Shirley wakes up and puts her pink crushed velvet skirt and vest on. To complete her ensemble, she’s wearing a bright yellow ribbed turtleneck. As she walks down the stairs she remembers that God is a flower. “Okay kids! Today is picnic day so dress appropriately.”

Chris runs into the living room so quick with excitement that he runs smack into the coffee table and flips into the air all the way over the couch. As he tries to catch his breath Tracy runs in yelling, “It’s picnic day! It’s picnic day!”

In an hour they’re finally on the road. After a couple of bathroom stops Shirley pulls the psychedelic painted bus to the side of the road. Keith looks out, “Hey, Mom. What gives? That’s not a park.”

Danny freckle-plants his face against the window. “Hey, uh Mom? That’s a desert.”

Shirley smiles and grabs the giant picnic basket. Laurie rolls out the red and white checkered picnic blanket as the others start to help Shirley with the tupperware and beverages. Soon they’re sitting on the picnic blanket. Keith says, “Wow this is some good chicken! It’s better than the Colonels.”

Shirley gets up and slaps Keith in the face. As tears well up in his eyes she says, “That is the Colonels. Mr. Sanders made a special batch of chicken just for our picnic. I thought I taught you better Keith God Partridge.”

Before Keith can protest Shirley grabs him by the neck and strangles him to death. Danny says, “Hey, Mom. Are you going through the change of life?”

Shirley laughs, “No, Danny. I’m not going through the change of life. But you are.”

And with that, she grabs a giant rock and caves Danny’s forehead in. Blood and freckles fly everywhere. Laurie, Christopher and Tracy stare terrified. Before Laurie can say anything, Christopher and Tracy have pinned her on her back. “What’s going on?” the struggling Laurie cries out.

Shirley smiles and then quickly with her sharp beige-colored fingernail, pokes Christopher and Tracy’s eyeballs out. As they fall back, blood streaming from their sockets Shirley cheerfully says, “Okay my little helpers, now just lay down and bleed out on the picnic blanket.”


She then turns her attention to Laurie. “Do you know why you’re still alive, Laurie?”

The orange keyboardist shakes her head slowly back and forth horrified. “No, Mom. Why?”

“Because I got a letter from your teacher and apparently you got an A+ in Science.”

And with that, Shirley jumps on Laurie and squeezes the life out of her just like she did with Keith.

As the Sun makes it’s way across the Summer sky, Shirley humming so sweetly, buries her children in the desert. She then neatly packs away all of the picnic gear into the basket. She gets back into the bus and drives home. She turns on the lights, turns the TV on to Walter Cronkite and then disrobes. And with her left hand she rips her uterus out and drinks deeply from it. She sets it down on the coffee table.

The doorbell rings and Reuben Kincaid walks into the house. “Hey, Shirley! I’ve got some great news. We’re booked for an Autumn tour in Canada. Why don’t you call the gang in.”

Reuben then notices the uterus standing on the coffee table. “Are you going through the change of life, Shirley?”

The next morning all of the kids come to the breakfast table. Shirley is frying the best sausage links in Albuquerque. Danny complains, “Do you know how long it takes to get sand out of shoes?”

Everyone laughs.

Parable by The Partridge in the Pear Tree

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