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Get Thee Behind Me Satan, But Don’t Touch My Back

I slept deeply, dreamlessly, a void in the black hole of my room.

When the pain dragged me slowly to the surface, my subconscious fought back at a primal level.

I did not want to wake up.

My hip throbbed from bearing most of my weight, the touchpoint between my roaring body and a bed that offered no comfort. I wanted to stretch out my leg and relieve it, but I remained frozen, knees tucked up, shoulders bolstered by limp pillows.

The beast was crouched and ready to spring. 

It’s claws flexing, waiting for me in the silence.

There are some choices we make in life that we know, going in, are going to end badly. We weigh our options, survey our desires, glance in a mirror and forgo the internal argument. We simply jump.

Perhaps I am getting too old to jump so far, but a week ago, I swear I was 18. Okay, maybe 31. Plenty awesome enough for a night out at a big party full of firefighters in a casino where my new workmates were going to put on the ritz and dance until dawn.

A girl has to fit in.

Her dress.

A girl has to fit in her dress. The one she has to shop for, one that says “Hey, I’ve still got it” but doesn’t show, explicitly, where she put it.

This is when my shoulder angel and my shoulder devil had it out, because if the dress is merely suggesting, then your shoes should take over and shout it from the rafters. Those beauty little black stilettos gave me some serious game. They had narrow ankle straps held by tiny buckles and wrapped my toes in svelteness.

“You’ll have to get a pedi,” said the shoulder angel, “you look like a Hobbit.”

“Oh girl,” said the shoulder devil, “You’re not going in there without getting a mani too! You may as well have a spa day.”

I checked my stubby, broken to the quick fingernails and frowned.

“You know we don’t do that anymore,” said shoulder angel, “It costs a fortune, ruins our real nails for a solid six months, and you can’t even type without them getting in the way.”

Shoulder devil turned a blind eye when, not two hours after our spa trip, I reached into the washing machine and jammed my lacquered acrylic into a wet towel, lifting the nail bed.

It went back down of course.

But it’s the only pink nail in a flock of french tips.

When Hubby and I arrived, the party was warming up.  A casino is not a casino without a fabulous buffet, and the first hour was spent sampling salmon, chicken cordon bleu and prime rib.  We sat around elegant tables with elegant people and got to know each other over artichoke hearts.

Tickets were handed out at the door for a raffle and free drinks at our personal bar.

I had a Lemon Drop, an Apple-tini, and a Cosmo, and I won a gift card for Starbucks coffee. This should have brought balance to my shoulder patrons, but in retrospect, we had a clear winner.

I distinctly remember shoulder angel screaming over the rocking 80s music to take off my shoes on the dance floor. Broken ankles were imminent.

Then I heard shoulder Beelzebub remind me that I had ten acrylic nails, three drinks, and two tiny shoe buckles between me and that suggestion.

And also, without the shoes I was obviously nothing. The artwork on my Cinderella toes demanded a frame and public display.

“Honey,” he crooned, “You’ve still got it.”

The shoulder angel stomped off to the dessert buffet and binged on cream puffs and tiny blueberry tartlets. My other shoulder sashayed back out to the dance floor and we proceeded to cheerfully destroy my entire back, starting with his perch.

They both declared a win, win.

What was left of me dragged home, hours late for bedtime, and spent the next week in misery. My aching back forced me to move slowly, with a hunch, like an 80-something-year-old. Adding insult to injury, it demanded I wear sensible shoes.  I could lift nothing heavier than a pencil.

I believe in future, I will pay more attention to the nod of common sense and keep the writhing demons away from my back.

Was it worth it?

My shoulders are still debating.

And my hips, my spine, my legs, my feet….

Published inFun & GamesLiving LargerThe Day Job


  1. Pat

    What a night to remember, what’s life without a little pain. Lyn says “she is an amazing writer”. He believes this to be one of your most descriptive works yet.

  2. Reb-shake it up

    Get back on that horse girl, you just need to book the following night with more dancing, bare feet and of course a couple more martinis… works every time.

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