Archive | February 2012

A DOLLAR AND A DREAM

His sleep – uneasy, but sleep none-the-less.

An indigent life was indeed a life of hopelessness. Carl Telesco knew this better than anyone. Huddled over the open grating hoping for the steam from the subway station to waft upward to warm him. It was a wonder he slept at all. His sleep – uneasy, but sleep none-the-less.

Somewhere in the night Carl was rousted awake. The poke of a wooden prod; a night stick. The police officer did not care that the broken man had nowhere to go. He needed to keep the grate clear for everyone’s safety.

Telesco gathered his meager belongings and shuffled down toward the wharf. It had always been the seedy part of town. Carl hated it there; too much hassle and his dignity, what little he had, was in rapid evaporation.

His feet slid uneasily down the pavement. Shards of broken bottles skittered toward the gutter. Newspaper trash and cigarette butts; used condoms and hypodermic needles littered this lost world within the big city. Carl’s foot hit something metallic. Under the street lamp, the shape of a dropped handgun twirled in the shadow. He picked the piece up and felt its heft in his hand. But Carl saw something else; the wad of bills was more money than he had seen in a very long time. Carl tossed the gun back to the pavement. He went off with his treasure.

Carl bought a suit; fine threads made him feel better. He got a shave and haircut, exposing his handsome features. He walked into Chez Cuisine and Carl ate like a king. He flaunted his faux fortune and people noticed him. Carl felt like a big shot.

The blast resounded in the street, echoing off of the brownstone building and triggering the alarms of cars parked nearby. Carl’s head bounced on the concrete as he landed in a pool of his own blood. A scared kid had found the discarded pistol. He wanted what Carl had.

Carl felt a hard poke in his side. His eyes butterflied open. Standing above him on the metal grating was a police officer, night stick in hand. Carl was being rousted to move along. Telesco gathered his meager belongings and shuffled down toward the wharf. Carl’s foot hit something metallic. Under the street lamp, the shape of a dropped handgun twirled in the shadow. He picked the piece up and felt its heft in his hand.

He remembered his prior dream. Carl thought about the outcome. The blast resounded in the street, echoing off of the brownstone building and triggering the alarms of cars parked nearby. An indigent life was indeed a life of hopelessness. Carl Telesco needed not worry about that anymore.

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LOVE IN THE RUSH OF WAVES

“…Dave stoops to trace a finger in the wet sand, encirling him and Angie in a heart; …”

They stopped.

A beauty of a day, made more perfect by the company kept. They had both been swept away by this feeling. And as they walked along the shore, Angie and Dave were lost. Not in a directional sense, but lost in the emotion of each other. Her kisses were warm and inviting; his caresses were tender and loving. It couldn’t be any more complete.

The splash of the water came as a churning in the sand, removing everything that lay on the surface. It also has a tendency to stir what lies beneath. Layers of sand and stone and shells; dead fish and gull decay and seaweed. The persistence of the surf does not offer any rest, constantly peeling back to expose a buried past.

The sound of the sea birds cuts the solitude, an incessant stab to the eardrum. The horizon holds back the grayness of the coming storm; a sign of uncertainty. Angie turns to Dave for reassurance and security, in love and the purity of all it espoused. For the moment, it is all that is needed, heeding the signals that passion stirs. The waves crash further up the shore reaching to where they have taken root. There is no escaping it’s intrusion.

Dave stoops to trace a finger in the wet sand, encirling him and Angie in a heart; a symbol of their ever-lasting love. But, the wind whips up, chilling the air as the storm moves toward shore, forcing the couple to rush up the pathway to higher ground. They leave this perfect day behind them; their heart in the sand.

The illusion of perfection is exposed. Life’s tranquility hides a tumultuous existence. A cyclical rush of the sea touches all in its wake and the lover’s heart is washed away in the coming storm.

“MAY I SPEAK TO MR. DeMILLE?”

“But in her mind, she was a movie star; a Hollywood starlet, glamorous and slinky in a nine year old kind of way.”

Norma stood before her mother’s full length mirror, assessing her outfit. Mother took great umbrage at her young daughter rifling through her closet, and disheveling her evening gowns. The formal dresses were much to big on Norma, and as she traipsed around the upstairs in mother’s finest and high heels, she was in the process of ruining the hem.

Strands of pearls and matching earrings and gobs of rouge and make-up made Norma look older in a ridiculous sort of way. But in her mind, she was a movie star; a Hollywood starlet, glamorous and slinky in a nine year old kind of way.

“Dahling” she would say, “I’m ready for my close-up”

And she’d smile. She was Bette Davis, and Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergmann rolled into one. Savvy and demure, sure of herself and her future. Sure of her talent. And very sure Mother will have a conniption when she finds the gown she had set out for the Academy Award ceremony in disarray. So much for the “Red Carpet” look, Norma was in dutch, and she knew it.

“Norma Jean Desmond!” mother vented. “What were you thinking? Now my gown is ruined. I have nothing to wear to the theater!”

“I wanted to act like you. I am a movie star too! Norma said tearfully confident.

“Damn it Norma, how many time must I tell you, you’re too little to be a star! The business is too large for you; you’ll be eaten alive” Mother scolded.

Norma Desmond thought about Mother’s admonition for a moment. “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small!”

SHALL WE?

“So… you want to dance?” she came on to Sam.

Sam Sturgis surveyed the dance floor from across the room. He laughed inwardly as he tried to recall the last time being at a functions such as this didn’t look like a Buffalo stampede. He was hard pressed for an answer. He either got roped into funerals and weddings. Funerals he could bullshit his way through. Somber looks, sad nods and a few “He looks good” or “Now, she’s at peace” comments thrown in and the day is saved. But family weddings? You either have a good time, or you didn’t.

Sam was having a lousy time. A distant cousin…an acquaintance at best, had invited him to the nuptials as a courtesy to her mother’s request. Oh, she smiled as she thanked him for coming and said how “he looks good”. Again Sam smirked. “She must be a riot at a funeral” he thought.

Sam was unattached at the moment. Without a date, he felt even more uncomfortable being there. But, obligation to his own mother’s request kept him from blowing it off all together. Say hello, congratulate, a few drinks and he’d be on his way. But he made the mistake of checking out the people dancing.

It was not so much the ones on the floor that captured Sam’s attention. It was the young woman sitting over at a corner table. She looked equally as bored, stirring her cocktail and making her own observations. He noticed that for someone who didn’t seem to want to dance, her feet sure moved a lot. Her feet were either tapping out the beat, or doing little bits of choreography under the table. Sam approached the corner, but she got up to head for the bar. He followed her.

“Can I “buy” you a drink?” Sam asked by way of introductory conversation.

“It’s wedding. The drinks are free” she said, not even looking in his direction.

Sam was perturbed by her snarky attitude and remark.

“Well excuse me,” he began “you looked as bored as I feel, and right now I felt like I could use a drink!”

She shook her head and laughed. “OK big spender, I’ll have a vodka and tea.”

She sipped at her drink slowly as she looked Sam over.

“So… you want to dance?” she came on to Sam.

Sam gulped down his drink as she took his hand leading the way.

“Uh, the dance floor is this way?” Sam questioned.

“I know” she replied as she walked him out to seclusion of the back patio.

PRISONS WITHOUT BARRIERS

The scene out of her window rarely changed. And Claire paid it no heed.

God bless Claire Burek.

Always with a smile at the ready. A curt little wave, wiggling her deformed fingers in a flutter. She rubs her palms over her skirt, pressing out the wrinkles. A sweet old woman.

“GOOD MORNING MR. HENDRICKS” she’d greet, more of a shout than a salutation.

The man would pass without so much as an acknowledgement that she still was relevant. Claire would smile her smile, flatten her skirt and look out of the window. She like the sunshine on the crested snow. It was bright. She squinted at the tree in the brilliance of day. Her head would bob above her shoulder as if it were attached by a spring. And she’d wait.

A motion to her right and she turns.

“GOOD MORNING MR. HENDRICKS” Claire loudly called in another slight.

The television sat in static resonance to the array of life in attendance here. Mrs. Burek, of course. But there was Mrs. Costanza in her rumpled floral duster, hands tight gripping the arms of her chair. Mr. Chin who used to own the convenience store nearby, now is resigned to spending his days staring at infomercials that filled the screen across the room. And a hulk of a woman that they only knew as “Sarge”.

The scene out of her window rarely changed. And Claire paid it no heed. She smiled and bobbed. Waved and fluttered. She vacantly stared at the tree, watching a new flurry dust its branches.

“GOOD MORNING MR. HENDRICKS” she yelled at the window.

The snow accumulated. A stiff breeze whipped it into drifts. Mr. Chin dozed. “Sarge” sat in quiet conversation with herself. Claire, her dress neatly “pressed” bobbed and nodded; a doddering old dear.

In her mind, she was far away on an island. She played with coconuts. Claire was exploring her new world. And she was nine. In her mind she was someone else. And she was.

Her Alzheimers had regressed her to this state. She was held captive in someone else’s thoughts. But those thoughts roamed freely. Claire grinned broadly and watched the flakes meander groundward. The tree’s branches bore the snow quite well. She saw right past the wondow grate to the bush in the snow. Things weren’t so terribly bad in the dayroom on the second floor of Elderedge Senior Care Facility. There was all the time in the world to sit and smile and flatten your skirt.

“GOOD MORNING MR. HENDRICKS”

OPEN LETTER TO A GRANDSON

There you stand, hands in pockets fumbling, clutching the seeds we brought from the machines.

Hey Little Man,

We love this place, don’t we? It is a serene and gentile place. Somewhere that we can share for these moments every once and a while. We sit in thought and smile, pondering life’s questions. I never had all the answers, but you always treated me as if I did. And I thank you for that, John-John. And I love you, Grandson.

There you stand, hands in pockets fumbling, clutching the seeds we brought from the machines.

“Ducky gumballs, Gramps?” you always asked.

I suppose it would appear that way to you my young friend. The equipment looks the same as the contraption that dispenses the brightly colored spheres on which you’d chew for hours.
Your grandfather will always hold these moments dear to my heart.

Watching from this bench, I am amazed at the amount of trust those ducks have in you, Johnny-boy! You appear so calm and generous with your morsels; you share their demeanor. Oh, Grampa’s little man, we indulge in so many things together, I can’t believe how you’ve grown. A little boy for now, soon to be a young man in an ever-changing world. A world that will hold the promise of many great things all because you are in it. You can make a difference, J.J. I believe in you.

I laugh now. Your pockets are empty, but the ducks…they follow you wanting more. You run and they hurry behind you. I love how you’ve turned out your pockets as if the mallards will understadn that feeding time is over. Hands raised now in exasperration; the duck mimic your gesture, flapping their wings back at you.

And you laugh. That joyful noise that I’ve taken pleasure in since you were born. We had an immediate bond, you and I, a connection that brings us to this park every thursday for the past three years. I’m sorry Gramps doesn’t run with you much anymore. These old legs just can’t keep up with your unbridled enthusiasm. The heart is willing…

It’s almost time to leave this place John-John. We’ve had another good visit, haven’t we? We laughed together. We fed the ducks and skipped stones on the lake. You and I had discussed important things, like what it’s like to be older. Will girls always be yucky? Will I still love you when you’re nine? Just remember… older is okay as long as you learn from it as much as you can. You’ll grow to find that girls are as disgusted with you as you are with them. And they’ll always love you for it. I’ll love you when you’re nine, as I’ve loved every step until now.

There’s just one thing we didn’t discuss. But, because we had so much fun, I don’t think we need to worry about my cancer today. I love you, Grandson.

Signed,

“Papa” John

BURP!

Benny was a boar; not very exciting and lacking in the social graces.

 

Benny was a boar; not very exciting and lacking in the social graces. He was indeed a boorish and boring boar. And what’s more, he was as lazy as all get out. He bordered on being a sloth, but he couldn’t fail the eye exam. A lazy lout of a boringly boorish boar was Benny.

On the other hand, Paramore was a pig. Not a prostitute or purveyor of porcine pleasantry, but a pretty pig as far as that goes. Her pulchritude was pure and her personality was profoundly personable. But boars like Benny believed porcine were below their station, although their relation was closely tied. How a perfectly pretty pig would be bothered by boorishly, boring boars like Benny was beyond reason.

But, it happens every season when winter wanes and winds whip thi wonderful world into shape. Breezes blow, grasses grow and God only knows why a young boar’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. Benny’s boorish blood was boiling and he needed to bag a babe.

Paramore filled Benny’s need to provide him with feed, quell his greed and offer him a place to plant his seed. Then, it was off to the couch for this slouch of a boorishly boring boar. But, it was for sure that Paramore knew the score in regard to the boar. And all Benny ever did was snore!

The pretty porcine Paramore, packed her parcel and went out the door before Benny’s feet could hit the floor. Now, he was there most unaware that his lady fair was outta there! He dragged a boar foot through his hair and settled in his La-Z-Boar chair.

“Oh blushing bride/maid, bring me a beverage! A bottle of beer should soon appear!” Benny bellowed in boorish blather.

Moments passed. He was in a stew!

“WHERE IN THE WORLD IS MY BREW!” Benny boomed.

And then Benny belched, a bombastic belt of boorish boardom. It rattled the rafters in the cellar of the rathskeller, sending rats from their respective resting places.

“What in this world of wonder was that about?” the rats inquired as they retired.

“Rodents?” responded the boring boor of a boar, “well, kiss my rear! What are you rat finks doing here?”

“We’ve resided in the rafters for fortnight and more” the rats replied to the bad-breathed boar.

“Here’s the deal, a real steal…” Benny began his big-mouthed bargain. “You can still live in the rafters here, for a smallish favor…BRING ME A BEER!”

“BELCH!”