Skip to main content

Dammit, Darla!

Lily tackled me on my way out the door this morning.

"Wait, Mommy!" She shouted even though she'd knocked me to the floor and her mouth was an inch from my ear. "You can't go yet. I have to give you something"

She wrapped one arm around my leg to keep me disabled; stretched her body as long as it would go without compromising her grip on my ankle; and plunged her free arm into a ratty basket full of toys that shouldn't have been on the floor in my bedroom -- that's another story -- and pulled out a tiny, brown horse.

"Darla will go to work with you today," Lily said placing the horse gently in my hand. "She's a good horse. She will take care of you and keep you from getting lonely at work."

I grabbed Lily's face and kissed her nose and forehead.

"OH MY GOSH -- I love you SO MUCH!"

I felt a little crazy taking a horse to work -- even a tiny horse. What if someone in the office had an allergy? What if someone complained to human resources that my work area smelled like poop?

"Her poops smell like rainbows, Mommy."

I tucked Darla carefully in my purse -- compared to the wreck of a bucket she'd been in, my Coach handbag should have been like Heaven to her, but she wanted nothing to do with it. She kicked and screamed for several minutes -- it could have been the leather. Perhaps a long-lost friend or family member provided the hide for my purse -- poor Darla.

She rode the rest of the way in my hand -- which reminds me: Darla's poops don't smell like rainbows. I thought about taking her home, but the traffic was terrible. I pondered briefly: How much trouble can a tiny quarter horse get into?


My grandfather, The Lawyer, taught me a couple things. 

No. 1: "Even a fish would stay out of trouble if it kept it's mouth shut." 

No. 2: "Don't ask a question unless you're prepared for the answer."

Darla caused a lot of trouble, and while I accept partial responsibility for the damages, I did not paricipate in or condone her shenanigans AT ALL.

I'm a web analyst on the Special Queries Team for a major search engine which means my coworkers and I get the unique privilege of examining and labeling the icky stuff -- porn, STDs, bodily functions and tattooed rectums -- people look for when they think they're alone.  

I should have known that Darla, whose life consisted of little girls' tea parties, Barbie, Hello Kitty and the color pink, would be changed by the Internets. It's just -- she's a horse. 

I never dreamed she'd be interested in my work or even understand it. But I know now -- magical plastic farm animals are just like people. They talk like people. They think like people. They plot like people.

I returned from a bathroom break and found Darla logged onto my computer. She'd been researching porn giant Ron Jeremy -- she visited his Wikipedia page and his official fan site. I couldn't believe it. Darla was looking at porn on the Internet.

"Dammit, Darla!"

She printed inappropriate pictures under my alias and taped them to my coworkers' desks. She stole someone's cigarettes and disappeared for an hour.

I only found her because a couple of ladies on the elevator were convinced their waiter at lunch put hallucinogenic drugs in their salads. 

"You saw it too?"

"It must have been a joke, but I swear that horse moved."

"It was smoking a cigarette."

"I think we should go to the emergency room."

I pretended not to hear them, but I felt terrible and amused all at once. Those poor women were about to call their husbands -- "We've been roofied!"

"Dammit, Darla!"

The building was buzzing with stories of a 2-inch tall horse -- a drunk horse obsessed with pornography; a naughty horse with a mouth like a sailor; a rock-star horse singing loudly about vaginas. 

"It's something in the food ... in the air ... We're all hallucinating ..." 

I followed the hysteria to a conference room on the fifth floor where I found Darla propped against an empty bottle of whiskey. She'd finished off Grandma Dorey's Black Velvet. I was keeping it in my cabinet at work for after-hours pickle backs -- "WTF, Darla?"


I shoved her in my pants' pocket and returned to my office.

Darla chewed a hole in my pocket and escaped without my noticing. She visited all 26 floors of the building and returned with several bags of rubber bands strapped to her back. I ignored her hoping the lack of attention would dissuade her from causing any more trouble.

It did not. 

Darla catapulted herself onto my coworker's desk where she cracked open a travel-sized tequila that didn't belong to her and shot rubberbands at everyone in the room. 


We don't have a lot of rules in the confines of our computer bay. We keep things light and adventurous most days, but Darla was pushing it. She was messing with Captain Kirk's stuff -- Captain Kirk isn't his real name, I don't know his real name. He's just a guy who looks like Captain Kirk, and he's very protective of his stuff -- his emergency tequila in particular.

The Captain is generally pleasant and sporadically funny, but he's incredibly anal about the order of his desk accessories. 

Darla was crapping all over his keyboard, spilling alcohol on his post-its and disturbing the line that the chords from his earbuds make across his desk. 

"Dammit, Dar ..."

It was too late to stop her or fix what she did. The Captain had returned from lunch, and Darla welcomed him with a barrage of rubber bands. One of them pierced the skin under his eye. 


He wiped the blood with his finger and examined the mess on his desk.

"Darla did it," I yelled pointing at the inebriated horse. "I tried to stop her, but ..." 

It occurred to me then how ridiculous I sounded -- that I couldn't stop a 2-inch tall plastic horse from wreaking havoc on a 26-story fortress of glass and steel and concrete and security-guarded doorways. 

"She belongs to my daughter. I'm sorry."

The Captain picked Darla up by her nose and flicked her into the air like a paper football. 

Darla crash landed in a cup of water on my desk.


I thought she was dead at first. She didn't move or make any noises -- I felt relieved for a moment then panicked. How would I explain to Lily that I let her horse die? 

I pushed the cup to other end of my desk and pretended not to care that I let Darla drink herself to death and watch pornography on the Internet. 

That's when the wretching started. 

I peered into the cup and saw Darla attempting to stand. Her legs wobbled once, twice, three times, and she fell -- over and over again she tried to stay on her feet and crashed. It amused me for a while, but the sound of her throwing up and falling all over herself was distracting and tiresome.

I scraped her off the bottom of the cup and walked across the plaza to the transit center where I tossed Darla in an open bus window.

"She'll find her way home," I whispered. "I'm not lucky enough to lose her."


  1. I've been waiting for this one!!! A long time!!

  2. I hear you are going republican now that you are a 1%er


Post a Comment

I showed you mine -- it's your turn now.

Popular posts from this blog

The insecure writer's support group

The ground is important -- for several reasons.

Among them

Gravity makes no sense without it -- there's no mandate that science be logical so long as our scientists are the smartest smartypants on the planet, in which case "because I said so" is an acceptable explanation. The ground is important, because it's something to build on -- a starting point, a foundation.

I respect the ground, because it has on occasion fallen out from under me, and it's rather unsettling to watch your life in free-fall mode -- to see your accomplishments disintegrate in an instant or a decade in some cases. It all depends on how fast you're falling.

Most of us drop in slow motion. We'll catch a ledge or an up draft every once in a while and think "this is it!" But then we go on falling. Or do we? Is the "bottom" just a figment of our imaginations? Can we lay new ground wherever we choose?

Ask Alice

None of my friends growing up were impressed with Disney's…

Writers get laid

Writers get laid -- or they would if they tried -- because people -- especially women -- are impressed by the phrase, "I'm a writer." It's romantic.

Introducing yourself as a writer insinuates substance and depth of character; people like that. They don't know why, except that one-dimensional characters on T.V. sitcoms and big-screen romantic comedies prattle on and on about the whole package -- a good looking, funny, intelligent single with rock-solid values and money.

People admire the skill and dedication it takes to be a novelist or a journalist or a screen writer  -- "I always wanted to be a writer," they tell you with stars in their eyes.

Whether they know it's a myth or not they imagine us in rich, thrilling lives with sports cars and beach houses and Louboutin shoes like Carrie Bradshaw. So the woman at the grocery store doesn't feel bad when she puts back the US Weekly she read cover to cover before she checks out.

Or downloading unauth…

The mirror

Ashlyn discovered the funny mirror at the park today. I could tell you all a long, silly story about our adventure -- the chasing after crows, the falling (me not Ashlyn), the rc plane crash, the dog poop and the climb to the tippy-top-top of the play structure -- but the pictures in this case are funnier.