Late one afternoon, Professor X and I went to an early dinner with a certain someone. I volunteered to ride in the backseat of our two-door car so that this certain someone could ride up front with Prof X.  After all, it’s much easier for a 5’4 woman to climb over the passenger seat than a six foot man. Within seconds of us pulling out of the garage, I thought I would have a stroke. Being cramped into a black car that’s absorbed the unrelenting mid-August-in-Florida heat is like being a turkey stuffed in an oven on Thanksgiving. Taking pity on my sweat-induced fanning fit, Prof X (bless his heart) turned on the car’s A/C full blast. What hit me in the face can’t be described by such mambie-pambie words like foul, pungent, or atrocious. I don’t think that a word exists in the English language that would come close to describing a stink worse than a rotting corpse three times over. I squinted against the brutal bombardment of this stench. Tears trickled from the outer corners of my eyes. My stomach somersaulted, violently, and made a desperate attempt to claw through my back in order to squirm into the trunk to hide. I didn’t dare open my mouth to speak. I didn’t want that funk cloyed on my tongue.

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Prof X was oblivious to the smell and to my plight. So was the certain someone riding with us. The certain someone to whom I now refer to as Pepe le Pew. The decrepit odor swirled around Pepe like the dust cloud surrounding Charlie Brown’s friend Pigpen. I realized two crappy truths about two-door cars.

The backseat has no windows to roll down and no doors to jump out of. If we had been in a four-door, I wouldn’t have waited for a stop sign or red light. Road rash was worth the chance to breathe fresh air.

Once we stopped at the restaurant, I might’ve knocked Pepe over in my zeal to get away from him. I say “might have” because I’m not sure if he actually fell to the ground when I linebacked him. I was too oxygen deprived from holding my breath for ten miles and on the fringe of an out of body experience to notice. Even the eternal being within me wanted to get the heck away from that god-awful smell. It’s imprinted in my brain.

Not only the smell, but the nausea associated with it and the feeling of being trapped. All of it comes rushing back at the mere thought of climbing into the backseat of a car.

Some people can’t smell skunks. I wish I was one of them. Maybe Pepe wouldn’t have left such a foul impression on me.

Smell cells renew every twenty-eight days, so basically you get a new nose every month. Thank gawd! I needed a new one after that repulsive experience.

Want to ensure mosquitoes stay away from your outdoor bar-b-que? Decorate with smelly socks. Or have a friend with really stinky feet stand in the back corner of the yard. Researchers have found mosquitoes are four times more attracted to the smell of stinky socks than they are to people.

Scientists also hope to find a way to cheaply mass-produce the stinky sock smell to help fight malaria by using the scent to lure the mosquitoes to their death.

Stressed? Anxious? Blood pressure too high? Before running to the doctor for a handful of prescription meds try eating more beans. A 2008 study suggests that the stink in farts controls blood pressure. I really would’ve hated to have been a volunteer for that study group.

Had an accident in your new car? You could’ve been drunk on the new car scent, according to one study. Apparently the fumes from the upholstery and carpet can be toxic and cause light-headedness and fainting spells. A Colorado man’s defense team claim the “new car smell” may have caused him to hit a cyclist in Vail.

I’m not sure how they explained why the driver left the scene of the accident instead of calling 9-1-1.

Got a stink story? Share the funk at the Peanut Gallery.

It happened somewhere between 11:00pm and 5:00am. I went to sleep with a flat tummy and poof! I awoke with a marshmallowy middle. Prof X’s first response was to poke my belly button to see if I giggled like the Pillsbury dough boy.

“Free image courtesy of

I didn’t.

He tried to lighten my mood with reassurances.
WARNING EARTH MEN: I like squeezing your cushy parts is NOT comforting to a woman whose body has unexpectedly metamorphosized into something other than a supermodel.

How the hell did this happen?

I eat right.
Ok, pizza, buffalo chicken sandwiches and French fries might appear more often than not in my diet but I eat the recommended daily servings of  fruits and vegetables and chocolate.

Most days I’m on the go from the time I roll out of bed until I roll back into it. I’ve little time for an exercise routine. A body in constant motion burns calories, right? And, now that I think about it, sometimes I run in my sleep. That should count for something.

Don’t even mention it. I’ll pull a Ralph Kramden on you with a Pow! Right in the kisser.

Without any other foreseeable cause, I’m forced to conclude that the sudden deconditioning of my middle is the direct result of …(looks over shoulder and whispers)…a body snatcher. You know what that means, don’t you?

Aliens are among us.

I’ve watched the X-Files. I know such things are true.

Hollywood has been blatantly exposing the mechanisms of this alien subterfuge since the 1950s with cinematic features such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Puppet Masters. Even now, the warnings are clear.

1. Aliens are harnessing our children. (Ask Noah Wylie. He deals with this problem weekly on Falling Skies.)

2. Aliens are snatching the waistlines of maturing women and replacing them with fluff. (It happened to me. It could happen to you.)

Ladies, it’s imperative that you protect yourselves from this type of attack. Guard your middles! These aliens are ninja-trained, slipping past even the ever observant Monster Puppy who instantly alerts when something is amiss. These sneaky extra-terrestrials will lie in wait, ready to pounce when you are most vulnerable.

Be diligent. Once these perilous invaders disappear with your flat tummy, you’re forever altered.

But, you don’t have to be defeated. I’ve discovered a new Yoga instructor who promises to help women, just like us, who’ve had their waists stolen. [youtube]

Have you experienced an alien abduction of the waist? Share your trauma at the Peanut Gallery. You are not alone!

Whoo! Whoo! And Welcome Aboard!

(Imagine bells, whistles and dandy streamers to experience the full, surround-sound effect. While you’re at it, throwing in a laser show would be AWESOME.)

So, what’s this blog about? In a peanut shell–whatever strikes my fancy. And, let me tell ya, a lot of strange things strike my fancy. I’m a little off-kilter, prone to exaggeration, and a frequent flier on the space shuttle to imagination. This comes in handy being a writer. Not so much in the “real” world.

Here’s a tip, reality is an illusion of the mind. Enliven, enrich and embellish to your heart’s content. Now close your eyes and clap your hands and repeat — I do believe in faeries. I do believe in faeries. I do believe in faeries.

Whew! Tinkerbell dodged another one. Thanks for that.

Now, where was I?

Oh, yes…my new blog. I spent an inordinate amount of time–it was eons if it was a day– pondering, wrestling, napping, trying to come up with the perfect…ta da…THEME. Everyone knows you must have a theme for a successful blog. How else will readers know what to expect?

My friends have blogs. Great blogs. Themed blogs full of tidbits on the craft of writing,  kitchen adventures, book reviews,  gardening advice and whatnot. I recommend their blogs to everyone. I even tried to emulate them. My muse rewarded me with a bad case of hives.

I regrouped. Enrolled in a blogging class where I learned about brands and loglines and more about themes. I committed to three posts a week, each with a specific motif. That lasted a month before my muse hog-tied me and flittered off to Cairo. Once again, I had tried to mirror what others were doing when really, I just gots to be me.

Thanks to my super cool Super Power–joint hypermobility, I escaped from my muse’s ropin’ shenanigan. And, while she was on sabbatical I visited an old friend at Hogwarts. He said, “Harry…” (I’m not sure why he called me Harry. I don’t look anything like a pubescent school boy-wizard with round spectacles. Nevertheless, I hung on my mentor’s every word.)

Photo credit: Fall and Fly ~ by glayiii

“I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind… At these times… I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure.” Albus Dumbledore  (“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, JK Rowling)

Then and there, I heard a choir sing–strange how they sounded a lot like Evanescence. In that moment of internal auditory stimulation, I realized this blog would be my Pensieve. All the random, off-the-cuff thoughts zipping through my brain like a bullet train would finally have a station to pull into. Yippie-aye-a-cow-patty! (I don’t know what a cow patty has to do with a Yippie-aye-a, but that’s how we say it back home.)

My muse returned, on the condition that we toss the notion of pre-conceived themes out the window of the Millennium Falcon. Which we did.

So there you have it—the tale of this blog’s birth. At T-minus and none I can announce….Houston, we have a go! This blog is rocketing into the infinite frontier. So, pop a cork, clink a tea cup, and hang loose. The odyssey has begun.

First stop…Scotland, circa 2000.

When Big Sis and I visited the ancient land of Alba, we enjoyed an entertaining bus ride to Loch Ness. Entertaining for the bus driver, because to him we talked funny and he was tickled that someone with THE MOUSE practically living in her backyard had ventured across the Great Pond to grace him with her presence.

Or it could’ve been the big deal I made over the wooly cows we saw along the way. Now, it’s not like Sis and I had never seen a cow. We’d never seen a cow with that much hair. Good grief, Fabio would’ve been envious of those tresses. I know I was, dang it.

Copyright: Kristal Hollis

Once we arrived at our destination, Sis and I stretched our legs, communed with the spirits residing in the ruins of Urquhart Castle and jitterbugged barefoot in the freezing tides of Loch Ness.

I had some nervous anticipation wishing I would see NESSIE, because that would be AWESOME, and I envisioned becoming the first person to come face to face with the ancient creature after swimming out to her greet her. And yes, I would do that…curiosity fuels my bravery. If I got eaten, my sister was there to witness the gory news-worthy event and my name would forever be tied to the Loch Ness monster. Is there anything cooler than that?

Copyright: Kristal Hollis

As luck would have it, NESSIE didn’t feel the need to appear on demand. With frozen toes, I reluctantly returned to the bus where I diverted my disappointment by taking pictures of the landscape whizzing past. It wasn’t until I got home and looked over my photographic diary that I realized NESSIE had made an appearance. Only she wasn’t in Loch Ness when she did. In the far corner of a photo of a loch, whose name I’d forgotten, was a serpentine figure rising from the water.

I showed the picture to a few people, who scoffed at the notion that the grainy image was a sea monster. The general consensus was that it was a piece of wood floating on the water. Hmmm…I’ve seen a lot of driftwood. None had a long neck with a distinctive head.

I decided to post the picture here and give y’all a chance to decide whether or not it was NESSIE. I rummaged through my photo album, three times if not a dozen. Mysteriously, the sleeve containing that priceless print was missing. Oh, the horror. I clutched my heart, hoping not to faint. The aliens who had stolen my waist (a tale to be told in another post) had absconded with my only proof of the cryptid. Sneaky little bastards.

Take my word for it…not only does the Loch Ness monster exist, she’s being protected by a covert alliance from outer space. What that means to us earthlings I don’t know…yet. The nosy-bosy that I am drives me to seek out truth, justice and the American-way. Holy crap, I’m channeling Superman. Yikes! He’s an alien too. What’s this world coming to?

Have you had any strange experiences with aliens, cryptids, or the supernatural?

Tell your tale at the Peanut Gallery below.


Happy Tales,

The Romance Review