Fablecalyptic Circa 1981
We would visit each other almost daily. My 4-year old son would walk with me to her house and play with her 5-year old while she and I shared a bottle of Soave and discussed life in general. Her fiancée’s parents were members of a faith that had the inside scoop about the end of the world. They were so certain they and their members were selling all worldly possessions and would gather at the meeting place where they knew they’d be taken up. As this day, place and hour approached uncomfortably close – now why would that be – his parents kept calling him warning him to be prepared. I was there for some of those calls after which we’d sit and look at each other. He’d tried to talk them down just in case to no avail. Man’s arrogance knows no bounds now knowing all things too, but he didn’t see it like that. With a child’s innocence he figured he’d stumbled upon something. In any case it was 50/50.
As we were walking toward the door to leave, I asked my friend if she thought the world might really end. Reflecting for less than a second she said, “There’s no sense worrying if it is.” “True, that’s true. I’ll see you here tomorrow unless the world ends. Maybe we’ll be meeting somewhere that never runs out of Soave and the kids can just stay happy and play.”
I awoke the next morning to a gorgeous Indian-Summer day. As I stood in the small bedroom looking down at my slumbering son my first thought was ‘it didn’t end’ that for some reason gave me a feeling of exhilaration. As we began our walk I saw that instead of for purpose of apocalyptic event, the night winds had blown more brilliant fall leaves to the ground. There were so many trees more work would need to be done before they could be called bare just yet. My son and I kicked them up making our own private path as we walked. My friend’s front door was open welcoming the unseasonably warm; she already had the Soave ready. “Well, the world didn’t end.” “No, it didn’t. What about Anthony’s folks? Did they get rid of everything?”
The stick of incense sat burning in the opened window. In, out, in, out smoke swirled lending a lavender aura to the street and her room. The Sunday paper was scattered in pieces on the bed and the two books she was reading were next to the lamp on the electric fireplace now an end table throughout the summer months. Although it had been over 80 and muggy the past two weeks, the series of thunderstorms that’d taken place had finally broken through driving the temperature down to 60. The breeze felt great.
I remembered when I wrote that and it wasn’t that I drew a blank afterward. A flood of negative thoughts flowed so much so when I read them over a few days later, a few months later, a year later, I finally said “yuk… I don’t want to write this crap anymore. It’s such a nice introduction. Don’t tell me I can’t come up with anything to follow it.” But there it sat. It’s another year later and there it sits.
Spicy Tuna, Deviled Eggs, And New Orleans Kettle-Style Voodoo Chips
honestly don’t know what more I can take, or how much for that matter. I want to be happy but my heart is heavy. I’m unsure…
Complaints about nothing everyday as I write. I’ll be ok. What else today?
Sabrina sat back and pushed the typewriter across the desk. Yes, typewriter. She looked at it lovingly. “You’ll be my first, you’ll be my last, which is probably true. Do they make them anymore?”
She walked to her Davenport across the room and powered up the laptop. “Typewriters”, she keyed into the Google search.
AS SHE LAY
She’d made it to the dock but it had fallen to decay. Slats-made path to pond’s center had broken and drowned, lily pads grown all around but it still made the most peaceful sound. Silence not deafening thanks to bullfrogs and bugs skating the surface, indigenous yet it was tranquility as a stone she found skipping it across. She watched, fell back in the grass and looked up daring the rain clouds. “Nothing like a summer shower Zeus, I command you grumble on”, but the sun broke through breaking apart the black as she lay smiling, motionless, watching birds play.
Miggs couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Like a dream come true the white horses were galloping. Not a couple of them but a herd. She was transported back to childhood and fantasies of pure white horses, long flowing manes and tails, but then it changed. There he was, the one she desired, the black stallion Pegasus. The others darted back to make room for the majestic animal. “Should I dare?” Miggs approached him slowly. “May I?” He genuflected. She mounted, patting his glistening coat.
She looked back at the white horses getting smaller and smaller grazing in the moonlight.
BOYS AND THEIR TOYS
The alternator needed changing but the bolt wasn’t going to budge. She knew Jeremy couldn’t loosen it. Her hands were smaller. She’d do it. As Gillian grabbed the wrench and leaned in under the hood putting all the weight she had into it, she glanced at her ex who was standing there uselessly, ogling her buttocks. There was nothing to smile about. “He’s a tool unlike those that are useful”, she thought glancing down at tools strewn around. “How about giving me a hand”, she said aloud. “The least you could do is keep this hose out of the way.”
His prized possession was in a small safe on a cubby shelf in their bedroom. Her brother, a firearms dealer, had recommended and sold it. He’d use it if he had to. She couldn’t leave him. He had plans.
“If I can’t have you no one will!” Richard bolted from the room dramatizing the well-worn Hollywood line. “Since when? The stairs…” took too long to materialize. “Too near bedroom.” She’d be an easy target. He jumped through the door gun in hand. Sheila hit the floor behind the couch. “I wonder how it feels to be shot.”
He’d sit there all night. When he came home he’d leave a black rose, her favorite, a bottle of Kayra Shiraz 2009, and tonight he’d picked up a sea bass dinner from Chris’s, the upscale restaurant he kept promising he’d take her to. “She won’t mind the red. She drinks what she likes with what she wants.” He smiled to himself at the thought of her but he was onto something big and did what he’d been doing for the past 5 nights, locking himself in his study and getting on an old ham radio he’d discovered in the attic. He’d fixed it up and fiddled with it at first. She used to put on something sheer, invite herself in, and time how long it took to turn his head as she sat skimming over a book.
Five nights ago he’d gotten a signal, origin uncertain. He’d figure it out.
He was 2 blocks from the mortuary. He’d designed a sarcophagus, an alternative to the casket, that would be carved from assorted blocks of marble so no two designs would be the same, and could be sold to the rich as part of a package deal with a substantial amount of real estate that would be landscaped as a garden the public could visit. It wouldn’t be easy to convert desert regions, but Mr. Thomason had the skill to do it. All he had to do now was sell his idea to the owners.
He entered the lobby and sat down by the window to wait. “Uncomfortable.” Someone touched his shoulder from behind. “That was quick. Certainly makes up for this hard chair,” ran through his mind. “Sam?”
He turned to see his favorite nurse smiling at him. “You’re certainly enjoying those Giant Lego blocks. Very complex! Are those turrets?”
“It’s a football! Throw it!” Myas screamed at the TV as she watched the players of her team including the one who caught the ball, making it all the worse, stand stupefied like they’d never seen one before. “You’re at the Super Bowl! Forget everything you know after you win!” She snapped off the game and left for work. Plenty of patients would be watching and there was one whose room was near to the nurses’ station who’d whoop-it up if the team scored. “If they score… lucky to’ve found someone in Raleigh who liked NY teams.” She sipped her coffee as she drove. “Morning’s a matter of opinion.”
When she’d gotten home her fiancée was in his ‘workroom’, the place that housed trophy footballs he’d collected over time. Myas turned the door handle but it was locked. “Babe? Fred, you there?” There was rustling and silence. “Fred?”
It was an Indian Panhead. No way would he ride a rice-burner. He was a traditional bugs-in-his-teeth biker year round, helmets be damned, and a close friend of my boyfriend Chad and me.
Chad left to get to his stash while Jay lingered behind. “I’m riding cross-country. Come with me.” He shot me his evil grin. “C’mon… C’mon.” I was startled then smiled as ‘Motorcycle Mama’ ran through my brain. I began humming. So did he.
A day in the sun began with the tide going out and ended when it brought loaded fishing boats back that resulted in a seafood fest for dinner. Life couldn’t be better.
Beach umbrellas and blankets were packed and the coolers filled. Ten-year old Bradley dug his styrofoam surfboard and the way the inlet’s waves returned him quickly to shore. It was his giant seahorse, he the god Poseidon, and the sea was his realm.
It’d turned green in their absence. She’d told him to wrap it up and throw it into the fridge and he’d said yes, but it was left on the kitchen table and after a month’s time was deep green like an emerald.
She’d gone into the kitchen after dropping their bags in the hallway and spotted it. The plastic had expanded taut with condensation. She wasn’t about to lift it. “Feel like a piece of cake Joe?” He bounded down the stairs realizing, “It’s still…” was as far as he got. “Oh.” She tossed pan and all into the trash.
Natalie and Rambo had been up most of the night debugging Savage’s system. “How long have you known Savage?” Rambo wiped sweat trickling temple to cheek. “We grew up in electronics.” “Has he lost his touch?” “He’s an innovator Natalie. When he needs a second brain he calls me.” “But it has nuts in its batter like bats in the belfry of his programming!”
“Need a break?” “That grin should be outlawed.” Instinctively Natalie stretched back.
“Glitches in your system? Here’s one…” he breathed “hhmhhmm, and here.” He bit deep into every erogenous zone working up. Natalie’s chuckle was resonate.
THE SEA AND ME
As the sun sparkled on the water I rubbed more lotion on my skin and flipped sides. Lying on my back I kept the image vivid in mind. I nodded off, woke then checked the time. Sitting up I watched the tide play sparkling still as waves folded up then back, up then back. I imagined molten lead foaming from heat as the sun began to set. If I walked out would the sea still me? Make me part of its landscape permanently? I couldn’t imagine a happier ending to my day as I packed my things and walked away.
Alas poor Yorick if I’d taken the time you might still be here, might just be alive. I was busy, too busy, I wouldn’t see. You were crying for help, crying out to me. I was more interested in this, a selfish life of wants. But you’d always provide. You made it about me. Why couldn’t you see? How could you place this burden so thoughtlessly? Oh Yorick, my Yorick, now who will it be?
There is no one, simply no one who’d cater like you. Alas and woe, what will become of me now? What ever shall I do?
“Nurses say we’re all cracked. I hear ‘em talking at the desk when they think I’m asleep.” Abbey spoke softly as she and her husband walked down the hall holding hands. “Who you talking to Mrs. Hill? Come with me to your room so I can give you your meds.”
“I must be loco for staying”, Moon thought. She cursed her hippie parents for her name. Did she really expect him to change? She figured she was also loco for being an idealist. Her thinking was all their fault. “Loco, loco, loco, yoko, yahtzee! Ha, Yoko.” She remembered reading something about how John met her. Yoko was hosting an exhibit where people came up and cut off pieces of her clothing. He’d heard about it and happened to be there. “Wonder what he cut off. Now that’s loco that landed her a billionaire boyfriend who got shot.” She smiled.
She didn’t trust, couldn’t wait, and the tension was overwhelming so she walked in a direction taking her passed his apartment to check. Is his car still there? Everyone lies to her anyway. It wasn’t compulsive but important she make sure he wasn’t invited without her knowing. Was he home?
Autumn usually felt uplifted after she spoke to her mom but something wasn’t right. “What kind of condition will I be in when I finally get there?” She looked forward to the time coming up to spend with her family but that feeling just wouldn’t last long. She felt dead, like something died inside. “Mental state, that’s it. I’ve been stretched beyond its limits and’ve been badgered but I’m staying active, thinking positive, rising above, but is it real or have they become motions?” It had been a while since she doubted herself like this. Her daughter’s mood swings and outbursts of anger, the hateful things she’d say were all her father. “I left him. Why am I living with him again?” Autumn wanted real happiness.
“The baby. I dread not being able to take him with me. If I come back to visit I’ll have to see her too.”
Skye was in the boutique trying on clothing made of fabric from India. The sales clerk offered an espresso or bottled water to enhance her shopping experience. As she moved around the store, Skye noticed a strikingly handsome man near the dresses rack, watching her. She didn’t dare imagine why. He nodded and made his way in her direction, smiled charmingly and grabbed for her purse. The sales clerk saw, hit the silent alarm and ran in Skye’s direction. They all tumbled to the floor as the police entered. “What kind of demented behavior you call that” Skye exhaled as they both watched him manhandled into the squad car.
“Mrs Flynne, you have a visitor.” Skye turned her head toward the woman and child who entered her room. “What a beautiful child. Is he yours?” “Mom, it’s your grandson Michael. Do you remember Michael?” “Grandson! Well! And who are you?”
The gym window faced her office. She watched him every day, thought about him, dreamt about him. She couldn’t deny her feelings any longer. Tonight she’d figure out how to make it happen.
Obsessed with plotting, she didn’t see the garden hose, stumbled and fell, hitting her head on a rock meant for her patio. She came-to in the arms of her new neighbor whom she hadn’t wasted her time to meet yet. There were bigger fish.
The object of her obsession who lived next door was holding her! Adolescent glee shot through every crevice of her body. She instantaneously plotted how long it’d take to get back on her feet. Tingling-thrills pulsated through every facet of her being.
He wrapped her arm around his neck lifting her. Her knees buckled from the sheer pleasure of his touch, his smell, being glued against the side of his body, his everything.
Mariana was making rounds at the retirement home and Millie, a long-term resident, was sitting up in bed waving her arms, yelling at the chair by the window. “Who are you talking to Mill?” Delirious during a full moon was common behavior for her. “Husband! There!” As Mariana walked toward the chair she stumbled and fell forward but was steadied by no one that was visible. She turned to see Millie calmed, grinning. “He helps.”
“Here” he breathed “and here” biting deep into every erogenous zone. Lying awake, Angel’s sore body tingle-burned. “Sweet, sweet pain.” She dreamed seeing him again, her mouth on him, on his neck, the taste. Suddenly, she became crazed with a burning thirst but it wasn’t for water. Blood. His blood.
She’d slipped out of the car, found a weapon but was grabbed by the arm. As he spun her around she cracked, her mind snapped. Aiming the flame-thrower she consumed them all with her fleeing captor. “Shouldn’t’ve kidnapped me”, Mercy-Anne thought. She turned and watched the flames, mesmerized, then left.
They’d been driving along the coast road defying the storm that was moving in. Starr loved this kind of weather and the sea crashing against the cliffs beneath them. Bradley, designated as co-pilot, thought they should detour to a lighthouse, the access road being around the next bend, to take a better look at the map and find the nearest town.
Rain began to fall as they pulled in. Starr hurried toward the door and found it unlocked. Once inside Bradley shook open the map, turned to Starr but she was gone bounding up the steps to the lantern. He forbid foreboding fear to gain ground as he spun around scrambling after her. She stepped through the glass door grasping the handrail, but then let go throwing her arms open to embrace the sea. “Get back in here you lunatic!” The crashing waves blasted him back into the revolving light.
“She’s not in her right mind. Watch what you say.”
“Don’t worry. She won’t hurt me, she’ll remember who I am.”
“She doesn’t know who anyone is anymore. The Shaman said once she turns 30 she’ll change and whom you knew won’t exist. The rage will consume until she’s unrecognizable.”
“Has her outward appearance changed? Anything look different?”
Rachel’s walk had changed. It no longer had a feminine sway. Her legs were positioned as if ready to spring on her prey.
“She can’t hurt me”, Lisa said. “She’ll recognize me or I’ll knock her down and jog her memory.”
Bobby exploded at her. He got nose to nose and wouldn’t back off. His cousin Jeanette pretended to be passed out on the couch from Jack Daniels.
“You’re going to do what I want”, he threatened pushing then swung knocking her onto the floor. She scrambled to her room, locked the door and called the police. He’d hurt her internally. She could feel it.
Marie had never seen Bobby in such a deranged state. His abuse merited him jail time, a trial, and Marie 3 months if not more of therapy plus counseling as long as she’d need it.
When the urge to smoke became too much Melissa’d give in. “Just a couple of puffs then I’ll stop. It’ll be easy.”
From feeding her addiction her behavior became more and more erratic. Melissa would bounce from great mood to violent anger. Losing patience became commonplace.
That morning her sister’d asked if she’d made coffee and Melissa spun abruptly around and snapped, “Are you an idiot! I’m not talking to you!” Terri stood there stunned.
She used to be level headed, strong and sharp but after 5 years with the wrong guy, even though it was rocky on-and-off, she’d lost too much of herself. Now she doubted her own thinking, falling deeper and deeper, losing herself to his influence giving him control. They were separated but he’d bleed into her dreams at night so she had no peace. She’d had his child based on empty promises. He was the key.
Get out she says, I want you out. This time you’re not willing to lose everything or leave things behind she covets. You want to do this in a more rational way, but how with an irrational woman whose mood could change like the flip of a switch? Don’t worry about it you were told. It will take care of itself. You can only hope as you reflect on what’s come to pass; in a matter of moments your fate has been decided. Your usefulness has come to an end as if you are now outdated. One door closes another opens, but it’s hard to see what that new door will be. What will it bring? An air of relief tries to enter, a breath of fresh air, hope, possibility but in a split second they’re gone. It all seems so dead. It is death yet life will go on.
She seemed quite mad to anyone who met her but her sudden gestures or occasional utterances were simply ways to distract from the thoughts running through her head that wouldn’t turn themselves off. When her body involuntarily jerked she knew it was to help her clear her mind and the sudden shouts were part of her oneness with herself. She was whole and in touch with her inner being that was trying to heal her.
“At what point did I become delusional and stop seeing what was going on?” Rita sat silent looking out the window. She knew everything’d been fine with her daughter. Together they’d spoken about when she could move out after Rebecca put Samuel in daycare but yesterday she exploded at Rita threatening to evict her. “At least you know what to expect when you flip a switch. She used me?” Rita thought. “It was when she moved back. Why didn’t I see it? I fed into being terrified for her psychological wellness and kept my focus on idealistic imagery ignoring reality.”