The Book of Stains

I would like your additions to “The Book of Stains.” It’s a handy how-to guide that needs expanding since stains are always going to show up. Here are some early listings, to give you an idea of what is most helpful:

The splatter of grief

–This stain will fade over time. Many cleaning books maintain that this is a treatable stain, but there is no way to erase the splatter of grief except to wait for it to disappear on its own.

Spilled hopes

–Wipe up with a soft cloth. Wring the liquid into a Mason jar and seal. These will keep indefinitely until you are ready to serve them up along with a fine champagne.

Ground in messages of misogyny

–This stain needs treatment with harsh chemicals. Wear rubber gloves because such stains are toxic to tender skin. The sooner this stain is treated, the better. If the stain is on paper, burn it.

Caked on confusion

–Happily, there are many books on cake making that contain helpful hints. Betty Crocker herself recommends mixing up confusion with the following ingredients: a dictionary, Google, a yellow tablet, honesty, and the will to learn. Bake for a number of years until done.

The dust of dumb decisions

–Here a light touch is best. Dust is everywhere and it tends to come back. Don’t shoot for the perfect dustless home, but rest easy. A little dust never hurt anyone. We all have this kind of dust.

14 responses to “The Book of Stains

  1. I keep getting an error saying I already posted but no post appears. Any suggestions.

    • Khwatkins,
      I’m not seeing your posting. Rats! I’d love to see it. Tech is NOT my area. Can you try one more time?

      • The splatter of grief
        –This stain will fade over time. Many cleaning books maintain that this is a treatable stain, but there is no way to erase the splatter of grief except to wait for it to disappear on its own. But truth of the matter, it never really disappears. Just when it appears the latest, greatest solution has arrived, the stain reappears. Sometimes the stain wanes, almost unrecognizable, but other times, the stain is ubiquitous, insidious, stealing the breath and heart of its victim. The stain of grief is a forever; embracing the stain seems the only viable option.
        Spilled hopes
        –Wipe up with a soft cloth. Wring the liquid into a Mason jar and seal. These will keep indefinitely until you are ready to serve them up along with a fine champagne. Be sure to label each jar as a reminder of the treasure within; a sure delight to the soul upon opening. In cases of a relocation, carefully wrap each jar in layers of bubble wrap and mark the packing box FRAGILE HANDLE WITH CARE. Upon unpacking, dust each jar to restore the sparkle and desire held within.
        Ground in messages of misogyny
        –This stain needs treatment with harsh chemicals. Wear rubber gloves because such stains are toxic to tender skin. The sooner this stain is treated, the better. If the stain is on paper, burn it. Research has concluded sulfuric acid tends to dissolve the stain, but take caution as tearing eyes often occur. After a day or so wash the infected area with a mild soap such as Castille Pure Soap for the original luster and softness to return.
        Caked on confusion
        –Happily, there are many books on cake making that contain helpful hints. Betty Crocker herself recommends mixing up confusion with the following ingredients: a dictionary, Google, a yellow tablet, honesty, and the will to learn. Bake for a number of years until done. Unfortunately Betty Crocker was an optimist. Sometimes the cake of confusion contains the following ingredients: unanswerable questions, a misplaced dictionary, bad connections to Google, illogical judgment, and spicy will to narrow-mindedness.
        The dust of dumb decisions
        –Here a light touch is best. Dust is everywhere and it tends to come back. Don’t shoot for the perfect dustless home, but rest easy. A little dust never hurt anyone. We all have this kind of dust. Sometimes a “Que sera, sera”attitude toward dust is best. Learn to write in the dust. Better yet, read what you wrote. Then leave it for a day or so before wiping it gently.

  2. I had to delete your heading, but it worked this time. Oh the joys of technical issues – NOT!!

  3. It looks like you had a good time with this challenge. You might even think about adding some categories!

  4. Tears of Frustration
    These may trickle down softly or flood out as if a dam has burst its banks. They will land, often unheeded, on shirts, desktops, or pillows, soaking the shedder and his/her surroundings. If left undisturbed, their stains will eventually fade until barely noticeable. Warning: Repeated episodes have been known to cause name-calling, pillow-punching, and wall-kicking, as well as an uptick in drinking, swearing, and other bad habits, thus leaving a permanent mark.

  5. A Splotch of Silliness:

    WARNING…..when dealing with this condition handle with extreme caution, it is highly contagious and can easily be passed from carrier to victims. It is insidious because it can spread rapidly, especially during inappropriate moments such as;

    The first Sex Education class in any Middle School.

    During an extremely lengthy and arduous dying scene of the Lead Mezzo Soprano at an Opera (some audience members have actually been known to storm the stage and attempt to speed her demise with a firm choke hold).

    Funerals ( for reference, please go to Hulu and watch a re-run of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, episode, Chuckles the Clown).

    Jury Duty

    Mid point of a sermon at My Lady Of Perpetual Piety.

    This stain of jocularity usually starts with a small snicker which moves into a muffled giggle among two or three persons. With a remarkably small amount of encouragement, the giggles can infect even more people and grow into a full blown BLOTCH OF BELLY LAUGHS

    If treatment is not received in a timely manner, Silliness has the potential to last a lifetime……………….if you are lucky.

  6. Good one, Peanut! So fitting. I couldn’t help being reminded of another splotch of spreading silliness: It was junior year in high school history class. We had a young male teacher who had zero luck controlling the class. One class period I decided to hum a long note to see if anyone else might join in. Sure enough, a couple other students added quite nice harmonies so we soon had a whole chord going. Visually undetectable! That is, until we all started giggling, out of control.

    Welcome back!

    • Lady Linquist, I always suspected that underneath your wise professorial finish, there was a Smidgen of Rebel. Do you mind if a borrow the HUM routine next Sunday during the sermon at my Free-Range Methodist Church ? I have been busy teaching a writing class at our County Jail. It is amazing that lives can be so tragic and broken, but the writing seems to be an effective tool to help the women examine their motives in the past and to plan a better path for the future. We even manage to be a bit silly now and then. I could never stay away form this haven for very long.

  7. Imbrued With the Brain of a Man

    The hardwood hemorrhage brought Rotten Yegg eye-level with the green baize. He watched through a tightening vignette as the blue smudged orb sank below the horizon.

    “Scratch,” said Harley as he slipped another hollowpoint in the cylinder of his Black Hawk and flicked it closed, “I thought you were gonna tell us all a story. A story about your days in them hobo camps around the Chicago train yards.”

    Scratch examined the jagged end of the pool cue he was holding and, having made the realization the current game was over, placed it somewhat gently back in the rack.

    “Them hobo camps around the Chicago train yards,” Scratch repeated as if the subject had just come to him. “Them hobo camps was not a place a normal fella wanted to be, that’s for sure. Them hobo camps was some bad shit. I ain’t been in the camps in more than twenty years, and I sure as hell don’t ever wanna go back.”

    He walked over to a row of wooden chairs set up along the back wall and took the first seat. For the longest time Scratch just watched the blood drip from one corner of the pool table to the floor. It seemed as though he found it calming. Like the summer rain outside.

    Just when it appeared as though Scratch had once again retreated into the dank recesses of one of his jungle-war induced brain bunkers, he began to relate a story.

    “Skuzzy Linda was her name, and we all had her. I start itchin’ all over again at the thought of that one. She had every misery known to man between her legs, and then some.”

    If Scratch was aware of the irony of his statement, he didn’t show it.

    “It was New Year’s Eve, or there about, and all of us were pretty much hogged up on cheap booze. Skuzz, god she was awful, was trying to ride Junkpan Bob, who was passed out in the snow and might have even been dead by that particular time. He sure as hell was dead by morning. Anyway, I made the mistake of goin’ over and pulling her off Bob, which got me in a similar circumstance with the exception that I wasn’t passed out or dead.”

    “I guess it must’ve felt good though ‘cause Skuzz and I sorta hung around each other for the next few months. Mostly when we were all shit-faced, which was probably what led me to beatin’ the crap out of her a few times, which was also what lead me to six months in Joliet. Damn bitch.”

    The lights flickered in synchronism with the flash of lightning. Scratch waited patiently for the thunderclap before he continued.

    “When I got out she was gone, which was good anyway since it took most of them six months in the house to get me cleaned up, and I probably still got some kinda damn brain damage anyhow.”

    Scratch paused for a moment as if he were trying to recall a detail.

    “Of course there was also that other thing too,” he eventually added.

    Harley, perhaps involuntarily, made a hacking noise and spit on the floor.

    “And just what exactly was that other thing?” he asked, seemingly focused on twirling his revolver cowboy-style.

    “I don’t know,” said Scratch, staring out the window at the rising storm. “They said she was pregnant, but hell, that coulda’ been by anybody. And anyway, she was such a stinkin’ mess, there was no way she was havin’ any kind of normal kid. Just a worthless polluted bitch. If she had a kid, it’d be a retard for sure.”

    The lights flickered once more and the thunder rolled as a tiny trickle of blood ran from the fresh red dot in the middle of Scratch’s forehead, past his glassy eyes, and down to his chin where it dripped slowly onto the floor.

    “Boom,” said Harley as he slipped another hollowpoint in the cylinder of his Black Hawk and flicked it closed, “get me another beer, will ya? And you really need to clean this goddamn place up. You got stains on the wall.”

    From somewhere in the back, Boom could be heard in muffled tones as he unleashed a profane tirade against unreasonable expectations of cleanliness.

    But Harley was right. There were many stains. Imprinted on the wall behind the wooden chair where Scratch sat motionless was a stain of hardship, a stain of redress, and a nasty stain of heredity, which, most people will tell you, is nearly impossible to get out.

  8. whoowh. I think you had a bad day since this is so grim. I’m guessing you’re a fan of Charles Bukowski. Great final paragraph. Whoowh again.

  9. Hi Gary – I missed this earlier and am glad I came back. I truly enjoyed this, right up my alley – tough, visceral. Nasty characters. Lots of subtlety which I love in noir writing. I guess I am going to HAVE to add an effort to this prompt. Good job my man, I think your most enthralling so far.

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