Wednesday, May 27, 2015

High Glacier (blogophilia 14.8)

Where are the places silence goes?
Places to escape the shock of real
Looking to be healed.


The stalled car spoke to him while he trailed an elk, as it did to any who passing by. Its existence here was a profanity to all the wilderness stood for. A poster child to the world of greed and cruelty.  The same one that used him, spitting the empty husk like a dormant seed. And the wilderness accepted him as one of its own, allowing regrowth before his returning to dust.

The buck jumped twenty feet into a shifting snow shelf. He sighed and realized no meat today. No way to follow without a collapse.The sun was getting dangerously close to the opposite ridge. Night will be coming soon. Looking back to the metal ghost. It would make good cover for the night and maybe there will be some supplies. As was his habit, he looked both up and down the ridge for tracks. There were none and he approached.

The gray silhouette contrasted with the back lit snow. White eyebrows adorned edges of glass. Icicles colored with gray dust meandered toward the frozen floor. Setting his rifle on the trunk of the car, he walked to the passenger side. The door handle lifted on the second try, small slivers of glass raining down. As he opened it, he saw the needle sticking out of a blue stripped arm. A fellow traveler had made the final leap, disappearing into the ether. A testament to a short, hard life.

She had been one of the used, who perform with little or no recompense. Lain across the bench seat like a doll, a thin scarlet robe was tucked under her, lightly covering pale scarred legs.Had she come voluntarily? The dessicated remains didn't give those details. Just a body transported by time. Tears formed at the corners of the craggy eyes. Someone's daughter lost is s a void  never filled. But to advise her location would wake dormant warrants and wake his own past.

The wind began to pick up. Ice pellets stung his face and drummed across the buckskin jacket. Carefully, he pulled the seat forward and crawled to shelter. Taking a small blanket from his pack, he gently covered the exposed flesh. He brushed the thin hair aside and kissed the cold forehead. As he settled into sleep he prayed: "Sleep tight, little one. May your next stop be better than this one." 

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“I suppose each of us has his own fantasy of how he wants to die. I would like to go out in a blaze of glory, myself, or maybe simply disappear someday, far out in the heart of the wilderness I love, all by myself, alone with the Universe and whatever God may happen to be looking on. Disappear - and never return. That's my fantasy.” 


 Topic-Kim Herndon

Pic-Colleen Bruening

Pic Guesses: Scarlet (In blog), Final Leap (in blog) Lands end, Sound of Silence, Sunset, Grief, In the end.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Road to Andalusia (Blogophilia 13.8)





The black Benz made the turn into the garage, its driver mildly irritated. How did he get roped into this trip? The plan was to soak in the hot tub until 12 and do some golf. But, no. Martha called and said her car was in the shop again and she needed a ride to some book event. All she did was read books and write poetry. Even the law practice was changed to represent authors, rather than industrial patents. It was a new challenge, dealing with real humans and their problems versus manager’s profit and loss statements.  

He found her standing on the curb chatting with the Concierge. A blue peacock covered dress covered the petite frame. With a hat to match, she looked like something out a movie. It made Jerry wish he had the convertible. He pulled up next to her and got out with the engine still running. Light on his feet, he opened the door for his lady. Smiling broadly at him, she slid onto the tan leather. With a prim swivel, sandals cleared the door. Jerry returned to the driver’s seat and pushed in the Ray Charles CD. With a small rev, the car made its way out onto Peachtree St.

“So, what do you think of the ride?” 

“Oh, it’s nice, Jerry.” Feeling the smooth leather seats. “About time you got a grown up car.”

“Hey, now. The SL was better than that retro whatever you got.”

“True.” A compact magically appeared in her hand. Taking off the hat, she deftly touched around her eyes. “I really need get rid of the piece of junk.”

Jerry watched as the raven curls shook under inspection. Just like a woman, always primping. 

“So, where is thing that’s so important?”

Grabbing a lipstick, she traced the outside of her lips.

“Andalusia Farm is right outside Milledgeville and…”

“Wait a minute, Milledgeville?” A worried passed across Jerry’s face. “That’s where the nut house…”

“…used to be, Silly.” Her hand patted his thigh. “They closed it last year.”

 Closing the compact, she smiled and gave him a peck on the cheek. 

 “Don’t worry; if I wanted to do that, I would have left you in the Monkey House at the zoo.”

Reaching into her handbag, Martha pulled out hard shelled bottles filled with tea. Jerry took his and dropped it into the deep console while Martha nursed hers like a cocktail. As she did, buildings devolved into houses, then to the freeway, a never ending kaleidoscope of modern life. She sighed.

 “Flannery O’Connor wrote a story called “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”. Yet I didn’t have to look. Mine came to me. Thanks for doing this.”

 “This farm we’re going to, this her place or something?”

“Was. She died a long time ago of Lupus. She said: ‘I write to discover what I know.’ It was better than painkillers to her.” She took another sip.  “After her death, the family set it up so it could be a museum and a writers retreat.”

A loud slurping noise indicated her bottle was empty. Yawning, she settled in for a nap. 

“One of my clients is doing a symposium on native plants. He asked me down, because he knew I liked O’Connor’s fish out of water stories. Also, there is a galley draft ready to go to the publisher. He needs me to check some edits.” 

“Anything that would be a deal breaker?’

“Nothing big. Just a section deleted because a release wasn’t signed. Anyway, I’m not worried, it should be fun.” 

No more words were spoken as they drove out of town. Martha purred like a contented cat as concrete carpet slipped by. A warm feeling came over Jerry. Over the last twenty two years, no matter where he was, he was home with her. And yet, they had resisted taking the final step of marriage, each wanting to keep their independence. They had tried to explain to her old man on a trip home once, but it only ended in a screaming match. The family wanted the traditional wedding, with the party, chairs and the glass. They had run far too from that mentally back then, but now? 

Four days in intensive care and a month’s recovery can shake up a lot of things. 

The face, with the specks of silver twinkling along her hairline, seemed to whisper to him. Small lines tracing along the corners of her eyes beckoned. She was right; neither of them was getting younger. 46 years old and he still played like he was single. He had the grown up car, now it was time for the rest of him to follow. It was time to close this. 

The small box sat in the console. He had bought while she was still in the hospital, but never could work up the nerve to do it. Would she say no? He had too much respect for her and her family to force it, and he didn’t like to feel defeated.  

The entrance sat between a car lot and a hardware store just before the main part of town. He almost missed the turn, the sign lost amongst the flapping tube men and spinning targets. A hundred yards past the building, the road became a tunnel of large trees ending in a courtyard in front of a modest, white house. Goats grazed along the fence, viewing the car with some bemusement. Peacocks and Guinea Hens trotted here and there. But there was something missing.

There were no cars. The house appeared deserted and closed. He gently shook her shoulder.

“Martha, you awake?” He whispered.  “Are you sure this thing was for today?  I mean, we’re here, but it doesn’t look like anyone else is.”

Blinking and shrugging, she looked up. 

“Oh…Let me check my day timer.” Pulling out the leather bound book, she started flipping the pages. Her eyes grew wide.

“Crap that was next Saturday. Oh, Jerry, I’m sorry.” There was a twinkle in her eyes. “Let me make it up to you.”

Grabbing her hat, she got out of the car. He dress reflected the birds as she strode purposely around to the driver’s door and opened it. She knelt down on the warm asphalt and looked up at Jerry. Concealed in her hand behind the book, was a jewelry box the same color as his. With a sigh, she revealed the simple gold band. 

“Jerry Goldstein. I meant what I said about a good man. You have been my guardian and my rock ever since we both moved south. You stood up to my Father when he disapproved of us and have been with me through the better and worse parts they mention in the wedding vows. It is time to stop dancing around this. I love you with all my heart and want you to be my husband forever. Will you marry me?”

Fifteen seconds of stunned silenced followed. The grin began just inside the corners of his mouth and spread until it reached his ears. Reaching behind him, he brought his gift out and stood up. Taking her arm, he walked her to the steps of the house. Getting on his knees, he presented the small diamond flanked with rubies. He too, almost broke. 

“Martha Halpern, it has been a strange journey. We ran away from traditions that we felt were not for us. We were modern people, which tradition couldn’t tame. My Uncle told me before I left home that no matter how far I ran from God, he would still be behind me, guiding my life. I laughed at that. It wasn’t until you were in the hospital; I realized the old geezer was right. You were my guide and I almost lost you. Solomon said that a good woman was like rubies. I absolutely will marry you. But will you marry a misfit like me?”

“Yes, Silly Boy.” Martha flung her arms around him and kissed him deeply. “I want to be with you forever.”



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It's been a great season here at Blogophilia. If you love the challenge of writing to prompts, come join us on Facebook. 

Topic was submitted by Dave Coon.

Pic was submitted by Nina Nixon.

Pic: Top Hat, Party time, Cake, Leopard in the roses, Lady in the Living Room, Jungle Love.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rambling...(Blogophilia 12.8)

No story this week.

 

Yeah, I know. It's disappointing when a topic just doesn't lend itself to a riveting tale of crime and romance. You would think I would be able to take a woman of history and spin some fantastic tale of rescue or some such.

Do I look like some kind of superhero?



Or, I could write about my wife, Kathryn and how we met.



It wasn't like I was on the Stairway to Heaven. She was dating my best friend, then called me out of the blue several years after they broke up. We were birds on a wire, ready settle down and that was it. That was thirty years ago.

 Image result for 30 years

Thirty years? Great Scott!

And it isn't even a tender subject like a lot of my friends from high school. They time warped from one relationship to another. And now I am at an age where some of them are like Fast Eddie. Of course,  that could spin some sad tales of fallen women...

Women who behaved badly...

 Image result for Dorothy Parker

And made history.

Eh, I'm rambling.

Where are my meds?



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Topic-Trevor Clower

Pic-Colleeen Keller Breuning

Pic guesses:Bird on the wire (in blog), Laundry, Clothespins, Fresh air, Crooked line, Evening shade, Grandma, No clothes.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sunday Afternoon at the Mall (Blogophilia 11.8)




Barry White and Lisa Stansfield bubbled out of the sound system, the up beat tempo beckoning the grazing flock to graze the commercial manna laid before them. Fancy frocks draped elegantly across impossibly proportioned mannequins. Sparkly, overpriced trinkets behind glass cases. Everything in the tableau designed to encourage wallets to emerge and cash to disappear. Kari smiled.It was no different than any art gallery, look admiringly but don't touch. A place where ideas were birthed and raised. It had been a trying day and this was her therapy. Her pace matched the music and she was ready for a sensory overload.

The Fragrance Bar with its booths of sublet spaces, spanned the wide mall opening. The aisles of the store were laid out so no shoppers could escape the pitches and smells. She shrugged. Perfume wasn't her bag, but it was a good appetizer for spring dresses and hats. Leaning on the counter to her left was a pale, petite woman dressed all in black. Upon seeing her mark, she stepped forward, green liquid in the tiny bottle in her mottled hand. 

"Ah, Bonjour, Madame. Com'est ├ža?  Whiskey with a tinge of late night regret surrounded her. "We have the latest scent from the streets of Marseille for you. Eau d'Absinthe! You will smell like the cafes...

Marseille? More like the Cafe D'Escargot. A distinctly foul memory of the place from the summer spent hitch hiking in Europe. Paris, Berlin, Munich, most of it was old buildings, wild parties, and shadowy men. But Marseille was the nastiest dump of  all. There cool buildings to look at, with pale stucco and red slate roofs and such. But the streets smelled like dead fish and the men worse. It was the only city on the trip she didn't get laid.

Shaking her head at the Goth, she hurried past only to be accosted by a life sized Weebul in a scarlet smock and equally shaded hair. Rocking on her over sized hips. she pointed toward a  large black bottle of elixir that was prominently displayed on a small altar. The large blue company logo shown brightly behind her, as if to support the sales pitch for the entire line. With a step to left, the would be Magenta blocked her path and spoke in a voice was softer and higher pitched, but no less aggressive.

"Oh, my word. Ma'am." "Your hair looks like  Frankenstein's in the lab! We have this fabulous new creme rinse..."

Now this one could just fuck right off. She was proud of her hair. Yes, it WAS gray and a little bit messy today, but it brought compliments. Men called her Silver Falls and seemed to enjoy how it washed around as they rolled in the hay. Roll...Roll...She chuckled at that one. Her first time had been in a barn loft with a boy from down the road. She couldn't remember his name, though. It had been that exciting. He never even got it in.

Men, they always claimed they had the sweet mystery of life, but never delivered. when she had one, sighing and moaning happened on cue. Every now an then, one would be worth teaching  finer techniques for their next conquest. But never for her to repeat the performance. Women weren't much better. Oh, they went slower, but were more needy and selfish. And frankly, they too just weren't equipped right. Some things just can't be substituted.

She moved on.

It never mattered to Kari who she was with. Just as long as they were gone the next day. A hat with a cornflower ribbon caught her eye. Really, it was better just taking things into her own hands. No fuss, muss and not a lot to clean up afterwards. The thought stopped her. Was she really a man? Or maybe "Abby Normal"?  She stopped to look at herself in a mirror. No. She still liked girly things: flowery dresses, jewelry and such. It was just people just turned her off. All of them so flawed and hypocritical. More trouble than they were worth.

Oh, there were exceptions. Randi, the little Drag who died in her arms was one. So damaged and vulnerable he was, an angel with broken wings. And such a mystery, he'd never did get to tell his story in their few hours together. No family connections ever surfaced afterward, either. Like he had fallen from the stars as punishment for existence. Condemned do die in the back of a VW Bus in the arms of a horny, menopausal woman. One, whose job was to escort the unwanted back to the universe.

The simple grave side service was arranged with only Father McKay and herself in attendance. At least it was something for someone who had nothing.  It wasn't the first time as a death angel, but it was the one that always had stuck with her. Fallen Angels had become a recurring theme in her jewelry and paintings.

And so it had been today. The call had come, as so many of them do, late at night. A homeless man had been hit by a car on the street not far from her house. Luckily, the girl at the ER desk was a neighbor, getting into the treatment room wasn't a hassle. Kari was introduced to the attending nurse as a cousin and they were left alone. Turning to the bed, she sighed. Black pools had replaced his eyes. It wasn't going to be long. Rhythmic gasping sounds came from the respirator accompanied by gentle beeping from the monitor above.

A few words were spoken. The gentle rub on his shoulder to relax him. Her placed her right arm over the top of his head and the left across the tubes crisscrossing his chest. Placing the silver angel at his heart, she whispered it was time. As the time slowed, a code alarm sounded. Stepping back, she allowed the staff to make the last attempt for life and then let him go. No questions had been asked. But, like the others, it was stressful. The places would be swapped in due time. Would there be someone for her?

But it didn't matter now. As she walked through the valley of vanity, she would fear no ugliness. No matter how hard people fought time, time always won.

Ooh. Look at that lovely Cherokee Rose skirt....


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Topic-Barbara K.

Pic- Christine Wichman

Pic Guesses: Garden Girl, Rose arbor, Flower, Scent of a woman, Primrose Path, Red Robin.