Karen Says No – Sample Chapter 1

Karen Says No

To this letter to our new neighbors

Unlike most other chapters devoted to my dear wife, this is being written with the ASSUMPTION she will deny the following as I know her well enough after twenty years together (almost).

Dear New Neighbor!

Hi! Welcome to the area! Perhaps we will have the opportunity to meet in person this winter or spring as we share a common piece of forest and drive past one another all the time. Granted, don’t get your hopes up (lol) as everyone in this part of the suburbs is fairly hermit-ish. We met the previous owners of your (strangely castle-ish) house twice in five years, when we freaked them out by actually knocking on their door on Halloween with the kids. Hilarity and concern ensued.

Speaking of kids, we have two at home and if you see them wandering the woods just be aware they are not feral, they are ours. One is sixteen and only if there is a power outage will you likely see him outside on a non-school day. The other is our outdoor cat and a gymnast and climbs everything ha ha! Note I am a very protective parent and if you walk up to him in the woods or on the road and I am not present, I will find out and may initially seem violent. I’m harmless really, laugh it off (lol)!

(Okay, note, I am not harmless, and I have that “Irish temper” thing you read about in books. I advise you stay away from my kids and we will get along fine…)

We have a third boy, he is an adult and tattooed. He as well is a bit of an outdoor cat, so if you see a guy with knuckle tats in the woods staring at rabbits, wave and smile, he is probably the friendliest of the older  male humans  in the house though technically he lives elsewhere. He also likes beer.

I also have two cats you may see wandering around. I hope you don’t have dogs. If you do, note previous comments about my silly protective nature which also extends to cats, especially the tabby. Cats are children-ish to me so yeah, no dogs please unless they are afraid of cats.

Having a shared woods means shared responsibilities too. If any of my trees fall on your property, please let me know. I own a chainsaw and if it is small enough (it’s not a big chainsaw) I will happily chop it up and pile the wood somewhere along the road for anyone that wants it. If it falls in my part of the woods, don’t worry, I may deal with it, or not. I like my forest to be shall we say “Mordor-y” with rotten trees and fog and those creepy wind chimes I make and hang from the branches. Note, they are made of wood and only SOUND/LOOK like bones. That dead raccoon I have bleaching on the rocks in view of your house is real though (It may in fact become a wind chime! Ha ha!)

Oh, and stay out of my woods.

And if a tree of yours falls onto my side of the property line I expect it dealt with chop chop! 🙂 (Pun intended)

And don’t feed squirrels please unless you want me to set up rat and coyote feeders along the property line, because I will do that.

So, enjoy the neighborhood!

Sean and Karen (she’s the nicer one).

End Iceberg Violence



NOTE: Of course what happened on Friday in Paris is bad. Terrible. Terribly bad. Nobody who is an innocent who is unconnected to any conflict anywhere should be harmed during war. Just saying before I get painted as a heartless troglodyte.

Further Note (for right wingers): A troglodyte (you could just google it you know) is a fictional creature from an old science fiction book.

Further further Note (for right wingers): Science fiction is a genre of non-true books written for entertainment with a fanciful though science based theme.

Further^3 Note (for right wingers): Science is that stuff you think is made up but is actually real.

What Would Happen if the Titanic Sunk Today?

  1. Everyone who isn’t an Iceberg Supporter of all colours and stripes and political background would immediately post their statements of heart felt sadness and support for the victims of this terrible Iceberg Violence.
  2. People would modify their facebook profile pictures to have semi-transparent images of watery scenes and passenger ships if not an empty lightboat overlaying their sad faces.  The more artistic would change their background picture.  Icebergs would not notice this happening.  Victims of the Iceberg Violence who survived and their families and friends might possibly hear that this is occurring but it really wouldn’t affect them.  People who change their pictures wouldl be content in the knowledge that they were able to “do something” with a modicum of effort and expense, sleep better and feel involved/part of a manufactured community.
  3. Right wingers would LOUDLY TELL EVERYONE that this was the beginning of the end that icebergs were going to infiltrate all of our waters and impose Iceberg Law upon us.
  4. Normal people would tell everyone who would listen in a normal tone of voice that only a relatively few icebergs are a threat to us and if we are smart and plan well we can avoid Iceberg Violence.
  5. Left wingers will promote equally crazy ideas generally revolving around eating more organic foods, destroying passenger ships and finding a way to blame the oil industry for Iceberg Violence (WE CREATED ICEBERGS!!!)
  6. Historians will show that icebergs have always been a minor threat and need to be dealt with differently than we would deal with normal threats to our societal calm. Right wingers will call them traitors.
  7. Right wingers will begin to refer to ice in drinks as a form of collusion and rename frozen water Terror-Water
  8. The families and friends and national governments of people affected by iceberg violence will begin a program of attacking ice wherever found because frankly if you get rid of it all no more ice will form and be a threat.



Ten-Forty am. I no longer feel like my head is one hundred percent full of cotton. I no longer have any residual head pain. This is in part, a large part, due to the ingestion of about three extra strength Tylenol and two Advil, an icepack under my neck and about seven hours of sleep. I could have used another two hours but I had to head out early-ish to deliver my sons to their appointed Sunday morning commitments (a Super Smash Bros tourney and gymnastics training). I’m not quite ready to head to the gym to punish myself for last night’s indiscretions via exercise and a sauna, but that will come soon enough.

Sitting in a coffee shop, I am concentrating on my tale of woe as an irritating Chatty Mom beside me actively and loudly describes every single event in the passage of time to her four year old. “Yes look I got you the toy! Your sandwich has crispy bacon and tasty sauce! No your brother cannot drink orange juice and mommy forgot so you can have it!”. Jesus H Christ, one can see why she is a single mom. I am sure dad, well perhaps “dads” left or more likely jumped in front of a fast moving vehicle utilizing their meagre knowledge of kinetic energy to end their suffering.

But I digress.

I have or more accurately had a hangover because my wife and I went to see a friend’s comedy set at a local club last night then another friend’s show at a local pub.

“Mommy is this real fire? Is it fake? I need to go pee! Can I go to the boys by myself?”

I’m going to tell her off. I know it.

I cannot drink anymore. More accurately I can certainly drink but I cannot handle it the next day unless I cocoon in a bed for twelve hours, which a man in his late forties cannot do if he has children and a spouse and responsibilities. I have all of these.

Chatty Mom is actually upon review kind of MILFy. I can see how a guy, especially a young inexperienced guy, maybe a drunk guy, could get tricked into hooking up with her. One might be able to actively ignore her yappy nature given her physical bangability. I can see one waking up one moening five years in, having an epiphany: “Holy crap, she never shuts up and now we have a four year old that also never shuts up and I need to escape I think I hear a transport truck, why am I in the middle of the highway oh well.” Splat.

I first realized that my body cannot handle much booze way back in the mid-nineties. I went out with a dentist friend of mine quite early. It was a Tuesday night, that being the night the ever rotating crowd of young twenty something women and men went to a local dance club we frequented in the hopes of convincing the women of said group to go home with us (separately, get your head out of the gutter). We ate, played trivia, drank, laughed, hit on waitresses and found ourselves quite tanked yet it was only ten in the evening. The young barlettes began to appear and we decided what the hell, let’s keep drinking. I found my way home, carless of course, at about two in the morning. At some point in the middle of the night I woke and promptly threw up in a box of books I had just received from my father’s estate (having gotten lost in the apartment in the dark). I woke again round about eight in the morning and phone in to my work, leaving a message that I was unwell (!) and would not be available until the following day at least.

The pervasive odour of my night time visit to my late father’s tomes woke me again at ten in the morning. I was shall we say, probably someone who should have been sent to the local hospital emerg for monitoring, but instead I decided to punish myself. I showered, took lots of advil and left to walk the long walk to get my car. It was a hot, dusty Wednesday and traffic was loud. I trudged, sunglasses firmly glued to my face, the three kilometers to the dance club and arrived at my car feeling pretty good actually. I had sweat out the effects of the night before. I reached in my pocket and found no keys. “Jesus Fuck” I yelled like a crazed hobo and sat on the hood in anger.

Milfy Chatty Mom and screaming Chatty Child are now leaving. She gives me a wan smile of “ugh” as she passes. I smile back. Totally bangable if I was sing, twenty-five and insane.

I would walk back and take a cab to my car later but first I needed a few groceries. I walked across the road and a subsequent parking lot to the grocery store. Lunch food, a bag of milk and wow, watermelon on sale. No, I did not need another bag. I’m a fit young man, I can carry all this back just fine.

No, No I cannot.

One third of the way back, I stopped for a breath and pondered my bad choices. I was actually feeling worse now, the sun, lack of water and THE GOD DAMN TEN POUND WATERMELON were contributing to the relapse.

Two thirds of the way back I debated tossing the watermelon in the ditch but I truly LOVE watermelon. Love it. I would rather eat it than steak. If I had to choose three things to have for a solid year on a desert island it would be diet coke, watermelon and roast chicken. I couldn’t just leave it here. I couldn’t assume someone would leave it alone, I know hobos frequently inject drugs intro fruit. I continued.

Home again, I actually dropped to the floor inside the door. The apartment was warm, no AC, the smell of vomit rising. I decided to make some more.

Eventually, I recovered, threw out said box of books and went to bed, lesson learned, for a while.

I have learned this lesson many times.

I have learned it again today.

Milfy Mom is loading Screaming Baby into rusty car. She looks like she needs a drink.

I’m off to the gym.



I looked at the black bastard as he sat growling at me inside the humane squirrel trap that was far too small for him to even turn around in. Why this feline jerk had decided to cram himself into it was beyond imagining as he being, well, a cat, I assumed, well, being a human who loves cats, that he wouldn’t be so stupid. But there he was. Wedged head first in an all too small for his general size squirrel trap, his whiskers smeared with peanut butter. Yes, peanut butter. Again, I marveled at his stupidity as I pondered what went through his little mind when he approached the rectangular cube of steel wire that contained at the far end, well within smelling range, apples smeared with chunky pb.

I have always owned cats and have always had a good relationship with them. In fact, round about grade two I proclaimed to my parents and grandparents that I was going to marry JT, our little fat ten year old calico. There have been in my life only two cats I didn’t like, the aforementioned twit in my squirrel cage and Clipper, a twenty-year-old black as night evil bastard with three foot long claws that lived in my grandparents house. He would hide in their dark home in the most unexpected places round about child height and as you passed by, swing out his powerful though aged arm and slash you in the head. Many a time I went to school with bandaged scalp, forehead, shoulder, ear, and had to explain that evil in fact existed in the form of my Grandmother’s little monster. Usually I would be told that I should have just avoided him because “you know he’d going to get you if you aren’t looking” and through a form of Stockholm Syndrome assumed that it was of course an accurate statement. I knew he’d sit in the dark, century old home on top of shelves, in closets and on the edge of the stairs in wait. I knew of course that I should give him a wide berth even though if I did so, on my return trip, he’d be in a new location or would stalk me and seek me out in my grandparent’s connected tailor shop. I would go there on Saturday nights in the winter when my father had monopolized the television for two back to back hockey games, so I could watch British Comedies and Doctor Who. Sipping a coke, munching some chips in the dark, the music would rise to a crescendo as Tom Baker would round a corner. Just as he was about to come face to face with Cybermen, my ankles would be slashed or bit. Food would fly, I would scream and the embodiment of evil would slink off into the dark racks of clothing. He lived until he was in his twenties and died all of a sudden one night around Christmas not before emptying his bladder and bowels into a basket of unfolded laundry.

Clipper didn’t put me off cats, and I would like to think I learned from him something. Likely all that would be was a realization that you really don’t need to like everyone. You shouldn’t strive to be accepting of all others and skirt around those that cause you emotional pain. If you dislike someone that much, take the bull by the horns and thwack them when they aren’t looking. That and walking quietly. I’m pretty good at that.

Cats since then have been near to my heart. Rusty the very dopey Ginger, Suzie the fat over protective tabby who peed in the shoes of any girl I brought home, Zorro the stupid black and white drooler, Jello my late sister’s anorexic zombie that simply vanished one day INSIDE THE HOUSE. They all had a place in my little weird bubble. Ten years ago, Xena found me and adopted me. He is our current alpha-cat who is a prodigious hunter and who loves it when I or my kids are outdoors. He follows us around, sits by the bonfire, goes for walks and generally thinks he is human. A year ago, my eldest gave us a new black and white stupid cat that goes by the name of Hokkudo but we just call him Fat Cat. When he arrived he was a whiny skittish blob and a year later he is fit and irritating. His whininess is now made more evident as he runs around like a horse, cantering sideways, banging into things, generally being oafish, with his new found mobility. I am assuming my son is not taking him back so we’d adopted him as one of the family, though in reality he is the crazy fat uncle who we keep in the basement.

Xena and Fat Cat do not like one another. Sometimes in the middle of the night, one tries to share a bed end with the other and it becomes WWE in the darkness as I try to throw something at them that I won’t want returned a few minutes later (i.e. not a pillow) and won’t make a mess (i.e. a glass of water). If they are outside and one sees the other spending too much time in my proximity, a growling match will erupt. The best altercation I can relay occurred last week when I took Xena into the bathroom so I could extract a tick from his neck. It wasn’t easy and he was growling with increasing intensity as I attempted to safely remove the disgusting thing from his person. Finally, after a solid five minutes of angry howling and threats to break our ten year peace with violence, I had the alien parasite in my tweezers and opened the door to let him blow off steam elsewhere. Fat Cat, attracted by the noise, wa right there. Boom. It was as if two wind up toys were dropped in a cardboard box together. I had shut the door when I released Xena so I could flush away the Tick and heard the snarling and hissing over the sound of the water. I threw open the door and saw a mess of cats. They were intertwined in toothy, clawey death grips, swirling and spinning as they yelled and bit and dug one another. I yelled at them to no effect as I noted an almost perfect white circle of Fat Cat’s fur surrounding the two of them. I stomped my foot and they finally split apart. One went outside to kill something whilst the other ran upstairs to claim his bed for the night. Memories of Clipper prevented me from consoling either.

And so I looked at the cat in the cage. The Jerk who tried to eat apples and peanut butter. I remembered that this was the bastard who had been terrorizing my two cats, driving them up trees, waking me up at night with his yowling. I picked up the cage by the handle and pondered him, that he was only a cat, even if he was a jerk, and walked him to the front yard to let him go. He ran off and vanished into the dark, returning a few more times to wreak havoc before I saw him dead on the highway a month or so later. I’m sure it’s the toxoplasmosis speaking when I say that even jerk cats are still better than dogs.

I have to remember that Xena asked for Duck Pate this morning.

All hail cats.