Cheese Zombies

Dear Yakima School District:

Your best effort ever, according to my childhood, was the Cheese Zombie.    My favorite childhood hot lunch was paired with a reconstituted, milky tomato soup. Thank you, Mom, for making sure that I had a hot lunch ticket on Cheese Zombie days.

Lunch lady.  Ordinary.  Plump.  Hair net meticulously crowned.  Drawn eyebrows.  Large chest in a below-the-knee cafeteria dress. Varicose veins above sensible shoes.  Apron.  She is white, of course.  99.5% of the people at my elementary were white.  I was barely aware that people came in an amazing array of flavors.  White kids.  White lunch ladies.  White bread.

The Cheese Zombie was steeped in delicious carby, fatty mystery.  That singular hybrid of easy starch and fat required less chewing than food ought.  Dip that Zombie into sweet, hot tomato soup.  For a few moments your childhood troubles melted away.

Worry over lessons.  Worry over playground politics.  Worry over what you might encounter on the walk home.  Worry over what would be at home once you got there.  All of it melted away in the gooey, warm, buttery sensation of a Cheese Zombie and tomato soup.

No wonder I have food issues and a love affair with Cheese Zombies.  ūüôā



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He Shares the Moon


Her father warrior, her father most kind. His foreign fields now left far behind.

Then he defended and mended at will. Those days recalled are treasured still.

His sword now rests with memories mixed.  A quiet life upon him is fixed.

Her mother, his great love, away has passed.  But her framed face smiles, his sassy lass.

Now daughter dear, he nightly calls, to share his glorious find.

“Did you see the moon?” ¬†He begs response with tenderness refined.

“Yes, I see the moon.¬† Thank you, Dad!” ¬†She holds each call to heart.

Love’s kind exchange is never trite with bonds that never part.

Dedicated to Shirley, with love.

Photo by Luis Argerich

via Daily Prompt:  Champion

Banana Cream Pie ala Vern


“What is Vern making?”¬†He plunked a grocery sack on our table. Sacks were always paper back then.¬†

The retired prison guard was childless, older than mom.¬† “Banana cream pie,” his deadpan¬†reply. His Hitchcockian face paired with low, monotone voice was often pretty creepy.

Hhhmmm.¬†For once¬†Vern, who was good for buying restaurant meals and dispensing unwanted ‘fatherly’ instruction, piqued my curiosity. ¬†

What could go wrong with banana cream pie?

Ready made graham pie crusts – check. Bananas – check. Cool Whip – check. What followed solidified my disdain. ¬†He¬†set a pre-made crust in front of him. Sliced chubby¬†coins of banana piled onto the crust, naked and ready to receive…Cool Whip! That’s right, Cool Whip!

“There you go,” Vern said. ¬† “Where is the pudding?!?” The words almost stuck in my throat. ¬†You don’t tease a girl about pudding. “WHAT IS THAT?”¬†¬†I might have cried a little.

Mom’s skepticism deferred to normalizing whatever Vern did. No help came from her quarter. She was supportive of the¬†old, grumpy, tattooed man who believed that he could replace my father.

“This is how you make a banana cream pie. I made them like this all the time in the army.” Ugh. Was he serious? And the soldiers didn’t mob you and leave you for dead?

My cynical teen mind was quick to find fault, however. Vern really met my lowest expectations of him that day.

At least he didn’t add, “If I were a few years younger, I’d go for you myself!”. ¬†No 14-year-old girl wants to hear that! It was Vern’s way, I guess, of boosting my frail confidence. EEEeewwwww!

Vern died many years ago in the company of a new girlfriend.  Rest in peace, Vern. Enjoy those banana cream pies.

photo by Slice of Chic


Meet E. M. Bellish

via Daily Prompt:  Translate

2017_02_18storytellingGo with me somewhere. Anywhere. Let’s share an experience. ¬†Now watch me translate our story into an entirely new one.

I am E.M. Bellish.

I add volume to loud noise, color to sky, animate the inanimate. I am a storyteller.

Do I lie? Perhaps in the strictest sense, yes. ¬†Little smudges at¬†truth’s hardest edges. I am¬†a photo editor except with words and gestures. ¬†Bright contrast here. ¬†Dab of highlight there. Crop. ¬†Tilt. ¬†Maybe a filter that softens. ¬†Add deeper blacks to enhance suspense.

Language translates experience, emotion, understanding. And spoken word pairs with gesture, tone and modulation to draw the ear.

A perfect stage for E.M. Bellish. ¬†ūüôā