Each of the men was holding some sort of object made of metal and wood. They pushed a rod into the holes in the metal and tapped it down a few times.
The waitress stopped at the coffee maker and began reloading her pot. She glanced back at his table; the mug still locked in his hand.
The setting and characters shifted. The clacking bones and whirring lenses morphed into the strange noises coming from all the people in the marketplace.
Opening his arms at everyone coming toward him didn’t seem to be effective, if anything, they walked faster and made an obvious turn to avoid him.
Again, he dipped the ink and again he whipped his hand over the canvas until before him was the rough shape of a choppy sea. The dots, he thought reminded him of the spray
Lemuel looked down at his first tattoo, a small black lemon on his right wrist. Made from the ink of octopi and squid pulled up, boiled down and inked by the “daubers”.
She had captured his attention but, in his state, he wasn’t ready to reciprocate.
She swirled the noodles into a tight knot around the outer tines of the fork. Sauce dripped down her chin and onto her dress
Of swirling dust, giant tumbleweeds, snorting horses, distant gunshots, crying children and a woman’s embrace.
One hand fumbled for something inside a shirt. A necklace made of wooden beads all cascading down on a fishing line that ended in a lower case “t”.
Now after rain, rapids and collisions with hands and debris, the little boat was becoming heavy.
The DJ booth was right in front of me, blocking the quickest route. I turned left. Something licked my right ear. I looked.
When she felt the pressures of all that is external tightening her body, she would let the curves, slopes and speed of a ride loosen her up.
Let it be
in the silent scream
of a shooting star.
Blackout. Either way alcohol nurtures society but absolutely obliterates the individual.
I look around at the others seated at the table. I don’t know yet if they’re people. I haven’t even figured out if I am to be human for the evening.
We bullshit some more. The couple danced. I can never remember names. Then the girl danced alone. I was towing the line between drunk and insanity.
The question of my last breath is either sober or whiskey soaked. The continuous monologue in my mind reaches the end of its reel. I am not making sense but its my senses that make me.
I have a fake dog, it’s made out of plastic.
The two made their way to the bar in silence, glancing at each other every so often. He looked down at his drink and around the flashing lights and sounds. She adjusted her cap and looked around at the flashing lights and sounds.
Why should his sanity ever be in question when it swam in the same pool of saturated judgements and opinions as those who were insane and those who labeled others insane. It was all the same doggie paddle, just different ends of the pool.
“If I had to guess, you have about 10 to 15 minutes of living left to do. That’s a gift in my book, not many people are given the satisfaction of knowing how much time they have before, well you know.”
The rain drops on the window made all the head lights look like shooting stars passing him. No one was walking the streets. Homeless were huddled at bus shelters, doorways and underneath shop overhangs.
Follicles salute bloody snouts. Extending past split ends, peering at red snow, hearing howling, growling and snarls.
He stood, stage right, peeking out of the curtain, watching them. Some opened the programs, others sipped drinks and in the balcony, a few focused their binoculars. They were nearly ready.
I started walking down the street. There were luxury shops I had seen in downtown’s across the U.S. and Europe. There were street vendors selling the things I had seen about this place on television and movies. I got the sense that they had set up shop for all the backpack carrying people who needed sunscreen applied every 2 hours.
A cube of marble with arms, a chest, stomach, legs and feet with none of the ripples and bumps of a completed piece. He was a block.
Everything was imagined from mythical beasts to majestic feasts. Yet he could not conjure her, even in his own memory. She would not appear in his imagined world.
I put her clothes from the hospital in the hamper and sat on the bed. What were all those forms I needed to fill out? What were those phone numbers I had to call? Why did I put her clothes in the hamper?
“Turn, bend over, spread your cheeks and cough.” He paused and looked at the other freshly imprisoned men complying. His clothes black with a strip of white, wadded up on the floor behind him.
I knew she was just extending a guilty hand. I looked around the yard and spotted chains and a lock on the lids of their trash cans.
The grandfather stopped its whining. He check his watch out of habit one more time then slid it off his wrist. Another thing he thought he could count on gone.
I was terrified to breathe. What I had considered a burbling brook a few minutes ago seemed now like a turbulent vortex. It started to rain.
Through the angry clouds and assault of spray from the waves battering the boat, I stared. My eyes stung from salt. My body ached from gripping tightly to ropes and climbing rigging, all to pull us out of the deep ocean and closer to land.
“Right. It was singing but it was the combination of a chortling bird and an opera singer. Like Andrea Bocelli Gargling mouthwash or Placido Domingo trying to belt out ‘O sole mio while being water boarded. It was bizarre.”
“PANCAKES! Pillow-y spheres dripping with melted butter and sweet maple syrup. What do you think of that.” The private looked up at the sky, as if the clouds would fall down onto a plate and the heavens would rain down syrup.
On to the rite-aid for some ice cream, a scoop with a cone for a dollar a some-odd cents. A pretty good day. I felt like I had lived like a king.
Rooster’s don’t have teeth. At least that’s what he was told. He was also told to go to college, get married and buy a house. That shit didn’t work out. So did rooster’s really not have teeth?
Milton scratched his nose, perhaps it was the waft of fecal matter, like the sudden chill of a ghost passing through the living, or perhaps he was reminding himself that he thought too much.
Then some priest was like, I’ll pray about it. For all we know he’s still doing that.
She wiped it off her chin. He wiped with a towel. The crew struck the set. The director took the footage to the editor. The talent got dressed and drove off in separate vehicles.
The man pushed the tines of his fork into the base of the T in his steak. The woman scooped out a piece of chicken with her hands, dipping it into her dressing before taking the whole bit in her mouth.
The sensation was of wallflowers. Becoming a part of the scenery, the background, a decoration that’s been hanging for so long it’s lost all meaning. A ghost viewing life but not able to live. She leaned back, her mouth open, her eyes only slits. The needle stayed in her vein.
Smoan had made the trip hundreds of times. From the satellites shining in the sky, the group made their way through the terrain in a smooth, continuous movement.
When she closed the glass door of the lighthouse, for a moment, there was only silence. Silence and the spinning light.
I flagged down the waiter for another Sangria and sat, trying to figure it out. All this raw emotion and rush of feelings but I was alone. In younger days it was easier to identify my feelings. This is happiness. This is regret. This is anger. As I grew older, the feelings tied themselves to memories and experiences, making it harder to untangle one emotion from another.
I watched her dance and ignored the insatiable appetite of the flames biting into my finger tips. An emptiness hit me, a tunnel opening up inside my chest, terror. Then the flame spit up its victory smoke and I was left with the memory of her dance.
She drove, her hands ten and two, no radio, stopping at every light, keeping two car lengths between the vehicles in front. Textbook safe driving. We pulled up to a bakery and she said, “get out.”
He snapped off the end of his carrot and kept thinking. More than a cup of coffee, chewing woke him up in the mornings. This morning, however, his mind seemed to be stuck in that fog between dreams and the reality of the world that his eyes took in.
He kicked the dust and shoved his hands into his jeans. She slammed the hood of the car down and dabbed at sweat on her forehead. Pulling a cigarette from a pack, she let it hang from her lips and crossed her arms on top of her head.