Sunday, July 6, 2014

Totally True Tales of Dana, Chapter 1

There once was a young girl whose name was Dana.

Dana lived in a big grey house with her mom, her two sisters, her four brothers, and a three-legged bulldog named Trigger. Their big grey house sat beside a dry red road made out of dirt which ran into a slightly bigger road made out of gravel. And the road made out of gravel ran into a road made out of concrete, and the road made out of concrete ran into a convergence of streets, and this convergence of streets was the town square of a place you’ve never heard of, right in the middle of Oklahoma, which is equally far from everywhere.

The town where Dana grew up was a curious sort of town where the dogs outnumbered the people, and the snakes outnumbered the dogs, and the tumbleweeds outnumbered the snakes, and the churches outnumbered the tumbleweeds, and nothing outnumbered the churches except tornadoes.

Now, it might seem strange to you, or wrong, or it might even seem to be a lie that there exists such a town where churches outnumber people, but in the town where Dana grew up there was exactly the right number of everything. There was the right number of people and the right number of dogs, the right number of snakes and the right number of tumbleweeds.

And truth be told, in the town where Dana grew up, all the people spent a big part of their time rebuilding churches which had been blown apart by the last tornado. The rest of their time they spent in church, on their knees, praying that they would not be blown apart by the next one.

So as you can see, in this town where Dana grew up, town life centered around tornados. They had what you might call a tornado-based economy.

This is the way it had been in the town where Dana grew up for as long as anyone could remember, which (admittedly) was not long at all since most of the older people and all of the county records were routinely blown apart by tornados.

But still, Dana, along with her mom, her two sisters, her four brothers, and of course Trigger, lived a good life and a quiet life in this little Oklahoma town. They were happy and they kept to themselves. Except for two memorable occasions, no one else in town even noticed Dana and her family were there.

The first occasion on which they were noticed happened when Dana’s mom was pregnant with Dana. Back then, Dana’s mom worked as a waitress in a little restaurant that catered mostly to FEMA workers. One night, when Dana’s mom was nine months pregnant, a customer asked her about the father of her soon-to-be-born seventh child.

It was late in her shift and Dana’s mom was a bit tipsy and for some reason, she said that Dana had been conceived by parthenogenesis. Yes, the good Lord was Dana’s father.

Just like Jesus!

Well, as you can imagine, word of this miracle pregnancy shot out across town like fence posts in a whirlwind. Dana’s mom became an overnight sensation, the talk of the town and a minor celebrity all around the region. And when the bless├ęd day finally arrived, everyone in town packed themselves into the FEMA shelter where Dana was born, and they gathered ‘round and they had a look…

….and they realized they’d been hoodwinked. Lying there before them was a baby girl who was clearly half Latino, or what before that had been called Hispanic, or what before that had been called Mexican, or what before that had been called Chicano, or what before that had been called “beaner.”

Now, the people of the town did not know much – their library never managed to acquire many books between tornados – but they did know a) everything but everything there was to know about tornados, and b) God was not a beaner.

So Dana’s mom took baby Dana home to their big grey house on their dry red road and for a time, the family slipped back into their quiet, obscure little lives.

They slipped back into their quiet, obscure little lives, that is, until the second occasion on which the town took notice of them, which happened seven years later.  

The intervening years had not been kind to the little town where Dana grew up, you see. Tornados had blown apart many churches, many tumbleweeds, many dogs, some snakes, and yes, more than a few people as well. Even the town square, where all of the streets converged, had gotten blown apart twice, and tornado season had not even officially begun yet.

But if you want my opinion, it was the blowing apart of three consecutive mayors in three months that truly brought the town into crisis mode. For it was then that everyone in town – gathered together in a newly rebuilt church to decide who the next unfortunate mayor might be – ramped up their calls for action and for change.

“We should build more churches so we can pray more!” said Mr. Coyne, who was the town carpenter.

“No! We should run a big ring of mobile homes all the way around the outskirts of town to distract the tornados,” said the town intellectual, Mrs. Drozd.

“No!” said Mr. Ivins, who was one of the town morticians. “We should send the new mayor to Phoenix, where there are no tornados. He can do his mayoring from there and phone in his decisions.”

But to the people of the town where Dana grew up, none of these suggestions seemed quite right, and there was much grumbling and murmuring all around.

Then, when everyone seemed out of ideas and all seemed lost, a small voice was heard towards the back of the crowd.

“’Scuse me,” the voice said.


And the people looked around for the source of this voice, and they searched and they searched until finally, as they searched the very back of the room, they saw a little brown girl who was no more than seven. Why, it was none other than Dana, the Daughter of God girl, the very one whose mother had perpetrated such a horrific fraud on the people of the town so many years before.

And what did this holy little brown girl have to say that day? “The mayor can stay in my fort,” she said. “Or all of you could move in, if you like. There is plenty of room.”

At these words, at first, there was silence, and after the silence, there was exhaling, and after the exhaling, there was chuckling. After the chuckling, there were bursts of laughter, and after the bursts of laughter, there was much knee slapping. After the knee slapping, faces started turning red, and after faces started turning red, those same faces started turning purple, and after faces started turning purple, there was much gasping for breath.

Finally, it was Mr. Coyne caught his breath for long enough to say, “And just how long has this fort of yours been intact, little girl?” (This was a standard question in a town where restaurants put up signs that bragged, “No tornado hits in 3 months!”)

“Fourteen months, sir,” little Dana said. “I built it when I was six!”

At this, the laughter, which had by now begun to abate, began all over again, going through the previously-described stages of silence, exhalation, chuckling, outright laughter, knee slapping, red faces, purple faces, and gasping for breath.

You see, fourteen months intact, if true, would have made little Dana’s fort the longest-standing building in town.

“Tell me, little girl,” Mr. Coyne said. “Just where is this marvel of modern architecture of yours?”

And Dana, without so much as batting an eyelid, pointed out the window and she said, “It’s inside that tornado that stays somewhere near the eastern county line.”

Dana said, “I figured that if I put my fort inside of the tornado, another tornado could not come to my fort to blow it apart.”

Again there was silence in the room, but this time, the silence was not followed by exhalations and chuckling and laughter, knee slapping and red faces and purple faces and gasping for breath.

No, instead, that was how the little town where Dana grew up came to be permanently moved into the inside of the funnel of the big tornado that stays somewhere near the eastern county line. Clinging to the inside of that funnel, intact for thirty years now, is the big grey house where Dana’s family lives, and the office of the town mayor, and a library, and a building chock full of county records going back three decades, and exactly the right number of churches.

Sometimes, the tornado will move up to the north a little and hit a nearby town, sucking some slow Oklahomans up inside its funnel. And then Mr. Coyne will get to work building the town’s newest funnel residents a home of their own, because it’s still a tornado-based economy.

This was the last time that the little town where Dana grew up took notice of anyone in Dana’s family, but though it is a wonderful story of a smart little girl, it is not the end of the story I have to tell.

After all, if this were the end of the story I have to tell, then it would be a wildly inappropriate story for me to be telling. It would be a story about the childhood of a person who broke up with me two long years ago. This is not end of the story I have to tell; no, it is just the beginning.

This was the beginning of the story of a woman named Dana. 


40 comments:

  1. Has someone made a film out of this? Has Stephen King at least written a 700-page-long horror novel called "Tornado" in which Dana has control over the storms and uses them on her enemies? If not, why not?

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    1. But please not Stephen King. The rest of it (Dana controlling the storms et.al.) I like.

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    2. @Bill - Yeah, Stephen King came to mind when I read...

      "And truth be told, in the town where Dana grew up, all the people spent a big part of their time rebuilding churches which had been blown apart by the last tornado. The rest of their time they spent in church, on their knees, praying that they would not be blown apart by the next one."

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    3. The funny thing is that I read constantly but have never read a book by Stephen King.

      I got halfway through "The Tommyknockers" when I was about thirteen. Then someone got attacked (in a field, as I recall) by an f-ing Coke machine and I realized I wasn't going to get anything out of the book.

      So I've never read a Stephen King novel... Or a John Grisham novel... Or any of those Harry Potter books.

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  2. Your photos are almost as intriguing as your prose.

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    1. I spend WAY too much time trying to find my pictures for each blog post. Seems to be an awful lot of effort just to commit copyright infringement...

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  3. OUTSTANDING - this is one of your best posts - goes good with morning coffee - invokes many concepts

    que the X-Files theme song... Dana's Mother, the parthenogenetic implant

    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

    will be linking to this refreshing post (my Friday)

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    1. Thanks, GOODSTUFF. Your page is always a HUGE source of my page views. I need to up the amount of cleavage on my page to keep them here!

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    2. 04:00 - getting ready for the US embassy - visa for my wife - 25 man hours already - thinking, doing a "wetback" thing would be easier

      last week there were a bunch of twin tornado photos posted - that will be the photo link to this post

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    3. The illegal thing is okay so long as you stay to yourself, keep your head down, and don't drive drunk.

      Don't tell them at the embassy that I said that. I might want to travel someday...

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  4. Living in the middle of a tornado is fine, and not to brag, but I was born in a crossfire hurricane (still have no idea what that means).
    I couldn't help but picture snakes being flung hither and yon. Creepy.
    We haven't heard about Dana in a while. I was beginning to wonder if all things Dana were behind you.
    Are there people who actually slap their knee when they laugh? I think seeing someone actually slap their knee would make me laugh hard enough to slap my knee.

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    1. Snakes being "flung hither and yon" would be almost as bad as a sharknado, which I hear have become big problems in some areas.

      I ought to do a study of odd places where songwriters claim to have been born...

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  5. You'd think having your town constantly hit by tornadoes would just be God's way of saying, "Yo, don't live here." But we humans are stubborn. Err, I mean resilient.

    For the record, I'm Hispanic. Mainly because my relatives all come from Spain, which is what the word implies. My wife, on the other hand, is Mexican. Or a beaner. Both names that she wears proudly. If you really want to annoy her, just call her "Chicana" or "Latina" or "Hispanic American of Latin Descent", and do it all in a harsh Rosie Perez-like accent to really inflect that you're trying to identify with "her people."

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    1. There are towns in Oklahoma - Norman, Oklahoma comes to mind - where the whole town basically gets blown away every few years. I mean, I feel sorry for people who lose everything, but... at a certain point, as you say, you need to take the hint.

      God hates Norman, Oklahoma.

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  6. Is that "Paula A. R. DeAngelis, PhD" persona satirical, or a troll, or a satirical troll, or someone who belongs in an asylum?

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    1. I thought she was doing satire for a while, but I have come to believe she's the real deal.

      I have requested that if she is going to insult me, she should do it in quotable ways (like the quote on the right). Sometimes she does. Usually, though, not so much.

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  7. What the fuck? This is the bitch from 2012? You need to go back and change the name to something else. That is all kinds of fucked up.

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    1. You will find that things around here often tend to be "all kinds of fucked up."

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  8. Not sure if God hates Norman, Oklahoma any more than she hates any other town in Oklahoma, but being routinely mowed down by tornadoes would have to make a town's citizenry paranoid. Which might explain why Oklahoma is so messed up. On the other hand, a biologist was once asked what nature might tell us about the "creator", and having spent years classifying hundreds and hundreds of species of beetles, he replied, "He has an inordinate fondness for beetles." So god hates Oklahoma and loves beetles. Those are probably givens.

    And for the record, if anyone gets to write this screenplay for Hollywood, it's Miss Katy. I gave up on Stephen King when he had the nerve to CHANGE NARRATORS two paragraphs from the end of a novel in Pet Semetary. Anyone that goddam lazy didn't need my attention.

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    1. It hardly seems fair: Yahweh gave us dominion over all these creepy crawly things and had them outnumber us like 10,000 to 1.

      I'm not bitching. I mean, I'm not the one who had to round up 2 of each of the 350,000 varieties of beetle on Earth for the Ark.

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  9. Hello. I got here from Pickleope's blarg and I am so happy I did!

    You sound so cool. Maybe I like you. Maybe.

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    1. I'm glad you got here, too, Lola!

      I'd warn you about how uncool I am, but if you have already met Pickleope, then you're probably prepared for that...

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    2. Ha! I think I totally beat you in the uncool department. I was once hung from a door hook by the back of my Oh GoshP'Gosh overalls in middle school for like 45minutes before someone found me.

      Deck out my blargness, if you have a moment....

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    3. At least you had some time by yourself to think about how uncool you were.

      Your site has been discovered and added to feedly.

      By me, I mean.

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  10. God's not a beaner?!!! Holy Crap. This is big news.
    Wait...
    Is God also not a WOMAN??!!!

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    1. Hi, Nessa!

      I am no expert on the Big Mysteries. But I once had a girlfriend who was. I asked her whether God had male genitalia, and she explained he did. After all, he created man in His image, which necessarily includes genitalia.

      I can't imagine what he uses it for, though.

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  11. This always begs the question, why don't you move away from the tornadoes? Simple answer is it is home and where else would they live? The trailer park outside of town is a good idea.

    I sent #2 child to OK State with my Jetta. It was an older car but still in great shape. It came back dimpled like a golf ball from hail. She moved to Kansas and the hail stones got larger. At this point it looks slightly better than a demolition derby car.

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    1. Kansas is great because in the parts of the state where they don't grow corn, it looks like the surface of the moon.

      The difference in Kansas tornados, of course, is that they carry you to that place with flying monkeys and munchkins.

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  12. After reading the other comments, I just laughed to the point of tears at the thought of my right wing mother being greeted by St, Peter who was a gay Mexican with tattoos. All her worst fears in a single package.

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    1. Seems like maybe she should have asked for a sneak peak at heaven - of at least an updated book - before investing so much time to get there sight unseen.

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    2. I was just thinking having your worst fear in life be the thing that ushers you into eternity would make a Mark Twain worthy, social commentary, short story. My fear is a lawyer wanting to take my deposition.

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    3. That seems appropriate, since the biggest fear of so many people is... death, a necessary condition precedent of being ushered into heaven for most.

      Death isn't that scary of a guy, though. He's sort of a big teddy bear, once you get past the obvious.

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  13. So that was the beginning?!
    After reading that I feel I am ready to start the story now.
    So here I wait primed and ready to read the rest of the story.
    You don't really write part 2s do you?

    Highlight: Ethnicity sex of God
    Living in a Tornado to avoid tomatoes ahh I mean tornadoes
    The look of excitement on Dana's face on her touring Europe that she's always dreamed about doing.

    Besides that your "Home of Katy Anders" photo is very yummy.

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    1. Hi, Rob. I am notoriously bad at writing part twos.

      This is why, despite the recommendations of so many people, i haven't tried the novel thing lately. Once I get up from writing, I'm pretty much done with it. It would be hard to write a novel in one sitting.

      That having been said, my last few blog posts have taken me multiple sittings. I think the quality has improved because of it.

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  14. Lol. If that is just the beginning, I am curious to know more about Dana. This sounds great.

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    1. Hello, Lady Liilith!

      I need to get on the ball and write one explaining why I am writing about an ex who broke up with me two years ago.

      I do really like this post, though, so if I'm going to have one sit there at the top of my page for a while, it might as well be this one!

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  15. I'm surprised they never figured that God was smiting the town for harboring a white/hispanic/latino/mexican girl in their midst.

    Anyway, I apologize for my absence, but I'm glad I returned in time to catch the beginning of this tale. Can't wait for the next chapter to land.

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    1. Good to see you back, Chiz!

      Hopefully, there are going to be little pieces of this story over the next few months, alternating with posts on other topics. It's all going somewhere, I hope.

      I'm way too ambitious with this blogging thing.

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  16. Loved that story Katy. You need to do more. : )

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    1. Thank you!

      It was even better when I had a relevant picture of Dana at the end of it, but alas, I have had to take down all the pictures of me and my family (at least for now)...

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