Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading January 28, 2012 - 3:42pm

When I was child the old family dog looked for a quiet place to die. She picked an untuned, mostly-there-for-show piano. She'd given birth to puppies under that same piano a few years before. When my family buried her, they cried harder than at the funeral for the friend after whom I was named. The piano is still there and a couple of weeks ago, when I was back home, I pressed each of its keys and the only decent, still mostly in tune sound you could make was a high G.

Share something about childhood, if you had one.

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz January 28, 2012 - 4:08pm

In a hilly, rural area outside of Portland in the early seventies a family of four moved in a half-mile away. The family's two young sons were the age of my brother and I so naturally we began to play together as our options at the time were somewhat limited in the sparsely-populated region. Once while visiting their home the older boy Matt suggested we play hide-and-go-seek. My brother and I quickly agreed. Our uncle had designed the house for the previous couple who'd by then divorced and we'd already spent a great deal of time in and around the home. We had carnal knowledge of the home's bones and best hiding places. One of our favorite spots had always been beneath the sink in the mudroom cupboard between the kitchen and garage, so when Matt started to count I climbed inside and waited. And waited. And waited. Then I heard the door that accessed the garage open and the hollow sound of cardboard being dropped against the tile. I peeked out through the door crack and saw Matt's father stacking orange shoeboxes on the floor, blocking my exit. I was trapped, but not for long. I pushed the door open, knocking the three towers to the ground. Bright colored sports shoes with black waffle patterns on the soles came spilling out. Shoe samples, the seeds of a future empire.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 28, 2012 - 7:54pm

I was raised by my grandparents on my mother's side.  My mother did other things, and my father was murdered when I was pretty young.  Father's Day was always awkward for me.  The year i was 6 the church had a big Father's Day production with the kids.  We all stood at the front and the father's from the crowd were instructed to come forward and stand with their kid and sing Jesus Loves Me.  This should tell you a bit about where I grew up that no one thought this might be an issue at all.  Anyway, I was just sick about it.  I didn't know if my grandfather would come up.  He didn't sing.  And I am really phobic of awkward situations. 

So, all the dads come up, and I'm staring at the pew with my grandparent's in it, and Pa (that's what i called him) didn't move.  I thought I would die.  And then about three literal seconds passed and he stood up and rolled his eyes at me, like he couldn't believe i was making him do this, and came up.   And he stood behind me and he sang.


Laramore Black's picture
Laramore Black from Joplin, Missouri is reading Mario Kart 8 January 29, 2012 - 1:22am


It played like a movie in my head, haunting me again and again every day after that night. It was the night I realized this world wasn’t heaven. In fact, ever since that night I’ve been living in a mental hell.

“Hello? Is there anybody in there?” The sounds of Pink Floyd echoed off the living room walls, “There is no pain you are receding, a distant ship, smoke on the horizon. You are only coming through in waves. Your lips move, but I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

I remember the dark figure walking up to my bed and that of my siblings.This figure was my father, or at least the shell of an empty man that used to be him. He leaned in and he told me he loved me. Brushing my hair and giving me a pat on the back. He proceeded to do this with all my siblings. But, he came to me first.

I always wondered if it was some way he passed the torch. Everyone fell back to sleep, but not me. I stayed awake, staring up at the ceiling. “I have become comfortably numb.”

I wondered why he had woken us all up, to tell us something he should have said every day.
There was a long silence…

Then there was a thud in the living room. Then my mother’s scream. I ran out to the living room to find my father on the floor. My mother called an ambulance. When they arrived they put him on a stretcher and carried him away. He was taken to the hospital to have his stomach pumped.

Empty bottles of pills were strewn about.
“Mommy, what’s wrong with daddy?” 
“Daddy got sick.” She said, with tears in her eyes.
“Is that why daddy took all these pills?”
“Yes.” She said, bursting into tears.
“What’s wrong mommy?” I said. “They took him to the doctors, he’ll get better.”
“Let's hope so.”

She drove us all to the hospital. The doctors eventually announced that my father was going to be alright. But it was too late, the damage had been done. He was alive, but never the same.

The child has grown, the dream was gone, and I had become comfortably numb...

Utah's picture
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry February 3, 2012 - 6:57am

I'm really not sure why, but Dad bought this goose.  Of course, the idea was to eat it, but why he chose a goose is beyond me.  Dad was more of a McDonalds guy.  So he bought the goose and we took it to my grandparents' house out in the country.  It was tied up in a burlap bag in the back of his truck, and when we took it out the goose had shit all in the bag.

The goal of eating the goose became the goal of Josh killing the goose.  I was ten, it was high time I killed something.  So Dad drew this nice goose-head silhouette on a piece of styrofoam and set it up by a tree on my grandparents property.  I lay prone about twenty feet away and practiced shooting this styrofoam goose with my .22 rifle.  Dad wanted a clean kill, so I had to be able to shoot the goose in the eye.  So I shot the fake goose in the wings, the beak, once in the foot.  Never the eye.

Dad got impatient with the practice and took away the fake goose and replaced it with the real goose, which he tied to the tree.  He came back to me and squatted down beside me.  "Take a deep breath.  Let half of it out.  Concentrate on your front sight blade."  The goose's head is brilliant white against my sight picture.  "Squeeze."  This was my father's mantra.  His moments of zen were all behind a rifle.

A crack.  Red blossomed on the goose's neck and it went over, sqawking and beating its wings.  Dad engaged the safety on my rifle and ran over to the bird, pulling a large knife from the sheath on his belt.  Swinging it like a machete, he hacked off the goose's head.  It stopped thrashing.

"Did I get it in the eye?"


The goose proved very hard to pluck so we threw it into the field across the road for the foxes to eat.

Nighty Nite's picture
Nighty Nite from NJ is reading Grimscribe: His Lives and Works February 3, 2012 - 1:05pm

Growing up I had what, later, I'd find out a lot of kids didn't. I had an entire neighborhood of kids to call my friends. There were almost fifteen of us in a couple block radius, and on most days you could find us getting up to mischief around our neighborhood, which consisted of several blocks of houses all different shapes and colors, and at the end of the block was a Deli that my grandmother owned, where I got slushies for free every summer.

Summer for us was a golden age that would repeat itself every year until middle school. It was the time of year when our parents would let us out until 10 or 11 at night, as long as we stayed in the confines of our neighborhood.

Later on in life, I'd look back at my childhood and come to the realization that us kids were almost like our own little seperate society from our parents and town. We did our own things, worked together to achieve common goals. And we came up with our own mythos, though at the time it was just rumors we made up to sound interesting. Tall tales and ghost stories. One was about a creature that lived in the creek down the street from us.

This creek, it was fenced in and overgrown by a tunnel of twisted trees and reeds taller than any adult we knew. There were holes in the fence though, made by who knows what, and we would always sneak in to climb the trees that hung over the creek and pretend that it was our fortress, our muddy palace.

Down creek there was a smaller tree that curved over the shallow water and reached across to the opposite bank, and from its limb hung a thick rope. We would make up stories about how it was used to hang some unfortunate person or that the kids who played on it were eaten by the creature. Little did I know, I would meet a similar fate.

We were climbing that tree, and swinging on that rope that day. And just as we were about to leave, I decided to take one last swing. I gripped tight to the rope and I let myself go... and I slid off and into the creek. The muddy water got all into my shorts and felt like... well. You get the idea. The real scary part was when I tried to get up and walk out. I couldn't. The mud was so deep and thick that my shoe sank and I couldn't pull my foot out, but of course, my seven or eight year old mind was racing with the possibility that I was being sucked under by some horrible creature. The ordeal must have lasted less than a minute, but it felt longer. One of my friends ran away already, but two others stayed and pulled me out. I lost a shoe, and walked with an awkward limp in my step the entire way home.


Anyway, sorry for rambling a bit there. I've been really nostalgic about being a kid lately for some reason. I have more stories, I actually want to fictionalize them one day and create a book of short stories based on my childhood. Add a horror element.

Dave's picture
Dave from a city near you is reading constantly February 3, 2012 - 1:37pm

I grew up in the deserts of El Paso, TX.  One spring break, my parents and I did some cowboy work at a relatives cattle ranch.  As a partial payment, my dad received not one, but TWO beeves (beef calves).  We weren't ranchers, or farmers.  We had just enough property for a few horses, but that was it.  I guess my dad didn't want to say no. 

We had no way to transport the beeves three hours home.  We'd brought one horse in a two horse trailer, so we tried cramming the two into the other half of the trailer.  The problem was the divider is tall, a horses shoulder tall, and doesn't go down to the floor.  The calves were small, like fit under the divider small.  Needless to say, after only a few miles the calves were flipping out, spooking the horse, and generally causing mayhem in the trailer.  That's thousands of pounds swaying and bouncing, stressing the trailer hitch and it became too dangerous to continue to drive that way.  So we stopped.

The thing about our particular model horse trailer, was it had a compartment on the front to store saddles and other tack.  It was fairly large, my brother and I used to hide in it frequently.  Dad had the idea that he'd stuff those cattle into the saddles compartment, and throw the saddles into the trailer, hoping the horse could avoid pissing on them.  He did, with a lot of fight from the cattle, and there they rode the rest of the way home.

After several weeks of bottle feeding, naming, and caring for these cows, it came butcher time.  Dad found someone local who could butcher the calves, and off we went.  I didn't see the cows get shot, but I felt each of their dead weight falling in the trailer.  They dragged them out to bleed them, and the blood flowed hot and frothy from their necks, the way rivers move.  Put a penny to your nostril, that's maybe a tenth of the warm coppery smell. 

Half the beef was good, the first calf killed.  Half was tough and bitter, because of the adrenaline produced in the second calf before it was killed.


Sorry for the lazy writing.

Biscuit Welsh's picture
Biscuit Welsh from New York City, currently living in Richmond,Va is reading Kushiel's Chosen February 5, 2012 - 11:14am

When I was 5 or so, I was terrified of the nightlight in my bathroom.  I was convinced it was a spider.  My father, an engineer, went to great lengths to prove to me that there was no spider.  But  I scrupulously and secretly  observed spider prevention rituals for about two years.

  I made sure I had a full glass of water by my bed when I went to sleep. If I had to pee at night--I would go into my bedroom closet and relieve myself on the huge bag of rags that my mother kept there rather than go into the bathroom.

     Before long Mom soon noticed that all her rags smelled like rancid pee, but she was eager to believe me when I denied knowing anything about it.   The idea that I would willingly pee in my bedroom closet on a regular basis somehow would have reflected poorly on her as a mother.   Mom put the urine stink together with some old gnaw holes in the houses woodwork and the unexplained noises she heard in the house at night and concluded that we were infested by rats.  She set my father to the task of closing any obvious holes and laying poison and traps.  She never found a single dead rat- but even now well into her eighties- she has the habit of sniffing rags before she uses them- just to make sure the rats haven't come back.

Typewriter Demigod's picture
Typewriter Demigod from London is reading "White Noise" by DeLilo, "Moby-Dick" by Hermann Mellivile and "Uylsses" by Joyce February 5, 2012 - 3:19pm

A while back, when I was, seven, yeah, it was like first or second grade, so when I was seven, my cat died. It was an accident, and I remember feeling really detached from everyone else, even though I didn't understand. Her name was Daisy, and she liked chicken scraps and sitting in the mouth  of the stone-carved Posideon face we had in the back garden. What happened was, Daisy climbed into a warm place, one winter night, and died. The thing was, was that the warm place was a washing machine. She drowned quickly, and probably without pain. I remember writing in crayons in school the week after, that I really liked the cat, and it worried me where she was going to go. I went to a religious school for my first few years of education, so I got told, quite brutally, that she was not going anywhere, and would remain in her grave. She would not experience Paradise, and that come judgement day, all the other creeds and colours will help us rebuild Jerusalem. She was an evil bitch. Then, I moved schools, and was classified, distinctly, as weird.

Mern's picture
Mern from Onion Creek, Washington State is reading Badge of Honor Series February 6, 2012 - 12:17am

I get called weird all the time.  You're not weird.  They are just overly normal.  I've also been saddled with the designation of 'smart ass.'  My response?  Better than being a dumb ass.  I went to grade school in a one-room building in the country (yes, Onion Creek) that my grandfather helped build on land my family donated.  My great aunt was the sole teacher for grades K-6.  At one point during those 7 years, the students were made up of myself, my little brother, and our two cousins.  Never did our student population go over 10 children.  I then  had an hour bus ride to endure so I could attend 7th through 12th grades in the nearest town, 15 miles away.  I was pointed out by fellow students as the Onion Creeker, you know, the really smart ones come from up in those mountains on that creek.  My graduating class had 24 students.  We were considered a 'large' grade.  I like to say that I really didn't learn anything from 7th to 12th grade, but I really didn't.  Okay, some.  Not as much as you might suppose, though.  Onion Creek with that student to teacher ratio was a very individual intense-attention education for its students.  And with her being my great aunt, you can imagine I could not get away with anything, especially not learning what she wanted, expected, and received from me.  Plus we had to walk all the way to the grade school, uphill both ways, in any temperature, (it is 10 degrees here right now and we don't panic at driving in 4 feet of snow, let alone 4 inches that shuts big cities like Seattle totally down, which always meant 'no snow days')and it was at least a football field away from our house in the woods.  Sometimes we were early and Great Aunt wouldn't hurry on our account to unlock the school door, even during the coldest negative-degree days of the long winters.  But she did give us a grade school education worthy of the best high school education being taught at the time.  Strict, scarey and must be obeyed no matter what or she would discipline us then tell Mom and Dad and they would have second discipline time.  Teaches one respect and a lot of cunning so one could be a typical child and rebel...:)  without getting caught out too much.  I am a fifth generation Onion Creeker and I love my mountains.  I've traveled a lot but home is home and it is here.