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October 29, 2010
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Mable took a moment to gather her words, and then asked Elden, "Say Elden, can I write your obituary?"

Completely expressionless. With a bottom lip sagged down, opening a small space in his mouth, and vacant eyes parked on his urine bag, Elden was confused by Mable's question, "...i'm not dead yet."

Mable quickly learned that clarification was going to be an essential part of their conversations, "Oh! No Elden, I know that! I write different versions of my own obituary in the Uehling Cemetery, because it's a fun way to pretend that I lived a different life. It's a gift, Elden."

Elden's drooping bottom lip slowly raised, making his lips touch and mouth closed for the first time in several minutes. Mable accepted that as a smile.

"...can I be a circus bear trainer? I want to be a bear trainer for a circus, and I want to have died from wrestling with a woman circus bear in heat. That's when bears are angriest... because they want to do it, and make more children bears, but they can't because the man bears in circuses get their privates cut off". Elden seemed excited.

"Sure Elden, you can be a circus bear trainer."

Writing obituaries was the most personal thing that Mable had ever done. She once wrote an obituary for her dad as a birthday gift, titled "Cutler Seasons 1920-1993: Alligator Salesman & Loving Father", but the result was entirely different. He immediately turned irate, pulled a book of matches from his pant pocket, slowly struck one match against the coarse black strip on the back of the packet, and set her gift on fire. He made Mable watch as her gift dwindled away from pearly white, to grey ash, and scolded her with a southern drawl, "A bitchulary', Mable Seasns'?! A damn bitchulary'?!... folks don't like dyin', and you know how I feel about readin'. This ain't a gift. Told ya' I wanted that damn two-headed hammer from Jernigan & Sons Hardware. Least you coulda' made me the King of Cuba... ...sumthin' wit sum exoticness...". He mumbled off to the next room, shaking his head, "...mmmrbn mmrb mrbn... girl gives me a damn bitchulary'..."

Her father didn't smoke, but he always carried at least one book of matches to burn off Mable's casual raw onion methane clouds. His girlfriend, Mable's mom, died in a library accident. She climbed up a few levels on a twelve-foot-high oak bookshelf, and used a broom to tip an aviation encyclopedia from the top shelf. The bookshelf fell over, and she was murdered by hundreds of pounds of leather-bound literature. From that point on, Cutler vowed never to read again, including street signs and prescription bottles.

So, Mable wrote Elden's "circus bear" obituary. For four years, she wrote him an obituary every day that Elden was in town with the carnival. The year-long break between his visits were too much for her to handle. Elden gave Peanut to Mable shortly after they met, and he kept her company at times, but it was nothing like having Elden's calming death-like presence around.

In December of 1957, Mable's dad died in a car accident when he refused to read a "dear crossing" sign, and hit a seven hundred pound buck. His windshield was no match for the massive deer carcase, which shattered the only thing between Cutler and the 23-point antlers that swiftly punctured his face like a bundle of toothpicks through a grape. Mable says it's the way he would have wanted to go.

Cutler Seasons was by no means a rich man, but he believed dearly in paying off his mortgage (an old wives tale nowadays), which Mable later inherited. Knowing that Elden hated his job, she invited him to stay at her house for free. Elden quit working at the carnival, but he continued to make enough money donating blood and semen for them to live a quiet little life. Mable dropped out of high school after her junior year to pursue a career as a freelance obituarian. She has never been employed.

Mable and Elden didn't realize it, but they were a couple. They considered becoming intimate once, but the urine bag became too much of a hassle.

Elden died in May of 1964 from the combination of compounded urinary infections and dehydration. Mable didn't notify anyone when he passed. She buried him in the schoolyard where Peanut delivered his first message.

Mable sold her house forty years later for an outlandish profit, and moved far away to Auburn, Washington where she purchased a condo in my complex. Mable held onto the one thing that reminded her of Elden the most, his urine bag. She cleaned it once with Dawn dish soap suds, and has filled it with warm water and slept with it every night since.

She has run through thirty-six different "Peanuts", one at a time. All the same breed of terrier. Mable beats her latest Peanut while he innocently dangles from her clinched fist, and yells at him while eating raw onions.

Ever since her first and only chance at true love died, Mable Seasons has become an intolerable existence.

So, this is the spindly woman that lives next door. This is her story.

Until next time: A single sharp pin could be a devastating snag, for a terrible woman that carries on the memory of romance, in a lukewarm water-filled urine bag.

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