hair, chestnut, chestplate, chew, chicken, chihuahua, child, chime, chimney, chimpanzee, chin, chinchilla, chocolate, chopsticks, church, cicada cigarette, cinema, circle, circus, clap, clarinet, classroom, claw, clay, clean, clickbait, cliff, climb, cloak, clock, cloth, clothes hanger, cloud, clover, clown, clownfish, coach, coal, coast, coast guard, coaster, coat, cobra, cockroach, cocktail, coconut, cocoon, coffee, coffee shop, coffin, coin, cola, cold, collapse, collar, color-blind, comb, comedian, comedy, comet, comfortable, comic book, commander, commercial, communism, community, compass, complete, computer, concert, condiment, cone, confused, console, continent, controller, conversation, cookie, cookie jar, copper, copy, coral, coral reef, cord, cork, corkscrew, corn, corn dog, corner, cornfield, corpse, cotton, cotton candy, country, cousin, cow, cowbell, cowboy, coyote, crab, crack, crate, crawl space, crayon, cream, credit, credit card, cricket, cringe, crocodile, croissant, crossbow, crow, crowbar, crucible, cruise, crust, crystal, cube, cuckoo, cucumber, cup, cupboard, cupcake, curry, curtain, cushion, customer, cut, cute, cyborg, cylinder, cymbal, dagger, daisy, dalmatian, dance, dandelion, dandruff, darts, dashboard, daughter, day, dead, deaf, deep, deer, defense, delivery, demon, demonstration, dent, dentist, deodorant, depressed, derp, desert, desk, desperate, dessert, detective, detonate, dew, diagonal, diagram, diamond, diaper, dice, dictionary, die, diet, dig, dinner, dinosaur, diploma, dirty, disaster, disease, dishrag, dispenser, display, diss track, distance, diva, divorce, dizzy, dock, doctor, dog, doghouse, doll, dollar, dollhouse, dolphin, dome, dominoes, donkey, door, doorknob, dots, double, dough, download, dragon, dragonfly, drain, drama, drawer, dream, dress, drink, drip, drive, driver, drool, droplet, drought, drum, drum kit, duck, duct tape, duel, dwarf, dynamite, eagle, ear, earbuds, earthquake, earwax, east, eat, echo, eclipse, eel, egg, eggplant, elbow, elder, election, electric car, electric guitar, electrician, electricity, elephant, elevator, embers, emerald, emoji, employer, emu, end, engine, engineer, equator, eraser, error, eskimo, espresso, evaporate, evening, evolution, exam, excavator, exercise, explosion, eye, eyebrow, eyelash, eye shadow, fabric, fabulous, facade, face, face paint, factory, failure, fairy, fake teeth, fall, family, farm, farmer, fashion designer, fast, fast food, fast forward, father, faucet, feather, fence, fencing, fern, festival, fidget spinner, field, figurine, filmmaker, filter, finger, fingernail, fingertip, fire alarm, fire hydrant, fire truck, fireball, firecracker, firefighter, firefly, firehouse, fireman, fireplace, fireproof, fireside, firework, fish, fish bowl, fisherman, fist fight, fitness trainer, fizz, flag, flagpole, flamethrower, flamingo, flashlight, flask, flea, flight attendant, flock, floodlight, floppy disk, florist, flower, flu, fluid, flush, flute, fly, fly swatter, flying pig, fog, foil, folder, food, forehead, forest, forest fire, fork, fort, fortress, fortune, fossil, fountain, fox, frame, freckles, freezer, fridge, fries, frog, frostbite, frosting, frown, fruit, full, full moon, funeral, funny, fur, furniture, galaxy, gang, gangster, garage, garbage, garden, gardener, garlic, gas, gas mask, gasoline, gasp, gate, gem, gender, generator, genie, gentle, gentleman, geography, germ, geyser, ghost, giant, gift, giraffe, girl, gladiator, glass, glasses, glitter, globe, gloss, glove, glow, glowstick, glue, glue stick, gnome, goal, goat, goatee, goblin, godfather, gold, gold chain, golden apple, golden egg, goldfish, golf, golf cart, good, goose, gorilla, graduation, graffiti, grandmother, grapefruit, grapes, graph, grass, grasshopper, grave, gravedigger, gravel, graveyard, gravity, greed, grenade, grid, grill, grin, groom, grumpy, guillotine, guinea pig, guitar, gumball, gummy, gummy bear, gummy worm, hacker, hair, hair roller, hairbrush, haircut, hairspray, hairy, half, halo, ham, hamburger, hammer, hammock, hamster, hand, handicap, handle, handshake, hanger, happy, harbor, hard, hard hat, harmonica, harp, harpoon, hashtag, hat, hazard, hazelnut, head, headache, headband, headboard, heading, headphones, health, heart, heat, hedgehog, heel, heist, helicopter, hell, helmet, hen, hermit, hero, hexagon, hibernate, hieroglyph, high five, high heels, high score, highway, hilarious, hill, hip hop, hippie, hippo, hitchhiker, hive, hobbit, hockey, holiday, homeless, honey, honeycomb, hoof, hook, hop, hopscotch, horizon, horn, horse, horsewhip, hose, hospital, hot, hot chocolate, hot dog, hot sauce, hotel, hourglass, house, hovercraft, hug, hummingbird, hunger, hunter, hurdle, hurt, husband, hut, hyena, hypnotize, iPad, iPhone, ice, ice cream, ice cream truck, iceberg, icicle, idea, imagination, impact, incognito, industry, infinite, injection, insect, inside, insomnia, internet, intersection, interview, invasion, invention, invisible, iron, island, ivy, jacket, jackhammer, jaguar, jail, jalapeno, janitor, jaw, jazz, jeans, jeep, jello, jelly, jellyfish, jester, jet ski, joker, journalist, journey, judge, juggle, juice, jump rope, jungle, junk food, kangaroo, karaoke, karate, katana, kazoo, kebab, keg, kendama, ketchup, kettle, key, keyboard, kidney, kindergarten, king, kiss, kitchen, kite, kitten, kiwi, knee, kneel, knife, knight, knot, knuckle, koala, kraken, label, laboratory, ladder, lady, ladybug, lake, lamb, lamp, landlord, landscape, lane, language, lantern, lap, laptop, laser, lasso, laundry, lava, lava lamp, lawn mower, lawyer, leader, leaf, leak, leash, leather, leave, leech, legs, lemon, lemonade, lemur, lens, leprechaun, lettuce, levitate, librarian, library, licorice, lid, light bulb, lighter, lighthouse, lightning, lightsaber, lily, lilypad, limbo, lime, limousine, line, link, lion, lips, lipstick, litter box, lizard, llama, loading, loaf, lobster, lock, log, logo, lollipop, loot, loser, lotion, lottery, lounge, love, low, luck, luggage, lumberjack, lung, lynx, lyrics, macaroni, machine, macho, mafia, magazine, magic, magic trick, magic wand, magician, magma, magnet, magnifier, maid, mailbox, mailman, makeup, mall, mammoth, manatee, manhole, manicure, mannequin, mansion, mantis, map, maracas, marathon, marble, margarine, marigold, market, marmalade, marmot, marshmallow, mascot, mask, massage, match, matchbox, mattress, mayonnaise, mayor, maze, meal, meat, meatball, meatloaf, mechanic, meerkat, megaphone, melon, melt, meme, mermaid, message, messy, metal, meteorite, microphone, microscope, microwave, midnight, military, milk, milkman, milkshake, mime, miner, minigolf, minivan, mint, minute, mirror, missile, model, mohawk, mold, mole, money, monk, monkey, monster, moon, moose, mop, morning, mosquito, moss, moth, mothball, mother, motherboard, motorbike, motorcycle, mountain, mouse, mousetrap, mouth, movie, mud, muffin, mug, murderer, muscle, museum, mushroom, musket, mustache, mustard, nachos, nail, nail file, nail polish, napkin, narwhal, nature, navy, neck, needle, neighbor, neighborhood, nerd, nest, network, newspaper, nickel, night, nightclub, nightmare, ninja, noob, noodle, north, nose, nose hair, nose ring, nosebleed, nostrils, notebook, notepad, nothing, notification, novel, nugget, nuke, nun, nurse, nut, nutcracker, nutmeg, nutshell, oar, observatory, ocean, octagon, octopus, office, oil, old, omelet, onion, open, opera, orange, orangutan, orbit, orca, orchestra, orchid, organ, origami, ostrich, otter, outside, oval, overweight, owl, oxygen, oyster, paddle, page, pain, paint, paintball, pajamas, palace, palette, palm, palm tree, pan, pancake, panda, panpipes, panther, pants, papaya, paper, paper bag, parachute, parade, parakeet, parents, park, parking, parrot, party, password, pasta, pastry, path, patient, patio, patriot, pause, pavement, paw, peace, peach, peacock, peanut, pear, peas, peasant, pedal, pelican, pencil, pencil case, pencil sharpener, pendulum, penguin, peninsula, penny, pensioner, pepper, pepperoni, perfume, periscope, person, pet food, pet shop, petal, pharmacist, photo frame, photograph, photographer, piano, pickaxe, pickle, picnic, pie, pig, pigeon, piggy bank, pigsty, pike, pill, pillar, pillow, pillow fight, pilot, pimple, pin, pinball, pine, pine cone, pineapple, pink, pinky, pinwheel, pipe, pirate, pirate ship, pistachio, pistol, pitchfork, pizza, plague, planet, plank, plate, platypus, player, playground, plow, plug, plumber, plunger, pocket, pogo stick, point, poison, poisonous, poke, polar bear, policeman, pollution, polo, pond, pony, ponytail, poodle, poop, poor, popcorn, pope, poppy, popular, porch, porcupine, portal, portrait, positive, postcard, poster, pot, pot of gold, potato, potion, pound, powder, prawn, pray, preach, pregnant, present, president, pretzel, price tag, priest, prince, princess, printer, prism, prison, pro, procrastination, professor, programmer, promotion, protest, provoke, prune, pub, pudding, puddle, puffin, puma, pumpkin, punishment, punk, puppet, purity, purse, puzzle, pyramid, quarter, queen, queue, quicksand, quill, quilt, quokka, raccoon, race, racecar, radar, radiation, radio, radish, raft, rail, rain, rainbow, raincoat, raindrop, rainforest, raisin, rake, ram, ramp, rapper, raspberry, rat, ravioli, razor, razorblade, read, reality, reception, receptionist, record, rectangle, recycling, red, red carpet, reeds, referee, reflection, reindeer, relationship, religion, remote, repeat, reptile, rest, restaurant, retail, revolver, rewind, rhinoceros, rib, ribbon, rice, ring, ringtone, risk, river, roadblock, robber, robin, robot, rock, rocket, rockstar, roll, roof, room, rooster, root, rose, royal, rubber, ruby, rug, ruler, run, rune, sad, saddle, safari, safe, sailboat, salad, sale, saliva, salmon, salt, saltwater, sand, sand castle, sandbox, sandstorm, sandwich, satellite, sauce, sauna, sausage, saxophone, scar, scarecrow, scarf, scary, scent, school, science, scientist, scissors, scoop, score, scream, screen, screw, scribble, scuba, sculpture, scythe, sea, sea lion, seafood, seagull, seahorse, seal, search, seashell, seasick, season, seat belt, seaweed, second, security, seed, seesaw, semicircle, sensei, server, sew, sewing machine, shadow, shake, shallow, shampoo, shape, shark, shaving cream, sheep, shelf, shell, shipwreck, shirt, shock, shoe, shoebox, shoelace, shop, shopping, shopping cart, short, shotgun, shoulder, shout, shovel, shower, shrew, shrub, shy, sick, signature, silence, silo, silver, silverware, sing, sink, sit, six pack, skateboard, skateboarder, skates, skeleton, ski, ski jump, skin, skinny, skribbl.io, skull, skunk, sky, skydiving, skyline, skyscraper, slam, sledge, sledgehammer, sleep, sleeve, slide, slime, slingshot, slippery, slope, sloth, slow, slump, smell, smile, smoke, snail, snake, sneeze, sniper, snow, snowball, snowball fight, snowboard, snowflake, snowman, soap, soccer, social media, socket, socks, soda, soil, soldier, sombrero, son, sound, soup, south, space, space suit, spaceship, spade, spaghetti, spark, sparkles, spatula, speaker, spear, spelunker, sphinx, spider, spin, spinach, spine, spiral, spit, spoiler, sponge, spool, spoon, spore, sports, spray paint, spring, sprinkler, spy, square, squid, squirrel, stab, stadium, stage, stamp, stand, stapler, star, starfish, starfruit, statue, steam, step, stereo, sting, stingray, stomach, stone, stoned, stop sign, stork, storm, stove, straw, strawberry, streamer, street, stress, strong, student, studio, study, stylus, submarine, subway, sugar, suitcase, summer, sun, sunburn, sunflower, sunglasses, sunrise, sunshade, supermarket, superpower, surface, surfboard, surgeon, survivor, sushi, swag, swamp, swan, swarm, sweat, sweater, swimming pool, swimsuit, swing, switch, sword, swordfish, symphony, table, table tennis, tablecloth, tablet, tabletop, taco, tadpole, tail, tailor, take off, talent show, tampon, tangerine, tank, tape, tarantula, target, taser, tattoo, taxi, taxi driver, tea, teacher, teapot, tear, teaspoon, teddy bear, telephone, telescope, television, temperature, tennis, tennis racket, tent, tentacle, text, thermometer, thief, thin, think, thirst, throat, throne, thug, thumb, thunder, thunderstorm, ticket, tickle, tie, tiger, time machine, timpani, tiny, tip, tiramisu, tire, tired, tissue, tissue box, toad, toast, toaster, toe, toenail, toilet, tomato, tomb, tombstone, tongue, toolbox, tooth, toothbrush, toothpaste, toothpick, top hat, torch, tornado, torpedo, tortoise, totem, toucan, touch, tourist, tow truck, towel, tower, toy, tractor, traffic, traffic light, trailer, train, translate, trap, trapdoor, trash can, traveler, treadmill, treasure, tree, treehouse, trend, triangle, trick shot, tricycle, trigger, triplets, tripod, trombone, trophy, tropical, truck, truck driver, trumpet, tuba, tug, tumor, tuna, tunnel, turd, turkey, turnip, turtle, tuxedo, twig, type, udder, ukulele, umbrella, uncle, underground, underweight, undo, unibrow, unicorn, unicycle, uniform, universe, upgrade, vacation, vaccine, vacuum, valley, vampire, vanilla, vanish, vault, vegetable, vegetarian, vein, vent, vertical, veterinarian, victim, victory, video, video game, village, villain, vine, vinegar, viola, violence, violin, virtual reality, virus, vise, vision, vitamin, vlogger, vodka, volcano, volleyball, volume, vomit, voodoo, vortex, vote, vulture, vuvuzela, waffle, waist, waiter, wake up, walk, wall, wallpaper, walnut, walrus, warehouse, warm, wart, wasp, watch, water, water cycle, water gun, waterfall, wave, wax, weak, wealth, weapon, weasel, weather, web, website, wedding, welder, well, werewolf, west, western, whale, wheel, wheelbarrow, whisk, whisper, whistle, white, wife, wig, wiggle, willow, wind, windmill, window, windshield, wine, wine glass, wing, wingnut, winner, winter, wire, wireless, witch, witness, wizard, wolf, wonderland, woodpecker, wool, work, workplace, world, worm, wound, wrapping, wreath, wrench, wrestler, wrestling, wrinkle, wrist, writer, x-ray, xylophone, yacht, yardstick, yawn, yearbook, yellow, yeti, yo-yo, yogurt, yolk, young, youtuber, zebra, zeppelin, zigzag, zipline, zipper, zombie, zoo, zoom,
submitted by StaroSVK to skribbl [link] [comments]

Naima

Naima
She was going to buy diapers. They were having a sale at Kroger and she was woefully unprepared for how expensive they were, how expensive everything to do with babies was. Mary had her first, and as of now, only child just six months ago. It might as well have been six years at this point. The rumors were true, any hope of sleep was abandoned long ago. Maurice did what he could to help out, he loved feeding their little girl and didn’t mind when she spontaneously vomited on his shirt, or if he did he never showed it.
They named the girl Naima, after Maurice’s grandmaw who passed away the day her namesake came into the world. Naima made it to her grandmaw’s funeral where she screamed and cried every second of the service. Mary however was absent. Everyone understood. Her labor wasn’t easy, a grueling sixteen hours of push and breathe, sweat running down her arms and legs in rivulets. They all agreed that a funeral was no place for a woman to be after giving birth just four days ago. But at Easter, Mary was certain they all looked at her a bit different now, like she had failed an important exam and her commitment to the family was thrown into question.
The parking lot was nearly deserted, it being almost 10 o'clock at night. She had meant to go earlier in the day, had even set an alarm on her phone to remind herself, but Naima was sick. Mary thought she was sick. She was mostly sure she was sick. She hadn’t eaten anything that day except for a few brown lumps of applesauce that later came out the other end virtually the same. Mary wasn’t scared yet but the anxiety, the vision of rushing to her family doctor only to be told once again that “this is normal Mrs. Hader, happens all the time, she just needs a bit of rest,” was ever present on her mind. She hated that place, hated the smell of it. When she herself was a little girl the atmospheres of hospitals, clinics, dentist offices, all revolted her. The snarky look of the woman behind the counter, watching another new mother panic over a little diarrhea, it was all a bit too much to bear. She tossed an Ativan quickly into her mouth and locked the car door.
She checked her phone. No texts from Maurice. He would be working late tonight, they’d been giving him the night shift at the hospital for months now. Even when he got off early he would head to the gun range to “get his aim ready for the apocalypse.” The baby was taking a strain on him. He held up well, remarkably well, better than she had. Naima was the love of her life, as well as the bottomless well where she tossed in every waking hour of her day. Sure she could maybe leave her alone here and there, she was six months after all, but she knew that within ten minutes the screaming and crying would start and there’d she be, holding the squirming mass to her breast.
She squinted at the glaring white lights of the store and swung her grocery bag from side to side, not thinking about where she was going as she walked towards the Personal Care aisle. She passed colorful packages of tissues, toothpaste, and tampons, and studied the boxes of diapers, selecting what she gathered was the medium tier.
Down the aisle there was a young man looking at conditioner. He was rubbing his mouth and kept looking back and forth from his phone to the bottles.
“Having trouble?” she said
“I guess so. I’m supposed to get something with coconut oil, but there’s like five of them with that.”
“Do what I do.”
“What’s that?” She picked up a nondescript bottle and put it in his hands.
“Get the cheapest,” she said.
He laughed a little at this, “I like the way you think. Who are those for?” he said, pointing to the box in her hand.
“Naima- or uh, my daughter.”
“Bit late to be running out for that.” She didn’t quite like that, but he gave her a quick sympathetic smile that she returned.
“Yeah I was going to earlier but you know how it is,” she started walking back down the aisle.
“I can help you,” the man said, his voice even.
She stopped and turned back to him. He was still looking at her nicely enough, his eyes almost seemed to be scanning her.
“Excuse me, I have to go.”
She turned and started walking back again. Suddenly much more aware of how empty the store was at this time. She didn’t hear him follow, just the sound of her own flip flops hitting the floor a bit faster than normal. She cast a glance over at the two employees by the service kiosk who were chatting away, hardly even noticing her. She wanted to be through self check out and back in her car as quickly as possible. Would she tell Maurice about it? No, probably not. He’d get worried, and he already had so much to deal with.
The self checkout machine blared out to her in its automated voice, asking if she had a membership card. She cursed it silently and quickly scanned the box of diapers, leaving well before the receipt was curling out of the slot. In the black reflection of the plate glass windows of the store she saw the man calmly scanning the bottle of conditioner. Her heart beat a little louder in her ears, she hadn’t even heard him walking up. She kept her eyes fixed on his reflection as she walked out the sliding doors.
The night air was humid and hung still. Across the parking lot a car sat by a stop sign, its red brake lights casting a faint glow on her face. Her little Hyundai was parked thirty yards away. She put her phone up to her ear and pretended to be talking to someone, a trick she had learned in college. This soothed her anxiety a bit, not as much as the Atavil would when she got back into her car, but enough for now. She crossed the lane in front of the store and her footsteps echoed across the empty lot. Twenty yards away. Behind her she heard the sliding door open again, and she began to walk a little faster. Fifteen yards now. She thought she heard someone behind her but she couldn’t be sure, she was too afraid to look. At ten yards her heart was racing in her chest, it was hard to hear anything else. She took out her keys, gripping them tightly in her hands, trying to calm herself down. Her legs felt rubbery and weak, her eyes were hot. She made herself turn.
He was standing ten feet away, silhouetted by the dim yellow street light just above and behind him. He looked bigger, much bigger than he did in the store, and he wasn’t moving. Her mind tried to project a face, an identity onto the dark human cut-out before her. She could feel his eyes staring back at her, all over her. He moved towards her. She was yanking at the handle of the driver side door. She didn’t remember moving to get there. The handle pulled but with no click of the opening latch, she forgot to unlock the car. A quiet moan escaped her as she looked up into the reflection of the window and saw that dark figure raise its hand to the back of her head and with sudden force, thrust her head against the side of the door frame.
The first thing she noticed was that she was on her back. There was something covering her eyes, it felt soft but was wrapped tight around her head which made the aching pain in her forehead protest even louder. Worse than the pain was the smell. Wherever she was the air smelled cold and closed in, damp, stale. It smelled like overripe cucumbers. She could feel something crawling up her calf and tried to shake it off but her legs were bound tight to what felt like a cold metal table. She went to move her hand to brush it off but her arms were trapped just as her legs, with straps like the ones they used to restrain mentally ill patients.
Naima. The word flashed in her head like a big red neon sign outside a Las Vegas casino. The baby, my baby, she’s all alone. God I only left her for ten minutes. Hot tears wet the cloth over her eyes and ran down the side of her face. She thought about screaming but she was too upset, too scared, too confused to do so. Instead she started hyperventilating. She could hear herself gasping, the pressure building up inside here like a crescendo of panic and fear. Her mind flashed to the prescription bottle of Ativan in her car. God, where was her car? Where was she? What was crawling up her leg?
“You need to relax,” a voice said, and this time she did scream.
“Where’s my baby?!”
“Wherever you left- it?”
“Oh Jesus, what are you doing? Let me go, please let me go let me go let me go let me-”
“It was easy to get you here,” said the voice that she could hear slowly orbiting around her. “Dark parking lot in the middle of the night. You should know better. You weren’t even carrying pepper spray, I know, I checked your bag.”
Mary strained against the straps, against the pain in her head, and against the creeping thing that was now marching slowly up her thigh. She began to sob.
“Your head must be killing you,” said the voice in a quiet, comforting way. “I’m sorry I had to do… what I did. I was scared you would get away.”
“Why are you doing this,” Mary said in between sobs, almost screaming. “What the fuck do you want!?”
“You. I want you.” The voice was quiet for a time. The crawling thing was onto her canvas shorts now but she didn’t notice. “I think you’re beautiful, so beautiful, almost perfect. I want to help you become... immaculate. You’re so close. I don’t want you to worry about your head, you’ll never see a scar, I’m good at what I do. You’ll never see.”
Before she could respond her phone erupted somewhere distant in the room. It must have been sitting on a table because she could hear a loud buzzing sound. The voice growled in rage and rushed away, a moment later she heard a loud crack that must have been her phone flung shattering against the floor. Her mind tried to gauge how long she had been down here. She could feel the dried blood pulling on the skin of her forehead, maybe a couple hours at the most. Maurice would be home soon, he could take care of the baby, Naima must be screaming loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear. Somewhere in the back of her head she thought she could hear her infant child wailing in the distance. Almost as if he read her mind, the man said:
“Please don’t try to scream. No one can hear you down here, it’s just you and I now. But you won’t be down here long. I won’t leave you down here with all these nasty little things.”
She heard a quiet crushing sound, like stepping on a pine cone, and the cucumber smell increased. She was much more aware of the creeping crawling sensation that by now was exploring her exposed midriff. Suddenly his hands were on her, one of them resting gently on her thigh, the other plucking up what was just over her navel. In the darkness under her blindfold she could feel the air being displaced as his hand moved it towards her mouth.
“Kiss?”
And she could feel its antennae frantically probing her lips, its spindly legs scratching them, it released it’s pheromones and the stench made her gag, making a gurgling sound that contrasted sickeningly with the tittering laughter of the man still holding the bug to her face. She would scream but she was afraid if she opened her mouth he would drop it in. The smell was everywhere, in her mouth, in her nose, in her brain. She didn’t sense his hand pull away. She had concentrated every ounce of her being into not throwing up and only distantly heard the sound of the man crushing the insect between his fingers. Then he was back, squeezing her jaw with more force than she thought he possessed and said quietly:
“I will help you.”
He took off the blindfold.
The light that shown in her eyes was blinding but in time she was able to focus on the large mechanical arm, like the ones dentists used, that beamed light down into her face. She gagged again when she saw three stink bugs crawling lazily across its surface, had they been crawling all along her when she was unconscious? She peered around the room. Everything else was bathed in darkness, the vague outline of a shelf, a washing machine, and what looked like a set of ancient narrow stairs leading up out of the basement. To her right she heard the clinking silverware sound and she could see the man hunched over a long metal table.
“I’m sorry for the delay, I just want to make sure everything is done correctly. Co-rrect-ly. You’ll be happy to know I use anaesthetic now. It’s much quieter, easier for both of us.”
“Wh-what?”
“I am going to fix you. Make you what you’re meant to be. I want you to understand I do this all out of love, out of love for your beauty, for what you will become.”
He turned around and her eyes grew wide and white with terror at the syringe in his hand. At this she finally screamed, screamed as loud as she could, louder than Naima screamed when she woke her up at 5 AM that morning, standing in her crib and howling. Mary’s arms and legs writhed against the straps and for a split second she thought she felt a give until he slapped her hard across the face. In stunned silence the tears fell freely down her cheeks, she was whimpering. The syringe needle entered just under her left cheekbone.
“Local aesthetic, I’d put you under if I thought I could bring you back out.”
She strained at the leather strap across her forehead, the back of her head now aching against the cold metal table top. Soon though she could feel her face going numb, a bitter taste in her mouth seemed to flow from there and then down throughout her body, into her arms and legs which laid like lead against her sides. She couldn’t tell if she even had a body anymore, she could feel nothing, not even her own breathing.
The man placed the syringe back on the table and in its place appeared a small scalpel. In her mind she was leaping off the table and up those rickety stairs, out of the black nothingness, but still she lay motionless. Near the spot where he injected the paralyzing liquid, the man made what must have been a small circular cut. She could feel a vague pressure on her cheek. She remembered being nineteen, the summer before her sophomore year at WSU, getting her wisdom teeth taken out, the sound of metal scraping against bone, ripping flesh.
She could see his fingers maneuvering little metal instruments like chopsticks, covered in crimson blood. He wasn’t wearing gloves. After what could have been an hour or five minutes, the pressure moved from her left cheek to the right, then the center of her face. Soon she wasn’t able to breathe out of her nose, she could feel something oozing into the back of her throat and tried to cough but couldn’t. In some far away corner of her mind she prayed that her gag reflex wouldn’t kick in, fearing she would choke and die on this table. The man yanked hard on her nose, the pressure mounting until with a pop he fell back, holding a white sliver of bone in his hand. More blood oozed down her throat. With equal force he pressed something down hard on her face, whatever was left of it at least, so hard that she could see stars forming in her vision. When he released she could not breathe through her nose at all, stopped up tighter than the worst cold of her life.
Apparently satisfied with his work he gave a small chuckle and plugged something into a wall socket behind her head, then she heard the buzzing whine of an electric razor. She heard him unstrap the leather bindings across her forehead and cradled her head in his hand and began to shave her hair off. Stray strands fell into her eyes and she tried to blink them away. The numbing effect was less potent near the back of her head and she could feel the razor travelling across her scalp. A rustling sound and she felt him placing something on her shaved head, a wig. It fit tight, pulling the skin above her eyebrows taut and making it nearly impossible to close her eyes.
Letting her head fall back down loudly on the metal table, he restrapped the leather bindings and pried her mouth open, fitting in a metal wire brace to hold it in place. Somewhere in the numb unconscious of her mind her gag reflex finally won her over.
With a sickening gurgle she vomited, but it became stuck in her throat and quickly the air was completely cut off. Alarms screamed inside her head but she still could not move, her eyes darted around their sockets. The man, whose face she still couldn’t make out due to the bright light directly above his head, only stared back at her silently. He yanked the wire brace out of her mouth, taking a few teeth with it, and then he kicked the table over on its side. The dark room lurched before her eyes as she slammed into the concrete floor, the heavy metal table bearing down on her from above. She vomited again but could now feel air roaring back into her burning lungs. Rasps escaped her and just as violently as she was flung down the man heaved the table back up into place and secured the straps. The feeling was beginning to return into her legs, she felt a wetness around her crotch.
“You’ll learn to keep it down now won’t you? God you stink, not much left to do.”
He opened her mouth, put the brace back in, and soon she felt immense pressure on her top gums, a yank, and a sound like a wine cork being pulled. He held up one of her incisors, gripped by his pliers, in front of her eyes. Tossing it aside, he fit the pliers around her other incisor, the pressure came, and then suddenly a hideous cracking, like a branch being snapped. Her tooth had shattered.
“Don’t worry I have new ones for you. Not too big, bright and shiny.”
Her fingertips were coming to life then, she could feel the cold air of the basement again and with horror she began to imagine the pain that would engulf her entire mind when the aesthetic wore off. The pain would blot out the world, would blot out the terror, would even blot out Naima. She wished for death.
“Darren, son you need to go to bed it’s late.”
The black figure snapped into attention like a deer in the headlights at the sound of feeble voice calling from far away, somewhere above their heads.
“I’ll be up soon momma, you just go on to bed now.”
His voice when he had spoken to her sounded frantic, monotone, inhuman. Now when he replied to that voice from above he affected a submissive whine. Sensation was reentering her body faster and faster by now. She could feel the raw skin of her wrists where she had pulled against the straps, and then her arms. She had to escape before the pain hit and blinded every sensibility. The black figure named Darren was back at his instrument table muttering soft curses to his mother who by now must have shuffled back into whatever stale bedroom she came from. Without really planning it, the thought entered her head. She began rocking back and forth on the table. The leather straps creaked a bit and the loose bolts holding the legs to the table squeaked but not enough for Darren to notice. She rocked harder and harder, urging against the leg straps that were looser than they should have been, he had neglected to secure them after knocking her over before. The table groaned as two of its legs were now leaving the ground at a time. Darren whipped around, the light finally catching his face. He was handsome, young, but that disarming grin he gave her in the supermarket was replaced by the bared teeth and all-white eyes of a man enraged. He lept up to catch her but the table fell again.
The strap holding her head down snapped and her forehead hit the concrete with a hollow sounding thud. The room went black before her eyes. Vaguely she felt her body dry heaving. The numbness was gone but the pain was distant, she was detached now from her body. Hovering in the air of the basement she saw her torso half laying out of the leather restraints of the table, her body violently spasming. Darren was pacing frantically beside her bleeding head, the area just above her left eye a red mass of flesh and blood already pasting strands of the bad blonde wig to her forehead. His nerve broke.
“Oh fuckfuckfuck I’m sorry. I wanted to help you, I did, I promise I wanted to make you better, I-. I’m going to let you go, but you can’t tell anyone, you can’t. You don’t know me.”
Inarticulate groans came out of her mouth, her tongue lazily exploring the gap where her two front teeth had been. He knelt down beside her and began undoing the straps, her eyes focused on a stink bug crawling slowly through the puddle of blood that her head had left. Red on green. The bug became two, then four, and then her vision fractalled out of existence. When it returned she woke up on the cold dewey grass of a front lawn.
She could hear automatic sprinklers chirping off somewhere distant. Her head was a mountain of pain, every pulse of her heart beat like a drum that throbbed and pushed even more agony than she thought could exist into consciousness. She pulled herself into a ball, groaning with each tiny muscle movement. She could not move her face, it felt like a mask. Her eyes burned and her vision was foggy, she peered out through blades of finely cut grass to a small one story house. Her house.
Naima.
In an instant pain was replaced by a bottomless fear for her baby. She was on her feet. A distant place in her brain informed her that her left leg had been broken somewhere below her knee, and there was a crunching grinding sound as she walked. The motion sensing lights went on and cast a crooked shadow behind her. Her sticky hands felt behind her and by some miracle produced her house keys. She fumbled with the lock, it was hard as her vision kept blurring in and out of focus. Her head, God her head was killing her. She slid through the door and headed down past the kitchen to Naima’s room.
Maurice got off early that night and he was driving home. His floor had been quiet, just watchinng the clock spin. He wanted to go to the range but he hadn’t really seen Mary in three days. She worked hard for that child, every day of maternity leave from the school was spent in dedication to their little Naima. So he decided to surprise her, turn the engine off and coast into the driveway in neutral like he had done when they were in highschool while sneaking out. About a block away he flicked away a half smoked cigarette out the window. He promised her and himself that he’d quit soon. Lung cancer got his grandmother. He’d do it for Naima. But with these back to back shifts at the hospital, a man needed something to take the edge off, and when he couldn’t go to the shooting range a camel or two would do the trick.
The car rolled silently into the driveway. He got out and walked to the door, not noticing the droplets of blood on the grass or the red bricks of their walkway. He’d get into bed with her, pull her close to him, and if the baby was quiet, they’d sleep the whole night through for the first time in months. Then he caught sight of the bloody smudges around the lock and his heart stopped, it froze then and there in time. He saw his eyes in the reflection of the glass door, they were recessed now, drawn back into his face and alert. He moved to his car, never looking away from the house. Opening the passenger door as quietly as he could he felt under the seat for his .38, the one his dad got him for Christmas that year. He was back at the front door.
He held the gun tightly in his right hand and pushed on the doorknob, feeling it give, it was unlocked. His breath came slow, he could feel streams of sweat pouring cold down from his armpits. He stared into the darkness of the living room. Framed family pictures, not even as old as Naima, stared at him in amazement, at the man in scrubs carrying a gun. It was still and quiet save for his hissing breath, until he heard the baby begin to scream. His legs lost their strength and his whole body, an impressive 190 pounds of bulk and muscle began to shake. As quietly and as quickly as he could he moved down the carpeted hall to Naima’s room. The light was on, he could see a tall shadow swaying across the bedroom wall, the smiling faces of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet juxtaposed against his own, covered in beads of sweat.
He entered the doorway, the gun held firmly with both hands, hammer cocked back and finger on the trigger. His eyes were wide open. Over by Naima’s crib there was a woman. She was bent over, peering down at his infant daughter who was screaming louder than he had ever heard. Blonde hair hung limp from her head, and he could see blood seeping out of her scalp and falling into the crib. The woman’s body was shaking in waves, as if she were crying, or laughing. He heard his voice yell to get away and she lifted her head up to see him. Her eyes were wide open in a look of shock, they were bloodshot and he thought he could see a grey film of dust over them. Her eyebrows arched grotesquely high and far to the sides of her face, a face that was red and puffy. Her nose was impossibly thin and crooked on her face. Both her lips were pulled back in a hideous oval around the few teeth she had, they were bloodstained, a large gap right front and center. He was sure of nothing in that moment other than that he was staring straight at a monster. He aimed, held his breath, and pulled the trigger.
Dead center, her forehead exploded in red. Her body jumped a little and then slid over onto the crib, for a moment he was worried it would collapse under the weight but she slumped off of it and onto the carpeted floor, her filmy eyes staring up at the ceiling that he and Mary had pasted glow in the dark stars to the summer before.
He ran over to the crib and picked up Naima whose little blue singlet was speckled in blood and viscera. She was no longer crying, but Maurice was. He cradled his daughter, trying to keep her face away from that dead woman on the floor. He called out for Mary and collapsed to the floor of the hallway, holding Naima in his arms, until the police came.
They got him out of the house fast and took him in for questioning, he couldn’t understand why. They weren’t telling him anything, they wouldn’t let Mary see him. They even brought in a public attorney who just looked at him in sad confusion. He was sitting on a metal chair in an interrogation room, just like the ones he saw all the time on TV. He looked at the wall-length mirror and wondered who was behind it. A deputy came in and sat down across from him, he looked uncomfortable, wouldn’t make eye contact. He held up a manilla folder and slid it across the table to Maurice. Looking down at his hands the deputy spoke.
“Uh, sir, we’re having trouble identifying the victim, and we-”
“What do you mean victim? Victim my ass, that.. thing, that thing was in my house. I was protecting my daughter.”
“Yes sir, we understand it’s just, can you look at these photos please.”
“I want to know where my daughter is being kept first, I want to know where Mary is.”
The deputy rubbed his eyes. It was late, probably close to 4:30 in the morning.
“Your daughter, Mr. Hader, is with social services right now. We’ve contacted your wife’s mother who should be there to pick her up soon.”
“And Mary?”
“We’re looking for your wife now.”
Maurice let out a long moan that filled the interrogation room. He still had blood on his scrubs and his shoes. The deputy pushed the file towards him and sat back in his chair, eyes locked on his hands. Maurice opened the first page which held photographs taken in his little girl’s room. He had to look away and shut his eyes tight so he wouldn’t scream. Most of the woman’s head was gone above the nose. Blood and brains were covering the flower print carpet in Naima’s room. He quickly flipped the photo over. The next shot was of the woman’s torso, one arm crossed over a shirt so caked in blood you couldn’t read what was on the design. He almost flipped that photo over too, until he recognized the ring on his wife’s finger.
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DEMOLITION DAYS, Part 47

continuing
As I was picking myself up off the shooter’s shack floor, I glanced over to the TV.
The ballplayers were all wandering around the field, looking skyward. Evidently, there was this hellacious explosion…even the television sports commentators were speculating as to what happened.
Whoops.
I looked out into the quarry. The wall that I had charged had receded some 75 feet.
There was rather a large amount of shattered, blasted dolomitic limestone now in the quarry. Enough, I found out later, for a full month’s worth of orders.
We never did find the blasting mats. I think they sort of evaporated.
Luckily, the quarry is essentially an open amphitheater in plan view; basically a big hole in the ground with vertical limestone walls. The shockwave of the blast that didn’t spend itself shattering the limestone into which it was housed, blew out laterally, hit the opposite quarry wall, rebounded, and then dispersed, rather energetically, vertically upward.
I set off car alarms for a 20 block radius.
There were no broken home windows, as the lion’s share of the shock wave was redirected upward.
Good thing there were no low flying zeppelins or dirigibles in the area...
I waited the requisite time to allow for any loafers. There were none, so I jumped into the nearest wheel loader and began clearing the quarry floor. Hell, I had to so I could open the front gate.
As I was clearing the floor, making pile number eight of the loose rock I had liberated, I heard the characteristic whoop-whoop of emergency vehicles.
I parked the wheel loader, opened the front gate, and raised the green flag. That was enough blasting for one day.
A few minutes later, three police cars zoom into the site. Two were local city cops, and one was a state trooper.
“Hi, guys!” I waved, “Nice day, innit?”
“Doctor Rock! We should have known.” One of the local boys groaned.
“Hey, I did call you beforehand, as per procedure,” I said.
Polack the cop walks up, just knowing I was responsible. “Yeah, but we didn’t figure on you terrorizing the entire city.”
“Polack! How goes it?” I asked.
The other local cop and the state trooper look to Polack, “You know this maniac?”
“Oh, hell yeah. For years. Don’t worry, the good doctor is mostly harmless.” He chuckles.
“Damn. OK. I guess everything’s OK. Just no more shooting today, please, Doctor. It’s going to take hours to calm everyone down.” He laments.
“Yes, sir. I’m done for the day.” I reply, snickering slightly.
The one local and state trooper depart, shaking their heads in amazement. This left Polack to follow me over to the shooter’s shack to mooch a cigar and whatever else he can find.
“Jesus Hula-Dancing Christ, Rock. What the hell was that? I was all the way out in Whitewatosa and heard you.” He asks as he sneakily snakes a smoke out of my case.
“Just some common chemicals in the proper proportions.” I snicker.
“Which were?” he asks.
I go in the back of the shed and toss him an empty container of one of the parts of the binaries I used. He catches it, reads the label, and drops it like a live grenade.
“Binaries? Fuck! Like what you used at the tower?” he asks.
“Yep. I used just a little more.” I reply.
“Little more? Damn, as I said, we’ve been briefed on the stuff. This shit’s nasty.” He shakes his head.
“Yeah. Fun, too.” I reply.
Polack grabs a Sprechler’s Cream Soda out of the fridge as I opt for a cold Cream Ale and shot of potato juice. Hell, I was done for the day, so…
We sit around and have a chat, just shooting the shit, as it were. Manly topics, so the conversation eventually steered over to guns.
“Hey!” Polack remembers, “That’s right! You fucking owe me. Let me borrow that fucking cannon you carry. I want to show the chief a thing or two.”
“Yeah, that’s right”, I agree, “When do you need it?”
“This Friday, after shift. It’s the monthly qualifiers for us.” He notes.
“Are pyromaniacs allowed in?” I ask.
“To observe? Sure. To shoot? Nope. Insurance regulations.” He says.
“What time?” I continue.
“1800 hours.” He tells me.
“I’ll be there. I’ll bring my gun and an assortment of loads. Hey, this could be fun!” I evilly smile.
“Doctor. You’re doing that thing again. You’re grinnin’ like a shithouse rat. You know how much that scares me. Stop it.” He pleads.
“No worries. Friday at 1800 hours.” I reply, grinning.
Polack slurps down his Sprechlers, snitches another stogie, and squeals out of the quarry in a cloud of dense dolomitic dust.
I arrive back at our flat, after stopping for two frozen custard Turtle Sundaes, to go. I give one to an appreciative wife and I ask her about her day.
“Oh, went shopping with Oma. Got the cutest shoes, and a new purse, and…oh well, never mind. You’ll see.”
Between bites of Turtle Sundae, she asks how my day went.
“Oh, my dear. I had a real blast.” I replied, not lying in the least.
Monday, after my first classes, I’m back in the faculty lounge, savoring a Greenland Coffee.
There was the usual instructor chatter when Dean Vermiculari walks in.
“Good morning, Dean!” I say. “Care for a sit-down and a coffee?”
“Good morning, Doctor Rock. Yes, please to both.” He replies.
I fix us both a fresh Greenland Coffee and return to our table. I hand him one and sit down to savor my soupçon.
“How was your weekend?” I ask the Dean of the College.
“Oh, very nice. Had a fine time catching some perch and crappie out on Lake Genever. I see you had a victorious weekend as well. Twice.” He smiles.
“Twice?” I asked.
“Well, your handling of the tower demolition made all the papers. Very, very well done, Doctor. I congratulate you.” He smiles.
“Thank you, Dean. That means a lot. Just doing what I can with what I’ve got. But twice?” I replied.
“It wasn’t front-page news, but I saw there was some, well, let us just say, ‘energetic activity’ out at the Silurian reef limestone quarry yesterday.” He grinned.
“Oh, yes. I had a job to do and well, as I always say: ‘Nothing succeeds like excess.” I smile back.
“Quite. This beverage you’ve created is really rather extraordinary, Doctor. Again, I thank you.” He tips his mug my direction in the age-old Midwestern salute.
“It’s a little recipe I picked up on my last expedition to the northlands. I grew rather fond of the concoction.” I replied.
“Ah, I see. Marvelous.” He smiles.
“Thank you, Dean. High praise indeed.” I reply.
“Which leads me to…ah, Doctor Rock. I have another favor to impose upon you.” He says, all serious.
“Yes, Dean? How can I be of service?” I ask.
“We, as you no doubt know, have many, many fine extractive mineral company connections. We actually receive quite a large amount of funding and endowments from them. They recruit here extensively for our young geoscientists. Now, since Dr. Pataariki has left for industry himself, I would like to appoint you as the College of Natural Sciences corporate liaison.” He explains.
“Indeed?” I replied, too stunned for words for once.
“Yes, indeed.” He continues, “It will require travel, mostly domestic, and delivering symposia at various companies on differing extractive geological subjects. You will also serve as host and university coordinator when they are present on recruiting tours. There will, of course, be additional remuneration to accompany the added responsibilities.”
I slurped my coffee, thinking furiously.
“Could I please first discuss it with my wife before I answer?” I ask.
“Oh, Doctor. Of course, of course. Take your time. I will not require a reply until… tomorrow.” He smiles, finishes his coffee, thanks me again, and toddles out.
“Yow, Es!” I exclaim, “This is one hell of an opportunity. It’s never before been offered to a junior professor. This will cement my tenure-track. It’s going to be a bitch with time, though. What do you think I should do?”
“Well, Rock, honey, I think you should do…” Es begins.
“No! None of that ‘do what you think is best’ stuff. I want your own thoughts, just like when I decided to go after my doctorate.” I explained.
“OK, then.” Esme looks all serious like she’s going to deliver a bipartisan political speech.
“Yes.” She says, firmly
“That’s it?” I ask.
“Yep. You asked I answered. We’ll make it work. We always do. You can’t let the Dean down. You will accept tomorrow without fear or qualms of your wife’s hesitations, of which I harbor none.” Esme proclaims.
“Did I ever tell you of the myriad reasons I love you so?” I ask.
The next morning I meet with Dean Vermiculari. He’s pleased that I accept and hands over to me the charter. Then the lists of company representatives, their contact information, and some other secret stuff that I can’t divulge right yet.
A raft of oil companies will be coming in the late spring semester, so I need to contact each and every one to solidify dates, times and positions for which they’re recruiting. But that’s for then, I have something more proximal for now.
I have a Friday appointment with Polack the cop at the town police shooting range.
I arrive spot on time with my Casull .454 Magnum pistol, in its carry bag, along with a small duffel crammed with Pyrodex, Tannerite, and selection of specialty loads I had Herman the German, the inveterate gunsmith, create.
Herman the German, his actual sobriquet, was this incredible gunsmith, craftsman, and all-around artillery specialist. Have any sort of problem with a rifle, shotgun, or pistol? See Herman. Gun holding too high? See Herman. Barrel warped? See Herman. Need solid gold projectiles for a certain one-off job? See Herman.
Herman the German can sort it out.
Just never ask him: “How?”
“Ach! I’ve lived so long to learn, and you want it free? I’ll fix it, you pay, but I am only one knowing how!”
Herman was a cranky old Kraut, and has lived here for as long as anyone can remember. Even my Grandfather had deferred to Herman when he had some particularly delicate machining operation that need special attention and was unique.
As far as anyone knew, Herman had no family, but was never at a loss for friends. He was one of the most popular, and well known, but still oddly really unknown, kind of mysterious, old bastards in the entire community.
Herman the German liked me because I could obtain for him certain high-energy things he couldn’t. All were entirely legal, but some were sort of out there in the gray zone.
He also liked that I was educated, as he held education in the highest esteem. He also liked that I was of German extraction myself.
I often made it a point to drop by with odd and unusual high-octane potables while never expecting anything in return other than a story or a shared cigar.
Herman created some special loads for my .454 Magnum, which he prized.
“I like your gun, Doctor Rock, it is so big! I can still see well enough to build things for it.” He told me one day over cheroots and Schnapps.
Herman was a character to be certain. It must have been the pixie in him to dream up some of the specialty rounds he created for me to share with the local constabulary.
He lived out in the county by himself in an old farmhouse. He had a full machine shop in his basement, complete with forge, metal handling equipment, and a firing test range.
He handed back my .454, rather solemnly.
“Doctor, I am afraid to say I couldn’t test all the special rounds I’ve created for you. I need to patch the hole in the cinder blocks in the downstairs range. Your gun punched right through the back…” he apologized.
Now, Herman does all sorts of work on the local’s deer rifles, the police’s ordinance and has even worked some with the Baja Canada National Guard. Some of the little novelties he’s dreamed up for me are the first to escape his homemade basement test range.
I felt oddly honored.
After proving who I was to the nice range officer, I looked around trying to find Polack.
“It’s 1550. Where the hell is Polack? I wondered.
“Rock! Over here.” Polack calls to me.
He motions me outside to the police department’s tactical outdoor range. I had thought all along he was referring to the indoors police target range. This might pose some problems.
The tactical range was a series of clapboard shacks, all setup and designed to represent some downtrodden urban inter-city landscape. There were a couple of junked cars, broken sidewalks, storefronts, houses, bus stops…in short, all things necessary to replicate the seediest sections of a settlement where malefactors live and breed.
The cops all run around this range, shooting at bad guy pop-up cut-outs and avoid the not-bad-guy pop-up cut-outs. They’ve got music blaring, firecrackers going off, all trying to re-create a shady deeply urban environment. Points are awarded by the accuracy of fire on the run, time to maneuver the course, and the ability of not gunning down innocent bystanders.
It is not the best place to test a .454 Cusall. This hand cannon recoils like a fundamentalist Christian being solicited for donations to Anton LaVey, shoots flames and incandescent gasses like Smaug after a hard night of drinking and a stop at the Taco Bell buffet, is louder than a dime-store Karen demanding to see a Manager, and more powerful than a Ghost Pepper suppository.
To quote Joe Piscopo: “It shoots through schools.” Especially faux-schools made of plywood.
A .32 or .38 cop special is the correct weapon here; even a 9mm is a little heavy. Enough power to make a serious dent, easy on control, light on the recoil…a good tactical weapon.
But, nothing succeeds like excess.
Polack’s Chief is running around, capping off his ‘big ol’ .44 Magnum, and making the valley echo. He punches considerable holes in the pop-up cut-outs, but has such a hard time handling the recoil, his score is barely passable.
Polack runs his test with his standard 9mm sidearm and qualifies easily. However, he’s nowhere near done with his Chief yet.
I suggest to Polack we have a shoot-off. And since a .44 Magnum bullet ‘is so close to a .454 Magnum’, which it isn’t…the .454 Casull generates nearly 85% more recoil energy than the .44 Magnum; that we’d need something other than holes punched in plywood to judge the efficacy of each.
We are literally just down the road from Max Yazzer’s farm and market. They’re the place you go for your Halloween jack-o-lantern. However, now, he has a surplus of melons.
I think you can see where this is headed…
I borrow Polack’s personal conveyance and run down to Max’s farm. I return with a trunk-load of elderly, overripe, cheap as chips, melons. Watermelons, Honeydews, Musks, and Casabas.
We place them in strategic areas on the course, five for the Chief to find, and five for Polack.
A .44 vs. a .454 melon-wise results in pretty much the same sort of mess: high-velocity fruit spatter. Although, the Chief was very impressed by the report of the .454. So, after running the tactical-melon course, clear demarcation of a winner was elusive.
OK, OK, clever dicks. How about this? A standing shoot-off? We’ll set up 3 melons each at 30, 20, and 10 yards. Beginning at 30 yards, your time will be until you take out all three melons. But, they’re not going to be in a straight line, we’re going to make them somewhat camouflaged. You will stand in one small demarcated area, hunt those miscreant melons, and bring them to justice. Fastest time and greatest display wins, as determined by the Police Peanut Gallery.
Polack and the Chief agree.
The Chief goes first and dispatches the melons, with a fair amount of spatter, in 15.3 seconds.
Not bad.
Polack is next. He wipes out all the melons and creates some thoroughly impressive displays with Herman’s ‘special’ rounds. Normal ballistics for the .454 are, for a 250 grain (16 g) bullet, a muzzle velocity of over 2,400 feet per second, developing up to 2,800 ft-lb of energy.
Herman’s hot loads are double that.
Polack wins the day on impressive high-velocity melon distribution, but misses, so close, with a time of 17.0 seconds.
Recoil’s a bitch.
Then there are Herman’s ‘specialties’.
The Chief is duly impressed and even comments that his ears are ringing even with the ear protectors. He asks to inspect the weapon. He is even more than duly impressed.
Polack knows what’s up and asks the Chief if he’d like to give a whirl.
Of course, the Chief can’t back down.
Polack loads the .454 with 5 of Herman’s specialties: hollow-point rounds loaded hot, compressed, and tipped with alkaline earth metals, like metallic sodium and metallic potassium…
We set up the nastiest, glorpiest, just barely-holding-together, overripe, laced with Tannerite (an impact-actuated low-explosive) watermelon at the ‘Concealed Carry’ distance of 5 meters.
We slowly fade back into the distance to avoid the inevitable ‘Gallagher reaction’.
The Chief fires one, and just nicks the top of the melon. Don’t laugh, with the type of recoil and heft of the sidearm, and tensing up in anticipation, it’s easy to be off the mark initially.
The second round impacts dead-center. Now, alkaline earth metals and water don’t get along really well. In fact, their relationship is explosive. Especially explosive when delivered at 2,900 feet per second.
The Chief catches a huge smattering of vitamin-packed watermelony back blast goo.
He’s not entirely happy. He looks positively grisly with all that blown-up melon schmoo on his nice, neat uniform.
He returns my gun and bans me from ever showing up at the police range again.
Polack is on traffic duty for the next month.
He figures it was well worth it.
Back at the flat, Esme is shaking her head and wondering if I’ll ever grow up.
“I may grow old, but I’ll never grow up.” I reply.
I see I have several missed phone calls. Ah, me; no rest for the weary. Back to company-university liaison duties.
After I had contacted these companies, I receive no less than 12 requests for symposia, talks, and seminars to be given to various level of industrial scientific employees in their respective companies.
I am now slated to give academic conferences on stratigraphy, sedimentology, and seismic structural geology to different companies in Houston, Oklahoma City, Denver, Casper, Corpus Christi, New Orleans, and Tulsa. In the next 12 weeks, I’ll be giving no less than 8 talks in seven cities.
I speak with Dean Vermiculari on how best to handle the situation. He understands and appoints two graduate student teaching assistants to handle my classes while I’m on the road. That relieves me of being physically there, but I still have to grade papers, compose lesson plans, and keep things running smoothly until finals.
Besides giving the talks, there’s travel to oil fields, production facilitates, manufacturing plants, hotels, restaurants while I’m in town…the pace is excruciating. I’m gone more than I am at university. Plus in my time back home, I’m still the ad hoc master blaster for the limestone quarry.
Then, there’s the companies arriving on campus, and the roles are reversed. Now I’m the welcome wagon and have to sort out the logistics of receiving the company representatives. I need to set up the colloquia to introduce the companies to the prospective students, arrange lodging, arrange passes for the university, transportation, “Meet-and-Greet’s, ad infinitum.
I knew this was having a bit of effect on me when I came back to the flat after one particularly grueling ordeal of canceled flights, full hotels, missed connections and lukewarm reception by the company workers.
“Hello”, I said, as I walked in the flat, “I believe you have a reservation for…”
Esme just stood there, wondering if I was having a laugh.
No, I wasn’t. I was completely hallucinating from road weariness, lack of sleep, jet lag, and total disorientation. This continued on for the next approximately 18 months.
Esme was beginning to have second thoughts about all this.
My teaching load was diminished by one whole introductory course. However, I was still flying hither and yon, delivering symposia, meeting with young geoscientists and getting to know the ins-and-outs of the Oil Industry.
I found it particularly fascinating.
Time marched on and it was once again it was the recruiting season. We had no less than eight oil companies visiting the university in their quest to swell the roster of their junior scientists.
I’m still busier than a one-armed paperhanger in a windstorm, but have settled into a groove of sorts. I know the company recruiters and they now know me. I’ve actually struck up friendships with several. Particularly since I take them to the best local restaurants and bars after their recruiting duties are finished.
I’ve met with recruiting representatives of Shrill Petrol, Mexxon, Nobil, Nocono Oil, Flug, Geddy, Brutish Petroleum, and Qexaco.
The recruiting season is winding down and I find myself with Red (not Adair), of Nocono Oil.
“Well, Doctor Rock”, Red states, “Another fine recruiting run. We’ve snagged two of your young geologists and one geophysicist. I’d say it was almost a perfect score.”
We’re sitting in the Norton’s Steakhouse. After a couple of prime pink porterhouses, we’re working on the post-dinner double vodka and bitter lemon for me, and Lagavulin for Red.
“Almost perfect?” I ask.
“Yeah. There’s been this one small nagging concern from our company higher-ups.” Red continues.
“What’s that?” I ask.
“We need some more senior people. For one thing, we’ve recently opened a new petroleum laboratory down in our Houston office. Going to need some serious talent to run that show.” Red says.
“I see”, I reply, “And…?”
“We need mentors. Those with varied and far-flung knowledge. They must be well educated, global in experience and stature, with an [ahem] diverse set of skills.” Red notes.
“Whew”, I agree, “That’s a tall order. You want my help with names of possible candidates? Is that it?”
“Not as such, Doctor.” Red drains his drink, motions for me to do the same, and orders another round.
Our drinks arrive and Red downs half his in one gulp.
“Well, then”, I continue, “How can I help?”
Red chuckles, “For someone so educated, you can really be thick as two short planks at times.”
I sit back, and sip my Old Thought Provoker.
The mercury-vapors light off.
“No!” I say, incredulously.
“Oh, yes.” Red smiles.
“No?” I ask, slowly taking in the possible effects of what he’s hinting at…
“OK, Doctor Rocknocker”, Red gets all serious and corporate, “We’d like to offer you a position at Nocono Oil as Senior Laboratory Manager and Head of Corporate Continuing Education.”
You could have knocked me over with a grenade. I was stunned. I fumbled with my drink.
“Red, you old con artist” I reply, “Is this a set-up?”
Red, serious as a heart attack, looks directly at me and replies, “Doctor Rock, absolutely not, it’s a genuine offer.”
He slides over a folder with some papers inside. “Here are the particulars.”
Reeling, I accept the folder. I open it and right after the corporate logos and legal bullshit, I see a tall figure with a whole raft of zeros trailing behind it.
I read furiously. The job would be both interesting and challenging. It would be in Houston, with travel and teaching at all other company outposts on a regular basis. I reexamine that figure from before and verify that I’m not now hallucinating.
The job comes with furnished, corporate-paid housing, incredible benefits, loads of opportunity for advancement, more opportunity to travel, really generous vacation time…
“Right. On the level?” I ask again.
“Yep.” Red bluntly says.
“Well”, I gulp, “you know I have to discuss this with Esme”, whom he’s met several times previous.
“Of course, and you probably want to finish out the semester, correct?” red asks.
“Oh, yes.” I reply. There would be a monsoon of paperwork and other grunt work I’d need to conclude or hand over if I were to accept this offer.
“OK, then”, Red finishes his drink, motions for me to do the same, a real rarity; but I was in another dimension at this point. He orders another round and sits back, waiting on a refill.
“You have two weeks to reply” Red states.
“I know that’s not a terribly long time, but we need to fill this position ASAP. Can I ask for that? Your answer, yea, or nay, within a fortnight?” Red demands.
“Yes”, I reply. “I at least owe you that.”
And that was the end of the discussion for the night about me joining the private sector. We stayed a few more hours, chatting, smoking my cigars, and discussing everything but the lumbering elephant in the room.
We part outside as I need to head back to our flat. Red wants to go downtown to one of those “Gentleman’s Clubs” he’s heard were so famous at the time.
I was flummoxed the whole cab ride home.
It was late when I returned, but I simply had to wake Es with the news.
“Rock, for pity’s sake, its 2 o’clock in the morning!” Es protests. “Can’t this wait until later?”
“Sorry, my dear” I reply, probably as serious as I ever had with Esme. “This is a potential game-changer.”
“What is it? Are you OK?” Esme trembles.
“Oh, I’m fine. Better than fine.” I reply.
She’s relieved.
“Then what’s so important?” she asks.
“Um…how would you like to move to Houston?” I ask.
“You going to teach at Cougar High (University of Houston)?” she inquires.
“Nope. Brace yourself. I’ve been offered a job with Nocono Oil.” I finally spill the beans.
Esme is slightly stunned and sits down.
I go to the wet bar, fix me a bracing potato juice and citrus and Esme a stiff white Zinfandel.
I hand her the wine and she is still semi-dazed and digesting the information.
I slurp a good portion of my drink, retrieve her Sobranjes and me a cigar from my Turkmenistan humidor.
I sit on the couch next to her and hug her soundly.
“Esme? Es? Earth to Es? You in there?” I joke.
“Oh, Yeah. Rock. Really? Hang on”, she leaves, returning with her housecoat as this might take a little time.
“So?” I ask, “Your thoughts. Now! Immediately! Initial reaction!” I try to jar her back into reality.
“Well, what do you want?” she asks.
“C’mon, my dearest. You know I hate that. No, what do you think? What do you honestly think?” I reply.
We both fire up our smokes, and I refresh our drinks. We return to the dinner table where Red’s folder lies.
“Es, here. Look at this.” I say, sliding the portfolio over to her.
She reads like a hungry man at a Vegas casino buffet. I can tell where she was stopped by something extraordinary.
“This is for real?” she asks, “Red’s not pulling a fast one?”
“Nope. It’s the genuine article”, I tell her, “He needs my reply within two weeks.”
“Rock, Rock…I just don’t know. It’s a lot to process at 0230 in the morning. Let’s go to bed and have a think in the morning. You have the luxury of at least that amount of time.” She notes.
“Right again, as usual”, I say, “Stuff it. It can wait.” We toddle off to bed.
The next morning, over Cuban omelets and Greenland Coffees, we sort through the particulars.
“Rock, it’s an extraordinary offer. But, do you want to leave teaching? I remember how you got all animated by Dean Vermiculari giving you the corporate liaison job and how that would improve your shot at tenure.” She notes.
“I just don’t know. I’m still shell-shocked.” I tell her. “Let me go to school and we’ll pick this up tonight. We both have work to do no matter what. Oh, bloody hell. I hadn’t considered your job. Another wrinkle in the mess.”
“Don’t you worry about that”, Esme smiles. “One catastrophe at a time.”
“I do so love you.” I hug her soundly. “Think I should mention this offer to anyone at school?”
“No. Definitely not.” Esme shakes her head. “Let’s figure this out on our own.”
“I agree”, I say, kiss her and depart for school once again.
The next week was a blur. Recruiting duties were dragging and I was being preoccupied.
Even my students noted the lack of in-room explosions lately.
I spend the next Saturday at the quarry, doing some small amount of blasting. I quiz the quarry owners about their progress in acquiring a new master for the quarry’s operation.
“Oh, Doctor Rock” they gush, “You’re doing such a fine job, we haven’t really looked. Why do you ask?”
“No particular reason at this time, I reply, “But perhaps you might want to begin looking”
The chinks in my armor were finally starting to show.
Sunday was spent out on Sliver Lake, with Esme and me chasing the elusive crappie, perch, and bucketmouth bass. It also gave us a chance to clear our heads from work, school and other such intrusions. We both needed a bit of downtime.
Later that night, after a meal of beer-battered fillet of crappie and perch on the barbie, we sit down at the dinner table.
The portfolio sits there, taunting us.
I get up, makes us both our drinks, sit down and declare that this is it.
“Es, darling” I say, “its nut-cuttin’ time. We need to make our decision.”
“You’re right.” Es agrees, “Time for risk-reward analysis. Get some paper and some pencils.”
We spend the next few hours listing the pros and cons of accepting the Houston position or staying here and pursuing my tenured professorship.
After several hours, I stretch, stand, and go to the fridge. I retrieve the bottle of Bollinger Les Vieilles Vignes Francaises I had purchased the other day.
I return to the table with the wine and the glasses, pop the cork and pour us both a glass of high-brow bubble water.
I hug and kiss Esme like I had just returned from a long, solo expedition.
“Esme, my darling. I’d like to propose a toast. First to us. Hа здоровый!”
“Cheers!” Esme replies.
“Secondly to Red, Dean Vermiculari, the quarry guys, Polack the Cop, and all the others that makes our life weird around here.”
“Seconded”, Es echoes.
“Finally: to Houston, Texas. Our new home!” I finally add.
The next morning, Dean Vermiculari peers over the top of his pince-nez glasses. He’s not looking overly happy with me right now.
“Why is it, Doctor, that everyone that receives the job of corporate liaison ends up going with corporate?” he asks.
“Perhaps it’s just the exposure to another world that exists beyond academia.” I reply, truthfully.
“Doctor Rocknocker,” the Dean gravely states, “I am not at all happy about your decision. We had great hopes for you here and you were riding right up the tenure track. Another five years and it would have been assured.”
“Five years is a long time, Dean”, I state the obvious.
“Yes, indeed.” The Dean replies frostily. “However, you are young. Perhaps you need to get this private sector nonsense out of your system, then you can return to academia where you belong.”
“Perhaps, perhaps”, I reply.
“Please, do consider this option down the road. You and your antics will be missed here, by students and faculty alike.” He says.
“I will, Dean, I promise.” I reply “However, for now, it’s time for my boot heels to be wanderin’.”
“Doctor, I will miss your strange and unique way of looking at life. I reluctantly accept your resignation at the end of the current semester and wish you all the best in your newest endeavors. Please remember us when corporate support for academia is mentioned in your new company.” he says.
“I promise you, Dean, I will not forget what I’ve learned here and what you’ve taught. It’s the least I can do,” I reply. “I will never forget my roots.”
“All I can ask”, he concludes. He stands to shake my hand. We shake and my audience is over.
I resign from the quarry a week later. They haven’t found a new blaster but wish me well on my new journey. I tell them I’m here until the end of the semester, so I won’t leave them high and dry.
I tell Polack the Cop about all the goings-on.
“Who the hell can I roust for beer and cigars now?” He whines. “Let me know when you get to Texas if they need any cops. I wouldn’t mind trying’ that. Hell, maybe a Texas Ranger!”
“A Cheesehead Ranger…?” I assure him I will and pass a box of cigars to him as a parting gift. He gives me a mayoral-signed get-out-of-jail-free card.
“Now you can drive that old Harley just as crazy as you want.” He chuckles.
“Thanks, Polack.” I say, shaking his hand. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I sold my bike a week earlier.
Red was very chuffed with the news.
“Snagged me a big one this time!’ He laughed, over the phone.
There was enough paperwork, considerations and decisions to be made to last the remaining time Esme and I had in-state until our move. Already, a moving company had arrived, done inventory, and was preparing for our move to Houston.
Esme resigned her position and decided she wanted to take some time off. She wanted to be a housewife, a colleague, and not have to work for once at an outside job. My new position allowed for that in spades. Besides with her credentials, anytime when she wants to re-join the workforce, there are myriad opportunities in the Bayou City.
We made the choice of housing out west of town, in Katy, Texas. We could have chosen Sugarland, Addicks, Greenspoint, Greenway, or the Memorial area. However, these west Houston company properties were closest to the job and largest in square footage.
My students got wind of my resignation and relocation. They threw me an unexpected farewell party at the Gast Haus. It was nickel-beer night and since they were footing the bill, it all worked out just fine.
I would miss the old place. The camaraderie, the seasons, the university; hell my home these last many years. I’ve been on many, many expeditions, but I always returned home.
Now, home was moving and was awaiting our arrival.
Esme and I said our farewells to our families as well. We were the first through college, the first ones to travel international, the first Doctor in the family, and the first to leave the state.
That’s a lot of familial firsts.
I had to keep reminding everyone it wouldn’t be the last. Hell, we’re just moving to Texas, it’s not like we’re off to Greenland or Mongolia…
[Gasp]
We saddled up Es’s old Chevy Nova, took one last, lingering look in the rearview mirror, and said fare thee well to our previous lives.
“We’ll be back. Someday. I promise” I told the city of our youth and young married adulthood.
We decided to drive to Houston because we had the luxury of a bit of time. We needed the stretch to chew over some interpersonal and private things on the way to the next chapter in our lives. Besides, the weather was good, the roads ahead open and clear, and Texas had no ‘Open Container’ law, yet.
We pointed the old Nova south and hit the gas.
A week later, we’re wandering around our new house in Katy, Texas. Our belongings, scant though they may be, arrived the day after we did. Esme and I spent the next couple of day rearranging the house, buying necessary domestic bits and pieces, and getting to know our new neighborhood.
First thing, though, Esme wanted to replace the old Nova. I concurred, but insisted we keep it as a second car and went out to purchase our first new car as a couple.
I wanted a Land Rover. We ended up with a glossy black Toyota 4-Runner. Close enough.
I was scheduled to show up at my new job the next Monday.
I had my own parking spot, complete with “Reserved for Dr. Rock” painted on the bumper block. I was shown my new lab and was introduced to my seven laboratory assistants. I was shown the catalogs I could use to order what I needed and went over the requisition procedures.
I was trotted around to meet the company CEO, CFO, CIO, VPs and many, many more company executives and managers. I’ve met with presidents and heads of state, I was impressed but not overly. They seemed like a more or less nice bunch of chaps.
Almost exactly five weeks to the day from our arrival in Houston, I come home, yelling “Darling, I’m home!”
Esme comes to greet me with a rib-rearranging hug. She tells me to sit at the dinner table, where my long hard day at the office drink, cigar, ashtray, and lighter are already set.
“How was work, dear?” she asks, sitting down with her Perrier water.
“Oh, it’s going great. The knotheads let me have an open-ended budget until I get the labs sorted just the way I want it. These guys pay their bills on time and I have carte blanche at Wards Scientific, and other supply houses. My crew is great, no interpersonal crapola, and hard workers. I can smoke in my office and no one dares give me shit about my cigars. I’m getting to know the exploration department quite well. They’re really interested in our expeditions and are more interested in my opinions of their new exploration directives.”
Esme just smiles and sips her water.
“Odd”, I thought.
“That’s great, dear.” She says. “I am so glad to hear it.”
“Me too”, I say, “How are you holding up after all these weeks alone?”
“Oh, I’m getting used to it.” She smiles.
And smiles. Beatifically. Glowing.
“What?” I ask.
“Remember what we talked about in the car on the way down here?” She asks.
“We talked about a lot of things…” I say, suddenly my eyes grew very, very wide indeed.
“Yes. You’re going to be a father. I’m pregnant, Rock.” Esme smiles.
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