Violet Russell

She: “Someone’s at the door. Would you answer it?”

He: “I suppose, but I don’t know what good it will do. The door doesn’t talk back.”

She: “Neither should you! Who is the person behind the door?”

He: “Name’s Violet Russell. Vi for short. Says she has a package for you.”

She: “I’m not expecting any packages. And I don’t know anyone named Violet. Or Russell. She’s not related to this Carney friend of yours?”

He: “No. And he wasn’t my friend.

She: “Oh. Yeah. He’d gone to the dogs, hadn’t he? Well, tell her ‘thanks but no thanks.’

He: “OK, I wi … Hey! Where’d she go? She was right here a second ago.”

She: “Hmph. Guess we didn’t need her package anywa .. wa .. wa … WAAAA–CHOOO!!

He: “Gesundheit!”

She: “Too la’ ….”

*     *     *     *     *     

Let’s just say that Quilly’s less happy today than she was yesterday, and yesterday earned an ugh. This too shall pass, but meanwhile … Spare a thought for all those who’ve gotten visits from Ms. Russell this cold ‘n’ flu season.

Adventures in (Washington State) Ferryland

In case some of you have been wondering how come Quilly hasn’t been by to visit you yet today …

It’s not her fault.

She went shopping, and she ain’t back yet.

No, it’s not ’cause she can’t pry herself away from the sales and the glitter and the endless canned ho-ho-ho. As I said, it’s not her fault.

Y’see, when you live on an island, as we do, shopping is a tad more of an adventure than it is for most of you – at least, for those of you who don’t live within cooee of the Metrodome. The people who run the major retailers haven’t yet reached the state of nirvana that allows them to place any of their stores on a rock in the middle of the ocean that’s only got 2,000 people on it. No, they insist that, if you insist on living on one of those rocks, either you spend twice what the item’s worth to buy it online and have it shipped to you, or you save the shipping costs on the item and ship yourself to the store.


Because driving to the store’s not an option. Unless you’re driving a duck or something. Neither is swimming. Even if you survived the 20 miles of 45 degree F water (each way), you’d have a heck of a time carrying your purchases. And if you think those shipping costs are pricey, don’t look at how much it would cost to fly to the stores.

That leaves the boat. Specifically, the ferry boat. Which Quilly, like dozens of her fellow islanders, boarded at 10 this morning, fully expecting to get her shopping done in time to catch the return sailing at 4:30.

Yep. You got it in one. There was no 4:30 sailing today. The boat broke down, and won’t get fixed until tomorrow at the earliest. She had to wait for another boat, one that sailed at 8:30.

Now, for those of us who live on these islands, this kind of thing is expected. Boats break down, or get stuck in fog banks. Planes don’t fly, ’cause the weather’s lousy and the people who make the fancy instruments at airports that allow planes to take off and land in lousy weather are no more likely to spend time and money installing them at tiny airports on rocks in the middle of the ocean than those major retailers are likely to plant one of their stores here. As noted, driving and swimming aren’t options. If you’re the kind of person, or have the kind of job, where you have to be somewhere now, living here is not going to be good for your blood pressure.

Somebody, in a car just ahead of Quilly, didn’t get the memo.

This individual learned from the ferry staff that the 4:30 sailing was cancelled due to a breakdown, and proceeded to ionize the atmosphere in the staffer’s direction. “You people can’t keep anything running!” was about the only thing he said that wasn’t in Orkish. He then proceeded to leave the parking lot and scream down the road. Perhaps he was going to try to jump his car to the islands, and needed a long running start.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this fellow were one of those who approved the initiative in last month’s ballot insisting that no taxes be passed in Washington State without either a two-thirds legislative majority or a referendum – thereby ensuring that no taxes will be passed.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this fellow were one of those who approved the initiative repealing the soda-pop tax, thus knocking a $7 million hole in the state budget on the say-so of a single special interest (the soda-pop retailers).

I wouldn’t be surprised if this fellow were one of those who would insist, in the name of his parroting the “no taxes” mantra of big businesses and their dupes, that Washington State Ferries ignore both safety and work rules to run their boats (all but three of which are more than 25 years old) at all hours of the day and night, and curse unions to the skies for demanding money and denying convenience. “Dammit, if I told my boss that I wasn’t working ’til 2 AM on this project …!”

Failing to realize that, without the safety and work rules, and the unions to see that they are applied, we would all be working at all hours of the day and night. For whatever pittances our bosses would choose to pay us, lest worse befall. Get that boat out there, whatever its condition! It’s not like it’s going to sink!

Yeah. Just like Wall Street was never going to crash.

The Pot

She: “So I’m walking through the fair, and there’s this great big pot on a counter. I want it, but it’s so big that it wouldn’t work on our stove unless we used all four burners at the same time. And it’s so heavy, I can’t lift it!

“Then the director of your laboratory walks by and says ‘you don’t want that.’

“I want to tell him what for, but then I remember he’s the director of your lab, so I merely ask ‘why not?’

“He walks over to it and lifts the lid – which I hadn’t thought about doing. The pot only holds about a cup of water! The rest of the pot is solid metal. ‘That’s why not’, he says.

“‘No wonder I couldn’t lift it …”

“‘It’s for scientific experiments’, he finishes, as he picks the thing up himself (it suddenly got a lot smaller) and leaves.”

He: “Sweetheart, where did you get ahold of scientific equipment catalogs?”

She: “Scientific equipment catalogs?”

He: “What were you going to pay for this thing?”

She: “I wasn’t. Way too expensive.”

He: “I thought so. A perfect description of stuff in scientific catalogs. Overpriced and useless. And now I don’t know what to do.”

She: “About what?”

He: “About these catalogs. I don’t know whether to tell you to stop reading them, so you don’t have these nightmares any more, or to keep reading them and collect the nightmares for story ideas.”

She:Gimme catalogs!!”

The Absent Quilly

As you’ll recall, gentle readers, the Quill has been a little less in evidence on the blogosphere of late, because she’s actively pursuing her dream of becoming a published author. As often as not these days, she and her computer are having a dialogue (it’s polite, most of the time) about words. Or, as the Hawaiians might say, they’re ‘talking story’ …

“So she’s writin’ about time?”

Well, dude, I guess you could say it’s about time she’s writing, but I don’t know what the story’s about.

“But you said it was a talkin’ story!”


“What’s a talkin’ story if it’s not about time? But I guess it ain’t finished yet.”

Well, since she’s only just started …

“Aha! It is about time, then! It’s not done, so that’s how come she’s lost the tic.”

Dude, most people with tics would rather lose them.

“But not if you’re writin’ ’bout grandfather clocks or somethin’. Like maybe a time-travelin’ grandfather clock. Then you’ll have a tic-tok’in story!”

It’s been done, dude. Are you trying to get us thrown out of the house?

Gnarly! Can we go back to Hawai‘i?”

It’s a long swim, dude.

“No, seriously, OC, we can go back there and tell ’em ’bout Quilly’s story. ‘It’ll be da bomb‘, we’ll say.”

Dude, you say that anywhere near an airport and I really will control-X you. Say goodnight, dude.

“Goodnight, dude.”