“Chicken Tea” by Melinda Smith
I’m sipping chicken tea from the mug with a chip in it. This bothers me but I put on my smile because it is impolite to frown as guests arrive. Clive, Judith, and Owen sit in one corner. Judith is making small talk about the new exhibit at the Broad museum. Something about lights and pain. Seems interesting and I nod politely as I pour more chicken tea. Rich stock that smells of steeped sinew and bones sure makes a chilly day shine.
“Darling, I could use a refresher,” Beatrice coos from the other side of the room. Of course she is chitting and chatting with Deborah and Flora. They’ve worn their best hats and a small piece of my stomach roils with resentment that I have not yet gotten mine back from the specialty cleaners. I must attend to that before the next gathering.
“Of course, moonbeam,” I say as I pour the thick broth into her cup. I let her have the purple one with the daisies. It’s perfect for Beatrice because she likes to wear both purples and florals, though neither today. Today her fuzzy skin is bare. But she’s still cute as a button and I tell her so.
The silver tray clinks as the tea cups move with each of my steps. I notice my distorted face in the tray. My lipstick has been smeared around my lips and now I’m mad. Don’t let it show don’t let it show don’t let it show. Not now godammnit. My final guest is coming.
A knock at the door and I almost drop my tray. It’s you! At least I think it is. I met you yesterday at the library. You made eyes at me and I invited you for tea. You will be surprised that it’s chicken tea. I hope it’s a good surprise. I also hope you don’t mind the others. They’ll be quiet, I promise.
I fix my lips and pinch color into my cheeks. Angry vessels break and now my skin is an ugly mix of white and purple. Goddammit. Smile Smile. I open the door.
“H- hello,” I say, a little nervous. The others turn to see who I’ve let in.
“Hi,” you say, a bouquet of daisies in your hand. What are the chances? I’ve just given the daisy cup to Beatrice. This is so funny. I will tell you all about it once I hang your coat. You look around the room and your face falls.
“Are you ok?” I ask. Dammit, you look concerned. I want this to go smoothly. I know it’s because I’m not wearing my good tea hat. I know it. “It’s awfully chilly out there. Why don’t you come in?”
You step through the door and I lock it tight. I slip the key into my apron. At least I remembered to press it this morning. Did I unplug the iron? Wouldn’t that be a disaster, I think to myself and I laugh heartily. You look at me and wonder why I’ve laughed. I explain that is nothing to worry your pretty little head about.
“I see you have some dolls…?” you say. They are not dolls. What the hell must you think of me?
“They are stuffed animals. They are not dolls. They are having the chicken tea. Is that a problem?” I fear my tone is a little high and charged. Not polite for a hostess. But my entrails are burning with anger at your error.
“Liver. Liver. Liver,” they begin to chant.
“Not now, goddammit,” I seethe.
“Not what now?” you ask. Your face is white. The white face reminds me and I laugh at my white and purple reflection from the platter earlier. Your eyes grow wide. I do hope I haven’t alarmed you. Once you get to know me, you’ll understand that I just replay scenes in my head and laugh a little. It’s honestly nothing to ruffle your feathers about. Mother used to say it’s one of my silly little quirks. Then she gave me my chicken tea and I would go to sleep for hours, like a good good little girl. I do look back fondly on those tea parties. Same stuffed animals, would you believe? They live forever and that’s why they’re magic.
I assure you it’s all nothing, and show you a place to sit. The chair is a bit small, and it groans at your large frame. How absolutely dreadful. You don’t fit and I am so very sorry. Goddammit. Why did I not think to get the big chair out for you? I take my notepad out of my apron and jot down one hard slap on account of the chair to remind me of my punishment for later. There, now I can let it out of my mind for now.
“Liver. Liver. Liver,” they continue. They are so rude. Now I am starting to get very angry. You sense it and back away from me. My embarrassment swims through and I scramble to the kettle.
“Uh would you,” I say, my voice stuttering and shaking, “would you like some fresh chicken tea?”
You ask what that is and I explain that it is bone broth in a mug and that it’s delightful and that it may not be what you had in mind but it is lovely and warming. You sigh and agree to try. Now I am all happy again and I know it will all be right. Beatrice and the others have gone back to their tea and I am so very relieved.
I put out a cheese plate and you sit. Some color has come back to your cheeks and it pleases me. Nothing like cold skin on my fingertips. Not that I should be so presumptuous. I don’t know what your intentions are. Parts of me burn under my Sunday dress and I yell at them under my breath. Not now, just like I keep the animals at bay, so too must I keep parts of me in check. But I am hungry.
Ever so hungry.
I look into your eyes and I lick my lips. I can’t tell if you are smiling out of fear or pleasure. The best kind of uncertainty to have. I watch, nearly aroused in my hunger as you put my best china mug to your lips and drink.
I look at you expectantly. I am hoping you’ll love the flavor as much as I do. You smile and sigh. It has indeed warmed you and I am so very happy. You take another few sips as I share some tales of Owen and Judith and their encounter with a real live unicorn.
The pupils in your eyes grow wide and you sit and listen. You are such a good boy. Mother would have been proud of you had you grown up in our house. Your lids droop on account of the chicken tea. The friends have noticed and they lick their furry lips. Beatrice cranes her long giraffe neck over and tries to nibble on you a little. Half-conscious you bat her away. Don’t you touch her that way, goddammit.
“Liver. Liver. Liver,” they all chant.
I giggle. “Oh, all right. My goodness,” I say. “I suppose it’s time.”
The knife from the cheese plate hasn’t even been used yet. I won’t even have to wipe its cold edges on my tea towel before I use it and that gives me endless pleasure.
Melinda is a scientist with the heart of a writer. After being immersed in academia studying the neural circuits that make us, she retains a love for creativity, for questioning the reality that our minds create. Are we real? How do we know? What signals from the outside world make it into our minds and how do our minds infuse these inputs into a narrative? How can we understand the motives of others, especially those who are evil or not of this world? You know, little things like that. Melinda lives in sunny California with her husband and two little girls.
Snails a Whorl Whirl Whore World…
So a friend and I made some artsy snails awhile back. Essentially this was in response to her granddaughter proclaiming that her favorite animals are whorl snails. My friend heard “whore snails” and was a bit perturbed that the child would use such a word so nonchalantly, whether or not she knew what it meant. But then again toddler-speak is like that sometimes… Anyway, it stuck.
So we made some whore snails, all glammed up and ready to go. We started with these flat metal snails and then painted and decorated them, to whore them up a bit. I figured this would be apropos after my recent Valentine’s Day posts and that the end results were horrifying enough to appear here.
This is my friend’s creation. I especially like the David Bowie star and cherry bling to match her cherry red lipstick. The purple shell is a great color on her too. I think my friend went back and decorated her shell more after the fact, but I didn’t see the snail after those changes.
And here’s my whore snail. She’s a bit more of an ice queen with her deceptively lovey-dovey eyes and mouth full of poison darts, like the underwater snails do. I believe I called her a Hoar Whore Whorl Snail as when the discussion first came up I heard “hoar” and thought of hoarfrost. Hence the ice queen take…
And another friend joined us via Zoom just to visit and have fun making art together.
This little Zoomed in snail is kinda cute, like she’s out on the beach in her bikini… Mixed media on paper.
So if that wasn’t disturbing enough, check out my inappropriate Shrinky Dinks posted here before, or maybe this Eye Candy Peeps Easter basket, both taking some innocuous thing(s) turning into something… else…
Have a Dystopian Girls on Film Valentine’s Day
So it’s finally actually Valentine’s Day, and thus marks the final segment of our dysfunctional dystopian romance. So far, we’ve survived both Gen X and Krampusnacht, what else could possibly be in store? Girls on Film…
Image description: Video camera umbrella shower succubus stares through the lens at the viewer, surrounded by eerie Cthulhoid horror embellishments with text.
Text reads: Happy Valentine’s Day; lipstick cherry all over the lens as she’s falling; give me shudders in a whisper; take me up ’til I’m shooting a star; (she’s more than a lady)
OK so this Valentine’s Day dystopia ends in a Duran Duran video, because of course it does. If the video doesn’t load properly, you can find it by following this link. Girls on Film.
Here’s the camera eye succubus all by itself, for your viewing pleasure. Actually this is the original original image from an Unselfie performance art piece in the shower before I decided to forego the umbrella. Girls on Film.
Krampus and Jennifer Weigel wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day
Krampus got a little confused and decided to celebrate Krampusnacht for St. Valentine instead of St. Nicholas. So Happy Valentine’s Day, as it were. No real surprise there, the whipping can go either way…
Here’s a before image of a doll like this one started as, one of those Christmas caroler figures.
And here are some after images to burn into your brain through your retinas.
Krampus’ eyes and horns are black light sensitive. The pin is a hand beaded piece that I lucked into at thrift and was perfect for this, nice and gaudy. Because even Krampus says you gotta have bling – it is Valentine’s Day after all.
And here’s a detail shot of the cape so you can see the chubby cheeky angels. Just like on all those Italian ceilings, these angels love to look down upon you in bed not sleeping, just like they would do. Such pervs. Perfect for creepy Christmas and Valentine’s Day alike…
If you want to check out more of my altered dolls, I have posted several to Haunted MTL here: