Friday, May 25, 2012

White Trash in the Snow - Chapter Two (In which we meet Tad Saplin, Buck Heat and some other fictional characters)

In chapter one, readers were intimately introduced to Cristol Saplin and her boyfriend Wrangler Strauss, and met her mother, the governor. 

In today's chapter, readers begin to learn more about Cristol's parents, Tad Saplin and Rachael Heat Saplin, through glimpses into  how they were raised, and their life together. 

I hope you will enjoy getting to know all the characters in "White Trash in the Snow" as the story unfolds. Check back on Friday June 1st  to meet Wrangler's mom in Chapter 3. 

Disclaimer for new readers: These characters are not real and any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.  

Bonne lecture! 

White Trash in the Snow

by Allison


Tad and Rachael Saplin had been Azzolla High School sweethearts. Kevin and Jeraldine “Jerrie” Strauss had been AHS sweethearts, too.  The latter couple won the title of "cutest couple" the year they were all seniors. Rachael wasn't even nominated, and she was extremely jealous.  To this day, she claims that a passion for clean campaigns and ethics in politics started when she witnessed "a rigged voting process" for an "important election" when she was in high school. 

 Azzolla had less than 4,000 residents when those four graduated. Soon, their friends paired up and began to produce the next generation of Azzles. It didn't take long for young parents to begin to recognize the surnames of former classmates among the list of pre-schoolers who were tasting the paste side by side with their own little rug rats. By elementary school, Wrangler was one of the boys Field knew from midget hockey and midget football and one of the kids in Cristol's  grade in school. Rachael was more aware of him than Tad.  It was when the kids hit high school and Tad heard  the name "Wrangler Strauss" announced with the starting lineup of the Azzolla High Red Devils hockey team that Cristol's dad took notice. The kid was only a freshman! Something wasn't right. 

“It fries my pistons to see that kid get a starting position,” Tad told Rachael when he got home after the third game of the school year. “He’s younger than Field. He should have to wait his turn. And you should have seen how he hogs the puck. He’s making the most points! Who does he think he is? Somebody ought to teach him a thing or two.”

Rachael’s mouth twisted into a smirk. “Shoot, Tad. It don’t matter who he thinks he is, what matters is who Field is and Field is my son and that means he’s a Saplin.”

“If you say so, Rachael.”

His wife didn't even blink at the double entendre.  “Right," she said, "and what does it mean to be a Saplin? It means he isn’t going to let himself be shown up by anybody. We raised him better than that. He’ll do whatever he has to do to get what he wants, you’ll see.”

“Well I hope he remembers what I told him,” Tad said. “He can’t be breaking any more hands during games. Or breaking heads, either. Those stunts cost him too much time in the penalty box. He’s got to be on the ice to be seen by the talent scouts.”

The week that followed that conversation, the Red Devils had back-to-back games out of town. During the long bus ride out, someone put laxatives in another player’s candy stash and the boy became very ill. A group of seniors led by Field Saplin swore they’d seen Wrangler messing with the other kid’s bags and he was called out by the coach. He protested his innocence, but it did no good. Wrangler Strauss wasn’t allowed to suit up that weekend or for the next four home games. 

Buck Heat, Field Saplin’s grandfather and the Azzolla High track coach followed all the Red Devil’s teams closely. When he heard about the incident, he smiled so broadly his dentures almost fell out. Before the team was back in town, Buck had dropped off a a case of premium beer at the hockey coach’s house, telling the man’s wife that it was “just  a little something to show appreciation – from one coach to another.” Afterwards he went  to Rachael’s house to pick up the girls, they were going to their grandparent’s for supper because the rest of the family was out of town. Pride, the youngest, ran out to meet him with complaints about her sisters. Pouting, she opened the passenger side door of the truck the minute it came to a halt. Whining, "Maple is mean! And Cristol is crazy," she didn’t notice the empty box that fell out at her feet.  Later, the wind picked it up and carried it into the woods where, in the spring, pieces of light cardboard with “ex-lax“ and “chewables” and “24 pieces” printed on them added some color to the nest of a pregnant rat.

Cristol’s parents' critical view of Wrangler and other local kids was a learned behavior. Buck and Betty Heat were employed by the school system while raising their foursome and through that semi-opaque looking glass they had inspected and cast judgment on all the other families with school age children. Buck favored the athletic kids who excelled in organized sports and the boys and girls whose fathers took them hunting and fishing. Betty approved of those whose mothers took them to Wednesday night prayer meetings. Buck didn’t give points for mothers who hunted but Betty gave extra credit for fathers who went to church. Tallied scores determined which little Azzles got invites to play with Buck Jr., Helen, Rachael, and Sally.  Social status was a tie-breaker – a tie-breaker that eliminated a girl named Jerrie and a boy named Kevin.

Tad Saplin’s childhood years were not spent in Azzolla. He came from a rugged northern community of proud multi-generational native families, most of whom made a living fishing. The Saplin family held fishing rights under a government protected program that allowed for the coveted privileges to be passed along from generation to generation. Every summer hired laborers did a majority of the work while fishing profits put money in the bank for the license holders.

Tad’s paternal grandparents were entrepreneurs who had become wealthy running the only general store for hundreds of miles around. Tom Saplin, Tad’s father, was a success in business, too, but a failure in marriage until a promotion to upper management with the electric company brought him into daily contact with another manager, a woman named Stella, who became his third wife.

Tad grew up with half-brothers, half-sisters, step-brothers, and step-sisters. When he was seventeen, Tom and Stella pulled up roots, literally and figuratively, and transplanted the family six hundred miles away, to the Azzolla Valley. The promotions they had been offered were too good to pass up, and they spent no time thinking what it might do to any of the children.

Tad missed his cousins, friends, and elder family members. Native traditions, integral to his upbringing, were foreign and funny to his new classmates. He wrestled with identity, trust and bonding issues. In his hurt and immaturity, he rejected the friendship offered by a few local teens. People decided he was shy, odd, or rude. In any case, he was a loner. Busy with their new jobs and their own new acquaintances, Thomas and Stella Saplin did not notice.

Like his parents and grandparents, Tad focused early on “making good money.” It had been easy money when he was young- he worked for his grandparents. He was paid three times what they would have paid a non-family member for fishing or working in the store. Tad developed a skewed sense of his own worth and an ego to go with it.  It did not serve him well. When he moved to Azzolla, he was the only kid in town who owned three motor vehicles - a truck and two snow mobiles. They were his only friends. During the long winter of his senior year, he spent weekends exploring the vast, snow covered world that isolated Azzolla, or tinkering with the mechanical parts of one of the vehicles. As the months went by, he became comfortable with being alone.

Eventually, basketball provided a means by which he could experience teamwork even as he eschewed friendships. Alone in the school gym after all the others had gone home for supper, Tad worked on his jump shot. Liking what he saw during tryouts, Coach Heat, Rachael’s father, gave Tad a place on the team and added him to the list of acceptable friends for his children. Within a week, he began to date Rachael Heat (he thought it would guarantee him a place in the starting line up, she wanted a boyfriend).

Betty wasn’t sure about the new boy. As far as she knew, his family hadn’t joined a church, and that bothered her greatly. It was okay for him to be on the basketball team, but not dating her daughter. Not unless he had Jesus in his life. 

Rachael wasn’t about to break up with a guy who had a truck, and a couple of snow mobiles, so she lied. “Tad’s a Christian, Mom. He prays with the team before the games. And he likes that song you like – You Light Up My Life."

Betty perked up. "He likes Debbie Boone? Really?"

"Yup, you betcha! So you see, Mom? He's got to be a Christian if he likes Debbie Boone. Only saved guys like her, or that song."

Betty nodded. She was buying it. 

Rachael gave it one last push.  "So, don’t worry. Tad’s saved. I can tell.” 

Betty had already forgotten her doubts about Tad. “I always loved Pat Boone," she said. "So clean cut. Such a nice boy." Her eyes got dreamy. "Handsome, too."

"Yeah, Mom. Tad's handsome, too."

“Well, let's thank Jesus, for sending you such a nice young man." She took her daughter's hands and together they bowed their heads right there in the kitchen. While her mother prayed, Rachael mentally rehearsed her plan to sneak out of the house after everyone went to sleep. She was giving Tad a series of private lessons in remedial abstinence, and they weren't going well. He was a slow learner.

Rachael and Tad dated the rest of the school year. After high school Tad tried to convince a couple of colleges that they, too, needed his basketball skills. He wasn’t that convincing. After he did poorly in a couple of courses that he’d paid for with his own money, he dropped out. Living with his dad and Stella, he kept busy with heavy labor-type jobs that covered his snow mobile expenses. When Rachael was in town they continued to see each other. When she wasn’t around, he found other girls to keep company, in the Azzolla Valley and back in his old hometown. Those fishing town girls grow up early. And in Azzolla, the young women learned Tad Saplin wasn’t really so shy after all.

Rachael Heat left town after graduating from Azzolla High in pursuit of good times and higher education – in that order. Dropping out, transferring, changing majors, she spent five years sampling colleges like Goldilocks trying out the porridge, the chairs, and the beds. Too hot (Hawaii), too hard (another school in Hawaii), too cold (Minnesota), too soft (the unaccredited community college back home); her mother declared it a miracle when her daughter finally cobbled together enough credits to graduate from a school in Iowa. What no one ever knew, not even her parents, was that Rachael was three credits short of finishing when she donned the cap and gown and crossed that stage with real graduates of the Class of 1987. She had earned enough credits to walk with the class, and she intended to take that one missing course during the summer session, but it didn’t happen. Perhaps it was because she heard that an old high school flame would be back in Azzolla for the summer. Perhaps it was the opportunity to interview for a substitute sports reporter’s job. Perhaps it was a compulsion to annoy her father the teacher by quitting schools before completing an academic program. Today, Rachael can’t recall why she didn’t finish. In fact, she’s forgotten about those three credits. The Kodak moments Buck and Betty keep in a family album give the appearance that Rachael received a degree, and no one ever required that she show any other proof, not even when she ran for governor. If a capital city reporter ever investigated, they would learn that Rachael Saplin’s claim to a BA is Rachael Saplin B.S.

Rachael has used next to none of her formal education since leaving college. She isn’t a journalist, she doesn’t seek facts or truths. Her public speaking is folksy and unpolished, she uses words incorrectly and other words are made up. She runs words and sentences together with no regard for the rules of English grammar. 

That does not mean she didn’t learn anything in that game of hopscotch through the halls of academia. No, she learned plenty. Rachael Heat Saplin uses lessons from those years every day. First, Rachael discovered that a pretty smile and a flirtatious wink are a powerful combination.  Then, she found that when she used them while wearing a push-up bra, men thought she was brilliant. To be honest with herself, she knew they didn’t really think she was brilliant, but they paid attention as if she was, which was good enough for Rachael.  If the professor for her final three-credits had been a man, Rachael Saplin’s college degree would be framed and hanging in the Office of the Governor.

Tad Saplin and Rachael Louise Heat eloped six years after they left high school. It was destiny – they were destined to become parents in seven and one half months. Tad’s experiences and traits and Rachael’s needs and beliefs bonded like gold and mercury. The young Saplins wanted things, lots of things, and while other young couples in their situation might be focused on making a home, Tad and Rachael focused on making money. In the sixth month of their marriage, with Rachael’s pregnancy so advanced that  she’d have made Rush Limbaugh look svelte, Tad took a job that took him away from home and left her alone two weeks at a time. The newlyweds were together less than half the days of any twelve month cycle, a schedule they happily accommodated for him to “make some real money in a good paying union job,” a job that flew him and hundreds of others to work on company jets for work cycles of two weeks on and two weeks off. In a community where most employment involved retail or bartending, Tad had landed a very desirable job, and he kept it.

When first married, Rachael tried to guilt Tad into using his fishing money for family things. But Tad’s fishing license was an inheritance. It was a perk acquired at birth. He wasn’t inclined to share his birthright with a wife born in Iowa, even if her parents relocated before she had her first tooth. Later, when he began to win tens of thousands of dollars racing snow mobiles, she became his loudest cheerleader and promoter. (As Governor, Rachael Saplin came within a walrus whisker of exercising improper influence when she got Tad and his teammate a lucrative endorsement from a big oil company. But she smiled, and winked, and wore her push-up bra to the meeting with the Investigator General…)

She got involved in the Parent Teacher Association when she enrolled Field in pre-kindergarten, but the PTA interest waned quickly. Through a friend, she learned there was a vacant seat on the Azzolla town council and she padded her bra and approached one of the long term councilmen about running. Sure enough, he saw twin commodities that he believed would make Rachael Saplin an asset to the town council. Then, he engaged his brain and saw yet another pair of standout traits that convinced him to back her candidacy: her lack of intellectual curiosity and the inability to see her own shortcomings. This was the early 1990s, he was her father’s age, and naturally assumed that the young woman, a former candidate for the title of Miss Azzolla, was a narcissist who would love the title but wouldn’t want to work very hard. He expected that she would take his direction on how to vote. He was wrong about that last part.

By the time she and Tad talked, she’d made up her mind to run and had already filed with the town. “Tad, God’s calling me to be in public office,” she said.

“God’s calling you? That shows up on caller ID? I’ll hang up so you can take that call.”

Rachael ignored the sarcasm.“I heard it very clearly while I was praying last night. ‘Rachael, run for town council.’ That’s what I heard.”

“I’m sure you heard those exact words.”

“Stop that. I’m serious.”

“So am I. I meant that.” And Tad did mean it. He was sure she’d heard those words -  not from God, from her ego. But, if it made his wife happy, he’d go along. He thought of his grandfather’s saying:“If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. If papa ain’t happy, ain’t nobody cares.” For Tad, those words were as good as gospel.

With the backing of the councilman and members of his party, Rachael Saplin won a seat on the Azzolla Town Council. Four years later, tired of approving parade floats and regulating garbage collection schedules, she wanted more power. With three children - Field and Cristol in school, and their little sister Maple a toddler – Rachael announced her candidacy for mayor saying “Ya want somethin’ done, give it to a busy person. And there’s no one busier than a mom.”

Rachael Saplin took some votes for granted – those of women who had children at home and the votes of good citizens who cared passionately about things like banning library books and restricting the sale of falafels by street vendors. Still, those wouldn’t be enough to win, and Tad helped Rachael fashion a campaign to bring more Azzles out to vote for her. It was clever yet down to earth. The Saplin campaign promised to change town ordinances so that bars could stay open until 5am.

Election Day results proved that Rachael Saplin was a savvy politician. She had found a new voting faction, unemployed alcoholics. In Azzolla, there were enough of them to make a difference and she won by fifteen votes. No matter who ran and who won, the real winner was apathy. Apathy’s landslide came from those who simply stayed home, leaving the town which had reached a population of 5,000 to be run by someone voted in by 365 Azzles.

When she took office, Rachael was surprised to find she had to scramble to get up to speed in the job. First, she asked everyone on the staff to resign. Then, she didn’t know how to get the work done with the inexperienced lot she brought in. The fire chief whose resignation she accepted, had no problem telling everyone “She doesn’t know what she doesn’t know.” After a scathing commentary in the paper, she was ready to quit. Then Tad suggested she do what they did in big business, add another layer to the management team.

“That’s the answer! Tad, you’ve got an amazing grasp of government!” Once the city manager was hired, she was able to schedule hair, tanning and nail appointments on weekdays, and left early enough each day to tune in to Oprah at 4 pm. She loved being set free from the drudgery of actually working. The new manager was competent, and she didn’t have to be. Life was good.

When the paper ran another critical editorial, questioning the cost of having two people on the payroll to perform a job only one was elected to do, she fired off a response saying she believed in “Surrounding yourself with good people.” Who could argue with that? Promises to find “good people” and to surround herself with them became standard in all Saplin speeches from then on, especially as she ran for higher levels of state government.

The Azzolla Valley was a visual contradiction. Its geography was responsible for long, dark winters and short summers; Mother Nature provided the majestic natural beauty of the surrounding mountains; and three generations of Azzles were responsible for the town’s aesthetic ugliness. Entering on either of two approaches, visitors were greeted by a shabby hodgepodge of poorly built structures and strip malls with numerous bars, gun shops, diners, tattoo parlors, tanning salons and Laundromats. The juxtaposition of structural detritus against scenic splendor earned Azzolla the title of “The Other Appalachia.” During the Saplin years, the town became even uglier; a feat few would have thought possible.

With a blind spot as big as Alaska, Rachael Saplin thought everything she touched was made beautiful. Mayor Saplin was proud of her record. At the close of her second term, Azzolla was called “the meth capital of the state;” it had one meth house per 650 adults. That same year, a national report labeled Azzolla High School  a "dropout factory." Did these facts embarrass Mayor Saplin? Not one bit. If anyone mentioned them, she changed the subject, “Oh, golly. There will always be things to work on. What’s important right now is that sports complex…

The new sports complex had been her “baby.” Fiscal prudence had been thrown to the wind, the building built on land the town didn’t own, and construction costs far exceeded foreseeable income. The town’s surplus when she took office had become a twenty million dollar debt because of that building, yet she had an answer for that, too. “What good’s a surplus? Money is for spending.”

While Rachael was making friends and enemies in the valley, Tad Saplin put in year after year on his job. He worked fewer days than a schoolteacher, but was away from home like a long-distance trucker. Some couples in this situation found it hurt their relationship. Not the Saplins - they liked to pursue separate interests and they did well apart. In the summer, Tad returned to his birthplace to run a fishing operation and to catch up with old friends. In a good year, the business kept him away the month of July; in a poor season he was gone six to eight weeks. Deep-water fishing provided money for him to spend on the love of his life – snow mobile racing. Racing was expensive. Equipment, maintenance, clothing, entry fees, and other racing necessities sucked up thousands of dollars annually.

Rachael was jealous of the money, time and affection Tad showered on his hobby and often called it “Tad’s mistress.” Tad didn’t mind, he thought it was funny. Many times he’d take his machine out at midnight and would stick his head into the bedroom before he left to say, “Going out with my mistress. Don’t wait up. Gonna ride her all night.”

Though they weren't sharing a bed, Mr. and Mrs. Saplin marketed themselves to the public as a couple devoted to family. It was part of the game of politics and necessary for Rachael Saplin’s next foray  -  a run for State Comptroller. 

One of the men running against her was certain her fiscal missteps as mayor would cause her to be eliminated early. He had prepared for the candidate’s debate by memorizing facts. That was his first mistake. Trusting that she would answer questions put to her was his second. Skillfully, with a down-home folksiness and innocent smile, she changed topics and dodged questions, managing to avoid giving any factual responses. Tad, behind the stage and out of sight, was amused. Good luck, buddy... Tad thought, I've been trying to get the truth out of her ever since she told me she was only a couple weeks pregnant that summer...  

Frustrated, he prepared to directly challenge her in the next debate. When she again said nothing but platitudes he shook his head and said, “Mrs. Saplin, if you aren’t going to answer the questions, why don’t you just say so?”

Simultaneously she blinked, pulled back her head, and paused, looking shocked. Then, relaxing the tension in her neck, she spoke as if talking with a child, “I may not answer the questions you want answered but I am going to talk directly to the people.” Smirking, she looked out at the audience and into the camera. “I’m going to tell them what I want them to hear.” Proceeding to babble semi-coherently, making no real point, and ending with a nod and a wink, she was the epitome of patronizing over-confidence and ignorance. Her supporters found her “spunky,” “refreshing,” and “candid” - all the key measures of the shallow end of the voting pool. 

Rachael Saplin was in her glory; she lived on praise and attention. She loved being unpredictable and breaking the pattern followed by all the other candidates (she called them "the good ol' boys"). 

She was convinced God had a plan for her life. She knew she was following His plan. She wasn't meant to be president of the PTA or president of a Fortune 500 company (not that she knew what a Fortune 500 company was) - she was called by God to be the first female President of the United States of America.  And she was determined that nothing  - not motherhood, Tad,  nor apple pie - could take her off that course.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Public Figure Levi Johnston Creates a Facebook Page for Us

Levi has a new tat. The very day he and Sunny learned they would have a daughter, he went and got her name, "Breeze" on his left bicept in the same script as the tatoo he got one year ago on the other one.  The name was Sunny's pick.  Levi is consistent, Tripp was Bristol's idea, or so they say. 

Last year, Levi got "Tripp" inked on his arm and showed it off when he was interviewed for his birthday celebration in Las Vegas. It wasn't his real birthday, and he was feeling pretty phony-something he shared in "Deer in the Headlights."  His  discomfort is evident in the video taken before the public celebration for which he was paid $20,000.  Levi needed the money. He wasn't having fun, he was earning a paycheck. It's what he does - sell himself.

The interviewer is, IMHO, a jerk.  The YouTube clip begins with this awkward exchange. 

Interviewer:  "Say, Bon jour Las Vegas." 

Levi says it. 

Interviewer: "Do you know what the means?"

Levi: "No.... Do I look like... whatever that is?"

Now, maybe I'm just lucky to have had a good public education, but it amazes me that a 21 year old in the USA doesn't know "hello" in French.  And maybe a couple other languages, too. Sorry, guess I'm a snob. 

But, it gets worse. The interviewer takes a sleazy turn, IMHO, and tries to make something out of Levi being in Sin City and leaving Sunny behind.  He asks how Sunny feels about Levi's birthday bash. 

"I'm pretty sure she's not very, ah, stoked about it, but," Levi shrugs, "you know it's kinda what I do. She knew who I was before she started dating me,   and you know, I'll be faithful to her so she doesn't have anything to worry about."

So now we know what Levi does.  "This is what I do," he said. Well that's a long way from his childhood dream of being an NHL star. 

I can't help it, I find that very sad. And look in his eyes - he's sad.  

But now it's a year later. A full year later and another trip to the tatoo parlor, this time he got some pink ink worked in,  You can see it on Levi's new Facebook page that he opened last week:

That’s a Levi Johnston Facebook page opened seven days ago. Thirty-three people “like” it so far, but I’m not one of them.

Only four years ago this guy was a self-proclaimed redneck whose MySpace page said he didn’t want kids.  He wasn’t  really a MySpace user, he said many times, including in his memoir, that the page was put up by his friends.  That fits the Levi Johnston image, he doesn’t seem computer savvy at all.
But  look at this Facebook page - blatant pandering to those of us who have chosen “team Levi” over the darkside.  We are supposed to be giddy over another out-of-wedlock Wasillian. I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling all warm and fuzzy about this. 

In my novel, I have a character named Wrangler.  He’s got things in common with Levi. Not an exact match, because my characters are not the Johnstons or the Palins. This is the perfect place to restate my disclaimer :

White Trash in the Snow is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Wrangler is a figment of my imagination and I treat him sympathetically. If I were to write about Levi Johnston circa 2012, I can’t say with certainty how sympathetic I would be.  Just sayin’. I mean, obviously  his life right now is about the new baby. What makes this new baby newsworthy?  How could Levi and Sunny sell this news? The answer is easy. Tripp!  A half-sister for Tripp Johnston gave Levi something to market, and to market he went. First, he got money to announce that he’d knocked up another teenager. Yes, Sunny Rae was 19 when she went to the cabin with Levi and they “forgot” to bring birth control.  Then Levi and his current baby-mama got paid again for the revelation of the baby’s name. Remember what Levi said one year ago? It hasn't changed. Fathering babies, getting their names tattooed on his body and selling interviews  is how he makes his living. 

Levi hasn’t finished High School. He hasn’t gotten a GED. He hasn’t gotten a job. His adult life began with early fatherhood, which, for most people is a job without pay, and 99.9% of his income since has been a derivative of that miracle moment when his ejaculation discovered the awaiting egg. 

He started out on the more traditional path, working a blue-collar job on Alaska’s north slope, and lost it when his son was less than a month old. (Or was he just over a month old? That depends - in which pages in his book was Levi telling the truth? Maybe there's a good reason Sunny hasn't read Deer in the Headlights. But here at the Palin Place, those details about that have been explored before. 

Why do we think Levi would oppose Tripp being used in a television show? Exactly what evidence is there to support that belief?  I would argue that Levi defines himself as a media personality, a public figure, and is quite comfortable with his three- year -old son being in the spotlight. Remember, if that kid isn’t news, neither is Levi.

Tripp and Bristol get a reality show and Cha-ching! Levi begins marketing Breeze even before she's born. Something doesn't feel right about all this. It's got Palin written all over it, but not Johnston. Not the original Levi Johnston. But somewhere along the way, I think we lost him.

Prior to McCain’s invitation to run with him in 2008, the Palins had some experience in getting something just for being a recognized name – the kids traveled at taxpayer expense to places where they did little or nothing to benefit Alaskans ; gifts were given to the family, to the governor, to the First Dude/Pimp; meals were comped ; benefits were expected.  

Selling themselves didn’t come as naturally to the Johnstons. Sadie was the first to cash in, selling a story to Star magazine and giving the rag a picture of her brother, father and nephew to go with it. Published in March, 2009, that article became the first shot fired in the war between the Palins and the Johnstons. Before that time, Bristol lied and said Levi was a hands on dad who saw his kid often and was “just as much in love” with Tripp as she was. Sarah lied and said the kids were “parenting their butts off” and that Levi and Bristol would be good parents. Then Sadie shot her mouth off, and it became an American hillbilly feud to rival the Hatfields and the McCoys. 

Bristol had possession of the big gun, and she aimed for the heart - no more grandma Sherry sitting for infant Tripp while Bristol went to school. Boom. Take that. The Johnstons staggered a few steps and regrouped. They weren’t working with an attorney or a “representative,” they were figuring it out for themselves.  The Tyra Banks Show won the Johnston family teary tell-all – an idea more likely to be hatched by Sadie than Levi – and the three of them told Tyra that they had no clue why they were being deprived of time with Tripp. Sherry was trying to get her “head around it.” No clue? Yeah, right. Simultaneously, the people of Alaska paid for the governor’s spokesperson to say that the Johnston’s were trying to profit from the Palin name. But, wait – there was no profit, they went on that show for free! So, the governor’s office corrected their earlier statement.

Ummm…  I made that last part up to see who’s still following this. Sarah Palin never admits she’s wrong.

The bottom line is, since April 2009, Tripp has been the money ticket for both his parents. Levi and Tripp appeared in GQ, Bristol and Tipp made the cover of People, Levi spilled it to Vanity Fair, Bristol put on ridiculously lavish gowns and  fake-baked cupcakes for Tripp. Levi stripped down, his sister followed his lead. Together  Bristol and Levi sold a story to a magazine and to television about their reconciliation and engagement, then kept mum about the second breakup long enough not to have to give back the money. This whole Palin/Johnston hillbilly feud is the only income Levi has, and it’s what Bristol has relied on for her very un-single-parent-like lifestyle.

I hope Levi is happy with his life, his girlfriend, his daughter, and his dog. That's a nice looking dog. Want to see that smaller picture blown up?  I'll put it below. Take a close look at the new Levi. Or is it the same old Levi, unmarried father-to-be, selling his story but not telling the story we want to hear. You know - THAT story. Maybe when the baby money fizzles he'll resort to that. But not while he can cash in as a spin off to Bristol and Tripp's reality show. Tripp's little sister Breeze is going to be another cutie.  Will Levi market her? Yup, you betcha. He already has.

It's kind of sad.

Friday, May 18, 2012

White Trash In the Snow - Chapter One

White Trash In the Snow  

by Allison


“You didn’t pull out! Why didn’t you pull out? Shit, Wrangler! What’s the matter with you?”

Sixteen-year-old Cristol Saplin and her boyfriend, Wrangler Strauss were in her bedroom in the Governor’s home on Lake Azzolla, their Levis and shirts in a heap on the rug.

She pushed him off her and sat up.

“Damn you.”

Wrangler rolled onto his side and leaned on an elbow. “What’s the big deal? Nothing’s going to happen.”

“How would you know, you dumb jock?” She shoved him off the bed and he landed on one of his boots.

“Hey,” he said, “stop fooling around. What’s the matter with you?”

Wrangler got to his feet and picked up his jeans. As he put a foot into one pant leg, he turned to her, “You’re getting really weird, Cristol. Bitchin’ all the time. I hope you get over whatever’s bugging you real soon, ‘cause I’m not putting up with this fuckin’ shit much longer.”

“Cristol!” Her mother’s voice came from downstairs.

“Shit!” Cristol sprang off the bed and scrambled for her clothes. Wrangler hurriedly zipped his jeans and worked his arms through the sleeves of his shirt. While buttoning it up, he put his left foot into a boot.

“Cristol, are you up there?” Rachael Saplin’s voice was no closer. She was not headed up the stairs. Cristol breathed out a sigh.

“Yes, Mom!” she called out, then whispered to Wrangler “just stay here.” Leaving her jeans undone, she pulled a large t-shirt over her head and let it fall loosely down over her hips. Reaching for the doorknob, she took a deep breath. “What do you want?” Her voice registered annoyance, her most common state of emotion since her mother took office six months ago. The event had turned Cristol’s life upside down. Frowning, she moved toward the stairs.

“Come help me. Make your sister a sandwich while I check my email. And put the wash into the dryer like you were supposed to do when you got home. I need your help, Cristol. Since I let the help go you’ve been doing less and less around here. That’s got to change, young lady.”

Cristol stopped on the third stair. Her heart was pounding and she felt her face flush as tears welled up in her eyes.

“Everybody keeps saying I need to change! I don’t need to change! What I need is to be left alone! Just leave me alone!” She turned and stomped up the stairs, slamming the bedroom door behind her.

Wrangler was in shock. Now what was he going to do? Governor Saplin would be coming up those steps any minute.

Cristol’s room was off limits to boys. She and her old boyfriend, JJ, had often hung out in her room, but, just before they broke up, Mrs. S had made an unfortunate discovery of something under Cristol’s bed, and new rules were put into place.

Wrangler had been in and out of this same house many times since grammar school days when he used to play with Cristol’s older brother, Field. He knew that Mr. and Mrs. S were not strict parents, and he used to think it was because they weren’t home enough to know what their kids were up to, unlike his own mother who was almost always at home. He remembered when Field, at twelve, began picking schoolyard fights. He was tough. He did damage. In high school, Field Saplin led the hockey team in minutes spent in the penalty box for on-the-ice brawls. Busting other guys’ heads was only the beginning. Before he had turned seventeen, Field Saplin had gotten very good at playing test-the-limits-of-the-law. He’d dealt himself a full house of high-point cards off the bottom of the deck: drug use, alcohol abuse, theft, vandalism, breaking and entering. He got away with all of it. In Azzolla people suspected that Tad and Rachael Saplin used their influence to protect Field from consequences.

If she ever got into real trouble, Cristol assumed that her parents would cover for her, too. Like her brother, Cristol drank often and too much. She had done some drugs, but, unlike Field, she was not addicted to any. In the seven months since obtaining a driver’s permit, she’d been pulled over for speeding five times and been given tickets twice. Both were dismissed after her dad made phone calls. Her mother said the troopers were picking on her because of her title. It didn’t make any sense to Wrangler.

“Title? What title?” he had asked Cristol.

“The Governor’s Daughter,” she’d replied smugly. Wisely, he hid his reaction. No good ever came from making her angry. If anyone could hold a grudge, it was Cristol Saplin; it was something she learned from her mother.

That afternoon, Wrangler and The Governor’s Daughter had planned their afternoon romp while clearing their trash from a table in McDonald’s. When they left, Wrangler held the door for her, and once they were outside he asked about the dangers of getting caught in her room. She laughed, downplaying any risk, “Even if we got caught - and we won’t - Mom and Dad wouldn’t do anything.”

 Wrangler kicked at a stone. He was conflicted. Cristol’s room would be better than his truck again, but he really didn’t want to get caught. If his mom got a call from the Saplins she would be living in fear of the consequences for months, maybe years. And she had enough to deal with already – constant back pain, bills she couldn’t pay, being a single parent. He didn’t want to be the cause of any more grief.

“They wouldn’t even tell my mom?”

“For sure they’d never tell your mom,” Cristol assured him, holding out a piece of gum. He turned it down; he had some chewing tobacco in the glove compartment. She continued the subject that was on both their minds. “If we ever got caught, it would just be embarrassing. No big deal.”

“Yeah, no big deal.” At the time, the risk seemed worth taking.

They got in his truck and headed for her house. Cristol was in a good mood. She walked two fingers up his right thigh, across the folds in his jeans, and tugged lightly on the zipper. “Kinda wish there was a chance of getting caught,” she said, looking up coyly. “’Cause you’re really cute when you get embarrassed.”

Wrangler took a corner a little too fast and her hand slipped away. “I don’t get embarrassed,” he corrected her.

She sat back and smiled. “Oh, really? I’ve seen you blush. You aren’t a very good liar, Wrangler Strauss. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t be embarrassed to be caught with your pants down.” She snapped her gum loudly and lifted her chin as if to challenge him to disagree.

“Got nothin’ to be embarrassed about –‘especially when my pants are down.”

Now, only an hour later, Wrangler stared at the closed door and remembered that cock-sure boast he’d made. He felt heat rising in his face. Was he blushing? No, he was angry. He was angry with Cristol because she had sworn to him that no one would come home.

It wasn’t just that Cristol was not supposed to have a boy in her room; her mom didn’t like Cristol hanging with Wrangler at all. ”valley trash,” that’s what Cristol said the governor called him during one of their recent arguments. No, he definitely wasn’t the kind of dude she wanted matched with Princess Number One. Then again, there probably wasn’t anybody good enough to suit Mrs. S or Cristol’s dad.

Cristol’s folks are the kind of people who think their shit don’t stink. It was an observation that often popped into his head, and last week he had made the mistake of saying it to her. She’d been complaining that her parents were “ruining her life” by making her go to a “lame political event” because her mother wanted to “show off their perfect family,” and he thought he was being supportive. To his surprise, she got defensive.

 “What are you talking about, Wrangler?”

“I’m just sayin’ your mom thinks she’s better than other people.”

“She does not! Why do you think that?”

“Why? Cause she’s always got that stupid excuse for her mistakes – or worse still, one of her whoppin’ big lies,” he said. Then he imitated Mrs. S, “Us Christians aren’t perfect, we’re forgiven.” He’d heard her say it dozens of times.

“You don’t know anything, Wrangler!” Cristol was mad. She didn’t like anyone making fun of her family’s evangelical beliefs. They were important to her.

“For your information, that only means that Jesus took all of our sins and that makes us perfect in God’s sight, and -”

“See? You said it! You’re perfect. Tell me that ain’t bein’ a snob.”

“You are too stupid to understand.”

“Oh yeah? If you’re so smart, answer me this: when you and I…when we…you know. You aren’t guilty? But, I am?”

“That’s right! You are and I’m not ‘cause I always ask for forgiveness. So there.” She stuck out her tongue. “We’ve had this conversation before. You’re just too stupid to get it.” It was true, they had talked about it, and it made no more sense to Wrangler this time than any time before.

“That’s so phony. Like I said, you all think you’re better than other people.” The argument abruptly ended their evening together. That was a week ago. They had sinned three times since then.

Ha! Cristol is going to have to ask for forgiveness again tonight. The thought amused him. As far as he was concerned, what the two of them were doing was not wrong or unnatural, or even illegal. They had both reached the age of consent, and they enjoyed consenting. It was their constitutional right. As Mrs. S liked to say, Americans love their freedoms!

All these thoughts had gone through Wrangler’s mind in the long minute that he stood frozen in place at the foot of Cristol’s bed. He smiled slightly, imagining himself telling Mrs. S that he and Cristol were doing nothing wrong, just being good, patriotic Americans – pursuing happiness.

Cristol noticed the silly grin. “Shut up!” she snapped.

“What?” he snapped back. “I didn’t say anything!”

Just then there was a knock on the door. “Open up Cristol. And I heard your voice, too, Wrangler, so don’t bother tryin’ to hide.”

Wrangler and Cristol looked at each other in panic. For a few seconds neither moved. Then he shrugged, went to the door and opened it.

“Hi Mrs. S,” he said with a shy, lopsided smile.

Rachael looked at him, her red lips pursed. Behind her glasses, her eyes narrowed. Strange timing for a joke to come to mind, yet he instantly recalled something about a pit bull wearing lipstick.

He moved aside to let her in. She didn’t budge. He tried small talk, “J’you have a nice day? How’s the state doing?” Her set jaw moved slightly, and while she glared at him silently, he spewed whatever came to mind, “Did I tell you? When I’m eighteen I’m gonna join that secessionist party. Been thinkin’ Mr. S is right. We’ve got our own oil. Screw the other states!”

More glaring. More jaw jutting.

“If we secede will you be President?”

Rachael was having none of it. “Get out!” She pointed toward the stairs. “Get out now before I call Ed and have you arrested.”

Ed Spivey was a state trooper married to Rachael’s younger sister, Sally Heat Spivey. In Wrangler’s eyes, Ed was The Man. He was living a dream - guns were part of his work wardrobe! Since Cristol had introduced her boyfriend and her uncle, the two had gotten together for target shooting a few times. Trooper Spivey basked in the admiration the boy showed him, and in return, Wrangler got to try out some advanced weaponry. Once, Uncle Ed let Wrangler test out a Taser gun. It was a controlled application, no one got hurt, and for Wrangler and Ed, it was a bonding experience.

Ed and Sally separated in March and since then Sally’s family had been compiling charges she would use against Ed in upcoming divorce actions. Everyone in the family was asked to help. When Cristol came up with the Taser incident, her aunt was delighted and her mother was shocked. Rachael, wanting to do all she could to hurt the man who made her sister’s life miserable, said she hoped to get him fired for Taser misuse, but so far, the union was protecting him.

“Bad troopers are a menace, and the Governor should be able to remove them,” Tad Saplin told the State Commissioner of Human Resources. The union boss, also in the meeting, didn’t argue. He just laughed. Tad liked to think of himself as second in line to the governor, but as far as the union was concerned, Tad Saplin was impotent.

Rachael knew that Ed was unaware of the enormous amount of grief his in-laws had in store for him, so she didn’t hesitate to threaten Wrangler by invoking his name. It would not be the first time she would ask a favor of someone and then kick them around. (Wrangler didn’t know much about politics, but, from hanging around at the Saplins, he believed this was called “being bipartisan.”)

Wrangler had a second reason not to be concerned about Cristol’s uncle – they had a mutual understanding. Trooper Spivey had been on patrol one night, heading for one of his favorite out-of-the-way places where he could drink for an hour or two without being caught, but, as he pulled up the lonely road, he found Wrangler and Cristol parked in the young man’s red Chevy Silverado. His timing was such that he interrupted the couple before things reached a climax. Nevertheless, the situation was awkward for everyone. Her uncle could have made lots of trouble for them, but, instead, he only advised them to take precautions. Wrangler, not the brightest star in the northern sky, assured Ed that he always had a gun in the truck. Striking a deal with Cristol, Uncle Ed said he wouldn’t tell her parents if she promised to get some condoms and use them. He’d kept his word. She hadn’t.

So, as Rachael Saplin ordered him to leave, Wrangler wasn’t worrying about Uncle Ed. Still, he tried to look serious and cast his eyes down as he stepped around Mrs. S, heading for the stairs. At the bottom he called out, “Bye, Cristol! Call you tonight.”

On the drive home, he wondered whether he and Cristol were going to last through the summer ahead. She’d recently started saying she loved him. He was cool with that, and while he wasn’t sure he loved Cristol, he definitely liked her. He liked her a lot. He told her he loved her because that’s what she wanted him to say. He gave girls what they needed, and Cristol needed to be loved. She was one hot chick, as hot as he’d ever been with. And he’d been with more than a few. Starting in the seventh grade there’d been Lynette on and off, and Sparkler, and Amber. And last week, when Cristol was out of town,…

Yup, if she didn’t stop being so moody, he might dump her. A guy can only take so much. There were plenty of cute girls. Plenty of them thought he was cute, too. On weekend nights when it seemed everyone between thirteen and twenty two was under the influence of whatever they could afford, he got lots of suggestive text messages and voice messages. Even from girls he’d only met once or twice. The really amazing thing, though, was that once in a while they sent pictures of themselves naked to his phone. What made girls do that? Sexting didn’t make sense. He would rather die than have pictures of himself without clothes get into the hands of strangers. Heck, don’t they know somebody could put those pictures on the internet and the whole world might see their stuff? Wrangler himself rarely used the internet. His MySpace page was set up by friends because he didn’t know how. So the girls’ pictures were safe with him, he would only share them with his closest buddies when they showed him the pictures they had on their own phones. Saving them was a risk, though, because if Cristol ever saw them, it would not be good. She was one of those jealous types; jealousy was the root cause of their many arguments. Oh, yeah, if Cristol found those texts or pictures, she would freak out.

Pulling into the driveway in the modest bungalow where he lived with his mom and his sister, Wrangler  resolved that he wasn’t going to worry about it. Cristol was lucky to have him. They both knew it. Yup, if she became too big a pain in the ass, he’d just move on. Then she’d be sorry. Nobody else was chasing her. Everybody knew she was high maintenance – bitchin’ and whinin’ and keepin’ Wrangler on a short leash just like she had with JJ.

Yeah, Cristol had better be nice to me, or the only thing she’s going to be sneaking into her bedroom is her mother’s vibrator.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Synopsis of Allison's Debut Novel

She’s sixteen. She’s pregnant. Her mother is the governor.

White Trash in the Snow takes readers into the lives of an imaginary family that they think they already know. Written with humor, sensitivity and irreverence, this roman a clef is my debut novel introducing the readers to the Saplin family – Rachael and Tadd and their children Field, Cristol, Maple and Pride – and their almost-in-laws Wrangler Strauss, his mother Jerrie, father Kevin, and sister Porsche. 

This novel is a fun and poignant romp; a coming-of-age story set in a small town- a blue collar town. It is a work of fiction in which the characters face an unplanned teenage pregnancy. Everyone knows some family that has dealt with that situation and any similarity to real persons is purely coincidence.


In a cold, sparsely populated state, newly-elected Governor Rachael Saplin dreams of political stardom. It is 2007 and the upcoming national election is shaping up to be the year of the woman. In spite of near-obscurity, the charming, polarizing mother of four believes destiny is at work to put her in power in Washington. As the nation begins to hone the list of potential candidates for President of the United States, the Governor and her husband become ambitiously overbooked; they travel extensively throughout a geographically enormous state and increasingly travel “outside.” Parenting from a distance, they are oblivious to most of their teenagers' activities.

Sixteen year old Cristol Saplin plunges into a summer of fun and reckless behaviors. In the fall, Cristol tells her parents she is pregnant. She is pulled out of school with “a bad case of mono” and is sent her to live with an aunt. Things get more complicated when the baby is born prematurely and with disabilities.

 Rachael Saplin will not let a "family problem" derail her; the steps she takes are shocking, even to her family.
As events unfold, Cristol and her boyfriend Wrangler, a red-neck high school hockey hero, are forced to mature, then encouraged by parents to resume being "normal teenagers." Perhaps they succeed too well.

I want to thank people for words of encouragement. This is exciting for me, but it isn’t all I’m going to do from now on.  I do intend to write posts as often as I can, but I will reserve Fridays for a chapter by chapter release of  White Trash in the Snow.   If you grew up in the north, you know the delight of waking up and having mom say “it’s a snow day.”  No school!  A freebie day to spend with friends. With this book, I hope to bring you that kind of childlike delight. It’s not heavy. It doesn’t try to prove anything. It’s fun. Will I be able to pull that off?  You’ll have to let me know.

  Chapter One to be posted Friday May 18, 2012.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sarah Palin Inspired Me, Bristol and Levi Brought Out the Nancy Drew in Me; After a While, I Wrote a Book

On Friday I will post the first chapter of a novel I wrote a while ago.  I think you will be amused and it is my hope that the imaginary Saplin family will fascinate readers not only because they seem familiar, but because they seem real. This is not presented as a story of true events. It may take some turns you don't expect. Or not. Either way, I hope you will look forward to chapter 2, which I will put up one week later. And so it will go.  My intention is to e-publish by the end of June (target date, not firm) for those of you who want a fun summer novel. If you prefer the once-a-week intervals, it will be here for you week by week.  Let's have fun with this- that's been my personal intention since 2009. Here's how that happened:

Like the episodes of Law and Order, inspiration for my imaginary story came from stories in the news.  In 2008, I saw Sarah Palin and family introduced to us by John McCain. Like many of you, I put her name into a search engine and found astounding rumors, pictures, comments on news stories and blogs. I became hooked.  I remember the day I saw the September 2007 “First Family of Alaska” photo taken for use as a Christmas card. I said to my husband “Bristol definitely looks pregnant.”  That opinion never changed.

In 2009 I began to write with a purpose.  Seriously and consistently, I invested an average of 20 hours a week in composing a novel.  My inspiration came from political news coverage supplemented by reading blogs.  I read books by or about a certain celebrity-status person and they gave me the basis for a personality type that I worked into the story. It was fun.

I finished in about 10 months. Like most writers, I like my own work. I thought it was pretty good.  I gave it to a few friends and family members, and they made some suggestions, helping me make it better.  The polishing could go on forever, and if that happened, it would never be read by the public.  And so, I bought my very own copy of Writer’s Market and began sending out query letters.  Lots of them.  Some electronic, some by snail mail, each one tweaked to suit the specifications of very strict guidelines. This is not an industry where there is a standard query process. Very time consuming, very annoying, very discouraging.

In April, 2011, I was in JFK waiting for a flight to Wisconsin. It was delayed and people pulled out electronic devises and took care of business. So did I.  I checked my email and found rejections, I researched more agents and agencies to see if they were in the market for a political novel written with humor by a never-before-published author. And I spent my time submitting more queries. When we finally were called to board, I overheard the woman in line behind me give a quick pitch over her cell phone to a client.  The pitch was for a book idea.  Not a novel, a work of non-fiction. She talked about there being a market niche, etc.

I’m not shy.  When she finished, I pitched my book.  She was interested.  We talked and laughed and commiserated about the sad state of politics that followed in the footprints made by someone wearing Red Monkey pumps. I thought my dream  was going to come true. I polished my book even more. I sent it off to her. I never heard a thing.

In October, 2011,  I needed to write more than query letters, so I continued my writing and my imagining and put it into a blog. This blog. It is fun.

Tomorrow, I will post the synopsis for my book, and I will reveal the title.  Be forewarned – set down your coffee and swallow before you get to the title.  I will not take responsibility for damage to iPads or computer keyboards. 

More tomorrow, thanks for being here.  I plan to make it worth your while.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Baby Breeze Beretta Playing Second Fiddle and Allison Promises to Publish a Book

In the this and that category:

It's come to my attention  (and it checks out ) that neither Mercede Johnston nor Sherry Johnston posted anything on Facebook about Levi's impending fatherhood after he and his girlfriend broke the news via tabloid TV.  Gryphen told us that Sadie and Miss Sunny Oglesby were very close.  Seems this would be a time for excitement, but there's been no social network gushing.  No bragging about become an Auntie. Or a grandma again. No congrats on Sunny's Facebook. No talk about running out to buy up all the baby stuff in the Mat-Su Valley.  What's going on?

This is in stark contrast to the story Sherry told on Tyra three years ago. In April 2009, in an unpaid appearance, Tripp's grandma talked about her excitement upon learning Bristol was pregnant.  Remember Tyra asking if there was some reservation about it, with the kids being so young....  Sherry said all that " flew out the window," she was just excited to be grandma.  Go ahead and watch that clip again. It's quite interesting in hindsight. Everyone was so much younger then.

Levi and Sunny kept the baby news to themselves until the story was sold and filmed. That's not hard to understand given Mercede's history of selling stories.  Remember, she was the one who gave Tripp's baby picture to Star magazine in March 2009.  That caused Bristol to stop taking Tripp over to Grandma Sherrie when she went to school (one class?).  Mercede blew it for all of them when she sold that picture and interviewed with Star. Yes, she was young, and no, it isn't an excuse for Bristol to withhold Tripp from seeing his dad. But if Levi and Sunny can't trust his family to keep secrets, then how the heck are they keeping the Trig birth secret?  I still think there's money involved and it keeps something important locked in Sadie's safe.

Here's what I said in my post January 9, 2012 about Levi and Sunny:

Levi knows how to sell his major life events for celebrity coverage.  It's how he makes a living. He and Bristol sold the re-engagement, he sold a story that he was running for mayor of Wasilla, he sold his 21st birthday party.  Selling your life events involves contracts and keeping secrets. Levi told about he and Bristol keeping the truth from the public after they sold their re-engagement and then broke up. They couldn't let on that they'd broken up again until the minimum contractual time had passed. It's in Deer in the Headlights. It's one of Levi's life lessons learned.

See?  If I knew Levi well enough to write that, Mercede shouldn't have expected to be told this good-as-gold secret. Like I said, it's how Levi makes his living.  (How does Sadie make hers?) Levi and Sunny played the game for all they could, separate shows for announcing the pregnancy and the baby's name. Stay tuned, this baby will be shown on TV much quicker than Tripp was. She may even make her debut before baby Grace (is it Palin or not?) I wonder whose parents will have a real wedding first -  one of Tripp's parent's, baby Breeze's, or baby Kyla Grace's parents .  Just sayin'

On Levi's birthday last week, Mercede said she was happy for the next stage in his life. Quite a weak reference to the baby girl that is going to come along in August. Baby girl Breeze.  Where'd they get that name? It makes me believe there may be some truth in Bristol's story that Tripp was going to be called Bentley. Remember that tidbit in the Bristol and Levi timeline circa 2010? Bristol claims it was the name Levi wanted to name Tripp until Bristol decided on the "T" name. (And what a "T" name that was!) Then, Lanesia being pregnant was used as a reason for Bristol to re-dump Levi, and when she had the baby, Lanesia named her kid Bentley. Did I ever mention that Levi admitted in "Deer in the Headlights" that he and Lanesia had "hooked up" one night, but the baby still wasn't his?  Oh yes. Awesome.   So, now, Levi is going to get to name a kid with a "B" name.  And for some reason, his sister is underwhelmed.

Sunny is a bit more than half way through this pregnancy. There's time for the ice to thaw. It's just too bad that the Johnston siblings are yet again estranged as a result of Levi not wearing a condom.


It feels good to be back on the computer and posting again.  There are big hurdles ahead in the "real life" category, and there was a three a.m. phone call a few nights ago.  Those are never good news. But the news wasn't as bad as it might have been.  Sometimes I may not be able to  give this blog my energies, and sometimes it will be my welcome respite.

One thing I know - I need to laugh more.  Maybe you do, too.  Here's what I'm going to do for us all.  I'm going to publish my book chapter by chapter on this blog. One chapter a week. Probably on Fridays.

What book?  A novel I finished in 2010.  It's about a couple of teenagers, her mom is the governor of a state where there's a lot of snow...