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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Bloodlust & Ghost Poo

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: October 2014

It’s certainly fitting that it’s almost Halloween, because I have seen (and smelled) some crazy shit lately in Chico. First off, there is a corner
of downtown that perpetually smells like cat poop. This is perplexing for a couple of reasons: It’s one of the main streets downtown, and I really never see cats galavanting around that area. Secondly, it’s rained multiple times since the first time I’ve smelled it, which leads me to believe that either the ghost (poop) of some cat has been haunting that corner, or else maybe the foundations of the building are actually made of cat poop.

The second crazy thing I saw was in a residential neighborhood in Chico. I was riding my bike, staring down at the ground (that’s where you’re supposed to look, right?), and
I saw a tail. A squirrel tail, to be precise. It wasn’t attached to a squirrel, nor was there any squirrel body anywhere around. I’d like
to think what happened is that someone was out jogging and their footsteps were perfectly timed so that when a squirrel tried to cross the road, the jogger’s foot landed right on its tail, pulling it clean off. I also like to think that the squirrel was pleased with his new, streamlined look, and found refuge after being adopted by a farsighted elderly woman who loved her new small dog (although he was a bit twitchy). So anyway, there was that. Squirrel tail.

Third, I saw a (very) used tampon outside the Starbucks downtown. It was on the sidewalk on 3rd st, a sad (and sickening) reminder of the “wild” night before. I am not sure what would cause a woman to discard her tampon in the street… I tried for a while to imagine what dire straits she must have been in… but there was literally a trash can twenty feet away, so I don’t think there was much of an excuse.

Lastly, I saw (also on a downtown sidewalk), a pigeon wing. It looked small and rumpled, and a little sad. Torn clean off, I could see the joint bone clearly exposed. Again, this extremity

lay there alone, with no sign of the animal’s body from which it had been torn. I’m not sure what could account for this. Especially the fact that when I saw this, it was midday, and there were lots of people around, and none of them seemed too bothered with a pigeon wing in the middle of the sidewalk.

I guess the moral of the story is two-fold. We should really pick up after ourselves better. If you happen to drop something (whether it be your tail or your tampon), pick it up. Secondly, Happy Halloween? Yeah. Happy Halloween.

Arielle Mullen