All posts by sherrylayne

About sherrylayne

Real life grownup. Sometimes.

Vh1′s Behind the Mesh

Most children will ignore the face behind the black mesh, which is a relief since nothing is more of a metaphorical record scratch to the soundtrack of a party than the dreaded accusation, “You’re not (insert beloved character), you’re a girl!”  Okay, I suppose the uttering of “You’re adopted,” might be more disruptive, but we’re not talking about my sixth birthday here.  (NOTE: the author is not adopted.  According to her parents, ebony skin just skips a generation.)

On this occasion, the mesh was replaced by a layer of makeup.  I believe this is the “Danger Zone” referred to in Top Gun.  Sure enough, while leading a band of kinders in a heated game of Hey-Let’s-Shake-This-Parachute, I caught one tiny five-year-old inspecting me out of the corner of her eye.  I tensed.  Which you should never do while shaking a parachute, it just ruins all the fun.  Finally, I could not help but succumb to her gaze.  Peering into my eyes, she leaned in and stated quite simply, “You’re a clown,” and then returned to game.

This deduction wasn’t all that extraordinary, seeing as I had entered the party like this…


But was currently looking more like this…IMG_0286

Still, I like to think that instead of scrutinizing my integrity, the tiny tot was peeping into my soul, sifting through the surface observations to get to my inner truth.  She saw that I was indeed a “clown,” who, once you wipe away the painted smile and toss the floppy shoes, is purely a person with the desire to entertain.  And why should such a being be punished with public ridicule?

Or she just really wanted to shake that parachute.  Parachutes are pretty awesome.

Duchess of the Flies – Chapter 3

Duchess of the Flies is an improvised story because I left my outline in my other pants.  Updated weekly and/or whenever.  SPOILER ALERT:  There are no spoilers because I have no idea where this is going.  Let’s be surprised together!

Chapter 3:  Bestie’s my BFF

Author’s Note:  Hello, friends, the holiday season had me distracted by a whole lot of online shopping, but I am back and 100% focused on this next chapter.  Enjoy!

The littluns ran from the flaming jungle as fast as their Nike Free Runs in various colors (retail: $110) could carry them.  They stumbled through the sand toward the makeshift tents, fashioned out of the Martha Stewart Collection twin sized linens scavenged from the wreckage (retail: $50), where Rachel emerged, rubbing her sleepy eyes.  It only took her a moment to realize what was happening.

Rachel grabbed a passing littlun by the arm, “Where’s Jackie?”

“With the beast!”  The girl began to cry.  Rachel wiped away the preteen’s tears and pulled her into her The North Face Aerial Down Jacket in Ibiza blue (store closing sale: $95) for a comforting embrace.

Behind them, Twiggy stumbled out of her tent in her pajamas, Xhilaration Junior’s Woven Sleep Pant – Assorted Prints & Plaids line from Target (retail: $12.99) and a quirky Dr. Who shirt bought on (retail: $10 plus shipping and handling).  Simone knocked into her as she made her way up to Rachel.

“We can’t put this out.  We’re going to burn!” Simone yelled over the screams, courtesy of voice lessons with Trisha Triebwasser at The Franklin Street Studio ($40/hr).

The fire taunted the starlight as it reached for the sky in front of Rachel’s eyes—LASIK surgery (starting at $299 per eye)—but all she could do was shake her head.  “Albuquerque,” she whispered softly.  She thought back on the last six hours (retail: priceless)…

End Chapter 3

Next time…  Chapter 4:  Hug You Next Tuesday

Think Kermit and Miss Piggy, only made out of things you’re embarrassed to buy at CVS

To paraphrase the classic children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, if you challenge me to make a marionette out of tampons, then I’m going to want to make her a boyfriend out of condoms.  And that pretty sums up the theme of the book too.

PICTURE IT!  Marie d’Tamponette patrons the same discothèque every weekend, and always goes home alone.  Until tonight, when Lou Bricated walks through the door…

Duchess of the Flies – Chapter 2

Duchess of the Flies is an improvised story because outlines killed my father, and revenge is best served unplotted.  Updated weekly and/or whenever.  SPOILER ALERT:  There are no spoilers because I have no idea where this is going.  Let’s be surprised together!

Chapter 2: Ain’t No Party Like a Middle School Party because a Middle School Party Don’t Stop

“Stop worrying, I won’t hit you,” Twiggy said with a touch of annoyance in her voice. She raised a single ski over her head, winding up.

Simone, a chubby 7th grader with sausage fingers, nervously held the coconut against a rock. “Have you done this before?”

“Yeah. Well, not like this exactly, but I opened one last year. I needed it ‘cause I was doing a Monty Python thing for Halloween.”

“A what?”

“Nevermind. Basically, in a second, we’ll have drinkable water and the ability to make awesome clippity-clop sounds.”

She thrust the ski downward. Simone winced as the edge of the Salomon Mountain Glide 800 hit the husk with a crack, splitting the coconut in two. The freed liquid flowed down the face of the rock into the bowl placed below.

Twiggy laughed triumphantly and raised her hand for a high five. A white-faced Simone obligated.

“Will you two stop cackling?! We can’t hear the music!” Jackie rolled her eyes and turned back to the rest of the girls. Like the others, she was still dressed in her school uniform, although she had modified hers to be shipwrecked chic. “Let’s go over that last combo.”

She pointed at a 6th grader who cradled an iPhone in her hand. The littlun tapped the screen and One Direction filled every direction. The girls snapped into their choreography.

Rachel made her way over the dune into camp. She passed the kick-ball-changing chorus line, who mostly ignored her, and stopped in front of Twiggy and Simone. She dropped her empty bag to the ground with a defeated shrug to the disappointment of the two girls. Then, with a smile, she pulled Ms. Cumberpatch’s flask from her pocket and waved it like a trophy.

“Score!” Twiggy said, taking the flask and unscrewing the cap.

“Alcohol is dehydrating,” Simone pipped in.

“Then I’ll break open a few more coconuts. We’ll be fine.”

Rachel eyed the ski.  “Did you use that to open it?”


“Why didn’t you just poke a hole in it with a pole?”

“Because we wouldn’t have been able to do this…” She picked up the two shell halves and tapped them together to indeed make some awesome clippity-clop sounds.

Simone did not look impressed. She stepped closer to Rachel, and said in almost a whisper, “We’ve already gone through most of the food that washed in with us. We have to do something, or we’re going to starve.”

Rachel glanced at Twiggy, who had poured the contents of the flask into the bowl of coconut water and was slurping it down. Behind the lanky girl, she could see the pile of packaged food they had salvaged. It looked more like… well, like something smaller than the bigger thing it had been. (Author’s note: I don’t have time for specifics. There are pre-teens stuck on an island to deal with!)

Rachel headed through the sand toward the dance party. She cleared her throat, “Hey, guys, we need to talk.”

Jackie huffed as she continued to sashay, “In three eight counts.”

The 6th grader with the iPhone looked up at Rachel. Rachel motioned for her to hand over the phone. The girl sheepishly obeyed. With a flick of her thumb, Rachel turned off the music.

Jackie twirled around to face Rachel. “What’s your deal? Can’t we have a little fun?”

“This isn’t a cruise.”

“Hello, duh, it was.”

“A storm changed that.”

“Your face changed that.”

Rachel groaned under her breath. She held up the phone, “How about whoever holds the iPhone gets to speak and everyone else gets to listen to the constructive thing they have to say?”

Jackie scoffed and looked back at the other girls. They stared wide-eyed, still in their dance lines. Jackie shrugged her shoulders in apathetic agreement (which can be universally translated to “Whatever”).

Rachel addressed the entire group, “It’s been two days. Even if it’s only two more, we don’t have the food to survive. We need to do something. Hunt, or fish, or, I don’t know, gather berries. Something.”

Jackie coolly held out her hand. Rachel passed her the phone. Jackie smiled at the group, “We’re not going to be here for another two days. Probably not even another night. They don’t just lose a bunch of private school girls in the Atlantic. So I say we continue practicing our rescue routine because there are going to be some super cute boys in uniforms here to save us any minute now. Yeah?”

The girls nodded like bobble heads. Or sheep. Or bobble heads that looks like sheep. (Author’s note: Pre-teens on an island, people! Keep it moving.) Frustrated, Rachel shook her head (like a negating bobble head).  Jackie hit play and the music started where it left off. She took her position and commanded the group, “We’ll take it from the chorus. And a five-six-seven-eight–”

The screen went black, its battery dead. Jackie flung the machine to the side and called to the 6th grader, “Okay, where’s the next one?”

The girl gulped, “That was the last one with any battery left…”

Jackie’s gaze grew cold.

That night, screams filled the jungle as fire turned the trees to ash.

End of Chapter 2

Next time… Chapter 3: Beastie’s my BFF

Duchess of the Flies – Chapter 1

Duchess of the Flies is an improvised story because outlines are for suckers.  Updated weekly and/or whenever.  SPOILER ALERT:  There are no spoilers because I have no idea where this is going.  Let’s be surprised together!

Chapter 1:  Litter

A girl with fair skin made her way along the shore, retracing a fresh trail of footprints in the sand.  With each surge of the sea, a new batch of debris washed in and found a home on the previously pristine beach.  This time, it brought a body.

Rachel watched as the lifeless form tumbled in the swell of the crystal waves, the deceased woman’s conservative skirt pulled in every direction by the forceful tide.

Rachel drudged through the water and grabbed the woman by the cuff of her sweater.  She dragged her up the incline and laid her to rest on the warm sand.

She admired Ms. Cumberpatch for her consistency, being able to stay as rigid in death as she had been in life.  Rachel wondered what secrets drowned with her.  Of course, she’d never know.  Save one.

Rachel dug her hand into the woman’s shoulder bag and produced a flat metal container.  She tilted her head in the direction she had come.

“Who wants a mai tai, bitches?!”

End of Chapter 1

Next time… Chapter 2: Ain’t No Party Like a Middle School Party Because a Middle School Party Don’t Stop

Inside Voice

This girl—a sweet little thing with wild curly hair and a mouth full of metal—walks up to me before class.  Her brother—let’s just call him Satan—crouches behind her.  He’s either hiding from me, or he’s controlling her like some demonic puppet.  I like puppets, so I listen.

Satan’s mouthpiece:  My mom says if Satan’s being loud again today, you should tell him to read quietly in a corner or something.  Last time, when you sent him to the office, he didn’t go and ended up on the street.

Sherry’s Inside Voice: Well, you can tell your mother that if Satan could do anything quietly in the first place, then I wouldn’t have to send him to the office.  You also might want to let her know if she doesn’t learn how to discipline her own hellish spawn, the street is exactly where he’s going to end up.

Sherry’s Outside Voice:  Okay, thanks.

Since I’m pretty sure The Prince of Darkness can read minds, I think I get my point across.

One face, two face, black face, blue face

By Sherry Seuss

A clown carries cases
Of paints to make faces
For kids of all ages,
And manners, and wages.
I am such a clown
Who can take a frown
And turn it around
With a splash of brown.
Or a pinch of pink,
A ripple of red,
“Oodles and boodles of
Orange, please,” one said.
They sit in my chair.
My chair.
And with me they share
What they’d like upon there.
A rose, a bat,
A princess crown.
When they have the tiara,
Who needs the gown?
I remember the time
This boy stepped up.
Capped in a fedora,
He was quite adora’.
With a single glove
And sequined vest.
It wasn’t a jest
The way he was dressed.
He loved M.J.
And had to say,
“Would it be okay
To paint my face that way?”
The mom leaned in
With much chagrin.
Told me it was all right
To just paint him white.
Oh me, oh my,
Oh lady, no!
Wacko Jacko didn’t
Start with that glow.
“I’ll do one better,
Never you fretter!”
And black he became;
the man in the mirror: the same.
As the party went on,
The color did shed
as the King of Pop,
From “ABC” to dead.
Or so I imagined in my head.
The truth of the matter
Was much badder
For the boy in the hatter,
His hopes I did shatter.
Didn’t paint him black
Nor did I white.
I type with a tear
As I write.
He wanted a thriller
And I gave him not.
Like Blanket over a balcony,
He was distraught.
There is a silver lining
As there shall always be.
(Except if you’re named
Lisa Marie Presley.)
Out there is a five-year-old
Whose heart I broke,
But here’s an entire piece on M.J.
Without a single pedo joke.

The Secret to Preventing Food-borne Illnesses: Be Chinese

A student’s grandmother stopped into my Marine Bio class and spotted the octopus we had been dissecting.  She asked if she could keep it.

I tried to explain to the elderly woman with seafood on the brain how I didn’t feel comfortable giving her an octopus knowing it’s sat in my car for hours and has been in and out of my freezer for two weeks.

Her only response: “I’m Chinese.”  I gave her the octopus.