Synaloepha (sin-a-lif’-a): Omitting one of two vowels which occur together at the end of one word and the beginning of another. A contraction of neighboring syllables. A kind of metaplasm.

I can’t do that. I won’t do that. My moral compass will not point me in that direction. My mother and father would spin in their graves, along with all my other interred relatives, especially Uncle Rick who was a Presbyterian Minister. Even though his surplice was stained with wine, and gravy, and food fragments, he was honest, upright and morally straight. And then there was my older sister, Hatchet Jaw Jane, who watched my every move. In a different world she would’ve circled over a field looking for rodents. Instead, she hovered over me observing and calling out my errors, which were endless. Instead of driving me to improve myself, her constant criticism made me want to be bad: to shock her, and maybe, kill her.

That’s where the unthinkable came into play. I was not a violent person, but I had reached my wits end. I had decided that when she leveled her next critique at me, I would hit her across the face with my fly swatter. The fly swatter was made of wire screen and really did the job on flies, squishing them dead. I would just hit her once, hoping she would snap out of it. Then it happened: “Why don’t you brush your hair out of your eyes? It looks quite slovenly.” That was it! Whack! Once I whacked her once, I couldn’t stop. She just stood there while I whacked her face over and over. She was bleeding. I was shocked at what I had done. I started to tell her I was sorry and she told me to shut up.

She reached for my throat and started to squeeze. I had dropped my fly swatter so I was defenseless. Her hand was like a vise—I couldn’t wrench it off. Jane—my sister—was going to kill me. “I’m not your sister,” she yelled. “I moved in when your parents died—you were too young to remember. My name is Bettina. I escaped from the Dolby Home For Unbalanced Children and found this place. The real Jane was kind to me, but I locked her in the dungeon, where she lives.” I thought to myself, “Knowing all this crap isn’t going to pry her insane fingers off my neck.” I was feeling light-headed. The end was near. Then I heard a man’s voice yell “Unhand Master James you craven wench!” That distracted her long enough to enable me to get free: “Bravo William, you’re worth something after all!” “Thank-you master,” he said with his signature sheepish look on his face.

Bettina ran away as soon as I got free. William and I headed to the dungeon to set my sister free. We found her. No windows, no shoes, straw bed, bucket for waste. She was wearing a burlap sack. She was happy to see me, but happier to see William. She was pregnant. I yelled “Jesus Christ” and locked them in the dungeon, where they could start their accursed family.

I changed my mind the next day and decided to set them both free. Bettina returned 6 months later. She had had a front brain drilling & filling performed by a barber-surgeon and had become docile and kind most of the time, and forgetful as well. It was a little weird, but I married her. Jane’s baby is big and fat and named Petunia. William was maimed in a plowing accident and is confined to a wheelchair. Aside from having to lock Bettina in the dungeon every once-in-awhile for everybody’s safety, the four of us are living happily ever after.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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