Treehouse

online magazine for short, good writing

Brief Encounter: Refrigerator Magnets

by Treehouse Editors

 CALL | FOR | SUBMISSIONS | SEND | US | YOUR | BEST | REFRIGERATOR | INSPIRED | POETRY | FICTION | NON-FICTION | GENRE-BENDER | <400 words | .doc file | deadline AUGUST 1 | treehouse[dot]editors[at]gmail[dot]com

45 | 50 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | & | ? | a | | a | about | above | airplane
all | alphabet | am | and | and | and | animal |apostle| answer | anyone | 
anything | amphibian | adamant | are | are | asparagus | astronomy | at
aunt | autumn | baby | bad | ball | ballerina | balloon | barn | base 
basket | bathroom | because | begin | believe | best | big | bike | bird
birthday | bite | bite | black | blue | body | book | bored | born | 
bottom | box | box | boy | breakfast | bring | bricks | Bronx |
brother | brown | beam | bug | but | butterfly | by | candy | can’t
car | castle | cat | cat | chair | child | chocolate | close | cloud | 
Dad | dance | dark | day | day | did | different | dinner | dream | do 
do | does | dog | don’t | door | down | draw | disappear | dug | dull | 
ear | easy | eat | ed | eight | elements | elephant | er | exercise | ed
fall | family | far | fast | fat | favorite | favorite | fed | feet | for
fight | fish | flow | five | flower | fly | fly | for | four | France| 
friend | from | full | funny | gentle | geometry | gown | gender |grant|go
get | girl | give | glow | good | graffiti | gasp | greed | green | 
her | here | hid | hide | high | him | hit | hold | home | homework | hot 
hug | hungry | I | I | I | invite | if | imagine | important | in | ing 
ing | inside | is | is | Japan | jump | junior  | just| kind | king | kiss
lichen | laugh | leave | luscious | light | like | like | little | listen
live | limb | look | looking | loud | love | lunch | ly | astronaut | mad
magic | man | many | me | midnight | miss | Mom | monkey | monkey |
monster | more | morning | mountain | moss | mud | music | my | name | 
napkin | near | nest | never | New York | newspaper | next | next | night 
nine | no | noon | nose | not | notebook | of | once | once | one | one | 
or | or | over | over | paint | peace | peanut butter | photograph | pink 
pumpkin | purple | queen | Queens | quiet | race | rain | raft | ran | 
read | real | remember | ride | ring | room round | round | rude | s | s | 
solid | said | sail | saw | say | school | see | seven | share | she |safe
spring | square | start | stop | storm | story | strawberry | swaying | 
summer | swim | take | teacher | telephone | television | tell | that |
that | their | them | there | think | three | tiger | time | to | to | 
told | too | tool | top | town | truth | tree | TV | US | utter | under | 
used | vacation | very | video | want | warm | was | what | withdraw|water
whatever | when | where | who | why | whisper | white | wild | will | will 
wind | window | wing | winter | wish | with | with | woman | won’t | world 
you | yell | yellow | yes | yesterday | you | you | young | your | zebra

5 Things I Would Eat Every Day If Doing So Wouldn’t Harm Me or My Wallet

by a contributor

from Eric Howerton, author of  Scientists Confirm the Physical Properties of Negative Emotions and The Decree:

  1. Mushrooms

    While growing your own mushrooms at home isn’t as difficult as you might think (I’ve had luck with king oysters, shiitakes, and pioppinos), the most delicious species are still the priciest and hardest to cultivate. Temperamental truffles, morels, and chanterelles are largely foraged from the wild, and these fungi fetch a pretty penny at the grocer’s. Even though you might think Utah is too dry for mushrooms, I found a medium-size morel growing behind my shed the morning I was to drive out of state for a friend’s wedding. Rather than letting it go to waste, I brought the mushroom with me and cooked it in a shallow pool of butter on the hot plate of my hotel room coffee machine. As I chomped down on the earthy delicacy I thought, “I do.” And every time I check behind the shed for morels that never appear, I wish I could do it all over again.

  2. Foie Gras

    Let’s get one thing straight: geese are jerks. One of my earliest childhood memories is being attacked by geese on the banks of a lake in Minnesota, and a woman I once dated became the target of a pursuing honker at an eco-resort in Costa Rica. Bottom line, most animals deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. But not geese. They’re crotchety, cantankerous, and downright mean. If you ask me, they’re asking for it. So go ahead and force-feed a goose until its liver swells with fat. Then pan fry that liver and serve it to me with some fruit compote. I’ll gobble it down and feel vindicated every time.

  3. Food Truck Tacos 

    After a few years living in Pennsylvania (where a certain chain of Mexican restaurants serves Southern-style corn bread with your meal—what’s up with that?) I moved to Houston, TX and was excited by the city’s food culture. But the Tex-Mex restaurants quickly proved disappointing—a mix of lightly sautéed tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos is not a proper sauce for someone raised on the majesty of New Mexico red and green chile. However, Houston’s taco trucks were a revelation. The mobile taquerias, of which there are dozens, if not hundreds, serve some of the best pastor, fajita, and pollo tacos I’ve ever had. And on handmade tortillas to boot. But the real treats were the “specialty” meats, the bits most people discard or make faces at: tripas (intestines; order them extra crispy), lengua (braised beef tongue that could easily pass for lean pot roast), mollejas (creamy, slippery sweetbreads) and barbacoa (shredded beef cheeks). In the first year alone I insulated my own tripas with a ten-pound spare tire that kept me rolling from truck to truck to truck with a smile plastered on my salsa-scorched lips.

  4. Beer 

    No doubt about it, alcohol is poison. But beer tastes great. What a dilemma. I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill American lager. I’m talking about West Coast IPAs where mingling malts and hops produce citrus, mango and pineapple flavors. I’m talking about Belgian gueuzes, a blend of barrel-aged beers soured by natural fermentation that lends a vinegary bite. I’m talking about wild ales whose aromas are reminiscent (in a good way) of trips to the petting zoo. The spectrum of flavors you can coax out of boiled malt, water, and yeast is one of the world’s many wonders. But to indulge in such a delight will rot you from the inside out. I guess it’s a kind of gastronomic karma that if you consume something in excess it will eventually about-face and consume you right back. 

  5. A Pound of Cheese 

    My grandfather passed away from a heart attack before his 60th birthday. My grandmother had high cholesterol, as does my mother. During my last physical, my doctor said my lipids were a wee bit high and I should keep an eye on them. I took his advice and headed straight to the market, gazing longingly at imported goat- and sheep-milk rounds. If ever I was forced to choose between meat and cheese, I’d give meat free range to take a hike while I sat in the shade of a tree and scooped the insides of a Camembert wheel with a crusty loaf of bread, consoling myself with every unctuous bite.

 

The Decree

by a contributor

Eric Howerton

Because we’d lost our sense of value, the day came when the animals voted us out of our cities and towns and homesteads. Their spokesman—a giraffe in a cashmere suit—stood before a horned and winged mob. He made a case we couldn’t contest without looking like undignified jerks. And what, if not for our dignity, separated us from the beasts? From fauna who eviscerated their young and creatures wallowing in filth?

“If you truly embrace the spirit of democracy,” the giraffe said eloquently, hoofs pressed against one another in quiet majesty. “If you truly believe that the vote of every sentient creature is equal in respect to the vote of every other sentient creature, then we ask that you vacate your residences at once.”

“What about our votes?” our president objected, scrambling so that we might remain in the ranch-style houses and luxury condos we delighted in filling with catalogs and circulars and baubles containing trace poisons and food gone sour. “We haven’t even had a chance to run a campaign.”

“Irrelevant!” the giraffe said with unequivocal force. The mob behind him rose and stirred. “We outnumber you by a wide margin. And everyone, with the exception of the badgers, who are old and tiresome and would rather stay rooted in their dens, wants you to leave.”

It was hard not to take the giraffe seriously. With such a neck, his tie was the longest we’d ever seen.

“I see,” our president said, biting his lip. He conferred with his delegation. “Can we at least come back and visit?”

“Do you not understand the meaning of exile?” the giraffe asked in consternation. 

“But we’ve grown accustomed to a certain standard of living,” one of the pillars of business grumbled. 

“Too bad,” the giraffe said. A brigade of pachyderms stepped forward. Vultures and pigeons circled menacingly overhead. “You’ve grown accustomed to television and clean clothes and Snickers bars.” The giraffe licked his lips: “They’re our Snickers bars now.”

*

The following day we packed our bags and left city life behind. From the rolling hills we watched in despair as the animals moved into our former homes, assuming the roles we’d abandoned. We found flat patches of arable land and sowed seed and built lean-tos from thatch and twig. Some expired from eating noxious weeds, which was sad, but no sadder than the many who expired each day from electrical failures and plummeting elevators and the reckless behaviors guiding the wheel.

Thankfully, nobody has tried to construct a new city or resurrect the old ways. Once habituated to the chill of the public bath—a small pool fed by a breathtaking cataract—there isn’t much to be missed. Each day begins with the sun and ends with the stars. I no longer dread the workweek or fantasize of hurling my boss out the window because there is no workweek and there are no bosses. In the wild, everyone is equal. Some days our former leader—who I call Nate now instead of President Rutherford—brings me a handful of berries. Some days I bring Nate a blistered potato hot from the coals. Together we sit on the bluffs and crack jokes about an impatient turtle cursing the creeping drive-thru, a coyote howling at the indifferent customer service rep, a confused bat being asked, “Which is clearer—A? Or B?” We laugh and laugh. We die in different and occasionally gruesome ways out here, but we laugh all the same.


Eric Howerton is a graduate in Fiction from the University of Houston’s PhD in Creative Writing and Literature and from the Pennsylvania State University’s now-defunct MFA program. He lives and teaches in Ogden, UT where he spends his days skiing, hiking, writing, gardening, and seeking out native mushrooms. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK, Revolver, The Masters Review, Driftwood Press, Foliate Oak, and others. 

See Eric’s list of 5 Things tomorrow.

Scientists Confirm the Physical Properties of Negative Emotions

by a contributor

Eric Howerton

Freeing himself from envy, gravity no longer held him. Below, he saw dots that used to be people. Smaller and smaller each one. Every new breath buoyed him toward space, distancing him from the world of bonds, securities and insecurities, gabled roofs, prized possessions. Gold chains. Above, the great nothing. Above, the possibility of never falling down. The clouds were his company now. And soon, the stars.


Eric Howerton is a graduate in Fiction from the University of Houston’s PhD in Creative Writing and Literature and from the Pennsylvania State University’s now-defunct MFA program. He lives and teaches in Ogden, UT where he spends his days skiing, hiking, writing, gardening, and seeking out native mushrooms. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK, Revolver, The Masters Review, Driftwood Press, Foliate Oak, and others. 

See more from Eric tomorrow.

5 Things I Love

by a contributor

from Dominique Johnson, author of  Separation, The Vicious Cycle, and The After Effects:

  1. Family. Whether they are blood relatives or friends they often serve as my inspiration. I have one of the best support systems and I am extremely grateful for them.

  2. The color orange. Weird I know, but I love almost everything orange. It is by far my favorite color and I am usually either wearing clothes that have orange in them, rocking an orange phone case, or drinking orange juice (delicious).

  3. My puppy. I recently got a toy schnauzer puppy whose name is Reese! She has already become my best friend and I do not know what I would do without her. She may be small, but she is as protective as any dog I have ever known.

  4. Breakfast. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you about my love for breakfast food. It does not matter what time of the day it is because it is always a good time for breakfast!

  5. Music. I am positive that Frank Sinatra wrote the soundtrack to my life. The ups, the downs, the love, and the heartbreak; it all makes me the man I am.

 

The After Effects

by a contributor

Dominique Johnson

Inspired by the song “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon

“You know that I could use somebody…
 You know that I could use somebody… Someone like you…”

The worst days are the ones that we let go by
That we failed to live
The days that we should’ve spoken up and said something but we never did
Yet when it’s all falling down now it’s important
But when I’m gone and you’ve gotten rid of me, there is no way to abort it.
They say that life is priceless, so just how can we afford it?
These are my recurring thoughts. The ones that ought to be naught, but they are.
The ones that slow time down and allow my mind to explore, to go far.
I won’t lie and say these thoughts don’t exist.
The truth is that I’m waiting on you to free me.
The remnants of your excellence will suffice enough to do just this.
These are the thoughts that creep up on me.
Catch me when I’m awake but consciously sleeping. I’m just elsewhere.
Trying to find the place where I belong
As I look to my left
Then to my right
I see no place neither here nor there.
Back history is suspending us.
Not propelling but maintaining, but the undying stress of it all is conflicting and straining.
Every time the thought occurs it gets harder to leave.
Yet if this is the highest point, the pinnacle of sorts, of this irregular discourse, then what is there left for us to achieve?
These are the days when I know I need some help, but you won’t be there
This problem has no solution, but I won’t even remember; when this chair falls and I hang by this belt we will have found our conclusion. 

“You know that I could use somebody…
 You know that I could use somebody… Someone like you…”


Dominique Johnson is from Shreveport, Louisiana.  He is a Louisiana State University graduate and he loves writing about life as an experience.  He tries to think of every success, failure, or experience that he has as an opportunity to create a story or learn something new.  He aspires to inspire through his writing.

See Dominique’s list of 5 things tomorrow.

 

The Vicious Cycle

by a contributor

Dominique Johnson

I haven’t been here in a while
At this point in my life that is.
The point where something great becomes misconstrued
more filled with angst instead of jovialness.
Shot through the heart:
Bang.
It hurts me to be here, hurts me to say this
But I would rather kill it, dissipate it
Then let it continue; I know I’d hate it.
I’d rather be preemptive, stay ahead.
To avoid the potentially hurtful aftermath
It’s the type to grip you by your soul and
make you want to O.D during a bubble bath.
This is just to let you know how hard it is.
It’s hard because there’s so much invested
If any shots come my way I understand;
As it seems to hardships I no longer feel the need to contest it;
It’s a love hate type of thing.
I hate that you may think the love was not all it could’ve been,
Yet we both know through hardships we made it, but this is now and that-
That was then.
No need for animosity we’ve agreed to drink in friendship responsibly
And if the time comes again where everything is lined up for both of us
Then I guess I won’t need the help of E-harmony.
This is not to say by any stretch that it is expected
or that you owe me anything by any means
but our present time is past, that’s the way the future makes it seem.
This is a divorce of sorts as are all relationships
No one courtship is perfect and this one’s included in that statistic
So despite what everyone around you might say
(Those opinionated idiots)
And even despite what your anger may make you think
We sailed on love, hurdled every obstacle, made impossible possible
But to perpetuate, a lack of being affectionate, is highly illogical.
Mix in the emotions we both possess and things become highly volatile.
We just need to get back to the basics, start anew,
With our eyes on the future with pens not pencils
There won’t be a need to erase it.


Dominique Johnson is from Shreveport, Louisiana.  He is a Louisiana State University graduate and he loves writing about life as an experience.  He tries to think of every success, failure, or experience that he has as an opportunity to create a story or learn something new.  He aspires to inspire through his writing.

See more of Dominique’s poetry, and his list of 5 things, throughout the week.

 

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