Posted in Almost Dorothy, Characters, Family, The Mother, Themes

I Don’t Take Responsibility At All!

On March 13th, 2016, ma got a real job. That’s when she told me that I couldn’t be real. The bottom line: ma didn’t want the new employer to find out that I’m real and that we’re related. Ma didn’t want them to find out that we have opinions about things beyond our socio-economic status. Ma wanted to be part of the real economy. I just wanted ma to feel real.

“Shut that shit down,” ma said. By shit, ma meant my blog. By my blog, ma meant me and every single word and syllable that made me possible.

But, I shut it down. I shut myself down for ma because she is my number one and my number two. I shut that shit down so fast lightning’s got nothing on me. I did it for ma because of everything that she has done for me, which really wasn’t much except for providing a roof over my head, at least for most of my existence. Even when we lived in a Buick, we had roof over our heads. Most of all, I did it for ma because who the hell am I to stand in her way, which is always-always our way. We have always been one through the ups and downs and even the eventhoughs.

On March 13th, 2016, ma walked in on me writing what would be my final blog post.  “Girl, I got a real job now with real responsibilities. We can’t be acting all ‘fuck this’ and ‘fuck that.'” “Does this mean you’ll be wearing clothes at work?” I asked. “Of course,” ma said. “Well, probably. Depends.”

I never trust ma for more than 30 seconds, but her new job lasted much longer than I expected. Exactly 4 years to be exact. It was a difficult time for me. I only had the memory of my best friend Bobo the Mutt to keep me occupied at night when I was alone and ma was at work participating in the real economy. Ma stopped drinking. I stopped writing. Ma stopped smoking. I started drinking. Ma stopped being ridiculously cruel and insensitive. I became a ridiculously cruel and insensitive drinker. Ma started reading the newspaper. I stopped reading.

Those were the worst years of my life.

I haven’t grown much in 4 years. I still wear the same red shoes because no matter how hard ma worked she never ever made enough in the real economy to accommodate our real needs, but none of that matters anymore. We can barely afford the Buick over our heads now.

On March 13th, 2020, exactly 4 years after my last blog post, ma lost her job, meaning ma lost her way home after getting laid off because there’s no work left for a women behind a bar in city without tourists in the real economy during a pandemic that no one wants to take responsibility for.

Not even the “President” of The United Sates.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” ma said. She was all serious, head down and hands up. The wounds of the past opened up. Secondhand smoke never smelled so good. I mixed her favorite drink.

“I didn’t think he would be elected,” she said. That’s when she puffed a giant cloud of smoke in my face. I inhaled every molecule of that cloud. Even though ma voted for him (twice), once with her real ID and once with her fake ID, she thought he’d never be real REAL. “Who could have imagined?” ma asked. “I don’t know, but what matters is what matters next,” I said.

That’s when I rolled her up in my favorite blanket, pulled out a ragged copy of our favorite story and read to her.

“That night, and for many nights after, the Velveteen Rabbit slept in the Boy’s bed. At first he found it rather uncomfortable, for the Boy hugged him very tight, and sometimes he rolled over on him, and sometimes he pushed him so far under the pillow that the Rabbit could scarcely breathe. And he missed, too, those long moonlight hours in the nursery, when all the house was silent, and his talks with the Skin Horse. But very soon he grew to like it, for the Boy used to talk to him, and made nice tunnels for him under the bedclothes that he said were like the burrows the real rabbits lived in. And they had splendid games together, in whispers, when Nana had gone away to her supper and left the nightlight burning on the mantelpiece. And when the Boy dropped off to sleep, the Rabbit would snuggle down close under his little warm chin and dream, with the Boy’s hands clasped close round him all night long.”

Ma hasn’t left my bed since that day, but it’s okay. I’ve got her back and a plan to burrow us back from the brink of disaster. I’ve also got her drivers license and access to her vast  wardrobe of impeccably questionable taste.

“What is real REAL is what you make of it,” ma said that day in 2016. This time, I won’t give up even if it comes for me.





Posted in Almost Dorothy, Bobo the Mutt, Characters, Family

Bobo the Mutt is Dead! Long Live Bobo the Mutt!

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams.

Ma and I are sad to announce that Bobo the Mutt is dead, but we are happy to announce that we are writing again even if it’s about dead mutts. Bobo lived a long life, a happy life, despite ma’s insistence that Bobo the Mutt was really a cat and not even a real dog with real dog hair and real dog eyes and all the other parts that make dogs dogs.

That damn thing freaked me out, she said. I always expected him to meow. 

Last night, ma gave Bobo the Mutt a eulogy or eulogized Bobo the Mutt. She said things to the guests who had gathered to hear ma make slurs and slur about Bobo the Mutt’s fascinating life as a civil rights activist, hippie and unlicensed therapist. When the eulogy ended, not one of his stuffed animal farm friends and family left the room without a tear or the appearance of a tear drawn on their cheeks. It was a cool evening.

Bobo the Mutt was a cool, cuddly dude and pain in the ass weighing in at 4.5 pounds, which includes the ounces. He was nosey and noisy and loved the hell out of mangoes and mongooses. He’d cut ya’ if you tried to get away with not sharing your watermelon. He was that kind of mutt–all selfish and giving–that was selfish and giving.

He loved his pink elephant and he loved his yellow bunny. He loved his green dinosaur and he loved his shredded sheep. He loved his lion king and he loved his fuzzy bear. He loved to lick. He barked a lot. He’d snort like a pig and we loved him so much. He loved everything, ma said. Especially the things he could eat.

That night when we went to bed, that night was last night, ma tucked me in and sang a lullaby to help me fall asleep. It was one of those lullabies that starts with a low hum coming from the shallow shores of the throat then builds up and gets deeper as the source of the lullaby moves deeper in.

Ma didn’t really sing me a lullaby because she can’t sing and even if she could sing she would never sing me a song or lullaby because she is ma and Bobo is Bobo.

I wish I had the teeth to drag him back from the dead, I said. I wish I had the power to reconstruct every one of his ashes into something solid and real again.

But you can’t, ma said. Because once you become real REAL, you can’t ever come back. 

Bobo the Mutt, June 2001 – January 12, 2016.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Family

The Rhine(stoned) Cowboy

Ma’s having an affair with her pot dealer and I’m talking about the guy who sells ma pots. I tell ma to stop but she just gives me the finger and tells me she’s bitchin’. Ya, right, I say. By the way, the pots he sells are the kind ma uses to grow tomatoes in, so don’t get the wrong impressionism, okay. I’m serious. I just realized there are toes in toma(toes). Wow, tomatoes have feet just like fruits have bats. Anyway, I just want to point this out. By this I mean that ma’s having an affair with a Rhinestoned Cowboy who sells pots for potting tomato plants. Amanda B. doesn’t know a thing about this. She knows about the tomatoes just not about the guy ma’s sleep-walking with. I think I should tell her about ma’s tramping around, but I’m sure ma will dump him before it gets serious. Anyway, what should I do? Let me know. I’m chewing my toma(toes) with anticipation.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Family

Almost Dorothy Is Not Pregnant

I haven’t been able to write because ma thought I was pregnant. I had cramps so ma took me to the doctor after she called the cops on my Manuel Noriega, my Panamanian boyfriend. Ma told the doc I must be pregnant but the doc said that’s impossible because I’m a boy and only girls can get pregnant. Ma rolled her eyes and said that figures. I think she was hoping I’d have a real girl. Ma was a little down and walked out of the emergency room, swiped a Red Bull from a Candy Striper, and poured it in her coffee. Now, I have prepartum depression. Or, I have another kind of depression–the kind that leaves a big black hole in a body that was once filled with life (or the possibility of love).

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash, Family, Squinny

The New Squinny: My BFF Update

My new BFF is alive and kicking himself for being so depressed the other day. He says he’s totally proud to be gay. He says he feels better and that it gets better. He also loves butter and honey. He says that he is so proud that he will come out to his  homophobic pet iguana. My new BFF’s parents don’t speak English. He says they won’t understand what gay means so he’s going to tell them he’s gay. It’ll count as a coming out because, I say, all coming outs are conducted in English. It’s not his fault they won’t get it. I tell my new BFF not to worry about his homophobic pet iguana because he can threaten to put the iguana out in the cold when the temperature drops. Good idea, my new BFF says and laughs then looks at his iguana and wink winks. My new BFF has got it made now or will soon be making out with maidens. Well, not maidens, but maybe hatchbacks or halfbacks or whatever those guys are called who play football on football Sunday. Anyway, I tell my new BFF I will call him New Squinny after the Old Squinny, who really wasn’t old. She was my VVBFF (very very best friend forever). Old Squinny passed away so I guess I should drop the F from BFF since forever isn’t ever forever. The New Squinny says that this will probably piss off Old Squinny or make her piss her pants. I tell him not to worry because Old Squinny is dead dead and can’t really do much because her (or his) ashes are spread all over the Florida Everglades like butter on toast. Besides, I tell New Squinny, the Old Squinny would be honored to share her (or his) name with you. The New Squinny gets up and gives me a hug. I hug her back.  He says thanks for turning his  little blue world upside down. Ma honks the car horn and I roll my eyes into my head. It’s time to go to church for the free doughnuts and coffee, I tell the New Squinny. I wave bye-bye for now to the New Squinny as I walk out her front door. When I turn around, I see the  ghost of Old Squinny waving back at me and I know everything will be alright (for now).

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Family

Fall for the Arts Festival

Since I started school (I’m like in the 7th or 9th grade), I haven’t had any time to write even though my silly English teacher wants me to write collage poems, which are like real collages but these collages are made out of text.  I have no idea what he wants. I think the guy took too much acid or Tums when he was a kid like me. Or, maybe he’s on acid now and is a kid like me. I mean, who knows who is who these days, especially with all those exotic pharmaceuticals on the market that offer cures for everything from bladder leakage to the hebegebes to the Bee Gees. In any case, this is what I did for the Knight Foundation’s Arts Blog this week. I reviewed the Fall for the Arts Festival and it was really cool. I mean, I didn’t really review it but my imaginary self did. Best thing: I met Spiderman (see below) and I breakdanced my butt off . Heck, I still can’t found my rear end.

Spiderman/Photo by Neil de la Flor
Posted in Amanda Bernstein, Characters, Family, The Mother, Themes

Two Moms

Unofficially, I have two moms. Although their same-sex marriage is not recognized in the State of Florida it is recognized in the State of Confusion. I have two moms now, which are better than one, so suck on that, Sarah Palin.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Amanda Bernstein, Characters, Culture Clash, Family, Politics, The Mother, Themes

Same Sex Marriage (at Arby’s) is a Civil Right

Today is the day. Mom and Amanda B. are getting hitched, that means married, or at least they’re both gonna wear dresses across the street from a Mosque and a Church. They invited Sarah Palin to host their wedding, but she said no, hell no. Since Amanda B. is a practicing Muslim and mom doesn’t practice anything, they’re gonna get married in three places for extra luck. I swear, a church, a mosque, and Arby’s. These establishments won’t let mom and Amanda B. do their thing inside, or officiate over their same-sex marriage, so mom and Amanda B. have decided to get married in their car in the parking lot of each place. For real. Bobo the Mutt, who is our favorite mutt, will be the decider and bless their unholy matrimony in his yellowing shag coat and stinky breath. See below.

Mom says they’re gonna do this cause they want to ‘refudiate’ (sic) lunatic claims that same-sex marriage is a sin because it isn’t, at least not in their Big Book. Mom and Amanda B. also want to show their support for the 1st Amendment, which Republicans, like that great dumb ass Sarah Palin , thumb their noses at if you’re not a Christian. Amanda B. is pissed cause Palin called on “Americans” to ‘pls refudiate’ the building of the Islamic Center near Ground Zero just like “Republican candidates have denounced plans for a large Muslim center proposed near” Murfreesboro, Tennessee just like the Tea Party “group took dogs and picket signs to Friday prayers at a mosque that is seeking to build a new worship center” in Temecula, California. (New York Times.)

Amanda B. says she wants to marry mom cause it’s her fundamental civil right as a human American, who happens to be a lesbian Muslim, just like it’s the fundamental right (1st Amendment) for worshipers of all faiths to worship wherever the hell they want to worship, Mufreesboro, Temecula, Ground Zero, Arbys, or KFC, without the express written consent of idiot politicians. If the Tea Party Republicans, like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and the rest of the gang really, truly believe in America, then they should speak out in defense of all Americans who are being harassed by fascists who picket Mosques with dogs and signs that say their places of worship “are monuments to terrorism”.

Bobo the Mutt by Neil de la Flor
Posted in Almost Dorothy, Amanda Bernstein, Characters, Family, The Mother, Themes

Breaking News

Amanda Bernstein (remember the B is silent) and mom are getting hitched. They say they’re gonna be committed this time and I smiled big because I thought this meant they’d enrolled in an insane asylum for nuts. They just meant they’re gonna get married and exchange sandals. Bobo the Mutt wasn’t too excited about the news because Amanda B. has a cat named Cat (the c is silent) and Bobo the Mutt is allergic to cats named Cat with a silent c. They say I can be the best man and the best woman at their wedding. They say they promise not to fight like WWF wrestlers this time, which makes me sad because those are the moments when their at their best. I love them at their best. They say it won’t be like before and I secretly hope it won’t because I hope it’s worse. I do. Because if it’s better than before then your presently surprised. They say things have changed and America has changed and their love has changed and the whole world is more accepting of this change, except for Iran, of course, where they plan to stone a woman to death, or Long Island where a man killed a baby boy because he thought the child acted like a sissy. Things have changed–at least inside our nest of nuts. I did suggest that they add bullet proof vests to their bridal registry and give me the keys to their gun rack.

Prop 8 Ruling FINAL

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Characters, Family, Politics, The Mother, Themes

Dear Cyndi Lauper

“We’ve had enough of the dumbing down of America,” Cyndi said as the audience yelped for the 80s instead of the Memphis Blues. Mom clapped like a bat flapping for her life. That woman’s got your back, Cyndi. My mom says you got a sick sense of humor. She also thinks your voice is amazing, raw yet formed like a songbird made of glass and big balls. I have no idea what she means by that but she cried when she heard you sing “Time After Time” even after the audience ruined the show by screaming “Sing ‘True Colors'” every time there was a break between your Memphis Blues songs. She clapped when you gave them assholes the finger. She  clapped when you snatched the iPhone from a fan and asked him not to film the show cause then everyone will stop coming if they can see it on youtube.  She clapped when you stepped down into the audience to show us all that you’re equal to all of us even though we have an obsession with celebrity. Cyndi, or Sister Cyn, you’re a star.

FYI: Mom wants to apologize for the asshole fans in the audience who are stuck in the 80s and have lost the ability to ride the magic carpet, the arc of your performance. In fact, she told one of them screamers to shut the fuck up and the screamer screamed at mom to shut the fuck up and mom screamed back at the screamer “you look like a fucking gorilla” and then the screamer didn’t know what else to say so the screamer shut the fuck up. Finally.

In the end, mom got goosebumps cause your voice is stronger now than it was then. The blues suits you like a suit suits a man or woman who wears a suit. Your voice is so strong that it almost made mom remember where she comes from. Art school, perhaps. Good luck with the rest of your tour and your new album, Memphis Blues. And, please come back to Miami, despite the fans. Mom said she’ll be-bop the fuck out of them next time they get rude and stupid and stuck in an 80s rabbit hole. Viva Cyndi. Listen to Cyn’s interview on GMA here.

P.S. Mom says she loves you cause she can see your true colors hanging out. Translation: she loves your red hair.