Monday, March 15, 2010

Can’t Buy Me Love

cue annoying background music reminiscent of Switchfoot’s "Mess Of Me," yet without the guitar wah-wah-wahs

cue scene: Ol’ fogey Michelle is kneeling on her sidewalk with a ruler and a pair of scissors as she trims the edges of grass. Four kids are playing kickball in the street. At a wild line drive, the red ball bounces onto the neatly trimmed grass...

“AAAIIIIEEEE,” I scream as the ball crushes the innocent blades of sod. With my right arm swinging down, I strike the offender repeatedly as the scissors’ edge ruptures the plastic. “DIE. DIE, YA’LL RED DEVIL OF THE APOCALYPSE. AND STAY OFF MY LAWN.”

“Awww, Miss Michelle. You popped our ball.” Dennis runs toward the sidewalk with his friends Lucy, Opie, and Little Orphan Annie. The bull terrier rushes over and snarls at the red mess, its teeth thrashing at the destroyed toy.

“That ain’t no ball. It be an red imp. Only imps go and injure an innocent lawn like mine.” I cross my arms and nod my head. “When I struck it, the evil fizzled out in a puff of smelly air. Ya’ll should thank me for saving ya’ll souls.”

Lucy places a finger to her lips as she glances at the neighbor’s house. “Shhh, Miss Michelle. You can’t let Mr. Dagwood hear you talking like that. Remember how he tried to have those guys dressed in white uniforms take you away in that straitjacket thingie.”

I screw up my face in a grimace. “Yah, I remember. He was trying to get even with me for tossing that rosebush on him last week. Trying to make everyone think I’m crazy.” I pull the red rubber from the little dog’s teeth. Then I hurry toward the neighbor’s car. Leaning by the tailpipe, I stuff the rubber inside, using the scissors to wedge it as far deep as I can.

I sneak back over onto my property, chuckling. “Well, I can tell ya’ll children the truth. I might be mean, but I ain’t crazy.”

Orphan Annie bends over to tie her shoe. “We know you’re not crazy. You’re fun to be around. It’s never dull around the neighborhood with you here.”

“That’s a good thing, too. Nothing wrong with some good-ol-fashion mischief making. A laugh is worth more than a million dollars.” I frown while counting the children’s heads. “And speaking of mischief, where’s ya’ll friend Timmy? I haven’t seen that rascal or his collie dog since I freed him from my basement.”

The kids glance at each other, then they scuff shoes on the pavement. Opie clears his throat. “Timmy is in juvie, Miss Michelle. The police took him there.”

“Oh, Lordy. What that boy do this time?”

Dennis wrings his hands. “He tried to sell his little brother on Ebay for a $1,000, a Nintendo WII, and a Snickers bar.”

“Huh?” I scratch at my silvery beard. “That’s a pretty good deal. So his parents busted him on it and sent him to juvenile detention to scare his butt straight for a few days?”

Opie shakes his head. “No, Miss Michelle. The airport police... uh... I think they’re called Homeland Security... heard something rattling around in the shipping box when Timmy tried to sneak his brother on the plane to a Borneo sweatshop. When they patted him down, they found 150 stolen I-phones taped to his body. Timmy planned on selling them on the black market. He’s going to be in juvie until the trial, or until he can cut a deal with the judge on a free I-phone for the charges to be dropped.”

I let out a roaring laugh. “Why that little entrepreneur! That boy knows how to do business. He knows the price for everything, even on how much a person is worth.”

Lucy tugs at my sleeve. “How much are you worth, Miss Michelle?”

“Hm, well young whippersnapper, it all depends on what ya’ll plan on buying from me? If ya’ll want a whip-cracking joke, that will cost ya’ll two laughs. If ya’ll want a bit of devilish play, that will cost ya’ll a snicker and a secret trust. If ya’ll want some love from me, why that will cost ya’ll too. It’s a bit of a high price: a hug and a kiss and bit of understanding. But quiet now, I’m meaning to get some payment off ya’ll in a moment.”

Everyone turns their heads toward the neighbor’s property as Mr. Dagwood rushed out the door after giving his wife Blondie a quick kiss. Late for work, he hops into his car and starts the engine. It roars into life, takes a few stuttering rolls up the street, and konks out. Dagwood jumps out the car cussing and fuming.

The kids chuckle as they hide smiles behind palms covering their mouths. I grin evilly. “Yup, some things about me are well worth the cost. Now, ya’ll kids, come on off my lawn and sit with me on the porch for a spell. I got some stories to share along with some cool lemonade. All it will cost ya’ll is a listening ear.”

Read more Miss Michelle Chronicles here, or click on the link above the post header.


  1. I wish Miss Michelle was in my neighborhood when I was growing up. Always good to have a laugh!

  2. Oh, I love Miss Michelle!!!! She's WONDERFUL!!! I hope you write a book about her!!!! Time to gather all your blog stories about her, wrap it up and tie it with string, and send it off to be published!!! I want an autographed copy when you do!!! ~Janine XO

  3. We love all the Miss Michelle stories too. Keep the laughs coming Michelle. Can't wait to see what she'll be up to next. :o)

  4. Oh Michelle, I just LOVE this character, you've had me laughing out loud, what a wonderfully warped sense of humour you have, you've really tickled my funny bone, I think the line about the basement creased me the most, but it was a close call - the banter flowed so quick and natural - absolutley wonderful writing, my girl!

  5. Suldog: I wish Miss Michelle had lived there too!

    Daryl: Well, Miss Michelle would have had to commute between you and Suldog's neighborhood. Feel like sharing?

    Janine: I just started writing Miss Michelle. There are going to be more stories about her - a lot more. She's a very enjoyable character to write about.

    Ruth and Glen: She'll be up to a lot of mischief making, especially when involving her neighbor.

    Shrinky: Thanks! When the character is engaging to me, it becomes more of a pleasure to write about them, and comes off as better writing for the reader since I'm relaxed about it.


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