Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Teasing the Tuesday

Okay, so here is my Teaser Tuesday post from my latest short story which required a brush-up on Texas Hold em rules. It's only been through one revision, so it's still rough.

Hold em

“Texas Hold em’? In a Baruvian law-holders outpost?” Moses asked again, leaning against his friends’ newly-parked hoverex.

“Yeah, they’ve probably never had someone from earth here—let alone someone from Texas,” Ajax said and shut the door behind him, setting the security system with his keypad.

Moses raised his eyebrows at that. Of all place to worry about your ride being stolen… he’d assumed a law-holder’s homestead would be safe. The nervous laugh from his friend set his senses tingling. Something was ‘off’ here. He’d got the feeling right from when he’d parked. A dozen eyes were watching him.

Ajax leaned in and whispered, “I forgot to tell you… and I know how you feel about this, but Martice keeps slaves. You’ll want to lock your ride so that they don’t hitch and get you killed.”

Moses swore beneath his breath even as he did so. “Ajax, what are you doing? You know how I feel about that.”

“You’re not in Texas anymore, Moses. Things are different here on Baru and you’re supposed to be making contacts for the company. Martice is the law here. If you want to import beef here, you have to work through Martice,” Ajax said. “You go in… play a few hands. Let. Him. Win. You don’t make eye contact with any of the slaves. We leave. It’s simple.”

Moses could feel their eyes watching him. What was he doing here? Baru was a hell-hole of a civilization even before you threw in their slaves. If he’d known what Baru was like, he’d have told the company they’d be better off letting the whole planet wither up and be deserted. The strange thing was that the landscape was much like his hometown in Texas. Unlike in Texas, it was ruled by a class that made the Wild West look like the Good Old Days. He’d heard a few of the land-owners had slaves, but one of the law-holders?

“He also has servants. You can make eye contact with them,” Ajax said.

“How can I tell the difference?” Moses asked irritably. Why had he let Ajax talk him into a nice, friendly poker game? There would be nothing nice or friendly about it. His shoulders already were feeling tight with strain. It was water polo with sharks.

“The servants will be armed.” He shot Moses a look. “Don’t forget that. You mess up and we’ve got a dozen guns pointed at our heads.”

“What the hell have you gotten us into?” Moses hissed under his breath. They were nearly at the front door to the palatial mansion that resembled some of the old plantations back in the southern states. Tall white pillars flanked the door. If they hadn’t been made of polished titanium, it would have been an exact match.

“They won’t want to start an international incident… just don’t give them a reason to accuse you of breaking a law,” Ajax said.

“We’re leaving this place… this outpost after this,” Moses said.

“You’re going to find this type of thing wherever we go, Mose. You just gotta lighten up on your mama’s boy ethics.”

“Yeah, Ajax… and end up like you? No thanks.”

Ajax laughed, taking it as a compliment as Moses had known he would. “You have to admit that I can find us a good game in every outpost.”

“You’ve played here?”

Ajax smirked just as he pushed the doorbell. “Yep. The guy cheats like a husband in a Haradoon.”

Moses muttered under his breath, “This was your dumbest idea ever.”

“Probably… just don’t get us killed.”

The gun on the hip of the man that opened the door proclaimed him to be an employee… but, right away, Moses saw a few girls moving in the background—silent as wraiths. They had bracelets on their arms that would shock them if they left the homestead. Slaves. Great. He was going to kill Ajax himself if they made it out of here alive.

Martice Tesla met them just in front of a secluded room where they could see a poker table in the background. It wasn’t just what Moses knew about him that made Martice look oily. The guy might have been the same age as them—early thirties—but he had the look of a man who snorted dark. His eyes were weasel shrewd and his smile had all the win of a used-ride salesman. Dark hair was greased back and his goatee had been pulled tightly at the bottom into two golden clips with diamonds across them. He had an illegal sharpshot with its shield-piercing bullets—settled on his hip—visible. Wealthy. Degenerate. Corrupt. They really, really shouldn’t have come here.

Ajax gave him a reassuring smile after noticing the sharpshot.

This was going to be the quickest game of poker that he’d ever played. There would be no laughing casual hands going into the short hours of the Baruvian moon. Moses extended a hand to shake Martice’s with a tight smile. “Evening, Mr. Tesla. Moses Taylor—from Earth.”

Martice laughed—a greasy, winded sound. “Eve’nin. Call me Martice—and I don’t shake hands.” He gestured at his side. “Got shot by someone with a third arm that way once.”

Moses didn’t need to send another look Ajax’s way to give his opinion on this. He and Ajax had known each other long enough. His hand dropped to his side and he tried to loosen up. It was just a simple game of poker. Play. Smile. Get out. Play. Smile. Get out.

There were two other men in the poker room. Martice introduced them as “Johnny and Mick. Couple of my guys to make things even.”

Even Ajax stiffened at this. They’d be playing against “his guys” with a man known for cheating? Whatever he lost Moses would demand in repayment from Ajax. And they would lose big here tonight. There was no doubt about that. Moses could kiss the four thousand gamas he’d brought goodbye. There was no way he could file an expense report listing that much in gambling loss without everyone at home laughing at him for months. He’d walked into a panther pit with a pointy stick to defend himself with.

They sat around the table and a girl walked in and sat at the head of the table. She had long black hair and eyes as green as emeralds—eyes that wouldn’t meet his. She didn’t speak, but her attire—filmy gauze that barely could be called clothing and the golden bracelet on her upper arm spoke volumes. A slave. Possibly first generation, but Baru was going onto its third generation of slaves. Most slaves were sterile—by choice as a child born into slavery would never get out unless freed by an owner with a conscience. He hadn’t met anyone with a conscience on Baru yet.

When she leaned down to grab a pack of cards, he saw the thin lines of healing wounds on her back through the sheer material. Martice beat her. Great.

Ajax glanced at her, smothered a grin at her lush curves, and shot a warning look his way. His eyes were saying, “Don’t look at the girl. Just play the game and let’s get out of here.” There was also a hint of apology for this serious lapse in already poor judgment. Great. They were so screwed.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh... and Short Stories

I've been more in a short story mood this summer, and I'm just putting them all in one place while I'm trying to figure out what to do with them. (I'm calling it an anthology, but really it's just a 'this is where I'll stick all these for right now' collection.) It's now at 102 K with everything from flash fiction to a novella. Anyone have much experience with e-publishing short stories that they'd like to share? I checked out duotrope for a few epublishers that I'm interested in, but I'm really struggling to just do it. I'm just not sure if it's what I want to do.

Thoughts? Anyone?

Monday Ruddy Monday

...not to be confused with Sunday Bloody Sunday... which was yesterday.

Last week was a bit of a wash for me. I decided to steam-clean the carpets last Wednesday which set off a series of unfortunate events because I didn't get my berber carpeting dry enough. We're talking 15 hours of unfortunate events. Oy. I like to go big when I screw up. This is week five of my back injury. (They typically take at least six weeks to heal... so I'm close... to being magically better.)

This isn't really a post so much as an acknowledgement that I changed my background because my old background was deleted. This one has a lot of "white space" so I probably won't settle on it because I do so much writing late at night and I get all vampire about white space then. *hisses* "Why??? What is with all the bright white? It burns. It burns."

Today is a cleaning day. My kids will earn Lego Harry Potter if they clean. They both have their rooms and the therapy room. The husband made a ballpit with lycra, pool noodles, and yards and yards of red lycra. (We've used inflatable pools for ball pits in the past, but our last one bit it and went to the great inflatable pool heaven in the sky.) I might have to take a picture when the room is clean. It's really nifty. It's extremely useful having a husband who can build stuff for your therapy room--I suggest you all get one.

Okay, I only got four hours of sleep last night... and my stomach is protesting my breakfast of excedrin.

Happy Monday, folks.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Teaser Tueser... err... Tuesday, I mean.

Well, yesterday's post was relatively crabtastic. I've been working on short stories rather than a single WIP. My short story collection keeps growing and growing and I'm not sure what I'll do with it. I'm getting lots of practice working in third person, though... so that's good.

So, here is a portion of one of my short stories I've recently finished, but still needs a revision... sometime. I wrote it on the premise of "What if you met someone every day... and they assumed you were talking in code... and you assumed they were crazy?"

The title is her code for her secret project based on the phonetic alphabet code (Alpha, Foxtrot, Whiskey, etc.) Ken assumes she is trying to sell him information on her prototype. Laptop guy has been hired to find out if she is. Jenny is just there eating yogurt and doing Sudoku.

Romeo and Juliet in Tango

They sat in the same spots in the park every day for three months now. She came down to eat her yogurt and do a page of Sudoku, and he came down at the same time to work on his laptop. Maybe he was a writer or something.

This morning her horoscope had suggested she take the leap that would not be denied… whatever that crap meant, but that wasn’t what had her thinking of talking to him. It was this stupid birthday. She’d be thirty in two weeks and it was time to stop acting like she was sixty. She could talk to him… it would just be talking.

The older Asian man—the one who was blind sat beside her… as he did every day. Wow. They were really all creatures of habit.

“How are you, Jenny Talmage?” he asked. He always used her full name as if anything less just wasn’t her name.

“I’m fine, Ken,” she said, staring at the other man—working on his laptop. Normally, she made eye contact when she spoke with someone, but Ken never looked at her—they just always sat side-by-side and talked. Besides, today… she was going to force laptop guy to make eye contact with her just by sheer will.

Who was she kidding? Maybe he hadn’t even noticed her in three months? Why would he? He looked all rough and steamy… and she looked so normal. Brown hair. Brown eyes. Her mouth had always seemed to be too full, but no one else had ever said anything. Still—nothing added up to equality with laptop guy. Plus, she was queen of the nerds. The building behind her that she worked in basically stamped her as untouchable to a guy like laptop guy. Out of her league… way out of her league.

“Jenny Talmage, how often does the hummingbird flap its wings in an hour?”

Ken asked weird things like this all the time. It was mostly science and animal questions, and sometimes she tried to get ahead of him by asking her own odd questions. It seemed impolite to not venture a guess—so she always did. She’d studied hummingbirds strangely enough for her project, but it was because they could fly backward… if you could make a thing fly backwards… well… that was a beautiful thing.

“Five hundred sixty-one thousand times,” she guessed. It was a reasonable guess.

“Really?” he asked.

Jenny shrugged even though he couldn’t see her. The laptop guy looked up at her bemused… even though he couldn’t have possibly heard her. He was on a bench forty feet away. Weird. Then, he was looking back at his laptop as if the moment had never occurred. Maybe it hadn’t.

“They beat their wings more frequently during courtship,” Jenny said.

“What does that mean?” Ken asked. He tipped his head slightly as if her comment was more ridiculous than normal. Yesterday, they’d discussed whirlpools. This really wasn’t that far from the norm. Maybe he was just old-fashioned and felt even the word “courtship” was dirty.

“That their courtships are more exhausting than humans,” Jenny said, setting her yogurt to the side and opening up her Sudoku book to a new puzzle. With Ken feeling chattery… there would be no way she’d get an actual puzzle done, so she just started making notes in her code to transcribe later in her lab’s computer. She really ought to know how often they beat their wings—it’d be useful information possibly.

“Hotel uniform,” she scribbled into one of the boxes to remind her to look up an “Hu” word when she got back up there. That would be enough to jog her memory. It’d be interesting if she’d guessed close. “561,000,” she wrote in the next box, murmuring it under her breath as she did.

There! Again! She’d seen it in her periphery. The laptop guy raised his head topped with “cinnamon toast” colored hair and his blue eyes focused on her for a second in surprise. Jenny looked behind her. No one there—it was just she and Ken—same as every day for the last three months when he’d been here and she’d been wanting to talk to him. When she looked back, he was back to that laptop. Maybe she’d imagined it. Weird.

“You’re sure? Five hundred and sixty-one thousand times?” Ken asked the oddest follow-up questions. He had a sense of humor so he had to know she was kidding with these guesses, right?

“I would never venture a guess at something as important as wing speed if I wasn’t sure,” she said.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Post From a Grumpy Old Writer

I don't know why I'm so crabby today... besides the obvious Mondayness of Monday, but I am. As evidence, I was reading something and this was the note I wish I could send to someone:

Dear New Writer,

So, here you are—all fresh-faced and brimming with excitement. Don’t do that… we hate that. If you’ve come for the accolades, they just left. They left with dreams of an income and hope for an easy path… those ruddy bastards. If you’re here for the cheerleading, we miss that… like… a lot. In the beginning, when we needed it and we were new, it was here, there, and everywhere. Now, like an old flavor, all we hear is, “What else do you have?" and "there is a typo on page 20 that made me shoot milk out my nose.” If you’ve come for the crowds or attention, they were here for a bit, but they’ve moved on—following some celebrity that has fallen from a pedestal—or been tripped. Poor schmuck. If you’ve come because you’ve had a dream, that’s so sweet. We’ve had dreams too. We keep them in the corner or use them as paperweights to hold down reality. If you’ve come because something lives inside you—something aggressive that wants out or it’ll devour you—well, then, that's different. You’re among friends. Sit down, write a bit, but try not to mumble too much to yourself. We hate that.



So, I may need ice cream... or a hug... or to hug ice cream. I'm too young to be cynical I think... but maybe not. Cynical is really warm and comfy and fits me as well as sarcasm.

Alrighty then... tomorrow's post will be all cheerful probably. In the meantime... I just had to get the above out. *crawls back under rock*

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Self-rejection that Sunk (see previous post for explanation)

ARR Ye Scurvy Writin’ Scum,

This here be a respectable attempt at written stories, but ye failed to be rememberin we don’t like ye… nary a bit, ye landlubber. We followed this here tale across the continent just to vex ye. Ye’ll no be publishin yer work if I, Captain Larry the Literary, be havin a say in it.

This be yer first warnin. It be treasure… and it be MY booty and no sorry excuse for an agent be lucky enough to touch it while I rule these parts. From now on, ye’ll be sendin your work to me… and ONLY to me. While ye be useful, we’ll be lettin ye live. If ye prove to be the bilge of the barnacles, we be havin ye walk the plank.

I be a reasonable man. I’m allowin this so-called agent to live as long as she forthwith agrees nary to cross my path again. Reasonable says I, but also wise to the tricks of those that tarry in New York. Full of fools, says I.

If ye be wantin yer head to stay attached, keep yer manuscripts to yerself or send them to my ship. All else will be viewed as mutiny. Mutiny I tells ye! Ye be no wantin to know what I does to them that crosses me.

This be my signature,

Captain Larry the Literary

And this be the signature of the agent who’ll ne’er be contactin ye if she knows what’s best for her,

Arr... tharr be the reason I be not rejected...

So, that pirate self-rejection that I JUST mentioned... I just got an emailed request for a full from them... with another SASE... which begs the question... do I write another rejection?

Arr... these be the difficult questions.

Oh... and lest anyone misunderstood my previous post. I've got a substantial amount of queries out... and now eleven subs out, I'm not writing off the possibility of being published. I'm just not sending out any more queries. I feel good about assuming that if I'm meant to go this route... something will come of what I have already out. I just can't keep querying. I'm burnt out on it. I'm burnt out on critiques from fellow writers to improve on the stories I have. I'm just burnt out. Plus, the fact is... I was talking with an agent yesterday and I've had some really good conversations with her. It made me realize that if nothing came of this whole attempt besides making good friends and meeting wonderful people who also love writing... that is honestly more than enough for me.

Anyway... it's probably too late to get that printed out for today. Arr... that full be hitting the waters on Thursday. (BTW... this person already read 50 pages, so yay!!!)

And the pants come off...

For those not writerly, there are two common styles of writing: Pantsing and Plotting. A pantser, which I am, writes by the seat of their pants with very little pre-planning and it just... works. (I'm always a little shocked at how well it works out confidentially.) Suddenly, it's on the page and I'm like "boo-yah!" However, my mom asked me to go back to working on Honor Seven and... in light of yesterday's realization... I thought it sounded fun. Luckily, I have some wonderful and detailed notes about my plans for when I got sucked into something else back in January.

*snort laughs*

Yeah. Some of you may vaguely remember these notes from January. If not, here they are:

Connection to Ares important/Priest important/"Water is drugged" "You need to live."/Thor's backstory should come in/Island--find that island again/Not a hag--get rid of hag stuff/Mutus Liber/raising dead mentioned in book five/six days/Druids/Zombies/Honor targeted due to dreams/looking at boat at Locks/Refocus on date/"I've tasted that. I nearly would have rather died," Clooney said./Elixir of Eternal Death/Some islands might have Rogues on them--eating salmon/Why did Archer get left behind? You left him behind in Clooney's scene/Figure out the passage of time business--find a way or reason to speed up time/Honor dreaming of watching Reeve fight/Reeve has first dream/Motive behind abduction not entirely evil/leave open-ended for eight/Leave Honor behind/prison should not have earth in it--maybe cement or metal/basement/bathroom--just because otherwise that's gross/Ares being a dark magi will require re-explanation of that/You have Merlin, but maybe Gandalf would be better/Guerdon?/Make sure to disarm Honor--twice over because of other weapon/Get Faith a Tuck/she gets away--she? Probably/explain princess Diana's absence/If they have Rogues--they might have Shifts/Who or what are they fighting before Clooney's scene/end on dream or Christmas/mistletoe should keep coming up--wiki it/go back through notes for that one thing that you starred that you thought was cool--whatever it was.

Let's just pull out a few notes to examine shall we....

"Figure out the passage of time business--find a way or reason to speed up time." I believe, I'm referring to how long Honor and Reeve can be separated before blood sickness sets in... or... maybe I'm referring to time travel. If time travel... cool.

Wait... there is more:

"Basement/bathroom--just because otherwise that's gross." Knowing my mind as well as I do--sadly, I got this one. I need to make sure Honor is trapped in a room with a bathroom. (Kidnapping facilities need to have indoor plumbing--always.)

"Make sure to disarm Honor twice over because of other weapon." Actually, knowing Honor, they'll have to do a thorough search... so that's not a big deal.

Okay, this one made me laugh out loud:

"Some islands might have Rogues on them--eating salmon." But of course!!!! The diet of the Rogues... on the islands... because... that's a vital clue. (No, I don't know why I mentioned it either. Rogues are vampires living outside of the Sovereignty that are cannibals for the most part... unless they favor a more Mediterranean diet high in seafood... apparently.)

At least I finished with some solid explanation of what I meant: I'm to go back through my notes to find that one thing I "thought was cool... whatever it was." Ahhhh yes. That ONE thing. Not... the other thing... the ONE thing.

*Brain explodes*

And... this... little Timmy is the reason you always, always, always wear pants.

I did finish a novella over the weekend. It's good. I reread and revised it last night. I dug it. I'm not sure what I'll do with it. I'm looking at some epublishers. We'll see. I'm doing the same in regards to some of my short stories. So, yeah... I'll need to get back to trying to figure out what I meant when I said what I did and it didn't mean anything.

Oh, also, no pirate-style self-rejection yet. I think I'll post it if I haven't heard back at three months.

I'm going to go find some pants to put on... that make sense.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Days That Have Teeth

You know, when you start writing... you don't put the first paragraph on paper for anyone other than yourself--at least I didn't. In fact, I didn't write my first complete story for any other reason than to see if I could do it... and I did. That was twenty-one months ago. It's strange to think that in three months, I'll have been writing for two years.

I don't know what to think of that.

Despite how I present myself--I'm a very private person. If I say it out loud... it doesn't matter to me that others know. The fact that I over-share probably makes that scary, but the reality is that my mind is constantly on the move. A person with OCD thinks of a million different scenarios, problems, issues, concerns every minute.

Since I've been a child, I've always put myself to sleep with a story. It was the only way to get the OCD in my head to shut off. I'd start a story one night... and it would evolve every night until I'd get bored with it and end it... and I'd start a new one. The stories lived in my head and never made it out.

Then, I sat down in October of 2008 and started writing a story about a girl named Sarah who worked for a strange company. She had OCD... and a person trying to kill her. The story evolved and grew and in the beginning... it was me, but ended up being Sarah. Then, the next story tripped in. I'd decided to always write about what I knew... and so each character I write has some aspect of me in them. Sometimes they're obvious but most of the time--it's a secret between my characters and me.

My family convinced me to try to get published. "This is so good. This is so good. You need to get it published." I balked. I didn't really want people to have the option to hate my characters... which is a chance you take when you throw them out into the world. They convinced me to do it.

The time has flown. I've met a lot of fellow writers... and made some lasting friendships. I've had some fun--entertained some people. It's been... fun. I don't think anyone could say that I've given this attempt less than everything. I've sent out a lot of queries. There have been submissions requested. I've received rejections. I've gotten critiques from fellow writers that made me cry. I've revised and revised and revised and revised. I've done this with every bit of me.

Something today that made me rethink it all. Something just made me wonder if this was what I ever wanted. Sometimes--it's the experience and the journey that you were meant to have. The destination was... not ever mine.

I can't not write. Once I started, I knew I'd never stop. I'm not querying anymore though. I'm calling it done. I have submissions out... and whatever happens... happens.

I feel pretty good about this. Maybe tomorrow I'll have changed my mind, but there is a lot of peace in stepping back and saying, "Wow... this just really doesn't matter."

I'm a writer. I have been for twenty-one months. I've made some good friends. I've told some good stories. I don't need more than that--not today anyway.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Sad Pathetic First Life of Wendy Sparrow

As a little insight into my life... I live near a lake. Around the lake are beautiful, huge houses. *Wendy snorts* I don't live in those, but I drive by them on my way to go get donuts which I'll put on our emergency credit card because when are donuts NOT an emergency? *Stop judging me* So, I'm driving back from getting donuts.... It's a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest. It's supposed to get up to around ninety or so, I believe. The lake already has boats on it. Beautiful! I drive by a giant house with its own private boat launch down which they are lowering a HUGE boat so they can spend the day on the lake.

*This is the point that I realized that I've not only grown up, but I've grown up to be boring and practical--donuts aside.*

I'm watching this boat slide into the shimmering, blue water reflecting a perfect sky and I thought, "If I had a boat that size today... I'd sell it and use the money to get out of debt, but probably reserve some of the money to help with the tax hit I'd take."

*Actually... the point that I realized I'm truly sick... came about thirty seconds AFTER that thought when I realized THAT thought was disturbing.*

Le sigh. Are there therapy programs for those that are overly realistic? For being mentally ill, I've really shown a flair for practical, depressing thoughts firmly rooted in reality.

Well, since it is a beautiful Saturday... it'd be good to get some cleaning done....

Friday, July 2, 2010

Short Post on an Odd Topic

Well, I'd intended to mention this on Twitter, but Twitter is having some real issues this morning. I just got my 17th request for submission... (9 fulls, 8 partials) which given my love of odd numbers should be perfect, but I have 10 of these submissions out currently. (6 fulls, 4 partials) I hate when my penchant for odd numbers creates a conflict in things I can't control. I can control the number of queries I send out... and believe me... I do. It's ALWAYS an odd number. The number of people I follow on Twitter and allow as followers on Twitter is always odd. (I keep bots for a bit extra to ensure this... or kabosh "social media" people.) It's all about the odd numbers with me. It's an OCD thing, but also... I'll admit... I'm oddly superstitious. It seems at odds with my spiritual nature, but I've given up trying to explain it to myself. I knock on wood, don't mention things out loud that I'm concerned about, have been known to throw salt over my shoulder, try not to "jinx" things, and don't walk under ladders. (Why tempt fate? Yeah... that "fate" I don't believe in due to my spiritual nature... I'm a walking contradiction.) So, I'm hoping that I'll get an 11th submission request out... which will make for 18 overall... which will be frustrating in a new way, but I don't care.

In other news, the husband looked at my back last night. He thinks I'm fighting a tissue injury over my scapula in addition to that stupid cracked back rib. (I think I still have that cracked rib because it hurts to breathe deeply and it hurts in a different spot from this scapula issue.) I have a visibly swollen lump on my scapula, though. He suggested a sling for today to keep that muscle immobilized. I'd been laying off the ibuprofen this week, but I think that was a mistake because both injuries have been worse since I have. This'll be the second time that T has put me in a sling. Oy. That kid. It's my third major injury due to him. He cracked my rib previously while in utero... kicked it. Stubbornly violent from the get-go that one is. The last x-ray I had... that rib still showed it had been cracked and healed... maybe it always will. It would still recrack with deep coughs for like a year and a half afterwards.

Cracked ribs are the gifts that keep giving... forever.

Anyway... the kids have been told I'm in a sling today, and they're mildly interested... in how it will affect them. T has been given caffeine gum to settle him down. My dreams of cleaning the house will have to be postponed to another day. I mentioned to the husband that I should just get the wisdom tooth I need yanked in a bad way--pulled out so I can tie on the percocet and kill two birds with one stone. (That's an idiom I rarely use as my last name is Sparrow, btw.) I'm seriously considering it.

Have a good Friday and a good holiday weekend for those in the States.