Candice’s relationship with dancing was much like the relationship some have with alcohol. She loves it.
Embracing the sounds, she lets the beat consume her and then, when full, when closes her eyes and lets the music sweep her away. She moves and turns as the music swirls. She bends and swoops and hops and turns, not so much inline with the words, for lyrics are subjective, but more to the root rhythms that reveal the soul of the piece.
Fast or slow makes no difference, for to music she was eternally indentured. At least for as long as the music continues or until someone like Agnes comes along. And in Candice’s world of dance there always seemed to be an Agnes. Someone bold enough to approach her in the middle of her deluge of self expression to say, “You look like you’re in agony dear. The restrooms are over there.”
Angel was the only one who still spoke the old language. And ‘spoke’ was a very loose interpretation.
For the longest time, she thought is was just something she made up in her head. The Lonngdaax tongue was not so much a language as it was an odd collection of vocal ticks and whistles strung together with low grunts and a humming noise that came from the very back of one’s throat.
Still, here at the trial, the particular point of law was complex enough that the leaders felt the need to have the laws read from the scrolls. To read and interpret the law correctly was everything. Even the smallest errant click could change the verdict and Tildie could die.
Bertrum had no idea what he could have done to draw the ire of the rain, or whom, or whatever was responsible for making the rain, but it was clear that he did something.
When he got into his car everything was dry. Cloudy, sure, but dry.
It was dry for the 15 miles he drove to the Valley Bridge Medical Center.
It was dry the entire time he searched for a spot to park amidst the sea of cars that carried the afflicted to this place.
It was only when his foot hit the hot pavement did the first drop fall. The one turned to many quickly and as he bent to sprint toward the building, the deluge came, blinding and heavy. The roar of the water hitting the cars surrounding him was much like the applause of an audience well entertained by his predicament. The faster he tried to go, the harder the rain came. Finally, he pushed through the door, breathing heavy and soaking wet.
Inside everyone looked at him, a brief distraction from their current woes. Standing there posed like a wet cat in shock.
Bertrum silently tried to gain some common understanding, if not sympathy, by turning his head and pointed a thumb toward the onslaught that befell him. A double take jarred his head when he realized the rain had stopped. The sun was beaming and already the walkways and tarmac were starting to dry.
Julius loved the laundromat. It was the optimum location for practicing his particular set of skills. Because everyone there, at least at this location, seemed slightly off center anyhow he wouldn’t appear out of place once he got busy.
Clairvoyance can be a gift or a curse for those who both recognize and accept their affliction. It’s all in what you do with it.
Julius found it particularly productive to ‘trance’ in front of one of the machines as the laundry spun and churned before him. The machine worked to free the dirt and the guilt of the days from the items which shared everything from the most inane to the most intimate moments of the owner’s daily lives.
The owners find a calm in the sense of cleansing away the residue of the days gone by.
If they only knew.
As the essence of those shadows are released, Julius was there to claim them. To read them. To embrace them. To categorize them and then determine who may need his particular brand of help.
How many times had he told himself, nay, vehemently warned himself not to go ‘there?’ Millions? Billions? And yet, he goes…there.
Despite some of his very best arguments, there he goes.
Each time it defies his own logic, very frequently leaving him dumbstruck at the moment of departure. For while the immediate payoff of ‘going there’ was often a meaty, if not mildy guilt laden gratification, he often discounted the memories of others and their ability to rehash his frequent trips to ‘there’ at times when it is less than convenient.
It’s not their fault. He goes ‘there’ a lot. It’s as if, at the critical moment when he has firmly decided NOT to go there, a tiny Leroy Jenkins pops into his head and slops the agenda. He is then left to clean up the mess, with the words of tiny Alice echoing in his head, “But that’s just the trouble with me. I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.”
That’s what men in the movies did after a particularly trying experience, and this was that for him…trying.
Finding a drink however, was not as easy as deciding to have one. A good rummage through the cupboards rendered a pathetic array of alcohol containing items – vanilla extract, soy sauce, and a crusty/rubbery tipped, practically empty bottle of cooking sherry long forgotten and pushed back into the corner where rarely used spices are condemned to expire. Not that any alcohol he found would mix well with the half a cup of lemonade, or the quarter-full jug of ‘this smells like it’s gone bad buttermilk the refrigerator offered.
Not even something as simple as having a drink was going to work out. He shook his head and opted for water from the tap, but poured the first glass he drew down the drain, deciding instead for hot water from the tap. At least that had a little bit of danger about it.
Rixx held down the paper cup with pride and pleasure, directing his hatred and disgust for all houseflies at the single example of this winged vermin that buzzed and tapped it’s way around the inside.
Had it been capable, the fly might have been flattered that Rixx considered him such a worthy foe, at least up until the time of the capture.
During the chase, Rixx had commented – while swiping at the insect with the kitchen towel or the handful of mail – that he had been tricky, and clever, and a bastard. And while Rixx was convinced the fly was in the apartment to taunt him, to…torture him, the fly’s motivations and ‘feelings’ on the matter…if there were any…were more base.
Rixx aimed to kill that fly for all the horrible things it was and he nearly broke his mother’s antique Rosemont lamp to do it. All the fly thought of was food.
Naps wondered, did these appear to be the actions of a desperate man?
On the surface? Yes. Probably.
If you saw the equipment neatly packed in his trunk and worked solely from perception, you would probably nail him for all kinds of wrongs against society – even though he hadn’t done anything…yet. But if you took the time to know the details, to understand the nuances, you could probably forgive, and perhaps even endorse, the plan and the off appearance – and most certainly clear the air of desperation around what he was about to do.
Max wrote the words with great intent and feeling. Still the concept of clarity bothered him.
There was no consistent point of connection for the reader, whomever that may be, therefore there was no way to ensure that his message would get through as he intended it. At least not without clunking them over the head with it.
Each bias of the reader would taint his message according to their own experiences. He could write the words and each reader would read the same exact words in the same exact order he put them and still…each word would likely conjure a different vision, emotion, and acceptance or denial of meaning, be it love, hate, anger, underwear, heat, burn, taste, color, food, rich and so on.
Drawing a deep breath, he clicked the button. As the mic came to life, so did the essence of Davey Krane.
“Boom! It’s 7:38 on this fine Thursday morning. That was ‘Muster the Cluster’ from the Dreadnaught’s latest ‘Callus Fingers, Callous Hearts.’ Something groovin’ to get you movin’. You have a chance to score tickets to their upcoming August show at the Spectrum right around the 10 o’clock hour, so duct tape yourself to your radio to make sure you don’t miss it. We’ve got lots of great stuff coming up including a check in with Deke Spiederman who is chillin’ poolside with the ladies from Margarita Castle – your number one stop for the best margaritas in town – be sure to check their super special summertime favorite the ‘Margarita El Stupendo!’ guaranteed to knock…you…on…your…burro. Also, Clancy Jane will chime in with the weather, and Sticks will come in and say some stupid stuff for which we will belittle him and send him on his way. It’s the first day of summer folks and it’s gonna be scorcher, but you’re only to get one this year, so you better get out there and live it up! Call in sick or call in healthy or just go MIA. It doesn’t matter. If you think things are crazy at work – go out and do something sane! Give yourself a day to look back on when your old. Just be sure to take WSPZ with you for all the very best music in the northwestern region. Don’t believe me? Spin the dial. You’ll be back. And we’ll be back… right after this…”
It was a fleeting and near effortless gesture on his part.
He just decided, on the spur of the moment, to walk Cyndi the three blocks to Snyder’s deli over just giving her directions. He was sort of headed that way anyhow and there was that tricky turn near 4th. He didn’t know her, but what the heck? He also didn’t know that had he not come along, a desperate Maxton, sweaty with nervous panic, was ready to add robbery to his list of bad decisions in the form of Cyndi’s purse.
As the two left, M slid back into the alley shaking with a heavy breath and asking himself if this was really what he had become. A battle of conscience churned in his head, and he kicked and punched the nearby dumpster several times before hearing the tiny and timid whimper from the other side.
As he stepped around to the back and saw what took refuge there, the rage and indecision faded. His path seemed clearer somehow. And while new questions presented themselves, he could imagine answers, and the ripples that followed set the world, at least for the moment, on a more positive rotation.
Ellis hated selling things door to door. Every time someone opened the door to him – if they opened the door at all – and if they were at all interested in what he had to offer, he got a glimpse inside of how they lived. Something invariably caught his eye which stirred the smoldering coals of envy in his gut like a kick that let him know these strangers had to be living better lives than his. To which he would punish himself for all his life choices between one house and the next.
Bernice closed the door after listening politely to the salesman’s pitch. She didn’t want what he was offering, she never did, but sometimes it was nice to see a different face. A sad respite from the grind of her existence. He had a nice smile and what seemed like a quick wit and a pleasant demeanor. As the door clicked, she turned back to the chaos that was her own existence and with a sigh, silently punished herself for all her life choices. A man like that would never understand her circumstance. His had to be a much better and far easier life for sure.
Ratagast was an unfortunate name for a dog, but when you looked him in the eye, it was clear that it was the only name that could fit. He would never be a Snoopy or a Clive, or Skipper or any other inane moniker humans seem to bestow upon their pets. Ratagast had his name and his eyes told you that if you ever called him something other than what he truly was, he would remember…and one day…he would hurt you for it.
On the outside of the card was a puppy sitting nose to nose with a kitten. On the inside it read:
Hey you, just a quick note to say thanks!
Thanks to the dedicated way you stick to your sense of correctness, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Thanks for the way you meddle. Thanks for always being there when the chips are down with a hearty, ‘I told you so.’ Thanks for never letting me forget any mistake I’ve made. Thanks for being oblivious to the obvious and blatant social cues others gently provide in order to help you correct your course. Thanks for knowing everything and sharing that knowledge with everyone…all the time. Thank you for the oh so many things you are…and aren’t, for whenever we’re together, and I don’t punch you in the face, it means I have found a deeper sense of understanding, forgiveness and fortitude within me that makes me a stronger person overall. Especially that time when I was carrying that 2 x 4.
Drew stepped out into fresh air with his high tech gaming remote and was ready to take on the world.
He prepared for this moment his whole life. Since he was very young, he had vanquished zombie hordes, saved kingdoms in peril, slew dragons and orcs and performed countless other deeds of daring do. But out here…in the real world, it didn’t take long to realize those skills did not translate well. He learned that no matter how fast his reflexes or how clever his strategy, life didn’t seem to respond the same as a game console. There were no bonus rounds, no power ups, no cheat codes or hidden clues. Life was much harder.