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November 07, 2003
Yvonne's Ashes: Part V - Apartment Living
Posted by Frank J. at 08:32 AM
We first started out staying in a hotel. It was right next to a restaurant where we got our Thanksgiving meal of turkey and ice cream. Yummy. One day, my sister accidentally locked herself in the bathroom. What a dumb little sister. Instead of just operating the lock to let herself out, all she did was cry. I said we should leave her there, but then I needed to use the bathroom.
We soon moved into an apartment complex. I had to go back to pre-school now, while Joe foo' went back to kindergarten. This preschool gave us lunch, but it often had this lumpy white stuff called cottage cheese. Icky. We also had swimming classes there, but then afterwards I'd have to put back on my shoes and I didn't know how to tie them. The teacher tried to show me how, but it was weird and confusing. Worst of all, we had naptime in the middle of the day, but I could never fall asleep there during naptime. So I'd just have to lay there being both bored and mad. Stupid preschool.
I did learn one thing one day. The teacher had a cow puppet who told us that when we eat meat, we were eating it! I didn't know we had to kill poor cows for meat. Guess it's the cow's fault for being tasty.
Outside of pre-school, we'd have a lot of fun around the apartments. There was a pool there, and my mommy got me and Joe foo' water wings so we could swim easy like. My silly sister would just stay in the shallow end. One day me and my sister spotted a bee walking around in a circle on the cement near the pool. It just kept going around and around. I put little toy bucket on top of the bee, but, when I lifted it up again, the bee just kept walking around in a circle. I looked really closely at the bee, and couldn’t' see a stinger. Thus I concluded the bee must be harmless. So I had my sister touch it.
Boy could my sister scream really loudly. My dad, who was swimming at the time, almost drowned in panic. Apparently, unlike as shown in cartoons, a bee keeps its stinger hidden inside it most of the time. Good to know for future reference.
One day my silly sister Sarah actually had a great idea. Every morning, mom would give us a Flintstone vitamin before breakfast, and they were yummy. Sarah wanted more, so, when our mother wasn't watching, we climbed up on the counter and got the bottle of vitamins and then ate them all. We had so much nutrients inside us, we figured we were now superhumans. Mom didn't think so when she found out; instead, she called poison control. I had to take a big cup with me to preschool and constantly drink water throughout the day.
When I turned five years old, we had a big party and Mom made me a bunny cake. It looked just like a bunny, with a jellybean nose and coconut for bunny fur. God, I hate coconut. It felt so good being five – which made me old and wizened now, that I decided that five was now my favorite number.
Life was good, but one day while playing in the playground, a big furry thing came up and bit me! It was a mean old North American tree monkey, just as mean and vicious as the Alaskan snow monkey! I ran home crying.
"Mommy! A North American tree monkey bit me!"
"There is no such thing, dear," my mom scolded me.
"There is! It's true!"
"You better stop making things up, boy!" my dad told me, "And you better especially not put your made up things on some sort of world-wide electronic conveyance of information if such a thing were ever to exist, because, if you do, I'll teach you some discipline with the back of me hand!"
I could only get my brother Joe foo' to believe me. He had a plan, too: we'd shotgun the monkey to death. Dad kept about fifty shotguns in his closet, and he'd count them every night, so we'd have to be quick with one to make sure dad didn't find out. My brother's plan was that I would grab the monkey and hold him still while he blasted the monkey with the shotgun. I didn't want to grab the monkey because I was afraid he would claw and bite me, but Joe said he'd shoot the monkey quick so that wouldn't happen.
Just as we got the shotgun and were getting prepared to sneak up on the North American tree monkey, are dad found us. He was real mad. He warned us that young kids like us could get killed playing with guns, because, if he ever saw us touch his guns again, he would murder us both. My dad always had a way of explaining things in ways we could understand.
Joe and I probably would have never gotten into anymore trouble after that if it weren't for our new friend Bobby, who knew lots of things... some of it even true.
October 24, 2003
Yvonne's Ashes: Part IV - Escape
Posted by Frank J. at 08:05 AM
When school started up again, my older brother went on to Kindergarten thus leaving me all alone in the preschool. Gangs were rampant in Alaskan preschools, and I was in constant fear of ambush. I also got to learn about Indians and eat corn nuts. Yummy! Mom still didn't let me have Kool-Aid, though.
Dad came home really angry one day. It ends up that where he worked was having some nasty thing called an "audit" and that some even more nasty thing called a "union" was afraid of being caught doing bad things. Thus to take focus away from them, they said that my poor daddy had falsified documents, committed bribery, and murdered hookers... even though most of it wasn't true at all! It was such a big deal, he ended up being on the news. I didn't watch, though, because news is boring.
One day on my way to school, two mean men named Vito and Lou grabbed me drove me away in a car. "Where are we going?" I asked.
"You just be quiet?" Vito told me, "Capeesh?"
"My name is Frankie and I'm four years old," I answered.
They took me to a building where the union boss was. He was a big fat man who smoked smelly cigars. They made a phone call to my daddy and told him that he needed to give them $50,000 if he wanted me back. That sounded like a lot! My dad must have agreed, because he tried to negotiate them down to $20,000. My dad is good at negotiating.
I then got to talk to my daddy to prove I was alive. "Hello daddy," I said.
"Hey, I don't want to pay these idiots so you have to escape. You hear me? I'll come pick you up if you make it out of the building. It shouldn't be too hard; they wouldn't send the cream of the crop of the mob to Anchorage."
After the phone was hung up, I told everyone, "Hey look over there."
They all turned around. "What am I looking at over here?" Vito asked.
My plan worked, so I ran for their exit. They took out guns and shot at me. That was scary. But then my dad pulled up in his truck and drove off with me. Hooray! Dad said I was such a big boy for escaping from the mob, that he let me shift some of the gears when he drove. He also bought me a videogame on the condition I wouldn't tell mom about any of this. I wanted Q-Bert, but they were out, so I got Pac-Man instead.
When we got home, dad told mom that I had been at a friend’s house and he forgot to tell her. Mom looked suspicious, but she still made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I'd need the energy if I was going to beat Pac-Man.
Not too long after, I came home one day to find our house was empty. The only thing there was a note left for me. I was just learning to read, so I was happy to have a note all to myself. The note said: "We've decided to leave Alaska, but we don't have enough money to bring you with us. You'll have to stay here and earn your own living. Good luck. -Dad".
I cried and cried. I'd miss my mommy and my daddy and my brother and even my little sister somewhat. But then I turned over the note and saw: "Just kidding! Here's some money to get a cab and meet us at the airport." That's my dad - always playing silly jokes.
Taking a cab was fun... at least until I saw something out the window. It was the Alaskan snow monkey! The cab driver wouldn't believe me, but the monkey clawed his way in and started trying to bite me. To make things worse, the sirens started sounding; the Soviets were invading again! I looked to the cab driver for help, but he had stopped the car and left. It ends up their was a tank aiming right for the car. Oh no!
I kicked that mean monkey and then got out of the car just before it exploded. Hopefully that bad monkey was dead. I had to run quickly, though, as the mean old Soviets were now shooting at me. Eventually I got the airport where my family was waiting.
"You almost made us late!" my dad said angrily.
Mom thought it was good of me to escape the Soviets, though, and she bought me a candy bar. As we walked to the plane, there was a giant bear standing on two legs in the middle of the airport. He looked at big as a building. Luckily, someone had shot him dead or otherwise he might eat me.
On the plane I got pilot wings and a bag of peanuts. We flew south and it looked like we were heading back to California. Oh no! But we stopped just short and landed in Oregon.
October 10, 2003
Yvonne's Ashes: Part III - Starting School and Alaskan Fishing
Posted by Frank J. at 08:29 AM
At pre-school we would do fun arts and crafts, and then there would be playtime. During play time, Joe foo' would obsess with destroying the pre-school's power structure that he was convinced was trying to turn us into conformist automatons. I liked the toy that had three see-through panels of different color: one red, one blue, and one yellow. If you combined red and blue, you got purple. If you combined red and yellow, you got orange. If you combined blue and yellow, you got green. If you combined them all, God help you.
At snack time we got crackers and Kool-aid... actually the other kids got crackers and Kool-aid. Mom thought Kool-aid was too sugary, and she instructed that Joe and me couldn't have any so we just got water instead. What a mean momma. We would try to trick the teacher, such as putting on a fake mustache, but she was too smart for us.
After pre-school, we could play in the playground while we waited for our parents to remember us. We had a jungle gym and other such fun things to climb - all suspended over nice, forgiving concrete. There was this extra big platform that you could climb up to on a ladder and had different slides to get down. It was so high it was scary. One day I finally climbed up onto it, but, when I tried to get down, I noticed I was all alone, and at the bottom was the Alaskan snow monkey ready to bite me. I tried moving from slide to slide, but the monkey kept be persistent, always standing there staring at me evilly. I started crying, and eventually the teacher had to come to help me down.
All as a family, we went to one of the big, national parks in Alaska. When we were there, we ate some bear meat. It was yummy. I didn't know bears were for eating. Dad told me, "If you can kills it, you can eats it." Dad is very wise.
A three-legged dog named Charlie lived near us, and we sometimes took care of him. I made fun of him for missing a leg, but then he charged me and knocked me over. I tried to knock him over, but I couldn't because of that support that extra leg gave him. Stupid Charlie, thinking he's so great because he has one more leg than me.
When it got colder, we had a problem with a walrus getting in the backyard and tearing up the lawn with his tusks. Momma would say, "Frankie, you go take a broom and chase away that walrus."
"Why can't Joe do it? Those big teeth are scary."
"You go chase way that walrus right now!"
So I'd go in the backyard, swing my broom at the walrus while saying, "Shoo, walrus, shoo!" He knocked me down with his big tail, though, and then I saw that stupid Alaskan snow monkey up in a tree laughing at me. I’d get that monkey, I swore.
Joe and I got a neat new present - a bunk bed! It was a two-story bed, which was really cool. My brother got the top bunk, though, so it ended to me being just like a regular bed that was in constant threat of crushing me.
We also got a black and white T.V. for our room upon which we could watch sitcoms like Cheers and not understand the jokes. On Saturday morning's, though, we'd go out to the living room and watch cartoons on the color T.V. Joe foo', Silly Sister Sarah, and me liked to watch the Smurfs and learn about their perfect society led by the unquestioned dictator, the bearded Papa Smurf. They were constantly threatened by an evil Jew and his cat. Dad didn't let us watch it though, since he said it was Commie propaganda. So instead we put on Scooby-Doo, but dad was afraid that would teach us to meddle. So instead we watched The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, which taught us to be boring.
We ended up going on a big fishing trip. It was so far off in another place in Alaska that we had to take plane to get there. We flew over mountains and landed in water. Then we had a cabin to stay in. To go the bathroom was a big outhouse with a deep hole. Joe foo' and I were scared of falling in, so we thought of dropping little Sarah down the hole to test things out. Mom found out and stopped us, though.
My dad ended up catching the biggest fish that season. It was huge! He then gave it to the camp people to have it prepared for a trophy. When he came back to get it, though, he found out that the guy and filleted it. My dad expressed displeasure at this.
"I'LL MURDER YOU DEAD!" my dad screamed as the staff tried to hold him back. "I'll find out where you live and kill you and everyone you care about!" my dad said as they dragged him off.
Fishing was fun, but things waited for my dad and me that weren't so fun.
October 03, 2003
Yvonne's Ashes: Part II - The Alaskan Adventure Begins
Posted by Frank J. at 10:27 AM
Soon my parents bought a house. It was a split-level house which my mom didn't like... but it was better than an igloo. Once you came inside, you'd have to go upstairs or downstairs or you'd be nowhere. I'd like to go downstairs because that was where our playroom was.
Dad had a job at the electric company shutting off the power of those who didn't pay their bills. Mom stayed home and made sandwiches and took care of us kids just like a mother in one of those fifty's sitcoms.
During the winter, there was lots of snow, and it was fun. Dad would get very angry on the really cold days because he wasn't allowed to shut off the power. "If people can't pay their bill, they should freeze to death!" dad would say. Dad is very wise.
I'd like to play in the snow. Me and my brother would play with Star Wars action figures. I had a Luke Skywalker in snow clothes action figure, but I lost him in the snow one day. I guess a wampa got him. Unfortunately, I didn't have the Hoth Han Solo action figure to go find him. Poor Skywalker.
One day I thought I was attacked by a wampa. It was smaller than the one in the movie and it bit me. I then looked up in a book what it was. It was a monkey... and Alaskan snow monkey!
"Daddy! Daddy! I was bit by a monkey!" I told my dad.
"Quiet, boy, I'm watching a game," my dad answered.
"There aren't any monkeys in Alaska," mom assured me, and then added under her breath, "There isn't much of anything."
I could only get my brother Joe foo' to believe me. We decided to set up a trap to get that monkey. We used our little sister as bait, the first use we ever found for her. It didn't work, though.
That night, there was a tapping on the window. It was the monkey eyeing me evilly!
"Mommy! Mommy! The monkey is back!" I cried.
"Keep your nerves together boy!" my dad answered, "We're too near the Soviets for you to be getting scared by monkeys. Keep a strong face like president Reagan."
Dad was right. We were very near the evil Soviets, and they kept invading us. They were mean and spoke in angry, funny talk. The Eskimos would use their snow powers to help fight them back, but it was quite bothersome. One day the Soviets came all the way into town, and we had to fortify our house and shoot back at them.
"Here boy, take this," my dad said, handing me the .44 magnum.
"This gun is to big for me," I said, "I want the 9mm."
"Joe already took the 9mm. Now shoot a Commie for I give you a whup'n!"
"But I don't want to fire the .44 magnum!" I screamed.
"You shoot the Commie's just like your father told you," mom yelled at me as she loaded a rifle.
I took an aim at one of the charging Soviets. When I fired the gun, it flew back and hit me in the face. Ow! That hurt! I started crying. The Soviet didn't seem to like getting shot either, but he didn't cry. He didn't do much of anything.
After we finished fighting back the Soviets, dad took us to the corner store and bought Joe and me Flintstone push-pops since were such good boys having killed Commies and all. Sarah got one too, but she didn't kill anyone. That wasn't fair.
Summer came, and it was very warm. We visited a farm were they grew cabbages. Because of all the sunlight, the cabbages were even bigger than me. It was crazy. I asked mom why we lived in such a crazy place. "Ask your father," mom said, seeming a little angry.
We also went to a park and got to eat bear meat. It was very yummy. Summer in Alaska was fun, but, as summer came to a close, it was time for me to start school, which was scary.
September 26, 2003
Yvonne's Ashes: Part I - Wacky California
Posted by Frank J. at 08:37 AM
Couldn't think about what to write politically today, so I thought I might as well start my autobiography instead of waiting until the last minute... such as on my death bed. It will be embellished somewhat to actually make it interesting.
I was born June 4th, 1979, in Long Beach, California. I can't choose where I'm born. I was a fat baby, and I liked where I was in the womb. Poor mama.
My father decided to name me after him just to make things confusing, so I was christened Francis Joseph Wan Valdez Gerhard Musashi Fleming III. My parents just called me Frankie. Carter was president then, and everyone was sad except for me, being too young to know what "double-digit inflation" meant.
After I was brought home, my one other sibling, Joe foo', who is about 18 months older, devised a number of fiendish plots to do away with. That's just what older brothers do. None of his plans were successful though, and eventually he grew to tolerate me.
We had a nice house with a white picket fence in LBC. I used to hand out with Snoop Dog's younger brother, Stevie. I heard some of the new "music" being worked on, and, being young and naive and unaware of gang violence, I remarked, "What a bunch of crap."
They liked that term, and kept saying, "Play some more of that crap!" Eventually is broke down to people asking, "I want to hear some of that 'rap!" (word shortening was the style of the time). Eventually even the apostrophe disappeared into the annals of history, and it all became know just as "rap".
My dad worked in South Central L.A. repossessing cars. Being just a little toddler, my dad thought if I went to people and did a cute little dance, the people would be distracted enough for him to get the car. I asked why couldn’t Joe foo' do it, and my dad told me very frankly, "Because I like Joe." My dad promised that after he drove off with the car, he'd eventually come back and get me. That was good, because being in a scary neighborhood at night was a lot for a two-year-old. My dad always kept his promise to come get me, though sometimes he'd stop to eat first.
I thought I was all anyone could ever want, but apparently my parents weren't satisfied with me and my mother gave birth to another child, my Silly Sister Sarah. This put my mom in the hospital, which inconvenienced everyone as my mom wasn't home to cook and clean and we had to take time out of our day to go visit her and the shriveled little thing that was my sister. Sarah has yet to apologize for causing so much trouble.
Both Joe and I didn't like the new sister, and we'd plan to trap her and then ship her to Vietnam. The trapping was successful, but we didn't have enough postage, so we had to keep her.
Well into my third year of life, I got fed up with California and threw a huge tantrum yelling, "I hate California. People are weird here. And it's hot."
To shut me up, we all flew north and north until we were out of the country and in Canada. We then went even further north until we were in America once again and in our new home, Anchorage, Alaska.
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