Chapter 1967: My Man Wrote a Short Story

Chapter 1967

By The Mechanical Cat

Norma Jeane leaned back in the wooden chair and gently let her hand drift down her leg to feel the comfort of the snub-nosed .38, snugly holstered against her earthly thigh. A wisp of smoke left her mouth and danced toward the ceiling of the cabin. “Well, since every fucking agency and commission on the planet knows what’s going on in this cabin, what’s the plan now kitty-boy?” Norma’s voice was raspy.

“We’ve got an entire social revolution underway,” I said. “It’s a good diversion for now.”

“Obviously not fucking good enough. Do you even know who is outside?” Norma asked.

Across the room the glowing red eyes of the Mothman could be felt like the aurora borealis. He stood and walked toward the table where I was sitting with Norma. A murky hypnosis spread around us as the  Mothman tried to communicate.

“This is shit,” said Norma. “No fucking way. I am not doing it.” Bigfoot looked at the platinum blond wig and rhinestone dress lying in a heap on the table and raised a hairy eyebrow. Click. Flame. Cigarette. Norma inhaled and out blew a cloud of smoke. “Right now there are twelve agents out there. Watching our every move. Listening to every cigarette I light. Every word we speak.”

“Listen Norma-”

“No, you listen, Cat. Marilyn Monroe is dead. DEAD.” And she raised her eyebrows, expecting a response. She tilted her glass of whiskey back to her mouth and finished what was left. “I’m going out there.”

“Norma, it’s too dangerous” said Bigfoot through a face of fur.

“Nice,” said Norma. “Fuckin awesome. I thought you were-”

“You can’t leave yet,” I said, leaning forward through the shadows and smoke of the cabin. “We’re going with you.”

“I don’t need the help. I can take care of myself.”

“Not this time Norma, those aren’t CIA agents, those are inter dimensional beings called flyggian pony scouts.”

Norma looked at me with a suspicious smile. “Don’t act like I’m some naive school girl. I know what a pony scout is.”

And with that, Norma was out the door. Gun shots exploded in the darkness like camera bulbs flashing on her wooded stage. A red carpet spilled beneath her feet. Her attack was silent – violence at an efficiency matched by few others.

The quiet that filled the forest after she was done was complete. You could hear pine needles hit the dirt. Her heavy steps across the floor of the porch and then through the door – you could tell she was pissed. Norma sat down where she was, almost unchanged except for the freckles of blood she had attained in combat.

“How the fuck did you kill twelve pony scouts with six bullets?” I asked.

“Magic bullets,” Norma said with a twinkle in her eye. “How do you think we pulled off JFK?” A growl erupted from Bigfoot, which Norma silenced with a glance.

“I thought there was more than one gunman?”

“Well that’s just it,” said Norma. “There were no gunmen. There was a gunwoman, and a gun Bigfoot… and I don’t know what the fuck Mothman was doing. Mothman was the umbrella on the grassy knoll. I still don’t know where he’s coming from most of the time. Bigfoot was a terrible shot so I had to finish him off.”

“Where was Bigfoot?”

Mothman communicated telepathically to everyone in the room:

***bigfoot cannot be seen in direct sunlight***

“Where were you?” I inquired in complete shock.

“Dressed as Jackie. Had to make a getaway. Jumped out of the back of the car, but the Secret Service pulled me back in…” her voice trailed off. “Back and to the left. Back and to the left.”

“Oh…my…God. Why did you kill him?” The stare and silence between us could have stopped galaxies.

“Love and revenge. As simple as that.”


365 Days of Migraine, Days 40 & 41

I am trying not to feel as though increasing my Cymbalta again is a defeat. I have been fairly debilitated by depression for about six weeks; I’ve waited long enough. I’m hoping that the improvement will come soon.

A longtime family friend commented on Facebook today that she thinks of Migraine365 as a “graphic journal.” I thought that was really perfect, very apt for our book project as it continues to evolve. I have ideas I hope J will implement: a sort of “profile” page for each of the four of us; a family tree page for which I already have some photos of my maternal grandfather. I am going to start using the term “graphic journal.”

I also hope, as my optimism and energy increase, that I can sit down finally and expand on “The Migraine Diaries” stories I began here in my blog, and publish them on Kindle. We desperately need to change our financial situation. J is starting to look in earnest for a higher paying job. Money can’t buy happiness, it’s true. But I am ready to stop feeling constantly ill and ashamed, on every form of assistance available, borrowing and taking and burdening, accepting charity, hiding my head.

Money buys freedom from fear.



Days 34 – 39 | Charlotte’s Web & a hard week

I have been soul-dead this past week. So much so that I know I have to return to my original, higher dose of Cymbalta after so carefully and triumphantly decreasing to 30 mg six months ago. My headaches have been some improved, so my depression got
worse. That’s what happens. I don’t know if it’s because of the increased time I suddenly have, which is fairly empty; or if my serotonin just doesn’t know what the hell to do. Something has to be terribly wrong in my brain at all times, right?

Anyway, I have been hoping for a short period of adjustment, that I could wait this out, but it got so bad yesterday that I began the increased Cymbalta. I had to, for my family.

Here are the 5 days of Migraine365 I missed.

Day 34: Headache Season


Day 35: Charlotte’s Web part I


Day 36: Charlotte’s Web part II


Day 37: Charlotte’s Web part III


Day 38: Charlotte’s Web part IV


Day 39: Charlotte’s Web part V


Days 32 & 33 | Intractable Migraine Continues

More searing head pain. More phonophobia. More allodynia. More cognitive impairment. More worry and frustration.

We got a little behind on Migraine365 and J worked hard to get these pages done today so I want to get them posted. I will come back and do the text some other time.

Days 32 & 33, “Migraine Weather” Parts I and II



31 Days of Migraine365 | “Information Overload”

Today has been a good day.

J and I both are feeling pretty triumphant about completing our first month of the Migraine365 project. We’re not quite sure exactly which direction to take at this point. Considering Kickstarter, or contacting publishers directly. At the same time, I feel like 365 pages of chronic illness is a bit much for an actual book. What we do know for sure is that we’re pushing forward. A page a day. 365 Days of Migraine.


Text of Page:
09.18.14 | Day 31: Information Overload | Migraine365 | Refinance the house. Call student loan companies. Go to work. Do the dishes. Call the debt collector. Out of pants. Wash some clothes. Walk the dog. Remain composed. REMAIN COMPOSED… 001101001100111010 | Blue sky and clouds on the drive to Otsego. | Remembered all meds for play practice. Costume needed tomorrow – skirt and white shirt. 10 pm – now all black and plaid flannel!! | Weather: partly cloudy, 68° | Pain score: 6 |

Day 30: Necessities

I’m at X’s play practice – Charlotte’s Web – at a high school about 10 miles from where we live. Zo’s kindergarten best friend, A, is the sister of “Wilbur” and the little girl who plays Joy the baby spider. Their mom is the president of Youth Theatre Club. It all seems super convenient and sort of meant to be. A is here today as well, so they’re playing. X is a crew member, and on stage during a few crowd scenes. She wasn’t needed until this week, but she is running around backstage carrying props, a permanent grin on her face, as comfortable as if she’d been here since the beginning, when this is her very first play and it’s almost tech week already. I am SO proud of her. Seeing this makes it all worth it.

Because this week has been rough. Our poverty is crushing me. Depression is inescapable. I have been getting a lot of headaches, and am running low on pills. Not sleeping enough. Having nightmares when I do.

I was thinking about my relationship with pills. When I was little, I was already getting frequent blinding migraines and nothing would help them. I’d lay in bed for hours with a wet washcloth over my eyes. A parent would sit with me and rub or push on my forehead. I remember them giving me codeine cough syrup sometimes. But nothing really worked well until my diagnosis and subsequent Fiorinal prescription at 9. Those magical green capsules were my first ticket to guaranteed pain relief. And wow, not only did a pill erase the pain, it would leave a peaceful sense of happy well-being in its place. So I began to associate my only method of real pain relief with that peaceful and happy glow from the bultalbital. And… bultalbital, especially in combination with another ingredient of Fiorinal, caffeine, is quite addictive. So at a very young age (X’s age now, which boggles my mind) I became dependent on that feeling. When I had that feeling, it meant that no pain was anywhere on the horizon, when I had been living my life in a state of fear, anticipating and dreading the next headache. I got Fiorinal 3 with codeine when I was in high school, and the connections in my brain only increased, and any narcotic is much the same.

So it’s a feeling of comforted safety. It’s the only time I’m not afraid of more pain. And even though Imitrex also effectively obliterates migraines, usually even better, it and others like it don’t have that effect, because they aren’t tricky like opiates. So, in conclusion: for the last 30 years, I’ve been trying to balance the real benefit of narcotics with my complicated desire to be always, always taking them, for that safety. Even a false safety. My brain believes in it.

The play performance is the 25th, 26th, and 27th at this same high school auditorium. It’s going to be a very long week.

Here is today’s (well, yesterday’s) Migraine365 page. I had forgotten my medication and just knowing I’d done that caused anxiety… and, well, you know. I drove home, through the glaring sun, 15 minutes on country roads with a 6. Never again. Well, actually, who am I kidding? It will happen again. Hopefully, though, not again for years.


Text of Page:
09.17.14 | Day 30: Necessities | Migraine365 | HOMEWORK HELL | play practice [some pig – radiant – terrific] | Days are getting busier. What self respecting migraineur leaves home for 3 hours without meds? A 15 minute drive through the county at a 6. THAT’S WHAT I GET | LEAVE NO MEDS behind | poverty makes everything hard | Pain score: 6.5 | Weather: partly cloudy 68° |