“I’m Feng Shui, the decorator your wife hired.
Please call me Ms. Feng.”
“Rafael, darling; you painted my portrait; well, half of my portrait. May I play with it?”
She lifted the canvas from the easel and held it in front of her face. “Tell me when I get it aligned right.
“Miriam, my love would you snap a shot with your phone?”
She lined everything up just so.
The painting suddenly changed.
The cat died.
Rafael fainted, collapsing on the hardwood floor.
Miriam took the shot.
Desdemona held the painting and laughed before tucking it under her arm and making toward the lift.
Over the course of the next few days she gave up her apartment and relocated to Tillamook.
Rafael never painted again.
Miriam decided that she’d never really loved Arthur and changed the locks on the loft they had shared.
Arthur thought about going to Tillamook but never did.
He started drinking instead.
The cat stayed dead, and never recovered.
The old man nosed his car to the curb in front of the light blue beach house. His ancient Studebaker faced the wrong way, but he really didn’t care. He took parking tickets in stride, his sister could fix them; she was Queen of the Realm, after all. What good is it to be the Queen’s brother if you can’t get your tickets fixed.
He set the brake, slid out onto the pavement, and straightened his epaulets. Then he leaned back into the sedan to collect his walking stick and a well worn cardboard box. He took a deep breath and began the long twisting walk amidst the red blooming geraniums towards the cottage front door.
He knocked on the door, but he was tired; this was his last stop of the day. His knuckles sounded weak and hollow against the hard wood. He waited but no one came so he tried again, with the same results.
As a last resort he lifted his walking stick and beat it against the door with all his might. No matter; he was still a feeble old man, and there was still no response. He shrugged his shoulders and was about to give up when he noticed the doorbell. The button was illuminated with a dim orange light. He wondered how he had missed it, but decided not to fret and simply pressed the button with the end of his thumb. Chimes echoed inside the beach house and in no time, a smiling young girl opened the door wide. She looked just like Cindy, before she had run out of his life, on that fateful night so long ago. This could be the place.
“May I help you?” the girl quizzed him.
“My God,” he whispered, “You’re Cindy? You haven’t changed a bit, you’re as beautiful as ever. I can’t believe I’ve found you after all these years!” He spread his arms wide and took a step towards her for a hug.
“Whoa, whoa! Hold on, Pops” the girl admonished as she stepped quickly backwards into the house. “I don’t know who Cindy is, but I’m not her. I’m Eileen! I’m not sure I want to be giving you a hug either. I don’t know you.”
“Of course you don’t,” he stammered and took a step back himself. “And, of course you aren’t Cindy. Cindy would be much older now. Please accept my apologies and allow me to introduce myself. I promise not to accost you again. My name is Angus, Angus Charming and I believe you are the key to a puzzle I’ve been trying to solve for a long, long time.” He held up the worn corrugated box and lifted the lid allowing her to view the opalescent glass slipper nestled inside, on a brocade silk cushion.
“It’s beautiful,” she said, “My Grandmother has one just like it. If you’d like, I can show you, but we must be quiet. She’s sleeping and we don’t want to wake her.”
A Monday evening response to another Monday Writing Prompt generously provided by The Secret Keeper.
The Friday story at TBP (follow the link, above) reminded me of this thing that I heard about. I’m not sure why I heard about it and I’m certain I have never experienced it first hand. Probably just heard the legends! Or maybe I just made this up and it is 100% fiction. Yeah, that’s probably it.
The god of the sea is Neptune, or Poseidon. In art, he is frequently portrayed in the company of a horse and a cow (or possibly, a bull). Historically, merchant sailors and other skimmers, who were scared to death of submarines, tattooed a horse on one ankle, a cow on the other, in hopes of ensuring safe passage.
Home to Mare Island Naval Shipyard (birthplace of many of the best submarines) and once home to the famous bar known as the Horse and Cow. A most notorious fast attack submarine bar. Bikers were allowed in, as long as they bought a round for the house when they arrived. Else their trousers were removed and they were run out into the street. Reentry was not allowed, and they had to find their way home without pants.
For the uninitiated readers out there – note that there are three different types of submariners. There are Diesel Boat sailors, who are welcomed by one and all, Fast Attack sailors who have the best job in the Navy, and Boomer sailors who ride the ballistic missile boats.
Horse and Cow rules have always prohibited any kind words, or sentiment, for the Boomer guys.
To fast-attack submariners, whose duty is to chase enemy boats, boomer sailors are slackers who ride heavily armed boats and while away their days in comfort, waiting for an order that never comes. They are a lower form of life; although still better than skimmers.
Wives and girlfriends were also allowed in the bar but there was always, ALWAYS a ritual when a new patron of the feminine persuasion came into the bar. It would go something like this:
Someone, anyone, it didn’t matter who, would visit the men’s room and come back to the bar, telling the bartender that the toilet was clogged. The bartender would unleash a string of blue words and pull a plunger from beneath the bar. He would shake it at all the patrons and exclaim something about hoping he never found out who was responsible for this, then he would disappear into the toilet (“head” in Navy-speak).
After a while, he would return with the plunger dripping water and proclaim the problem as “fixed” then he would turn over the plunger and fill the cup with the contents of whatever bottle was handy.
“Cheers,” he would proclaim and take a drink. Then the plunger would pass from hand to hand down the bar with everyone having a taste. When the plunger got to the new girl everyone watched. If she drank, she was cheered and welcomed as part of the crew. If she wrinkled her nose and passed it on, untouched, well then, her trousers were removed and she was run out into the street. Reentry was not allowed and she had to find her way home without pants.
It’s a cold, cruel world out there and there is probably a moral to this story but for the life of me I’m not sure what it would be.
Welcome Richard Dixson High School Class of 16, I’ve been asked to speak to you guys about the path of life.
First off, I wanna go on record as sayin’ that I wasn’t even aware there was a path of life so I went home and googled it. I found it in google maps too. It runs right ahind the Piggly Wiggly on Herkemer Street. I can’t be 100% sure ’cause I didn’t get a chance to go down there yet… but it looked like, on the map, that it’s a walkin’ path and it starts up hind the elementary school before meanderin’ with the stream and past the Auto Parts Store. Then it runs back o’ the Piggly Wiggly, but y’all already knew that, and curves slowly south over that rise where the kids all go to make out and ride their BMX bikes. Then it cuts down past the Drive In and ends at the old quarry.
I would also like to recommend to you kids that the old quarry is a much better place to make out than that BMX track – less crowded… more romantic.
Anyway, it got me thinkin’ that this really has been my life.
I don’t ‘member much that happened before elementary school. I recollect listenin’ to Ike on the radio with my dad and we watched him on the TV a time or two at the dry goods store. I recall ridin’ my bike and harassin’ my sister on a pretty regular basis. That’s ’bout the time that I started smokin’ too, but I don’t ‘member much more than that. So, just like the path of life, I pretty much start at elementary school.
In High School I spent a lot of time at that Auto Parts Store getting the things I needed to rebuilt my old ’49.
When I got that jalopy runnin’ I met my wife, Sarah Ann, at the Piggly Wiggly Store; we been married long time now, more years than I cares to ‘member. She was a cashier and she had the hots for old cars. She was a cashier at the Piggly Wiggly when cashiers had to punch the numbers on the register, knot just move things in front of a laser beam, like today. Back when they counted yo change into yo hand ‘stead o’ just stackin’ it on yo palm.
We had our ups and downs, just like that bicycle track, but eventually we wound up down by the quarry. Down by the quarry, where it’s more romantic, and where kids come from, if yore knot careful. Sarah Ann and I wound up with a few. A few kids that is, and now we got us a passel of grandkids too.
So I was talkin’ with Sarah Ann about this speech what I’m givin’ y’all now and pointin’ out the parallels in our lives with that path (the one I didn’t even know ’bout till the other day) and we decided we’re gonna go hike that path this weekend. The kids and the grandkids are comin’, and y’all’re all welcome to join us if ya want. We’re gonna set off from behind the elementary school on Saturday mornin’ about 8:30 and go all the way to the quarry. If ya decide to join us bring plenty water. It’s important to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Hope to see ya there.
Do doors travel in portals? Perhaps they should.
Brian was sitting at the kitchen table when he heard the knocking. His head was in his hands. A chipped and cracked saucer overflowed with cigarette butts next to the salt shaker and his coffee was cold.
“WHAT?!” he hollered. “I don’t want any.”
The door opened a crack and Amy peeked in, “Jeeze, Brian. You don’t have to bite my head off.”
He rubbed his hand over his face, “Sorry, Aim. Come on in. There might be some coffee if you want any.”
Amy moved over to the coffee pot, lifted it, and eyeballed the thick black sludge it contained. She thought better of having a cup put it back on the burner before moving to the table. Sitting down, she tucked her curly brown hair behind her ears and pushed her glasses up on her nose.
“Musta been some chick.” She said. “Look at you; sitting all broken up and morose-like in the kitchen. You don’t look to be dressed for church either.”
He looked down at himself. She had a point; Y-fronts and a Mickey Mouse t-shirt. His black socks sagging around his ankles.
“So, what’s the problem, Brian?” she asked.
“I met this girl last night at Slims.”
Slims, Amy knew, was a high priced night club just off Highway 17 at the edge of town.
“She was beautiful, I think. Tall, thin, dark hair, light brown skin… I only got a quick look at her before the match went out.”
He dropped his forearms on the table top and looked at Amy, his face a mask of anguish and regret.
“So she passed the match test,” Amy said cheerfully, “That’s great. Why so sad?”
“I was out of matches. She faded back into the crowd and I lost her. That’s the story of my life Aim, missed opportunities!”
“I know what you’re talking about,” she said. “I know exactly what you’re talking about.”
Missed Opportunities – W4M
You’re the tall, beautiful man who smokes too much, doesn’t know how to dress and is always chasing dreams that continually elude him.
I’m the short girl with glasses and curly brown hair whose shoulder you continually want to cry on. Come to your senses and stop chasing unicorns, I’m still here. But don’t wait too long lest you allow still another opportunity to slip through your fingers.
Andrew and Maude pulled over, and eyeballed the cheery, well constructed, bread loaf caravan that looked so inviting. They studied it with patent indecision.
Maude whispered, “Let’s see if it tastes as good as it looks.”
Andy stared, “Looks to be made by rats. What’ll we do when they come back, huh?”
Emily picked up a large stone, by the curb.
“Hey, Cop.” She yelled and chucked the stone, as hard as she could, shattering the plate glass before she took off running down the beach with the big cop right behind.
Jimmy the Foxx had told Dad that McAfferty, the manager of the boardwalk shop, only went to the bank on Friday nights after closing. Tonight was Friday and Emily’s job was lookout, standing on the pavement by the door, eating crackers and looking like a kid.
Dad was in with McAfferty, rifling the safe and the till. It was her job to warn him if something untoward happened.
Everything was going great till that big cop showed up.
Emily tried to whistle, but the crackers!
The cop was on ‘em; he only had to look through the window and Dad would be busted again. She couldn’t let that happen.
My dad finally told me the story behind my name about a month before he passed away. I think I believe it.
I was born late in the afternoon on 03 January 1947. My mother and father had had a fight on the morning that I was born. They weren’t throwing punches or anything; they were throwing words and apparently some feelings were hurt/damaged. He refused to tell me what the fight was about but I would suspect it was something to do with food. They always fought about food. Eventually they divorced over food, after the great “Pot Roast Debacle of 1963” but I’ve already written about that.
“This is overdone, it’s mushy!” one of them would say.
“No, that’s how it’s supposed to be!”
“Too much salt.”
“Chilies? Where are the goddamn chilies?”
“I’m not even going to ask what this is supposed to be; I’m going for a hamburger.”
“Huh uh, you eat it! I’m not going to!”
I won’t beat this dead horse any longer, you get the idea.
Anyway, I was born slightly after five pm that afternoon. It was dark outside and it was before fathers were allowed in delivery rooms so my dad spent the time sitting in a waiting room staring at his reflection in the darkened window, drinking unpalatable coffee from the 50 cup percolator, that had sat there all day, and chain smoking Raleigh’s. He saved the coupons.
When they finally came out and told him that the ordeal was done he was pretty seriously hyped up on caffeine and nicotine but he followed the orderly down to fill in the paperwork, as requested. One of the forms they handed him was my birth certificate. Dutifully he wrote his name as father, and filled in my mom’s name to complete the “parented by” section. He got to the blank where he was supposed to write my name… hmm? They had previously agreed on a name for me but he was thinking about that fight earlier in the day. The agreed name was unceremoniously tossed aside and I was festooned with the grandiose middle names of my two grandfathers.
My maternal grandfather, had been killed when my mom was a teenager. His name had been Lawrence Ephraim Brock. Ephraim was penned neatly, in all caps, into the blank space.
My paternal grandfather was still very much alive and he hated his middle name. He hated it so much that my uncle’s middle name is Junior because Grandpa refused to saddle anyone with his name and Grandma wanted a son she could call Junior. My uncle was Harry Junior Kerr, and my grandfather was Harry McCool Kerr. The animosity that my grandfather felt for the name McCool was clearly not something my dad thought much about when he wrote McCool, in neat block letters, behind Ephraim on my birth certificate.
My grandpa was pretty upset about my middle name and for the rest of his life he continued to remind my father of this simple fact, but on that day, my dad was only thinking about the fight and getting even, or getting ahead, as my mother lay sleeping in her recovery room five floors above.
I guess he showed her! My name is Ephraim McCool Kerr, and I’m happy to meet you.
You can call me Mac.