Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Girl's Dragon

The little girl looked up, her perfect eyes reflecting the perfect sky. Clouds rolled slowly and lazily past the sun, slightly dimming the light, but replacing it with the faintest of prismatic color changes just around the edges. She smiled and let herself get dizzy from the enormity of the boundlessness.

From a long distance, it would seem that this one child was all alone in the universe. A single point of laughing innocence in a field of green almost as large as the sky. The grass waved like the ocean tide, low hills and shallow swails interrupted by an occasional rocky outcropping. She stood at the edge of a cliff where the field met the sky, and far below the ocean roared and foamed onto a rocky shore. The wind caressed the cliff face, blowing the little girl's dress up from time to time, as she giggled.

She used her hand as a visor to shield her eyes from the sun and scanned the horizon. There He was. Enormous even from this distance, she never ceased to feel giddy when she saw him. It wasn't the seeing that delighted her so much as feeling him rise into the sky long before that. She could feel his joy, his freedom. She could feel the weightlessness of his heart when he flew, soaring high or skimming low at breakneck speeds. He was pure joy in the sky, and to her soul.  She waved to him, laughing the whole time.

The dragon pivoted sharply against the blue, a black shape made of blades and spines. He tightened his wings and careened seemingly out of control towards her and the cliff. She stood her ground and held her breath, as she always did. He approached with such speed that it seemed impossible for him to escape crashing headlong into the stone face or rocky beach. But with a mighty effort, the dragon turned his face upwards, strained his body against the pull of the ground, and began to turn skyward again. he skimmed the edge of the ocean, picking up water and releasing it against the rocky cliff higher and higher until the last of it became a fine mist that covered the giggling child. He rose up, unfurling his wings against the sky and hovered for just a moment to gaze upon her. She smiled up at him and he landed beside her, gently so as not to knock her over. He flattened his bristles and spines, smoothed his scales, and curled around her as a 60 foot long cat might curl around a mouse. She wrapped her arms around his muzzle and kissed him incessantly. He nuzzled her, sliding his face against her gently, and lovingly. she squealed in delight.

The dragon nosed her, easing her up onto his muzzle. She sat astride, and leaned down onto her elbows, staring into his enormous face. She leaned all the way down and kissed him between the eyes. He blinked, made a tender expression, and she understood. He loved her, too. She hugged his muzzle again, lying prone against it. He closed his eyes and relaxed in the sunshine. The breeze blew gently and they slept together, safe in each other as the sun slipped closer and closer to the horizon. The girl dreamed of flying, of being a tiny little dragon, herself. She opened her tiny little wings and soared in her tiny little way. She was happy to feel this free, as she had felt through her enormous friend so many times before. The dragon dreamed of being a boy, earthbound and average. A boy who could hold a girl's hand and kiss her cheek in the dark under the sky. They woke together, as they often did, and worked the nap-induced fog from their minds. The dragon rearing up, the girl clinging casually to his muzzle. He turned his head and allowed the girl to slip onto his back. She scrambled to her spot between his shoulders and settled down. It was time to fly.

And fly, they did. A series of deceivingly smooth steps, a beat of those circus-tent-wide wings, and a leap of faith and passion over the edge of the cliff found them skybound. The girl chuckled and grinned, the dragon felt her tiny hands on his neck and embraced the tenderness. She held on tight, as she'd been taught, and he trusted her to not let go. They barrel tolled, and spun, and swooped, and pivoted. They dd all manner of acrobatics, and without fail, each trick make the girl laugh.  They went so high that the very ocean looked small. They fell for minutes at a time as the dragon listened to the squeals and pips from his companion, each one a song that fed his heart. They cavorted until the sun disappeared behind the horizon, and the air grew chill. But Dragon had a trick or two inside of his ancient body. He could keep her warm. She let his heat fill her entirely, her cheeks flushing. She looked up to see the field of stars, then down to see the tiny island she had been standing on. It was bewildering to be here, to have a dragon to love and cherish. It was a gift to her that an old monster would accept and love her with all the tenderness she was shown.  She let her head swoon with happiness, then leaned forward and kissed his neck.  The Dragon felt it, closed his eyes for just a second, and in that eternity felt the love of a child smooth over all the old wounds. He spiraled up, then began a long, slow descent to the ocean.  They watched the luminous creatures beneath the waves as they meandered over the water. They saw the sky reflected, and even the old dragon felt a little small at this. Everything was so big. Dragon gracefully alighted on the cliff, and crouched so the girl could slide off. She hit the grass, turned and gave him the biggest hug she could muster.  Dragon smiled and touched her with his muzzle.

"I love you, Dragon" She said, her voice as tiny as she was.
"And I love you, Little One." He replied.
They fell asleep under the free and open sky, a dragon and his treasure

And everything was right in the 'verse.


For Nancy.
Happy Birthday. <3
2017

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Death is a Busy Guy

I.

     Death knocked at my door, but I wouldn't answer. He stood there, quiet and still, kept his hands clasped in front and waited I could clearly see him through the window, his jacket neatly buttoned, and watched as he turned his face to meet mine in the window.

"Hey Chuck. You might as well come out. I can stand here literally forever." Death said to me through smiling lips. "I actually do have all night."

I grimaced and pulled by face back from the window and closed the blinds. Sitting on the floor below the window, I pressed my hot face into my knees. "This can't be right" I thought to myself. "That can't really be Death. I mean, not THE Death..." my thoughts trailed off. I lifted my face and craned my neck to peek outside between the blind and the casing. He was just standing there. Who says Death waits for no one?"There's got to be a way out of this" I thought to myself. "There's got to be..."

The doorbell rang again.

"Chuck. C'mon, This is embarrassing. I've been out here for long enough. You can't get away, and there's no use running."

"What do you want from me?" I bellowed into the empty house. "WHAT?"

"Dude, your soul and all that. I'm fucking Death. What do you think I want, girl scout cookies? Open up and we can get on with it."

I stood up. made my way to the door, and opened it. "What do you want, man?" I asked.

"You"

Death reached out and touched my chest. I felt oddly still for a long moment, then realized that my body was lying on the floor at my feet.

"Son of a bitch. I really am dead?" I asked.

Death smiled. "Yeah. That's that.  Come on with me" he said grinning.




II.

Death had a really nice car. It was a '29 Rolls, I think, but it was really pristine.  It was white, of course. I mean really- if Death was going to drive ANYTHING, wouldn't it be white? What color is "pale" anyway?  I looked across the seat at him. He drove, oh fuck, "Casually" is the best I got. He didn't seem interested in slowing down or in avoiding traffic, right? He's Death. right? What's he going to do, die?

"So, where are we going?" I asked intentionally. Death had been pretty quiet since he picked me up. "Like, Purgatory or something?"

"Very Funny. I thought we'd go get some Thai. Are you hungry?" he answered, never turning his gaze.

I considered the question, not really having thought of that. "Fuck, yeah! I'm famished!"

"Good. I know a great place in Trang. We'll be there in no time."

"Trang? Like in Thailand? We're going to drive to fucking Thailand?" I was astonished and disoriented.

"What are you, stupid? You can't drive Thailand. We're gong to take a goddamned plane Like you have to."

""Oh." My face wet a little flat. I felt stupid and childish.


Six hours later, I was pushing the plate away from in front of me. Death was right. It was really good.  "So, now what? Are you going to tell me what's next? Seems like there must be a lot of people dying while we cavort around the globe getting lunch, no?" I picked the remains of rice noodles out of my teeth.

"Honestly, when I pulled your name, I had heard you were a little slower than the rest... But you keep making the point, don't you? I'm not the only Death, you know. I'm one of countless beings known as Death. You'll see others in our travels... like that guy over there... watch ...see? Red shirt. Watch the guy across from him in the booth. That what a food poisoning looks like in Thailand..." Death smiled a little, a guilty grin...

The man in the red shirt smiled, then seemed shocked... then his companion reached across the table and touched him in the chest. He fell over immediately, yet, remained seated upright. He looked at me, smiled, waved, and then seemed to realize his situation. Panic crossed his face as his companion stood up and turned to Death. "HEY! How's your guy?" he asked from across the room.

"Dumb as a box of rocks. Yours?" Death answered.

"He just ate 2 servings of fugo and never asked about certifications. Not so bright..."

"Jeesh. See you around." Death waved and stood. "C'mon... let's go."

"Where now?" I was getting tired of the whole thing.

"I've gotta show you a little something in Alaska. We'll take the car." He looked at me and smiled.

"Really?" I smiled back.

"No, Stupid. You can't drive from Thailand to Alaska." He blurted as he turned and shook his head.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Fifteenth Remembrance

It's September eleventh again.

I know. It's surprising to me as well. I seem to write every year about this particular tragedy and this year is no different, I suppose. But this year I won't be naming the names, nor sharing pictures, nor ranting about how meaningless the changes made since then to fight the war on tourism have been, Not this time.

This year, please let me say this one thing:


I love you.



Simple, right? Just like that. Here... here's some love. It's for you. No box, no bag, no bow, no packaging. Just my love. Leave it there, take it with you, or stare at me while you question my motives. It's yours, so I'll leave what you do with it all up to you.

No, I don't want anything in return for it. I'm sharing love with you because you might not have love right now, or you might be having a really hard time in your own life, and a little extra love might make the difference.

See, THIS is what I think we all need, especially on days like today when we had an event that impacted so many lives. I think we all need a little extra.  I think the world in general could use more love and less hate. More tolerance and less judgement. More kindness and less greed. I think the world needs us: the artists, the musicians, the lovers, the dreamers (and me... sorry, Kermit). I'm pretty sure if I open my heart wide and give all the love I have inside to you, then my heart will make more of it to share. Neat trick, that. I believe that the best Magick is that which creates, not destroys, and I mean to create more love in my life than I ever dreamed possible. Today. Right now.

And while I'm giving you this unconditional love, I'll be remembering the particulars of my day fifteen years ago. I'm sure you can remember, too. Please don't forget because when we forget we disrespect those who willingly or unwillingly gave their lives.

Here's my love for you. It's boundless.


With all my heart, I remember. For all of them, I'll love all of you.


9-11-16

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Four Months

The pages of my calendar slip away so deliberately that I think there must be some kind of conspiracy against me keeping track of time.  I look up, it's been less than fifteen minutes on the clock. I go back to what I was doing, feel the weight of time, and check again to find that it's been two weeks, or tow months, or two years. Time is not something I watch closely. It is a companion, oft forgotten, and left to grow feral along the side of the road. It is not something I keep a close eye on.

Let me leave you this:

Four resonant strings
Accompany the singing
Playing my life's song

Where is my muse? Why can't she pop up when my heart is full and I am loving uncontrollably? Why does it take something to pull the drain plug on my soul in order to get something worth writing?

I'll ponder it some more, I think.


Let's hope it's not another four months before I write again.

<3

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Let's Begin Again...


“Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


     It's so hard to get back into the swing of writing. I've been away so long, and the Muse is tired of my bullshit. I re-read the list of half-started posts sitting in the list and I just want to delete the entire bunch.  But I will not because that would be like eating my own children. Delicious, but riddled with guilt. Well, at least for a little while.

Instead, I'll start yet another new entry even though I've not published a new Angus piece in far, far too long, nor have I written a meaningful holiday post, completed the Doctor Who fanfic I've got in the can, or much of anything else. Yes, a new post is in order.

Some haiku?

the keys click away
fingers the conduit to
my mind's eye speaking


thrice I have begun
unfinished business waiting
my Muse slumbering


...



I challenged someone I respect to write more in her blog. In response, I agreed to write once a week as well. So, if my Muse won't visit, perhaps another inspiration can apply leverage to my slumbering thoughts. I am looking forward to seeing what she writes. One of my problems with writing is that it is far, far easier to produce when there is difficulty in life rather than bliss. Things have been marching along fairly well in the chaotic maelstrom I call my life, but the Muse has found fairer havens for her work.  Darkness, sadness, anger, and fear are far better driving forces for quality work in my neck of the woods. Joy? Not so much. But I'll have to learn, won't I?

Actually, I had a conversation like this one fairly recently. How does one tap the light in the same way we tap the darkness? How do we access the same emotional sharpness when things are a less focused? How did the greats keep their Muse engaged? It will be an interesting journey to discover the lighter, more positive side of writing (if I can), or a lesson in stirring the demons up.

As I've said before, I'm intimately familiar with my monsters. I keep them close just in case I need to stroke them a little. Even monsters need to be loved.


SlĂ inte mhath!

Let's get writing.



Monday, November 30, 2015

Blacker Friday

I.

"Hey Tony... you gotta see this."

"Lemme be, okay? I hate doin' this shit."

"Naw... you just hate doing this shit with me." The driver reached over and hit Tony hard in the arm. "Suck it up, my friend. Some day, all this'll be yours."

"Yeah. So you keep tellin' me."

"Look, see?" The driver pointed at the storefront. "See the blond? That's our girl."

"I see her. The black Jag, right?"

"Yeah. Right there." The driver pointed again, several cars up from the end of the row. "You got the key?"

"Yeah. How many times you gonna ask me?"

"Until we're fuckin' done. You got that? Until we're fucking DONE."

Tony shrunk into his seat, pulled his coat a little tighter, and looked out the window. "One day," he thought, "One day I'll get the fuck outta this city."

"There she goes. Get the fuck on with it, Tony. Go!" The driver hit him again and leaned past him to open the cab door. A split second later, Tony was pushed out of the truck and fell all the way to the ground. "Fuckin' amateur. GO!"

The truck whined and pulled away down the row of cars, chains swinging.  Tony ran into the Jaguar, found the key in his pocket and unlocked the door. He slid behind the wheel as the tow tuck lumbered past, swung tight to the row of cars and paused, the air brakes blowing pressure as it came to rest.  The Jag lurched to life, powered out of the parking spot, and came to rest behind the tow truck. In almost no time at all, the driver and Tony secured the Jag and were out of the parking lot. It was as clean a job as it could have been. They were practically invisible to the shoppers. Black Friday was calling their wallets. Who cared about a repossession?



II.

Phil sat on his couch eating his breakfast. Scrambled eggs marked a trail from the plate to his mouth over the expanse of terrycloth robe covering his girth.  He slid the plate off his belly
and on to the couch next to him, leaned forward and gulped the coffee from the cup on the table. His phone rang, startling him and causing the cup to fall from his hands and onto the rug. He cursed, leaned off the couch to retrieve the cup that had rolled under the coffee table. The phone continued to ring as Phil sat back on the couch, cup in hand. "HELLO?" he bellowed.

"Heyyyy! S'me. Where you want the black kitty cat?"

Phil brightened. "In the old garage. It'll be safe there. I'll come by and square up the rest of what I owe you. in a week or so if that's alright?" He paused, "And thanks."

"About that. It was a lot tighter than we originally talked about. It'll be an extra $500."

"What?" Phil held the phone tight in his hand. "You never said..."

"Tough shit, Fatty. I grabbed this car in broad daylight in a public parking lot. You don't like it, I'll go put the fuckin' thing back. And furthermore..."

"Done. Sorry for the trouble. I'll make it $750 as a thank you." Phil hung up and smiled inside. "That bitch is gonna have the shittiest Christmas ever."

Phil sat back and let the warm glow of his own rage ripple over his body. He was winning. His ex just had her car 'repossessed' (okay, stolen Phil admitted to himself) and would be flipping out. With any luck, she'd take it out on their young son and Phil would need to come rescue him. Perfect. She'd lose the kid, her car, and after his lawyer got through with her, she'd be paying HIM child support. Merry Christmas, you bitch.



The split had been terrible. Terry, their son, was only a 8 months when they split. For the last 4 months, she'd been grooming her new boyfriend. She didn't waste any time getting the hole filled, so to speak.  Julie was a tall drink of water, long and lean, and a great piece of ass. Everyone warned Phil that she was setting him up, but he didn't believe it. He was in love. He was blind.

He could recount every detail of the day he came home early to surprise her. Terry was asleep in his playpen in the living room. There was a man's coat in the kitchen on the chair and the table was a damned mess. He immediately thought someone had broken in. Phil rushed upstairs and heard music coming from the bedroom and panicked. He dumped the flowers out of the vase and held it like a club as he pushed the door open to the sound of moaning and screaming.  It wasn't rape, it was fucking. She sat astride her lover, those long supple legs squeezing him as she rose and fell in heated rhythm to the music. She leaned forward a little and smiled in surprise at Phil as she made sure he saw the other man inside her. Phil exploded. He threw the man out of his bed and went after Julie. "YOU FUCKING BITCH!"

When he woke, the police and a rescue were there, tending Phil's head as well as Julie's. Before the rage could well up again, something softer filled him and he thought she had been attacked by the intruder. The police questioned them, and the man, and as he answered he came to realize that they were blaming him for the injuries. The other man came to her rescue and hit Phil in the head with the same vase that Phil had used to hit her. It took weeks for Phil and his lawyer to get things bargained down to a plea, some financial restitution to her,  and some community service. Phil sat through the abuser's classes and fumed in his heart. He plotted and planned as Julie moved out of his place, took her stuff, some of his, and their child.

He would make her sorry.

As far as the world and a couple of two-bit repo men were concerned, he just had.


III.

The week passed slowly. Phil waited for the phone call to come from the police that he was a suspect in a robbery or something, but it never did.  Julie called a couple times over the weekend. She only left one message for him to contact her. Phil didn't.

But Monday Phil got a call from Family Services. They wanted to talk to him about Terry. Something about neglect and endangerment or some such shit. "Oh, this is rich." Phil thought. If she's hurt him, he'd kill that bitch. But the woman on the phone had a thick accent and Phil was having a hard time understanding what the hell she was talking about. Finally he agreed to just go down and talk in person.

Phil arrived at the office of Family Services. He was greeted by a short, thick woman in a green dress. Her dark hair held off her face by wide glasses. She spoke with a heavy Spanish accent.
"Mister Austin?  I'm Angelina Gomez, Terry's case worker. Thank you for coming down. These things are always so hard to do over the phone. Have the Police spoken to you yet?"

"Police? What about?" Phil reeled. The LAST thing he needed was the cops involved. "Can't you tell me what the hell is going on?"

"Oh, Mr. Austin, I'm so sorry. Please come with me." Angelina took his hand and led him into a small office. It held only 3 chairs and a child-height table. There were drawings on the walls and a box of kleenex on the table. "Please, have a seat"

"I don't want a goddamned seat. I want you to tell me what is going on?"

"I will, I promise. It's just... Mr. Austin, your child is missing. He's been taken."

"Taken? You mean kidnapped?" Phil was feeling sick. That lazy, ignorant bitch. Julie was a terrible mother, Phil knew it. It was all her fucking fault and he would be so glad when Terry was safe at home with HIM."Tell me."

The woman lowered her eyes and opened the file. "Well, the police really should tell you, but since they haven't. yet..."

"No, they goddamned well haven't."

"So you haven't been contacted by anyone this weekend? This is the first you have heard of this incident?" She questioned him, keeping her gaze on his eyes.

"Correct," Phil snapped. "I HAVEN'T HEARD ANTHING!"

The woman sighed. "Mr. Austin, Ms. Burroughs left your son in her car when she went shopping last Friday morning. The car was stolen with your son inside. She claims he was sleeping...Mr. Austin, are you okay?"

Phil felt the world reeling. He felt the darkness wrapping around his vision and drag him into unconsciousness. "FUCK!" he screamed "NONONONONONONONONONOOOOOOOOO!" The mountain rose, pushed past the woman and hit the hallway running.  He had to get out of here. He had to know if his son was... was...

The elevator doors opened just as Phil got close to them. The officer stepped out just in time to catch Phil as he passed out into a sweaty heap.


IV.

The police officer approached the Jaguar and moved to the rear passenger door. The windows were all rolled up tight. The doors locked. "Anyone have a key?" He shouted to the two men handcuffed to the chain-link fence.

Tony looked at the driver. They both turned to the officer and shrugged. "No idea how it got here, officer. it just showed up Saturday morning."

The officer nodded knowingly. "Yeah, you said that already." He raised his flashlight and broke the passenger side window, reached in, and pushed the door lock switch. He opened the rear door and saw the car seat. Flies swarmed out of the car as the officer covered his mouth just before wretching his breakfast onto the ground.

"How the fuck did you not notice a kid, fuckhead? A KID!" the driver whispered hard under his breath.
"Must have been asleep. He never made a sound." Tony said as he started to weep.

"He never made a sound."


Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Fifth Free Thanksgiving



I'm cheating a little. I'm writing this on Wednesday the 25th of November. I'm a bit early, but tomorrow will be busy and I won't have time to write my thoughts down. Enjoy the ride, if you so choose.

For the first time in my life, I will not be having Thanksgiving dinner at anyone else' home. With the help of those I love and cherish, Home South will be where this year's dinner will be served.  This is an occasion, to say the least. So while I beam over that fact, let me tell you a story about nuts. 

Growing up, Thanksgiving was still a pretty crazy time of year. We always hosted, and I mean always. My mother would get the turkey in the oven at an ungodly hour, and as I remember it the damned thing was always in the neighborhood of 25 pounds. (It probably wasn't, but that's how my brain remembers it, so I'm going with it, okay?) There was the mashed potatoes (I actually remember adding the milk and stopping exactly when my mother told me to) and the carrots (not whipped, but mashed in a consistently coarse manner I don't think I recall experiencing anywhere else), and the yams (sweet potatoes), and the stuffing (oh, the stuffing!), and all the other fixin's. It was a pretty typical spread, I suppose, but it was OURS. There was football and the usual familial back and forth, and pickles, and olives (my father ate too many of them), and the bowl of mixed nuts in the shell. Walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, filberts, and pecans awaited their demise in the nutcracker. We used a heavy crystal for a long time, then it changed to a thin wooden salad bowl that I think she still must have somewhere, I'm sure.

As I age, I begin to believe that it was not the spread that I liked best about Thanksgiving dinner - it was the nuts. We always had them, and I seem to think that we had them for Christmas as well, but they were SUCH a part of the Thanksgiving season. To be honest, I think my mom might have just saved the nuts left over from Thanksgiving and served them at Christmas dinner! But why, you may ask, is a bowl of nuts so important to my memory?

I don't know.

If you've cracked nuts in a cheap silver handheld nutcracker, you might understand my nostalgia. There is a satisfying <CRACK> when the shell gives way and reveals the delicious bits inside. If you never cracked nuts, I suggest you try for yourself. It's a lot of fun to pick the freshly-roasted meats out of the remains of the shell - especially filberts! Yummy!

When I was a child, I connected mixed nuts with the richness of life. Maybe they were something I considered exotic. I'm not sure, but I do know that I felt rich when I reached into the seemingly endless bowl and pulled out one after another, cracked them, and ate the delicacy I found inside. They are tied forever to my holiday.

Funnily enough, as much a part of the season that they might be to me, I can not have them at OUR hosting of dinner. One of my partners is deathly allergic to tree nuts, so the bowl shall remain empty forever. I'm sure she'd tell me to just go ahead and have them, that she won't touch them or go near them. But you know, the memory is really what's important. I say that a lot to people who attach themselves to things rather than memories. Things can be lost, or destroyed, or stolen, or any of a million other possibilities, but memories are yours for as long as you can remember them.  Only time, the giver of wisdom, can take memories from you. I've come to recognize that more than anything, I cherish the sharing of the stories around the holidays. I enjoy listening to how my family remembers events in a slightly different way from each other and from my own recollections. I enjoy sitting around with my ever-shrinking family and remembering collectively.

I see this same thing with my additional family members - the ones I inherited from my loves. Grandparents, aunts, siblings, cousins, and all manner of family new to my life in these past 5 years, but each a new source of stories and laughter and shared joy.  I remember those I've lost, both in the distant and not-so-distant past. Their stories will make their way around the table this year for sure, I'll see to that.

To all my friends, family, and loved ones: May your hearts be full, your tables be beautiful, and may love shine on. I'll wish you well this Thanksgiving. I'll hope that even if you are hurting from a loss this year, that you can find the joy in the memories. Share them and let the continue to be a part of your tradition.


2015