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Your Own Back Yard – Michael Gillan Maxwell

Visual Art – Creative Writing – Social Commentary

Month

June 2013

THE LUNCH LADY COOKBOOK’S INCREDIBLE, EDIBLE EGG SALAD SANDWICH

THE LUNCH LADY COOKBOOK’S INCREDIBLE, EDIBLE EGG SALAD SANDWICH.

THE LUNCH LADY COOKBOOK’S INCREDIBLE, EDIBLE EGG SALAD SANDWICH

THE LUNCH LADY COOKBOOK ~ SUMMER EDITION

Bowl of Eggs
Bowl of Eggs

THE LUNCH LADY INCREDIBLE, EDIBLE EGG SALAD SANDWICH

Hey there boys and girls! This is The Lunch Laddy, Michael Gillan Maxwell, comin’ at ya with another chapter of the Lunch Lady Cookbook. Hard to believe that school’s out for summer already. Kids are jumping off of piers pinching their noses shut, falling out of trees and breaking their wrists, running through sprinklers, skinny dippin’ in the swimming hole, pulling ginormus catfish out of the fishin’ hole, weaving lanyards at summer camp and riding their bikes down shady sidewalks with baseball cards clothes-pinned to their bicycle spokes. I know how summer works.  But people still gotta eat and the Lunch Lady Cookbook does not take summer vacations. So get with the program peeples!

summer-funny-bomb-5362679

Today we tackle one of the most time honored of comfort foods ~ the venerable ~ the one and only ~ Egg Salad Sandwich. How could I be so prosaic, you ask. Well let me tell you this straight up. The Lunch Lady Cookbook don’t know from prosaic. It’s all good. And so, without further adieu, I present:

THE LUNCH LADY INCREDIBLE, EDIBLE EGG SALAD SANDWICH

Ingredients:

Egg Salad:

  1.  2 Hard Boiled Eggs (Cage Free, organic, jumbo brownies)
  2. Half cup of finely minced sweet Vidalia onion
  3. 4 Bread and Butter Pickle Chips ~ chopped and diced
  4. Salt
  5. Red Pepper Flakes
  6. Garlic Powder
  7. Dried Basil Leaves
  8. Tablespoon Mayonnaise

Slice, dice, mix and stir. Bend, spindle and mutilate.

Top with basil flakes and red pepper flakes and serve

Egg Salad In Mixing Bowl

Sandwich:

  1. 2 pieces sourdough bread, lightly toasted and buttered
  2. Cut into 4 pieces, evenly distribute egg salad
  3. Top with thinly sliced tomato

and there you have it.

By the way, if any of you namby, pamby Momma’s boys need the crusts cut off, then this ain’t  the place for you.

Egg Salad Sandwich

Since this involves eggs and mayonnaise, The Lunch Laddy suggests two prophylactic doses of Lipitor before consuming.

Lipitor

Beverage Pairing:

Ice cold Canandaigua Lake Ale.

(I know, it’s only noon, but the sun is over the yardarm somewhere, dammit!)

Canandaigua Lake Ale

Music Pairing:

Of course ~ the Alice Cooper classic ~ “School’s Out For Summer”

(It’s summer bitches!  And for me ~ school’s out forever.)

Hey, as much as we all love Alice ~

no biting off the heads of live chickens or snakes in the Lunch Lady Cafeteria!

Alice Cooper and snake

 I mean it!

Alice_Cooper__Chicken_on_stage_by_Bane_Shadows

Bon appetit’ !

Glad To Be A Mobster!

Rock 'n RollBot
Rock ‘n RollBot

When Flash Mob 2013 called for entries, I jumped in there just to be part of a mob. Not the kind of mob that involves irate villagers with flaming torches, but the other kind of mob, the good kind of mob. It’s something I’ve not had the opportunity to do since the heady student protest days in the 60’s.

Frankenstein

I hoped by rubbing elbows in close quarters with so many fantastic writers their mojo might rub off on me. I thought what the Hell and sent in my quirkiest piece. One of my favorite pieces, freshly rewritten, but had never seen the light of day. I made believe I was a pitcher throwing a screwball, then a football QB heaving a Hail Mary pass. Or not.

Anyway, I was just happy to be in a mob and livin’ it up with all my fellow mobsters! Lightin’ cigars with hundred dollar bills. Struttin’ our stuff & shuckin’ and jivin’ in our zoot suits. You get the picture. Because I was preoccupied with intense summer solstice rituals (it’s Saturday bitches and it’s summer!) and because of the super moon, hugest.full moon.ever. I forgot to even check to see what was going on, and it was not until a friend called to congratulate me that I found out I’d won.

Thrift Shop Fedora
Thrift Shop Fedora

“You won!”

“Huh? What now? Who’s on first?”

“I called to congratulate you.”

Long pause.

“Um….congratulate me …. for ……. not getting arrested …what…what?”

“You won!”

Long period of speechlessness followed by ranting and raving.

It’s not like I’ve never won anything. I’ve won stuff. Lottsa stuff. A bike at a school blacktop carnival. A pie at St. Anthony’s parish festival. A bag of groceries. A two dollar lottery ticket. A karaoke contest in Tokyo. A bonus round on the slots at a casino in Cleveland. An arm wrestling contest.  Yeah, I’ve won stuff. Lottsa stuff.

But to be honored in this event …. well, all I can say is

I am humbled, honored and giddy as all git out!

In the Cool of the Evening
In the Cool of the Evening

Thank you Flashmob people and all my fellow mobsters!

FLASH MOB 2013 showcases more than 100 stories from more than 100 participating writers from all over the globe.

Click the link below to jump in with the Flash Mob

http://flashmob2013.wordpress.com/winners

Funky Little Blaze Orange Pork Pie Hats

Driving into town daydreaming about the dream I had last night. Not the one about my father, but the one about designing a line of men’s wear made exclusively from potato skins with snappy names like Dudz from Spudz, Potato Pants and Tater Tees. I pass fluttery paper cornstalks, vineyards rusting under sullen skies, pickup trucks clustered at trail heads and men with shotguns creeping toward corn fields.

Walt Whitman’s redneck body double is in the diner, writing on a napkin at the counter. Could be a shopping list, directions to his hunting camp, or a new collection of radiant poems. Seems like I’m the only one in the place not wearing green and beige camo and a funky, little blaze orange pork pie hat. Where are the Fashion Police when you need them?

A man and a teenage girl stand at the counter, their hands are covered with blood.
The girl shows off a photo she just shot with her phone of the buck she just shot with her gun.

Walt Whitman says: “That’s a big deer sweetheart! How old are you anyway?”

“Fifteen, but my dad let’s me drive his pickup.” She leaves to wash her hands.

In the grocery store I spot a man in the produce department squeezing bananas. With his meticulously groomed white goatee and wire rimmed glasses, he’s a dead ringer for Sigmund Freud. I want to tell him about the dream I had last night. Not the one about my father, but the one about Henrietta swimming through a sea of roses.

I want to say: “Doctor, would you mind if I lie down on your couch over here by the tomatoes for just a few minutes? I need to tell you about my mother.”

Flash Mob 2013 The International Flash Fiction Day Competition

Hello all,

This is the story I posted June 9th as my entry in Flash Mob 2013 The International Flash Fiction Day Competition.

FLASH MOB 2013 showcases more than 100 stories from more than 100 participating writers from all over the globe.

Click the link below to jump in with the Flash Mob

http://flashmob2013.wordpress.com/

Funky Little Blaze Orange Pork Pie Hats

Driving into town daydreaming about the dream I had last night. Not the one about my father, but the one about designing a line of men’s wear made exclusively from potato skins with snappy names like Dudz from Spudz, Potato Pants and Tater Tees. I pass fluttery paper cornstalks, vineyards rusting under sullen skies, pickup trucks clustered at trail heads and men with shotguns creeping toward corn fields.

Walt Whitman’s redneck body double is in the diner, writing on a napkin at the counter. Could be a shopping list, directions to his hunting camp, or a new collection of radiant poems. Seems like I’m the only one in the place not wearing green and beige camo and a funky, little blaze orange pork pie hat. Where are the Fashion Police when you need them?

A man and a teenage girl stand at the counter, their hands are covered with blood.
The girl shows off a photo she just shot with her phone of the buck she just shot with her gun.

Walt Whitman says: “That’s a big deer sweetheart! How old are you anyway?”

“Fifteen, but my dad let’s me drive his pickup.” She leaves to wash her hands.

In the grocery store I spot a man in the produce department squeezing bananas. With his meticulously groomed white goatee and wire rimmed glasses, he’s a dead ringer for Sigmund Freud. I want to tell him about the dream I had last night. Not the one about my father, but the one about Henrietta swimming through a sea of roses.

I want to say: “Doctor, would you mind if I lie down on your couch over here by the tomatoes for just a few minutes? I need to tell you about my mother.”

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When Nature Calls

Thank you Editor and Publisher Matt Potter for including my piece with so many wonderful writers in this rambunctious exploration of “Personal Space” on Pure Slush!

Michael Gillan Maxwell discovers what it’s like ‘When Nature Calls’, part of ‘personal space’ at Pure Slush, and now online:
http://pureslush.webs.com/authorslm.htm#914784738

Click on the link for “When Nature Calls”

Lunch Laddy at the Dirt Track Races
Lunch Laddy at the Dirt Track Races

Book Review: Microtones by Robert Vaughan Červená Barva Press 2013

Microtones by Robert Vaughan
Červená Barva Press 2013 Gloria Mindock ~ Editor and Publisher

Robert Vaughan’s 2013 release, Microtones from Červená Barva Press contains two dozen prose poems of varying lengths and a variety of rhythms and structures. From the shortest, just four lines, to the longest, going on two pages; Vaughan’s poems are like songs with a hook that make you want to hear them again. Microtones is like a hand carved box filled with little treasures, a leather album with photographs of people and places you want to know more about, or a double record on vinyl with 24 three minute songs you play over and over.

From the opening piece, The Outlaw, right through to Wrestling With Genetics, the poem that closes the book, the arc and flow keeps the reader moving from one poem to the next. However, you can also pick any poem at random and it shines just as brightly on its own.

Vaughan’s writing is deep and nuanced and evokes both a visual and a visceral response. The poems flow with an ease and grace that is musical and lyrical, in language rich with unexpected images and surprising passages that stop you in your tracks and make you slow down, go back, and read them again.

You hang mid-air, arms akimbo, glance askance. Resigned. Jubilant.
As we are when any end is imminent.”

Robert Vaughan is a keen and compassionate observer of humanity; his writing, at times, tender, poignant and sad, yet unsentimental and tough when it needs to be. There’s also a healthy dose of irony and humor and a playfulness with language that is unique and refreshing.

“He’s the tetherball attached to my pole, the flying trapeze of my soul.”

You slide into each poem with so much ease, that, before you know it, you’re off and running. Microtones celebrates the predicaments of the human condition and the ephemeral quality of human relationships, and mourns their passing, while at the same time, still holding hope for the future.

Though Microtones is work from a seasoned author, it is also fresh and exciting new work from a writer just really hitting his stride, an artist who speaks to us, in full, with a vibrant voice, and whom we can expect to hear from again.

Microtones is available from Červená Barva Press
http://www.cervenabarvapress.com

Robert Vaughan’s website is http://www.robert-vaughan.com

Microtones

Funky Little Blaze Orange Pork Pie Hats

Driving into town daydreaming about the dream I had last night. Not the one about my father, but the one about designing a line of men’s wear made exclusively from potato skins with snappy names like Dudz from Spudz, Potato Pants and Tater Tees. I pass fluttery paper cornstalks, vineyards rusting under sullen skies, pickup trucks clustered at trail heads and men with shotguns creeping toward corn fields.

Walt Whitman’s redneck body double is in the diner, writing on a napkin at the counter. Could be a shopping list, directions to his hunting camp, or a new collection of radiant poems. Seems like I’m the only one in the place not wearing green and beige camo and a funky, little blaze orange pork pie hat. Where are the Fashion Police when you need them?

A man and a teenage girl stand at the counter, their hands are covered with blood.
The girl shows off a photo she just shot with her phone of the buck she just shot with her gun.

Walt Whitman says: “That’s a big deer sweetheart! How old are you anyway?”

“Fifteen, but my dad let’s me drive his pickup.” She leaves to wash her hands.

In the grocery store I spot a man in the produce department squeezing bananas. With his meticulously groomed white goatee and wire rimmed glasses, he’s a dead ringer for Sigmund Freud. I want to tell him about the dream I had last night. Not the one about my father, but the one about Henrietta swimming through a sea of roses.

I want to say: “Doctor, would you mind if I lie down on your couch over here by the tomatoes for just a few minutes? I need to tell you about my mother.”

Fly the Friendly Skies

(Published in “real”
Pure Slush Vol. 3 (October 2012)
Thank you publisher and editor Matt Potter for including my story in the same company as so many wonderful writers. It’s not too late to get “real”!)

Fly the Friendly Skies

The well-known slogan fly the friendly skies runs through my head as I board the monstrous plane that seats 10 across in coach. I’m in the middle of the plane, aisle seat in the center section, surrounded by a large group of public school teachers traveling to attend a conference. We’re settling in for the six-hour flight from New York City to San Francisco.

As the last few passengers straggle in, a young man in T-shirt, jeans and sandals, with a short beard and unruly mop of curly hair passes by. He stops directly behind me, shoves his attaché case into the overhead compartment, and slides into the window seat across the aisle. He smells a little funky, as if he hasn’t showered for a couple of days.

The attendant closes the curtain that separates first class from coach, as the last passenger to board walks up the aisle. The passenger is a young woman with lustrous shoulder-length, black hair and hazel eyes, wearing a short, white sleeveless dress, nylons and red high heels. She’s as glamorous as a runway model, and I don’t think there’s much chance she’s traveling with the school teachers, but I can always hope. She’s laden with glitzy shopping bags from various 5th Avenue stores and maneuvers up the aisle holding the bags in front of her. She apologizes for all the commotion, smiling and nodding her head at passengers as she passes by and heads for the center seat directly next to the man who just sat down. The aisle passenger gallantly volunteers to move to another available seat, so she’ll have more room for all her things. Window Seat Guy looks delighted. He should be.

On the other hand, I’m crammed into my seat next to a mountainous and dour woman who’s reading a Bible. The headphones clamped over her ears make it clear there’ll be no small talk; which is fine with me since I’m seriously delinquent in my Bible studies. She’s already claimed the armrest between us and is even spilling into my space.

I briefly consider offering to switch seats with her to give her more room, but I realize I’d really be trapped and possibly crushed. I quickly change my mind and thumb through a magazine article about marijuana farming in Humboldt County. Window Seat Guy and Glamour Puss are chatting up a storm about all the wonderful things New York City has to offer. He helps by carefully tucking her shopping bags under the seats in front of them. I raise an eyebrow. I see where this is going. Lucky bastard, he gets Glamour Puss and I get lady wrestler who’s giving off the vibe she’ll bludgeon me to death with her Bible if I make one false move.

The plane takes off and climbs to cruising altitude. Passengers talk, read books, listen to music, work on their laptops or adjust the seat back and rest. Window Seat Guy and Glamour Puss lounge across all three seats like they’re lying around in their living room. Ensconced in pillows and blankets, they’re drinking wine and giggling themselves silly. Bible Lady is already fast asleep and snoring like a buzz saw, head lolling on her ample bosom. Every so often she stops. Dead Silence. While this may be preferable to the harsh rasping and gurgling, it’s also disconcerting as I’m thinking she must have sleep apnea. This goes on for at least the next hour and I do my best to shut it out by eavesdropping on Window Seat Guy and Glamour Puss. They’re drinking more wine and carrying on about Broadway shows and shopping and restaurants and God knows what all. I sigh and go back to my magazine article profiling Humboldt County as the vanguard of high-octane marijuana farming in California.

It sounds like Bible Lady’s breathing has stopped altogether. I’m alarmed enough to start mentally reviewing CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation protocols. Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach. Still no sounds of breathing. I grit my teeth and lean closer. Just as I get my ear up to her face, she erupts with a violent snort and a loud gasp that sends spittle flying in all directions. I pull back so abruptly I bang my head on the seat in front of me.

Bible Lady settles back into a regular breathing pattern and I settle back into my seat. I notice her Bible has fallen off her lap. I gently pick it up and slide it into the seat pocket in front of her. I’m just starting to enjoy the quiet when I realize it’s too quiet. There’s no sound coming from Window Seat Guy and Glamour Puss. I know they can’t possibly have sleep apnea too, so I turn to look. They’re lip-locked, tongues down each other’s throats. I jerk back around in disbelief, my mouth hanging open.

The other passengers stick their noses in books, snooze or watch the movie, which ironically enough, is The Wild Wild West. I whip open the magazine again and fix my eyes on the page, but I can’t concentrate enough to read. The cabin is dark except for scattered reading lights and the flickering movie monitors. The other passengers are at least pretending to mind their own business. They read, do crossword puzzles, chat and do everything but pay attention to Window Seat Guy and Glamour Puss, who are now rustling around and muffling giggles as they rearrange themselves in the mountain of pillows and blankets. No way can I ignore this and I sneak a peek back to see what’s going on.

Glamour Puss is sitting on Window Seat Guy’s lap, facing him. They’re wrapped in blankets doing their own interpretation of “the beast with two backs.” Once again, I turn away in disbelief. Am I the only one who knows what’s going on here? I can’t believe Window Seat Guy got so lucky. That could be me back there, except he’s the one with the cojones to reach out and grab a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m a rule follower. I’m a rule follower sitting next to a snoring giant who might be suffocating while Window Seat Guy gets to act like Caligula.

I eventually drift off until the captain’s voice jolts me out of my slumber. “We’ve begun our descent to San Francisco International Airport and will be landing shortly. It’s been a pleasure having you aboard.” I look back to see the couple sleeping like babies. Window Seat Guy is resting his head upon Glamour Puss’s shoulder with a blissful smile on his face. I shake my head as I turn back to fasten my seatbelt. I gotta hand it to the guy, I think, and actually chuckle out loud.

“Did I miss something funny?” Bible Lady asks.

“Oh good morning,” I say, “I didn’t realize you were awake. You certainly are a sound sleeper.”

“I took a sleeping pill,” she says. “It helps with my fear of flying. I could have slept through a hurricane. Did I miss anything?”

“Nope,” I reply. “Just another long, quiet plane ride.” The plane arrives at the gate.

“I put your Bible in the seat pocket,” I say. “I was afraid it would fall on the floor, and I didn’t want to wake you.”

“Oh that’s sweet,” Bible Lady says. “You didn’t have to be so worried about disturbing me.”

“Well, blessed are the meek,” I reply.

Window Seat Guy and Glamour Puss stand in the aisle beside my seat like they’ve just been introduced at a cocktail party.

Glamour Puss says, “My name’s Adriana. What’s yours?”

“Josh,” he replies. “Here’s my card. Look me up if you’re ever up my way. I’m an organic farmer up in Humboldt County.”

They move a little way up the aisle. “They seem like they’d make an awfully sweet couple,” Bible Lady says. I smile and nod as I stand up and move back in the aisle so she can exit. I see the graphics on Window Seat Guy’s T-shirt: a marijuana leaf surrounded by the words, “Organic farmers do it in the dirt.” I realize I’m still holding my magazine and toss it in the pile of blankets on Window Guy’s empty seat.

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