Archive for the 'fiction' Category

18
May
14

inklings of watering cans

Desert-alterd_640x photo Desert-alterd_640x_zps3ec17c21.png
Image credit goes to Wallpapers Wide

 

Don’t do like Blanca Noire. She walks with a pebble in her shoe on the way to her grave, never stopping to take it out because there is no time. No time for anything but stop-gap undertakings. No time to excavate the inner self, to see what treasures might be found.

 

Easier to trudge the arid plains with a pebble in her shoe, the pebble as a blind eye turned toward the thirsty soil, not seeing how intellectually parched she is, and how hounded by inklings of watering cans she can’t help but be.

 

Don’t lose sleep like her. When she does sleep, she wakes dazed, forgetting the pebble and everything but how to tie her shoes, as if getting places, just the walking there, is all there is. She forgets the need to have something to show for herself when she gets there, something meaningful.

 

Easier to let her beauty speak for her, to let the golden ratio rule: the symmetry of her face, a pleasant tonal transitioning; her youthfulness, a naturally inspiring thing; and in her clear, smooth skin is the knowledge of the ages.

 

Don’t get old like Blanca Noire, surprised to find her path has led her to a day when she could have so much to say, but for all her benign neglect. She’s annoyed to find a pebble embedded in her foot and angry to see her face so dry and cracked that it can no longer speak of anything but regret.

 

Don’t die like her, alone and withered and reaching out for a watering can just a few million moments too late.

Fin

157x51
Click here for more on prompt “#20 – pebble in her shoe” from other Sunday Scribblings participants.

Advertisements
22
Sep
13

Floaters Anonymous

 photo floating_640x_LucyCampbell_painting_zps4d650c6b.jpg

IMAGE CREDIT: “Floating,” painted by Lucy Campbell, is 14”x14” acrylic on canvas and is still available to buy! Visit Lucy’s site to find out more about her work and to see more of her stunning paintings.

.

I am a floater. I feel the thick numbness sitting heavy inside my head and with it, the unwillingness to think, and I float on that laze like a stoner zones out.

.

In the mornings, I lean against the living room window jamb sipping coffee and watching for people of purpose on the busy street below.

.

The face of purpose, it looks so appealing, set with enlightened determination as it is: brows as buttresses for knowledge; eyes housing pilot lights of wisdom; cheekbones sharp with instinct; and jaws leveraged with sophistication and push.

.

I watch the people at my place of work, divide them like wheat and chaff. The chaff floats on the wind and I am there on an eddying breeze, watching the wheat—the purposeful people—feed the world with knowledge and the knowing of self. Watch and learn…

.

Or, if you’re weak like me, keep on floating, flirting with pesky ideas of becoming, wondering from whence impetus, skills, and brilliance come, wishing and waiting for them to drop down from above, and when they don’t, wondering if Truth represents their witness or if Deception does.

.

Meanwhile, those who know just who they are and where they’re going are well on their way there and, barring any deterrents, it gives them a peace, like water flowing so rapidly over stream-bed rock that no periphyton can form, no slippage can happen, only traction and progress.

.

They are at ease with their missions but impatient with all else.
The ‘all else’ will be for someone else,
Not for the people of purpose,
But for people like me—
The floaters.

.

Fin

.

157x51
Click here for more on prompt “#388 – Purpose” from other Sunday Scribblings participants.

21
Oct
12

Following Curiosity

Photobucket
An Amanda Hone acrylic on Stretched Canvas 20″ x 20″ (50 x 50 cm)
.
A lanky, liver-spotted man hopped the bus at W 14th and 10th. He fixed his wild eyes on a seat and lurched toward it as the bus bucked traffic. A nervous little man with a red bow-tie moved a newspaper out of the way and Lanky sat down, nodded. Bow-tie’s mouth twitched.
.
Lanky slid his carrying case off his shoulder, pulled out a small pad and pen, and set the case at his feet. He sat back, raked a hand through his long, salt-and-pepper hair, and flipped the pad open.
.
Out of the corner of his eye, Bow-tie watched Lanky scribble madly, filling pages, flipping them over. He strained to see what exact words were streaming out of this free-feeling man, and he quivered with the frustration of being unable to make them out.
.
At W 66th and Amsterdam, Lanky stopped writing and started going over his notes from the beginning. With rapid flourishes, he crossed sections out and jotted down revisions, some on existing pages, some on fresh pages, and some of those he crossed out and tore out of the pad completely, crumpled and tossed them aside.
.
Bow-tie flinched each time a ball of paper hit the floor. His bald brow was moistening with anxiety, but he kept his hands clenched in his lap and his lips pursed.
.
Lanky finished his odd notating and purging procedure barely prior to his stop at W 86th and Amsterdam. He jammed the pad and pen into his case just as the bus came to a stop. He nodded at Bow-tie and rose to leave. Bow-tie wimpered.
.
Bow-tie forced himself to sit tight. He arched his neck to see toward the front of the bus. Just as Lanky reached the door, he looked back at Bow-tie and waved. “Enjoy” he hollered, and he was gone.
.
In a heated blush, Bow-tie scrambled to the floor and snatched up every crumpled ball of paper he could see while the bus lurched and whined and hissed. He held the balls in his moistened hands, hoisted himself back into his seat, and feverishly began to unrumple them.
.
Bow-tie’s face went from rosy to flaming red during the process of discovering the note papers were all blank but one, and it read, “If you want to know what I’ve been writing, come to 590 Columbus at 7pm.”
.
An incendiary mixture of rage and confusion and resentment and curiosity fire-bombed a lifetime of emotional suppression, and yet Bow-tie emerged from the assault with knees pressed together, eyes staring straight ahead, and a decision.
.
Instead of continuing on toward home, Bow-tie got off at the next stop and walked with precision back 5 blocks to 590 Columbus and was surprised to find himself standing outside the Riverside Community Center. He sniffed and went inside.
.
Just past the reception area he saw a signboard outside an open doorway glowing with light. People inside the room were quietly choosing seats. Bow-tie went nearer. The large print on the sign read, “The ’Upgrade Your Sex Life!’ Course, With Dr. Morrow, October 17-19.” Below it was a photo of Lanky, and underneath that was an impressive list of his credentials in the field of psychology.
.
Bow-tie’s face flushed yet again and in a subdued state of disappointment he turned to go, but in the turning he caught a familiar face. He turned back toward the glowing doorway and met the familiar eyes of his wife staring back at him. She turned beet red and looked away.
.
Bow-tie turned heel, heeded his usual flight response but was caught right before the reception desk. A familiar touch, a familiar voice, “Join me, Darling?” Bow-tie froze. Another fire-bomb to his now tenuous emotional constitution: indignation and shame and fright and curiosity…
.
Fin
.
157x51
Click here for more on prompt #342 – Upgrade from other Sunday Scribblings participants.

10
Jun
12

A dying court jester’s lament

dying jester
I fancied handfuls of costumes in my youth, tried many of them on in the changing rooms of Time (all ill-fitting), and in the end, pieces of cloth from each costume became the patches that constituted my jester’s attire.

When I was young, it was easy, with no trial efforts and only Ego as my advisor, to see myself in the most glamorous of costumes, to imagine my genius and vast potential!

During the dawn of Plenty Of Time, I tossed myself naked into the sea and drifted, butting into land when storms washed me there, and I wore whatever costumes were put on me by the natives.

By the Nearing Of The End Of Time, I had amused far more than I could count (of course). My fait accompli was the making of my own costume. I had roused my will to effect it, and the court at that time, they came and went, watched as I basted and stitched. The day was announced, the large crowd held their breath, and under the garish lights I danced for them, nearly all seams a-popping.

There is no joy in fabricating works of any kind if you are not born to the task.

There is no consolation in beauty because it is not your own, and in the end it leaves you to die, cold and unwanted.

Perhaps at best, there is reward in giftedness, but the gods are stingy, it is only for the few.

Take heed, there is nothing you can do, rail as you may, for Destiny is the coldest, cruellest bitch you’ll ever know.  And her claws, those that are sunk in you from birth, are not her own, they are Death’s.

Thusly, here I end, a silly, spent little man who was good at nothing but failing in funny ways.

157x51
Click here for more on prompt #323 – Costume from other Sunday Scribblings participants.

03
Jun
12

Roses amidst rubble

Photobucket

The fortress has been compromised again. This time, one weight-bearing wall has been felled and a portion of upstairs is now downstairs. Amidst remnants of thoughtless words and conduct, a slab of confidence from above leans, legless, at an angle from the high back of doubt down to the floor of sadness.

Inside, fingernails scratch for answers among shards of unrest and questioning. How could the fate of a fortress rest in the brokenness of a tea cup? A bent knife curls outward from the rubble away from reasoning toward tenderness.

Outside, it’s as if nothing has happened. The roses bloom ungoverned. From the usual neglect, they hang soaked with burden, and the bottommost ones lie, spread like dogs’ chops, on the ground.

The fountain still spurts water fitfully to the heavens so that it dashes madly to the stones below the basin.

The ground looks healthy in kelly green.

And when night falls down on it all, the Tawny Owl is still in her hollow, but with a new call, “Watch what you do… Watch what you say…”

 

157x51
Click here for more on prompt #322 – Fortress from other Sunday Scribblings participants.

16
May
11

Surrender or die

PhotobucketThe kid trained his gun on the old man’s head.  “Surrender your anger, Motherfucker!”

“What are you, a vigilante guru now?  A backstreet psychologist?  ‘Cause I know you ain’t got the smarts or the gonads to get a real degree.”

“Man, you got some serious shit eatin’ you.  It don’t matter what I am.  What are you?”

“What’s eatin’ me is worthless punks like you.”

The kid moved in on the old man, jabbed the barrel of the gun into his temple and gritted his teeth.  “Answer the question.”

The old man stiffened his back in the kitchen chair, squinted his hateful eyes toward the kid.  “Why you good-for-nothin’, pointless little piece of shit!”

The kid shoved the barrel harder into the old man’s head.  “I said, what are you?!”

“I’m the hardest-workin’ man in this two-bit town, done more and earned more in my lifetime than a lazy-ass, half-wit like you ever could!”

The kid guffawed.  “Well, lookee here, it’s two-fer-one day!  Pride and Anger.”

“Screw you, punk!” the old man yelled.  He strained all red-faced against the ropes strapping his legs and upper body to the chair.

The kid stepped back, regarded the old man in his futile fit.  “Oh I know better’n anyone how you made your money, you extortionist fucker!  And look at you now: a tempest in a teapot.”

The old man growled and fought his ropes all the harder, tried to hop his chair toward the phone.

The kid smacked the old man’s head with the butt of the gun, made a small cut above his eye.

For a minute the old man just looked at him, blank, while a bit of blood worked its way down his face and into the corner of his mouth.  He spat it at the kid.  “I ain’t scared of you, Punk,” he snarled.  His jaw muscles twitched like the withers of a mule plagued with flies.

The kid smacked him again.  “I’m not playin’ with you, old man.  Surrender your anger or die!”

The old man blinked at him.

NOW!” the kid yelled.

The old man shook his head like to clear it.  “Naw,” the old man mumbled, “This can’t be real.  You can’t make someone change their whole way of being with the snap of your snotty fingers…”

The kid grabbed the old man by the hair at the back of his head and pushed the gun upward under his jaw.  “This ain’t no snap of fingers, you old fuck, it’s this: I pull the trigger and end your life or I don’t.  What do you choose?”

The old man’s eyes darted back and forth in his head all crazy.  He tried to struggle.

“I said: What.  Do.  You.  Choose.  Mother.  Fucker?”  The kid shoved the gun harder into the old man’s throat and angled a bulging eye at the old man.  He cocked the trigger.  CLICK.

The sound was as loud as a mortar shell blast in the old man’s head.  All of what was left of the neurons in his brain were going haywire, the synapses bristled to near overload.  There was nothing he could do to help himself.  The pressure in his head was building and building, becoming unbearable.  His head was going to blow up even before the gun went off.  He closed his eyes.

The kid gave the gun another upward jab.  “Hellooooo!

The old man’s eyes flew open, filled with fear.  He gagged, couldn’t breathe, struggled wildly like a drowning man.  The kid let up a  bit on the gun.

“I think I’m having a heart attack!” the old man gasped.  His eyes darted back and forth.  He began to shake.  His chest heaved uselessly.  “I think I’m dying!” he croaked, and then his body went limp.

The kid slapped the side of the old man’s face repeatedly.  “Breathe, motherfucker, breathe!”

Nothing.

The kid started to panic.  “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit…”  He ran around the kitchen in circles.  Then he went to the cabinet, got a glass, filled it with water and threw it on the old man’s face.

“POP!  You gotta wake up!”

The old man stirred.  The kid shook him, then looked him in the eyes real close. “Pop!  Are you OK?”

The old man’s eyes fluttered.  He opened them and there were these youthful, urgent blue eyes all wide and looking back at him.  It was the funniest thing he’d ever seen.  He burst out laughing.

The kid let out his breath.  “Pop?”

The old man tried to lean forward but he couldn’t move.  This also amused him and he began laughing again.

“Oh, sorry, Pop, let me cut these ropes.”  The kid got a knife from the block and cut his old man loose.  Then he got some rubbing alcohol and cotton and cleaned up his cuts.

“Who are you?  A cherub?” the old man asked.  He observed the frightened reaction on his son’s face and this, too, was a riot and he busted out laughing.

“Geezus,” the kid said.  He tested him.  “Pop?” he asked.

“Yeah?”

“You know who I am?” the kid said.

“Why?  You don’t know?”  The old man went into fits of laughter.

“POP!”

The old man stopped himself, cleared his throat.  “Yes, you headstrong and aimlessly roving boy of mine!  I know who you are, you little shit.  Jonah is your name and you are the last-born son.”

The kid Jonah sighed, relieved.  “That’s right.”

“And when you came of age you were swallowed by the great white Whale of Peace and you left the fold and became a weirdo and lived on a commune complete with its own guru!”  The old man roared with laughter.

Jonah waited for a lull.  “Yeah, OK, Pop, I see you’re alright.  A little too right, maybe—”

“Ain’t no such thing, boy!” the old man said before buckling under laugher.

Jonah hugged his dad.  “Alright, Pop, I gotta go.  Macey and the kids are waitin’ for me.”  He turned to leave.

The old man grabbed his hand, looked up into his eyes.  “Your mother’d be proud you stuck up for yourself.”  He though a moment and added, “Finally,” then he cracked up laughing again.

Jonah kissed his pop on the forehead, where the cut was.  He turned and walked toward the kitchen door, happy for his pop, but sad for himself, that it wasn’t him who became enlightened this night.  He pushed through the screen door, heard it slam on his old man’s laughter.

01
May
11

Jonesey

PhotobucketJonesey waits out life with no conviction.  Most folks wouldn’t agree with me.  It’s tricky, because for all the world he looks eager to jump into a serious game within the game of life.  He’s bouncy and fun and willing to please and if you needed it, he’d give you the shirt off his back without thinking twice.  But he can’t hold a prudent thought in his head.

Anyone who’s knocked back a couple of beers with Jonesey, they usually end up making him a job offer, he’s so gung-ho.  And Jonesey, he acts like they’re a godsend.   They pay the bartender and pat Jonesey on the back, smiling and laughing.  “You call me now, hear?” they holler on their way out the door.

Trouble is, by the next morning the job offer has lost its luster.  It’s as if Jonesey resets overnight and the pissant job he’s had for most of his life looks to him like a life raft he’d better cling to.  He’s waiting for the crème de la crème of careers to fall into his lap.  He’ll know it when he sees it he says.

He may call the “bozos” he’s met at the bar, or show up at their business for a look around or for an interview, but it’s a big city with a lot going on.  It’s easy for business owners to believe that Jonesey, with all his “talents,” has found something better than what they had to offer.

“Jonesey, my man, it’s alright!” they say on the phone.  “I don’t blame you, not at all.  Listen, you’ve got a job here any time you want.”

“Thank you so much for understanding,” Jonesey says back, his voice wobbling like on the verge of tears, “I was rent in two, torn asunder I tell you, but it’d be irresponsible of me to turn down this other offer I got, even though I think your position would have been more enjoyable, I have to think of my wife, and as I told you, we have a baby on the way and—”

“Think nothing of it, Jonesey,” they say.  “Listen, let’s get together for a beer sometime!”

“I’m all for it!” Jonesey always says.

I look up from my sewing, glance at him from under the hanging-down bulb in the corner of the kitchen.  A shirt of his is in my lap.  It’s a combination of tired-out cloth and my thread, repairs that represent his waiting for a life so great that he could never see himself deserving it or living it anyway.

He sits on the stool by the phone, feels my eyes on him, and I can feel his thoughts rally and teeter between pretending he doesn’t feel me and turning to meet my eyes.  I think to myself, “You had better look at me.”  But he doesn’t.  He knows I don’t think too much of his two-bit waiting game.

There is no hotter offer.  There is no baby.  There probably never will be.  Same as there probably never will be the life Jonesey promised me on bended knee with all the earnestness of a preacher promising Heaven.  “Think nothing of it, Jonesey,” I think to myself.

I cast my eyes back on my sewing, stitch up a three-corner tear, then secure a button back in place.  I smile.  It’s a bang-up job.  Looks professional if I don’t say so myself.  He’ll go to work tomorrow looking spiff enough.

“How many cakes you got to make tomorrow, Hon?” I ask.

Jonesey darts his eyes over to me, sees I’m not holding anything against him, and he smiles wide.

“Well, Darlin’,” he says, “it’s gonna be tough, but somehow I got to find a way to make six!”

“Six?!”

“Yup.  And one of them’s a three-tier wedding cake!”

“How’re you gonna do it, Baby?”

“Oh you know me, I’ll find a way.”

“Yeah.”  I sigh, grab a pair of Jonesey’s jeans that need a patch.

Jonesey slides off his stool and walks over to me, takes the jeans from me.  He puts them back onto the pile of mending and takes my hand.  “Come here,” he says softly.

I stand up and he pulls me in.  He hugs me, kisses the top of my head, holds me there.  I can feel his thoughts like china teacups trembling on a shelf in a squall, rattling louder and louder, jiggling closer to the edge, and then everything stops, and there’s only rain.

Jonesey holds me away from him.  He regards me in the quiet and I see the bleak gray in his eyes, feel its damp cold settle on me like dew in the hours before dawn.  “I know it hasn’t been easy for you,” he says.

I look down, notice a hole in my right sock.  Jonesey tilts my head upward with a finger under my chin.  His eyes are clear, bright again, like sun through glass, dancing in distorted patterns on walls.  “Tell you what,” he says.  “Tomorrow I’ll sneak some extra ingredients and make a little cake for you!”

I tell him like usual, “You don’t have to do that, Jonesey.”

“No, Darlin’, I’m doin’ it!”  He crosses his arms in front of his chest.  Then he winks at me.  “I’ll even stick one of those bride and groom toppers on it for you.”

After all these years of not doin’ it, I think to myself, “What are the odds?”  I look at the bouncing light in his eyes and smile.  “OK, alright, Sugar.  Twenty-five bucks each way on a cake, please.”

Jonesey laughs.  “That’s my girl!”

Fini

PHOTO CREDITS:

Photo ‘Going Nowhere‘ by photosbyflood on redbubble

Photobucket

Zanzinece’s “Jonesy” was spun off the Sunday Scribblings prompt “#265 – Cake.”  Click here for more on prompt #265 from other Sunday Scribblings participants.