Everyone needs a fleet of flying monkeys to rip the stuffing out of the annoying people in their lives
— Laura

When I was a small child my mother had a friend named Lee. I can’t quite remember if Lee was a stewardess (this was back before they called them flight attendants) or if she had previously been a stewardess. Hell, she may not have been a stewardess at all. All I am sure about is that I thought Lee was absolutely fabulous. I remember just sitting and watching her, with her dark shiny hair up in a French twist or falling perfectly down her back, wearing red lipstick that seemed to never smear or smudge, her perfectly manicured fingers wrapped around a cigarette being held in a fancy cigarette holder (how exotic was that!).  She was tall and thin and in my child’s mind’s eye, she was just perfect. She was always talking about the different places she had visited or had just come back from. In hushed tones I’d hear her talking about her boyfriends to my mother. I would strain to listen, but sadly, never caught any of the really good details. When we’d go visit Lee, her house was perfection. Modern and immaculate with the first in-ground pool I had ever seen someone have that wasn’t in a park or a gym or at a recreation center. She drove a convertible two-seater sports car, of course, and the few times I remember having the privilege of riding with her, I’d just sit in the passenger seat, staring over at her in complete awe. She was my idol.

Now this story takes place when I was still very young. It was a week or two before Christmas, the only time my mom had parties to entertain a few of her friends at our house. My brothers and I were banned to the den or our rooms while the adults were in the living room and kitchen and partied. And even though I wanted, nay, needed to be in there with the adults so badly I could feel it in every fiber of my being, I didn’t dare go. It would had been child-suicide to even attempt to crash one of those parties. That’s what mom told us anyway.

On this particular night, I remember I was sitting on the floor, in my pink pajamas, cross-legged in front of the television. My three brothers were probably in their rooms, I don’t know, all I know is none of them was in the den with me. I had a large bowl of chocolate ice cream in my lap, a treat reserved for occasions when my mother wanted us to shut the fuck up because she wanted us distracted and occupied elsewhere (ie. The Party). I remember distinctly “The Nutcracker” being on the television. I was trying my best to stir my ice cream in the bowl on my lap so it’d turn into a gooey soup of goodness while I watched in wonder at the beautiful ladies up on the tips of their toes twirling about. Suddenly the door to the den opened and I looked up and saw Lee entering the room. She held a small glass of an amber liquid in one hand and a smoking cigarette in a long holder in the other. And even though her walk seemed a little off to me, her hair and makeup were perfect as usual and she was wearing a sparkling dress like the women I had only seen in magazines wear! I took my eyes off the perfect dancing ladies in tutus to watch my perfect idol in her shiny dress. She walked over and stood near me. I saw her focusing her eyes on the television and she said “What are you watching, kid? Ballet?” I looked up and said “Yes, Miss Lee.” because that’s how you properly address your adult idol. I then enthusiastically added “I’m going to be a ballerina one day!” and at that second I knew I really wanted to be a ballerina too. She chuckled, looked down at me, made a ‘tsk’ sound while shaking her head and said “Well that’s not going to ever happen. Ballerinas are thin AND they don’t eat ice cream.” With that she turned and was gone in a flash back to the party, not even caring about the wounded, deflated child left bobbing behind in her soul-crushing wake. I sat in front of the television staring down at the half-melted bowl of ice cream and then back up at the television before me.

And that’s the precise moment I knew. I knew what life held for me. It held ice cream, that’s what it held. Delicious, sweet, creamy ice cream. Because FUCK BEING A BALLERINA WHEN YOU CAN HAVE ICE CREAM!

Now here’s a rendering I made for y’all of that decisive moment in my childhood:


On New Year’s Day, J and I went to his mother’s for a traditional Southern New Year’s meal. She served Hoppin’ John, collards, black-eyed peas, cornbread, and fatback. Cooked just right ‘fatback’ taste just like jowl bacon- one of the most delicious meats in the entire world, perhaps even the entire universe. And by cooked right, I mean crispy- and this was.

After the meal, J’s mom and brother had stepped away from the table, leaving J and I sitting there. I hurriedly grabbed another piece of ‘fatback’ and when I was certain no one else could see me, I turned to J and started eating the bacon with my mouth open, staring directly at him. He made a disgusted face and whispered “Close your mouth” between clenched teeth. In response I took another bite of the strip, and again, started chewing with my mouth open, except this time taking one of my hands and pretending to push the aroma up to my nose.

J: “What in the hell are you doing?”

Me: ”Hmmm, thirteen month old male Hampshire, neutered. *chew, chew, sniff* Raised in Nebraska.” *chew,chew, sniff* Free-range. *chew,chew, sniff* Was named Artimus, but his friends called Artie.” *swallow*

J: “God you’re so weird.”

Me: “No, I’m a bacon connoisseur, motherfucker. Don’t be jealous of my refined, sophisticated palate.”


All in all 2013 was one of the most fantastic years of my adult life. I got to quit a suck-ass job, move out of a suck-ass city to a quaint, small town, and into a fabulous house with a pool and court yards, though it’s yet to be totally fabulous BECAUSE THE REMODEL ISN’T COMPLETE YET BECAUSE PEOPLE CAN’T BOTHER TO SHOW UP BECAUSE APPARENTLY THEY DON’T NEED THE WORK!! Erm, where was I? Oh, I’ve made new, cool friends who I get together with almost daily to run or hike or shop with. All of my animals, including Jack, are doing fine, and as you all know by now, I got to adopt an awesome dog. Yeah, life has turned into a wonderful dream, BUT no one wants to hear it, so let’s cut this kumbaya shit and get to it shall we? Here’s my list of disappointments 2013 brought me that are really just things that have always disappointed me because life is pretty sweet right now.


By Laura Ledford


1. STILL no personal killer robots or flying cars! What the fuck, science? As children, we were promised these things! Dude, if I had a flying car AND a killer robot…well, let’s just say after I was finished with the hobos, watch out Kardashians. That means you too, Kanye.

2. STILL no George Clooney. Do you even want to know how long I’ve been after that man? Well, since Facts of Life, that’s how long. I don’t know how long I can continue this heartbreaking quest, he’s getting kind of old. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? Call me, Boo!

3. Murdering bitches and dumb-fucks is STILL illegal.

4. The zombie apocalypse STILL has not happened. Seriously, I. CAN. NOT. WAIT. I have researched, stock-piled, and trained for that sonsabitch. I even have a list of bitches and dumb-fucks I’m going to ”visit” as soon as the news breaks. That’s right, whether they have ‘turned’ or not- they’re going down ’cause #3 is going to be a moot point by then. Hey wait… I can add hobos, Kardashians and Kanye along with the bitches and dumb-fucks to that list and then swing by Studio City to pick up my Boo! So, the flying cars and killer robots, hell, the whole rest of this list would be moot!

So here’s to wishing us all a pandemic of epic proportions in 2014!!

Cheers, motherfuckers! Join me or die!

(Just hide in a closet and be very quiet until I get there, Boo.)


This dog. This dog right here is one of the sweetest, most gentle beasts you will ever met. We can’t go out in public without every person who crosses our path smiling and stopping to pet and talk to him. I took him to a street fair in a small town near here once and what should have taken us about an hour to look around, took us four hours due to everyone stopping to pet and talk to him. True story, because this embodies everything about this dog: last week I took him to the veterinarian for a heartworm refill on his preventative medication. Anyway, we walked through the door, Bobo heeling like a pro beside me on a leash, and we made a beeline directly to the front desk to check in. I had to complete a record on him because he was a new patient. As I stood at the desk completing the form, Bobo sat by my side. I heard a woman who was seated to the side of me let out a small whimper, and I glanced over and saw her, head down, on a cell phone. I went back to the forms and I heard “I don’t want to… but..but he’s so sick…the vet said it would be best.” She started sobbing hard. ”Oh shit, that sucks,” I thought and I looked down at Bobo, who was staring at her. I took up the slack in his leash so he wouldn’t bother her and went back to completing the forms. Just as I completed the tenth page (I exaggerate, there were only nine pages) and started to hand them to the receptionist I heard the woman saying “Such a sweet boy.” I instantly realized I had absent mindedly released the slack in the leash as I was filling out the forms. I turned and saw that Bobo had walked over to the crying woman and was pressed against her, literally leaning into her, with his head laying in her lap.  She had her tear-stained face buried in his scruff, telling him he was handsome and sweet. His tail was slowly wagging. I just stood there, not wanting to interrupt when a door opened and a girl in scrubs called “Mrs. Smith. Ready to come back in the room?” and the woman straightened up and said “Yes.” She quickly reached down, raised Bobo’s head and with a hand on each side of his face she said “Thank you” and kissed the top of his head. Then she stood, smiled at me and walked through the door the girl in scrubs held open. Bobo watched her go and then looked up at me, wagged his tail feverishly, and returned to my side. Good boy, Bobo.