Julie Wenglinski now resides in Richmond, Virginia. She graduated in 1975 intending to teach but changed to a career in IT. She worked for over 30 years for the Commonwealth of Virginia and retired in 2010. In October of that year, she married for the first time. She began taking writing classes with Susan Hankla through the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in 2012. Her poetry has been accepted by Port Yonder Press, Puff Puff Prose Poetry and a Play, Nonbinary Review, and she has three poems appearing on the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Blog.
While painting the bathroom, she kicked over a shadeless lamp with a compact fluorescent light bulb which smashed on the tile floor. Then she stepped in the broken glass with her bare feet.
As she tried to remember the EPA instructions for cleaning up the toxic bulb, she imagined that her foot began to feel numb all the way up to her ankle, so she walked on her toes, dripping blood, as she swept up the thin broken bits.
That night, on the internet, she found slide shows that may be disturbing to some viewers, and comments arguing over whether these photos were the result of stepping on a compact fluorescent light bulb or the result of flesh eating bacteria.
She dreamed of balloon like eruptions on her face, of cats in her trees, of going to get the hose to squirt the cats to save her birds. Near the hose on the far side of the yard, there appeared to be a mother crocodile with her baby, hiding quietly in the lirope. There were large black doglike animals with different dog heads on either end trotting around her yard. They had a clock embedded in each shoulder.
She dreamed she saw a doctor and he was the comedian, Ray Romano. He looked good holding a chart, wearing a white lab coat. He was not much help.
After she left the doctor, she could not remember how to use her cell phone or how to get to Strawberry Street, because she was in a dream. She saw her girlfriend, Tilda, with Bill Maher, sitting on the curb in the Fan. Bill Maher showed her a flyer of his upcoming performances, but she could not read it because she was in a dream. So she asked him to email the flyer to her and he was annoyed, because he was Bill Maher.
She Really is That Crazy
“I am very, very sorry Judy, but I just don’t ever want to hear you mention their names again. It’s a blood pressure thing for me. I know they’ve been your best friends for years and years. I know they gave you a surprise 50th birthday party and a wedding shower. Obviously I know Frank and Frank are gay but why couldn’t you have taken a girlfriend with you on that trip? Don’t you know how that looked? Every time I think of it, I get an image of my daughter having a threesome and it’s just unbearable.
“Yes I know what gay means. That has nothing to do with it. Yes I know they drove you all over Spain and France and carried your bags on and off the trains. I am sick to death of hearing about how Frank made all the plans and reservations and had a 3 ring binder with modules for all your travels and how he speaks five Romance languages, one ancient Mayan language, and can pick up a new one just by studying it in the airport on the way over. I know all that. And it’s all beside the point. The point is how it looked, what people think.
“ I am not the only person who thinks this way. I am not. I am not crazy. Your points make no sense to me at all, saying why wouldn’t you just have sex with them in town and save a lot of money by not going to Europe at all. Or what's to keep you from having sex with the woman if she had gone along. I don’t see where you are going with these, not one bit.
“Do I think you have sex with your Uncle Johnson when you stay with him in Omaha – well of course not! Yes of course I know he’s gay. What is the difference? I’ll tell you what the difference is. The difference is you need to show a lot more respect for me, that’s the difference.
“The point is that I have a health problem and I need to be very careful about everything, like what I watch on TV. Anything can drive up my blood pressure and I’m already taking medication for it. And I can’t imagine why this surprises you. Homosexuality is just not normal.
“And one more thing – why don’t you call us more often? You make us feel like you don’t even enjoy talking to us anymore.”
Everything is Out to Get Me
He was sitting on the couch in the dark, leaning forward, elbows on his knees, head hanging, staring into space. She turned on a lamp, flopped down next to him, exasperated and said, “Why are you cheating on me again with every damn woman you meet?”
He said, “I think the Mafia is after me. They think I ratted. That's why I bleached my hair.” He lit another cigarette, knowing that she hated it.
She leaned forward and dumped the contents of her purse out on the coffee table and said, “What has happened to all my old quarters? They have changed the pictures on the quarters so that they can track me when I spend them. You have got to go out right away and get me some more rolls of the old quarters.”
He took another drag of his cigarette, put it out and said, “I can’t go out now. The police are after me. I think I may have killed a man. They are looking everywhere for me. They use night vision goggles from their helicopters. They have done it before and I can hear the helicopters outside now.” He got up to lock the door.
She said, “Why did you buy meat with the stamp, that USDA stamp. You know that means it’s been poisoned. And why is there corn in the bathtub again?” He could see she was really annoyed about the corn.
He said, “I spent all your old quarters.” He expected her to be furious.
She said, “Why are you speaking to me in French now? Please speak to me in English. Please.”
Their Siamese cat Albert stopped licking his paw, turned to them and said, “You both really need to take your meds. I keep telling you - you have got to take your meds.”