Friday, November 13, 2009

All Hallows

•The interview room was industrial grey as I stepped forward in my black and white swirled patterned skirt and white close fitting linen blouse. My blonde hair was chic - short and sassy- bold and yet...professional. I dropped my black leather briefcase upon the formica topped steel table, My first case since passing the bar...Steven, supervisor had a soft spot in his heart for these pro bono cases. No money-and usually more experiance than was desired.

My client , a young woman of about her early 20's raised her big brown eyes , palest white skin brushed with apple coloring...her mouth was SOOO very very red,kong curly Romany locks hung down so perfectly that I wondered if it were a very good wig. Just my luck-Halloween night and I get to construct a defense for Little Red Riding Hood. She was dressed the part as if she had just stepped from one of Tasha Tudor's story books that my mother had read to me as a child...I pulled the yellow legal pad from the briefcase and placed my copy of the Metro Sheriff department's report beside me. "Tell me what happened, I asked, wetting my lips.

The red hooded figure shuddered as if remembering something best left forgotten. "Earlier this evening," she began," My friend, Madelane and I decided to go visit my grandmother who lives on the edge of Golden Gate Park. Now that my parents are gone, I am all that she has. Because we were going to the Halloween Party at the Cow Palace afterwards, we decided to dress before going. So I packed my basket with goodies from some of the small markets in North Beach- Grandmama loves the Geneoa Salami from there but sometimes cannot tolerate the garli . 82 don't you know...stomach is not always good. I admit that I was slow getting ready tonight really IS my fault that we missed the bus- so we decided to cross the Meadow on foot. She stopped here and shook her curls,,,slowly she sipped at the bottled water that a guard had brought. We got lost along the way. I know that we should have remembered to stay on the path...I have done it dozens of times-but it was always bright day. It was getting dark and Madalane was getting REALLY scared. She started screaming at me to get back to the road and we would grab a cab. But...I wouldn't go- so she left me . Here the previously sobbing fairy tale princess added cynically-probably went on to the Cow Palace without me. I just wouldn't give up ...Grandmama was waiting for me...and Madalane had the only cell phone,

"Well, about an hour after Madalane had left me, I was all alone and started to get scared. I could see that there was this young Gypsy man looking at me.
His eyes were dark and you could tell that he was made for dancing. As I watched him he did a weird little jig and then bowed to me...I was fascinated and scared . He asked me where I was going...and I flirted with him , telling him that I was on my way to Grandma's house. He took my face in his hands , stared deeply into my eyes and said " What BIG eyes you have, my little Gaja..." I laughed and pulled back replying " Why Sir, the better to See you With" and skipped a few steps backwards.

He quickly caught up with me, swinging me around by my elbow. " And my little beauty , what small and delicate seashell ears you have . I giggled and ran around the large rock near where the concerts play...why sir, the better to HEAR you with..." He swung me once more with his hand wrapped around my waist...I could see the moon just clear the trees behind him. It was full and bright- shining almost like day...and I noticed his very sharp pointed teeth and that he had the worst case of 5 oclock shadow all over his face and yes, body too -and I wanted to go... Give the line, he barked...Give the line...I started to cry because he would not let me go. Why what great big teeth you have , I whispered. THe Better to EAT you with and howled once at the luminescent orb that had risen to overhead. The howl was cut short...and he fell to the ground. As he lay there , bleeding out into the cool green grass-he croaked "Why Red what a big shiny gun you have." And I replied the only thing that I could logically think to say- the better to pump three silver bullets into your heart. And he died as all wrewolves do.

I listened enraptured to the story that my client had just related. A werewolf...great...maybe a shrink could help this poor girl. " I had to kill him you see,,,he would not let me go..." "Yes Yes I nodded noting her story on my marigold lined pad -you were afraid for your life. The brown eyes widened , the red lips pouted gently and the curls were givena gentle shake . " Oh no, " she said softly . "My family doesnot approve of dating outside of our species..." As she said this, the guard from the desk announced that bail had been paid - that she was free to go but not to leave the city. A man in a dark cloak with a burgandy lining stepped forward and greeted her fondly . " I thought you said that your parents were dead" Dimples bloomed on either side of the red mouth and as she smiled , I could not help but notice the fangs that brushed the lower lip-"Oh they are-we ALLare...I have your card aand we will be in touch. I fell back into the patinaed aluminum chair...Dizzy, I wondered how this , if ever , would play out in court...I watched them walk out of the door and into the night,

Saturday, August 29, 2009

One Thing

Sandy sipped her bold dark coffee. The phrase " Samantha...No Twitching" stared back at her . Darren had been so controlling - or tried to be in that series. Endora was constantly helping her daughter slip the bonds of mundane restraint. Endora rocked. Maurice was even better. But was it so much that Darren asked of his wife? It was after all ONE thing.

She paged through email after email on the screen in front of her. One was from an old roomate. She read it several times before taking a deep breath, then another sip of the cooling brew. He had done something that she considered unethical-perhaps even illegal. He had been cleared of the charges but only, she felt on a technicality. That the adverse party had over stepped authority and proceedure . Except for that ONE thing-he would not have done so well ,Fate had smiled on him-this time. He wanted to see if they could be friends again-he wanted her to listen. She did not answer but filed it into a work pending folder on her computer. This would take thought.

Her plans this weekend were many. She had decided to try some new recipes,had ordered fall pants and shirts from clearance online mostly in her standard black or red or cranberry. She had ordered the books to prepare for her GRE in literature-which was a mere year away. Having ordered them, she felt as if she had signed a contract in blood. That the commitment had been made. She slid a biography on Mary Shelley into her olive messsenger bag. The Alcott biography returned to her bookshelves in the second bedroom that she used as a home office. She showerd and dressed. Saturday would be too short-it always was.

Fall was seeping into the last of summer. It was in the air in the tinges of coolness that blew through the mugginess of the early Tennessee morning. A flock of Canadian geese v'de their way mostly nowhere for most of them stayed locally in the green areas. " Something told the wild geese, it was time to go. Though the fields lay golden, something whispered Snow..." Memory from her fourth grade . Her friend Royal's mother had been a permanent substitute when their teacher had begun maternity leave. That year had been good in school. At home , that was the year that the rules that her father and his family had eaten her mother alive . Her mother was a lady then, all too gentle and educated for her father's world.

Down the hill, left turn at the roller rink, then the very next right to the main street. She had never been to a Waffle Hut. She was going today. If she hated it, then she need never go back. She had errands in that neighborhood. And she needed breakfast. It was one thing when done that would get one more completed as well.

Time slipped from her hands quietly as she took her purchases back home. Her recipes called for white wine, cognac and tequila. Everything was available in Tennessee but not at the same place. Three different bottles for three different recipes. She washed her face, reapplied her makeup and heated a cup of that morning's coffee. She took her break at her computer. Her fingers sought out the email. She read it for the second time.

Her reply was that she would listen BUT she asked of him just one thing, That what was said between them would remain between them alone . That he would keep his own counsel. Their parting had not been pretty . She was not the person that he had known. Perhaps it was also true on his side. She said that there could be no new friendship without clearing the muck of the past. Then she finished her coffee, rinsed out the cup , grabbed her bag and headed down the hill to the right to the bus stop. She was a hunter in search of cheese.

It was early afternoon when she returned from the cheese shop in the better neighborhood as well as the farmer's market in the worse one. There was an email for her. It read that he had thought that they would always be friends because they had been to Hell in the most Christian sense and back together. He swore that the words between them would be kept private. She wrote back and told him that was good. She reminded him of 1 of the times of trouble-of his rage and her fear. And sent it.

It was midafternoon when she finally stopped . She had been to the grocery store for the meats. Her cleaning supplies for her Sunday ritual sat on the dining room table like good soldiers being called to battle. She checked the computer-and there was no reply. She ran the cilantro scented dishpowder through the dishwasher one time. The red envelope from Netflix was opened- the story of Bodica brave warrior queen played its tale like a dutiful storyteller from the dvd.

Morning was bright and warm. Saturday had evaporated as it always did. Fresh coffee filled her Samantha cup . The computer warmed and came to life. There was a reply- an apology. It was pretty words but then there had always been pretty words and tearful regrets. Change would have to manifest in a corporeal form to be believed. This time , she had determined, would not be like the rest-words would not be enough. Action was necessary. This would not be rushed-it was important that this not be just one more scheduled thing to be checked off and forgotten. She did not reply.

It was noon when she headed down the hill one more time to have her hair cut. Easy walk straight down all the way to the bottom. On her way back she bought her creams and salves to hold together her fifty plus face and body. Magic potions promising delayed , if not eternal youth. Some mornings, she thought them a miracle-others just more snake oil. Sometimes, she saw Sandy as she knew her to be,probably a bit over 15-sometimes her mother and even once in a while, her mother's mother. Those were not good signs-She practiced her counter magic with all she had in her arsenal. Some days ,it was enough. She picked up the Nice and Easy on her way back. It touted that it hid the grey. Hid but did not make it go away. She remembered that Huxley had said that "Ignoring facts do not make them go away."

In her kitchen, she pared,chopped and sliced. Beef stock bubbled . Vegetables cooked.Meat chunks sizzled as they browned. Steam filled the kitchen countered by the heat from the oven as an dark and light Angel food cake baked. The dishwasher pounded pans and bowls alike, preparing them for the next battle to be fought. The small apartment smelled of tarragon,paprika, thyme,garlic and onions.Try as she might- for all of her cooking ability, she had never been able to create that one culinary smell of the safety of her youth. It had permeated the stairwell walls in that ancient apartment, in which they lived ,when she was little. The best that she could manage was the smell of accomplishment that made up her memory of her maternal grandmother's kitchen. When her parents moved from the apartment ,in Dorchester,she had lost that smell in the hall.

An email from her best friend waited for her , when she finally put the kitchen to bed. It read " I think that he is doing better. This does not sound like him." Attached to her email was a forwarded copy of his apology to her complaint of his past behavior , which , now away from it bordered on abuse. She had run from him , Run all the way to Tennessee. Made a new life for herself. Not one day but his shallow promise had been shattered. She filed the email from her best friend. She replied to his apology with a second complaint, explaining that the old crap had to be resolved.

When she awoke in the morning, there was a new email from her exroommate. It was nasty and accusatory. It sounded just like him. He told her that he did not remember the things that he had done. Either she forgave him . Or that she was a Bitch with a vendetta. Deep breath filled her lungs. She braced herself with a slug of the hot coffee from her cup. She called her best friend and told her that the emails that prompted this were being forwarded to her to arm her against frustrated accusations. It was true, Sandy was no longer who she used to be.


DO NOT CONTACT ME OR MINE AGAIN." It was signed and sent.

It was over. Sandy knew that she was not just one more thing but in claiming her affirmation to her new life-she knew that she had become everything important in her life.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Shy Animal

A shy animal is one that WILL bite from fear.
How is it that you are the only one who could hear
That Shy animals sometimes walk on two legs as well?

You gave me time - to straighten out what needed to be done.
What I am , what I have done - you share the praise.
And now that things are finally coming together,
You are not here to see it.
I cannot tell you.
Its not all better now
Maybe it will never be .

But you gave me back what I had lost.
You backed me up and just let me be.
The wisdom of your words,
When last we met.
I would not have backed down for anyone
I backed down for you , so great was my respect.
You have kept your promise.
You have kept me safe.
Even Now.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Shall Miss You

We met by design a long time ago
I respected your knowledge
And that which you were.
The fact that you were Mrs Someone
was not an issue.
The Mrs part was frosting- it wasn't the cake.
The cake was of dubious quality to begin.
You can't tame what was meant to be wild and free.
You leashed Nature
Nature broke the leash.
It also broke your heart.
You could have learned from it-you didn't.
In your mind, you made the cake darker and richer
Than the real cake had ever been.
You felt that you got older , fatter and sorrow made you more ugly
You were none of those things
Except in your mind.
And now we have come to the parting
Parting with who you once were
Parting with principles in which you believed.
If the you of then saw the you today-
Then you would do as I did .
And walk away.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Last Book

Sara was assigned to detention in the library. For cutting her sophomore English class, the pretty blonde cheerleader , was condemned to reshelve books. Budget cuts had diminshed the library staff by half- and the grunt work fell to students caught violating academic policy.
"This stuff, " she thought to herself " should all be on computers and not on shelves." Not thinking, she popped her gum-Poof, her keeper, the afternoon librarian seemed to appear out of thin air, tissue and wastebasket in hand. "Now, Ms Carter" intoned the voice from above sternly while pushing both at her . Sighing heavily, the gum went into the tissue and the tissue into the wastebasket. "Lose the attitude" commanded the librarian. Then she was gone."Whatever" thought Sara.
She pushed the book trolley slowly down the aisles. She had tried on her first day just placing the, amywhere only to learn that she was spot checked. Four misplaced books and she would garner yet another day here in this Hell hole.
Alcott, Bronson then Louisa...Dickens,Charles...did Byron go under Byron or was not fair . Checking the number on the spine, she found the proper place quickly...Adams, Joy and George...Darwin...Freud ...Von Frantz...Campbell. She looked at the clock -it had barely moved...but the sky was darkening as if night were approaching.The sound that ruled her world like water torure was that of the clock marching out its minutes...
She emptied the tables at the end of each aisle onto her cart and organized them by number. She could sit while she sorted. Then she pushed the book trolley around the next corner like some aged quietly squeaking guerney. The afternoon librarian appeared once again- this time with some WD40 spray for the wheels. She looked disapprovingly at the sulky teenager and then at her watch. Forty five mins left to play warden today.
Bloch,Bradbury,Derleth, Doyle...Shelley, Stoker,Wylie,Yarboro...Honestly-Sara wondered why the students could not put anything away themselves...but then if it were on computer they would not have the need. Program would take care of it.
Done! The crone at the desk was amiable THIS time to Sara leaving just a few minutes early and signed her detention slip. The pursing of the middle aged librarian's lips said that she did not approve of Sara and maybe not of her generation. Freedom at last...she could go. Though her youth was demanding that she run , prudence and the thought of additional detention on the track for running slowed her to a quick walk.The corridors were empty...Three days done and she was free.
Her locker opened with surprising ease that afternoon...she slid into her jacket and popped her ear buds into her ears...she turned to leave wheh her foot touched something hard - a book - and not just a book but a library book. She thought about throwing it away but was afraid that it would be picked up by reported security cams.Her locker became stubborn and refused to open. She walked as if chained back to the library with the gait of dead man walking on death row. Sara did not want to do this.
The door was open and she walked to the desk. Any time that she had gained by leaving early had been lost by returning the book. Angrily , she threw it carelessly across the polished faux oak desk and it cracked into the wall, damaging the spine.
"Oh dear dear dear" moaned the afternoon librarian ,from the wall. " I had so hoped that you would be the one that made it. " She recovered the damaged tome " I shall have to repair it...yes ,indeed..."
The old woman was batty- thought Sara and turned to leave once more but something soft and squishy was wrapped around her ankles- tenacles. Sara began to scream only to have her throat sprayed with alum by the distraught librarian. Shhhhhh!!!!We can't have any of that in here" The grip of the tenacles tightened and Sara pantomined her panic...The librarian watched..."Oh no my dear" said she "You failed the test...and of course ,we donot know where you went after you punched out .I signed it myself , you know...Sara felt herself being dragged back towards the fantasy section...and on the table at the end of the aisle lay the damaged book. If she had had a voice- Sara would have screamed. But ,of course, that was not permitted in the library.

The book remained on the aisle table though out the night. In the morning, Beth appeared for detention. Dark hair, nose ring- she was considered attractive by Goth standards. "Hey, cool" she said, picking the last book off the aisle table, When did we get a new copy of " Tales of Cthulu Mythos" ?"
"Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! " said the morning librarian . Then she smiled.