Happy Landings

“Man, this is really bad,” Pumpkin said, holding a cleaning rag and a spray bottle of bathroom cleaner. He was standing in the hallway alternately looking into his bathroom and then at me and then back again. I watched him from my chair in the living room. I don’t recall seeing this much amazement shining in his eyes in a very long time, if ever.

“No shit, I’ve been telling you to clean your bathroom for weeks,” I said.

“It’s like, I woke up this morning and just really saw it, ya know? It was bad,” he said, looking back into the bathroom. I think the magic mushrooms he ate for breakfast helped “high def” his vision.

“I think your shirt is on inside out,” I said.

“Yeah, I am pretty sure it is,” he said, looking down at his shirt before going back into the bathroom to continue cleaning.

He stayed in there for another half hour. I could hear him drop the shower curtain tension rod at least six times. Since he didn’t yelp in pain, I figured I would just let it go. He came back into the hallway with a big smile on his face.

“Mom, come see my bathroom!”

I got up and walked over to him. I looked into the bathroom timidly, not sure of what I would find. It looked beautiful, except the tension rod with the shower curtain on it was across the middle of the shower doorway instead of at the top.

“Son, don’t ya think the shower curtain is a little low?”

“Yeah, the shower curtain is way long,” he said, walking over to the stall. He lifted the curtain up to show me how much was lying across the shower floor. “I think I better cut it. Why the fuck did I buy a camouflage shower curtain?”

“I’m not really sure. But, I am sure you need to put the shower curtain rod up higher.”

“No, that’s kinda where it landed, where it wants to be.”

I walked over to the shower and waved my hand in the opening between the curtain and the top of the shower saying, “If you don’t raise the curtain water will come out onto the floor through this open space.”

“Right, right, yeah, ok, for sure. I will fix that later,” he said, staring into the space he created. He took another nibble of pharmaceutical fungi. “Well, I gots lots to do. Some in the house, some out of the house.”

“I think you should just focus on the stuff in the house today. I think tomorrow would be a better out of the house day.”

I sat down in the living room again. His doors of perception were swinging open all right. I remember when I shroomed last. It came on while I was sorting laundry. An hour into the task I realized I had about five piles sorted—not just the usual darks, colors and whites. I was just tossing the clothes and watching the trails. What is it about shroomin’ and cleaning with our DNA? Then, the horrible sound of my vacuum cleaner sucking up something bad shook me from my memory.

“Bring it here so I can fix it,” I yelled to Pumpkin. He’d moved on to cleaning his bedroom.

“I don’t think fixing it is an option.”

“What the hell did you suck up?”

“The blind.”

“Seriously? Pick everything up off the floor before you vacuum!” His blind is often on the floor because he tends to come into the house through his bedroom window instead of the door.

“It was on the window,” he said, bringing the sweeper out with slates of the blind sticking out of it at various angles.

“How? How did this happen? Your window is above your bed for fucks sake!”

“Yeah, I got to go to the math lab,” he said, setting the sweeper down.

“It’s Sunday. The lab isn’t open. I thought we were going to focus on the things you need to do in the house today. Outside is not a good idea. Going to school is certainly not a good idea.”

“Right, I will be back,” he said, heading out the door.

“Your shirt is still inside out,” I yelled after him.

“That’s just where it landed.”





Becky A Snitch

“What I don’t understand is why you waited this fucking long to tell me,” I said, pulling open the heavy door to the mall.

“Cause he’s a dumb ass,” Jesse said, laughing. Really, it’s more of a manic giggle.

“Because I knew you were gonna freak out and I thought I could buy the pills, but I don’t have the money, so I don’t have a choice –I have to tell you,” Pumpkin said, as we walked to GNC.

Pumpkin has been on probation for two years. Part of his probation is drug testing. He never passes. He always pisses dirty. Usually his probation officer will just lock him up for a week or so for a probation violation. This obviously hasn’t been working since the tests are all still dirty. His PO’s new tactic is to test me every time Pumpkin comes up dirty. My test results would be murky at best. I would then be charged for drug abuse. Pumpkin’s PO thinks he can’t stay sober because he lives in a “using” household. I think Pumpkin can’t stay sober because he is a pothead and doesn’t give a shit.

“Umm, yeah, potentially going to jail does cause me to freak out.”

“You’re not going to go to jail, mom.”

“Your yellow ass better hope not.”

“She called you yellow. High yellow, that’s your handle, yo. Cause you is yellow and usually high,” Jesse chortles between giggles.

“Shut the fuck up,” Pumpkin and I say in unison.

We walk into the GNC and find the Niacin. There are a ton of choices, different brands and milligrams.

“Now, what are you supposed to do?”

“The website said..”

“Stuff Stoners Like, that’s what it’s called. They’re serious, Bro,” Jesse says, interrupting Pumpkin.

“Shut up,” we both say again.

“Ok, two to three days before the test you take 1,000 mg and drink two gallons of water. Day of the test you take 1,000 mg and drink two to three bottles of water. Pee two to three times before test. Use midstream pee for the test.”

“We only have two days and you are like 85% THC, we are screwed. I’m going to jail.”

“It will work. Let’s just get it and go so I can start.”

I grab a bottle of Niacin. I get the most expensive one hoping it will work better, but knowing it won’t really make a difference. We walk up to the counter. There is young girl with long blonde hair standing at the counter. Jesse leans over the counter smiling at her.

“Where you from?” he asks, smiling broadly.

“Bro, stop,” Pumpkin says, pushing him out of the way. The young woman looks very uncomfortable. I place the pills on the counter.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t sell these pills to you,” she says.

“Why?” I ask, not very calmly.

“Because I couldn’t help but overhear you are using them for illegal means.”

“Are you fucking serious? Is there like a GNC oath or some shit? Am I being punked? I am going to jail,” I say, while looking around for a camera.

“Duuuude,” Jesse says, looking at the ceiling while turning in a circle.

“Mom, let’s just go. We can go to Rite Aid.”

“I don’t know if theirs are as good.” I notice a tall black man standing off to the side in a GNC uniform. Maybe he will understand, maybe he is from our tribe of dealing with dumb shit.

“Hey, will you ring these up for me?” I ask.

“Sorry, fam, Becky a snitch,” he says.

“Come on, Becky, no one is going to know. Just ring them up. I got a lot going on and this shit is pointless.”

“My name isn’t Becky and you are making me uncomfortable. I am going to call security if you don’t leave.”

“Well, Becky, looks like I am going to jail either way, so I might as well make it worth it!”

“Awww shit, Ma Dukes is about to throw down,” Jesse says, as he begins to shadow box.

“Mom, seriously. Now, we need to leave, now.”

So, we leave. We go to Rite Aid and we buy the pills. Pumpkin doesn’t smoke for two days. He’s an asshole for two days. He takes the pills, he drinks the water. We go down to his PO’s office for him to drop urine. Did you know there are side effects to taking so much Niacin?  Mr. Carrillo did.

“Good Afternoon, young man,” Mr. Carrillo says.

“Good Afternoon, Sir,” Pumpkin says, as he itches his arm, neck and face. He looks flushed.

“You coming down with something?”

“No, I feel good.”

“Looks to me like you might have Niacin fever.”

“Niacin, Sir?”

“Don’t worry, I can test for it. We will find out and treat it appropriately.”

Fuck my life.





















Bob Is Dead

“That shirt is cute,” I say to my husband as we wait to be seated at Bob Evans. But, I can’t buy another t-shirt, even if it has bacon on it, because I already have 487.

“I like the trucker hat with Bob Evans on it. But, $9.99 is too much money,” he says. He doesn’t need another hat, he already has 488.

When we are seated and looking over the menus he says, “Maybe I can talk them down.”

“Talk who down?”

“Bob Evans, on the hat,” he says, still deciding between country fried steak and an omelet.

“There is no Bob Evans, there is no bartering here.”

“Sure there is, that’s what country folk do—they haggle.”

“We aren’t country folk, what the fuck are you talking about? You grew up in the projects; I grew up on the East Side. We might live in a trailer, but we aren’t country folk,” I say staring at him. He won’t look at me, he’s acting like he’s still looking at the menu. He isn’t looking at the menu, he’s digging his heels in. I continue to stare, he won’t look up. Finally, our waiter comes.

“What do you think, James?” he asks our server.

“Jesus Christ,” I sigh and put my menu down. James looks confused.

“You think the manager would come down on that trucker hat over there by the cash register?”

“Come down?”

“You know, it says it costs $9.99. I’m willing to give him $5.99.”

“You can ask him,” James says, shrugging his shoulders.

“No, no you can’t. We are at Levis Commons in freaking Perrysburg for fucks sake! Really?  You want to barter with a manager for a trucker hat? There is no bartering at Levis Commons. There are UPC codes and prices set by corporate, that’s what there is. This isn’t a pickup truck parked at some farmer’s market,” I bellow as James hurries away to get our coffee.

“They have a farm.”


“Bob Evans.”

“It’s a corporate farm, it’s a façade, Bob Evans is dead and that shit isn’t real. Do not do this, it is stupid and embarrassing.”

“Chris never pays full price for anything. I bet they’ll do it.”

“Chris is country folk, Chris does live in the country, he shops at swap meets for real! He lives by a cornfield. We live in Walbridge, we have sewers—no.”

As we walk to the cash register, he stops to talk to the manager.

“I am waiting in the car, I can’t believe you are doing this,” I say.

“I won’t unlock it, nothing wrong with haggling.”

I stand by the register and wait. After a few minutes he stands beside me.


“He said the UPC codes are preprogrammed and they can’t override them.”

I don’t say anything. I actually feel bad for him, he seems kind of sad. When we get in the car he hits the steering wheel and yells, “Pie!”


“Next time I’ll say, ‘I’ll give you the $9.99 for the hat, if you give me a piece of pie and don’t ring it up.’ See, that’s how you get around them UPC’s,” he says, smiling in victory and lighting a cigarette.

“I hate you.”



On The 7th Day The Stripper Got Hitched

Day 1

“Have you seen Pumpkin today?” I ask my daughter.

I hadn’t seen him in over 24 hours. He usually doesn’t wander away from his bongs this long and I was getting concerned.

“No, he was gone before I left this morning at 9:00am,” she replies.

Now I am really concerned. He never gets up that early. I don’t see him the rest of that day either.

Day 2

I get up and there is still no Pumpkin. I text, call, facetime and IM him. Nothing. I IM two of his friends. One doesn’t respond, the other says he hasn’t seen him. I begin to worry he doesn’t know my number and can’t call me for bail.

Day 2 ½

He comes strolling in early evening. “Where the hell have you been?” I ask, loudly.

“I met a girl. You’re gonna meet her really soon,” he says.

His smile is so happy and sweet I decide not to grill him about her just yet. I would only get the happy afterglow of new sex version anyway, so what’s the point?

Day 3

“So yeah, I think you are going to like her. She’s crazy like you, she makes her own Windex,” he says out of the blue.

I nod and don’t say anything. “She has a kid, he’s great. She’s a single mom, she does everything. You should see it,” he continues. Oh, you mean that thing I did for you for 18 years? Yeah, I’ve seen it, it’s fucking awesome.

“She’s a little older than me, she’s 23, and she’s divorced. But, they are real cool, ‘cause you know, the kid.” This just gets better and better, I think to myself.

“I think want I to have a kid with her, too,” he continues.

“Are you crazy? You don’t even know her. You’re temps are suspended for fuck’s sake. Who gets their temps suspended?? You net worth is negative. Literally, NEGATIVE.”

“No, it’s cool. Even if we break up it would work out. She’s like the human I want a kid with.”

“18 years, 18 years you gotta deal with a baby momma! What the fuck? You don’t know her!”

“I see how she is with her kid’s dad. They are divorced and they get along. I think it would be ok. They get along really well.”

Day 4

“You are going to find this out anyway, so I might as well tell you,” he begins. I wait for the bombshell revelation. “She gets naked for her job,” he says.

“That’s fine, you know I don’t have any problem with sex workers as long as it’s their own choice,” I say.

“I want her to quit. My boss saw my girlfriend naked and that ain’t cool.”

“You can’t do that. You can’t tell someone they have to quit their job. If she wants to strip, she should strip. She has a kid to support, you have no right,” I say.

“She’s not a stripper. She gets naked on the internet and people pay to look at her.”

“Ok, well whatever. She’s making money from home, good for her. But, you can’t mess with her pocket,” I continue.

“No, she goes to this place to do it. It’s like a studio. But, she takes Adderall while she works. She has to talk to the people on the computer and it gives her more energy to be, ya know, upbeat. I don’t like that. You shouldn’t have to get high to do your job.”

“Adderall? You know that stuff is evil. With your drug history, do you think it’s a good idea for you to be around it?” I ask, with my heart pounding. Even to an extremely liberal mom, this is starting to become worrisome.

“I won’t take it. Don’t worry, this is good. You will like her.”

Day 5

“I told you she was crazy, I had to carry her out of the 7-11 today,” Pumpkin says.

“Why?” I ask, truly interested.

“The clerk never carded her before and they did today. Neither of us had an ID, but that’s not the point. She thinks he did it because I was with her and I’m black, she thinks it was racist. So, she started yelling and throwing the Skittles. I had to get her out of there.”

I say nothing.

Day 6

“Mom, I love you,” he says.

“What do you want?”

“I’ve been spending so much money getting to Chris’s house I wondered if she could just come and stay here with me tonight.”

“I have to check with your sister. You know her temper. She already had one of your girlfriends hiding in the basement because she wanted to beat their ass. Let me talk to her,” I answer.

Day 6 ½

“Ok, I talked to your sister, she won’t hurt her. Now, you cannot make noise and wake us up. You cannot leave her alone in our house. You are financially responsible for any shit that happens. She cannot live with us, this is a once and a while thing. Got it?”

“Thanks, mom.”

Day 7

I text my husband, “Good Morning.”

“Morning, was Pumpkin still up when you got up?” he texts back.

“No, did that girl come over?”

“Oh yeah, I had a 4:40 am adventure,” he says.

“What’s she like?”

“I don’t know. Pumpkin was up sitting in the living room, said he would introduce us, but she was naked as shit. Those are his words.”


“He told me it might sound crazy, but they are getting married.”

“You’re fucking with me.”

“Nope, I think his bong collection won her over. The guys on the line say they are taking the day off to go to the wedding.”

See? A whole new world can be made in seven days. I think I need to go to church.

Happy Cows

“You awful thick to be a vegetarian, ain’t you?” he asked.

“I just started about three weeks ago,” I replied, without thinking.

I was at Wendy’s ordering a Caesar salad without the bacon bits. The man waiting on me asked why I didn’t want them, he said they were the best part of the salad. That’s when he took it upon himself to look me over from head to toe and pronounce me “thick”. First of all, what gives him the right to asses my body? Secondly, why the hell did I answer him with anything other than fuck you?

The reason I wasn’t eating meat is because I saw a video of a happy cow. This cow was frolicking. It was loving playing in hay. It was nuzzling a man with what seemed like boundless love. It was a happy, happy freaking cow. It ruined my eating. I don’t want my food to have a personality. I don’t want to wonder about the internal life of my cheeseburger. But, there I was.

The first few days were pretty easy. I felt good about my decision. I felt slightly more spiritual and evolved than my fellow bacon eating humans. I swore I could actually smell blood when I walked past the meat section at the grocery store. I thought my cats could tell I gave up meat and were looking a little deeper into my eyes when I pet them. I felt we were truly communing. Unfortunately, my kids didn’t take it well.

“I’m black! I need meat, macaroni and cheese and shit,” my daughter wept as she looked at the eggplant lasagna I made. I wasn’t worried. She worked at Burger King and my son went to his father’s house almost every day. They could easily get their daily intake of carcass. They would be fine.

“I made you mac and cheese last weekend,” I countered.

“Out of cauliflower! That’s not mac and cheese and you know it,” she really looked like she wanted to hurt me. I was trying to eat healthy in general, not just give up meat.

I was a month into my spiritual journey when I began to wane. I really missed chicken on my salad for lunch. I needed protein, I reasoned. Chickens probably don’t experience happiness anyway. Their brains are the size of a walnut. So, I decided I could eat chicken. I decided not to eat pork because pigs are supposed to be as smart as a three year old or something. Fish wasn’t a problem because it’s gross and I don’t eat it anyway. Cows were happy so no beef. Chicken became my fair emotionless game. Skinless, boneless and organic chicken was my new best friend. Kids still weren’t on board as I wouldn’t make fried chicken. I did have some food standards left.

A few days into my chicken phase my daughter brought home a hamburger and dropped it into my lap. It was warm. It smelled so good. It had cheese on it. She sat across the room on the couch in her Burger King uniform holding her breath and watching me. I tried to rise above the aroma. But, my mouth started watering. I couldn’t take it. I unwrapped it and took a huge bite. She sighed an audible sigh of relief, took her Burger King hat off and leaned back into the couch.

“Thank you, Jesus,” she said.






It’s Friday Night on the East Side

How do you relieve stress? I am partial to half a joint and some chocolate followed by a bowl of Cheerios. That’s my sleep aid pretty much every night. But, one Friday I had a particularly stressful day and thought I needed a chaser with my usual cocktail. I should mention I was married to Mr. Sierra #2 at the time. I lovingly refer to him as Dumbass in polite conversation. Anyway, I came home that day to find Dumbass in the kitchen grilling on our outdoor gas grill. I said in the kitchen, did you notice that? Yes, he was INSIDE grilling with a full size outdoor gas grill. It took a helluva an argument to get him to understand that that isn’t safe and he needed to turn it off or go outside. He was pissed at me the rest of the day for ruining his cookout and did everything he could to drive me crazy.

By bedtime I was too stressed for my usual sleep aid. So, I waited for Dumbass to go to sleep and I liberated two of his Tylenol Three with codeine pills. It proved to be quite effective. I was out like a light. I woke in the middle of the night to use the restroom. As I walked to the bathroom I just didn’t feel right. I thought I must be super groggy from my medicinal cocktail. I happened to glance in the mirror above the sink. I couldn’t believe it, I looked like—I don’t even know what I looked like. I was covered in hives from the top of my head to my feet. My face was swollen beyond recognition. My eyes were nearly swollen shut. My lips were huge. I started feeling like I couldn’t breathe. I was certain my throat was closing and I was going to die.

I freaked out. I ran back to the bedroom and tried to wake up Dumbass. Of course, he wouldn’t wake up. I panicked. I didn’t think I should drive because my eyes were nearly closed. I thought my throat was going to shut down any minute. What if I was driving and I passed out because I couldn’t breathe? Luckily, we lived about four blocks away from the Starr Avenue fire station. I decided that was my best bet. I would walk to the fire station and the firemen would help me.

Midway through the first block cars started honking at me as they passed. That’s when I realized I didn’t change before I left the house. I was walking down Starr Avenue at 1:00 in the morning, covered in hives, face horribly swollen while wearing zebra print boy cut underwear with matching camisole. I paused for a second and wondered if I should go home and change then walk to the fire station. I was certain I was way too close to death and that would take up too much precious time. As the cars continued to honk I yelled, “yeah, yeah,” back at them. That’s the only response my brain could come up. I was concentrating on my certain death which loomed so near.

I finally got to the fire station and I started banging on the door. The firemen were all asleep and it took about five minutes for someone to answer the door. A man peered out the window at me. I said, “My name is Libby Sierra and I am having an allergic reaction. I need help.” He simply stared at me through the window for what seemed forever. Then he yelled, “Hey, guys. It’s Friday night on the East Side. Come see this.”

Well, I was indignant at his lack of concern for what I felt was obviously a life threatening situation. I yelled back through the door, “I can hear you!” I’m not sure he could understand what I said as my lips were so swollen it came out with kind of a lisp. He finally opened the door and let me in.

The other firemen gathered around as he gave me an IV with an antihistamine in it. They told me they had to take me to the hospital. They gave me a blanket and I climbed into the ambulance and went to the hospital. Once there, I got another shot of medicine through the IV and waited for the swelling to go down. Six hours later the Doctor told me I was free to leave. Oh shit, I thought. I didn’t have my phone, money or car. I had no choice, I had to do the worst thing ever, I had to call Dumbass to come and get me.

I used the hospital phone and called him. It was about 8:00 in the morning. He answered the phone by yelling, “Where the fuck are you?” “I’m at the hospital,” I said meekly. “You’re at the right place then ‘cause I’m gonna whip your ass when I get there.” He hung up and I wrapped my blanket around me tighter and stood at the entrance to wait for him. He was there in record time. He watched me walk out of the hospital in my underwear and barefoot. He was shaking his head in wonderment. I don’t think he was prepared for what he saw. When I climbed into the truck his anger was replaced with curiosity.

“What did you do?” he asked.

I hung my head and tried to figure out where to start. I just experienced the most shameful walk of shame ever, that’s all.