Monday, May 26, 2014

The Farm House (Blogophilia 14.7)



Bright sun shone in his eyes as Jeremy finished his meal.  Caffeine rushing through his veins, Jeremy waited in line to pay for the meal. Various rednecks and farmers joked with Tubby and the Big Man as each completed food order landed on the spike. Murray’s order and life will be on that spike soon enough.  He turned his head away so no one could see his face.

 A small woman with blue and orange hair was feeding bills to the jukebox.  She was the illustration of anti “happily ever after”; silver eye shadow and black mascara had melted to clumps on the oval face. Large black dots smudged at the corners of her eyes,she was a broken bedtime story.  The music choices matched her mood. 

“How can you mend a broken heart? How can you stop the rain from coming down…”

Jeremy's mind drifted a bit. Sarah used to play that song.  Then mother would come in and turn it off, flinging a switch across her legs. Sinful it was, thinking about a boy. Or to think about joy.  Jeremy would get the switch too if he happened to be in the room. He was as much of a conspirator than she was.

He quickly paid for the meal, making no eye contact with Tubby as she drove his order onto the spike.  Blinded a bit as going out the door, he made his way to the car. As far as Ms. Blue hair, too bad for her.  Sympathy was for the weak and there wasn’t time to get involved.

The traffic back towards the city had thickened to almost a crawl. But the lanes his way were almost empty. The turnoff to the farm came up and He was pleasantly surprised it had been paved. “Good.  Less noise as I drive” He thought.  

The speedometer counted out the half mile to the driveway.  The roof of the house peeked over the rise just as he remembered.  Slowing for the curve, he looked around.  A couple of new houses had gone up over to the right, but they were at least a quarter mile off the road. Going down a little ways further, he crossed a creek bridge.  He made the U turn where two more driveways came in.  A truck came behind him just as he finished. Rattled, he remembered his manners and waved.  The other driver waved back and drove on, not slowing.  Releasing his breath, he continued driving.

Stopping just before the drive, he got out of the car. Carefully looking for signs of recent habitation, he looked at the surface. Tracks had formed in the hard, red clay. Small puddles reflecting the images of muscadine and blackberry that ran along the fence.  A large Cherokee rose rambled over the gate and into the pasture, scattering small white blooms like confetti.  The lock hasp had long rusted away. With a gentle push, entrance was made.  This was almost too good. He drove through, stopping again on the other side to move the gate back in place.

The car bumped and bounced as he went over the rise, an orange cloud of dust following. Overgrown with thistle and cherry, the pasture had not been mowed in years. A small patch of tulips defiantly put up a weak pink and yellow assault against the weedy invasion. Pine saplings sprouted in random bunches, reaching to seize as much territory while they could. The opposite of orderly, the place had not been visited in years. 
 
The barn, half fallen in with age and neglect, sat about eighty feet past the house. The carcasses of a tractor and a truck sat in front.  The farmhouse itself looked like it came from Hansel and Gretel, with its faded wood trim and ornate roof tiles. The family must have been prosperous at one point. Now, the house was broken and abandoned by everyone, much like himself.  The wooden stairs groaned as he climbed up to the front porch.

A small, black cat sat on the rail, green eyes wondering if this trespasser was good for some food. Rage rose up in Jeremy’s mind. Cats were evil things that screamed insults at him, but this one looked gentle and hungry.  Sympathetically, he tapped his leg as he reached for the front door.  His new companion heeded the signal and ran in front as he stepped through the unlocked door. The house opened into a fairly wide hall, with a staircase running up the left hand side. The whitewashed heart of pine panels had faded, but still retained much of their rich grain.  Flicking the power switch next to the door did nothing, another sign of abandonment.  

A quick tour of the place found most of the first floor dry and usable. There was some debris from the last resident and a good bit of dust, but very little in the way of overt damage.  A large living room was the on the right, with a smaller room to the left of the staircase. The cat had gone into the kitchen, which was at the end of the hall on the right. It contained only couple of cabinets and no counters.  But there was a sturdy table to work on. This was good. A box of cat food was on the floor, he poured out a little. Purring, the black shadow happily scarfed it down.

Climbing to the top of the staircase, he could see the house did have some roof damage. Water stains peppered the walls and the ceilings were down in a couple of the rooms. He probably wasn’t going to use anything up here anyway.  As long as everything on the first floor stayed dry, there shouldn’t be any problems in planning and executing and testing.  

Coming back out the front door, he walked down to the opposite of the porch to check visibility.  A large hardwood plot lay about 50 feet away, giving no view into the neighboring property.  Good.  
He then walked out into the drive and back up to the top of the hill. Looking back down at the road, he confirmed that there was nothing that could be seen from that direction. Turning slowly to his left, he looked along the wood line that bordered the pasture.  No obvious breaks or trails could be seen, which meant there shouldn’t be hikers or other odd company. 

It was perfect. 

Reaching into his pocket, he found the folded up piece of paper he had written. He put a check in the column next to the farmhouse.  Walking back to his car, he thought about the next steps. He wouldn’t be coming back out here until he had most of the materials. Then he would stay until he was ready to execute.  He needed to get back to town.  There was work to do. 


__________________________________________________________________________________

As per the new protocol:

Topic-Nina Nixon

Pic Rutgers Siskens.  

Pic guesses: Orderly (used in blog) Tulips (used in blog), Windmill, Tilting at windmills, Holland, Zee.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Diner (Blogophilia 13.7-No Points Extra Post)




Atlanta Highway seemed surreal. Asphalt and concrete stretched for miles in all directions and dimensions.  Sensations of elevation and descent alternated as light posts and warehouses floated across his vision.  The Toyota wasn’t a car, but a mutant space plane rapidly traversing this so called reality. The Pigs created this illusion of “Reality”. Jeremy smiled at the thought.  It didn’t matter how many substances the Pigs put into him, he rejected this concept and had since the fire. All he saw was the illusion aw it was projected from the central location. Even this train of thought was a delusion. He knew that.

It was never mentioned in polite, or any other, company. The small, white room was too close of a memory for him to relive. 

A gnawing sensation began to rise up from his gut. Hunger? Time won’t let me eat. There are things to do and plans to make. When did he eat last? At 3 sheets, whenever that was. He remembered absent mindedly gnawing on some wings the bartender gave him. Did he even order them? The memory of cayenne burning his lips and tongue came up to override the hunger.

The blonde harridan had been jawing silently over the bar while he ate.  What was her name? Nancy Grace? What a misnamed spokeswhore Mother lived in her cruel and unfeeling eyes. Jeremy could tell she cared not a whit whether anyone was hurt by her poison.  Had she started, as Don Henley put it, as a “bubbleheaded bleach blonde”.   It didn’t matter. She was one of them, but one target at a time.  

The city slowly faded from view. Lit parking lots were replaced by dense forest, punctuated with jewel like farm houses. The highway had been improved a great deal since the last time he had been out. It must be freeway all the way to Athens so those football fans have to be able to get their place of worship.  Football was just another distraction to keep the sheep happy and occupied.  A glowing indigo haze appeared on the horizon, while the asphalt seemed to blend into oblivion. 

His vision began to flicker. The pain changed from gnawing to burning, as if his body was saying “pay attention to me.” He was going to have to stop. In the distance, there was the lit sign of a well-known diner chain. Carefully putting on the turn signal, Jeremy turned in.  He glanced at his face in the rear view mirror. The hair was combed and the face was clean. But his eyes showed the toll of the last few days. His stomach barked again and he opened the car door.  

“Hello Darkness, my old friend…” came from the sound system of a room lit brighter than the Day Room at the hospital. Irony is thicker than thought, isn’t it? Paul Simon himself would appreciate it. Two old men sat at the counter silently shoveling their food away. They looked like the living mannequins he had seen a store use for as a sales gimmick. Mechanically, the forks traveled from plate to mouth, over and over again.
Jeremy thought about joining them for a moment, but decided an empty booth was better.  Grabbing a menu, he stared blankly for a few minutes. Jumbles of words rose from a mustard background, not making sense. Maybe he did have to eat after all. Squinting, he saw the picture of a large spread. 

“What’cha havin’, Sweetheart?”   A tired, shrill voice asked, the mouth working on a chunk of stale gum.

The sound shook Jeremy out of his thoughts and he looked up. The owner of the voice was white, youngish and fat. Stringy, dishwater hair framed a haggard face. “Twinkie” was the name on her uniform tag. She looked like she’d had a few of those, for sure.  A cartoon character’s red legs peeked out from under the right sleeve.  She smelled of overwork and poor habits, but who was he to judge? Jeremy guessed she had been here for all time.

“I’ll take the All Star Plate, eggs over light, with coffee.”   Jeremy replied with a smile and as much confidence as he could muster.

Tubby wasn’t charmed. She turned and shouted the order to a large man with no teeth, using a coded language that reminded him of the Korean lady at the dry cleaners. Shrugging confirmation, a giant paw grabbed bacon from a stainless steel bin and threw it on the grill. Jeremy hid a small grin as he watched the meat scream as it lay shriveling and shrinking under the heat.  

“Murray. He’s the one that should happen to. “ He said under his breath. A tingling sensation started battling his hunger and almost won.  Looking he saw the waitress coming with the muddy joe. Tubby laid the cup down with four small packets of white liquid. Tearing the top off one of the packs, his thought train came back to his hunger as he saw the change in color. It was only cream in the most liberal sense of the word, but it did the job.  A pack of sugar then disappeared into the muck and it was ready even for the likes of him. 

As he drank from the cup of life, he leaned back on the bench.  The turn off to the farm was only a mile up the road from here. Then there was a short drive down a dirt road. So how much risk was it to stop here?  Not much, it will be a little while before he fires up his bacon grill. No one will think about him eating his lonely meal. This little piece of planning. 

Closing his eyes, it felt as almost nothing had changed out here. He wondered if the farm had.  If he remembered right, the farmhouse was on the left hand side of the little dirt road, only partially visible from the road.  The driveway went over a small hill and then dropped down behind the house. The plan was to drive by the house and turn around in the next driveway, which was around a sharp curve.  He would have a better view of the place coming the other way.  The pasture on the far side of the hill behind the house intrigued him. It should provide a private area to test his theories as the process of revenge is refined.  The tingling feeling returned.  He was looking forward to the party, even if his guests of honor wouldn’t. 

The focus was interrupted by the mixed smells of bacon and fat waitress.  In a very bored voice, Twinkie asked if there would be anything else. Jeremy shook his head and she turned back to the old men at the counter.  One of them was holding his cup as if it was a chalice to be filled.  Pulling the pot from its burner, she topped him off and walked into the store room.  Jeremy was still invisible to the world.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

KMZT (Blogophilia 13.7)

Classic Music Deters Drug Dealers

One of my guilty pleasures is weird news. Using aggregators like FARK, I get my dose of the strange and scary on a daily basis. It allows me to laugh when time won't let me watch television or read. 

Anyway, I was looking at the above captioned article, showing the efforts a certain unnamed Monsieur used to chase drug dealers away from his building.  The dealers were so caught up and lost in their vices, they couldn't stand it and they left.  The comments from Farker's gallery had some glorious puns over how after five minuets after the music stopped they would be back and the like. But it got me thinking.

What about having this service available for the general public.

We'll call it KMZT.

All Mozart. All the time.  With a catalog that will only repeat itself once a year.

And we'll get Charles Osgood to be the announcer.

Or James Earl Jones.

 But not Alec Baldwin, he's an ass.

And the glorious sounds will echo through the concrete and glass canyons of the cities we call home. 

Maybe it will harken the return of the International Geophysical Year.

Or a more successful Spoleto.

Doesn't matter.

Just pour a cup of Java and toast the defeat of the Sounds of Silence.

Where the words of the prophets are spoken openly and lovingly.

And not to the cowed herd. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Maz (Blogging Lounge #9)



High school was a strange time.  For the most part, I prefer to leave in the past, but once in a while a name will pop up that still makes me smile.  I was looking through Facebook to see if there was anybody I wanted to add and I came across Maz, a truly unique individual.  His behavior, especially towards girls would be considered harassment these days. Teachers would just sigh and roll their eyes, because his work was always done well. There just weren’t any niches to sink discipline into his thick skull. The attitude had gotten him booted from the debate team and a couple of other activities over the years.

He was from a conservative Jewish family, his Grandparents having come to the US in the mid 1930’s from Southeastern Europe. They left when it became apparent that Hitler was on one side and Stalin on the other and they didn’t want to find out who was going to get there first.  The reason this piece of information is important was Maz was fluent in Yiddish, since it was required for him to talk to his older relatives.  Being a rebellious teenager, he had reduced his Temple attendance to the holidays and even that was apparently at the threat of death.  

Maz and I seemed to end up in the same Social Studies classes, Civics, U.S. History and World History, where we would heckle our intrepid and quite competent teachers.  While I bitched about their homework assignments, a more courageous group of ex hippies was never to be found.  They would do things like invite the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan to debate the above mentioned, nationally ranked debate team (which consisted of three Jewish kids and a Catholic, all of whom became attorneys), which acquitted themselves very well.  

The World History course came in our junior year.  It was taught by an interesting character, Ted Wolfe, who really was our kindred spirit. He always gave information about events that wasn’t the official screed, which was appreciated.  Most of the students at North Springs came from wealthy backgrounds, but I wasn’t.  My parents were going through some rough times that were partially of their own making. But all of us questioned how all the wealth got here and how it was being used.   There was usually lively debate and he was more than willing to help us back our argument with fact and reasoning.

Mr. Wolfe and Maz got on each other’s nerves.  One Friday, an assignment was being handed out with a deadline of Monday.  I heard him mutter an invective questioning the teacher’s heritage.  Unfortunately, it was loud enough for him to hear, and Maz didn’t think about the origins of the surname Wolfe.  The next two minutes of class was a rather loud dress down, completely in Yiddish, directed at Mr. Maz.  The rest of us muffled giggles as we watched their faces turn three shades of red, Maz’s with embarrassment and Mr. Wolfe’s from anger and blood pressure.  Threats of detention and other calamities bounced from wall to ears, until…

The sound of the bell interrupted the tirade. 

We all quietly got up and left. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

12:34 (Blogophilia 12.7)



Fading into the gray, the dream of the asshole pigs and mother was replaced with faint images of Sarah and delicate lavender flowers, dimming into the black of death.

The blackness stayed for such a long time he thought had death had really come. He wondered if the next sight was going to be Pastor Galloway, that false prophet,  saying “We are gathered here today…” But who would pay for a funeral for him? The thought drifted away almost as fast as it was formed.

A slight glow grew in the lower left of his vision. He turned toward it, almost without being aware. Drifting on the tidewaters of never, he could feel something ebbing away, shadows of coral and whistles of the deep calming sore synapses.   Like a cork released, the sensation on rising, lifting enveloped his being. The round sun came through the surface like rippled glass. 

Suddenly, there was Pressure. Pressure against his nostrils and chest, pulling him back towards the deep.  He was drowning. Thrashing wildly, the light came closer.  Something felt wrapped around his ankles as he struggled toward the light. It was more than a touch of darkness. It was infinite darkness, the evil from which Mother and the Pigs had sprung. Sarah was the light.  She had to be saved.



The red glow seeped into sight.  12:34. Did that mean something? He wasn't sure of anything anymore. 

As the rest of his consciousness slowly caught up with him, the clock glowing in the dark came into focus. The clock.  It is dark, so that means it is after midnight. What day? Friday? Can’t be, it was Saturday when he was at the bar, wasn’t it? The switches in his mind were maddeningly slow.  He was in bed with no covers, but he wasn’t cold at all. That was strange. 

Turning on to his back, he could make out the round jar shape that was the ceiling light. It spun slowly counterclockwise. He really did tie one on, didn’t he?  He sort of remembered making it in the door and he vaguely remembered the conversation with the pill bottles. The rest was just a blur. 

He vaguely remembered waking is his wet pants and taking them off.  Too scared to lift his head, his hand felt down.  Yes, he was still naked.  Nobody had bothered to check on him, not surprising. Mindlessly, he played with himself.  An image of the gypsy girl he had brought home projected on the far wall his bedroom.  

She had come with him, hoping to recreate something he never had.  A chubby sprite with small breasts and stringy dyed blonde hair, she had reminded him of Sarah. But she stank of cigarettes and hard times and she laughed when his part didn’t work. It took him a week to clean it all up.  What was it she said? There were false truths and honest lies? She was rose food at the Botanical Garden now.  No one missed her, just like no one misses me.  He sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed his throbbing head.

Temper was always his enemy. Things would go out of focus when the rage came. When he would lash out at Mother, she would send the belt across his face. But the pain was worth it. Rage was replaced with pain, and with the pain was focus. There was a word he heard used when was in the ward, aprosexia, to describe the condition of one of the clients.  Client, isn’t that a lovely way describe somebody?  It had something to do with concentration.  Pain chased distraction and increased concentration.  He was grateful to the hateful bitch for teaching him that. 

Slowly, he stood, testing his balance.  Once he was comfortable, he reached around the bathroom door frame for the switch. Nothing happened, and then he remembered. It had done blown and so had he.  But he didn’t care anymore. A freedom was running now in his mind. Fumbling around for the faucet, he turned the shower on. 

Roaring water against porcelain hurt his ears, but he didn’t mind.  The cold water leached away the scum and dream sweat.  The bar of soap made it into his hand without slipping, and it travelled up and down his shapeless form.  He had never been one for working out.  His body was a shell and prison, not a temple.  He lived completely in his head. And this head was ready for the extermination project.

He was clean enough. Shutting off the water, he found the old, stiff towel it its home on the back wall.  The sandpaper effect against his skin brought him further into focus.  He needed to be clear and well behaved during this planning stage, even if he didn’t want to.  If they got an inkling of what he had in mind, he would be back in the white room.  No he wouldn’t.  It will end for him before that, he was quite sure.  But he wanted to take as many pigs to slaughter as he could before that time came.

Much steadier on his feet, he switched on the lamp next to his bed and looked the clock.  1:15AM. He decided the first thing was to drive out to the farm, but he didn’t want to do that until daylight.  Reaching into his dresser, he saw he only had one clean shirt and one pair of boxers.  Laundry would kill the time until after morning rush hour, when he could slip out on the highway unnoticed. 

Smiling to himself, he thought about the young TV newscaster with the sparkly eyes from the bar.  She’s going to have something to sparkle about soon enough.   And he will have the last laugh. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Words (Blogging Lounge #8)

Letters
Like atoms to the mind
Symbols communicating meaning
Forming words like molecules
Chaining together as sentences
Fracking
Cracking
Molded and synthesized
In the plastic gel
Fashioning anything
We regard
As truth. 

4:00PM (Blogophilia 11.7)



Images flashed in and out of his vision, Mother and then the policemen.  He wasn’t completely sure if he was awake or in one of his nightmares. Scenes in sepia tones, like an old photograph. Mother in her high collared blouse, dour and lifeless as a dead rose.  Jackson is across the room pounding on the table Murray pulls his hair and they are both laughing. Pigs enjoy humiliation.  The ground began  to rotate like a mechanical stage and a new point of view began.   Murray is approaching an area with crime scene tape around it. Jackson hails him over to a pile sitting on the sidewalk.  There is an old car just before the area. Jeremy waits as he gets closer and closer….

An acute pain broke through the dream, a stray sunbeam reflecting off the table knife and directly in the left eye.  Moaning, he raises his hand to block the intrusion. His head is leaden.  Jacking the chin up with his right hand, he is vaguely aware of the acrid smell.   Crap, peed himself again. The sound of Mother’s voice echoed in his head, but he ignored it.  At least he was in the chair and not in the bed.  No laundry other than changing his clothes.  Got to be more careful, they might catch on. 

He slowly rose and opened the small window that looked over the tree lined parking lot.  The smell of stale oil and re-fried beans from the trendy taqueria next door filled the room, filling his belly with hunger.  He might walk over to get one of their house specials.  Stumbling along the counter, he turned on the faucet and splashed water in his face.   His hand made a move toward his drugs then pulled back, turning on the radio instead.

 The brown plastic bottles seem to sway in his vision. A high pitched chant “You know you need us.  Why haven’t you taken us?” began to play in his head.  

“Because I don’t want and addiction to feed and I don’t have any mouths to pay. So Devil, I don’t need to bargain with you today.  I’m O.K.”.  Another voice said.  The bottles and his mind were battling for control.  No one was going to save his soul, no matter what Jewel sang. Jeremy was sure of it.  

Call and response repeated itself several times before Jeremy could focus on anything else.  Slowly, he stripped off his wet trousers.  The cool air felt refreshing and he stood for a moment, the breeze from his kitchen window gently drying the chaffed parts.  He absently moved the flesh from side to side. There was no pleasure in it, really.  It hasn’t worked for years. There was just a need to feel the soft coolness and to feel it spread.  

Peeling off his shirt, he stepped into the telephone booth sized closet that served as his bathroom.  He switched on the light. There was a pop and the immediate touch of darkness as the bulb blew. Jumping back and gripping his chest, he almost peed again.  The high pitched voice began to taunt him “A keeper, you ain’t a keeper.”  

“Leave me alone!” Jeremy screamed.  He melted to the floor, hyperventilating.  His head pounded in time with his heart.  He wanted just to explode there.  

A soft voice quietly rose above the others.  

“It’s alright. They don’t mean it.” 

His breathing began to slow. Sarah’s naked body briefly flashed before his eyes. He sensed her small breasts and the smell of the lavender soap.  The soft touch of a hand began to caress his neck. 

 “I will always be here.”

Tears formed at the corner of his eyes as he saw her. The gift that had been taken away so suddenly. 

 “They killed you and I’m going to make it right.” He said quietly.  The image vanished and he was able to breathe again.  Utterly exhausted, he fell on to his bed and back into the original dream.