Archive for June, 2013


Longterm relationships, boyfriends and girlfriends, married, gay, straight, all carry around with them the same types of issues. All couples fight, and the ones that don’t are probably more destructive than the ones that actually have members that say what they are feeling to one another. In these relationships, there is a chance for growth. In the silent, seemingly happy and fight-less couples, one member is, no doubt feeling voiceless and oppressed. I told my wife on a couple of occasions, that there has to be at least one moment occasionally, in a marriage where the man should think he wants to become a monk and run off into some form of solitary lifestyle with just men, who all think the same way they do. I picture it being a little slice of heaven in some far off land. It will have over one hundred taps and all the beers will be my favorite microbrews. There would be a place to smoke cigars and it would be well ventilated. Other men would would show up and we’d all talk about 17th Century Literature, and everyone would agree with me…the problem in the end of all of this is that after the first drink from the bar, I would have think, “man, I wish my wife was here, she’d love this place..”

This is not a blog about fighting, you need to figure that our on your own, but you need to know it happens and to suck it up. Nope, enter this blog into the “How to Continue Dating Your Spouse, Long-term Boy/girlfriend” category. You didn’t ask for the advice, but then again, you didn’t ask for anything else I have written either.

Zombie movies are, in my opinion, the number one way to date your wife. Mine pulls me into her and holds on tight when humans are eating other humans. So, World War Z was going to be the venue of our first date (where we actually hired a babysitter and went out). I love my wife, and I want her to be happy. I want her to look at me and think, “damn, I won the husband lottery.”
In my quest for doing so, I compiled the following list of important behaviors. Some are proven, and some are conjecture. Either way, I would immediately include them in your relationships.

1. Open the door for your significant other.
This is huge, and it shouldn’t be that difficult. I open building doors for her, and generally, I am a man of great manners with an extremely chivalrous nature. So naturally, I chose to forego this necessity. Additionally, I opted to further compound my omission by making a joke. It went like this:

My wife says to me, “Just how I pictured our first date in months starting; my husband jumping in the car and waiting for me to open my own door.” I told her that it was rude of me and I would do better. My coping strategy is always to go to humor in order to move past any moment where I have screwed up. So I say to my wife, “If I have to remember these technicalities involved in car-door opening while dating, you have to remember your obligations for lewd and lascivious behavior once in the car, whose door was graciously opened for you.”

In perfect Whitney timing, she responds, “That’s not a problem, I will just think about Brad Pitt fighting zombies…mmmmmmmm.”

2. If going to a movie at a theater, show your wife how much you value her love by stopping at a Walgreens and buy boxes of candy ahead of time.

Don’t read that as sarcasm. This is actually a huge move in a marriage. One box of candy at the movie costs the same as three gallons of gas. It is like the airport and movie theater have the same owners and they are both dicks. Rich dicks. Anyway, I did this yesterday and this actually made my wife fall more in love with me more than ever. She runs the finances, so it is actually romantic for her to see me being economical.

I went into the store and saw the plethora of options for possible candy enjoyment. Panic ensued. I couldn’t remember the last thing Whitney said she was craving, (we don’t eat a ton of candy, so it has been awhile). So what I did was absolutely genius: I pretty much bought every candy there was. Once in the movies, she reached in her purse (the one that all women have that was purely brought to smuggle large items of “stuff” into areas that do not allow the “stuff” to be brought in from off the premises. One of the boxes was Whoppers. I had struck gold. Whitney breathed in a long content sigh and said in a high pitched voice she whisper yelled, “You remembered!!!! You love me!!!!”
Now, I hope she doesn’t realize that in not remembering the actual candy, subsequently panicking, and following that up with buying everything in reach, I spent more money on candy than we would have at the airport/movie theater.

3. When you leave the movie theater, and you remember to open her car door, also remind her of her obligations once inside again, because that joke never gets old, right?

I didn’t do this, but I really wish I did.

4. Make your wife or significant other laugh.
This is what I do to make up for my lack of “conventional good looks.” Making a woman laugh actually makes you more attractive to them. Make them laugh like it is your sole mission. It will show them that they are worth the effort, and there is nothing better than a wife who is smiling.

5. Don’t belittle your wife when she has non-sensical requests.
I say to Whitney, “Baby, little woman, sweet thing, do you want a Starbucks on the way to the theater.” She replied with, “No, I need a Starbucks, but I would rather have a coffee.”
I know, I know, but just let it go.

6. If you see a girl who your wife points out is pretty, always say she is dressed like a slut.
I didn’t do this, but it is always a good move. It is especially important to add a dimension of disgust to your voice. If you say it with excitement, it will not have the desired intent.

These are six important aspects of dating within a relationships that are sure to work.

In the end, I believe all of this is relatively true. We as humans put more time into impressing our bosses, random acquaintances, and just people who don’t matter than we do our spouses or boyfriends, or girlfriends, or whatever. My wife used to teach dance lessons, and she had this strange habit of not letting married people dance together when initially learning steps. Her answer when asked why was startling and true. “Most married people will treat a stranger nicer when they screw up the dance than they would their spouse.”

So find a good zombie movie and go. Buy some cheap candy and make her laugh. You’d be surprised what behavior that could lead to in a car….

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The morning sun casts a peculiar glow over the hills of Ramona, California. One can feel an allusive sense of ominous foreboding. Things are not all as they should be, but why they feel it is not immediately evident. The warmth resulting from the peculiar glow, clashing with the cool breeze have pushed and pulled a dense fog up through the valleys and hills as if ghosts, unshackled from hell and the grave, search eerily for a soul to haunt. The fog is thick and invasive, and for an instant, it has swallowed up the world outside of my house leaving me surrounded by whatever it may bring.

Just as abruptly as its uninvited intrusion began, so goes the fog’s departure. What is left in its wake is a mystery. A set of footprints. A fruitless tree. A woman with an imagination as massive as the very blanket of fog, which rested thick and viscous over the house in Ramona, California. This is a story of intrigue and suspicion sure to confuse the most talented of sleuth. Holmes, The Hardy Boys, Mason, The Rescue Rangers, or Columbo, none of them could piece this thing together, because there resides no sense in this story of horror in the fog. None of them could, but Whitney can and did.

My cell phone buzzed and vibrated itself across my desk at work. It danced with and floated for a second or two making the snapping sound of hard plastic bouncing on the faux-wood desk interrupting the silent work of ten or so people.

“Hello, how are you today?” I ask immediately seeing the caller ID and noticing my lovely wife’s name.

There would be no reciprocity to my greeting that morning, instead, and in a frantic tone, “The oranges, they are all gone! Every one of them is gone, disappeared. Heath, where once there was a multitude of oranges a veritable cornucopia of beautiful deliciousness, there is nothing but emptiness.” Whitney rattled off into my ear.

When one’s wife offers up their concern over missing oranges or missing anything, the best course of action is to exude empathy, to join with them in their terror, or to nurture their investigative instincts. As such, I assert that there must be a gang of fruit loving animals roving the area stealing bushels of oranges. Having never had a fruit tree until a few weeks ago, I did not have the requisite expertise to rule out animals altogether. Although, only one night ago, the tree had tens of dozens of oranges and today there are none, not even a rotting orange biodegrading into the roots and dirt below the tree. These animals are overeating.

Whitney, absolutely not content with my assertion of a clan of bandit animals, set out on a mission to solve this mystery. Whitney offered up to me a startling find. While walking just outside our house on a freshly repaved street, still shining with new tar, Whitney found a trail of footprints that appeared out of nowhere and disappeared in the same manner. They were white like they were powdered chalk and after about ten or so steps, the footprints faded to black.

Were these the prints of an orange bandit?
What kind of criminal leaves this kind of tell-tale–the sudden chalk feet running away from the area of the fruit tree?
Firstly the oranges and now the footprints?
What kind of hellish ghoul are we dealing with?
Who steals oranges?
What kind of maniac steals only oranges and not something better; I mean go big or go home?

I tell you what, in Whitney’s head, there is only this set of possibilities: The thief is a human, and said human either floats, emits chalk out of their feet and also floats, and / or is human, loves oranges enough to steal them, but accidentally stepped in a bag of chalk that they were carrying in their car, which logically was there, because after stealing the oranges, they bandits had to hustle to a little league baseball field and prepare the baselines and batter’s box. She hasn’t quite worked out the chalk part yet.

It is under this sense of tension, that Whitney introduced a teenage boy to a 9mm. Our house overlooks the gate to the community. Whitney was looking out the window while doing the dishes. She watched as an unknown car rambled up the long road to the gate and stopped. A teenage boy jumped out of the car and began running up the hill, some three hundred yards to our home. With a rabbit killing shepherd, an aged heeler, and a three legged chihuahua in tow, Whitney met the teenager at the door. Oh yeah, and she had a gun.

The conversation was short lived and resulted in a teenage boy running faster away from our residence. Equally odd. The boy requested a tire jack to fix a flat, but after fleeing from the gun wielding Whitney, he jumped in a car with four working tires and raced off, stopping at no houses on the way out…

I don’t know anything anymore. I don’t know what I believe. I don’t know what comes in the fog, but I do know enough to tell you that I am done doubting my wife. I do not want to go the way of the running teenager. These are the reasons that I believe my wife. She has an unparalleled intuition and a gun. If she believes that the oranges were stolen by a floating, chalk footed, human of average foot size, than damn it, I believe her. So, be on the look out for two things: A floating, chalk footed, human of average foot size, and a gun wielding Whitney on a mission to solve ghostly crimes…

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years…


Man of Steel

I have to admit that I am as excited as anybody to get out and see the newest Superman movie. Although DC comics pale in comparison to its counterpart, Marvel, Superman has been a longstanding part of every man-child’s upbringing. We, the masculine form of our species, have long been enamored with the idea of this spectacle Superman. A dude from another planet with values and morals beyond reproach, with only one weakness, if you don’t count Lois Lane, which I never do, because having a woman / love interest also be a weakness is so cliche it isn’t even funny. I could never stand that Lois would rather see Superman weak and get beat up in a diner rather than just be an awesome lover who could fly her around Metropolis on Date Night Fridays. That is not why I write today, although I would like to expound upon Lois and Superman’s relationship at some point in my life. I write because today is Father’s Day. I want to talk about the old man who brought me up and instilled in me the tenants of being a man.

There exists a thousand stories that I can tell that would prove the assertion that my pops, Lane started me early in training. If you have ever read anything about Teddy Rooselvelt, you would understand that, as a kid, this mountain of a man was weak and fragile. Afflicted with asthma and possessing a generally frail body, Teddy wasn’t the guy who one could see later leading the Rough Riders or hunts for wild animals in far off countries. One day Teddy’s father came to him and said, “Teddy, you weren’t given the strongest body, so you have to make it yourself.” From sick and weak to the Presidency–no big deal. The rest is history. I don’t really tell that story to glorify Teddy. He was a good dude, but I wanted to to point out his father, because in his father, I realize what it is my father did for me.

Lane Phillips, quite possibly the meanest man to have walked the earth, a man who is destined to be the subject of many an outlaw country song, the man who when cut bleeds like a wounded knight from a Monty Python sketch. Lane Phillips, the man who spawned me from his loins and then surrounded me with sisterfolk, the man whose mustache is rumored to be more full and thick than that of God himself. Lane Phillips, my father, and now my friend.

This is my dad in a nutshell.

I got in a bike accident as a sixth grader. I hydroplaned for one thousand feet (read ten or so feet) and came up with road rash all over my arms and legs. I was out of myself in pain. I was running around in circles, and according to my father, I was shedding my clothes like some moron, like I had entered into a state of shock and lost control of myself. People were gathering and watching the entire show. I was a star! My dad grabbed my bike. Walking right onto the stage during the drama, he grabbed me and looked at all of the wounds, probably making sure there were no bones broken. He put my hand on the bike and said, “you need to get yourself together and limp out of here pushing this bike home. Nothing you’re doing right now is going to make any of this better.” His voice was riddled with a tone that said, “wrecking is one thing, embarrassing yourself is another thing entirely, push through this and move on.”

A few years later, I watched my dad catch a fish. The fishing lure he was using had a treble hook and and was barbed to ensure the fish, once caught, stayed caught. While removing the fish from the hook, the fish jerked as fish do, one of the hooks went into my dad’s finger. My dad said one word and it was profane. With the hook through his finger, he still removed the fish and put it on the stringer to be cleaned later. The barb was through the skin so he had to push the entire hook through in order to get it out. He bled like his index finger was actually designed incorrectly and attached to an artery, but never said another word. I saw what a calm and cool reaction did for him and was amazed..He just pushed through and everything was better.

A few years later, I was attending Officer Candidates School for the United States Marine Corps. After jumping into a huge hole full of water, I felt an extremely painful and audible pop in my right ankle. Another Marine had to lift me up and we both kept running. I stayed calm, cool, and collected and finished three more weeks of training on a foot that was missing all anterior ligaments. When I told the doctor that I kinda was just brought up not to act like an idiot when you hurt yourself. The doctor responded, “How admirable, but its the stupidest thing you could have done.” What does he know, right Dad?

My Dad has raised me to be courageous in adversity. Something Superman never has to do. My Dad has built in me a longing to be responsible for my actions–a trait far too lacking in society today. My Dad has raised me with the values that your wife is the someone to be taken care of and cherished. My dad has raised me with a longing to be tough when things get difficult. My dad instilled in me a longing to give my child every single opportunity, but not to give them every “thing.”

My dad said to me recently that he sometimes forgets that his father is gone on to a better place and that there are moments when he will be thinking and he will have a question for his dad. He relayed to me how sad it was to realize again that his dad is gone. He told me stories about his old man, and how amazing and brilliant my grandfather was. I heard emotion in his voice and longing to have just one more discussion with the man. In that moment, me a mid-thirty year, became a boy again. And sitting there, in an honest voice my dad taught me another lesson. My Dad has taught me to slow down and not be as tough–to take the time to be a dad–to look at him as an example of all things good and bad–to take the things about him that I love and apply them, but to build upon other areas. He has taught me that he is not perfect and that the best parts of men are found in how they respond to their own failures and shortcomings. My dad has taught me to be a better dad than even he was.

My beautiful wife has given me a daughter. Today I thank my dad, because he has given me the foundation to be a Man of Steel for her.

I just want you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.


We have become hikers. We haven’t become the hikers who have the shoes, knitted socks, and professional style walking sticks. We haven’t become the hikers who forage off of the land as we hike through it. As hikers, we are somewhat novice, but the cool thing about hiking is that you kind of practice for it every time you walk, because hiking is just a walk. Except, hikes are a walk where you constantly worry about snakes, your hydration, dying from the elements, an accidental wrong turn and subsequent three day search for your hypothermic and near lifeless body, and in my case, you have to worry about your wife trying to murder you.

If one was to get overly technical, the murder was probably warranted, but nonetheless, it added a new and somewhat unsuspected dimension to hiking. Like I said, we have become hikers. It wasn’t the result of a process of thought and in-depth research, it was a spur of the moment decision that hiking is what all the cool kids do, the realization, that we are also cool, and therefore should be hikers. So last weekend, we hiked, and what I want to relay to you in this edition of LifeasIKnowit is what hiking is all about. Maybe after reading this, you will all feel so inclined as to start off on a more active lifestyle. This entry would go down in the category of self-help, and it will be well worth your time to continue, trust me, I wrote it, I know how it ends. Plus, I went hiking with Whitney, the reoccurring character who plays my wife in previous blogs.

Hiking starts off with a bunch of happy hippies on a trail eating granola to carboload for the impending trek into nature’s bowels. Hiking probably actually starts off a day or two previous to the hike in question. I picture people preparing by packing their little hiking packs with water, snacks, compasses, random survivally things. Hiking probably starts with the hikers drinking water to prepare for said hike. All of these things are important for those interested in hiking, and as is to be expected, none of these were things we decided to do. I am being less than truthful, we drank a lot of beer and wine in preparation for the hike, which may have covered the carboloading portion of preparation, but defeated the hydration portion of prepping. (Although, Whitney believes that drinking is a great hydrator as it leaves your pee clear).

Everybody is happy at the beginning of a hike. There is much to be excited about. The trail is pretty, and you feel so productive that you can’t stand it! You walk about three hundred feet and you happen upon your first group of hikers who are finishing up the same hike. You try not to notice that they look like undead versions of the same group of hippies starting at the time you did. They walk, dragging their left legs along beside them. They do not talk; instead, they mumble and grunt loud guttural booms of sound from their respective diaphragms. You try not to notice the dog that probably started out walking with them, but whose lifeless body is now being dragged just behind their left legs. You are blind to this, and you quest on.

You are given one more seemingly innocent, yet foreboding warning of things to come when Whitney, who is walking like a professional walker–hands up and dangling, while breathing in a perfect rhythm who-who-hee-hee, says, “Do you think we should have brought sandwiches?” All you can do at this point is continue to fall in love with your own plan, or lack thereof. “We will be fine with what we have brought (which consists of a Nalgene bottle and, well that’s pretty much it.)”

You walk another half mile and the trail starts something alarming. The trail begins to go from a nice, flat and enjoyable walk, to an alarming incline and group of switchbacks. To give you a point of reference, the incline is the same incline Sisyphus was forced to push the boulder up in mythology, or more simply stated, the incline is the same walk you would have to walk, perpetually in hell (you can keep going, but it generally sucks). There was no gradual increase in incline, nature just reached out and smacked you in the face with itself. Softly and sweetly, in the back of your head you can still hear Whitney’s question echoing, “Do you think we should have brought sandwiches?”

You are now halfway up the mountain. You have stopped to rest and the pleasant blush resulting from the increase blood flow has turned into relentless panting and random words in between. Where once there was loving conversation between two happily married people, there is pretty much only the sound of contempt ridden scowls. People walk by you and for just a split second, you make it look like nothing is breaking you, like this is easy.

Another hiker on her way down passes and does it. She plants the time bomb. “Be careful,” she says. “I just about stepped on a snake. They disguise themselves so well.” So now, what was a quick moving pace has slowed to the exact same pace that those poor soldiers who search for land mines must walk. Our eyes never leaving the ground, dismally marking every square centimeter of the trail–this would be a part of my hell. “Do you think we should have brought sandwiches?” Still echoing.

What seems like four hours later you reach the top. Some experienced hikers are looking out at the view–it is beautiful. You smell marijuana. Some kids are smoking it while philosophizing over life’s meaning. You pan around the area and realize the problem with a hike. When you hike, once you get to the top, you still have to go back. You look to your left and see a group of jerks doing something just to rub their planning in your face. They are eating sandwiches. You turn Whitney around quickly and we start back down. You think you can hear something about sandwiches coming from Whitney, but you just press onward. If you ever thought down can’t be as hard as up, you are dead wrong. Down becomes a torturous near free fall that shoves your entire foot into the front one third of your shoes. You are like a Chinese woman with bound feet. Down sucks.

You find that you are about thirty feet ahead of Whitney. You stop and wait for her to catch up. She nears, and you notice that she is wearing kind of an empty look, like no one is home. You start to talk and before you can get out three words she says, “Unless you have a sandwich, I don’t think you should say a god damned word to me!”

As you near the end of the trail, you are both dragging our left foot behind us and grunting nightmarish sounds from our diaphragms. The group just starting, shoving sandwiches into their packs, still joyful and excited asks, “How was it?” You grunt at them and continue your zombie walk. There, just ahead of you is your truck. You have accomplished what you set out to do. Your marriage is stronger because of your lack of planning, right? Whitney looks at you and says, “I am godawful miserable right now.” Yes, you answer yourself. Not planning for the hike was a great decision for your marriage. But we are hikers now. Tested in the flames of hell.


The street that leads to the five-home community in Ramona, California is dissected by an iron gate that, most of the time, opens when you push the remote control. It is a beautiful gate, and right next to it, is a walking trail that says to the would be cruiser of our neighborhood, “We trust you if you are on foot, but we dare you to try and drive into this area uninvited.” After living here for just two weeks, I know that the gate is here for protection. It protects the hood from teenagers. This country road is the perfect little place for lasciviously intentioned boys to park with equally minded, but coy hipster girls.

My house sits about halfway up a steep hill that, at its pinnacle houses the remaining four homes. I drink. I drink while sitting on my back patio overlooking small family orchards, horses, and llamas (Whitney has decided that llamas are nosy animals). I drink while I listen to the barking and howling from coyotes, the relentless caw of the ravens and crows, and of course I drink while I watch my dogs salivate over rabbits that tease them in a similar manner as the hipster girls in the cars down the way do their skinny-jean wearing boyfriends. Rabbits move in stop animation. They find a spot and they freeze. Rabbits stare at you with their side-of-head eyeballs and taunt you while they poop with reckless abandon wherever they please.

My shepherd dog has had enough of this. Lobo, the big, burly and loving shepherd, has declared jihad on rabbits. They are infidels who have the tenacity to waltz into your yard, where you have staked your claim, where you drink and enjoy the country life, and where your dogs should be the only thing pooping with reckless abandon. Rabbits, to my boy Lobo, are a lost cause and should be eradicated. A battle was eminent and loomed ominous over our household.

Enter my poor, poor, good natured, sweet wife, Whitney. Friday night brought frivolity and movie watching to my family. We have made it a point over the years to use our Fridays as a night to relax at home and reconnect. The movie we watched came to an end, and it was time to let the three dogs out for their last shot at reckless defecation. What ensued was murder. It was the circle of life without Elton singing. What ensued was ravenous animality. Even the three-legged chihuahua was overly emotional as she sporadically ran in zig-zagging motions.

One single, solitary rabbit had found his or her way into the yard. Unfortunately for the rabbit, he or she did not take the tenth of a second necessary to dedicate to memory how it came to be in the yard. This is a life lesson to you, people. Always have a way out. When you walk into any place, a restaurant, a club, a store, or even a church, you have to know where the exits are located. You have to know where you can hide. You have to be engaged in your surroundings, because in the moment of confusion and chaos, you will run around moronically wishing you had been. A prepared rabbit lives to see another day. There are those out there that wish to do harm to unsuspecting and under prepared individuals, and Lobo, the alarmingly agile shepherd, is just such an entity.

Maybe five seconds passed. Lobo had cornered and overwhelmed the rabbit. Surprisingly, Baby, the old, but ferocious heeler was an accomplice in the cornering. Like dogs do, Lobo grabbed the unprepared rabbit and shook his head back and forth with such violence no rabbit spine could have survived. That was the end. That is as far as Lobo, the hunter, the manliest of all my dogs, had planned. He had no exit strategy, so he just pranced around the yard with his spoil of war. Dropping it in the middle of the yard, Lobo circled it and said, “This rabbit, is my rabbit. This rabbit is the first of many rabbits I will kill. This rabbit is…” Lobo stopped talking abruptly when I chased him off with a shovel. I stood over the rabbit.

Okay, for reals now, enter my poor, poor, good natured and sweet wife, Whitney.

“MURDERER!!!!” Whitney yelled compassionately. There Whitney stood emotionally moved to tears. “What did you do. Our dogs have tasted blood! What do we do!” Whitney continued, all the while Lobo is circling the area fist pumping as if he just created fire, but alertly scoping the scene for follow-on insurgent rabbit attacks.

“Whitney!” I yell. “They are dogs, and these are rabbits, this is what dogs do, now, you need to go inside.” I tell her to go inside because I know the rabbit is still alive and suffering. I am going to have to finish the job. Of course, and as I should have expected, Whitney needs background information and she needs it immediately.

“Why do I need to go inside?” “Why are you holding that shovel?” “How did Lobo kill it?” “Lobo will now want to kill everything and so will Baby.” “Our dogs are murderers and YOU are not even registering the gravity of this situation.”

I have to tell her the details, because I think the reality of the situation will be enough to make her head back to the safety of the house. “Whitney, I have to kill this rabbit, because it is suffering.” She responds in the only way Whitney could, “Heath, you need my moral support through this…”

At this point, all I can think of to do is the same thing I did to Lobo when he was rambling on about his kill. I run at Whitney with a shovel and yell, “Go inside, already!!”

Gentlemen. I commend to you today that running at your wife with a shovel was the wrong action. I am not sure why I thought that a shovel run would somehow fix the situation. In the end, I have not lived down this portion of my decision making that night. But, I, like Lobo, didn’t plan beyond the actual moment of action. I thought that Whitney would react like Lobo and just sprint away from me. Something in my mind said, “If you run at her with a shovel, she will retreat indoors, calm down, and respect you all the more after this fades away.” That was all I needed. Again, after a day of retrospection, running at your wife with a shovel is never a good idea.

Whitney will not be run at with a shovel and in the midst of all of the back breaking and war, Whitney’s voice echoed out into the darkness. “CAN’T YOU SEE I JUST NEED TO BE HELD RIGHT NOW?” There I was, shovel above my head trying to get her to flee into the house, stopped cold. “I just need to be held, and you are chasing me with a shovel.” While I did not believe that this was the moment for holding–a suffering rabbit needed to die and all, there was somehow something else in her voice. It was like she really was saying, “You. Ran. At. Me. With. A. Shovel.”

After a few moments, I was able to get her into the house. I finished the job and coerced Lobo, the dog who made me kill, who made me foolishly run at a woman, with a shovel back inside as well.

I found Whitney in bed, holding tightly to her chest the three-legged chihuahua saying, “You’re the only dog I love.” She repeated it like Dorothy trying to escape Oz. We both fell asleep.

In the morning, I woke up naturally to the staring eyes of Whitney. She is so beautiful. She was tracing the shape of my face with her eyes. It was almost like she was discovering me for the first time. I expected her to sing my praises for the manliness I exuded only hours before. Our eyes met. Whitney said softly, “Remember how last night you ran at me with a shovel.”

I had no clue what she was talking about.

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.