Saturday, September 24, 2016

Bad Roberta

Now you've seen a bit of Bad Roberta, and I hope you find her entertaining. You'll get to read another Bad Roberta story every day for the rest of this month.

These stories were written in the early 80's for my daughter. For some reason, kids like them more than parents do.

Bad Roberta's Baby Brother

Bad Roberta's Baby Brother

One day, Bad Roberta's parents had a worried conference after Bad Roberta had gone to bed. "I have very bad news," said Bad Roberta's mother.
"What's that?" her father asked.
"We're going to have another baby."

"Aieeeeeeeeee!!!!!!" screamed Bad Roberta's father.

"Wait, dear," his wife said, "think for a minute. There can't be TWO children as bad as Bad Roberta."

He thought about it. "That's true. Our next child will probably be an angel. It will have to be, to put up with Bad Roberta."

Time passed, and eventually Bad Roberta's mother had a baby. The new baby was a boy, and they named it Gerald. Bad Roberta liked having a baby brother. He was fun to play with. He could play baseball (he played second base). He could play with dolls (he was a mountain plagued by earthquakes). He could even play tic-tac-toe (his tummy was the board). He was also useful for holding doors open, and he was great fun in mud puddles. Bad Roberta's mother said "You can never play with Gerald again!" and she took him away.

"Spoilsport!" grumbled Bad Roberta.

Even if she couldn't play with Gerald, Bad Roberta found him convenient. He kept her parents busy, so they paid less attention to what she was doing. She could eat a whole jar full of cookies, and make a scale model of the Eiffel Tower out of flour and water on the dining room table and they didn't even notice. They weren't getting much sleep, so they were too tired to tell her to go to bed. She saw a lot more horror movies on late-night TV! The most fun part of having a baby brother was giving him presents. Bad Roberta loved Gerald and gave him many presents. She gave him markers, raw eggs, open jam jars and honey jars, and many other toys.

"Go out and play in the yard," Bad Roberta's mother shouted. "I have to clean Gerald up again. I don't know how he gets into all this stuff!"

Bad Roberta took the sugar bowl with her, and made the ants spell "Take us to your leader!" by pouring sugar in patterns in the yard. 

When her father came home from work, he saw what the ants had written, shook his head violently, and went into the house. He didn't even notice the butter on the floor just inside the door. At least, he didn't notice it until he stepped in it! Fortunately, he was only in the hospital for a few days.

About this time, Bad Roberta became interested in science. She did a science project for school, and this was the first time she had EVER done ANY homework. Her parents were pleased, until they discovered the subject of her project: "What makes Gerald cry the loudest?" When the experiments abruptly ended, there was a tie between "taking away his favorite toy" and "waking him up with ice-cold water." The teacher was so surprised Bad Roberta turned in the project that she gave her a "B." Bad Roberta was furious, because this ruined her straight F record!

Bad Roberta tried to teach Gerald how to be bad, but he wasn't very good at it. He didn't like playing "push the china cups off the highchair lid" or "roll around in paint and then hug Mommy." But there were some good times too. Bad Roberta had many opportunities to break things and blame the damage on Gerald. Also, Bad Roberta had broken all her toys long ago, and people knew better than to give her new ones. However, Gerald got lots of toys, and Bad Roberta had fun playing games like "how many bricks squash the doll" and "do board books burn?"

One Saturday Bad Roberta's mother took her aside. "Bad Roberta," she said "do you like having a baby brother?"
"Yes," said Bad Roberta, "he's icky and smelly."


Your pages' curled edges
flying before a hot wind
blowing steady from tomorrow
look back! Can you see the shore?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bad Roberta goes to work

Bad Roberta goes to work

      Bad Roberta was so bad that after she had been going to school for a while, none of the schools in the city would let her come back. Her parents hired tutors to teach her at home, but Roberta was so bad that soon no tutor would come and teach her. In desperation, Bad Roberta's father took her with him to work while they tried to decide what to do.

     Bad Roberta's father worked in a big office building downtown.

      Bad Roberta and her father rode the bus to his office. At least, they tried to. But when a little old lady got on the bus, wearing a hat with flowers on it, Bad Roberta stuck out her leg and tripped the old lady.

     Then she tripped a little boy, a postal carrier, and three people wearing suits. She was very bad! 

     The bus driver said that Roberta would have to get off the bus. They had to walk to work.

     It took a really long time, and when they got there, Bad Roberta's father was late.

     "Why are you so late?" asked the guard at the front desk. Bad Roberta's father explained what Roberta had done on the bus.

     "You are a very bad little girl!" said the guard. Bad Roberta kicked her in the shin. The guard chased Bad Roberta around and around the lobby, until the guard got dizzy and fell into a big display of roses. All of the flowers were smashed, and the guard had dirt and rose thorn holes all over her white uniform.

     Bad Roberta's father hurried her to the elevator to take her up to his office before she could cause any more trouble. As soon as they got on the elevator, Bad Roberta pushed all the buttons so they stopped at every floor.

     "Roberta, why are you so bad?" asked her father.

     On the second floor, she ran out of the elevator, drew with a crayon on the wall, and then ran back onto the elevator before the doors closed.

     On the third floor, she drew on the shirt of a man waiting in the elevator lobby, and when he tried to chase her, the door closed on his nose.

     Bad Roberta did a bad thing on every floor all the way up to the 25th floor. That was where her father's office was. When they got to his office, Roberta's father was very glad to get away from where they would see other people. He did not want Roberta to be bad any more where other people could see her.

     Bad Roberta's father sat her down at his drafting table and he worked at his desk. For a while, Roberta was very quiet. Her father got worried about what she might be doing, so he came over to see. She had drawn with crayon on all the pages of all of his books!

     "Roberta! How can you be so bad all the time? Don't you get tired of it and want to be good?!" He shouted.

     "No," said that Roberta.

     Just then, there was a knock on the door.

     "Come in," said Bad Roberta's father.

     The door opened and a giant pile of pizzas walked in. Then Roberta's father could see that it was not a giant pile of pizzas, but a man carrying about 400 pizzas.

     "Someone here order 398 anchovy pizzas, and two with pepperoni and sausage?"

     Bad Roberta's father looked at Bad Roberta. She smiled.

     "I was hungry," she said.

     Bad Roberta's father never took her to work with him again!


Outside the window
reflection you meets your eye
surely the sunflowers still bloom in the darkness
surely the tapping is a branch blown against the window
surely the floor creeks for some good reason
the bush, cut down last summer, taps again


Under the hill

time passes quickly
endless parties, dances, feasts
when you come out your mother-in-law,
landlord, boss, Sheriff with a grudge
they're all dead a century or more
sounds like a good deal all around!


Something about zombies, family, I don't know

he keeps dried heads in the cookie jar
she throws them out back when he's not home
after spring rain they put down roots
grow torsos, limbs
some up, some down, sideways
by mid simmer they start talkin'
this is why, he rants
I shrunk 'em in the first place
and now Thanksgiving with the fam
will have to be outside
cos I sure ain't lettin those things back in

On a more legit botanical note. I was told this morning that there are "dozens" of surprise lilies up in our yard. Alas, it is only 14. The drought is not been good for them.