Saturday, September 6, 2008

And Another Makes Five

"Jesus Christ, can we start walking yet?" Gordan asked.

A young woman strolled up to them quietly, wearing a skirt that was a little inappropriet for a college campus, and a cut-up orange t-shirt that was tight in all the right places. She slowly exhaled a drag from her cigarette.

"Not quite yet, sugar." the ebony skinned girl said, as she took a seat next to the group on a nearby bench.

"You must be our fifth, I take it?" Joe asked, studying her calmly, along with the rest of the group.

"Name's Casey Merriweather, and yeah, I wanted to tag along. Thought it'd be fun." she said, as she flicked her cigarette aside.

"Well, I assume you know the rules, wanna give it a quick go before we head off?", Joe asked. "Yeah, I suppose I can do that. Hotter than fuck here though, hope we're goin' somewhere cooler 'cause I'm dyin' here." she said.

"Oh, I'll take you somewhere real nice, love." Gordon proclaimed, as he tosses the die to Casey.

"Sorry, bland food and Guy Ritche movies aren't quite my thing, brit boy." she said, as she catches the die. Gordon sneers at her, as Parker and Mali snicker to themselves. "Here goes.." Casey mutters as she gently tosses the die to the sidewalk. It tumbles for a few seconds, then settles, with a four facing up. Casey ponders for a second, then a grin comes across her face. "OK, I got somethin'," she says, as she lights another cigarette and crosses her legs.

Awhile back, I had this tiny kitten, see? Best friend a girl could ever have.My grandfather gave him to me for my 9th brithday, right before he passed. He was jet black, with bright white paws and a tiny pink nose. I decided to name him Mr. Buttons, 'cause you know, I was fuckin' nine. Anyway, every morning before school, he was right there next to me in bed, wide awake, licking away at me, ready for another day of playing and getting into things. He followed me around everywhere I went in our apartment, be it the bathroom, the kitchen,all the time wanting my affection and attention.

He even did this as he got older. Anytime I brought a new guy, or someonelse, home, he was right there at the foot of my bed, looking almost jealous. No matter how pissed he got at me though, he was still right there next to me in the morning, happy as could be.

One day I was walking home from school, really pissed off,'cause well, I was in hihg school, so of course I was pissed. I remember being so pissed, but I started calming down as I got closer to our building, 'cause I knew Mr. Buttons was gonna be right there at the door, waiting to jump at me. I opened the door, but he wasn't there. I searched and searched, but couldn't for the life of me find him anywhere. I found my mother in her room, sobbing to herself, and I instantly knew what was wrong. I broke down, right fuckin' there. I was competely inconsolable. My mother told me that she stepped out to get the papaer, and he darted out, right underneath my brother Dre's car. We buried him in a small pet cemetary in our city the next day. I never forgave my brother, I mean, how could I? He took away the only good thing I had during my growing up.

Then a few months later, Dre' was killed in a drive-by while he was on our porch. He had done nothing wrong, 'cept for bein' at the wrong place, and the wrong time. I still kick myself sometimes for never forgiving him for killing Mr.Buttons. I mean, I know it wasn;t his fault, he would have never done something like that on pourpose, but I could just never let it fucking go. We barley spoke during his last months, and I still carry that shit with me.

"And that's that, I suppose." she says, staring somewhat blankly into the muggy dusk sky.

"Ya know, you bloke are some of the most somber cunts I have ever fuckin' met. I mean really!" Gordon exclaims. "I mean, I'm sorry about your dearly departed cat and all, but for fuck sakes! can we lighten up a bit?"

"Well, you haven't told a story yet, mate." Parker says, tossing the die towards Gordon.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Poor Gordon

Gordon close his jacket and stared down at his feet, "I think maybe we should take that number off of the die,mates," he said.

Mali shook her head at him, "Don't judge...," she looked up at Parker imploringly.

"Parker," he whispered.

"You can't judge Parker for doing what we asked him to. This is a gathering of travelers, not a parade of personal anxieties,"

"Oh come off it lady, I was just looking out for him. Whose turn is it?"

Joe raised his hand and caught the die as it was thrown to him. He held it for a moment, admiring its smooth surface and sloppily painted indentations. He quietly asked it for a five or a three, threw it lightly onto the ground and opened his eyes to a one.

"Little fucker," he said under his breath.

"Your story is about a little fucker? Intriguing. Go on," said Gordon smiling.

My story is rather short, but it goes something like this.

A long time ago there was a man sitting on a bucket outside of a coal mine. He was eating the lunch that his wife had packed and thinking about how he couldn't wait to get home to her that night when his shift was done. He pictured her as he bit into the hard crust as she had looked the night before, sitting on their front porch drinking thick iced tea and combing their daughter's hair with a wide toothed brush. The miner became so enraptured by the thought of her that he nearly missed the bell calling all those at lunch back into the mines, barely making it onto the last elevator down in time to start his shift again.

Hours went by like years as he thought of her, carelessly handling the tools of his trade and filling bucket after bucket with coal he never remembered cutting. It surprised him how, after so many years of sharing a bed with her there was still so much passion. He decided then and there to take the rest of the day off and go to see her.

When he reached the elevator and was getting on, a terrible rumbling high above in the hill sent shock waves down through the mines, collapsing the coal-heavy walls and burying many of the tunnels. The miner was thrown by falling debris into a small cavity near the elevator and thrown into pitch darkness. The air was thin and unfulfilling to his lungs, just opening his mouth to gasp for it caused loose silt and dust to clot on his tongue, sapping the moisture. He thought of her.

Would she be taken care of? Would the mine give her the things she needed to buy food with? Would she meet someone else? The questions incensed him, filling him with anger at the cruelty of the things the world has wrought. How could anything all powerful and omnipotent allow for a loving family to be destroyed so carelessly? He started to cry.

A sound like the grinding of gears roused him from his despair and he realized that it was the sound of the elevator working on the cables to go up and down. He couldn't be buried too deeply if, having been so close to the elevator, it was still working. In the darkness he fought hard to cut a path through the soil, stopping to gasp for air and to listen for the sound of the gears, forcing his hands into the loose dirt and pressing it back around him. After what seemed like an eternity of digging his hands broke out of the ground into the cool open air and he took huge gulps of its freshness.

Despite the imploring co-workers who begged him to see a physician, the miner took the first elevator he could to the top and started to run towards his home. He had no idea how long he ran, but when his strength finally gave out he was so close to his home that he could see the porch.

He hauled himself to his feet, every muscle protesting the movements he begged of them. He just had to see her, to wrap his arms around her waist and lose himself among the flowers of her dress. He held that thought in the iron grip of his mind, coaxing everything his body had left in it to get home. When he got there he called out but no one came running. The miner went inside to the cool dark, so reminiscent of the mine that it chilled him, and up to his bedroom. He threw open the door, wishing just to fall into bed and sleep while he waited for his family to return. That was when he found his wife in bed with another man, their startled faces being the last thing he saw before dropping to his knees and passing out. The End.

Joe finished his story and the rest remained in silence. Most of the rest.

"Worst bloody goddamn story I've ever heard mate. Honestly," Gordon spouted but no one said anything to dispute him this time.

"Its about how life isn't worth living because everything you love will leave you," Joe rebuked, screwing up his face at Gordon, "My dad used to tell me that one when I was young,"

"Jesus Christ," Gordon said with a breathy laugh, "can we start walking yet?"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Eternal Recurrence

As a beaming Gordon held the tawny seams of his jacket wide, his narrow chest unabashedly announcing his limitless patriotism for the Red, White, and Blue, another student had cautiously approached without their knowing. He shifted his weight tenderly from one foot to the other, his hands shoved deep in the pockets of his blue jeans. Momentarily, he seemed relieved at the sight of Gordon's enthusiastic attire, but nearly leapt from his skin when Mali noticed him.

"Hey you!" she called, peering up from her armory of blankets.

"Hi!" the stranger exclaimed, needlessly loud.

"Who're you?" the Brit inquired, cocking an eyebrow and leaning forward to inspect him, clearly having a spot of fun with the nervous wreck.

"Parker," the boy replied quickly. "A-Are you the troupe?" he asked almost apologetically, his oak-colored eyes darting from Mali, to Gordon, to Joe and back again in rapid succession.

"Relax, Parker," Joe offered. "You're at the right place. You are here for the trip, I take it?"

"That's right," Parker affirmed. "I saw your flyer in the commons."

"What's he so nervous about?" Gordon asked Mali and Joe as if Parker was long gone from earshot. Mali shrugged.

"I'm not supposed to be here, so when are we leaving?" Parker urged. "Can we leave now?"

"It's still early," Joe said, shaking his head. He silently wondered to himself what he had gotten himself into, now in the clear and present company of these loonies.

"Why don't you tell us a story, mate?" Gordon insisted, producing the die from his pocket.

"I don't want to go first!" Parker exclaimed with horror, raising his hands in front of him as though to ward off an invisible assailant.

"No worries on such things, because you're not," Gordon said with a snake's grin, pitching the die to the pavement. It tumbled end over end until finally settling, its ruby-colored surface reflecting in the light of the mid-afternoon sun. Three white potchmarks stared up at them.

"Okay, Parker," Joe said plainly. "It's your soapbox. A three means you can rant about anything you want - so, you know, go ahead."

"Well, I don't know what to talk about. I don't know a lot about a lot of things," Parker said, wiping at the faint wisps of sweat tickling the back of his neck. "I do love Jesus, I know a lot about that."

"Yeah, that's the right stuff, man," Gordon encouraged. "Church and all that, right? Do you guys pitch the whole barbeque show on the Fourth, mate? Streamers and fireworks and the whole deal?"

Mali rolled her eyes. "Gordon, shut up." She shook a jingling fist in his direction. "This is Parker's story."

"Right, yeah, okay - go on, Parker, great story," Gordon nodded, exuding amusement - no, wonderment - at the very thought of a lecture by one of the real Red-Blooded Americans.

Okay, well, it's like I said - I love Jesus. I mean, who wouldn't? He's the Son of God and he died for my sins, and your sins, and everyone's sins. Except the abortionists. And the Muslims. And the gays. But that's not important, I'm sure God has some plan to deal with the Devil in them. He always does.

Anyway, well, I, you see, my whole family's really filled with faith. As long as I could remember, Church was more than just a Sunday morning deal for us. My mom sings in the Church choir and my dad sometimes dresses like a clown for the birthday parties they hold for members. A lot of kids did Little League or went to camp for the summer, but not me. Well, I did go to camp, once, but it wasn't like swimming and canoeing, but - you know that really awesome Christian rock band He Has Forgiven Me? - yeah, they played a concert for us on the last day. It was super cool.

But yeah, a lot of people these days don't believe in God. I think that's stupid. For one thing, they're going to go to Hell for it, all because they thought they were so smart and knew better. But what really gets me is how often they talk down their noses at us, like we're children or something. I wish we could have them all thrown in jail.

So what if I believe in God? It just so happens that I'm right!

And really, what's the point in not believing in God? Does it make you happier to think there's no one watching out for you? That when you die, there's nothing else, no reward for living a good Christian life? I mean, there has to be something to everything, right?

... Right? You guys, please say I'm right...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"Well..... I do have a story my mother would tell me when I was little," Mali said, all the while staring at the ground.

There once was a Prince who had everything in the kingdom at his disposal. He could have anything in the world if he so wished it. The Prince, however, grew bored with the luxuries of royalty. Growing weary, the Prince ventured off into the Unknown Woods. Stories were told of magic and mayhem that occurred in the Unknown Woods, but the Prince was unafraid. He reveled the challenge. The uncertainty, the ambiguous nature thrilled him. Sword in hand he was off, his armor shone in the night, illuminated by the moon.

While carving a path he saw a flicker of purple light, like a stream of ribbon flying through the air. The ribbon stopped to reveal a woman, no bigger than a bird with beautiful purple patterned wings, as if sown by the gods themselves. The Prince was enamored, his heart filling with emotions he had never felt before. He needed her more than anything in the world. She turned to him and smiled, and at that moment the Prince thought his heart would explode. He tried his best to woo her, offering her anything her heart desired. Jewels, gold, land, a house, everything she could ever want. She flew to his ear and whispered a simple statement; "it can never be." He pleaded with her to reconsider, his love for her was true. His heart slowly breaking as she shook her head. The butterfly woman gave a thoughtful look, flew back and whispered "if only you could fly," then off she went, deeper into the woods, leaving a streaming trail of purple behind her.

The Prince was crushed. After picking himself up and brushing the mud off his armor, he returned home. For days he sequestered himself, living on bits of stale bred left over from a feast held prior to his adventure. After a week passed, the door to his chamber burst open and the Prince stood smiling vibrantly, as if his whole body were electric with ideas.

The Prince decided that, though he was not born with wings, he will have some made for him. He called all the finest smiths from all over the land, assembling the finest group of workers the world had ever seen. It took several months, but the Prince did not care. His love only grew fonder each day. The workers called on the prince to view their creation. It was a large contraption, an achievement of metal work, leather and feathers. The Prince, in his enthusiasm to use it, strapped it on before the smiths could give him instructions on using it. His hastiness caused the machine to thrust him upward, into the roof of the building. Unfortunately it was made of many costly materials that were irreplaceable at the time, and so the Prince was again flightless. Infuriated, he stomped his way back to his bedroom. A day later he burst through his doors again with another idea.

The prince summoned magic makers from across the land. Every wizard and high priest assembled with only one task; to create the prince wings. Each took their turn communing with spirits, dragging in cauldrons, chanting along with all sorts of magical mayhem, but nothing worked correctly. The Prince was launched into the air, beaten and abused by magic until he had no more. The prince started to retreat to his quarters when he felt a tug at his robe. He turned around to find a little boy that appeared to be an apprentice of sorts. The little one had a meek look on his face and tried his best to relieve himself of his thoughts. He told the Prince the Bird God may be able to help him. The prince patted the boy on the head and rewarded him handsomely. A brilliant idea from such a little mind, The Prince though to himself. If anyone could help him, the Bird God could.

The Bird God was fund at the very end of the World Forest. Most lose themselves forever going through the World Forest, but not the Prince. He was so motivated his determination cut a straight path to the nest of the Bird God, where all birds originate. There, the Prince asked the Bird God to grant him wings. The Bird God replied very briskly "Man is not meant to fly." The Prince thought for a moment and responded. "Then turn me into a bird so that I may fly." The Bird God contemplated for a moment and spoke. " Very well, but know this; birds and butterflies can never be." Ignoring the Old One's warning, the Prince flew to the Unknown Woods as fast as he could, beating his wings at such a rapid pace, that now all hummingbirds fly like he did. When he reached the woods, he saw his love who, by now, was a full fledged butterfly. Before he could speak or even think, he ate her. Horrified at what he had done, the Prince flew off and fashioned his beak so he would never be able to eat anything but nectar. Soon others joined him and he lived out the rest of his days enjoying sweet nectar in their company.

When she was done, she sat down, bundling herself as if she wanted to squeeze herself into nothing. "Perplexed are ya Joe? You do know not all kids stories have happy endings, right? Sometimes they're cautionary tales to scare the bloody piss out of children. Sometimes they are just right proper fucked out of the minds of the bullocksed and blasphemed. Look a' little red riding pants. The original French version had the little hen get starkers, toss her clothes on the fire, then have her crawl into bed with the big bad wolf. Tell me that's not a slight fuck off the ole cunt. By our lil bird's story, I imagine she comes from the jati, or at least her parents do. heard of a caste system? Pretty prominant in India,but it's found elsewhere too. What easier way to teach the littluns about who to wed and why than a wee story. Has a happy enough ending n' hammers away that you only can be with who you're supposed t' be with. Been to India a couple times meself, they say the caste system's gone, but that's a bloody lie. India's not a bad place, but America it isn't." As if a signal, Gordon opened his jacket to reveal a very patriotic American Flag shirt with matching belt buckle.

"God bless this fuckin country."