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She came at me from the sugar as I stirred it into the pitcher of kool-aide. She assaulted me with her memory.
We had matching coffee cups once, and we stirred our sugar into our drinks with soup spoons.
I know where she is now, and will be forever after. I wonder where our cups are now, and our spoons. Perhaps someone else is using them, or perhaps the cups have been shattered.
Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Broken ceramic chips turned underneath landfill dirt.
Then she retreats, her memory dissolving like the sugar into the water.
Great big clouds rose up.
In the distance birds took flight. They didn’t fly far before the flames found them.
Great big winds rose up.
The air smelled of burning flesh. People, pets, large farm animals as they flash fried in the fire.
Great big screams rose up.
They thundered up the mountain and down the valley, but they didn’t last long at all.
Then there was peace. A peace like the earth hadn’t seen since man rose to power.
Things were quiet for a short time.
Then a great big roach rose up, and the world was born anew.
“If you keep doing that the police are going to catch us for sure!”
He was always doing things that would get us in trouble in the end.
Like currently he was holding the dead mans arm our of the car window, trying to smack the road signs as we passed.
He had hit two of them, and now the arm was missing a finger. It was back there somewhere, in someone’s front lawn.
I could picture the cast of CSI finding it and tracing it somehow back to us.
As usual, it would be all his fault.
“Newt, we need to get rid of that thing.” I told him.
“You can’t just keep a dead guys arm.”
“Why not? He doesn’t need it anymore.”
“I can’t argue with that logic, Newton, but there are so many reasons we can’t keep it.”
“Did you just call me Newton?” Full name treatment was just as harsh to his adult ego as it would have been if he were still six.
He pulled the arm back into the window, missing his chance to swing at a deer crossing sign. There were fewer houses around to litter with deceased digits.
The city aches for trees. It sits, boiling, sweltering in the sweat of a hundred thousand people. Cement reflects the heat, collects the heat, burns the air above it.
The city aches for trees. Not only for shade, but for green. For the promise of life. For the cool breath that you can feel coming out of them when they sigh.
My heart aches for trees as well. I miss their green. I miss their life. I miss their cooling sigh.
If you live outside the burning city, could you do me a favor and hug a tree, for me.
He had been a small man with brown hair who usually smelled like the sweat of a man who worked an honest days work.
He had been a quiet man, not prone to making a scene over things, even if it was worth a scene .
That changed when he woke in his shallow grave to find his arm missing. Even then it would not have been too big a deal if it hadn’t been his right arm. He was right handed, and at his advanced age and quickly decomposing condition he wasn’t ready to learn how to be a lefty.
“Its nothing but a rumor, that’s all it is.”
This was her answer to her daughters question, “What is love?”
“Love is an urban legend. It’s something that happens to someone else.”
“Weren’t you and Daddy in love?” the little girl asked.
She barked in laughter, not a mirthful one, but a harsh and soulless one.
“You, my darling little girl, were the result of forced fornication.”
She stared at her for a moment, wondering why she’d kept the result of her rape.
“Go away, you’re bothering me,” she said, then returned to the tax document in front of her.
She's an unrepentant outlaw out to steal his heart.
She was a poodle, he was a bulldog. A star crossed love, never meant to be. Certainly her owners frowned upon it.
She was attracted to his dangerous side, his bad boy appearance, his spiked collar. He had such big teeth, and so many scars. She dreamed of the street fights he must have been in, the Dobermans and pit bulls he must know.
Disillusionment came when she saw him backed into a corner by a clattery squirrel.
She learned the hard way never to judge a dog by his collar.
She wears garlic around her neck, glued to a large wooden cross.
Better safe than sorry she has always thought.
Sure, there are no such things as vampires, or at least she is often told so by people who laugh at her garlic cross.
However, she was also told there were no such things as werewolves, yet still once a month when the moon is full, she finds herself growing fur, going on all fours and running the forests around her home.
They may say there are no such things as Vampires, but she knows they are full of shit.
I strip stuffed animals. It’s my job. I pull small brown bears out of red and white cheerleader skirts and pom-poms. I strip the pink poodle princess ballerina out of her tu-tu and tiara.
I wonder if that makes me weird. Does my nightly denuding of the very symbols of childhood make me a perverted pedophile by default?
Actually, I’m just tired of having to clean up after children every night, but I shoudl tell my boss, “I can not clean the Bear Wear aisle because pulling the stuffed bunny out of her frayed denim skirt makes me feel unclean.”
“I am not your maid!”
I want to shake the person nearest me, though they might not be guilty.
In 15 minutes I’ve made four trips to the back of the store to pour out and throw away drinks.
Melted smoothie, cold coffee, cans of soda now old and flat.
Maybe that makes me a waitress, not a maid. Not that wording is so important in this case. This is a retail store, not a restaurant, and whether you call me a maid or a waitress, either way I’m not getting any tips for cleaning up crap left by strangers.
Long after the sun had gone dim and the plants grew small and unnourishing there came a craft from space.
This craft was full of seeds which grew quickly when planted. The fruit of this seed was large and through no one knew who had sent this plant and thought the fruit was bitter, the people were hungry and ate it ravenously.
Though filling, the fruit gave no nourishment and the people continued to starve, without realizing that they were starving.
Above them, in another craft, people watched, discouraged. They were the seed senders, and they had hoped for more.
“Take heart friend,” one of the watchers said. “We have time to perfect it before our own sun goes dim. And even if its not perfect, these people seem calm now, with full bellies despite their starving bodies. That we might also starve to death without realized we are starving could be a blessing.”
“Yes,” his partner said, “but there is a difference. Since we created this, WE will know that it if filling us but not feeding us. We will know we’re still starving.
We’ve been blessed with brains, but since Adam and Eve, we’ve been cursed with knowledge.”
I thought I would sink through the floor when he shouted across the office, "I hope you find your pussy!”
He always meant well, but never really thought before he spoke. Sometimes he made me laugh, but sometimes, like right then, he made me blush.
“Gee, thanks Gary.”
I thought I could make it out of the office safely then, until he yelled again, “If you can’t find your pussy on your own, I’ll come after work and give you a hand with it. Its better with more people anyway.”
After that, melting into the floor wouldn’t have been enough.
The flowers were magnificent. Large red blooms that could be as big as a woman’s face. If she got a whole dozen she could get lost forever.
They didn’t have thorns anymore either. Thorns were bad, they could cut and maim and that wasn’t something anyone wanted to do to their sweetheart.
In order to get the huge thornless blooms a price had to be paid. Nurseries didn’t sell their souls, but they did sacrifice the roses sweet smell.
Therefore Joe's business philosophy was "Before you can stop and sell the roses, you've got to spread a lot of perfume.”
Ten years ago doesn’t seem to long. You can probably remember that far back if you try. If you can’t remember you can close your eyes and pretend.
I was 15, dreaming of a future where I would live in an apartment, drive a yellow convertible, own a well behaved German shepherd, and take trips to Maine or Canada with my secret lover.
Ten years later I am married, but have no northern lover. I have 2 dogs, no car and a house.
I’ve still not decided if its better or worse than the future I pictured ten years ago.
They tell me there is a reason I am the way I am.
They just haven’t found out what that reason is.
They theorize it was an unhappy childhood.
Not enough hugs. Mommy never smiled. Daddy was too busy.
All the usual psychological mush they spoon-feed first time patients.
“I’m fucked up,” I wanted to scream. “Don’t blame them for it. They are the only right thing about me.”
I wish it were so simple, that I could put all my problems on someone else.
Taking credit for myself is more difficult than playing “Pin the Blame on the Parent.”
"Pass the ketchup," Steve said, as he stuck another French fry up his nose. She handed it over, not looking at him, just out of the window.
“Don’t get any on your shirt. I’m not going to the laundry again until next week, whether you have anything clean to wear or not.”
Steve, who didn’t like to do his french fry thing unless it would completely gross her out, dislodged his potato wedges.
“Where are you lately,” he asked. “You’re not as much fun as you used to be.”
“Sorry,” she said. “I’m waiting on Newt.”
“Should I be jealous?”
“You’re not grossed out by my nostril fries, and you’re talking about Newt way to much.”
“I always talk about Newt. You do too. He’s the only thing we really HAVE to talk about, we’re both so boring.”
“It’s just, you know, you and he spent that week together, and ever since you’re always looking for him. You always want him with us. I feel like a third leg.”
“You’re not third leg Steve. You’ll always be my second leg.”
“And your first banana?”
“You’re my ONLY banana, Steve. All other bananas are brown and squishy compared to you.”
Fresh baked, hot from the oven, chocolate chip cookies.
Not the best weapons in the worst of times, but perfect in a sugar war.
The neighborhood moms were in this unspoken war. Who could make the best sugary treats. Who could win the doughy adoration of the children.
There was, of course, the one mother who thought the sugar war was an unspeakable horror. She was the mom who served healthy peanut butter on celery sticks, with raisins on top.
The other moms knew better though, when it came time to eat their young, they tasted better full of sweets.
Once, with another woman, thing were different.
I used to go hungry. She would go days without feeding me. She said I could feed myself. She wouldn’t let me sleep warm inside, but made me say in a box on the porch.
She had a dog too, a little yappy one, and it hated me alot.
The woman must have hated me too, but it worked out for the best.
Now I have a new woman. She feeds me plenty and lets me sleep in her bed, and strokes me until I purr.
Best of all, she hates dogs too.
He was hell bird. I could see it in the way he cocked his head to the side when I walked by his cage.
“C’mon,” he said. “Stick your hand in here. Let me have at you.
“Of course someone had to want THAT bird, and they had to want it on my shift.
Bravely I opened the cage and went in after it.
Just as I always know would happen, he latched onto my finger, bit it off, and swallowed it.
At least they bought him. After all, A hand in the bird is worth and easy sales push.
That girl in the mirror is not me.
She is crying and I never cry.
Why would I cry? My life is perfect.
That girl in the mirror is me.
She is the me inside, all of my broken parts.
She cries for my dead family, my dead friends. She cries for the fear, the emotional battery I live through. She cries because she knows the truth.
She cries because I can not. She cries because I will not.
Why would I cry? My life is perfect.
That girl in the mirror is not me. But she cries for me.
And it was at that age that she realized she was different.
They all spoke of their spirit animals. One beast who chose to share its soul, allow them to change.
Janga said her spirit animal was a steed. Sham said his was a green lizard. Alana, their teacher, said hers was a giant river otter, and had once show them her change to better prepare them for theirs.
But she knew she was different. She could feel it inside of her. Two animals wanted to share themselves with her, and they often fought for dominance.
She was very frightened.
If I could do it all over again, and if I had any real decision in the matter, I would choose not to do it all over again simply because I did not like it much the first time, and if I did not like it much the first time it stands to reason that the second time would not be any different than the first which would be an utter waste of my time and since my time is a rare commodity I do not want to waste it so I would choose to do something entirely different instead.
Summer snuck up on us while we slept. One morning we opened our eyes and the heat was oppressive so we decided to clean the pool.
By that summer we barely tolerated each other. We had gone sour but stayed together for principal. The only thing we had in common any longer was the water.
The cleaning of the pool did not bring us together again. As we swam our laps we were careful not to brush against each other.
There was nothing but silence there, like the silence which filled our home, our hearts.
It was over between us.
Once, when I was a wolf, I roamed the forests and wilderness of Canada. I met Bigfoot and we howled at the moon together.
Once, when I was a tiger, I terrorized the jungles. I would lay high in the trees and pounce down in front of natives. I laughed at them when they ran.
Once, when I was an eagle, I would soar above the world. People looked upa and wished they could be more like me. I looked down on them with pity.
Hold on to your wild hearts, and you next life may be more like mine.
The room was my enemy. There were so many thing in here that wanted me.
My journal lay open at a clean page, a pen in the crease called out for me to sit and write down my day.
My fish swam lazy circles in his little glass bowls. Maybe he is hungry. Does his water need changing?
The computer cyclops started at me with his large grey glass eye. “Log on,” he whispered. “Play with me. Write a blog. Check your e-mail.”
Now if only I could remember, what did I come in here looking for to start with?
“Do you regret?”
The humidity was horrible. The world was sticky. Everything was oppose of the first day he saw her.
He squinted at her through his viewfinder. She was scratching her shoulder, not really looking at him, but she had asked him a question, hadn’t she?
“What was that?”
Her face was wide open, emotion in ever pore. He caught it with one click, then she was looking away again.
“Regrets. Hundreds of small regrets bouncing in my head. They’re going to eat me alive.”
Thunder punctuated her thoughts, and Nick helpless clicked his pictures as she walked away.
He saw a swish of auburn hair on the sidewalk ahead of him and smiled. Allison hadn’t let him know she was back in town.
Which a whoop he ran ahead and snatched her purse of of her shoulder then turned around laughing.
It wasn’t Allison.
The woman with auburn hair looked at him. She did not look angry, but she did not look amused either.
He grinned sheepishly. She held out her hand.
“Give me my purse.” she demanded.
He handed it over and she walked away.
“I’m sorry,” he called after her. “I thought you were someone else.”
She looked a little familiar to him, except he didn’t know any pregnant woman. The girls he knew were smarter than that.
She kept looking over at him. Once he smiled at her, but she didn’t smile back.
“Whose that,” he asked one of his guys.
“I don’t know, just some chick.”
Just some chick that had gotten into his head for some reason.
He moved across the room to introduce himself.
“Hi,” he said, “I’m Chad.”
“I’m aware of that.”
“You know me?”
“You could say that.”
“We’ve met before?”
“I’m just someone you met at a party once.”
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