One thing I found surprising about Catherine Coan’s short short stories was the variety of voices and writing styles therein. I, on the other hand, seem to write “…all one, ever the same and keep invention in a noted weed…”, if I may quote the English language’s most famous sonneteer. The next surprise came in the form of her fine wit which renders more meaning with each reading. Again, I have written short intros, (in italics), to these pieces which I hope will not detract from them.
Ah, to be a schoolboy again. And drawing pictures with schoolgirls. And learning so many new things, with visual aids in the classroom to enhance the rich imagination of childhood. ─AS
Drawing On Eyelashes
Remember, when you were a kid, doing drawings, and in those drawings drawing eyelashes on some animals to show that those animals were female (lizards, mice, fish, birds)? Another question, this one for bats: Bats, why must you swoop about, swooping for blood, when you could just do you know what with your lashes and almost surely get better results, like maybe even a little ceramic bowl of blood with your name on it (and yes, I know that your name is difficult to spell, Empress of Moldovia, but try to be positive, please)?
I forgot to tell you earlier that I have made a time machine which shows all of time up until now on an overhead projector from 1980. You are going to have to decide who gets to operate the rollers, and if there is any bickering, we’ll just wait until tomorrow to do this. Good.
Here, you get a dry-erase marker. And you, and you. You don’t get one. Why? Because your behavior last week when we were doing the Praying for the Bean Plants experiment was ridiculous, especially since you know that there is no gambling allowed on the premises. Okay, hold on a second while I get this thing going…. Okay. Now please say, “Pause, please” whenever you’d like to draw on some eyelashes, and draw them! It’s almost lunch, so some of you might have to wait until after. Oh, and there is an index right here, so it’s really not hard at all to find what you are looking for. Here are some suggestions: lizards, the pope, mice, Glenn Beck, fish, strip mines, Margaret Thatcher, birds. Please do not forget to put the cap back on when you are finished.
If only, when I was in the fifth grade, and giving and receiving those little baby blue heart-shaped confections with the small red printing on them, I had had the wisdom imparted by this next piece. I daresay I might have had a better marriage. ─AS
Q: Which child is loved best by its mother?
A: The child who receives the most valentines in the small, decorated bag taped to the front of its desk.
Q: Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?
A: Because of Saint Valentine, who fell in love with a white deer in the forest, then a white dove in a dovecote, then a brown squirrel (also in the forest), then back to the white dove.
Q: Is it true that a proper valentine is bright red and trimmed in lace?
A: Yes, like the human heart.
Q: Is it true that Saint Valentine was a brown deer?
A: No one is sure.
Q: Will I ever find love?
A: Yes, at a bar. You will be offered a pastis by an elderly man with an accent. He will tell you that you look just like his dead son. He will show you a photograph of his dead son, whose name is Stephen. You will fall in love with Stephen.
Q: Which valentine is better, one with a mouse hugging another mouse or one with a bluebird carrying a valentine in its beak?
A: The latter.
I can’t wait to meet the narrator of this next story, as well as her extended family. ─AS
Your Pig Family
When I signed up for the show, I was like, he’s the bachelor, right? So I knew you’d be amazing. But I had no idea you’d be so amazing. I mean, I knew you’d be amazing, but not this amazing, you know? You’re like everything I’m looking for, and when we connect we have this, you know, energy. I hope you know that I’m here for the right reasons. I can’t believe we’ve made it this far. The one-on-one dates have been just, you know, incredible. And last night in the hot tub. Every time I look at you, I’m like, wow. He is so amazing. And now I’m going to meet your family in Seattle. That’s just, well, I’m nervous! Totally nervous but totally excited and happy. I can’t believe we’re taking it to the next level! And then your pig family in Issaquah. I’m more worried about them than your other family, you know? Because people’s pig families can be really critical. One time, a long time ago, I was dating this guy, and his human family loved me, we totally got along, but his pig family just did not like me for some reason. I think it was his pig brother, you know, jealous or something, I don’t know. So the relationship didn’t work out. But anyway, everything happens for a reason. I’m just so excited and nervous! It’s going to be amazing. I’m like, what kind of wine do they like? Should I bring flowers? My pig mother hates flowers. They remind her of the hospital, which you can imagine, remember I told you about her back problems? She’s seriously in a wheelchair more often than she’s on her feet. She’s so strong, so strong. Anyway. I’m super excited! Whew. Just breathe, right? It’s going to be amazing.
Catherine Coan’s first book, Aviation (poetry), was published by Blue Begonia Press in 2000. Her design work can be seen at Stay, the downtown Los Angeles hotel she created with business partner Amy Price. Her Canary Suicides (assemblages in vintage bird cages featuring little feathered demises) are currently on display at Arty, the downtown L.A. gallery she co-owns with Price (also at www.canarysuicides.com <http://www.canarysuicides.com/> ). She has taught university literature and creative writing since 1995.