“The Spider Sweeper”

Several years ago I wrote a short story I was incredibly smitten with but  knew in my heart might never find a home.  It’s called “The Spider Sweeper” and it just felt very odd. It’s a horror story. It’s a love story. It’s set in Japan during the late 1800s.

I sent it out and collected a few rejections, then decided to sit on it for awhile. A year passed. Longer.  A couple of months ago I stumbled upon it again and re-read it. Lo and behold, I still loved it. So I thought what-the-hell and decided to send it out again.

Now I’m here today to say I’m tickled pink to announce “The Spider Sweeper” was picked up by a gorgeous magazine I hugely admire, Black Static.

Picture 128

Don’t Pee on the Worm

wormOne day back when my son was a toddler we were taking a stroll around a hilly lake with my in-laws. It was slow going as he had short little legs and we were all enjoying the flowers and water and the lovely spring weather.

Halfway through our walk my son stopped and pointed.

“A worm!”

Indeed right there crawling across the trail was a dirty, fat earthworm.

I was just about to join in his excitement when my mother-in-law grabbed his hand and pulled him away.

“Don’t pee on it!”

Don’t pee on it? I don’t know about her kids, but mine doesn’t usually drop trou and whiz on any little thing that comes across his path.

After some questioning and eyebrow raising she finally explained to me that back in her day boys often peed on worms. But when they did, their private parts would swell up and become painful and itchy.

Ooookay.

Needless to say I had never heard of such and thing and found it a bit hard to believe. I chalked it up to being one of those old wives’ tales told to keep kids from doing naughty things.

It wasn’t until years later that I caught a TV show about Japanese superstitions, and this one came up. The “reporters” did some research and it was revealed that indeed there is a type of worm that when frightened shoots out a kind of poison that then travels up the urine stream and causes swelling and itchiness and pain.  Whaddaya know.

That’s when I did some searching of my own. I found quite a few sites (in Japanese) and blog posts with explanations or testimonies from men unfortunate enough to have had this happen to them. One guy suffered the same fate when he peed on a frog.

What I find even more amazing than the fact that this actually happens — that worms evidently can shoot poison up a stream of pee –is that throughout the ages enough guys have actually done this to make it kind of folk tale. At least here they have.

Smelly Things

I love nice, smelly things.

I’m down with fragrant candles and burn incense several times a day. I have all sorts of essential oils for my diffuser and have recently acquired a fragrant wax melting device which was cool until I knocked it over onto my new carpet and couch. *stupidfragrantwaxmeltingdevice*

But then I got this: OCHA 1

It  has a little candleholder in the back like so.OCHA 2

Oh, you’re thinking it’s just another oil heating thing. But it’s not! What makes this different is that it heats….

OCHA 3

… green tea!

I was so excited to try it out that I used the only tea I had in the house, some “new” tea (shincha), very tasty and very expensive. I got some as a present and drank most of it. There was a tiny bit left in the bottom of the bag and since I didn’t have any normal green tea I used what I had. It smelled absolutely divine. Mmmm…roasting tea.

I enjoyed it for about thirty minutes before my mother-in-law suddenly showed up at my door for some reason or another. (She does that sometimes.) She swooped into the house and commented on how wonderful it smelled. When she spied the little tea-roasting device she even went as far as to compliment me on having the good sense to buy it (Note: She hates essential oils and candles, says they smell cheap.). Everything was fine and dandy until she looked closer and was aghast to find I was cooking the “good stuff”. Lecture followed. But, hey, at least it wasn’t a cheap fragrance, no?

(Originally posted at Kappa no He)