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The Subversive Writer (picked up by Shark Reef Literary Journal)

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The Subversive Writer (Published in Shark Reef, Summer Edition 2014

In a Matter of Speaking, the Coronation

peggy sue grandpa

Dentists tell you not to pick your teeth with any sharp metal object. Then you sit in their chair… and the first thing they grab is an iron hook.” —Bill Cosby

This morning I informed my coworkers I had a dental appointment. Not a mere cleaning, a crown. I am a novice when it comes to dental work, however, realize it means undergoing some unpleasantness.

Turns out the more appropriate noun is demolition.

Dennis whose mouth’s interior is plagued by pewter and gold finery tells me last night over dinner, “He won’t drill.”

Sweet guy, he was trying to spare me the grief.

I’m in the chair. My dentist casually opens with: “so how many kids do you have now? Five?”

I tell him I don’t have any kids.

He says, “You look like you do.”

This is the kind of talk that drove my mother to change dentists. He told her he reminded him of his mother-in-law.

Needles, molds and sinister implements that don’t belong anywhere near one’s mouth. They move in and out of my periphery, in and out my oral cavity for an hour and half. He’s mining California gold with pick and shovel; using a pry bar to rid of stubborn enamel. A large scale excavation. There’s smoke and fire, tooth dust in my eyes.

Nothing short of harrowing, I am yelling for help so loud in my head interplanetary satellites pick up on it.

He acknowledges my time out gestures, my arms have grown weak by expending the effort. I mumble through the wadded up gauze, “You gonna leave anything in there, doc?”

He puts in a temporary crown. I tell him if it falls out over Christmas, I’m going to show up at his estate in Sudbury. He says he won’t be home.

There is a great line that I always think of, even before this particular procedure, that makes me laugh. Kathleen Turner playing Peggy Sue in Peggy Sue Got Married says to her grandfather: “Grandpa, if you had a chance to go back and do it all differently, what would you have changed?”

He answers, “I would have taken better care of my teeth.”

I leave the office traumatized and quivering, stop in at Whole Paycheck for my favorite authentic Yorkshire tea. The young kid that checks me out says, “All kinds of Brits come in for this tea. They say it’s the real thing.”

I wipe the drool from my chin, my lip has the texture of an earthworm, say, “English people say their tea should be strong enough for a mouse to trot on.”

“You mean, so the critters are able to stand on the tea leaves?”

Bits of fuchsia-colored mold paste flakes off my cheek to my jacket. “No, no,” I stammer. “It means they like their tea robust, as in strong.”

“Oh, you mean so mice won’t drink it?”

“Yeah, that’s it,” I tell him, staring at his perfect teeth.

sara horse -talker-croppedLisa Mae DeMasi lives in Natick, Massachusetts with her partner Dennis and a fluctuating number of animal companions–some live with them full time, some are fostered, some board. This animal husbandry is a compulsion, saving just one more neglected cute and furry creature warms her heart. Dennis loves them too; the landlord is exceedingly tolerant. Her mother thinks she’s nuts. Lisa is also a blogger and avid writer, her work has been published in Shark Reef Literary Magazine, HuffPost and Elephant Journal. She considers Massachusetts her home, but has lived in Connecticut, Vermont, New York State and two other planets called Wyoming and Arizona. She earned a B.A. from Regis College and an MBA from Babson College, and possesses over 20 years working in administrative support roles in small Boston consultancies. She also holds a Master certificate in Reiki and practices this form of holistic healing on the animals in which she cares for.

Snoopy Come Home

holland-lop-0063“Are you upset little friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, don’t worry…I’m here. The floodwaters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you.” −Charlie Brown to Snoopy

He’d been dumped at a dentist’s office sometime during the night. It’s hard to believe, he’s terribly irresistible this darling little bunny, a Holland Lop-Eared. He’s mostly white, has dark brown ears and spots running down his back. He came to me as Mickey but my brother soon renamed him to Snoopy. Very fitting for the “bun,” he even presents me with his food bowl between his teeth, a paw-printed metallic dog dish.

Snoopy. The sweet little guy that greets me in his cage every morning for days now seeking a handful of pellets and hay; set him free from confinement to the expanse of the non-rabbit-proof living room and random passing cat. How adventurous he is.

Snoopy. The bun who in the evening jumps into our laps, displaces a cat or two or three, nuzzles our faces with his whiskers, unearths a kernel of popcorn from in between the cushions. How playful he is.

Snoopy. I am his “foster mom”—I foster buns until they’re adopted, a rewarding task when it comes to a happy newfound bond involving children or adults like me who haven’t outgrown caring for small and furry creatures. I am not paid to foster; the sweetness of caring for them pays me in bushels. How sweet he is.

Snoopy. I grow to loathe the day he’ll leave me, get adopted into a forever loving home. It’s okay, I tell myself, this is what it’s all about. This is the process, it makes room for one more to come into my life, be cared for. How tender he makes my heart.

Snoopy, the puppy dog rabbit. Precious thing. Until my work schedule changes and his late afternoon salad of organic kale, dandelion greens, Swiss chard and romaine is delayed two hours and he begins body slamming me out of his pen. At first I think, okay, he’s upset, his routine has changed. I send him Reiki energy, surround his body in light, think he’ll adapt, it is but a mere adjustment. How quirky he is.

Snoopy, you’re a sweet thing, I think as I reach into his pen the following afternoon to give him a scratch on the ear and set his bowl of salad down. Never bite the hand that feeds you. This is my next thought because Snoop-Dog is upset, taken a chunk out of my knuckle, his salad is late again—it’s got my blood in it. How surprising his behavior is.

Snoop-Dog, oh, Snoop-Dog, I think a day later as I shield myself from his snapping incisors with the gate of his pen. I’d rather drown in the saliva from your kisses than be bit and bruised and have to give you back to the rabbit-whisperer for aggressive buns in which you came to me post rescuing from the dental office. How it breaks my heart.

Snoop-Dog, oh, Snoop-Dog, back to rabbit rehab for you. I always wanted to be here to care for you, recede the floodwaters, end your famine, shine the sun on you but I am petrified. Petrified of you, an adorable Holland Lop that bites into my flesh as if I’ve wronged you. Really wronged you. Oh, my dear lagomorph, what’s got into you? 

Snoop-Dog, oh, Snoop-Dog, I hope Terry the rabbit-whisperer can bring you around. She tells me she is going to change your routine every day, not one hour will mimic the one before. Topsy-turvy, Snoops, your whole world is going to be turned upside-down. This is intended to tame you into adapting to change so someday you can be adopted and not bite the hand that feeds you. How saddened am I to let you go this way. 

Snoop-Dog, oh, Snoop-Dog, I bet in Northern Central Mass. you are not getting organic greens, so many pats on the head, the freedom to wedge yourself behind the dryer for hours on end. I kinda enjoyed the bun body slamming but given the chance, would you have not bitten me, particularly the last bout when you lunged through the air like an acrobat to plant your teeth into my shin?

How I miss ya, Snoops. Wish you could come back to me. You have been cheated by love and trust, but too quick to form misunderstanding of all I am capable of giving.

Me and a BunLisa Mae DeMasi lives in Natick, Massachusetts with her boyfriend Dennis and a fluctuating number of animal companions–some live with them full time, some are fostered, some board. This animal husbandry is a compulsion, saving just one more neglected cute and furry creature warms her heart. Dennis loves them too; the landlord is exceedingly tolerant. Her mother thinks she’s nuts. Lisa is also a blogger and avid writer, her work has been published in Shark Reef Literary Magazine and Elephant Journal. She considers Massachusetts her home, but has lived in Connecticut, Vermont, New York State and two other planets called Wyoming and Arizona. She earned a B.A. from Regis College and an MBA from Babson College, and possesses over 25 years working in administrative support roles in small Boston consultancies. She also holds a Master certificate in Reiki and practice this form of holistic healing on the animals in which she cares for.