An Email from My Sister, Secret Codename: Apocalyptica the Flimflammer
For Christmas I am making Mom and Dad a present that involves seashells. Yesterday I went for a very long walk along the beaches of Swampscott that felt more like a safari than a walk, because my shoes were full of water and my nose was freezing off (clearly I’ve never been on a safari). I found a myriad of fantastic shells, and chief among my favorites were a bunch of empty mussel shells that had other smaller shells of various colors anchored to them, so that they looked liked fantastical hybrids. I brought them home, washed and dried them, and left them on my bathroom counter overnight. Today I spread twenty-five shells all around my work surface and started working with rubber cement. At a certain point, something moved in my peripheral vision and caused me to start. I took a good look around, but didn’t see anything unusual, so I kept working. A few minutes later, I had the same sense of some small movement on the table. This time I noticed, to my absolute horror, that one of the shells I had thought was permanently cemented to a mussel shell had lifted itself up off of the mussel shell and was LOOKING AT ME. Then I noticed that another was doing the same thing, on a different shell! OK, they didn’t have eyeballs, but they were very clearly looking at me. I absolutely freaked out and started screaming, “OH MY GOD! YOU’RE ALIVE!” At first I was freaking out because I was scared, but shortly I began freaking out because I felt so terrible that I had stolen these living creatures off the beach and kept them away from the water for more than a day, AND exposed them to rubber cement fumes AND had been planning to murder them with my art project! So then I started screaming, “OH MY GOD, YOU NEED SALINE WATER!” and I filled a gigantic bowl with water and poured a ton of salt in and stuck all of the mussel shells in the water. And ALL OF THE LITTLE SHELLS ON ALL OF THE MUSSEL SHELLS GOT UP AND STARTED ZOOMING AROUND. It was like watching a traffic circle from above. I kept working for a few hours, and brought the bowl over so I could talk to them all while they zoomed around, and I became very fond of them. Every once in a while I nervously added more salt. Then in the evening I brought them back to the ocean and slipped them into the water.
A Text Exchange Between me and Cordelia As I Was Packing for Florida (Because I’ve Learned Never to Assume Anything When Visiting a House Where Live 16-Month-Old Twins)
ME: Do u have shampoo & conditioner 4 my lovely locks?
CORDELIA: Oh u got a wig?
A Pretend Phone Conversation Involving My 16-Month-Old Niece, Secret Codename: Isis, Who Was Holding Her Shoe to Her Ear
ISIS: [with enthusiasm] Hello? Hello! Up!
To all my readers: Happy New Year. I wish you love, peace, humor, and cookies!