Jo Janoski\’s Blog

Writings, Observations, Poetry, Stories

Just Doing My Job September 29, 2006

Filed under: Short Stories — jojanoski @ 10:53 pm

The following is a story written for a workshop, where the assignment was to write a 1000 word (prox.) story with the following elements: a red bike, a mail delivery lady who is pregnant, and an aggressive dog.


Sally climbed the steps, one by one, huffing and puffing with each advance. Twenty steps, twenty steps to reach the porch above. A rusty mailbox, her destination, remained in view, the lid curled and bent, no doubt the result of a collision with a heavy object or fist. Being a mail carrier was not all it was cracked up to be. The civil service brochure had bragged of the benefits–a good pension and health care, but not a peep about the walking, walking, walking.

She delivered mail daily for two dozen city blocks, lugging catalogs, letters, and magazines. Enthused at first, she wasn’t now. Not now that she was two months pregnant. She’d only just found out about the baby, sending her mind reeling with the news. A leave of absence would be necessary soon; she might need to quit her job. If the truth be told, she wasn’t ready for motherhood–taking care of a new baby, losing her sense of freedom. Hubby would help, but not that much. It would mostly be up to her.

There! She made it to the top, all twenty steps! A  well used red bicycle lay sprawled on the path to the porch, blocking the sidewalk. Tip-toeing over it, a sudden roar sent her stumbling backwards. 

Sally caught herself from falling. It wouldn’t due to risk hurting the baby.

“WOOF!” A pathetic dog emerged from behind the lilac bush, his tongue dripping and dangling from a black wrinkly mouth. Dressed in gray fur, straggly and uncombed, his ugliness spoke louder than his size. Next to the delicate lilac flowers, he was a study in contrast, for sure.

“Did you bark at me? You nearly killed me. I could have fallen back on that bike and hurt myself!” Sally’s outrage juiced her words with venom. This wasn’t the first time that dog has scared the heck out of her. His raspy bark and ugly face would scare anyone.

“Sorry, just doing my job.”

“Yeah, your job, eh? To frighten civil servants. Now don’t try that thing of ‘gimme a treat and I’ll leave you alone.’ I don’t play that game.” Sally’s face flushed red with consternation.

“Honest, I’m just working here! Mom told me to protect the new baby.” The sad sack dog threw his ears back and held his tail between his hind legs in shame.

“New baby? The Smith’s had a baby?”

“Yep! It’s three month’s old now. A real cutie…a little girl. She dresses it in pink.”

“Like a dog has any sense of style! Hmmm, she’s a career woman. I mean having a law practice and all…” Sally remembered saying Good Morning to Ms. Smith many days as that lady emerged from the house wearing a smart business suit and carrying an attache case.

“Well, some things are more important. Besides she still goes in part time. I help them by guarding the house every day. Sometimes Nanny gives me a cookie.” The pooch smiled as he remembered the treat.

“Wow! She’s making quite a sacrifice! What with being considered for an assistant district attorney position recently.” Sally shrugged in disbelief, shifting her heavy mail bag to the other shoulder.  It was getting late. She didn’t usually stop to chat, but something was nagging at her. “Why would she do that?”

“Pshaw! Have you seen that kid? Such a beautiful baby! All fresh and new and full of life.” The dog beamed. His yellow teeth even sparkled.

“Yes, babies are cute and amazing…what with their newness and all,” Sally replied, touching her stomach where the little one lay waiting. It hit her with a bolt, flying in from nowhere and crystal clear. Where were her priorities? A new life! And she would play a role of importance. This wasn’t about her; it was about this new little person who needed to be taught what she already knew. This was about mother helping baby, life helping life, spirit helping spirit. Suddenly she couldn’t wait for her baby to come. What was she thinking–a bunch of letters in a dirty leather bag were no match for a pink, new, bubbly baby to care for and teach…to continue life’s legacy.

“I knew you’d come around!” The shaggy dog looked at her with eyes like saucers. He sat taller like a regular know-it-all.

“How do you know what I’m thinking?”

“We dogs know a lot of things. Like when you’re sick, when you’re sad, and when you’re preggers.” The pooch grinned.

“And you also know how to keep us humans happy…and on track,” Sally replied. And she smiled too.

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski



Filed under: Poetry — jojanoski @ 10:32 am

A Poem for the 15th Ringing of the Bards, hosted by Billy the Blogging Poet, based on a theme of Nothing.


Nothing’s shirt reads “vagabond”
Guy crawls from place to place
Has no name, nowhere to go
Head empty, has no face

Downing thoughts from dumpsters
Cold entrees laced with crap
Others’ words, dumb ideas
Empty insipid claptrap

No brows, no mouth, no features
Sketch lines across his face
A countenance of nothing
Nowhere, no one, no place.

No heart, no blood, no organs
Whatsoever fill his skin
Filled to brim with foul air
No need for bones or kin.

Vagabond comes from nothing
Man has no soul, no breath
Living on others’ rejects
Not fit for life or death.

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

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When the munchies can get you in trouble

Filed under: In The News — jojanoski @ 8:29 am

Domino’s Brownie Bust – September 26, 2006

When the munchies can get you in trouble…

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Man Wears A Box to Court September 28, 2006

Filed under: In The News — jojanoski @ 11:14 pm – Westmoreland County Man Wears Box To Court

How come nothing like this happens when I have jury duty?

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My TV Dreams Are At It Again! September 27, 2006

Filed under: Humor — jojanoski @ 8:21 am

Wouldn’t you know it? I went to sleep after eating chili and had this dream!

A cooking show, “Dishing It Up,” starring celebrities from far and wide. Tonight’s guest cooks are about to come on stage.

Scene: TV kitchen. Pots, pans, utensils laid out. Music plays “Hail to the Chief”–Dubya emerges from backstage decked out in a red chef’s apron and hat.

W: “Hi Everybody! Most days I’m your President, but this afternoon I’m here to do some cookin‘ for ya…Texas style! And now I’d like to welcome my kitchen helper, another president from some very sorry days gone by, Bill Clinton.”

[Former President Clinton appears from behind the refrigerator, wiping red smudges off his cheek.]

BC: “Hi there, everybody! What were you saying in my introduction, Dubya. I was…uh…distracted.”

W: “I was saying what a good president ya were. Here, put on this apron.”

[Clinton eyes the garment and steps back in disgust]

BC: “I can’t wear that! It’s RED!”

W: “Yeah, so?”

BC: “Now, look here, Dubya. Just because me and your daddy are friends, that don’t mean you can push me around like I was your little brother or something.”

W: “Little brother! Oh m’Gawd!”

BC: “I mean I’m from a blue state, and there’s no way I’m wearing red. The very idea. That dog don’t hunt.”

W: “Okay. Okay. Let’s just get on with this. [He motions to stage hand to get BC a blue apron] Today we’re gonna make Texas Chili…” [Leans forward, sticking his face into the camera] “…because I’m from Texas.”

BC: “Don’t you think you should make something that doesn’t use beef. I mean Al Gore says we need to be concerned about global warming, and cows, you know, the flatulence, the ozone…”

W: “I don’t give a damn about cow farts! Texas chili uses beef. Steak, to be exact, do ya hear me?”

BC: “Easy Dubya. I’ll tell Daddy you’re picking on me.”

W: [Ignores Clinton] “Now as ya can see, I’m browning this meat like it’s been nuked good, the browner, the better. We’ll show it no mercy.” [Leans over the skillet smiling happily]

BC: “Figures. You Republicans are all alike–mean-spirited war mongers, always ready to nuke someone. I remember Reagan…”

W: “Are ya expectin‘ me to negotiate with this beef? How do ya negotinegochaTALK TO dead farm animals?”

BC: “You don’t talk to them that much. You just give them foreign aid and send in peace keepers.”

W: “How are ya gonna have peace when you’re feeding money to wolves hidin‘ in the barnyard?”

BC: “Huh? Look! Your beef is burning!”

W: “Ah, nuked really well. Now I’m going to put in some onions and cook ’em til they’re tender and some red peppers…oh, and chili powder and cumin.” [He sprinkles spices liberally…well not “liberally” in the political sense…well, you understand]

BC: “Cumin and chili powder with peppers and onions? Oooooeee! That’s some weapons of mass destruction!”

W: “What?”

BC: “Weapons of mass destruction. You know…oh, wait…maybe you don’t know…since you never found any.”

W: “Them’s fightin‘ words, Clinton!”

BC: “Fightin‘ words? Yeah, that’s kinda stale–you’ve already been at war for the last five years!”

W: “There were weapons! We just didn’t find them. They got moved to Syria. Hey! At least I did something!”

BC: “Oh no! You’re not going to accuse me of not doing enough. Did Chris Wallace put you up to that?”

W: “NO! I’m not accusin‘ ya. History speaks for itself!”

BC: “Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Gimme that spoon! You wanna see history. I’m taking over this chili pot. I’ll show you some history.”

W: “Oh no, you’re not! Ya had yer turn on last week’s cooking program. Now it’s my turn!”

BC: “I did not. Hillary stood beside me and stirred all the pots. Now it’s my turn!”

W: “Is not!!!”

BC: “Is so!!!”

W: “IS NOT!!!”

BC: “IS SO! I’m stirring this chili. Gimme that spoon.”

W: “Pop told me I could be President now…errr, I mean, stir the chili now.”

BC: “Oh, all right. I’ll just wait til it’s Hillary’s turn and stir it then. Let me taste it at least.”

W: “Okay, here, open yer mouth.”

BC: “Don’t burn me now!…..OUCH!! It’s hot!”

W: “Temperature hot, or spicy hot? Like an Arkansas guy would know the difference.”

BC: “I know the difference. It’s spicy hot! You need to cool it down a little…like we need to cool down global temperatures.”

W: “Oh phooey! Hot chili is just the nature of things. Ya liberals are always trying to manipulate us. What are ya gonna do…tax hot chili so we eat it less?”

BC: “Well, if it cools down your breath, aren’t we helping you?”

W: “Why don’t ya just let us keep our money and JUST ASK US NOT TO EAT HOT CHILI?”

BC: “We can’t trust you to do that.”


BC: “We take that money and give it to people who don’t have any chili at all.”

W: “Well, they might have got it on their own if ya didn’t pay them not to.”

BC: “Would not!”

W: “Would too!”

BC: “Would NOT!”

W: “Would TOO…hey, listen! Does it seem quiet in here?”

BC: “Yeah, I don’t hear any audience noises, do you?”

[Dubya walks out to edge of stage stretching to look out past the lights]

W: “Oh m’Gawd! The audience is gone!”

BC: “Yeah, and the cameramen and crew. We’re alone here, Dubya.”

W: “Well, what do ya know about that? Ha! Ha! I guess they got sick of a couple old presidents shootin‘ the breeze, eh?”

BC: “It appears so. Let’s go home. I heard your Momma Barb is making Texas chili, and hers is good.”

W: “Yeah. Why don’t ya stay over? Ya can use the spare room again. I think the maid stored yer Inflatable Monica in the closet. Just don’t tell Momma about it.”

BC: “Okay. Hillary won’t miss me. She never does. Oh, and Dubya…”

W: “Yeah?”

BC: “It’s my turn to stir the chili.”

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

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PATHOS SUBLIME September 26, 2006

Filed under: Poetry — jojanoski @ 4:22 pm

This is a poem I wrote for the Whimsybuggs Writing Workshop. It is called a Pi, sixteen-line poem representing the number Pi with (not surprisingly) the following number of words per line:  3, 1, 4, 1, 5, 9, 2, 6, 5, 3, 5, 8, 9, 7, 9, 3


Rustling soft canvas
dynamic breezy motion magic
fruits on the limb swaying
in rhythm with mother branches and green leaf cousins
in joy
drinking in sunny sky rainy juices
growing sweeter with each waltz
dancing in tandem
with nature stepping then bowing
in light splendorous ballroom of green forest gods
through swift winds of delicious perfection dipped fruity pathos
apples in trees swaying in soft breezes
sweetness demanding just one kiss of scrumptious pulp dripping
down your chin.

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

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The Ringing of the Bards XIV September 24, 2006

Filed under: Poetry — jojanoski @ 7:53 am

Welcome to the 14th Ringing of the Bards while we study intently on the nature of things…

Nature is everything. It is us; it is the world around us; it is the world within. So why do we find this simple principle so hard to accept, victims of our egos, such as we are. What is our place?


The Nature of Doubt

Fresh days whisper in with A Hush.
The Morn wrapped in Strains
from the Plant Song Man
Falling on our deaf ears as
All the Fountains Sing
and birds write their own music
while we engage in mere Birdwatching
anxious to know whether
Nature or Nurture
as our state of existence
will be named Conqueror
of our hearts and our minds.
Such needy people are we.
All the while the Plant Man
moves on to his Ode to Spinach,
laughing, bashing lyrics against The Wall
of our profound doubtfulness,
Agnostic Cacophony.
When will we hear the birds sing
and join the chorus?




Many thanks to the outstanding poets who made this, the 14th Ringing of the Bards, a success. The credits are as follows:

Morn breaks compliments of Ozy of Paper Tigers

Strains blend in from Bob Hazleton at Average Poet

The Plant Song Man sings from Pearl of Pearlformance

Falling plummets down from Shirley Allard of Housemouse

All the Fountains Sing splash a melody from Terry of The Shamgar Report

Birdwatching flies in from Keith Tidball of When I Wax

Nature or Nurture blogs in from the incomparable Billy the Blogging Poet

Conqueror storms in from Russell Ragsdale at Yuckelbel’s Canon

Ode to Spinach greens in from Madeleine at Mad Kane

The Wall slams in from Daniel at Talking to Myself

The Hush whispers in from me, Jo Janoski.