Quote Prompt #3

ODP

The Oracle



 

Beatrix took the right hand of the middle aged man who sat across the table from her. She caught the aroma of stale tobacco as she studied him; his face, his eyes. He was tall and thin. She took note of the clean but worn clothes he wore under his light jacket, and the high buff shine on his boots. He took pride in  his appearance but he did not look like a wealthy man.

This had been initially suggested when she had watched through the small window as he parked his beat-up old muscle car in the postage stamp sized lot that lay in front of her shop. The car was at least 25 years old and had seen better days. She noticed his shaggy haircut and the fact that he was left handed. She spotted the narrow white band of skin around his left ring finger. He was either recently widowed, recently separated or running around on a wife he kept somewhere else; not here.

She slipped her fingers under the “twist-o-flex” watchband that clamped a cheap Timex to his wrist and pulled it over his scarred knuckles. She glanced absently at it before she handed it back to him. A little after eight pm.

She turned his palm up and began moving her thumb in counter-clockwise circles across the calluses on his palm. He was a working man, a rough man. The closed piercing on his ear lobe and the white tracings of an old scar across his wrist told her that he had endured a wild and troubled past.

She figured he was not a heavy drinker. He did not exhibit the pallid skin or rosacea that she would normally associate with drink in a man of his age.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“It works better if you don’t know.” Beatrix replied.

“What do I call you?”

“Most people call me ‘The Oracle’ like it says on the sign out front but, if that doesn’t work for you; you can simply call me ‘Miss’.” She already knew what she was going to tell him. She already knew what he wanted to hear. She’d been watching him, and you always tell them what they want to hear.

“Well, what do you see?” he asked, grinning.

She hushed him and continued what she was doing. He was too wound up. She needed him to relax. She fanned herself and unbuttoned the top button on her blouse. Watched his eyes. She unbuttoned one more. A bit of cleavage would help calm him down. Listening to him breathe she smiled as she heard the change. His breathing pattern slowed as he settled into the scene she was creating. He was more at ease now. She could start telling him about how he was going to come into some money, mention his wife, and how his future would be nowhere near as tumultuous as his past. Not too much money but enough to take some of the pressure off, give him some breathing room. He would give her more as she worked, they always do. She took the index finger of her left hand and began tracing the lines on his palm, preparing her patter. She frowned, his life line was short.

She opened her mouth to begin weaving the story of his impending good fortune, “Your wife is angry,” she said, and immediately thought – where the fuck did that come from? “She doesn’t like where she is, but she can make your life miserable from there.” Surprised by the words coming from her mouth Beatrix dropped his hand and stood.

She slapped him hard across the face with her right hand. “You shouldn’t a done that Jimmy.” She said, “You shouldn’t a killed me. But guess what, I can reach back from here. I can reach back and torment you Jimmy. I can have you killed or convince you to kill yourself. You’ll get it right this time too. No more mistakes, I promise. You don’t have long for that world Jimmy. We can rot in hell together. Fitting, what?” Beatrix clapped her hand across her mouth.

“What the hell are you doing, Miss?” the man asked with fire in his eyes. He rubbed his jaw where she had slapped him.

Beatrix shook her head, “I don’t know! I don’t know what’s happening!”

“Hey, Jimmy,” Beatrix said, “do you hear the sirens yet? The cops are coming. I convinced a homeless guy, under the 14th Street Bridge to call in an anonymous tip. He told them you were visiting ‘The Oracle’. You surprised me Jimmy; I thought you’d go to her. I thought you’d go to your good time girl. What happened? She kick your sorry ass out too? I’m starting to like her. I might let her live.”

Beatrix had been slowly backing up to the wall. She hit it now and caught the sound of sirens. Sirens growing louder by the second. Her eyes grew wide as the man reached behind his back with both hands. When he brought them back to the front his left hand clutched the knurled grip of a chrome pistol.

“Where’s the back door?” he demanded.

A wide eyed Beatrix pointed towards the arched doorway with the beaded curtain, “there,” was all she could manage.

“Do you have a car back there?” he asked. He grabbed her arm and pulled her with him towards the back exit.

“You’re never gonna make it Jimmy,” she said and again clamped her free hand over her mouth.

“Shut up bitch, I’ll kill you again.”

“Go ahead Jimmy, I’m already dead. Makes no difference to me.”

He put the gun up to the side of her head and slowly began to squeeze the trigger. From the corner of her eye Beatrix watched the hammer move back. She cried when her bladder let go.

“Damn,” he said and pushed her across the room. He put the gun barrel in his own mouth and Beatrix must have fainted.

When the cops broke down the front door Jimmy lay dead on the floor. The wall behind him was covered with gore. Beatrix was laughing and pointing at the corpse. As they led her away she stopped, looked back at Jimmy and whispered, “Got ya. You bastard, no mistakes this time.”

Her shoulders slumped and she allowed herself to be lead out the front door to the waiting EMT’s. A channel 7 van pulled up and one of the talking heads came over and stuck a microphone in Beatrix’ face.

“What happened in there?” The blonde ‘On-the-Scene’ reporter asked.

Beatrix looked at the camera, “Someone once said that the world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes. I think this is true, but 0n the other hand, observation is my business.”


 

This one is a little outside my comfort zone. Don’t judge me too harshly, please.

The Bee

Chimera 66 #16 Kickoff



 

Cathy Frady and Lincoln Styles stood side by side on the stage. All eyes were on them.

From beyond the footlights they heard Mr. Peterson, “Catharsis – ‘The physical activity of the game, was catharsis for them’ – Catharsis.”

Lincoln cleared his throat, “Catharsis – C,A,T,H,A,R,S,Y,S – Catharsis.”

“I’m sorry… To you, Ms. Frady?”

“Catharsis – C,A,T,H,A,R,S,I,S – Catharsis.”

“Correct.”

A hush fell on the auditorium. Then Mr. Peterson’s voice intoned, “otorhinolaryngological…”


 

The Things We Do For Love



 

Mayor Jenkins hammered his gavel on the podium.

BANG, BANG, BANG

 

“Come to order or I will have the council chambers cleared immediately.” The crowd settled down slowly and when they were quiet and had returned to their seats he continued. “To reiterate, the curator of the Museum of Modern Art is proposing…” he glanced at his notes, “a public art project on Filbert Street. It has been proposed to suspend no less than 137 pianos from ropes at varying heights above the street. The pianos will be hung at random, but close, intervals between Van Ness and The Filbert Street Steps.”

There was a huge round of applause and cheering from the standing room only crowd.
Mayor Jenkins pounded his gavel again and they quieted quickly.

He continued blathering, “It is the contention of this administration that public art projects of this ilk have become a cancer on this city and a stop must be put to them before members of the public are injured by falling pianos or other such nonsense, reminiscent of a Road Runner cartoon.”

Boos and cat calls resounded from the gallery. Clearly, The Arts Council was well supported here.

“Procedure dictates,” the mayor said loudly over the disagreement of the audience, “that both arguments must be heard at this meeting. You are aware that the official opinion of the administration is nothing but disdain for such a stupid and irresponsible proposal. I now have to allow time for the opposing position before I rule in favor of the city. So, Mr. Curator, please approach the podium; state your name, your title, and your position on this idiotic proposal.”

A lithe young lady stood in the back of the room and began moving towards the aisle. She wore her red hair in a shingle cut and sported a flattering summer outfit consisting of a bright green (not quite chartreuse) tight scoop neck top and purple shorts. She looked young, too young to be a museum curator. The mayor studied her as she moved gracefully down the aisle. His mouth hung open and a tiny drop of saliva clung tenaciously at the corner where his lips met. Councilwoman Malarky reached up and pushed the mayor’s chin upwards, closing it.

At the podium the young lady set a single sheet of paper on the surface in front of her and cleared her throat.

“Thanks Mayor Jenkins, for giving me my say. I would like to go on record and state that it is actually Ms. Curator, not Mr. Curator. My name is Lucky Lou and I am the Curator of Exhibits at our MOMA. I have had the pleasure of serving in this position for the last 10 years and hold a Doctorate in Fine Arts from City University. I believe City U is your Alma mater, is it not Mayor?”

The mayor swallowed and nodded his head. He was obviously smitten by this lovely lady. Lucky could see it and so could the rest of the room. The mayor was hopelessly in love. Lucky decided to use this opportunity to her advantage. She skipped to the end of her speech.

“And, in conclusion, Mr. Mayor that is why the city should approve the permits for this project.” She flashed her most enchanting smile. And the room erupted into thunderous applause.

The mayor blinked his eyes twice and shook his head as he awoke from his trance.

“I must say, Ms. Lou,” he said as his eyes moved around the room noting the obvious support that this vision of loveliness had garnered, “You’ve convinced me. I apologize for my earlier, somewhat negative, opinions of your proposal. I’ll push the paperwork through as my first order of business in the morning.”

Lucky stood tall and proud, holding her shoulders back, she said, “Thank you Mayor,” and turned back towards her seat.

“Ms. Lou?” The mayor stopped her in her tracks. “Would you like to go out to dinner with me?”

She shook her head.

“Maybe, coffee?”

Again she signaled in the negative.

Maybe we could share a Popsicle, after the meeting is adjourned.”

She smiled again, turned to face him, and this time she nodded her head.

He pounded his gavel on the podium again and announced, “Meeting adjourned.”


A Funny Thing Happened on My Way Home From Clown School

MFtS

Courtesy of: bw-beacham
Courtesy of: bw-beacham 2015


 

“Are you laughing at me?

“No, no, no – I’m laughing with you, not at you.”

“Ha, ha! That’s OK then…
What am I laughing at?”

“What do you mean, what are you laughing at?
That funny face you’re making, of course.”

“Ah yeah, Ha, ha!”

“Those silly clothes!”

“Uh huh, funny right?”

“Most of all though – your hair!
You’re a riot!
I mean, look at you!”

“What’s wrong with my hair? I just had this done! There’s nothing wrong with my hair!”

“Did I say hair? I meant to say flair.
You know, you have that certain “je ne sais quoi” thing going on.”

“Do you think so?
What’s that mean exactly?”

“Uhm, I gotta go now, have an appointment.”

“OK, but I’m gonna find out what that means. And, if it’s not good; I’ll come find you.
Don’t be laughing at me now.
Laugh with me; that’s OK…
Don’t laugh at me.”

 


 

Sundry Sunday

 ODP;      Compose a poem about a memorable moment in your life.



 

Years ago, on a Sunday morning in Santa Cruz, before the drought,
I cut the grass.
But before I could begin; the dog doo had to be cleared.
It’s ghastly to run over dog poop with a mower. I hate it.
Especially if it’s fresh.

My mind drifts as I get to the task at hand and guide the mower past the bed of strawberries,
The sound and the smell of the machinery is mesmerizing.
The left wheels rub against the redwood edging.
Suddenly, and without warning an obsidian serpent rears her head in front of my machine
Her mouth is open, hissing. The fear of death is in her eyes as she watches the mower approach.

I stop my machine and study her
Her mouth is tinged scarlet; like the painted lips on a lady of the night.
Have I interrupted a tryst, or worse, a satanic ritual?
Is this lipstick? Is this blood?
Does she pose an imminent danger?

No danger, a harmless garden snake easily recognized.
But how to explain the blood around her mouth?
For surely – it is not lipstick.
Then I spy the strawberry – riddled with bite marks.

She’s a brazen thief. An outlaw. Caught red-handed, so to speak.
She knows it’s a fair cop. She has surrendered.
Punishment for the theft of a sun warmed crimson berry should not be death.
I relocate her behind the house, deep in the trees.
She keeps her prize.


 

Word Association #2

ODP



 

The chairman worked late that night, although there was nothing alarming in that. The chairman often worked late. The shareholders, after all, had a right to expect him to give 110% for the business. His assistant had gone home at 10:00pm. Dismissed by the chairman after he had printed the quarterly earnings report; scheduled for release the next morning. Tommy hadn’t wanted to go. He thought the figures were wrong; and he worried that they had overlooked something – was convinced that with due diligence he would find the error in the books and be able to correct it.

But the chairman was insistent, “Nonsense Tommy,” he had said, “We’ve simply misplaced a decimal point or something silly. Go home to your wife. I’ll find the problem and correct it. You can help me document the change when you get in, in the morning. I’ll see you at 9:30 sharp.” Reluctantly, Tommy had left. He bought an expensive bottle of Pinot Noir at an out of the way wine shop he passed daily but had never gone into. He  arrived at the station with just enough time to catch the last train home.

He and his wife shared a late dinner of red wine, cold meats, and cheese. They retired to the bedroom, where they made love and fell asleep in each others arms sometime before 1:00am. At precisely 1:43am the telephone trilled, waking them both.

“Hullo,” he said to the phone through a sleep thickened haze, “hullo?”

“Is this Tommy Chisholm?” an official sounding voice quacked through the wire.

Tommy ran his fingers through his love-tangled hair, “Yeah, yeah it is.”

“Mr. Chisholm, this is Detective Ventana, City Police.”

“Police? What’s happened? Is something wrong?”

“Well yeah, Mr. Chisholm, something’s happened. The chairman’s dead.”

“He’s what? He’s dead?” Tommy’s sleep induced haze was clearing rapidly. “What happened?”

“Looks like he either jumped out the window or got tossed out. We’re not sure yet.”

“My god, do I need to come back?”

“No sir, we have a couple of men coming to your house. They should be there soon. The thing is, Mr. Chisholm… Well, you logged out with security at exactly 10:05pm and the time of death was recorded as 10:07pm. So you may have been the last person to see him alive.”

Tommy’s mind skipped a beat, something wasn’t right, “10:07? How can you be so precise?”

“He landed on the hood of a car, on the street, a couple of kids were making out in it at the time.”

“Shit, that’s horrible.”

“Yeah, we think so too. The poor girl’s only 16, she had to be sedated. Probably has a bad case of PTSD. They’re both down at Mercy getting checked out.”

Just then the bell rang. Denise shrugged on a robe. She had been listening to Tommy’s side of the conversation and had a general understanding of the situation. Her brow was creased with worry as she went to answer the door.

Two grim faced men waited, ready to proffer gold badges for her perusal. Seizing the opportunity of her swinging the door in, their training and experience dictated that they move far enough forward that she would not be able to shut it on them. The heavyset one, spoke first. He had a round, open face that was unlined but heavily pitted with old acne scars. His eyes widened when he spoke, “Ms. Chisholm?” he began, “I’m Detective Bruce and this is Detective Hardsock.” He nodded to the man standing next to him, “We need to speak with your husband.” Hardsock was dark haired, tall and thin. His facial features were prominent.  He had a long thin nose and an overhanging brow that kept his eyes in shadow. His lips were full, sensual, and it looked like he hadn’t shaved for about three days.

“Of course. He’s on the phone with the police.” She took a tentative step back and they followed her inside. Hardsock turned and closed the door behind them.


Defenestration

 

Photo Challenge; Motion

Photo Challenge; Motion

This week, share your photographs that have captured motion, and tell us the stories behind the images.



 

Desert Snow
Stenocereus thurberi

Snow in the still desert night; the moon and the stars hidden by heavy clouds. It is incredibly dark.
Large flakes falling in slow motion nestle in, and collect on the spines of an old Organ Pipe Cactus.
The light from my flash reflects back brightly from the gently falling snow.