“If I were to invent my biography, in my own words, I would begin it by suggesting I escaped the womb with haste as the person I was renting that space from was clinically insane. I would clarify this latter piece of information by explaining that I do not mean bat-shit crazy sort of insane. I mean more like quiet and menacing insanity of the sort that one feels tainted by breathing in the same air as it. This was my mother, and the beginning of my time in this plane. My only true regret is that I was not born with the ability to walk, so I could hit the pavement running. Perhaps this is harsh, but I would have every desire with this invented biography to allow the reader to know just how bizarre my childhood was, from the absolute beginning and how this has always influenced me as I’ve grown.” – Etta Diem
Getting a factual biography out of the enigmatic Miss Etta Diem is near impossible. The only facts that are clear is that she was born along time ago and now lives in a very large old Victorian house that as been partially converted into a cafe and dry goods shop. A good many of the Archive staff and students find their way to Etta’s shop for the unique to malicious items that she offers. You too can visit her shop and enjoy the various things to be found there…
Etta Diem’s Attic Shop is a part of the Etsy’s Dark Side Street Team
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The Birth of Etta Diem
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519 Providence Road… this is where I live.
The area is relatively secluded along this portion of Providence Road, as most of the people who have found residency here want to remain undisturbed. About five miles up the road is Etta Diem’s place, where there is the occasional swelling of living folk. Past her, about another ten miles is the Archive, what one would call a specialized type of university. In the other direction are a few homes, all belonging to eccentrics that surpass any of the people being boarded here. Did I mention that? Yes, 519 Providence Road is a very large old Victorian house that a sweet little old woman by the name of Miss Emma runs as a boarding house. All in all, I like the patch of earth I call home, just as I like the people I call my house mates and neighbors.
Today one of those patrons of this road has come to call on me. This is who I’m interacting with presently. I just mentioned her, this is Etta.
“No one was home. Can you believe that?! In a boarding house with half a country living in it and no one was here to pick up a package!”
I adore Etta, so I don’t correct her here. The boarding house only gives room and board to a handful of people, and most of them are the type who will never answer the bell of the front door. This being the case, it never surprises me that Etta ends up with most of our deliveries.
“So anyway, open it up! Let’s see what’s in there.” She exclaims.
Have I ever written about Etta? Yes, at length and under the disguise of many different character names, but one can never write enough about the truly, naturally eccentric Etta.
What is the current date? It honestly escapes me, but this is of no consequence. Whatever the year may be, Etta looks like someone caught a hundred years behind it. She’s told me the year of her birth, and being of an astronomer’s, and subsequently a mathematician’s mind, I know she cannot naturally look her age having claimed birth at such a date. So I hold most things in relation to her to be relative. All thing concerning Etta are relative to Etta, and keeping this in mind nothing that springs from her mouth ever unsettles me.
“Open up!” She squeals. And this I do.
A box sits before me, one that was dropped off at Etta’s cafe and dry goods store instead of my home. Chances are she has already looked inside of the package and sealed it up, or else she wouldn’t have stayed around to see my reaction to it.
I open the box to find a slightly smaller wooden box within the parcel. Taking this from the cardboard box I open it, feeling almost like someone toying with Russian Dolls. But no smaller box greets me within the wooden box. Instead I find a multi stacked box of velvet lined shelves that hold small scissors. Scissors that look as though an artist set to them.
Etta lets out a small whistle to show her appreciation. This more than anything tells me she took a peek into the package before bringing it to me. I stare at the first display of five specialty scissors that are adored with very intricate detailing resembling insects.
“They’re beautiful!” Etta exclaims.
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Fiction sample taken from “Snapdragon Tea” Issue One, by Bethalynne Bajema
Snapdragon Tea and Etta Diem items are copyright (c)2004-2008 Bethalynne Bajema
All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission from the author.