Category: Living

Mystery Solved: Nothing Depends on a Red Wheelbarrow

Editor’s note: As part of Coma News’ community outreach, the following blog excerpt is one of a selection of local online postings we will re-publish by residents and business owners.

Mystery Solved: Nothing Depends on a Red Wheelbarrow
By Marybell Davis, 25 years old, Amazing life lived, Awesome blogger of Awesome things

Daddy Warbucks: “Marybell have you made any money yet?”
Me: “No way Daddy but I solved another Internet mystery and this one is not about an ex-boyfriend. It’s about poetry”
Daddy Warbucks: “College degree! $200,000! Marybell! Blah blah!”

So I went to this poetry reading. BOR-ing. but then I was surprised because some of the poetry was actually short and they had a lot of wine. Good!

One guy I like a lot was William Carlos Williams because his stuff is shorter than tweeting. Sort of like the first tweeter in history.

So much depends...LOL. LOL.

So much depends…LOL. LOL.

Sadie Cracker made me go to the poetry thing because she said I need to get out and meet real people and not just “stalk people” on the Internet. So I went and was not surprised to find most of the poetry was horrible.

Stan Bargemeyer read something about his knee socks and then my ex-boyfriend Jax got up and said we should all stop reading poetry and get out to the forest. Everyone cheered when he left.

Then Sadie got up and read about a red wheelbarrow. And she read it like she meant it and it was shorter than something I tweeted about my eyeshadow earlier in the day. “So much depends on a red wheelbarrow” she said.
I started laughing so hard I spilled the wine all over my white dress. “No it doesn’t.” I said so loud and everyone stared at me and started clapping.

When we left right after that I explained to her that “nothing depends on a red wheelbarrow anymore because we have cars and ride on lawnmowers and tractors.”

I don’t think she got it.

Comfortably Numb

By Sadie Cracker

I spent four weeks trying to fix my old, messed up, destroyed by time, oak kitchen table.

It’s not because I love the ideas on Pinterest it’s because I’ve had this table for so long. What if I could make this table I love better?

So, I spent weekends sanding down the wood (it’s real) to have it become something. A table better and prettier than it was before. And I sand and sand until my fingers hurt and start to bleed.

“This is stupid, Mom,” said Ben. He’s 13 and everything is stupid, especially me. Plus, he’s really good at math.

“This is not stupid,” I said.

“It is,” Ben said. “You work full time and that’s $40 an hour and all of the hours you don’t work are hours you could do something else.”

“Stop it.” I said. “This math is already too complicated for me.”

“My point is that you could do something you love rather than spend 3 more hours refurbishing this broken table,” Ben said.

And I look at Ben. He’s almost 14 now and he really means what he is saying right here.

“Maybe sanding this table is what I want to spend my time on,” I said. And I take the sand paper and I scrub and scrub the oak hoping it will look better and be something new and different I can love. Maybe all this care could make this table look like what it’s supposed to be because this table was so beautiful when I bought it 15 years ago.

“Maybe not. Maybe it can’t be because what you are doing is too hard,” Ben said. And he grabs the sandpaper, laughs, and he runs.


The Publisher of Coma News Daily says if I don’t stop writing about, “old people who get drunk and hang out in a bar” that he won’t publish this column, so, it’s Pink Floyd-Twister-Craft-Beer-Night at Bear’s Biker Bar. And two large bikers are coiled together unsure if their tree trunk leather thighs are on red or green Twister dots.

“What color did you just call out?” the biker in the tight leather said.

Bear is pouring himself a  “Banana Hammock” craft beer he created, which is based on Borat’s swim suit but with banana flavor.


The craft beer called Banana Hammock has the subtle hint of a banana flavor.

“You’re not gonna give that gross beer to me you hippie!” yells my father, Stan, at Bear.

“No dude. This is for me. And them.”

And Bear points to the two barely-21-year-old girls who have whipped cream on their thighs for no reason and are watching the spectacle of two overweight bikers tangle in Twister. The girls spin the wheel. They call out the primary colors.

“Oh, they don’t care about beer,” said my dad. “They just want someone to pay attention to them and it’s not for you or the two overweight bikers who are over 40.”

monaBear looks at them and offers them a beer and both blondes shake their head, “No, we’re not eating,” they said.

And I said, “I’ll have that beer.”

“You want a banana hammock?”

“No. Just a beer,” I said.

“So you want a banana hammock? Because that’s the beer I’m serving.”

And I watch the young girls who’ve never been stretched by time or children and I watch them giggle because that’s what Bear is paying them to do since giggling cute girls seem to make men thirsty.

Charlie the Coma Librarian walks in with his guitar and a mandolin. He steps over the two bikers playing Twister on the floor and he laughs at the two nudish 20 year olds.

“What are you doing here?” he said.

“Advertising,”  said Bear. He’s barely 30 and a punk skate rat with tats who owns this bar and understands what advertising to millennials is.

“Basically soft porn?” said Charlie.

“No, advertising,” said Bear. And, “I kind date the blonde one.”

“Which blonde one?” said Charlie.

“Doesn’t matter, ” said Bear. “Either one.”

And the song Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd starts to play in the background:

Hello? Hello? Hello?

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone at home?

“Where are the nude men?” said Charlie.

“My wife was so beautiful even in her clothes,” said Stan.

“What do you mean?” said Bear.

“I mean, where are the almost-naked men or the 40-year-old women?” said Charlie.

“The 40-year-old woman is there,” Bear said, pointing to me. “And the almost-nude men are playing Twister and Stan might get almost nude if he decides to take his pants off.”

“Hey, watch it buddy,” Stan said.

“I guess it just seems a little simple to use young women with whipped cream all over their bodies as a marketing ploy,” Charlie said. “I mean you can go on Instagram these days to see ‘artistic’ shots of young women nude.”


“In my day that was girlie magazines,” said Stan. “Now it’s on every phone kids are looking at.”

“You are dumb, Stan. Old. You don’t get it,” said Bear.

And I laugh and I drink my banana hammock and Charlie walks up on stage and starts to tune his guitar because it’s Pink Floyd Twister Night.

I look down at my body. It’s seen the ravages of children, exhaustion, and no time to exercise.

The bar door swings open. Dr. Jimmy and Alan Pezzati  from A Home For Those Guys come wandering in and walk straight toward the almost-nude 20 somethings. The girls giggle at them and maybe those girls will go home with them later and will have the kind of sex that happens when men can’t talk to you about their divorce, their loneliness, their dreams, their struggles, their children, and the concert they went to and rocked in the early 90s because the girl they are with says, “yeah, potty training and learning to count to ten was really what I rocked in the 90s”.

And Pink Floyd plays on:

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying

And for those 10 to 15 minutes the void is filled with whipped-cream-dream of another body pressed up against you that makes you feel something that goes right back to being empty. You just press the like button on Instagram when you see  girl half naked. It’s a meaningless motion.

Dr. Jimmy comes over and asks Bear for a banana hammock for himself and one for the cute chick with the whipped cream that’s no longer whipped and more like lines of white foam falling down her thighs. And Bear said, “I’m kinda dating her.”

“Not tonight.”

“No. I kinda am. Why don’t you hang with chicks closer to your age like Sadie.”

I laugh so hard I spit beer from my mouth all over my hands. All over this bar. And Jimmy looks at me and then at my hands and said, “what happened to your hands, Sadie?”

“I’ve been sanding down this old oak table and it’s been rough.”

“Why don’t you buy a new table?” Jimmy said.

“That’s what my son asked me, but the thing is I like the work. I like to take that old table and work on it and take care of it because the new thing isn’t necessarily better.”

And Pink Floyd ends their song:

When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb

And Jimmy stares at me for a minute and pushes a strand of hair out of my eyes and he said, “but new is good with whipped cream for 15 minutes and you don’t have to care if it gets messy.”

I pat his hand and said, “I’m talking about a table. No. Really loving that dumb old table is better. “

He laughs and up on the rag-tag-bar-stage Charlie taps on the mic. “Sadie Cracker, Sadie Cracker. You’re needed on the stage for Pink Floyd Twister night.”

So I stand up and walk to the stage past the whipped-cream-nightmare-dream-girls, who are whispering “who is Pink Floyd,”  and one says, “you know, the oldies band but they are okay” and I pick up my acoustic guitar.

“Sadie won’t take her clothes off,” Dad yelled.

And everyone in the bar laughed.

And I tap on the mic and strum the first three chords of ‘Wish You Were Here’ because there seems to be something we’re all missing.

Free Fallin’

By Sadie Cracker


Johnny comes running in from outside. He has a paper airplane in his hand that’s flying so free except that it takes his hand to keep it afloat.

“It’s broken mommy.”

And he shows me the airplane and nose is bent.

“How many times did you throw it toward the ground?” I said.

And he looks at the paper plane and looks at me and looks at the plane and I’m tired. I’m so tired. Being alone and raising these boys is so hard. Everything is about poop and dirt and frogs and I don’t understand any of it. I wasn’t one of those women who wore a princess dress but I always thought I’d grow up and be more than this. I thought I’d be a singer or a poet or a great artist and here I am talking about the physics of flight and how if you aim it wrong the plane will fly into dog poop.

“I aimed it at the sky and it just went straight down. It took a nose dive,” said Johnny. He’s eight and nothing is his fault. I would love to be that free from repercussions.

“Did you follow the instructions?” I said.

He runs to the kitchen table and grabs a cookie.

“Do you think it hurts to die?” he said.

This is what no one understands until they’ve had a child. There’s no segue way. No small conversation. It’s just one minute we are talking about our paper planes and the next minute death.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Why not?” he said.

Because I’m not dead. Because I don’t know who gets to come back from death to let us know whether what we’ve done matters or not or how bad death hurts.

“Because I’ve never died,” I said.

“But Daddy died,” he said.

“Yes, he did,” I said.


And Johnny looks out the window where my older son Ben is playing catch with his friends.

“I think Daddy would’ve been better at making planes,” Johnny said.



And I laugh and I think that Michael hated flying and he hated leaving Coma. He didn’t care about politics. He didn’t think about all the things he should’ve been. He was happy building a car engine during the week and spending his weekends with me. There wasn’t much more. The only person who wanted more was me. I thought I should be a better musician. That I needed to be successful. That I needed to be some one in New York. That I needed to be anything other than Coma. And now he’s gone and I’m here with a small boy and paper airplanes that take a nose dive into the ground full of dog poop.

“I think death must feel like falling Mommy. But not scary. I think it’s like you are suddenly up in the air and floating and that floating above all the pain here goes on forever. All you feel is free. Don’t you think?” He said.

And I don’t want to look at his face because I know it will make me cry.



I remember the last time Michael took a breath. I remember him sick. He got up from the hospice bed on one of his last days alive in my life and asked me to lift up my shirt and he said, “I’m gonna take your pain.”

And I laughed. Like you could take away the Cesarean scars and the punk rock idiot who took a knife to my abdomen before I realized I was more and I deserved more than to be a hot chick who got hurt badly and ran away.

But this was the first time Michael was sitting up in four days so I assuaged him and slowly lifted up my shirt. And Michael looked like a Zombie. One of the zombies from the ‘Walking Dead’ who will eat your intestines out but it didn’t matter because this was the man I chose and I slowly lifted up my shirt to reveal all the stretch marks and scars of time and all the pain and all the incredible hurt and he took his boney finger and he traced each one. “I’m taking this with me Sadie.” He said. “I am taking this all with me out of this world so you can be all the things you dreamed.”

“Where?” I said. ” What? What did I dream? I married you because I loved you. I don’t want you to take it. I want you to stay.”

“Out there. When I leave this Earth. I’m taking all of this out there with me. And all you have to do is start over. Start again. Find love. Find love for yourself. Live your dreams.” and he finished tracing the scars and looked out the window and there were stars out the window. All the life we think might be out there and all I saw was a life that was ending in a man I loved, so I looked away.

“You can’t take it all away, Michael.” I said. “In the end, all my dreams were loving you and having a family with you. And it’s not because I didn’t believe in having something for myself. I did, but sacrificing for you and having this time and family with you was everything to me. ”

And I don’t hear anything except the small snore of his breath in the last four days of his life and I just go lay beside him because I don’t know what I believe but I believe that this life and how well we live it is all we’ve got




The Coma News Daily editor said if I don’t talk about boring drunks on stage and in a bar in my column he’ll get rid of it. He want’s me to get more political and more with “the times” and I don’t even know what that means. So, it’s Tom Petty and Trivia night in Bear’s Biker Bar. There are no women here and no one is playing trivia but my father, Stan, who has Alzheimer’s is telling Bear, who is a 90’s layover skater, that he’s wrong as they play ‘Go Fish’.

“Stan. That’s just not true. Women are expendable.” said Bear. ” They all just want stuff and they all just take their clothes off now ‘artistically’ on Instagram and I don’t have real feelings for any of them.”

“Buddy, you should meet my Sadie. She went to NYU on scholarship. She did some amazing things. She was in a band. The band is playing tonight,” said Stan.

“I met your Sadie she is over there being over 40 and drinking a beer. She probably has only seven years left!” said Bear. “Do you have a six?”

“Go fish,” said Dad, even though he has a six of hearts and a six of spades. “That’s not my Sadie. That’s some 40-year-old sad woman. She’s pretty but she’s not my Sadie.”

“I’m gonna have to rage on you Stan. You showed me all your cards and then told me to ‘go fish.’” said Bear.

“Yes, because you don’t understand what the fish are and why all sixes don’t matter. It’s the right six for you that matters,” said my Dad through the throws of his Alzheimer’s. “My Lucille was so much smarter than me. She knew where my slippers were and we were so happy. And now she’s gone and I can’t leave the kitchen unless I come here to find Sadie.”

“She’s right there,” said Bear.

“That’s not my Sadie. My Sadie was not a middle aged girl,” said my Dad

I look down at the beer I’m not drinking and I hear Charlie the Coma Librian in the background playing, ‘American Girl.’

Well she was an American girl
Raised on promises
She couldn’t help thinkin’ that there
Was a little more to life
Somewhere else
After all it was a great big world
With lots of places to run to
Yeah, an d if she had to die
Tryin’ she had one little promise
She was gonna keep”

And I can’t help thinking that I will miss Tom Petty’s words but at the same time I understand I didn’t love or know him like the woman who loved him when he died who had to let him go. I understand that because every time someone said they felt bad for my loss with Michael I wanted to scream, “did you stop seeing the chest of someone you loved stop moving?” But I didn’t.

I am trying to write an upbeat column that sells papers. Sorry, Davis Montgomery!

“Sadie Cracker, will you come up and sing with me?” said Charlie.

He’s the Coma Librarian and runs all the special things that help children in Coma understand that there’s a difference between a Border’s Books store and a Library.

“Sadie isn’t here,” said my Dad. ” She’s in New York at NYU. She’s living her dream.”

And Bear laughs and shakes his head and says, “I need a seven, Stan.”

“Go fish,” said my Dad.

Everything we have is finite. Like my dad has a seven in his hand and says go fish. Like Bear is looking for this perfect, half-naked, easy woman that Instagram gives him. And we are all looking for the perfect life and the notoriety and money to go with it but in the end Tom Petty died. He died like everyone does. Quietly with a bunch of people saying RIP for reasons that really weren’t him as a day to day person. Did he help my make out sessions? Yes! But I don’t know him well enough to say RIP. I loved Michael and have no clue if he’s in peace and everything I could tweet, Instagram, and Facebook really means nothing to my life or the knowledge that he’s in a better place. But Michael helped me meet Jack. I don’t know if that means anything either. But I care about him.

“Sadie Cracker! Get up on stage and let’s play ‘Free Falling’” said Charlie.

“Sadie isn’t here. She’s at NYU.” said my Dad.

I look around and Jack texted me that his flight from LA was going to be late so I go onstage and tune.

“Let’s do ‘Free Falling.’” I said to Charlie, the Coma librarian.

“Yes, but you’ve gotta get that in tune,” said Charlie.

I move to tune my guitar and the door to the bar opens and it’s Jack. All Jack has is a weekend for me but he’s here, he’s late, so I pretend I don’t see him. Jack and his great sweater and Hot Snakes band tee-shirt walks toward my Dad. Jack introduced himself to my Dad every time we were dating because I told him my Dad wouldn’t remember and so every time Jack goes directly to my father.

“Hi, Mr. Bargemeyer!” Jack said. “I am here to see your daughter.”

My dad pauses a moment and says to Bear, “You got a seven, buddy?”

And bear hits his head against the faux wood bar. “ARE YOU SERIOUS? I Just asked you for a SEVEN! !@!!!”

“No. You asked me where Sadie is and I said New York,” said my Dad. And then to UCLA Jack,” She’s in New York, buddy.”

And Jack smiles some shit eating grin.

“I see her. She’s playing ‘Free Falling.’” Jack points to the stage.

“Some old lady? That’s not my Sadie,” Dad said.

Jack shakes my Dad’s hand and laughs.

“But that’s my Sadie.” Jack said.

And I see Jack and his ridiculous  band tee-shirt and I just realize I miss him so I sing louder.

”And I’m Free Free Falling!”

And Jack claps. And I just have to put the guitar down and run to him.

“I missed you.” I said.

I’ll Fly Away



by Sadie Cracker

I’m standing in my kitchen making spaghetti for the third time this week and humming, “Traveling Kind” by Emmylou Harris. Four soccer games, a school diorama project, my full time job, kitchen cleaning has rendered any energy I might have for a Rachel Ray style dinner moot.  Suddenly, Johnny runs into the kitchen with his small hands clasped around something. “Mommy look what I found.” He said.

“What is it?” I said.

He opens his small, still fat, baby hands. At seven he’s so hopeful and excited about everything — a life untainted by all the disappointment and I’m afraid of what’s in his hands and that it’s something aweful and I’m gonna have to tell him to get rid of it.

“His name is Maxwell.” said Johnny.

And inside his hands sits a small brown frog that is no bigger than a quarter. “I’m gonna keep Maxwell.” He said. “He’s gonna be with me forever.”

I’m gonna let him down right now. All the hope in his face is gonna fall when I say the one thing I need to:

“Buddy, we can’t keep Maxwell.” I put my ear down near his small hands. “Maxwell just told me he has to be free. He needs to be outside and he needs to live his life. He’ll never be happy if we keep him inside.”

And Johnny’s eyes well up with tears. “If you love something you set it free. Daddy used to say that. It’s dumb. It’s dumb, dumb, dumb and I hate it.”

“It’s true. If you love Maxwell you gotta let him go find a river, or a blade of grass, and you just have to believe that you might see him again because he’ll remember how kind and tender you were with him and how much you cared about what he needed.” I said.

“Or he won’t.” said Johnny.

“And that’s okay too.” I said.


It’s Thursday night and Ladies Night and revamped old hymn night at Bear’s Biker bar in Coma and the publisher of Coma News Daily told me if I write one more story about, “playing dumb songs in a bar full of drunk locals” he won’t publish it. But it’s also Mother’s Day weekend and I once again reminded him that I’m a mom who works a full time job, raises kids, takes care of an ailing father, and that he is really doing a service to the female community by letting me have a voice in the paper.

“Just don’t be depressing.” He said. “Stop talking about love and realities. No one wants to read real stuff anymore especially when it’s written by a 40 year old woman.”

And Charlie, a local motorcycle enthusiast and the Coma Librarian, is up on stage playing, “Let Him Fly” by  Patty Griffin and it’s funny to hear him belt it out so strong and I look at the beer in front of me and giggle to hear Charlie, “I’m gonna let him fly. I’m gonna let him fly.”


Bear, the local 30 year old skate rat punk and owner of the bar, is playing Go Fish with my Dad, Stan Bargemeyer, at the other side of the bar.

“Do you have a five.”

“Go fish, buddy.” said Stan.

“What?! How is that possible?? You just showed me your hand and you had a 5??” said Bear.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re crazy.” said Stan. And Stan, who remembered to put on his pants tonight and struggles in his Alzheimer’s, shows  Bear all of his cards.

“That’s a five.” said Bear.

“No buddy. That’s a six.”

“I’m gonna let him fly, ” sings Charlie. “I’m gonna let him fly.”

I’m waiting for Jack. Jack is late and it’s okay because tonight is the last night I’ll see him for quite some time. I thought after Michael died and left me alone that I wouldn’t love someone again. I was okay with being alone, it was lonely, but it was my pain. And as long as I was alone I knew I wouldn’t hurt again. Then Marybell posted my picture in local Paneara’s and somehow Jack appeared in my life.

But tonight he’s leaving for LA. He accepted a teaching position at UCLA and California is not the same as Coma.

“You could come with me.” said Jack.

“I can’t. I need to stay here and take care of my Dad. I need to stay here and take care of my kids.” I said.

“But you could come if you wanted to.” He said.

“You could stay if you wanted to.” I said.

“You could visit.” He said.

“You’re gonna be so busy.” I said. “With all those 20 year old coeds who think you are so amazing because you are successful.”

And I look at his face and all the lines of age and the beautiful way his entire forehead crinkles when he thinks about something and I’m old enough to no longer believe in fairy tales. I’m old enough to know that this life isn’t always fair.

“You gotta let Maxwell go, Johnny.” I said.

And up onstage Charlie sings “Mary” by Patty Griffin and promises that the next song will be “I’ll Fly Away” which is the first song I learned to play on the banjo. I remember my grandma in her apron in the kitchen making a pie for my grandfather from scratch and humming “I’ll Fly Away” and it’s hard to remember how beautiful a moment like that is when you see someone just so grateful to love another human being.

“Sadie Cracker. Sadie Cracker. Come up here and sing with me.” said Charlie.

I shake my head, no. “I’m waiting for someone.” and Charlie laughs. It’s only my father, Bear, Charlie, and me in this bar.

“Just come up here and sing.” He said.

So I pick up my acoustic guitar and walk to the stage.

“What are you gonna play?” said Charlie.

“I think,’ a love that will never grow old’ by Emmylou Harris.” I said.

“Good choice.”

And I strum the guitar three times and start to sing. My father is still at the end of the bar fighting with Bear about a 5 card.

‘Go to sleep may your sweet dreams come true

Just lay back in my arms for one more night

I’ve this crazy old notion that calls me sometimes

Saying this one’s the love of our lives…’

And the door opens and I see Jack standing there with his scratchy beard and great hair. I see him standing there and I know I will miss him so much.

And Johnny’s eyes well up with tears. “If you love something you set it free. Daddy used to say that. It’s dumb. It’s dumb, dumb, dumb and I hate it.”

‘I know a love that will never grow old’  I sing. I sing it loud because I want to believe in it. I don’t want to give up on that.




Advice Guy: Does House Flooding Kill Fleas?

By Bob Smith-Smith

Welcome to my inaugural home repair advice column! Got a leaky sink or a squeaky door that needs fixing? Well then hopefully my experience will help you address it without all those nasty repair bills.

Our first letter comes from local resident Micah Horncraft.

Dear Advice Guy,

I wonder if you have any idea whether flooding a house will kill off a flea infestation?

Please, this is a serious question.

Several months ago, my dog or cat (I’m not pointing fingers, even though it was probably my wife’s damn cat) brought fleas into the house. Before we knew it, our entire house was a biting, scratching torture zone.

We tried everything: a range of powders, ointments, elixirs, chemicals, acids, vacuuming, vacuuming, and vacuuming and of course a series of hexes and charms.

Short story, nothing worked. Turns out every time you kill off a few thousand of these buggers, a thousand more eggs hatch and take their place within hours.

Then, a couple weeks ago a pipe burst in the wall and submerged most of our first floor. Obviously I assumed we had a poltergeist trying to drive us from our home. But then it occurred to me: maybe a flood was exactly what we needed to drive the flea armies from our home?

So what do think, AG? After the flood waters recede will we be pest-free?

–Fleas Have Invaded My Nightmares


The short answer is no.

Although fleas are susceptible to drowning they also are capable of seeking higher ground when water appears—as they move to your dog’s head when you wash him.

One way to tell if your fleas found and clung to floating debris—imagine miniature life rafts—is to think about the day of your flood. Did you have “My Heart Will Go On” stuck in your head for no apparent reason? If so, that may have been because little fleas were re-enacting the “Titanic” love scene of floating lovers all over your flooded house. And as soon as the flood subsided, those little buggers went right back to making more little buggers.

My advice: burn it down, take the insurance money, and start over in a new house. The fleas always win.

That’s all for this week folks. Join me next week when I advise a local resident who suspects he home may house a furry varmint. Spoiler alert: He actually has multiple types of rodent and marsupial infestations going on. Until then!

Living, in Coma

The following is one in a series of intermittent excerpts from Coma residents’ blogs published by Coma News as a community service


By Sadie Cracker

My oldest son Joe runs fast up the rain-slick mountain path to catch up with his little brother who spotted a rainbow and ran toward the possibility of catching it and out of my eyesight.

Joe stops by an Oak tree to catch his breath and he says, “I can’t go on.” and he’s 14 and he can.

“Don’t stop. You can catch up to him.” I said.
Joe takes off running. His legs strong now. More like a man’s legs than boy legs and I watch him run until I can’t see him anymore where the hike-path bends.

This is hike was a bad idea because I’m old now and this mountain path is reminding me I need to work out more but the boys, they need to run, and I need to keep up.

One of my girlfriends gave me Sheryl Sandberg’s book, ‘Lean In’ as a Christmas gift.  This book says I can have it all—motherhood, amazing career, amazing internal life—but right now all I can do is lean forward to push up this hill when my thighs are killing me.

“Mom you gotta see this,” Joe said.  And he yelled and then laughed.

I round the corner to see them together. Joe stands looking down at his little brother Ben who is covered in mud.

My legs are on fire from leaning forward and there’s my little guy, Ben, his mouth covered in dirt.
“What happened?” I said.
And Joe laughed so hard he can barely breathe. “Ben ate dirt.”

It’s karaoke/ poker night at Bear’s Biker Bar where the losers have to sing Madonna’s “Justify My Love”.

There are only two poker players tonight, my dad, Stan and Bear. The poker game will end soon because my Dad can’t remember how many cards he needs to win. I am sitting at the bar and trying to get through Sheryl Sandberg’s book. It’s been on my nightstand for months beside all the other books written by people who have money, time, hired help, and some sort of success and they want to share with me. Sheryl, Oprah, Kardashian fashion—all stacked on top of Virginia Woolf — on my nightstand.

There’s a lot of information out there about how we as women can be better at being ourselves written by people who don’t know us or live our lives.

“I can’t go on.” Dad says and he throws his poker cards on the table.
“But you were winning, for real.” said Bear.
“Doesn’t matter.” Dad said. “I’m tired of playing this game it’s always the same thing. Some cards. Some winning.”
“When you don’t give up, you win sometimes.” Bear said and he goes behind the bar and turns on the news.

“There are no good presidential candidates. The world is ending…” The newscaster on the radio says in a matter-of-fact voice. Bear turns the radio OFF and he winks at me.

I look down at the book jacket cover of Sheryl Sandberg. She’s staring up at me but her hair looks great.
“Sadie is a winner. She went to a great college. She’s gonna be a famous singer.” Dad says.
Dad has Alzheimer’s and he doesn’t remember everything that got us to this moment where I’m not a famous singer and staring down at Sheryl Sandberg’s hair that looks slightly unnatural. He thinks I’m a 12 year-old-dreamer tonight but I’m happy he knows who I am.

“You can’t eat dirt. Why did you eat dirt?” I said.  And why did I take this walk? I can’t feel my legs.
“I wanted to know how it tasted.” Ben said.
“What did you figure out?” I said.
“It doesn’t taste like anything.” he said. “I’m tired. Can we go home?”
And I look at the trail-mile marker and it is one more mile to the top of this hill where we can see everything.
“Let’s keep going.” I said.
“I can’t go on.” said Joe.
“I can’t go on.” said Ben.
I can’t feel my legs. “Let’s keep going.”

“My Sadie, she’s no quitter. She’s so strong. She’s gonna be a famous musician.” Dad says. “Better than Madonna!”
And I look down at Sheryl and her perfect hair that doesn’t “Lean In”.

“Bear.” I said and he looks up from where he’s wiping a spill up on the bar. I point to the book “Can you throw this out?”
He nods picks up the book and it makes a “swoosh” sound as it hits the trash bag inside the can. I turn around on the creaky barstool and face the stage. Don Reynolds is at the Karaoke machine singing “Like a Virgin” and he stops mid-touched-for-the-very-first-time- sentence to wave at me.

“She’s better than you, Madonna.” Dad said and points at Don.
There was a moment in New York City 15 years ago, where I stood in front of a bar and it was open Mic night, and I’d just gotten a call from Michael who was back in Coma. I was standing in front of the bar with my acoustic guitar and ready to play because tonight maybe a record label would be there. But on the phone so far away Michael said, “I miss you.” and he was just some mechanic in Coma. Just a guy I’d known forever but I knew I had to turn around. I knew I had to go see him. And now he’s gone and I’m raising two boys alone and I wouldn’t give up that moment.

I wouldn’t do that moment any differently.

I didn’t lean in that night.

I stood.

I walked away.

moonriver audry
Charlie, the Coma Librarian walks in the bar, and nods at me. Tonight he’s in a leather jacket but tomorrow he’ll read Shel Silverstein to kids at the library. He walks up to the stage and Don stop singing Madonna which is something to be grateful for. He starts setting up and I think about standing up.
All of the candidates may be bad, the world may end, and we will have disappointment. We aren’t Sheryl Sandberg leaning in and leaning on a nanny and a housekeeper.

But we all end up the somewhere with our choices which are the only things we can own in this world.

Charlie clears his throat and Dad starts clapping, “Sadie is famous tonight…”
I stand but as I try my skirt gets caught on the bar stool and a falter, fall a little and a drunk guy at the end of the bar starts to clap and laughs a little. I smile and stand up.
Charlie winks at me and he pulls out a banjo. He strums a couple chords and suddenly it’s ‘Moon River’ in here and I think, “I can’t feel my legs.” – after sitting for so long on that stool. I keep moving and pick up a banjo and Bear sings about a couple of drifters go off into the world together and I pick up the banjo and play the chorus…
Moon River…
And we go on.

Queries and Quislings



Dear Query Guy,
How do I find happiness? When I was young my grandma told me that I could find happiness and it would be as a little leprechaun man who guarded a pot of gold and every time I went to find the rainbow it would vanish before I could find where it ended and I ran the minute I saw the sun come out when it was raining but I never got there. When I got older I searched for it in other things such as stationary bicycles, dark alleys, matching knit sweaters with my significant other and I still couldn’t find it. I need an answer Query Guy. How can I find happiness and stay happy all the time.

Dear happy,

Laughter has always been very close to pain even as a court jester in a Shakespeare play would come in just before Hamlet murdered himself and everyone else or more recently on Game of Thrones where the midgets brought laughter to the crowd before Joffrey was killed by poison. The truth is that laughter and pain are always closely linked and this reality is not something that a leprechaun can fix if perchance you find him huddled under the rainbow with his bottle of Jim Beam whiskey.
In truth you have to find the happiness in yourself and sometimes it is easier to focus on the unattainable rainbow when kidnapping a midget would be much more simple.
If kidnapping a midget it not feasible for you and you don’t have access to a jester hat wait to down the poison. As my sweet petunia always says when we are huddled by the fire surrounded by our very expensive furniture while the renters in our ten aments call and ask for fire wood “hit it with a hammer”. Take your pain and hit that as hard a you can with a hammer. Hit the pain and hit it and hit it until you are exhausted and the only thing you can do is laugh.


When are Mothers Ever Right? An Lol Girl Mystery

By Marybell Davis, 25 years old, amazing life lived, local blogger and Coma’s only Private Dick

Daddy Warbucks: I’m not sure you should go and get a second graduate degree in Criminology Marybell. You’re not even using any of the degrees you have.

Marybell: Listen, Daddy. It’s tough to be a woman in a man’s world. Men are everywhere farting and taking up space. I need a Criminology degree so I can solve really important mysteries like why is Mom always wrong.

Apparently mothers have been around forever and basically they’ve always been wrong. It’s amazing that children even exist and become anything because mothers have no idea what they are doing, obviously. Case in point: Mary. Yeah right, lady. You were such a good mom that dude Jesus got nailed to wood and stuff. Case in point: Ted Bundy’s mom. What even happened there? For years, mothers have been around thinking they know so much. “Brush your teeth, George,” said Momma Washington. “That tight rope is dangerous,” said some carni’s mom. And the real mystery is how can women who know so much be so wrong?

Here’s an example. I am dating this guy named Randy and he said, “your mom is cute for an old lady.”

And I said, “gross.really?”

And he said, “Yeah I think she was totally wild when she was your age.”

And I said, “gross”

So I told my mom and she said, “I don’t like this Randy. I don’t like how he talks to you. You can do better.”

And that’s where she’s wrong! Randy is the best. He lets me be a real woman and pay for everything when we go out because Randy is between jobs right now. He’s trying to do a lot of meditation and spend some time in a sweat lodge looking at crystals to tell him “What the UNIVERSE wants him to become”. That’s huge. Randy tells me how great I am to look at and that I have an amazing mind that is represented by things like my tight butt and he can really see how smart I am in a bikini. He tells me that one day when he figures out what he’s going to do with his life he’ll take care of me by letting me do everything including work full time so I can feel like a real woman.

And basically I realized moms are wrong because they just don’t get it. They don’t know how it feels to be an independent woman and basically they are never there and always failing you because they can’t help it. Mystery solved. They are wrong because they just can’t help it. Someday if I ever become a mom I’m sure I’ll do everything better.

Daddy Warbucks: Marybell, dinner is ready. Your mom made enchiladas.

Marybell: That’s so gross, Daddy. I didn’t want enchiladas. How come she never knows

what I want and need?