Vi Chronicles: The Portland Strangler

Vi went out and left Bonnie in charge of Victor and me.  I would not have left Bonnie in charge of a pet rock.  If my mother had said to me, “Chicken, I’m going out.  Do you think Bonnie would make a good babysitter?”, I would have replied, “Hell no, woman, are you mad?” but she never asked me.  She just ordered us a pizza and left.

I wanted to play Monopoly but Bonnie and Victor wanted to watch the 8:00 p.m. movie.  Did you ever see the “Boston Strangler”?  I did.  I don’t remember it, of course, because I’ve suppressed it.  Occasionally one of the other personalities I developed that evening will bring it up.

About three quarters of the way through the movie, when victims were still piling up, the papers were having a field day, and the police chief was looking foolish (or so I imagine) Bonnie and Victor got hungry.  They asked me if  I wanted ice cream.  I allowed as how I could probably choke down some ice cream.

“Wouldn’t you know it”, Victor said, “We’re all out. One of us will have to walk to the store.”

I was too young to be out on the streets alone so late at night, and Bonnie was the babysitter, me being the baby in question, so it only seemed logical that Victor, a bona fide teenager, should go.

Logic not being the available muse that evening, we drew straws. I drew the shortest one.  I waited a couple of seconds for someone to come to her bloody senses, but Bonnie handed me a fiver and turned back to the movie.  “Get me a Pepsi, too, k?”

The closest store was at the end of our block. It was where the bad boys hung out at night, smoking cigarettes, selling joints and harassing women.  I walked  fast down the sidewalk, sticking to the shadows.  When I got to the store I put my head down and scurried past the hooligans, trying not to draw attention. Inside I gathered our ice cream, the Pepsi and a bag of barbecue chips for my trouble.  I paid and headed back home, my heart pounding.  I was almost there.  Just five houses to go. Now four. Sweet Jesus, I was going to make it.

I sensed movement to my left.  I looked over and caught a glimpse of shadow moving fast between the last two houses.  I started to run but before I could get into full stride, the Portland Strangler jumped out of the shadows.  He ran at me, screaming, “Where’s my ice cream!!!!!”

And that’s when Mary Catherine was born.  Mary Catherine is a young girl who talks with a cute lisp and carries her stuffed donkey everywhere she goes.  No one would ever hurt Mary Catherine or send her to a store alone at night.   If they tried she would make them burst into flames with her eyes.

Bonnie sat on the back steps of our house laughing her ass off.  “Poor Bonnie”, thought Mary Catherine. “Her lookth cold.”

Chicken out


Mary Catherine

Borrowed from No moronic babysitters were harmed in this recounting of this memory



  38 comments for “Vi Chronicles: The Portland Strangler

  1. February 7, 2014 at 1:14 am

    Your mom…never mind, I was just gonna ask a question. You must have learned so much from her. Anyway. Portland, Oregon?


  2. February 7, 2014 at 1:54 am

    Hi Kerry, Portland, Maine. Don't worry. Mary is not real. I made her up. Really.


  3. February 7, 2014 at 1:55 am

    Oh and what was the question?


  4. February 7, 2014 at 2:19 am

    Hilarious. You have such a flair for storytelling.


  5. February 7, 2014 at 2:30 am

    Hi Hilary, thanks:-)


  6. February 7, 2014 at 3:23 am

    Is it normal that I heard weird shrieking violin music at the end there?

    Great story! And great picture. Which came first, do you mind telling us?


  7. February 7, 2014 at 3:45 am

    Oh. My. Goodness. I just snorted a wasabi pea into my nostril. Genius you are. Pure genius.


  8. February 7, 2014 at 6:58 am

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

    =^..^= ❤


  9. February 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Jenny-i heard it too! The story came first. Then I googled “scary girl” and got very lucky.


  10. February 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Shelly, I'm sorry about the wasabi. That sounds painful. Quite a compliment to me, however, so thanks for that.


  11. February 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Aloha to you, Cloudia


  12. February 7, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  13. February 7, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    It fits perfectly. But it would be nothing – NOTHING – without the story 🙂


  14. February 7, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    The bad boys outside the corner store sound like my 1 p.m. class when they loiter outside the classroom. I might need to develop a few alternate personalities to get through this semester with them.

    At any rate, huge guffaw for this all around, especially: “…once in awhile one of the other personalities I developed that evening will bring it up.”


  15. February 7, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    You're tho funny!! I don't know if that is based on any part of real story but if Bonnie really existed….she definitely wasn't babysitting material.


  16. February 8, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Jocelyn…I know those boys. Look close enough and you'll see the ghost of high school past lurking about. That would be me.. Poor, ill-advised, had to do it my way me:-) And thanks-that was one of my favorite lines. I'm happy that you picked up on it.


  17. February 8, 2014 at 2:37 am

    Bonnie did exist and I'm feeling a little badly because she was actually a very nice person, but she really did let me walk to the store and she really did not stop my brother from scaring the crap out of me so think of this as the Chicken's revenge. It all happened just as reported except for Mary Catherine. I think.


  18. February 8, 2014 at 2:38 am

    Aw Jenny-thanks so much. I think the story and the picture kind of complete each other. “You had me at fire”. That's what I picture them saying to each other.


  19. February 8, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    This is hysterical, and I loved how you built the tension with these lines: I paid and headed back home, my heart pounding. I was almost there. Just five houses to go. Now four. Sweet Jesus, I was going to make it.

    I actually had a stuffed donkey. I slept with its neck over my neck every night so if vampires came they would bite the donkey's neck and not mine. 🙂 And now I want some ice cream.


  20. February 9, 2014 at 2:01 am

    Me too, Jayne, I had a stuffed donkey and I want ice cream. Let's go together! Thanks.


  21. dbs
    February 9, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    As soon as the straws came out it was like someone turned the volume to 11. Loved this er I mean lovthd this!


  22. February 11, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Magnificent writer. This is my first time here, so you've probably heard that a million times, and I didn't know it. Let me be number Million and One.
    Congratulations on Post of the Week.


  23. February 12, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Hi DBS, thank you, that is great input. It's interesting that I revised up to that point many times, but not much after. I liked the way it came out pretty much the first time around. I wonder what would crank it up from the beginning-any suggestions?


  24. February 12, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Hi Jackie, I'm a chicken-we have big egos. It's hard to imagine hearing I'm magnificent too many times. Thank you very much and congrats on your POTW, as well.


  25. February 12, 2014 at 2:38 pm


    I read “The Exorcist” at 12 — who was watching me, dagnabbit?! — and not only did we have a massive thunderstorm that night but it was the first night our dog had an epileptic seizure… Like you, I've suppressed a lot of that evening…



  26. February 12, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Omg, Pearl, you crazy kid. I didn't even watch the movie until I was well into my forties. I would never read the book as my imagination is so much more frightening than anything Hollywood can dream up I hope.


  27. Anonymous
    February 13, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Good one, Chicken. The photo really was a stroke of serendipitous genius. 🙂 GG


  28. February 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks GG. I think Mary Catherine manifested that picture. She's a powerful little squirt.


  29. February 14, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    I remember my Mom would let me watch the Twilight Zone when I was like five years old. Years later I asked her what the hell she thinking? Great story Chicken!


  30. February 15, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Meg!!! How have you been? Thanks for visiting. I am comin' over


  31. February 15, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Hey! Glad to see you back on the blogosphere. I really miss your updates when you're gone.

    Doing well, the hubby just got back from deployment so all is good again. I eased into the vegan thing the best way I knew how, by going vegetarian first. Did that for about a month before getting serious. I don't plan to be a vegan for life; this is more of an experiment/reset than anything.


  32. February 18, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Hey there, Ashes, I'm glad to hear your husband is back home safe and sound. That's great! I'll be interested to hear how the vegan lifestyle works out-I mean, I wonder if it is soft of like exercising and at some point you have this break through moment and you are in the zone. The vegan zone. And what does that feel like?


  33. jenny_o
    November 12, 2017 at 1:07 am

    Chickie, I still think this is a great story and I still heard violins shrieking! (see 2014 comment!)


    • November 12, 2017 at 2:27 am

      Thanks:-) Funny-I read this one today also. I had to add the photo back in because it disappeared when I moved from Blogger. Did I publish it again or something? How did you end up reading it?


      • jenny_o
        November 12, 2017 at 3:59 am

        Yep, it showed up in the feed of new posts on Blogger!


      • November 12, 2017 at 1:18 pm

        Ohhh-I knew it was too much of a coincidence. It must be because I updated it. Well, that kind stinks if you can’t go back and update new stuff without re-publishing. What about all the commas I need to correct?


  34. jenny_o
    November 12, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Yes, I would’ve thought that “update” would just fix it too. I wonder if you could fix or change stuff (and keep the original publish date) by using “edit” and then “save” and “close”. Good to know this anyway. I’m not sure if you saw my post recently about using the “enter” button on the keyboard after typing in the title line of a post in Blogger – it publishes the darn post. But since you don’t use Blogger now, you don’t have to worry about that!


    • November 12, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      I tried that today=there’s no save button. I’m gonna have to google it:-)


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