Tag Archives: short story

What I did not know

Flying-Saucer-UFOS-hover-over-Arizona One day the mothership would return. I knew it. I felt it in my bones. I felt it in every follicle of my me-ness. I knew. So when the stars started twinkling all funny and growing and then showing themselves to be flying-freaking-saucers!! I knew, I just knew, that they had come back for me!!!!

I knew, that my days toiling in the chalk spattered trenches, my run in with bronchitis, the endless headaches caused by talking to the producers of leaderless offspring were worth it. It all made sense, listening to folks more learned than me oratoriate – is that even a word? It feels like a word. It feels like it describes people who know a lot of nothing and release a lot of mouth farts they think make sense. So I’ll let it stand- about what they think I do, reverting the education discussion to a hot, steamy, hopeless, tangle of mamagism -that one is a real word that I did not make up, thank you very much- was all worth it!

I knew so, while cities burst into riots and chaos, while people boarded windows and ran on PricePro, I went up to my roof in my nighty, no less, and let the star children know most ineloquently, that I do not want to live on this planet anymore. See, I knew I did not belong among these people.

I was wrong. They did not belong around me! I know because I saw the neighbor who had borrowed my sprinkle kit and tried to make me feel bad for wanting it back, ascend in a column of soft blue light. Indeed the neighbor who walked around naked with the curtains open and complained when passersby complained. Crying about her lack of privacy gave me one final blue illuminated full moon!

Disappointed I went to the book of faces to air my hurt and three-quarters of my friend list had been deleted! In hindsight I don’t even know why I had so many, I only needed the 6 people who responded to my posts and foody channels I followed.

The next morning to my surprise most of the news stations were abuzz. Most of the government people had been taken! But that wasn’t the best part. A bewildered intern or technician, apologizing for the missing anchors, explained that the aliens had left an apology and had cleaned the oceans, refrozen the ice caps and filled in the ozone hole.

A thief’s comfort

In response to photo-fiction #3

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If you were sitting on a beach or overlooking a cove the sound I was hearing would be peaceful. It would be a great therapy to hear what sounds like waves breaking on a rocky shore. To think of the permanence of land against the formless brutality of the sea is a great comfort. That the sea must subside when faced with the rugged surface of the land. Or if you are a bit of an anarchist you would think of how ironic that something so soft and soothing could erode such a mighty medium.

In any case, one would be at peace. One would be comforted by the ebb and flow of the sound. Of the crest and fall of octave after octave of raw energy. You would be comforted, so would I, but for the fact that I am breathless and sweaty. That my legs burn and my chest is tight all while threatening to explode.

It would be a comfort except for the fact that when I slow and the sound begins to vibrate my bones, I know that it is because my executioners are at my heal. It would be a comfort except that I know that the ebb of the roar is only short-lived until the next obstacle slows me down. Only as short-lived as the tiny reserve of energy I have left.

I would be comforted if I wasn’t a poor man who had bested a whole lot of rich ones, making a fortune no one ever intended to be mine. If I wasn’t a more cunning thing that the ones who rob the poor and call it taxes. It will be comfort if I can make it to the port, and the real sea embraces my good fortune.

An unoriginal tale

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My story is not a new one, it’s not original. It is the story of many women, through time, in this small place. From my grandmother’s bare floored wattle house, to my mother’s’ modest wooden two bedroom nestled between the coconut trees of Old road and then in my house, modern and picturesque still among the coconut trees, still touched by sweet sea breezes. It’s not a unique story.

I saw my mother give her life to a man, my father. A man who managed to be absent even in his presence. Stoic, unapproachable and rough.

I watched my mother wilt, from vibrancy to defeat. Her eyes grew sunken and sullen, the light of youthful exuberance gone even before she was properly forty. I saw her smile become a rare thing sometimes sliding off her face to be replaced by a look of miserable resignation when she heard heavy construction boots on the gallery in the afternoon, or the pitter patter and laughter of the little feet of his other children. The ones he had charged her with raising. I saw her skin take on a pallid waxy tone as if life itself was sucked from her bones by this ogre, who only spoke to command or criticize.

I never saw softness pass between them. In fact, what little of them in private I gleaned, was heavy breathing, grunting and then sobs punctuated by snoring heard through the thin wooden walls when I was supposed to be asleep. It was the way of things, and so I tried to accept that this was the way for me.

Until that day. The day I heard a stranger’s impassioned moans from my bedroom. Standing in the hallway, gazing into the mirror, looking at skin beginning to turn that pallid cast, and eyes and lip that had forgotten how to smile. I touched that face with hands ten years older than the rest of me. I was looking at my mother, as her cries echoed with the rhythm of loving that I could never remember being so inflamed by. A testament to pure pleasure I’m not sure I knew how to relate to. On my sheets. My scent was still on those sheets, his scent was still on me!

She cried and his voice joined hers in release. On my sheets! In my Bed! In this house meant to be our home!

“I love you.” His spent murmur. Word I had forgotten he could say.

While my mind played a myriad of memories. That used condom under the sofa, the lipstick on his collar, the smell of cheap perfume and smoke. The indifferent looks. The pregnant silences. The hunger for him to just touch my skin. The feel of my cold bed at 2 am, hoping and dreading that this would be the night he wouldn’t come home. I had not known, as I watched my mother that anyone could be so humiliated with an audience of only herself.

No, my story is not unique in it’s beginning, and in it’s end I traded one type of incarceration for another. This one is a choice and not a legacy, and perhaps the best cautionary tale I could give my daughter.

The speech

In response to photo-fiction 64

By Professor Atkins, children’s author.

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It was a castle, with a mote full of baby dragons. The kind that have to swim because their wings haven’t grown in yet. It was placed there by the old ones. The magical people, who once ruled the forest. They were majestic people, but they had to leave this world, they retreated into the veil, the place just beyond this world, and if we were good enough, quiet, brave and pure of heart, we would see them flutter through the trees. We played hide and seek with them for hours, we never found them, but we knew they were there.

On cloudy days though, the Motler would come. A dark presence that made the world cold and foreboding. An invisible force that we only heard, as it rustled past us. The Motler couldn’t pass the mote, because the old ones had spelled the castle so that they couldn’t touch us when we were inside. It was a good place for two 12 year-olds to hide.

Somewhere in high school the mote dried up, and the dragons grew up, and in many ways so did we. We came less frequently, and forgot the Motler. We thought to be too grown to dream, I guess. Until one day, we were just wondering, I can’t even remember what it was that happened that sent us back to the forest. Must have been something pretty bad. But I can’t remember.

I just remember us sitting on the old seats, amazed they were still in tact. Then slipping back into that world, that space, that happy. Like it had been just a minute and we weren’t just about the finish college. I don’t remember the sadness, just the old castle, and the dreams it inspired.

 

Family Business

People never notice the background of their lives. They walk around completely engrossed in their own here and now, never really peeking beyond the outskirts of their own situation. I don’t blame those people, when I was a young man I used to be the same way. I used to be obsessed over my jobs, the flight, the task, the kill. I was caught up in the feel and smell of my Irene’s body when I would creep in after a long trip and she would smile sleepily and wrap me in her arms. I used to totally immerse myself in the days spent with my sons, I tried so hard to hold on to them until they were grown.

I tried to hold on so hard that when Raymond decided to blow off college for a year to back pack through Italy to meet my side of the family, I cut him off. You know what good it did me? He went anyway, he met his Uncle Marcelo, and his wife Sophia, and they had told him. They told him why that side of the family excommunicated me and why me and my Irene got on that boat to opportunities.

He then told Gino, his older brother. I had forbid them to speak, but it only drove my boys, boys who had spent their whole lives bickering, closer together. Close enough that they made it their project to unravel the story.

The story of how I had gone to work for my only Uncle Giovanni, a powerful man. A man who controlled one of the biggest families.How I had started bussing tables in his restaurant, then I was waiting table, bringing back information overheard from the more affluent customers.  They learned how I made my way from trading secrets to making them disappear, they learned that the life I had built was based on the suffering of others, and they were so ashamed that now I don’t have them to fixate on anymore.

Then my Irene was taken. Cancer. She fought hard, because that is just who she was. She fought through surgery and radiation therapy and chemo. She fought while trying to take care of a stubborn husband who refused to call her sons to her side. Through it all she never cried that I could see, she just kept cooking the cannelloni I liked and hugging me close at night, when I dragged my old bones in from another trip, another job. She just smiled and loved me ’til she couldn’t anymore, and I was too proud to let her call her sons.

They came to her funeral, they cried for their mother, and they spat at my feet the moment the grave was covered. My Irene was gone, and I was as good as dead to my sons. I was as good as dead to all that I had left in the world, and for what? My pride? My loyalty to being a soldier in Don Giovanni Jr’s army? Fighting the battle of more wealth and prosperity to a family which was built on the fear and suffering of others.

I had been too caught up in my here and now. In the things I could buy, and the life that was filled with luxury. In the fur coats and fancy jewelry, making sure Irene slept on silk and the boys could rub elbows with the high and mighty. So caught up in building my best case situation that I justified terrible things. They had a right to be ashamed, I don’t blame them. But I’ll be damned if I go to my grave letting it continue. I won’t go with the weight of fatherless homes, and torched businesses on my shoulders.

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But it’s to my advantage that people never look up from their here and now. Looking around might make it hard for an old man to escape the notice of the new Don, sitting in a cafe. Lighting a cigar, waiting for his lady, never noticing the gun that I am about to take out, and end the family business.