Saturday, December 18, 2004

LICENSE TO KILL or Landscaping Tribulations in Suburbia

--License to kill by the government of the United Nations. Man, free to kill at will. To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit - ever. They're like the Viet Cong - Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower. And that's all she wrote. -- deliberate misquote of Carl Spackler, Caddyshack, 1980.

And that's exactly what I felt like this afternoon. Bill Murray as Carl Spackler, standing on the 18th tee, prepared to destroy the entire golfcourse in search of one pesky gopher.

In my case, it was another type of "varmint" - the equally perverse and tunneling mole. And the terrain, my pristine front lawn. Anyone who has ever had a beautifully manicured lawn knows that the mole is your sworn enemy (and so is the mailman, but that's another story). So, I took to the front yard on this crisp, fall day. There was a slight breeze. I licked my finger and deftly tested the wind direction. Then, I donned my equipment. Tall rubber boots and long rubber gloves. Goggles to shield my eyes and a do-rag that would make Aunt Jemima swoon. I attached the Spectracide mole poison container to my high-powered garden hose, then gave my 15 year old son, who was manning the faucet, the silent thumbs up.

The water jetted from the hose and through the bottle of poison with the force of a fire hose and made an arc 20 feet high before I subdued it and trained the spray at the offending tunnels. I swished and swayed the hose back and forth in overlapping semi-circles. There would be no escaping for the varmint. I saturated everything - the grass, the pansy beds, the azaleas and dogwoods, slowing working backwards so as not to trap myself within the killing fields.

I was almost finished when the wind suddenly changed directions. I was in imminent danger of being drenched with liquid death. My hands were too full of hose to signal my son to kill the water, not to mention he was watching football through the front windows, so I leaped into the air like one of those warrior bitches in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In slow motion, I hovered, watching the poison swirl slowly below me. With the grace of a gazelle, I changed position mid-air, landing softly, ninja-like with nary a drop of the toxic substance touching my person. Tragedy averted.

And now the waiting begins. The problem with varmint extermination is that you never know how it's going to turn out. Does the varmint slink away to the neighbors' yard? Or will he come up on your porch and die in a smelly heap? Either way, he's gone. It's just a matter of how messy the clean-up will be.

And so concludes another adventure of the Suburban Sista. Fighting crime (and moles, on occasion) and making the world safer for democracy (and Bermuda grass).

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Writing Life

Seems like it's been a million years since the elections. Although there was a lot of caterwauling and whining that ensued, I decided not to partake. I didn't see much good coming from it so I decided to concentrate on my writing for a while.

I've been working on revising the manuscript for my debut novel and have a couple of agents and a publisher looking at it. Additionally, I have extended my book reviewing in a couple of directions. I have started reviewing books for The RAW Sistaz Reviewers whose reviews are widely disseminated throughout the African-American literary world, including QBR: The Black Book Review and Black Issues Book Reviews, as well as major players like Amazon.

I also acquired a new gig at a growing online magazine, Pop Matters ( You may also see my reviews soon at another e-zine,

Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting away from the dysfunction of our most recent presidential election and focusing my talents on something a little more meaningful.

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