The Knife Sticking out of My Heart is Hard to Accessorize

June 3, 2012 § 7 Comments

“I plan for the future.  Sometimes hundreds of years.”  –  The Phoenix

On Friday the news broke that Oprah levitated from her pastoral Montecito estate just long enough to revive her book club so that she could trumpet a new book from the mountains.  That book is Blue- ha ha ha sob ha no, just kidding.  That book is Wild, the story of a woman who got divorced and lost her mother and hit the lowest point of her wretched life and then hiked 1200 miles alone through the Pacific Coast Trail, which was apparently teaming with rattlesnakes, black bears, locust plagues, and zombies.

Oh yeah?  Try hiking a ¼ mile up the merciless terrain of a Montecito foothill with asthma and low blood sugar to bury a book, whiner.

Here’s an excerpt from my own upcoming book about my trek, Desperate:

100 feet:   This trail is too steep, Phoenix, I said. I have asthma. And low blood sugar.

It’s really not too far up, he said.

Why couldn’t you have found a flatter trail? I asked. Why? Why?

Do you want to stop and have some water?

No, I said grimly.  Let’s press on.

200 feet:  Is that a snake? I asked.  No, he said. It’s a stick.

300 feet:  My breath is coming in gasps.  The back of my legs hurt.  Some kind of stupid flower is making my eyes water.  I forgot my sunscreen and I just remembered dangerous rays can eat your face even on a cloudy day. 

Do you want some water? Phoenix asks gently. 

Water does not solve everything, I say, realizing for the first time that it truly does not.

325 feet:  I simply can’t go on.  I collapse in a heap.  The trees of Montecito spin above my head.  Phoenix looms over me. 

Do you want some water?

My delirium and altitude fever causes me to abandon my basic gentle good manners and suggest,You can shove that water up your ass.

350 feet:  I have apologized for the ass/water comment and summoned the strength to go on, but am maddened with exhaustion and inner thigh cramping.  I collapse again. 

Just leave me, I urge Phoenix. Save yourself and abandon me to the escaped standard poodles that roam these woods. 

I wouldn’t leave my friends in Nam, and I won’t leave you, Phoenix assures me.  (Author’s note: Phoenix remembers the war in Nam as “relaxing.”) 

Phoenix extends his hand.  Using my last reservoir of strength and clutching Oprah’s copy of Blue Asylum, I take it.

There’s still 50 feet to go, so you’ll have to get the whole book.

So friends, OprahQuest 2012 is over.  It survived so many things, only to be stopped in its tracks by the last thing I imagined: the revival of her book club.  I’m taking down my lonely web site, Oprah’s Page a Day, where I had been reading a page of Blue Asylum into an empty Oprah-free void while the light slowly died in my eyes.

You see, I really just wanted to deliver my novel into the hands of a woman I admired.  Now anything I do looks like a naked attempt to get in her book club.  Even Hepinstalls have their pride.*

*The Rabbit has traced the Hepinstall family lineage to a group of Teutonic Cannibals whose bone rituals insured a hearty barley harvest and enough resulting beer to get drunk on all summer.

(Awesome cake courtesy Lori Nygaard and Roz Romney)

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§ 7 Responses to The Knife Sticking out of My Heart is Hard to Accessorize

  • Gayla Collins says:

    This isn’t the time to surrender, Kathy….this is the time to call the troops, Phoenix, and strategize a new plan of purpose. When I read the proclamation that Oprah would once again Rule the world of books, I found it a positive sign.

    As a member of Kathy’s Reservists our army should try something bold…..we send Oprah’s new station a copy of “Blue Asylum.” Everyone of us. How could the staff ignore vast multiple copies of the same book?

    Just saying. Kathy has risked her life hiking to the Monticello site; the valor of our favorite author should inspire us to this “Impossible Mission.” I would swing into a window of the top floor of Oprah’s “M”estate….Tom Cruise eat stunt sh-t.

    Troops, are you willing to aid me in these assaults?

    This mission would work if you decide to accept it.

    Gayla

    Gayla

    • Saintly Mother says:

      Gayla, what a brilliant idea! Kathy has sooooooooo many devoted friends, if ALL of them bought another book to send to Oprah, those extra sales alone would surely propel the book to the Best Seller list – and maybe that fact alone would grab her idol’s attention???????? If not, all would not be lost. It would at least improve the U.S. Postal Service’s bottom line.

    • Yes, I’ll sign up. At least to rub some bacon on the book and whip it over Oprah’s stone fence, hopefully her dogs will drag it in the house. Of course there are probably already thousands of bacon wrapped books hurtling over that fence for Oprah’s dogs now….hmmm, maybe we should use some of that chocolate covered bacon.

  • That knife is a gift. Pull it out and use it. Suck it up, soldier, and drive on. As we like to say, adapt and overcome.
    Oh, and send a piece of that cake. It looks good. I’m a bit hungry.

  • The Phoenix says:

    Memories Are Slippery Varmints With Sharp Teeth

    Oh, I remember that day. Flecks of dreams shining through the leaves as we drove up to the creek that flowed gently across the road by the trailhead. A sign warned, Slippery When Wet.
    “Drive on Phoenix, that sign is too suggestive.”

    Ahead we pull off under a tree and gathered our gear: shovel, two LARGE water bottles, atomizer, ½ pound Godiva chocolate (Kathy’s low blood sugar – I don’t see how when she practically swimming in sugar), box, tape, sunscreen, bag of rocks – yes a bag of rocks to mark the spot. Did I forget anything?
    “Kathy, you got the book, this box feels a little light.”
    “What? You question the depth of my words?”
    “No never! I’m only concerned that you…I mean, we didn’t forget your masterful prose.”
    “Nothing escapes my notice Phoenix. Now, where is the start of this trail?”
    “Well, just there, across the street, by that big sign, where all those people are heading up the trail.”
    “Come Phoenix, follow me…no you lead I want be sure you carry my book with the dignity it deserves.”
    At the trailhead, Kathy screeched, “Wait Phoenix! You got a flashlight.”
    I looked up, high noon, I was betting we could walk 500 feet and get back before the darkness overtook us.
    “I don’t want to spent the night fighting off those standard poodles. They feed by moonlight Phoenix”
    “We’re good,” I lied, more junk to carry.

    50 feet:
    “Slow down you trying to kill me, I’ve got low blood sugar. Where’s my chocolate bar. I’ll lead.”
    Yes, with your hands on your knees bent over looking at your feet it must appear straight up. ”Would you like some water also?”

    75 feet:
    “Kathy! Pull over.”
    “Ha! Pace to hard Phoenix, just suck it up.”
    “Yes, Kathy. But there’s an old lady in a wheel chair that ragging to get by.”

    150 feet:
    “HELP! Phoenix.”
    I rushed past Kathy bracing for an attack by at least a pair of hungry mountain lions. Nothing!
    Kathy screamed and pointed down, “Watch out!”
    I looked, nothing.
    “The rattle snake!”
    I looked down at a small brown mushroom. I wondered if I should break the news that her mind was giving out from oxygen deprivation.
    I booted the little stool and decided that discretion was the better part of valor. I keep silent. “You’re safe now. Would you like to take a little break and catch your breath and rehydrate?”

    250 feet:
    Kathy collapses for the second or was it the third time, blisters on her feet. I didn’t point out that her insistence to wear bedroom slippers on the trail might have been a mistake. She insisting that if they were comfortable knocking about the house they would be so on the trail. I didn’t want to feel her wrath again if I reminded her that maybe, just maybe, I really did know something about hiking.

    350 feet:
    Kathy has gotten her wind back and now insists on pressing the pace. Claiming we needed to make up for lost time. Funny at this point, I myself am a little winded having carried Kathy on my back with all the supplies for the last 100 feet.

    500 feet:
    Kathy left off the fact that we did reach the treasure spot and I dug the hole and buried the Blue Asylum.
    “Wait, I need to autograph it.”
    I dug up the box, suddenly wondering if ‘Blue Asylum’ wasn’t really an autobiographical memoir.

    I opened the box and yes, it was empty.
    Kathy screamed. I can’t tell you what she said, since we’d have to change the rating on the site. But let’s just say she blamed the old lady in the wheel chair for pinching the book.
    I might normally give her that point except the old lady had no arms. Yes, she did have very quick and agile feet. But I eliminated that possibility also as I looked back and saw on the roof of the car something I was sure was the book. I excused myself for a moment and returned with the ‘Blue Asylum’ ready to give it a fitting sendoff.

    I will leave up to the reader which account is most accurate. But remember Kathy has a very active imagination just like the characters she writes about in her novel.

    The Phoenix

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