I got the fever…Jean Rodenbough got The Cure

(Derek, Moi, Diana and Gary and Billy looking a bit haggard for having posted over thirty five story entries with plenty more in the male pooch–I mean mail pouch!)


Good evening once again from the towers that are A Word with You Press in downtown Moscow!

Jean Rodenbough makes a second appearance here in The First Annual Peggy Dodds Write-of-Passage Contest. But I must warn you: if you have fear of breaking out in pimple read no further. Our acnephobia is a terrible condition, but fortunately, our author has

The Cure

by Jean Rodenbough

Yesterday was a watershed moment for me.  It marked an anniversary of sobriety of 27 years, if you don’t count one slip-up at a party one time when the punch was spiked unannounced by the host. But that’s another story.

The major reason I stopped drinking wasn’t because it was bad for my health, or that I had become obnoxious or ended up frequently in jail for public drunkenness.  It was because of spiders.

Spiders, you say?  Well, these were unusual spiders, that originally came here from South America, in Roger’s briefcase.

Roger was an old boyfriend whose job took him to many exotic sites.  One time he called me from the Arctic Circle to propose to me, but that story has little to do with spiders.

Roger was very tall and very slim.  We were a couple whose identity rested in our contrasts.  I was short, fat, and talkative.  Roger might say a few words once in awhile, but mostly he just sat and stared at whatever was before him.  One time it was my pet skunk, Skippy, who had been de-odorized. He and Skippy stared at each other, actually, neither making a sound.  Just as Roger stood up to get a glass of water, Skippy lunged at him and bit him on his ankle.  He let go pretty fast, because ankles don’t ordinarily have much flesh to grab onto, and Roger swung his foot back preparing to give Skippy a big kick.  That’s when I threw myself in front of Skippy to protect him and . . . but that’s actually another story.

The reason I stopped drinking alcohol, as I said, was because of spiders.  Big ones.  They slipped out of Roger’s briefcase when he got in the car as I picked him up from the airport.  He had been at a conference somewhere South of the Border, as they say.  Well, I saw one of the spiders as I was turning onto the freeway ramp from the airport and screamed and Roger grabbed the steering wheel just before it went into the grassy bank beside the highway ramp.  But that’s not the story I want to tell.

Anyway, Roger pushed the spiders, about six or seven of them, back in his briefcase and closed it before they could escape.

Well, we got to my house and I invited Roger in for lunch before he went home to his apartment.  He carried his bags in with him and fixed drinks for both of us to celebrate his homecoming.  Just as we were about to toast the event, I saw it.  The spider.  It was a big guy, about 8 inches wide if you count the legs.  It was kind of wandering around, and then made a leap.  Right into my glass of bourbon and water.  It seemed to like being in the tumbler, and started swimming around in it while I watched, hypnotized, and Roger started laughing.  I got mad and dropped the glass with the big spider in it.  It crawled out and ran up Roger’s pants leg.  I decided to start all over again with a fresh glass of bourbon, but when I tasted it, the taste was like spider, and I poured it out.  Haven’t had a drink since.   Haven’t seen Roger either, since the spider ran up his pants leg, that is.  But that’s another story.

While I’m telling stories about Roger and me, I’ll have to include the one about our trip to the Far East, before the spider adventure.  We went first to Beijing, where everybody speaks a different language from ours.  Their alphabet is different, too; kind of like in cartoons.

When we got off the plane there at the airport, we handed a taxi driver the piece of paper with the name of our hotel on it.  I don’t remember the name of it right now, but it was one of those really classy international hotels with huge lobbies, lots of hotel people around and we were lucky to find a few who spoke better English than we did.  But that’s not the story I want to tell about China.  It’s about the birds.

When the evening was warm enough, we saw people out walking their pet dogs, but also their birds!  They were being carried in their cages, with the idea that birds need fresh air just like other pets do.  They were mostly canaries and parakeets, and they chirped along as if they were greeting the passers-by.  We were fascinated.

Well, we stopped at a nice restaurant for dinner, and Roger ordered drinks for us, some kind of rice wine.  I’m telling you, I never drank such stuff.  First of all, it came in little teeny glasses, and it was gone in a swallow.  So we kept ordering more of them little teeny glasses of rice wine, and all of a sudden we knew we couldn’t stand up.  We couldn’t even read the menu with the English translations for all the dishes.  It was all a blur.  We did have enough sense to know it was time to leave and so we didn’t even order food.  We just left, got a taxi to our hotel and somehow got to our room and crashed.  Don’t ever offer me anything to drink in a teeny little glass because I’m liable to get sick right in front of you.  But that wasn’t the story I was going to tell, the one about birds, that is.  The only problem is I don’t remember the details.  And I don’t know where Roger went after he left me.  So I guess that’s a story that will have to wait.  It is a wonderful memory, but if I don’t find Roger, there’s no story.  So I’ll bide my time till I run into Roger again.  I know he will remember what I forget. Lucky me.  I swear, it’s not too late to find him and get that story!




18 thoughts on “I got the fever…Jean Rodenbough got The Cure

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    I loved the playful pace of leading us just to the edge and then pulling back over and over again. You had me on pins and needles going yes, yes, yes…not again!! Tell me, tell me the story. To hold such an interest is an art and you have done it so well. Your main character in narrator voice and conversational reflections is so compelling and irritating at the same time. Translation? They are very human trying to make sense out of their unsettled life as if they are trying to read all the chapters of a book all at once. Love this story, so thank you Jean. Personally, I am a fan of great big spiders…here’s a scene from “Spider Baby” one of my all time favorite movies.

    • Jean Rodenbough says:

      Thanks, Parisianne. And you look a whole lot better’n I do! Your comment is in itself a good piece of writing. But I guess that’s another story . . .

  2. Michael Stang says:

    Jean, this is a hell of a good time and the level of difficulty 10+. You pull this off with ease. Thought I heard some Vonnegut and maybe a little “Fly Fishing In America”
    I am such a fan, can’t keep my mind off an eight inch spider swimming in my drink.
    As this contest keeps amping, I keep smiling.

    • Jean Rodenbough says:

      Thanks, Michael. In real life I don’t care for spiders, but I often rescue them from the shower before I turn on the water. Take them outside when possible. And yes, there prob’ly are some bits of styles of other authors that I’m not even aware of. Good insight.
      Wasn’t aware of that.

  3. Salvatore Buttaci says:

    From sentence one I was hooked! You pulled me in and I stayed aboard until the very last word, Jean. Your writing is excellently capable of doing that, of giving readers no regrets about making you a favorite author of theirs. By the way, I am one of those fans. Great story!

    • Jean Rodenbough says:

      It was fun to work with. Began as a prompt in a workshop and developed in its own way without my control, becoming longer with age. . .

  4. Kristy Webster says:

    Excellent. This is so, so great. I absolutely love this story. I love the humor, the crisp writing, the VOICE especially. The images are fantastic, my favorite being of the people walking their birds. Kudos!!

  5. Tiffany Monique says:

    This was so whimsical. Sal put it best (but I ain’t gonna lie, I didn’t read the other comments yet). It goes further and further down a rabbit hole and at the same time, feeds like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs all the way home to Peggy Dobb’s quote and the hope of love unlost (by the way, I love the way you don’t tell what happened to your friendly neighborhood Spiderman). Write on!

  6. Monica Brinkman says:

    Jean, amazing writing. You had me intrigued throughout and your writing is excellent but that’s another story. Well done.

  7. KYLE Katz says:

    Oh Jean, this was hysterical. I almost cut off my brother’s thumb because he kept teasing me with spiders..until this day, I’m afraid. But that not the story I wanted to tell you. This is almost written like a stand-up comedy piece. Lots of rhythm and lots of jewels sparkle through-out your storyline. It has the classic comedy hook line which tugs at the reader until the very end. I loved this!

  8. trk803 says:

    Fun, readable, engaging. Feels like it could continue for pages and chapters (with all the seeds of stories for a later time to be woven into the tale). The only nit I can pick is the eight-inch spider landing in and swimming in a tumbler of bourbon. If you were up to that size of midday bourbons it’s really good that you quit.

  9. Stars Fall On My Heart says:

    This is such an adorable story! I don’t know what spiders taste like because they scare me too much to find out! Icks! Hope she finds him…well, maybe not LOL

  10. Diane Cresswell says:

    Oh lordy I want to read all the stories you didn’t tell but gave us teasers about. This has so much fun in it. Of course this sort of is the way my mind works – glad to see someone else has the same jumpy mind syndrome. More please.

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