Thursday, November 18, 2010

17 Seasons


seventeen seasons had already passed and the the fires still rose and fell, the hollow trees bursting into flame like tall wooden scarecrows, limbs as arms, flickering fingers in the wind. the hallowed harvest skies pink with solemn sunset shadows, shuffled about in the wispy arms of puffy cloud chaperones, melting silently into mountain faces.

half of the timekeepers had reversed direction, and the other half had stopped entirely. it had become such a chore just to synchronize their timepieces that they now relied solely on the passage of the moons across the horizon to gauge time. the constellations plodded unimpeded around and around the universe, and it wasn't too challenging to count each star and make a pencil note in a ledger. even if it took all day. what a day had become.

that's how bad things were.


drab and canvas gypsy caravans crunched along the dusty county road into town, pulling away from the smoke and fires of the plains. as night fell, small indigo shadows in the shape of gypsy children danced across the dried mud ruts, laughing and pelting each other with whatever they could grab off the ground as they skipped along. they would scatter like blueflies when a lawman occasionally happened by, his pole lantern lighting the path, as he watched the ground for "ale spiders" in the early hours leading up to tavern closing time.

the sound of bottles shattering echoed as they hit the rocks in the ravine next to the county road. tinkle, tinkle, tinkle went the glassy shards as they fell. the lawman turned to look over the edge but it was dark and he was too tired to swing the pole and lantern over, too tired to care about anything other than his footsores and gout.

he trudged towards home, his eyes half closed, his mind half asleep. the lantern and pole grew heavier with each trudge, but the glow of amber light from the kitchen window was a welcome sight. it put a little more lift in each step he took.

The small glass panel slid open and with a raspy breath and copper snuffer the flame was put to sleep for the evening. It went out with an oily hiss and he propped the wooden pole against the fencepost. pulling out the ring of keys with a jangle he pushed the door open.


The cerebral dichotomy entered into the equation, but was never taken too seriously. They would banter back and forth until day turned to day again, never getting any closer to a viable, diplomatic resolution. It troubled them, and they would take it home at night, if they went home, to their families, and their pets, and the unseen close ones around them.

It would invade their dreams masquerading as night terrors, driving the weak to tears, and driving the strong to drink. Sex lives would become blasè afterthoughts, appetites would wilt at the sight of food, and any semblence of normality would die right there on the kitchen tile floor in front of their bleary-eyed stares.

One man decided to fight the controlling force. He wasn't brave, just tired, and bored as hell. Heroes rise from the ashes of defeat before they are burned, and he wasn't in the mood to get burned today. But he wasn't a hero either–that title didn't suit him anymore. Maybe it was hanging in the closet way in the back. Not Superman, or even MacGyver, maybe just a pair of jeans and a rumpled t-shirt. In his head he was more, but not much more.


As the car swerved toward him he leapt out of his shoes to avoid it. Spinning in midair, he thought about breakfast for the next several days, and the email he should have written to Sinclair Dremis. He came down.

On bent knee he rose from the ground where he landed, quite firmly, with a dancer's grace. Light on his feet he had always been, and it came in handy as the deep red auto assassin sped off into the moist, dense, wooded area behind the small outdoor shopping mall. Ooh his eyes burned as he strained to see through the dust, the swirling dust that suddenly kicked up from the careening vehicular exit.

His phone started screaming out a tinny bad metal arrangement of Ravel's Bolero, and he wrenched it out of his hip pocket.

"Hallo," he barked into the glass-faced device.

The voice on the other end was raspy and almost unintelligable.

"Where was Marvin last night? The skylight is leaking again and I can't make sandwiches on the butcher-block until it's fixed."

Inquisition twisted his face into one big wrinkle. One big pink, ruddy wrinkle. He looked at the incoming number screen. Unknown Dialer. One big green question mark.

Poke went his finger on the End Call button. The fresh smile on his face painted his cheek creases white. He turned and walked toward a small red and white service station down the street. The thought of a cold drink washing the afternoon down sure sounded good. He looked into the soda machine perched on the concrete stoop in front of the windows heavily painted with semi-prehistoric canned oil prices.

Did they have Diet Rozzo? No. Of course not. Did that piss him off? Yes. Of course it did.

"Damn," he yelled at the glass-faced machine.

He looked around but couldn't find anyone even though the garage doors were wide open, and an old radio was playing Elvin Bishop somewhere in back. Humming, he walked out a back door and shaded his eyes to see what he could see. Two cats were tussling over by a pile of tires and he could hear the clank of train rails in the distance.

The cirrus sunset clouds started to pile in from the north and that made him think of his childhood and eating dinners on the patio. Walking around the front of the station he started down the street in hope of finding a bite to eat.

2 ------------------

Marvin closed the book he was reading, an old leather-bound fifth edition of "Pacific Waves," and turned on the tv. "Nothing but bad news," he muttered, flipping through the channels. Cooly, he stood up and stretched and went into the bathroom to brush his teeth.

Untitled 9.30.10


Tired as he was, he managed a smile. Fruitless, merging with his forehead as he winced from the bright summer sun. He took the potato belt off, the leather flaking dust as he carefully set it on the wooden red bench. Several minutes later he collected his thoughts and took a deep breath of farm fresh warm air.

City life was never for me, he thought. Maybe a ride every once in a while. Like to the airport by the river down south. Hmm, that might make a nice road trip. But only through the outer neighborhoods. Don't want to get caught up in the traffic unless I need to buy something.

Seeing the glimmering silver rooftops across the fields reminded him of airplanes, vintage though, never the newer jets. Oil and grease, gas and hydraulic fluid. Ohhh the memories.

It's the rivets and workmanship that put a cherry on top, he told a passing meadowlark on a fencepost. It's like looking at a frozen dessert that's melting but you have no spoon. You want to dig in with your fingers but it's messy and that cuts the satisfaction like a knife.

Dak stuck his tongue out. Nothing he hated worse than sticky fingers. Well maybe a crying baby. A crying baby with sticky fingers. Yuk!


The screen door pushed open with a springy creaking groan. Cool air rushed out as he unlocked the front door and walked into the front room. Closing the door and latching it he took off his hat and bag.

Ahhh, he said as the day's stress started to flow away.

He poured himself a cold drink and poured himself into the green recliner. The box wanted to turn on but not until he clicked the remote. Then it was happy.

Important news for you or a family member. If you or someone you know has recently suffered illness or death, this information is for you.

Oh my God what have they done, Dak said quietly. They've taken my favorite box and turned it into something evil. My favorite after work activity melted into a blob of filth. What have they done?

The man on the box screen continued to drone on about pills, wills, and flights to Senegal, but Dak tuned it out. He thumbed through the paper mail he picked up from the paper mail box on the way home. Something red and glossy caught his eye.

Sunny Furry

Once upon a time there was a serene, cool, shiny lake. Next to the lake was a large mountain, dotted with dark green evergreens, and oh so majestically lined with clouds at it's snowy, white peak. On the sunny south side of this mountain grew a velvety valley of clover, rich with a flurry of small furry animals, burrowing and scurrying, playing and dancing in the warm summer breezes under the clouds and the trees.

Now this valley was also home to larger inhabitants who lived a little further up the valley to the east. They rarely came out in the light, and only once in a great while would they glance out with their tiny eyes shaded to throw stones at the noisy furries. It was quite an annoyance since the daysleepers were light sleepers and did not appreciate nocturnal interruptions, even if their "night" wasn't technically "night.".

The Lake

When the sun faded to a burlap shade of green and slid behind the clouds, the birds came out to fly, and perch, and talk their bird talk in the trees surrounding the nearby lake. It was a beautiful, reflective lake, without encircling soggy marshes and dank, black, boot-sucking bogs. The water was silent and inviting, cool and wet, clean and fresh. Grass grew tall in hues of green and yellows now, around the lake shores, and the animals drank freely, and grazed, and ran.

On the breeze was a hint of autumn; somewhere a wood fire burned, the smokey oak smell swam over the hills into the valley, carrying the incense of the mellowing fields beyond.

The Machinists's Robot

Even in the recesses of his metal-clad, deftly riveted brain, he knew today was the day. He drew a satisfyingly deep breath of pre-methanized oxygen, as deep as his turgid lungs would allow, and he started walking.

The message he left for his machinist was vague, purposefully so, without clues or underlying meaning, to give pause to any motivation to follow him. Enough time for him to make tracks. Hit the road. Get out of town...

The front door slid open as it recognized his presence, and he peeked left and right before stepping outside. His hard rubber-treaded soles made a crunching noise across the leaves on the wooden landing as he took each whirring step slowly and deliberately. This was the first time he had ventured out past the railing without a map, so he trepidatiously proceeded across the yard, and to the old asphalt roadway beyond.

He wondered how long the alert signal would remain dark before it illuminated and revealed his position to his machinist, and how much time he would have before distance made it fade. He had carefully planned out the escape based on his machinist's early morning routines, and fortunately they hadn't changed that morning. The subroutine had kicked in when the last door locked behind the machinist at 7:47am, and the restraining pads released their magnetic hold; yes, he knew he was free, and he could do as he pleased.

The loud, old brown dog, usually chained to a metal post on the other side of the fence, was nowhere to be seen, so he took advantage of the quiet moment. Creeping slowly down behind the hedge, he waited for the early morning traffic to subside.

Time passed slowly and was starting to become slightly anxious about the situation when the last metro bus rumbled by, and the street grew silent.

"Hopefully that was the end of traffic for the morning," he thought to himself.

"Most of the commuters have commuted, and the morning moms have settled down to soaps, ironing, or washing."