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My Psychedelic Cat (short story)

My Psychedelic Cat, Part 1
(A Short Story)

As soon as he heard the clinking of ice cubes in the near empty highball glass behind him, Eliot’s head pulsed in time with the percussion to an explosive clash, flinging his hand above his head to catch the diamond cuff-linked wrist of the menacing middle-aged noise-maker who winced in pain when Eliot’s claw clasped unforgivingly, cutting off his circulation. The highball glass fell to the overly-polished teak wood floor, sending shards of glass in a kaleidoscopic display underfoot of too many gleaming and sparkling dark shoes. And all the senseless and grating chatter was silenced by the first crack of the glass and replaced by the frantic pace of the hired help in the background ushering in the clean-up crew. The host, too dizzy from a high gin buzz to react, and the hostess too numbed from Xanax to bother lifting her head off of the red velvet arm of the sofa. It was late. But not late enough for parties such as these to end. Just late enough for all of the degradation of the wealthy to show through their pasty masks, and the banal plainness of their true characters to step forth and begin their first authentic introductions past midnight, or later.

Eliot decided to leave, and he made his way through the obstacles of countless uptight mannequins robed in formal wear and through the double stained glass panel doors, the size and weight of tall forest trees, swinging on easy hinges. His lungs inhaled an herbal infused smoky frigid winter breath, and his sense-recognition kicked into overdrive. He pivoted left, swayed his head in snake-like elegance and emerged as an apparition to the boys, appearing at once through the smoke-filled valet caboose. Without a word, he pulled up a stool to take his turn at the bong pass. Not that a bong was necessary what with the intoxicating fog of a half-hour’s worth of exhales and the smoke billowing from the lips of about a half dozen young men. But the ritual is part of the experience, bestowing a deeper meaning than even the high, representing times past and innocent suns dancing in clear skies and upon summer-tanned lakeside thighs. As he clutched the hand-blown glass bong of pale blue adorned with pillows of white, and his inhale stretched his lungs to full capacity, holding for an exact count of thirty, then exhaling effortlessly with a gaped jaw, he closed his eyes waiting patiently for the next round. He stuffs two 100-dollar bills into the basket in the center of the table—his philanthropic gesture for the boys’ kind hospitality. He could afford to be generous. He owed this and a hell of a lot more back to the world for all it has given to him. The bong came back around, and he gasped for the smoke as a guppy lay flopping on a dock longing to breathe. Again. Now, a count of forty followed by the slow-streaming unwanted exhale. He nods his head at the boys, reflecting glassy eyes in unison.

He removes his own keys from the valet board, and begins strutting ever so slowly towards his car, distracted by a set of enlarging headlights and the small green reflection on cat’s eyes just up ahead. Disturbed by the inevitable end that is sure to manifest within seconds and feeling the full extent of his powerlessness of this soon-to-be lost life, he begins walking towards the upcoming scene of a very sad occasion. And screeeetch! Shreeeek! It’s done. Old Sammy the beloved tabby is no more. Eliot decides not to progress any further and instead hides in the shadow of a large tree examining the goings on as a few unexpected tears well up and drip down his cheeks, which he wipes swiftly away. From the driver’s side of a silver BMW unfolds a youngish and very tall gangly man in an awkwardly-fitted and obviously rented tuxedo. His shoulder-length dark hair is a bit stringy, hanging around his angular face. He stands staring at the squashed mess that once was a cat and scratches at his patchy beard, which is too short to be intentional. He turns back, folding himself again inside of the car, turning the wheel, bouncing up over the curb and onto the circular garden surrounding an ornate limestone fountain, glowing in soft a light that lies just before the front lawn of the estate. He parks there, under another large tree, then makes his way with freakishly long strides carried by stork-like legs with a black leather guitar case swung onto his back.

Eliot is intrigued, and decides to leave the poor cat. After all, he’s dead now. Nothing can be done to reverse this misfortune, and he did live a long, luxurious life, even by a cat’s standards. He winks and says a silent, Goodbye Old Sammy, my friend, to the loving cat that always greeted him fondly upon every visit to the estate. Perhaps the only authentically friendly face you’d ever find around these parts. Oh, he’ll be missed. He’ll be missed dearly. Eliot turns and follows back to the party, after the stranger with the guitar.

The stranger enters through those remarkable stained glass doors and makes a bee-line for the intoxicated host, Eliot’s father, who seems to come alive at the gleaming aura beaming from the stranger’s smile. He shakes his had vigorously and leads him to the parlor, and as they make way through the guests, Eliot’s dad actually looked excited, gathering the crowed to follow after them, saying, “This is Badou, Tallon Badou! He’s from South Africa—the Ivory Coast! Come, and hear this. You won’t believe your ears!” Even Eliot’s mother arose from her Xanax-induced coma, rising off the edge of the velvet sofa to revel in her husband’s delight and proclamations.

And so Badou began to play his guitar and sing and tell stories of decadence, obscene excess, war and injustice, greed and depravity—things hey could all relate to in myriad ways. And then he sang of skinny dipping in lakes on the moon and sniffing on stardust, licking the spicy trails of comets and taking trips through wormholes to new universes where gleeful aliens danced in bright waves of light.

As Badou played, the crowd packed into the parlor, and not one soul was outside of that room. Shoulder to shoulder they swayed and tapped their pointy toes, hummed and fixed their eyes upon the performer. And swirling colors of spectrum light incantations playfully petted the heads of each spectator, beckoning them ever farther, deeper into the magic of the bizarre world that was unfolding before them.

And they all danced and laughed and dreamed. And the walls transformed to puffy clouds that transported them above the Earth. They laughed and twirled and the music turned into something no longer audible—it manifested into being, you could feel it. Like the fabric of crisp linen bed sheets, you could feel the sound and be shrouded in it and play with it like warm ocean waves splashing against your skin, and you could dive into it, like a pool of colorful plastic child’s balls. And they did all of that. And Eliot watched. And they all glowed warm auras of moonlight. And Badou played his music.

And Eliot wondered when the last time was that any of them had dreamed—really dreamed of things never before imagined. If they dared, they might find themselves far less dull, he thought. Far less dead inside than he knew them to be. Maybe even alive.

And as enchanted things are, they go. So this was no different. Badou’s music came to a close. The cloud descended, the music ended, and the afterglow on all the faces of all the men and women dripped from their chins and arms and fingertips, like a haunted ectoplasm of pale pink happiness, it melted off of them, and their weary frowns returned to their rightful places. And things were once gain exactly as they were to be, as they always were unfortunately. The crowd applauded with exuberance and their plastic smiles shifted beneath their steady noses violating the statuesque botoxed cheeks that hate to be bothered with damn smiles.

Eliot feels a stirring in the pit of his stomach. It has quickly augmented to a deep burning. Hs nerves were unsettled at first and now it’s as if the rage of a thousand abused and banished souls have taken refuge in the pit of his gut. He feels something snap, literally snap, like a green twig in his brain, and his eyes blaze fire. He blinks and finds the calm needed o breathe again. And a cool, mad creature has become him.

Eliot sees Badou walk carefully through a crowd of praise and adoration with his guitar slung onto his back once more. Badou thanks his host who slides a wad of big bills into his palm and continues his slow journey out the door. But something makes him pause once more. A deep pain radiates from his side and down his leg—too sharp and agonizing to even make a sound, he falls to his other side, instinctively try to escape from the vicinity of the trauma. It’s still there. Wet, hot to touch and gut-wrenching. He can’t breath. He lifts his had to grab at his throat to find it covered, dripping in blood. Eliot sees blood pouring out of Badou’s side, and he looks down to view a sterling silver dinner knife, with deep red blood souring its tip clenched in his hand. Eliot drops the knife to the floor. He shuts his eyes again only opening them when he feels a warm, strong hand soothingly gripped around his shoulder. He opens his eyes.

Badou is standing in front of him, as healthy as the day he was born, holding Eliot’s shoulder. “Hey man,” says Badou. “You look like you just saw a ghost, huh? You okay?” Eliot nods. Badou gives him a friendly pat and smiles a gleaming happy grin, a great dichotomy it seemed in this place of misery. Eliot succumbed to the contagion and smiled back.

Badou finally made his way out the door and towards his car, silently noticing Eliot following close behind. This time Eliot truly was wielding a knife, and Badou could he soft sobs whimpering from him. Badou continued to his car. Suddenly, Eliot lunged at him with the dull blade, and Badou caught his arm, struggling with him to the ground, near where Eliot saw Old Sammy lose his life. But Old Sammy wasn’t there. Instead, a crushed Heineken bottle rested before his raging eyes when Old Sammy himself, came up rubbing against the wrestling men, butting them hard with his loving head and shaking their bodies with his loud purr. Eliot immediately rolled off of Badou and onto the grass. Old Sammy was now between the two men, cleaning hi face. Smiling. Badou hopped up onto the hood of his car looking down at Eliot, “Friend, what the hell is your problem?”

Eliot began to sob, “I thought you killed my cat.”

“That cat?” Badou pointed to Old Sammy.

“Ye-es,” Eliot screeched out through his tears.

“Why would I kill that beautiful creature? Why, friend, would you think I killed your cat.”

“I thought you hi- hit him with you ca- car.”

Badou sensing the danger was gone, hopped off of his car next to Old Sammy, scratching him gently behind the ears, “No, friend. A beer bottle. And it retaliated. I could use some help changing my tire if you think you’re up to it.”

And Old Sammy watched then wandered off. Eliot and Badou took a look at him as he sauntered back into the garden, and his tabby fur began to lighten to a strange translucence, then took on an electric glow of pastel lighted colors as a fiber-optic fantasy in psychedelic patterns. “Did you see that?” Eliot asked Badou.

“I’ve seen that and a whole lot more, friend. What matters is that he’s let you see that now. And now, you have to decipher the meaning.”

“The meaning of what?”

“Exactly.”

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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in FICTION: Flash fiction

 

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The Book of Carver (Chapter 6)

Chapter 6

[Costa Rica – Same time and date]

Veronica lay napping on a padded hammock at the Sand Dollar Pub, a small beachside bar and grill where American and European expatriates frequent and drink alongside generations of natives who may as well call the spot home. Nearby, a young American traveler is taking part in a ritual—a brutal interrogation by some of the locals. Old and young, men and women alike, gather around any unfamiliar face and free-pour from bottles of dark rum while badgering, degrading and humiliating, deeply prying into the life of the stranger.  If they don’t drive the stranger away, he will have earned not only an evening of complimentary rum but also a lifetime spot in the family. A family of crazies and drunkards, mostly, but they are loyal, and most are well-connected. It’s what they tend to be connected to that can be worrisome, but with enough drinking and camaraderie, you learn not to let that bother you.

Veronica glances over at the young American man named Abe, and softly catches his eyes. She winks and offers a small smile—he seems to be passing. She knows this not only because she’s seen this ritual acted out many times before but because it’s been three hours now, and he’s still there, and seems to be laughing along with the crowd. This earns you bonus points. Technically, the only requirement is to stay through the ordeal, a show of respect for the culture. However, presenting with an enduring air of confident self-deprecation catapults you to levels of very high esteem.

“And what of your Jenny? You say she left you. Why she left you, a dashing young man?” asked Greta, grasping the Abe’s sturdy thigh. Greta, a middle-aged expatriate was a German socialite escaping a rather dodgy past filled with multiple fiancés left wondering what became of her and an inflated bank account without any real explanation of how it tripled in assets within the span of two months. On the other hand, there’s no one around to ask her too many questions about that anymore, so perhaps the mystery will remain just that.

Abe paused at the question, offering no response. He may ultimately fail the test, Veronica, Greta and about a dozen other on-lookers thought, worried for a moment. Abe, however, did not leave. Instead, he slid his empty glass aside, and with a serpent’s grace, he stretched his slender but muscular body across the table, and wrapped his long fingers around the neck with a seductive, choking rhythm, pulled the bottle to his lips and emptied the slightly sweet and eminently powerful liquid into himself.

Abe retracted back into his seat, returning to his meek pose and responded, “I am in love. Carnally in love, spiritually raptured and emotionally damned—the feel of her, the sight, her fiery aura that lights up a room that becomes alive just because she’s in it. Her scent, the way she tastes and sounds hypnotizes me senseless. Her words and thoughts and emotions captivate me and hold me enslaved. But I cannot tell you why I am in love. It’s a spell. She’s horrible. The way she treats people—me. She’s at the core an angry, bitter jealous, crazy woman who bursts into rages and screaming insults when the wind changes direction. Disapproving of all people and ideas, she is an earthquake or a voyage on cracking ice—welcoming at first, but just waiting to through open the trap door on your ass as soon as you hit her mark. Her words at times sound so sweet and kind and so funny as if she’s a delightful gift and could never be anything but, worshipping the very ground on which you walk and so grateful to have you there in this warm place of love and reverence. All the while she has a dagger churning in circles, dug deep into your back, preparing to remove your organs and gleefully play with your spleen like a spongy little ball. These are a few of her favorite things. And I am in love. I too often imagine her unbroken with all of the damaged pieces whole and the crazy removed. But it’s the crazy that’s the glue holding her together, you know? If I could take out the crazy, all that would be left of her is a million little pieces and no glue. So she’s there, and I’m here, in love with her in a place that’s safer. Is there more rum?”

Veronica pops up and pours coffee for Abe saying, “All drunks are poets. You may be a better poet than most, so we’ll need to keep the alcohol poisoning at bay so that you may see another day. So, instead of more rum, let’s have you try another Costa Rican original—a full-bodied roast. Cream or sugar?”

Abe smiles, “Ah, you’re right, of course. I’ve had too much. Black is fine. Thanks.”

Greta wraps her arms around Abe, with Abe suddenly realizing how attractive Greta is, though having lived almost twice his 28 years of life. Greta says, “Abe, I think you shall not make the journey back to your hotel tonight. Too far. You stay here.”

“Here at the bar?” asks Abe.

“No. Here at our house,” says Greta.

“I’ll stay at your house?” asks Abe.

“No. You’ll stay with our Veronica. She is lovely, no? And she will see that you are comfortable for tonight. Your hotel is too far, and you are too drunk to travel that far, yes? Yes,” Greta decides for Abe. Veronica is busy cleaning up the bar getting ready to close. She has prepared a ham sandwich for Abe with thick fresh bread, and she places it along with a very tall glass of coconut water in front of him without a word. Greta says, “Yes. Good. You eat all of this. Drink all of your water. Hector will hand you Asprin. You will finish all of this, and your hangover will be much more, uh, tame in the morning.” Greta pokes Abe hard in his side causing him to wince saying, “You finish all, here? Yes.”

Abe dares not sway from these orders. He still has about a dozen eyes on him, though some had wandered off. Veronica flickers the lights on and off, signaling the close for the night. Last call took place about an hour ago, which went unnoticed do to the lively entertainment provided by the newcomer. As Veronica cleans up the last of Abe’s dishes, his eyes fix on her. She is heartily plump with more than 60 pounds of extra padding evenly distributed around her body and very short—not much more than 5 feet, he thinks, and still she looks rather athletic. She has medium-length blonde hair and a kind yet edgy presence about her, though they have not yet spoken to each other.

Soon, Abe feels remarkably sober, sober enough to realize that while he has every intention of staying the night with Veronica, she has never uttered a word about it. He gently wraps his long fingers around her forearm and asks, “Is it okay with you? May I stay the night at your house? Greta seemed so insistent, I’m sorry it didn’t occur to me to ask you until now.

Veronica explains, “That trial they just put you through for four hours? You passed.” She places her hand on top of his, which is still resting on her arm saying, “You are now family here.” She smiles at Abe continuing, “You are welcome to stay,” and she pats his hand and places it back in his lap. She continues talking to him, while Abe’s brain feels like it’s doing the backstroke, swimming around in his skull. “I’ve seen them perform that ritual, that brutal interrogation you just endured, more times than I can count. Only five people have passed so far. You are the fifth,” she said nodding at him.

“How do you know I passed?” asked Abe.

Veronica leans into him saying, “You stayed.”

“I stayed? That’s it?” asked Abe.

“Yep. That’s it,” replied Veronica. “It’s a flawless test of character, really. If you can tolerate their shenanigans and insults while revealing the most personal things about yourself in answer to their rude questions, it shows that you are forthcoming, that you respect them enough to answer, truthful or not, you have hide thick enough to take their shit and that you stick around through difficulty to a resolution.  Damnit!” she pauses, “I think you might be damn near a perfect person!” Veronica laughs. “Come on. Let’s get you to bed.”

Abe hops out of Veronica’s 1992 yellow Jeep Wrangler that was decked out with the biggest tires he’d ever seen outside of a monster truck derby. She turns off the ignition, and with it stops the blaring music, Schumann’s “Erlkonig.”

They approach a quaint house, glowing with warm yellow electric lights in lanterns hanging from the eves. As he enters the house behind Veronica, he notices the smell of fresh Caribbean beach air as though the house had no walls, and the beachside breeze painted the interior with a magical peaceful brush.  The floors were all terracotta clay tiles, and the walls were painted in warm buttery yellows and cool blue-gray tones with stark white accents. The furniture was an eclectic mix of comfortable modern décor combined with antiques and local craftsmen’s creations and vibrant art and sculptures.

Veronica leads Abe to a large bamboo door off of the foyer, which reveals a comfortable guestroom, complete with a large white bed with crisp pale blue linens though a little threadbare, having been through more than 10 years of washes on a washboard. Yes, a washboard—the device Veronica has used to wash everything she owns since she moved to Costa Rica 10 years ago.

Abe dove head-first into the bed, kicking off his flip-flops, and landing with his head snuggled deep into the fluffy pillows. An avid marathon insomniac, his shut his eyes, praying that sleep would hit him soon, although he feared the dawn that would most assuredly serve him a mighty hangover. He was hoping he’d be able to sleep through most of it. Veronica flipped off the light and shut the door behind her, and Abe’s prayer was answered as he quickly fell deep into slumber.

 

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The Book of Carver

[Here are the first five Chapters of a developing short story.]

The Book of Carver: Ssssmokin’

Chapter 1

Carver woke up with his nose crunched down on the cold damp sidewalk. He turned his head, and pried open his swollen, blood-crusted eyes that tried to focus on the partially dissolved cigar next to his face. It never did come into view very well. As he began to tense his body, hoping he had the strength to get up, he felt a stream of hot, wet liquid splashing onto the back of his head, stinging the many cuts and abrasions on his face that he
didn’t know he had until now. Each one stinging sharply, and the waft of a putrid stench began filling his nose. Someone was pissing on his head, he realized. He threw his hands beneath him, to thrust his body upwards in one herculean push-up, but just as quickly, the sound of metal cracking on bone reverberated in his head, followed by a ferocious pain that almost made him vomit, and the force of a large booted foot came down on his head and squashed his nose back into the sidewalk like a bug, breaking it with a loud crunch. The taste of blood seeped into his mouth, and he coughed a bit before he could angle his head into a position where he could catch steady breaths, gasping through his mouth.

Just as suddenly, he heard the footsteps of the booted man walking off into the distance. Carver pried his eyes open once more, and tilted his head forward. There he saw a pair of sexy 3-inch black and white Patton leather heels, arranged in a ballet stance of third position, topped with long slender creamy legs that seemed to go on forever. He didn’t have the strength to look up any farther before a pack of smokes and a book of slightly used
matches were tossed in front of him. Then, those shiny heels and dreamy legs clicked away, completely out of view.

Again, Carver, placed his hands beneath him, and he curled his legs to the side. He sat up and took in the view. He was right below the front steps of his own apartment building. He tapped his pocket to see if he still had his wallet, and it was there. He opened it to find everything in place, including $400 in cash.

Carver snorted in a repulsive mess of piss, mucus and blood, attempting to breathe from his cracked nose, but that didn’t work. He reached over for the cigarettes and match book, and slid a cigarette into his mouth, sitting up a little straighter. He examined the matchbook—it was from a local tango club that he frequents. And, suddenly, he remembered those shoes, and the legs that went on forever. He remembers asking this exotic Argentinian lady for a smoke, and her eyes fluttering at him through her sultry smile. He tried to remember more, but it all came up blank. Like he had his head caved in by a falling concrete wall, and he wasn’t too certain that didn’t actually happen.

Carver flicked open the matchbook, and saw black letters inscribed that read, “Smoking can be hazardous to your health.” A smile drew across his face as he lifted his brutalized body inside to his apartment. “Not nearly as hazardous as long-legged Argentinian women,” he thought to himself.

 

Chapter 2

Freshly showered and deeply buzzed by the pain, he chews a fist full of pills—a modest rainbow party of over-the-counter meds washed down with a double tall, ice cold vodka and apple juice.  He knows he should be in a hospital, but the effort it would take to even make the final decision to go isn’t in him right now. His nose is still bleeding. He passes out on his sofa.

The invigorating scent of expensive perfume urges him awake, along with the repetitive, gentle slaps across his cheeks made by soft, small hands.

“Carver!” he hears slowly drifting into his ears, followed by sobbing and repeated slapping. “Carver!” he hears much clearer and louder now as his eyes begin to open most painfully. “Carver wake up!” he raises his hand to keep her from continuing to slap him.

“Desi! Stop it. I’m awake,” he says to her.

“What the fuck happened to you, Carver?!” she continues to cry.

“Nothing,” he says as he rises to his feet, only to collapse like a deck of cards, spilling back onto the sofa. He points over to the far corner of the room, by the window overlooking the sidewalk where he just recently had his ass kicked. “Hey, Desi, look over there. It’s finished.”

Desiree’s gaze follows his pointed finger leading to an amazing work of art. There are 25 skate boards and surf boards bolted onto metal racks, portraying a mosaic of skeletal figures skating and surfing side-by-side in a brightly colored Mexican Day of the Dead style. She is mesmerized and approaches the work as though she had just seen the Arc of the Covenant. Caver bursts into a painful smile, watching her reaction.

Soon, the hypnotic effects wear away, and Desiree quickly pivots enraged at Carver, “You are getting up, and I’m taking you to a hospital right now. You idiot! What the hell happened to you… Never mind. You can tell
me later.” She reaches under his arm and helps him to his feet, headed straight for the door.

“Desi, wait!” he says whining.

“No, we are not waiting. You have no idea how horrible you look!,” she says.

“Well, thanks for the flattery, really,” he says while stubbornly planting his feet down onto the wood floor, “I’m in my boxers. Can I at least put on my pants? Pretty please?”

“Where are they?” she barks.

“Here,” he says, moving over to reach into the bathroom.

“Did you piss your pants?” she asks, smelling the foul odor emanating from his kakis.

“No, not exactly,” he said tossing them to the floor and proceeding out the door in his fresh clean boxers. He decides that the minor humiliation from prancing around in his underwear far surpasses the repulsion of sitting around in pants soaked with some other man’s urine or trying to convince Desiree into letting him grab a new pair of pants out of the bedroom from the second story loft.

 

Chapter 3

“My bed. God I love my fucking bed,” he said as he began waking up. Soft, white, crisp cotton sheets and downy covers—he curled up, hoping he could drift back to sleep, but the pain was starting to throb. Nothing specific—it hurt everywhere, and the pain was getting stronger.

He remembered the wicked ass-kicking from the night before, and he remembered Desiree kidnapping him in his boxers, making him go to the hospital. “The hospital!” he thought. He remembered that he was taken to the
hospital. He didn’t actually remember being in the hospital, but he knew he was taken there, so that means there must be pain killers around the apartment somewhere. Surely they’d prescribe pain killers to a man who looks like the product of a botched slaughter from a blind butcher, or something like that, he thoughtt.

He slowly slid his battered flesh out of bed and began hunting for the pills he was certain were here. Checking the bedroom loft, then over to the small bathroom upstairs—there was nothing. He made an effort not to glace in any mirrors, not wanting to know what his agony looks like. He slowly made his way downstairs and into the first floor bathroom. No sign of a prescription. He did catch a glance at his hand and saw the hospital band still
strapped to his wrist—proof that indeed he was treated. His eyes lit up, more certain than ever that his pills are here. Somewhere, they are here.

He began heading towards the kitchen, and the pain became unbearable. From all over his body, sharp stabbing, throbbing and fiery pain began building into a relentless frenzy. His head, however, fell numb, as
though it wasn’t even attached to the rest of the tortured torso beneath it. He could barely keep his legs moving beneath him as he smoothed over every surface of the kitchen, looking for the damn pain pills. He found nothing.

At this point, walking was out of the question. He fell to his knees and crawled to his favorite spot on the sofa. As he lay down, he saw a small piece of paper on the coffee table in front of him. It looked like a prescription. He grabbed it—a script for a big bottle of oxycodone was clenched in his hand. “A lot of fucking good this does me,” he thought to himself. He lay back into the sofa with an excruciating stabbing pain jabbing him in the small of his back. He passed out as if someone had simply flipped the off switch—he was out.

“Hey, Carver! Why did you leave the door wide open?” Desiree shouted at him as she walked in to find him sprawled out on the sofa with his eyes wide open. “Carver?” she said, “What’s going on?”

“I’m in fucking pain!” he bellows.

“I know, I know,” she says pulling out a couple white pills and sliding them into his mouth, handing him a bottle of chilled water. “Go ahead, and swallow. They’ll kick in soon,” she said.

Carver did as instructed. Then he thought about the prescription still clenched in his hand. “Hey, didn’t you need this,” he said, holding up the paper script in a death grip.

“No. I had a cheaper supplyand closer, in my medicine cabinet right down the hall,” she said. “We’ll get this filled a little later.”

“Good neighbor,” said Carver. He rested his eyes, and then that sharp pain stabbing him in his back threw him into a spasm. He gripped the back of the sofa until the spasm passed, and he wished he were back in bed. His back felt fine in bed, he thought.

Desiree seemed to read his mind, and she pulled him up into a sitting position, “Let’s get you back to your bed,” she said. Then, her eyes darted to the cushion where Carver was resting his back. “What the fuck, Carver. Look if you’re just trying to off yourself, let me know now, and I’ll leave you to do whatever the hell it is you think you need to do. Christ!”

“What the hell are you talking about. I just had my ass kicked, I’m in excruciating pain, and you’re screaming at me about some crazy bullshit about suicide,” he blasted back.

“The gun, Carver. The gun. I don’t know any sane people, you know who don’t have a fucking death wish, who sleep on top of guns. Do you? Oh, I see. No, I get it. You were afraid some hoodlum was going to pop up through the cushions of your sofa, and the gun would protect you. You cuddle with it to feel safe or something? Fuck you, Carver. Just be honest, ” she shot back at him.

“What…” Carver looked over to his side, and there in fact was a gun. He popped up to his feet enraged, “What the fuck is this shit all about? Why did you bring a fucking gun into my house, Desi. I fucking hate guns! Shit! Get it out of here!” Carver is now speechless. Silence has taken over as the room as the two of them stared, dazed, pointing at the gun. Carver eventually broke the silence but otherwise didn’t move a muscle. “It’s not your gun, is it, Desi,” he said.

“No.” said Desiree, still motionless pointing at the object.

Chapter 4

Carver looks at Desiree with a crooked face, not that it’s easy to tell what with all the swelling and bandages. He lowers his hand and says, “I think it’s time I call the police.”

“Carver, what happened?” asked Desiree.

“Desi, can you please write this down?” Carver says, pointing to a pad of paper on the kitchen counter. “I don’t really trust my memory to hold, what little I have left of it. There are so many blank pieces between last night and this morning.”

Desiree grabs the pad with a nearby pen then plops cross legged on the floor beneath Carver’s feet. Carver moves slowly onto a stool and looks down towards Desiree.  At once, he sees her differently. He sees a beautiful young woman, not just the edgy hot chick that lives down the hall, but as someone sensual, desirable. He sees a warmth in her eyes he has never noticed before. A glint of compassion and nurturing, maybe. He felt like he just wanted to curl up next to her, for her to hold him and make this nightmare disappear. Ah, he thought, that’s it. The pain killers are kicking in! Woooooooooo!

“What happened, Carver?” she repeated softly. He told her of the Tango club, the Patton leather shoes with the legs that went on forever and the sultry Argentinian lady he asked for a smoke. He told her about the proper
ass kicking and the blank spot on his memory just before the last part of the beating. He recalled what he did following the beating, pointing to the pack of cigarettes and match book, showering and passing out on the sofa followed by her, Desiree slapping him awake. He went on to describe what happened while they were together, then Desiree had to fill in the blanks of the time spent at the hospital to returning with the front door to his apartment swung wide open. Thy both completed the rest of the story together leading up to and including the
discovery of the gun. The gun.

“Why the fuck is there a gun in my apartment?” said Carver.

“I’ll call,” said Desiree as she whips out her iPhone adorned with rainbows of tiny skulls.

Yep, he thought. That’s sexy. I’m still high. Carver smiled.

 

Chapter 5

“So, you don’t know anything about the guy who urinated on your head? You can’t remember the color of his boot or whether he was short or tall black or white?” asked the bland uniformed officer.

“No,” said Carver.

“I have no idea. Like I told you, I wasn’t there! I was in my apartment acclimating a new shark to my aquarium,” declared Desiree to the other bland uniformed officer who arrived, responding to Desiree’s 911 call.

Just then, a skinny young man walked through the door in an expensive dark silk suit that hung on him like a hanger in a closet.  He had a soft, underdeveloped voice like puberty still hadn’t slapped him properly and his balls were still waiting to drop. “Who is Carver Thompson?” he said, walking through the room with an air of confidence that seemed overinflated, betraying the slightness of his appearance.

“Odd duck,” said the first bland uniformed officer to Carver.

“Mr. Black, It’s ready for you,” announced Carver, excited for the young man to see his commissioned work.

Mr. Black removed a pair of mirrored aviator glasses to look more closely at the creation. “Its symmetry is eloquent, movement is tumultuous but fluid and the colors electric. I could never have imagined something so perfect,” he said to Carver. “Can you load it up?”

I’ll deliver it to you. What’s the address?” asked Carver.

Mr. Black handed him a shiny thick black card embossed with:

666 Black Drive

St. Petersburg, FL 33701

“Do you have the poster?” asked Mr. Black.

“Oh, it’s in my apartment. I’ll be right back,” Desiree said as she bolted out the door and down the hall. She returned as quickly as she left with a large cardboard backed poster of Mr. Black skating and surfing in Hawaii—all wrapped in a generous amount of clear cellophane. Desiree fumbled around with the wrapping for a second while Carver grabbed a black paint marker off of his drafting table for Mr. Black to sign the poster.

“Oh, yes. I remember this one. I like this poster. Carver, so something with a similar style but more recent? Get with my people for some photographs you can use. I want the design on an electric guitar and a poster, you understand?” said Mr. Black signing the poster Desiree is holding for him. “A benefit for foster kids, you said?”

Desiree nodded, “Yes, there are about…”

Mr. Black interrupts her, “Will there be foster kids at the benefit?” Desiree nods yes. “Please bring an invitation for me. I’d like to go,” said Mr. Black.

“Oh, that would be amazing, Mr. Black. Thank you very much!” said Desiree as Mr. Black quickly leaves the apartment in an abrupt awkward silence. Not rude—there is nothing rude or unkind about him, just awkward.

Meanwhile the uniformed officers bagged up and catalogued the evidence: 1) the gun; 2) the cigarette pack; 3) the match book; 5) some fingerprint samples from inside the apartment and outside near the attack site; and, 4) Carver’s shirt from last night soaked with blood and urine in case there’s a need and ability to pull any of the assailant’s DNA from the garment. They left Carver with a case number and let him know that a detective will be
assigned to the case and to expect a call for further investigation.

Once the police left, Desiree helped Carver upstairs to is bed, gave him more pills, and they took a quick nap before heading over to Mr. Black’s house to deliver the art installment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ssssmokin’ (flash fiction/short story)

[THIS was originally written as a flash fiction piece. However, I liked it so much, I kept writing. It is now Chapter 1 of “The Book of Carver.” I’ll be editing and adding to “The Book of Carver” along the way. Feel free to check back for developments.]

Carver woke up with his nose crunched down on the cold damp sidewalk. He turned his head, and pried open his swollen, blood-crusted eyes that tried to focus on the partially dissolved cigar next to his face. It never did come into view very well. As he began to tense his body, hoping he had the strength to get up, he felt a stream of hot, wet liquid splashing onto the back of his head, stinging the many cuts and abrasions on his face that he didn’t know he had until now. Each one stinging sharply, and the waft of a putrid stench began filling his nose. Someone was pissing on his head, he realized. He threw his hands beneath him, to thrust his body upwards in one herculean push-up, but just as quickly, the sound of metal cracking on bone reverberated in his head, followed by a ferocious pain that almost made him vomit, and the force of a large booted foot came down on his head and squashed his nose back into the sidewalk like a bug, breaking it with a loud crunch. The taste of blood seeped into his mouth, and he coughed a bit before he could angle his head into a position where he could catch steady breaths, gasping through his mouth.

Just as suddenly, he heard the footsteps of the booted man walking off into the distance. Carver pried his eyes open once more, and tilted his head forward. There he saw a pair of sexy 3-inch black and white Patton leather heels, arranged in a ballet stance of third position, topped with long slender creamy legs that seemed to go on forever. He didn’t have the strength to look up any farther before a pack of smokes and a book of slightly used
matches were tossed in front of him. Then, those shiny heels and dreamy legs clicked away, completely out of view.

Again, Carver, placed his hands beneath him, and he curled his legs to the side. He sat up and took in the view. He was right below the front steps of his own apartment building. He tapped his pocket to see if he still had his wallet, and it was there. He opened it to find everything in place, including $400 in cash.

Carver snorted in a repulsive mess of piss, mucus and blood, attempting to breathe from his cracked nose, but that didn’t work. He reached over for the cigarettes and match book, and slid a cigarette into his mouth, sitting up a little straighter. He examined the matchbook—it was from a local tango club that he frequents. And, suddenly, he remembered those shoes, and the legs that went on forever. He remembers asking this exotic Argentinian lady for a smoke, and her eyes fluttering at him through her sultry smile. He tried to remember more, but it all came up blank. Like he had his head caved in by a falling concrete wall, and he wasn’t too certain that didn’t actually happen.

Carver flicked open the matchbook, and saw black letters inscribed that read, “Smoking can be hazardous to your health.” A smile drew across his face as he lifted his brutalized body inside to his apartment. “Not nearly as hazardous as long-legged Argentinian women,” he thought to himself.

steps

 

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The Muse: a Florida winter at the beach

In the dead of a Florida winter springs the slightest crisp breeze wafting in off the calm rolling shoreline. The air horn-like blasts of the seagulls’ cries linger in the air as tourists and their ever-present snacks have abandoned them to huddle a little more inland to escape the chilled climate waiting for the dew to evaporate along with the sun’s good morning welcome. Like a drying ice bucket, the environment warms gently by noon.  And the seagulls commence with glee to their hoodlum activity, accosting and mugging their seashore victims as if it were summer. Protect those roasted hot dogs with your life! And the three-year-old in the flowered bonnet has been violated at once by the white and gray feather creature she once thought of as a friend. He bullied her out of her lunch, and tears have begun staining her cheeks. Soon after, she plops to the ground, to the damp sand beneath her feet, pouring her new-found loss and disappointment into her work—a remedy for heartbreak she will find solace in throughout her lifetime, I suspect—and constructs a majestic castle, complete with sand-dripped towers and a deep saline filled mote. Her parents beam at the perfection in the symmetry of her construct. Little do they know of the recent betrayal and the pain of a lost friend that served as her muse.

The Muse

 

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How the hell do I find stuff here?

Hi! Please look to the top and on the right sidebar for categories that might interest you. This is the very best way to read this blog. Click on any category, and read anything you like and please comment on everything! I love to interact. You don’t need to be nice, profound, eloquent or anything in particular. Just be you. Come on in barefoot, even naked or wrapped in a towel if you are so inclined. I don’t mind. It’s a friendly come as you are kinda place!

If you would like to add some of your own work on this site, just contact me, and we’ll see what we can work out if it’s a good fit. You can find me at: dts.streetmedia@gmail.com

Meanwhile, happy trails to you!  –Daphne

I’m just merely obsessed with words–the strange alignment of symbols that string together serving as a magic oracle communicating enlightened, humorous, banal, dreadful and depraved thoughts. And all combinations therein. –Daphne Taylor Street

Just 1 Monkey

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in PROSE: Be that as it may

 

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(NaNoWriMo) About the process

Hi! So earlier I posted the prologue and Chapter 1 to this creation, which are mostly complete. But, as is my writing process, I write in “mindwanderings” to help keep things flowing. So, the following few chapters I just posted are incomplete (with funky formatting). And they may stay that way for some time. Meanwhile, I tried to provide some content to help me (and you) figure out where I was headed with the chapters. This keeps me on track with the story in my head, and it might help you if you chose to read these incomplete writings. Edits will be made along the way, and it will be difficult to track if you are so inclined. I guess, just look for the removal of “[incomplete]” notations to see final versions of chapters in the future.  Thanks for following along on my journey and meeting my imaginary friends. We are all going out to lunch now, but we’ll return to continue the adventure! I always appreciate the company and the comments…  Happy trails  –Daphne

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in FICTION: Novel (NaNoWriMo)

 

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