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Tilly Playfair Gets Ahead

with 7 comments

by Anita Marie Moscoso

based on the Soul Food Cafe Writing Prompt

The Lonely Ones


Tilly Playfair’s Grandmother ( who lived with the Tilly and her parents ) belonged to a Senior Citizens Activity Group that use to meet every Tuesday and Thursday.

At least once a month they’d  take a three day trip to the Ocean ( during the Spring and Summer ) or to one of the ” Art Colonies ” up north passed Seattle ( during the Winter ).

Everyone in Lydia Playfair’s Senior Group had some sort of talent they’ve developed after they joined the group. They say things like, ” isn’t it a shame I didn’t have the time to do this when I was younger ” or ” I just didn’t have experience to do this kind of work before…”

After hearing that for years Tilly Playfair knew she was luckier then most people because she found her true talent when she was only 13 years old…it sort of put her head and shoulders above the rest of us.


It was August, it was about eight in the morning and it was already 70 degrees and climbing. Most people in the Playfair’s neighborhood were getting ready for another scorcher and they were already getting short tempered just thinking about the heat… but not Tilly.

Extreme weather didn’t bother Tilly.

Only on that Tuesday morning she did mind because Tuesday was garbage day and it was her turn to drag the trash cans to the curb.

Those three cans were heavy and everything inside of them had been ‘cooking’ over the weekend and boy did they smell.

They didn’t stink, or simply offend the nose.

Do you want to know how bad it was?

Tilly’s eyes started watering the minute she came around the corner of the house…that’s how bad it was.

With grim determination Tilly grabbed one can by it’s handle and took it to the curb. However, by the time she had come back for the third can she was cursing God and her family and every single jerk who had ever generated trash anywhere in the world.

She was so caught up in her own drama at that moment that the can tilted and juice…this brown runny water sloshed up and over the rim and onto her hand.

” My hand!” she screamed ” my hand! ” This was the hand she used to eat with and pick her nose and pet her cat and now it was covered in trash can ooze.

Tilly let go of the can and it innocently righted itself…it was just as safe and sound as ever. It would never know  the agony Tilly was feeling at that moment.

And that wasn’t right…it was unfair and unjust and Tilly decided to do something about it.

She stepped back, pulled her left shoulder forward and then she with over 7 years of soccer experience under her belt she drew her right  foot back and kicked the can over.


Tilly left the fallen beast on it’s side and she pushed most of the trash back into the can with a snow shovel. Then with the shovel still in the can she pushed the can upright and turned to pick up the lid.

It was gone of course.

She was about to scream…not yell but scream when she saw it under the Holly tree at the side of the yard. She went over to the tree got down on all fours and had just reached under the tree when she felt something roll and hit her hand.

Curious  she grabbed the lid and tossed it towards the curb and then she parted the lower branches and looked in.

And looking back up at her was a face with no nose.

The face didn’t have lips or ears and at first it looked like the eyes were gone but they had simply sunk back and had collapsed into the sockets.

Tilly guessed she should have hollered or fainted or run for help. If she had flown into hysterics no one would have blamed her. It was sort of like a get out of jail free card.

Only this card said, ” have the screaming willies as loud as you want “

Instead Tilly reached out and with one finger she poked at the head and watched it roll a little from left to right.

Right then, as the severed head rolled from side to side, she named it Ernie. The she got up dusted herself off  and went into her house to start the day.


For the next couple of weeks Tilly stopped by the Holly tree to visit Ernie. On some days Ernie looked about the same and then all of the sudden he just sort of came apart.

Then September rolled along and it started to rain so Tilly went and found an empty paint can and a pair of gardening gloves in her garage.

She went back out to where Ernie was and she popped him into the can and with a few taps along the rim with a rock she closed him up in his new home and she took him into her house.

For awhile she kept him under her bed, then she put him into the lowest and tallest drawer in her vanity and on some days she even took him outside and put him under the Holly tree-

for old times sake.

Then one day Tilly came home from School and was surprised to find her Grandmother at home and not out with her Seniors Group doing ” art”

Instead her Grandmother and another little old lady were doing some ” Spring Cleaning” as a surprise for Tilly’s Mom.

She was going to be surprised alright considering it was October Tilly said and both the old ladies laughed at Tilly’s joke and invited her to run along unless she wanted to ‘help’.

Of course Tilly said she had homework and then on her way to her room an awful thought came to Tilly. She ran up the stairs to her bedroom, she dove towards her bed she reached under it and…

Ernie was gone.

She went to her closet and looked on the top shelf, she pulled open her vanity drawers and she even opened the top ones that were way to small for Ernie.

Then she fainted.

When Tilly tried to stand  she was so light headed she almost fainted again. All  she could do was stand there doubled up and she trying  to force herself to breathe normal when her Grandmother tapped on the door.

Tilly tried to say ” Come in ” but all she could do was wheeze.

The door swung in and there was her Grandmother looking grim and angry with the paint can in her hands. ” Next time you want one of these young lady…get your own.”

So Tilly decided to do just that.

In the end she was  famous for it.



Written by Anita Marie

July 17, 2009 at 3:11 am

52nd Avenue West

with 12 comments

by Anita Marie Moscoso

inspired by

Portals and Pavements

One night

in my neighbor’s front yard

I saw a man digging  a hole just up off of the sidewalk

by the orange glow of a streetlight

which kept flashing off and on with a buzz and a hum and a click.

I asked the man if he was burying something.

Buzz. Hum. Click.

Maybe it was one of Mrs Figueroa’s many black cats which were always running around in the street in the middle of the night.

Was it one of her cats I asked.

Buzz. Hum. Click.

They were all fine he told me.

Maybe he was helping to move around one of Mrs Figueroa’s many rose bushes that dotted her fence line. Maybe Mrs. Figueroa wanted one of her white rose bushes right under her living room window where she could see it when she opened her curtains in the morning.

Is that what he was doing, moving flowers around? I asked.

Buzz. Hum. Click.


So- come one- what gives I ask, what are you burying here in the dark under a streetlight that won’t stay on.

I’m not burying anything he told me.

Buzz. Hum. Click

I’m digging something up.


Written by Anita Marie

July 14, 2009 at 12:23 am

Insanity Jones

with 9 comments

These stories are a couple of years old, but they were based on prompts here at the SFC

and based on my cat Wolfgang who would have been 19 this month.

They were a joy to write and I hope you enjoy them



by a.m. moscoso 

Inspired by The Soul Food Cafe Prompt

“W” is For The Wheel Of Life



Insanity Jones was a cat whose real name was Wolfgang and he belonged to  a woman named Rose Hunter.

Rose was an old lady who never seemed to have been a young lady and for as long as anyone could remember she wrote ghost stories and towards the end of her very long old life she wrote horror stories that contained astronomically high body counts that ended up becoming video games.

Everyone in Rose’s neighborhood liked her and they liked her brick house with the stained glass windows and they didn’t mind that she had a genuine human skeleton in her writing room and these part monkey part fish creatures floating in jars in her study and a big heavy oak chair that someone later figured out was an electric chair in the foyer because hands down they were all much more unverved by Wolfgang aka Insanity Jones.

The cat, they decided, was stranger then Mrs Hunter or her collection of dead things in jars.

Insanity Jones bit the mailman ( twice ) he attacked the fire fighters that come through every single Fourth of July to put out the little fires that start in the Evergreen trees because no one living on 51st Street has learned that bottle rockets with strings of firecrackers tied to them are a really bad idea.

Once Insanity Jones even sat in the middle of the road during rush hour and backed the traffic all the way up to the Lost Bay Road and caused three hour traffic jam on the highway.

Why didn’t the people in those first few cars get out and move Insanity Jones?

Well, that would mean touching him.

So why didn’t they just run him over you ask?

Because if you knew Insanity Jones you probably knew that would make him really angry and very dead and that was the stuff nightmares are made of.

Really though, no one hurt Insanity Jones because they really liked Mrs Hunter and it was sort of sweet the way she’d pick Insanity up and hold him like a baby and tell him how sweet and precious he was.

Plus, if  Insanity had ever torn apart birds on your lawn during an Easter Egg Hunt in front of a bunch of 3-8 year olds all dressed in their Sunday Best or popped your dog’s eye out of it’s head you’d have to admitt that it was sort of satisfying to watch Insanity Jones sitting in an old fashioned baby carriage while Mrs Hunter cut flowers.

Occasionally she’d bring them over stick them under his nose and say, ” Isn’t that nice my Sweet Baby? “

The only thing better then seeing that was having Insanity know you were watching.

Thinking back on it, Insanity didn’t seem to mind at all- because when that demonic man eating beast was anywhere near Mrs Hunter he would act almost human. And when she would lift him up and kiss his battle scared nose ( which was missing a tiny chunk on the right ) and say, ” Never leave me Wolfgang, it would kill me for sure if I ever lost you. ” he almost looked like a real cat.


It was a sad day when Mrs Hunter died, and in the town of Abandon her funeral was huge. Along with her friends people like writers and actors and artists who did special effects makeup showed up to say goodbye.

Insanity Jones was there too and when he found his way into the chapel and sat on one of the back pews nobody tried to move him. No one sat anywhere near him but everyone remembers seeing him there and when he jumped down and walked out after the service he was limping a little.


Nobody was really surprised that Insanity Jones disappeared shortly after Rose’s Funeral-  everyone in town figured he just went completely over the line and took off for one of the inner circles of Hades where he had earned his own little forest full of flightless birds and Fireman with exposed ankles.

In a way they hoped so- Mrs. Hunter would have wanted her Sweet Baby to be happy.


It was about two years after Rose had died that her house was turned into a museum and it drew a lot of visitors on Halloween- and even after it was passed  people who looked like they didn’t know it wasn’t Halloween showed up and along with the curious and they all wanted to know the same thing.

Was it true that Roses’s Grandmother was Slumber Boneset- the famous Cemetery Baby? Was it true Rose spent two years living with Head Hunters and Witch Doctors on those little Islands in the South Pacific where soldiers during the war chose to die on sinking ships or ditched their planes in the shark infested waters rather then set foot on those dark little islands that Rose Hunter called home.

Rose’s friends would look from left to right and say, ” Well, she was a writer you know…” and then they’d say a little defensively ” Rose lived in a lot of places but she liked her house here in Abandon the best.”

As the years went on the Museum People started to notice little things around Rose’s House- things that made them not want to be alone in her rooms that smelled like nutmeg and gardenias.

Sometimes there’d be fresh cut flowers on Insanity’s little bed by the fireplace, sometimes the skeleton out in the living room would standing in one corner and you’d come back in a few minutes later and he’d be in another.

And sometimes the things in Rose’s Jars would have their eyes closed and sometimes those eyes would all be open and looking in the same direction.

They told themselves that in life Rose had a weird cat and she traveled to weird places and she had dead things floating in jars all over her house and she had a machete collection stored with bolts of fabric that were probably intended to be used as death shrouds- so of course you were going to see weird things in the house she called home.

As sad as it was they knew Rose was dead and gone and she was never going to come back and neither was Insanity Jones. The world, the people in Abandon would tell you, got a little smaller and duller when they accepted that cold little bit of reality.

It was a bright Spring morning the day Carmen Stark’s turn to open the museum came up- and like the other times she had to work alone in Rose’s House she prided herself on the fact that it didn’t bother her to work on her own for a little while the way it bothered the other volunteers.

She looked up into the bright blue sky as she popped the key into the lock and as she started to turn the key she saw that the trees were full of singing birds- all except for Rose’s trees and Carmen thought how right that was considering how hard Insanity worked to rid the world of anything that had wings.

Only the birds had been nesting in the trees since Rose had died so…

Carmen pulled her hand away from the key and she looked over her shoulder and up into the empty trees in Rose’s yard and then she looked down and looking back up at her was Insanity Jones.

Insanity was looking straight into her face and then he winked at her.

” You’re back ” she said and if you’re here…”

” Rose? ” she whispered hoping no one would answer.

And  from the other side of the door somebody turned the lock and then the door swung open.


for more Insanity Click HERE

Written by Anita Marie

July 13, 2009 at 12:20 am

Home Is Where The Heart Is

with 11 comments

by anita marie moscoso

Inspired By The Soul Food Cafe Writing Prompt

The Deserted Farm House

Back along on Deception Road is a little farmhouse that no one lives in.

After the house was built and then put up for sale the orchard out back died, the little vegetable garden died and all of the pumpkins and squashes and tomatoes rotted right on their vines.

Even the flowers in the window boxes shriveled up and turned to dust within a day or so after they were set out and all the little farmhouse could do was slam its doors open and shut and make the clock in its kitchen strike twelve over and over again.

The man who built the farmhouse, Travis Janosik, use to stand out at the road and wonder what the hell was going on in there, why was it that nothing could live near that place without giving up the ghost.

There was nothing about Travis that would make you say, ‘you know that killer house? The one on Deception Road? It was built by Travis Janosik” and the person you would be talking to wouldn’t reply, “ Well of course it was a strange house. Look who built it.”

No, the house turned bad all by itself and this bothered no one more then Travis. What bothered him most of all  happened when the house was two years old.

That’s when someone actually bought it and moved in.

The ‘someones’ who bought the farmhouse were the Korbar Family.

Travis use to drive out to Deception Road and park across the way from the Farmhouse and watch it. He’d see Darius Korbar working the vegetable garden or see him sitting on the porch with one of the many children he and Mrs. Korbar had and they acted like any other family living in those hills.

Unless of course you really watched them the way Travis did.

At first he had no interest in the Korbar family. His interest was in that house and what it was up to now. It didn’t have to settle for killing plants and the odd field animal that got to close to its walls. Now it had the Korbar children who scuttled around the property in their ill-fitting clothes.

At least that’s how it looked but then Travis realized it wasn’t the clothes that didn’t fit right, it was the bodies inside the clothes that weren’t right.

The children’s heads were to large for their small bodies and their hands and feet didn’t seem to be the same size and when they talked Travis felt the hair rising up on his arms and the back of his neck and that’s when he’d cut his daily vigil off.

Once Travis saw Mrs. Korbar come down the front steps with a tall glass in her hand and make her way to the garden to where Mr Korbar was working. She handed him the glass and he kissed her cheek and then she made her way back up the steps and Travis watched her but didn’t notice that as she climbed the steps her head was tilted slightly backwards and her back was straight as a pole and she never bent her knees.

It was like she was gliding up the steps and not walking up them at all.
Towards the end of the summer the gardens were dead and rotten and Mr Korbar was out there working it like it as if it were alive and thriving. The ground was water logged and moldy with green slime. The vegtables were rotting and decayed and you could actually smell it when the wind shifted.

On top of the fact that Travis was watching a man harvest from a garden full of rotten vegetables he was also sure that some of that smell was coming from Mr Korbar too.

Travis promised himself after that visit he wouldn’t go near the Farmhouse on Deception Road. Something was wrong with it, something was wrong with the people living inside of it and Travis was certain if he didn’t stop going over there something would be wrong with him too.

Of course, it was too late because that something had already happened to Travis and he found himself standing at the end of the drive leading right up to the Farmhouse the next day.

He was in plain view and Mrs. Korbar must have seen him from one of her windows because he wasn’t there for long before she came down the steps and met him with a basket of rotting carrots and maggot filled tomatoes on her arm.

“ We never got the chance to thank you for building this wonderful house Mr Janosik. Its perfect and we love it so.”

Travis was looking into the basket of dead and decaying vegetables and he said, “ How could you love it so? Nothing can live inside of that thing…”

And Mrs. Korbar said, “ Well, Mr Janosik nothing does…”


 Photo By: Littlejack

Written by Anita Marie

July 6, 2009 at 12:22 am

Road Closed

with 8 comments

I’ve been asked,

where do I get the ideas  for my stories

where do I dig up the weird things that inspire me to write

and today I thought I would show you…

that I am inspired by the things

I see every single day


Photo A.M. Moscoso Photo A.M. Moscoso
Photo: A.M. Moscoso Photo: A.M. Moscoso
Photo A.M. Moscoso Photo A.M. Moscoso
Photo A.M. Moscoso Photo A.M. Moscoso
Photo A.M. Moscoso Photo A.M. Moscoso


photos taken June 29, 2009

King Street Station

Seattle, WA

Written by Anita Marie

June 30, 2009 at 4:26 am

I Am Here

with 5 comments


Inspired by The Soul Food Cafe Prompt

The Armoury

Once I had to clear out of a place fast- there had been an earthquake and not knowing when we would be let back into the building I grabbed from off the top of my desk-

my I.D. but not my purse

my notebook and some pens

a bottle of water and a picture of my dogs that I keep next to my phone-

the last thing I grabbed was a little ceramic cat that had broken off of a fixture when it hit the floor.

I could not stand the thought of that little figure getting thrown out.

I remember standing outside with my friends waiting for a ride with those things jammed into my pockets and clutched against my chest and the Morbid Me who knows no bounds ( thank God because it does most of my writing for me ) said,

” Wow…if you dropped dead right now these are the things they’d show to your family when they would bring them into one of those little offices at the Coroner’s office to I.D. you…you know that right?”

And I thought…hell, with this stuff they could have I.D me without the license.

So I wonder, was it the stuff that mattered?

Or were those objects- bits of paper and glass and the water- were those breadcrumbs – markers that would lead me back to the life I had before the Earth tried to swallow me?

Or were they little markers to tell people, ” this is Anita and she was here “

I think so.

No I take that back.

I know so.

Written by Anita Marie

July 17, 2008 at 1:29 am

Beauty Was A Beast

with 7 comments

by a.m. moscoso

Inspired By

The Soul Food Cafe Prompt

Lessons and Philosophy from the Bear of Very Little Brain


Once Upon A Time

When I was about 6 years old my family realized I was a little girl who was fascinated with stories about Head Hunters and Zombies and a guy named ” Burke’s Hare ” who robbed graves and sold the rotting bodies to ” Franks  Stein ” who in turn made Monsters out of them.

I guess my family were more then a little disturbed by my taste in literature so they tried to balance things out by introducing me to your more traditional fairy tales…



At first I liked Cinderella, but it became clear to me during story time that she needed magic to be prettier then her sisters. I was not encouraged by that as I was not exactly the cutest kid on the block and unless someone showed up with a magic wand I figured I was in trouble.

In the end I was scared of the Cinderella story, it used to give me nightmares.

However I LOVED Snow White.

She got to live in the woods and she ate a poisoned apple and lived-which made perfect sense to me as I had swallowed kerosene on a dare a year before and I had lived.

So I felt a kinship with Snow White and her weird friends who looked like trolls.

She was one lucky girl I remember thinking- her friends were monsters and carried axes in addition she had black hair too ( which wasn’t something girls in fairy tales had unless they were bad ) so I happily saw myself in that role and asked for that story a lot.

But the Fairy Tale Character who offended me to the marrow of my little girl bones and the one character I truly learned to hate was Beauty- from Beauty and the Beast.

More then halfway through the story I did whatever it is kids do during story time to be disruptive and my Grandma tossed the book into my toy box and that was the end of that.

Or so I thought.

So why did I get so upset?


Let me count the ways.

First of all her Dad ditches her in the woods and she spends all of her time wishing he would come back-had that been my Dad there would have been serious Hell to pay if he had ever shown his face around me again…

but I digress.

The only person who is nice to Beauty is an Ugly Man who almost dies when Beauty’s  kid ditching Dad shows up and takes her back.

Now that part made me cry and it was awhile before I agreed to hear the end of the story which my Grandma was glad to tell me because I had taken to drawing pictures of Beauty being visited by ” Burkes Hare ” and I was hanging them up all over the walls in my bedroom.


I was mad, but a sport so I learned that Beauty goes back to the castle the Beast and everything around the castle comes back to life and…

Beast turns into a handsome Prince “and they lived Happily Ever After” my relieved Grandmother sang out as she finished the story.

I remember telling my Grandma ” If she had eaten a poisoned apple that would have been a  very happy ending.”

” You really think so, don’t you. “

It really wasn’t a question.

I didn’t say anything but I remember my Grandmother looked at me with those wicked green eyes of hers and winked at me. I remember she said something about not winning them all…

and I was never treated to another Fairy Tale by anybody in my family again.

….And we all lived happily ever after that.

The End.

Written by Anita Marie

July 16, 2008 at 3:19 am