Conversations with Marcus: Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star

September 28, 2010 § 4 Comments

I would like to preface this dialogue by saying that my brother Marcus is smart. I mean, really smart. He’s also nuts.

Marc: Hello?

Me: Whazzuuuup?

Marc: Not mu-

Me: What pressure should my tires be at?

Marc: Oh, that’s nice.  I’m fine Patty, to answer your question.

Me: I’m sorry.  How are you?

Marc: I’m fine, just working.  Hey, have you figured out a way to get us famous yet?

Me: Yeah, we just have to write something.

Marc: Okay, I was thinking about it last night, and I have an idea.

Me: What’s that?

Marc: We’re going to write a book of short stories.  I think a collection of short stories written by twins would be really marketable.

Me: Well, usually you get the short stories published in a magazine or something.  Then you make an anthology.

Marc: Well, what magazine publishes zombie stories?

Me: I don’t know- a science fiction mag, maybe?  You have to look it up.

Marc: Okay, here’s the plan.  I’m setting a deadline for us, so that we really write.

Me: What’s the deadline?

Marc: Together we’ll write six short stories by the end of the month.

Me: That’s crazy!  Six by the end of the month?!

Marc: No, it’s only three each!

Me: Do you know how long it takes to write a good short story?  It can take months.

Marc: A month to write two to four pages?

Me: Two to four pages?  Short stories can be over twenty pages!

Marc: What magazine is going to publish a twenty page story?

Me: Any magazine that publishes short stories!

Marc: Really?  I guess I want to write “super short stories.”

Me: You’re talking about doing flash fiction.

Marc: What’s flash fiction?

Me: Super short stories.

Marc: Okay.  That, then.  

Me: You might be able to publish flash fiction online.  You should look it up. 

Marc: I’m totally on it.

Me: So are you going to revise my deadline?

Marc: Yeah.  Have one good, super short story by the end of the month.

Me: Okay, but you’re going to have to give me a plot.  I’m pretty drained.

Marc: Zombies.

Me: What?

Marc: Your plot is zombies.

Me: No, “zombies” is a topic.

Marc: Zombies are coming, and you have to survive.

Me: What’s the plot twist?

Marc: Okay, here’s your story.  You and the family, including Maureen, Jeff and the kids, are all in Mom and Dad’s basement, hiding from the zombies.

Me: That’s not a plot, that’s a setting.

Marc: You’re all in a Michigan basement, crowded together, trying to be silent.  It’s like Anne Frank, but with zombies.

Me: Like Anne Frank but with zombies?  Marcus, do you listen to what you say?

Marc: What?

Me: Whatever. 

Marc: Ooh, I just came up with something good!  Because the basement has to be silent, you turn the sump pump off.  So sometimes the basement floods with water.

Me: Like, up to your knees?

Marc: Yeah, when it rains.

Me: So we’re sometimes up to our knees in sewage.

Marc: No, it’s just rain water.  Although it’s close to a sewage line, so the sump pump could have backed-up human waste come in.  That’s entirely up to you.

Me: And how does it end?

Marc: At the end, you’re about to make a break for it.

Me: It ends with us trying to escape?

Marc: Yeah.  Then people will want to read part two.

Me: Part two?  I thought we were writing a short story.

Marc: Yeah… maybe that should be chapter one.  We’ll write a book instead.

Me: A book? 

Marc: How much money would a bestseller earn us?

Me: Well, first books take a long time to publish and aren’t usually that successful. 

Marc: But there’s a chance we’d be rich?

Me: There’s a chance, but it’s pretty remote.  Plus I think a book is too much right now.  We need to think of all our ideas for publishing something, then choose one and make goals.  Otherwise this is going to be Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star* all over again.

Marc: Yeah, I forgot how to play that song.

Me: I figured.

Marc: All I know is that I picture us sitting on David Letterman’s couch, explaining our madness to the audience.

Me: That would be awesome. 

Marc: Yeah. [hears a horn honking] Hey, where are you?

Me: I’m in the parking lot at my apartment.  I was going to call you about tire pressure before I took my doughnut upstairs and ate breakfast.

Marc: Oh yeah.  35 psi.

Me: Really?

Marc: Yeah, that’s optimum.

Me: Okay.  I went to the gas station and overfilled my tires.  I figured I would come back and just release the excess pressure if I needed to.

Marc: Why didn’t you just gauge the tires correctly while you were there?

Me: Because they never give you enough time to fill all your tires plus check their pressures.  I always have to go ask them to turn the air back on.  It makes me panic while I’m filling them up.

Marc: So you overfilled them.

Me: Yeah.

Marc: Okay.

Me: I mean, I can just release the excess pressure.

Marc: Yeah.  Just make sure the tires are even.

Me: Cool.  Okay, I’m going to go do that.  You have an awesome day at work.

Marc: Okay.  And don’t forget about the deadline and Zombie Anne Frank.

Me: Got it.

*Marcus once heard Billy Joel play the piano and decided he wanted to learn to play just like him. With no prior music experience of any kind,  he bought an expensive keyboard and a how-to book. The first song he learned was Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star. It was also the last song he learned.

Kids

September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

As I said earlier, I have a habit of recording funny conversations. Colleen called me laughing one day, dying to share this story so that we could record it for posterity. This took place several years ago, when Maureen’s oldest daughter, Abby, was about four and Maureen’s son, Nick, was about a year old. The conversation began with what I hope was Maureen’s joke that Colleen should quit school and become a full-time mother.  The following is a transcript of what Colleen heard through the phone.

Maureen: Colleen, you don’t need to go to college! Why don’t you drop everything, have kids, and be a stay at home mom, right now… Oh, Abby, no! Stop it! Damn. Oops… Abby just locked me in the pantry. Abby, seriously, I gotta get out… God Colleen, she’s stronger than I thought!

 [Maureen pushes and pushes at the door.  She finally gets the door open and, when there is a little space, puts a dirty diaper through the crack, yelling “Aaah! A dirty diaper!” At this point, Abby screams and runs away. Maureen exits the pantry.]

Maureen: Uh-oh! Nicholas is in the freezer. Abby, stop it! Abby, stop it! Abby is trying to close the freezer door on Nicholas. [It should be said that by “in the freezer,” Maureen meant that he had gotten the freezer door open and was taking things out.]

 [The sound of the ice cream man is heard in the background.]

 Abby: Ice cream! Ice cream!

 Maureen: No. You just locked me in the pantry. [Under her breath, into the phone: “No she’s not going to have ice cream! She locked me in the pantry!”]

 [Abby whines and moans, and Maureen goes back to the kitchen, continuing her conversation about motherhood.]

Maureen: No, seriously, it really is a very rewarding experience… Abby, take that rubber band off your head! [laughs]  Abby was defiant, but it helped keep the hair out of her eyes.

– Patty

Meet the Family

September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

I thought for our first post, I would explain who we are and what we want to do. Basically, we are a family, and we want to share our thoughts and stories. For years, the five of us siblings have been laughing over memories, posting on facebooks, writing in journals, sending emails, etc. This blog is a place for us to finally get all of that wonderful mishmash into one place- and if others would like to read all of that craziness well, that’s all right, too. So here are the brief introductions, in order of age:

Maureen: The Leonardo to our Ninja Turtles, Maureen is the oldest of the siblings and the undoubted leader.  An untiring worker, she does medical billing out of her home while at the same time raising three children. Every week I see her on facebook, apologizing to Mom for all the insanity she put her through that her children are now putting her through. It’s funny because I don’t have kids.

Marcus: Technically he goes next because he was born before me, but I only let that happen because I wanted him to test the air out before I made my attempt. We are twins, as different as two fraternals can get, and he really doesn’t need an introduction. This picture will do:

 

Patty (that’s me!): I’m the wanderer of the group, the only one to live out of state. I moved to Connecticut to teach high school English for three years (I lived right outside Lyme and, yes, I did get Lyme disease). After meeting a wonderful but eccentric scientist at a party in New York (think Egon Spengler with an addiction to horror movies), I followed him to New Jersey where we live just outside Philadelphia. I’m taking a break from teaching while I am tutoring and earning my masters degree. A lot of the posts on this blog will be from me, as I have a hobby of recording dialogue and sharing it with people. I am also planning my July wedding, so I have plenty to vent about.

Colleen: Colleen gets the most abuse from the family (mostly because we think it’s funny), but she is an amazing young woman. She is short and slight, so it surprises a lot of people to learn that she is a nurse in downtown Detroit, regularly treating gunshot victims who are handcuffed to police officers. Her work stories are more interesting than mine, but HIPAA laws will keep us from hearing the juicy stuff.

Meagan: Oh, Meagan. Her nickname is Moo Moo (“Moo” for short) because Maureen’s husband, Jeff, thought it would be funny if his first daughter grew up calling her that. She did, and it stuck. Meagan is in her last year of undergrad and is a strange combination of shy and wild. In other words, she does incredibly crazy things and then becomes mortified that she did them. I won’t share those stories here because they will make a great blog entry.

That’s it for introductions. Let’s see if this works!

– Patty