Blind Adoration

“Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind. And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
–Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

259 words

Susan wakes. Her arms and feet are tightly bound to a straight-back chair. A thick cloth blinds her eyes, she inhales an odd sweet taste.

Her arms recognize the silk of her blouse. Her waist feels where her skirt pinches when she sits.

okay.

She searches for pain, injury, down her arms, her legs… between her legs.

nothing, thank god.

Her bare feet feel rub cool marble and she hears a rustle like a jacket being removed or wings brushing together. A thick finger presses her lips and a voice expands inside her head with a rushing of wind.

“Shhh. It will all become clear, my love. Just a minute’s work and you will see.”

She flinches at his touch as warmth spreads up her arm. Her lips move but her tongue is leaden. A hand clamps her head as the warmth swells over her.

The blindfold is jerked down. She squints thickly, feels hot breath on her neck. The voice, Cupid’s, like a growing storm, “Look, my love.”

Her head tilts up.

A canopy of moonless night spreads over her, a black void except for the eyes – billions of eyes – where stars should be. Perfect, twinkling spheres. Blue. Green. Brown. Black. Hazel. No brows arching in surprise. No ducts shedding tears. No lids blocking what should never be seen.

He directs her gaze to a empty area of the sky. “For you, my love.”

The voice bursts the levy of her soul, she empties into the vastness of black. Infinite. Seeing. Forever adoring blind Cupid.

I Lie to My Squirrels

The cruelest stroke is
lying to them about the Easter Bunny.

The way their squirrel eyes
dance with nervous delight as they sit on their
haunches and stare past the croquet stakes
at the gap in the hedge,

squirrel hands outstretched for promised treats,
squirrel tongues lashing in wordless supplication,
squirrel souls desiring the appearance,

bodies levitating with the effort, tails brushing the grass,
ears heedless of the swooping arc
of the croquet mallet.

Crab Man, season #1, eps. #1

Barb D. Hook

Barb D. Hook navigated her grey and battered 78 Corolla through the rain slick streets of Callabash City, Daily Catch reporter credentials swinging from the rearview mirror. It was 9 p.m. and she was ignoring the story she was covering and focused on her handwritten directions to the scene rubber-banded to the Toyota’s sun visor.

“Two?” she said to the empty car then, glancing up, answered, “Two.”

Five years at the Daily Catch and this was the first time Barb D. Hook, had ever been sent by her editor to the actual scene of a story. This was something new. And exciting.

The routine had become exactly that, routine. Two weeks on the job and she already knew she could cull all of her reports from the police blotter and emergency room logs. First thing in the morning, 500-1500 words and done. No story ever required a reporter on the scene. Never, in the moment.

But her editor

The Daily Catch needed only a few reporters to cover pretty much everything that happened in Callabash City that the Daily Catch needed to devote this kind of attention to.

Ford D. Halibut

It was a rare occurrence for Ford D. Halibut, the paternally stern editor of the Daily Catch, to give out a compliment. Barb had learned to accept the muted praise he offered as praise and move on, but she would never learn to accept the uncomfortable way Halibut would jest at her. Always just as she exited his office. Always loud enough so that everyone could hear.

“Don’t get crabs!”

Each time it happened, Barb wheeled around in her mind and screamed, “Fuck you! Shut up!” But not once in the five years she’d worked for him had she ever seen Halibut send a reporter to the actual scene of an actual story. Not once except for this time. Except with her. Now.

Except tonight was different. Barb’s mind wandered back to the relative comfort of her tiny, rundown apartment, its one room ringed with fading, neglected houseplants, the sink-full of dishes in the corner kitchenette, week-old laundry in a squashed pile under the empty, unkempt Murphy bed.

“Barb D.,” he had said, pronouncing it “barbed” in the strange manner Barb had come to recognize as one of his more particularly strange characteristics since she was the only Barb at the Daily Catch and since she was certain neither Ford, nor anyone else, had any idea what the “D” stood for. “Just got a call,” Ford told her. “Man’s voice. Said he had information about the murders. No name. Just an address.”

Barb stared blankly at the paper in Ford’s hand before taking it. Her last hope for a quiet dinner with her cat, Tuffy, faded as she read it aloud. “Forty-six Net Road?” Barb squinted at Ford, “Isn’t that near the docks?”

“Pier Two.” Ford swiveled his chair and gazed out the window. He gestured towards the window. “Just get the story. It’s out there.”

“Actually it’s there,” Barb corrected, jerking her thumb behind her in the direction of the actual docks.

Ford grunted, “Just get the story, huh?”

***

That was twenty minutes ago, another lifetime.

Now Barb was rolling slowly along Pier 5 convinced that there had been some mistake. The Pier was dark and the smell of seawater hung heavy in the air. A dank breeze rolled along the pier and Barb felt her hair slowly sagging as her Final Net lost its grip.

The pier was vacant. Barb grabbed the handle and wrestled the Toyota’s window down. She lit a cigarette and found she couldn’t stop thinking about the recent, bizarre murders plaguing Callabash City. Seven of the city’s eight Council members had been murdered. All in supposed safety of their homes. In each case, the Calabash Coroner had determined that the victim had been stabbed once in the heart with a large sword-like object. Police Commissioner Painting had been slow to react, only ordering police protection for the remaining Councilmen after the first three had been slain. But still, four more times the patrolmen had found their grisly morning check-ins. The city was in shock.

As she stood there smoking, Barb hoped no one would show up. She’d investigated a lot of crime stories. Ford seemed to get some perverse pleasure assigning the worst ones to her. But this one gave her a bad feeling and for an unchecked moment she felt alone and vulnerable. She shrieked as a huge orange claw slipped out of the darkness and snipped her cigarette neatly in two.

A deep voice said, “These things will stunt your growth, ma’am.”

Barb’s vision collapsed to pinpoints and the dank pier swirled and tilted up to meet her as she collapsed. She saw the claw reach for her as her world went black and she knew she would never eat seafood again.

Diary of Anne Frank

I wrote this some years back for a production of Diary I was in.

***

(There is a great commotion downstairs… the sound of glass breaking, a

nd a door being battered open, combined with loud male voices)

LOUD OFF-STAGE VOICES

AUF MACHEN! DA DRINNEN! AUF MACHEN! SCHNELL! SCHNELL! SCHNELL! ETC…

 

(The lights go to black quickly as we hear a door crashing in)

 

(Lights go up slowly on the empty stage. The scene is in disarray. Chairs are tipped over, furniture is out of place.) MIEP enters holding a jumbled sheaf of diary pages. She walks slowly throughout the room picking up more pages. She picks up the last page DOWN STAGE CENTER and reads it aloud.)

MIEP

Dear Kitty, Yesterday evening before I fell asleep, who should suddenly appear  before my eyes but Lies! I saw her in front of me, clothed in rags, her face thin and worn. Her eyes were very big and she looked so sadly and reproachfully at me that I could read in her eyes: “Oh Anne, why have you deserted me? Help, oh help me, rescue me from this hell!” And I cannot help her, I can only look on, how others suffer and die, and can only pray to God to send her back to us.

(MIEP places the page neatly with the rest and addresses the audience)

MIEP

I had gone to the country to find food. When I got back, the block was surrounded by police. They were all taken. It seems strange to say this, that anyone could be happy in a concentration camp. But Anne was happy in Westerbork , in Holland where they first took them. After two years of being shut up in these rooms, she could be out… out in the sunshine and the fresh air she loved. The news of the war was good. The British and Americans were sweeping through France. We felt sure they would get to them in time. In September, they were shipped to Poland. Wives were separated from husbands… sons from mothers… sisters from brothers. In October the women were sent to Germany… Belsen. Those that could walk were marched off as the Germans  retreated.   In January they were freed, the few who were left. The war wasn’t over yet, so it took a long time for everyone to get home. As the trains stopped at each siding and crossing, everyone went from group to group… “Where were you? Were you at Mauthausen? At Auschwitz? At Buchenwald? Belsen? Is it possible you knew my wife? Did you see my husband? My daughter? My son.” That’s how they found out about Margot… and the Van Daans…Peter… Dr. Dussel… Mrs. Frank. But Anne… I still hoped. Yesterday, I went to Rotterdam, and I heard of a woman there… she’d been in Belsen with Anne…

 

(MIEP looks at the pages in her hands, and pulls one out to read. As she reads aloud, the lights slowly cross-fade down to a glow on her and up on ANNE I, who is now standing on the platform, dressed in a dirty, torn gray dress with a bandanna covering her hair as if she had no hair. She holds a white flower. As the lights fade up on ANNE I  she stares straight ahead and picks up the dialog.

MIEP

(fading down with lights)

I hope that I will be able to live in a world…

 

ANNE I

(With MEIP, fading up with lights)

… to live in a world where people are free to be themselves, and that we will be kind and understanding with each… because I still believe, in spite of everything… that people are really good at heart.

 

(MIEP places the last page tenderly with the others and looks at the audience)

MIEP

She puts me to shame.

 

(The lights wink out on MIEP and fade very slowly on ANNE I)

 

THE END

Deep Run Park

I like to ride in this park. Today was my first ride since December. Bike’s all tuned up, new gear cluster, front brakes, rear tire, saddle. An installation ride, an easy ride. But it felt good.

Deep Run Park March 2016

I use this tracker app on my phone. Mostly I look at Time and Average Speed.

And I always wonder about the figures given for Altitude Loss and Altitude Gain. Since I begin and end at the exact same place (my parked car), shouldn’t the Loss and Gain be closer to equal? As it is they’re four feet off!

Against My Better Judgment

[handwritten notes penned on or around 4-19-2010, transcribed here with minimal edits for your reading curiosity]

 

Crazy writer guy with a notebook in a sports bar. Outside was a clear blue sky, spring verdant and building momentum. Inside there were too many screens and nowhere to look. A paradox of technological intrusion.

Technology insists. It shouts and demands our attention like a spoiled child. It cannot be mute (or not for long). It cannot be hidden in the gentle thrush and delicious tendrils of Nature. Technology must be seen, heard, felt, in all its silicon insistence. That’s the nature of Technology.

***

Long tendrils of dark brown hair wash over his chest as she moved above him, plunging and gasping and shattering into a million sparkling shards, then collapsing on his chest, knitting herself back together, taking her time before releasing him, her eyes surrendered yet hidden from him through the veil of her hair. The two of them, together. And alone in this trembling moment.

***

A tiny tattoo, a crescent moon with a star impossibly between its points, just above the waist of her low-slung jeans, in the hollow of her hip, right where he ached to bite, to pinch, to startle. Then suckle and sooth until she pushed his head lower.

***

“A zoo bear,” she said, a sly grin creeping across her face. “Not a real one, so I wasn’t frightened. Though I was somewhat confused about its appearance in my kitchen.”

He never knew how to read her when she was like this.

Aboriginal Paths

[I’ve had this for years. I don’t know where it came from. It’s never made complete sense to me, but it came out in one brief but continuous episode of typing.]

215 words

Once upon a time when grasses were alive and cars were still a dream, when paths traveled where they liked and answered only to their souls and the Great Mother Earth, when footpaths learned from their tutors the streams and rivers, intersecting, intertwining arm in arm and there was peace, in this time Man had a soul alive and could speak with the earth. Paths meandered with the wind in a scuff of fluttering leaves fluid as the forest itself, winding, rolling, tickling and teasing the living waters as they went. In this time Man had an ear to hear the Earth’s soft whisper and answer.

But the heart of Man was corrupt, His lusts too quickened for paths and meandering and breezes. Industry without patience, His hands longed to fix all things in place with stakes and signposts: “Go here. Or there. And nowhere else.” Man imagined pumping engines and smoke and paths were crushed by cruel wheels; roads became hard and black like the soul of Man.

Now as you walk in the moonlight, if the wind allows it, if the Great Mother is kind, you can hear the path’s lament, “I am sorry my friend. I may not take you where you need. I can only take you where I do.”