Whooping Cranes, Walter White, and Other Friday the 13th Weirdness (aka Relocation Part Two) . . .

My “ancient” cell phone starts ringing when I’m actually out and about doing something other than staring at my computer. Even luckier, I’m in a store by the noisy checkout lanes when a call came in earlier today. I’m all like “I’ll bet it’s about a JOB!!!!“, and I try not to sound overly eager when I answer the call.

The conversation went something like this:

“Hi, my name is *garble garble*, and I had your application sent to my desk for the *crackle static crackle* pusher.”

A pusher? What the heck? What do they want me to push? Drugs? Contraband? Hmm . . . maybe . . .

I start daydreaming about being the next Walter White. Or at least about all of Walter White’s ill-begotten gains. “I’m sorry,” I say, “I’m in a store and it’s noisy. Could you tell me who you are with and what sort of position you’re looking to fill, please?”

My phone suddenly behaves itself. “THE CART PUSHER POSITION AT WONDERFUL CHAIN STORE.”

Which, even though I’m not on speaker, everyone within a ten-foot radius can hear.

I get embarrassed and flustered, and I garble something back about I wish I could but I’m not able to fulfill the duties of a cart pusher because of . . . and, luckily, I stop myself before I head off into a TMI ramble about why I can’t move unwieldy objects around. I apologize, but say that I’m open to positions like X, Y, and Z.

(In all my years of working in grocery stores, I have never, not once, heard of that particular job–as a bagger–referred to as a “cart pusher” position. It’s mostly just like “Go out and get carts” and I would race out the door before the manager even got to the word “carts” because, you know, it’s a break from the customers who get oddly irked that you put their bread at the bottom of the bag and pile twenty soup cans on top of it.)

Plus, you know, if I were able to handle a more physically arduous job, it would be this one, without a doubt: https://www.conservationjobboard.com/job-listing-whooping-crane-chick-rearing-apprenticeship-baraboo-wisconsin/3478983987.


So, yeah, snarky and probably not-very-funny story aside, I put together a wishful-thinking list of the places I’ve gotten travel/relocation packets for, and I was going to do a poll for fun (truthfully, so I could learn how to do it), but decided just to list the potentials. Ideally, I would love to have a water source nearby, or wetlands, and a great library/library system–and be in a Blue state. Classical music, farmer’s market, good track record for animal welfare and advocacy/wildlife protections. I did like Wichita, but my experience in small-town Kansas has really tainted the state for me, sadly.

Willow’s Wishful Thinking Relocation List:

  1. Canada!
  2. Scotland!
  3. Anywhere in Maine (Freeport, Portland, Bangor)
  4. Salem, Massachusetts
  5. Montpelier, Vermont
  6. Oregon (Portland, Ashland, Medford. Bend)
  7. Des Moines, Iowa
  8. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  9. Yellow Springs, Ohio
  10. Wisconsin (La Crosse County Library seems great! Milwaukee?)
  11. Missoula, Montana
  12. Austin, TX
  13. Detroit
  14. Chicago
  15. Minneapolis
  16. Fargo (Gotta see the woodchipper, right?)
  17. Kansas (Lawrence, Wichita, Kansas City, KS/MO)
  18. New Mexico
  19. Eureka Springs, AK
  20. Deadwood, SD

Annnnddd, I also have more candidates from lists of states/cities that have banned Roundup, and/or are hippie-type places, as well.

In lieu of a poll, feel free to vote by putting your pick in the comments! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go out and get carts, one by one by one by . . .


Clowns That Don’t Go Bump in the Night…



What could be better for my forthcoming birthday (September 20) than a whole book of horror stories featuring clowns?

The fact that my story’s among them!

So, “send in the clowns,” and don’t forget to bring balloons and plenty of gifts! Or, you can make my wish (and those of the other authors) come true, and buy the book, here: Bloody Red Nose: Fifteen Fears of a Clown.

Still here? Yes, you. You in the corner, clowning around. Well, I can’t get you an invite to clown school on that audition, but if you want more information about the book, check out Editor Dave Higgins’ blog post: https://davidjhiggins.wordpress.com/abstruse-press/fears-of-a-clown/bloodyrednose/.

Still can’t get enough clowns? Do you take your horror with a splash of humour? Well, Dave Higgins has released not one, but two, clown-featured books. Perhaps this one will help rekindle your childhood dream of becoming a clown. (Or not? I’ll have to read it, myself, to find out.) If you read Deadman Humour: Thirteen Fears of a Clown, please no spoilers. That’s worse than a clown without a smile!



Sadly, I never did run away to join the circus. Which was probably a wise choice, as I imagine it would have been rather difficult to liberate elephants, giraffes, and lions as a twelve-year-old. Nevertheless, I do have a little bit of circus cred by association with my hometown, where I was raised, which was the winter headquarters of the Ringling Circus. (Until they moved to Venice, Florida.) Which, these days, I suspect that the Gulf Coast of Florida is pretty much all one swath of strip malls and gated communities with some six-million-dollar condos thrown into the heart of Floridian downtowns, just to give the residents a chance to kvetch about the slightest noise after 9 p.m. Or support noise meter companies. I forget which.

But don’t worry, even though more and more of Florida’s wetlands, wild areas, and farmlands are being parceled up and sold to developers by local politicians to become an on-every-street-corner Walgreens, or a toxic-turfed six-bedroom McMansion, you can still find sparkling sequins of circus history in Sarasota.

Check out the circus museum that’s part of the Ringling Museum historio-industrial complex: https://www.ringling.org/circus-museum. (Beware the museum’s staff, though; they can be more terrifying than any nightmare we writers can dream up. And enter into the gift shop at your own risk.*)

If you’d like a more genial experience, visit Bob Horne at his restaurant, Bob’s Train. His knowledge of circus from his own experiences, and his vibrant recitation of circus history, will add life to the museum visit. In fact, his own restaurant is filled with photos and memorabilia from the circus, and is the perfect setting to read certain clown anthologies (Can I drop any more hints?).

If you need any more convincing, yes, the restaurant is in an actual Pullman railroad car. Oh, and on the very same track is JoMar. Yes, that JoMar (look it up!). Which Bob Horne is restoring.

Here’s the link to Bob’s Train: https://www.bobstrain.com/location. (But I can’t promise there will be clowns.)


*I was born in Bradenton, and grew up in Sarasota. For those not from the area, that pretty much means I have carte blanche to be as snarky as I want to about my hometown(s). And it’s a gold mine for snarky humorists, let me tell ya.