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Archive for September, 2010

Winding Path

When wandering down paths that many have taken before us, the compass, with which we mark our journeys, varies for each person. Some would say that there is no due north or direct south. Others would argue that this is not so and everything is as it is and has its place. Regardless, as one makes their voyage they must be careful to stay in the middle of the path, so they do not get lost in the confusion of the trees.

I

wasn’t

particularly

sure where to go…It

was befuddling because

I was at a strange crossroads.

The trees shot up around me.

They were gnarled and twisted… black,

the color of the sky. The wind picked its

fingers through the leaves sending little autumn

tornadoes whirling into the forest. One of these dust

devils grabbed me by the hand spinning it left, right, forward

back, south, north. Which way? Which way? Whispering filled the air about

me. Rising in tongues which I did not understand. Languages from every country.

The

trees grew.

Impatient. I felt

my heart begin to beat

faster. My palms began to sweat.

Nerves. I was acquainted with this feeling.

It had been with me. The wind changed directions,

picking particles up with it causing grey to dance before me.

Whirling and twirling. Faster, faster, faster. Spin! Spin! Spin!

A

leaf

began to

salsa in front of

my eyes. Dipping,

and bending, up, down,

this way and that-away. The

rhythmic movements delighted

me greatly. This leaf was unlike the rest

of the leaves. It had colors bright and vivid

mixed into its core. I desperately wished I knew

the name of the particular color. So strange it was.

It floated. Staying at my eye’s level. Waving at me in a slow

cadence. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. It began to saunter down

the path. I followed it, wanting nothing more than to be in its captivating

presence. Beautiful & refined. Never had I seen anything like this fair creature.

It

called

and beckoned

me, metrical in the

way that it worked.

Shimmering, lighting my

way through the darkness of

the path that I was on. We began

to waltz slowly. One, two, three. One,

two, three. It whispered in my ear from

time to time. It was all I could see. It was

all that I could hear. We moved. We moved. We

moved. Until we stopped. Glistening, sparking, like

it changed. I watched as it made  its queer metamorphosis in fire,

tempo with the pounding beats of my heart Unraveling. Unwinding.

.

I

was lost

in its world.

It became mine.

Time stood still with

us. This enchanter knew

it had me. The veins grew. It

expanded, wrapping itself around

me. Holding. Grasping. Tighter. Tighter.

The trees. The trees. The trees. Slowly they

changed from black to grey, from grey to black.

Birthing more and more of these little angels. They to,

fell and began their native dances, like fire. Persistent flames.

It

was so

striking.

In every single

way. Never in my

life had I ever experienced

anything like this. We all began

a liturgical dance, in celebration of

the changes with which we were all familiar.

Magical. Mind altering. Mystifying. Meticulous.

The

trees grew.

Impatient. Black

and darker now. They

looked on, chastisement

evident in the way that they

held their branches. Reaching out

for their wanton, lost offspring. Wanting,

wanting, wanting that which had belonged

to them. Their children were belligerent and

began to promenade further and further down the

path. They moved in waves. Rising, Falling, Crashing.                                                              The

grey dust

devils nipped at

my heels. Their teeth

razor sharp, using the only

weapon that they had. They were in

cohorts with the trees. Yet, the leaves

were ready to move on. They wanted to explore.

I,

their chosen

partner, their tour

guide, their trusted and

fearless leader was not ready

to relinquish them. Their dark and

angry progenitors, those ancient, thorny

bushes slowly began to move closer to the

narrow path that we were meandering down. Every

movement that they made was calculated. Silent commands

spewed forth from the trees, the trees, the trees. “That’s right,” they

coaxed the knotty bushes, “Just a little closer. Those small fools fell before

their time. Not Ripe! Not Ripe! Not Ripe.” Though conticent, I could feel that

they were becoming more and more and more exacerbated with each passing minute.

Butterflies,

wings of fear and

trembling filled my being.

I could feel the dark claws coming

closer and closer, trying to wrap around my

neck.I wanted to stop. I wanted to try to make peace

with the old ones. It was too late, stopping was not possible.

The

little leaves

pushed me further

away from our pursuers.

Slowly we moved along the

path.  My body, wrapped in a

cocoon of leaves, began to feel as

though it was changing. I didn’t notice

a large difference at first. However, my legs

began to feel lighter. I felt myself lift off of the

ground, little by little. I tried to take a step, right foot

and then the left. Sometimes my efforts were rewarded, other

times I made little progress. My mind was spinning. Perhaps enough

of my new friends were traveling on my person, that I was floating like them.

I

felt

like a

chameleon,

moving as they

were. I noticed a

difference in my skin.

My veins began to pop out

and become part of the blanket

that had wrapped itself around me.

They branched out into many different avenues.

Perhaps I didn’t notice the change right away; it was so slow and unexpected. They had beckoned me, wooing me. Their whispered words crescendoed and  began to rise into a cacophony. Though their words were as tantalizing as wine, they were nothing more than saccharine and empty. I was hypnotized by them. How could I not be? I was now wishing that I had heeded the warning that I encountered at the beginning of the trail.

“Sthhhoonny,” he said in that whistley voice common for men lacking a good number of their teeth. His old brown, weather beaten hat on his head had seen better days. He looked like something out of a Mark Twain novel, maybe even a grotesque from Winesburg, Ohio.

“Yes, sir?” I looked at him. The sight of his snarly white beard caused me to take a step back. Judging by the length of his impressive facial hair, he was almost as old as the road that I was about to walk down.

“Where do yah think yer headed?” His eyes looked into mine, the intelligence of a man who had truly lived showing through them.

“I wish to explore the woods a bit more, good sir,” my voice rose just a notch.

I was certain someone as old as him could not possibly hear what I had to say very well. I was also beginning to feel perturbed by the looks he was giving me. Dark talons of something akin to amusement and impatience began to wrap themselves gradually around my heart. The blood in my veins slowly began to boil to the surface and paint my skin. Who was he, this nobody, to question where I was going?

“Ye bestht not be headin’ back there. That foresth is enchanted they sthay. Many sthrange and frightening thingsth happen in them,” he said lazily as he pulled on his worn suspenders.

He was so skinny. Without the unsightly elastic lines, his dark brown pants, (which were cut off just above his knobby old knees) would have surely fallen off.

His faded green eyes disturbed me. Though they were clouded over, I felt as though he could see everything about me.  They drew me back, pinning me like an insect underneath the sharp edge of a needle. They were the eyes of the ages, eyes that had seen more than I had. Intense. Piercing. Troubling. I had to glance away. They were much too intuitive for my liking. He looked at me and knew. He just knew.  I swallowed, trying to steady myself.

“Enchanted,” I snorted. “Wives tales. Mere superstitions.” I prided myself in not believing such tripe, such tomfoolery. “I think I shall take my chances today.” With a little wave, I began walking again.

“Thosthe who walk thisth path rarely come back… If they do happen to make it out again,” he wheezed, “they are never the sthame. Life, asth you know it, will be altered in waysth that you leastht expected,” he warned.

Stopping, I turned around and looked at him and he had vanished. I began to look around for him. Where could he have possibly gone so quickly? Deciding that  perhaps I was being a bit of a pansy, I began to walk again.

The day had been rather pleasant, sunny and warm with a slight breeze. The birds had been singing merrily in celebration. The further I went into the woods, the more they began to grow darker and darker still. I was so absorbed in my thoughts, I failed to notice this right away.

My

skin

began to

shimmer like

that of the leaves.

Reaching my hand over

I tried desperately to peel the

binding back. Finding that I could

not, horror began to fill my being. Just

as quickly as the feeling had come over me,

it faded away. Sedated. Tranquil. I felt a shift.

My

once

tawny

muscles were

now replaced by

the same silky substance

my friends had. My sight began to grow

hazy. I tried opening my mouth to ask these little

creatures was happening to me, only to find that my mouth

had been replaced. I was floating. It was a delicious feeling.

“He is one of us now, one of us now,” the trees chanted in unison.

We

were

flying over

a river and I

caught sight of

myself in the pristine

water. Shock coursed through

me as I took in my new form. I marked

every new turn and curve of my waif like exterior.

The breeze pushed us further, taking me further away.

My

brothers

and sisters

gleefully welcomed

me into their small, tight

knit clan. They taught me

their dances and helped me sing

their wordless songs. We moved in time

with the pulsing of the grasses and the flowers.

We were one, all accepting of one another. Some were

like I had been. Travelers, vagabonds, it didn’t matter now.

We

were all

the same.

Odd how I didn’t

notice how dark everything

was. It didn’t affect me like it

once had. I only knew the delicious

feeling I had as I floated in and out of

those woods. We never landed. We never

touched the ground. It was unspoken that if

such a thing were to happen, our glory days would

be done and, over with. “Not Ripe! Not Ripe! Not Ripe!”

The old trees words still echoed in my head. What did they mean?

Every

day was a

new adventure.

We stayed in the air

with one another for a

long time. Some began to

lose their luster. They fell behind.

We didn’t know what happened to them.

It didn’t matter though. “Look at Me, look at Me,

look at Me, Me Me,” I thought to myself. Time faded.

Day

after day

I felt myself

slowing down,

little by little, minute

by minute, hour by hour. My

colors began to fade, slowly fade.

I

was

on the

ground. Jack

Frost’s icy cold

fingers wrapped their

way around me. I began to

feel brittle. Small pieces of me

broke away and spread out all over

the ground. Brown. That was my color.

I was not vibrant. “Suit yourself Sonny. Suit

yourself…Yourself…” He had said to me. I wished

now that I had heeded his wise warning. More pieces of me

were gone. I felt my light slowly fade away. The black trees grinned

maliciously down to me, seeming to say, “I told you so.” Not ripe I hadn’t.

been ready. I hadn’t been content. Me. That was all I had thought about.

No one but myself. I was fading slowly. Quivering I tried to remember what I

once had been. Slowly the light faded. “No,” my mind had screamed. It was too late.

Darkness. I was done. The last thing I heard was dark laughter surrounding me,

encompassing the vibrant shell of what I had once been.

The trees grew

Impatient.

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Three

Piercing Blue eyes stared intensely back into mine. I was not going to give this up. Ever. “It’s a draw…” I said as I narrowed my eyes.

He smirked. “So you say.”

I hated it when he patronized me. “I just happen to think that you are cheating and I can’t figure out how on earth you’re doing it…It is not as though you can read my mind.

He shot me his most toothy grin, “That’s what you think…”

I rolled my eyes. “Enough of this tomfoolery”.

We stared each other down a few more seconds.

Rock,” he said in a whispered voice, eyes twinkling.

Paper,” I said my voice rose just a notch above his.

We both paused in a most dramatic manner.

Hands behind my back, I chose paper….

SCISSORS!” We exclaimed at the same time.

He had chosen scissors.

Dang it!” I yelled.

It’s not my fault you are just so easy to read,” he said sardonically.

I am not.” I shot back.

He smiled at me, sending shivers through my skin.

Well, it could be a few things. One, you really are awful at this game…”

I cut him off, “It is not possible to be awful at Rock, Paper, Scissors. Anyone with even half of a brain could play it and win…

His mouth began to open…

Don’t you dare say something about my brain…It is perfectly fine.”

He snickered, “Now let me finish my thought….”

I sat down on the end of my couch and put my chin in my hands. “If you must.”

Let me restate my first point… One- You are ….”

I put my hands over my ears, “I can’t hear you…” The next thing I knew both of my arms were pinned behind my back, his face mere inches from mine. I stuck out my tongue.

Shaking his head he said, “Behave like the adult that I THINK is hiding in there somewhere and allow me to finish. This is called constructive criticism.

He continued, “One- you are really awful at this game. Two- You easily succumb to the Jedi Mind tricks that I’ve been playing on you. And Thr…”

WAIT A MINUTE!” I jumped up.

He  feigned boyish innocence.

Jedi mind tricks only work on those who are weak minded. I am most certainly NOT weak minded Mister.”

He lifted his chin a fraction of an inch and used his ‘patented’ phrase, “So you say.”

Resigned, I shook my head at him, “I can see there will be no reasoning with you today.”

A look of pure mischief crossed his face, “One- You are REALLY awful at this game. Two- You easily succumb to my Jedi Mind tricks. Three– You were standing with your back to the mirror the whole time.”

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April 6, 1987

Life is mundane. Pulling back fist, into the long snout of the soon to be pug. It yelped. I yawned. Darn Animals. So sick of the industry and its demands…German factory.

Only rich could afford to perform plastic surgeries on their pets. Let them pay. Let them pay dearly for their vanity. Personally, I thought the Pinocchio looks suited the pugs more.  And it was acceptable… 10 years ago. Blasted Hollywood got the idea that the ‘just punched in the face look’ was in. Not very creative if you ask me. No one did. Many pugs died early on due such altercations. Lucky for them, due to progressive evolution, (tripe) their bodies began to genetically engineer a blocking mechanism. Too much thinking right now…Wasn’t getting paid to think. Never ‘the man’. Pull back and slam. Pull back… and slam. Yawning, continued winding up like a little league pitcher until bell tolled. Headed for home at last.

April 12, 1987

Days at factory ran together. Never bothered to count how many times an aesthetic altercation took place while on shift. Pulling fist back… Stopping. Looking into pugs eyes. Odd… Was it possible to look indignant? Fierce gaze… Almost as though the eyes held warning. Hallucinating… One too many punches, not enough old coffee. Old coffee. That is what is needed. Foldgers, Hillsbros, Millbrook, whatever it was… May as well call it sludge…Doubted anyone ever made a fresh pot. Sludge, needed it… Maybe change name to Motor Oil Sludge… Same thing really.

April 20, 1987

Encountering many problems at the factory. Strange things happening. Conveyor belts broken. Not my fault. Pay docked… Needing more than sludge motored oil today….

April 26, 1987

Finding threatening notes everywhere. Wondering who they are from… Few below….

“Snout Altercation Is An Atrocity. An Insult to the Canine Species… Stop or all is lost.”

“Embrace Natural Beauty. We are more than just fashion plates…”

“Going to Punch your noise and see how you like it you ignorant fool…”

“Your face is in need of alterations… You ugly son of a biscuit…”

April 30, 1987

Walked through the front doors of the factory and stopped in tracks. Sight of Factory was startling. All the kennels…. Empty. Soiled paper was littered everywhere. Ransack. Standing in amazement. Whatever had happened?

“Feiny”

I grunted a reply

“They finally did it they did.”

Looking over at the man talking to me… didn’t know him.

“Revolt. Revolution. Wanting to be their own person. Embrace the ‘natural’ looks. Anarchy of sorts…” He continued him mumbling ; walking further and further away.

Anarachy? Thought was ludicrous. Just dogs after all. Sure that they could not devise such a scheme. Most likely perpetrator had been a member of blasted PITA . Annoying, that is what it is.

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Back Roads

Her hands gripped the steering wheel. Knuckles white. Tears streaming down her face as she pulled the car over and pressed her head against the smooth surface of the steering wheel. A sob wracked her entire body, “Oh God, Oh God, Oh God,” she said through clenched teeth.

Get out of this house right now!” he yelled, angrily. She looked into those blue eyes that had once been so tender. A shock of blonde hair fell across his forehead. She looked down at her two little girls, both looking up at her, blue eyes, so like their father’s, full of fear. She turned to go, when all of a sudden he quickly moved forward, jerking the two children out of her arms. They both began to cry and reach for their mother.

As they were reaching, the man who had once looked at her with such love, ground out, “I AM getting a divorce, I don’t want to see you, YOU leave this house, THEY stay, these are MY daughters. Leave now!”

She lunged forward, trying desperately to get her girls back, her poor little baby girls. However, try as she might, her slight frame was no match for his of 6’ 3”. He shoved her out of the house, locking the door behind her.

As her breathing slowly went back to normal, she lifted her head from the steering wheel. “I can’t leave my babies, I just can’t…” she thought to herself. Knowing him, he would most likely had brought them over to his mother’s house; leaving them in her care. She sat up straight, put the car into drive. Navigating along back gravel roads, she felt certain there was no way he would know she was going back.

A pair of headlights came into view in her mirror. Confused she looked in her mirror, trying to figure out who would be out on this road this late at night. “Oh No!” she thought. She realized he must have suspected this of her and had been watching and waiting for her. She didn’t have time to complete the thought as the pickup swerved trying to run her off of the road. Startled, she glanced over at him, hating what she saw reflecting in his eyes. She fought to stay on the road….

Forty minutes down the road, she slid a key into lock of the door of the hotel room.  She barely entered it, when her legs gave out from under her. She fell to her knees, holding her arms to her sides as her body wracked with sobs. “I tried girls, I am so sorry, Oh God, Oh God, Oh God…Where are you? My babies…” She stayed like that till morning.

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Attack!

My day started out like any other day. Nothing special about it. I rose, stretched, scratching my stomach feeling content after a full night of rest. Yawning loudly I made my way towards the bathroom. The first thing I saw made me cringe, I had major bed head. Shrugging, I turned on the shower; anticipating the hot spray that would soon be enveloping my sleepy limbs. Nothing happened. “Strange…” I thought to myself. I decided to investigate the situation. Glaring at the medal head, I  tentatively poked around it. Not seeing anything immediate obscuring the opening of the shower-head, I slowly twisted the top of it off. Before I knew what was happening a thousand tiny bodies flung themselves at me. Their sticky feet clinging to my person.

Fire Ants

I began to scream in total agony as their jaws sunk into my unsuspecting flesh.  I had to get them off. Veering towards the kitchen, I tried to turn on the sink. My attempt ended in a failure. Blast! Frantically, I swatted at my body, desperately attempting to kill the indignant insects. It was to no avail… They continued their frenzied crusade against my person. I danced in the middle of the kitchen; watching them fall off and then run to crawl back on.

Opening the door to the fridge I took out my gallon of whole milk and poured it all over my body.

Ah… slightly better…

I then grabbed my container of Florida’s Natural Orange Juice. After that, I went after the half bottle of wine that was left over from last week’s dinner party. Then I spotted the boxes of Juicy Juice….

Almost there….

 Grabbing bottles of water, I poured them over my head one by one. When the last bottle of water was emptied, I noted that the creepy crawly feeling had stopped. Relief filled my being but only momentarily. Two things occurred to me in that instant.

One… My floor was a mess of assorted beverages and was strewn with the bodies of a thousand tiny soldiers.

Two… I had a half hour before I had to be at work; and if I was late one more time I was going to be ‘terminated’.

Haphazardly, I threw on my clothing. I popped a Benadryl as I hopped in the car and drove to work. When I arrived to my workplace, my body felt as though it had undergone major reconstructive surgery. Walking through the front door into my office building, I noted that I had only one minute to spare. Sighing with relief I sat down and began to pull papers out of my briefcase. Looking Up, I noticed everyone was staring at me… A grin tugged at the corners of my mouth as I went back to my sorting job… “Let them wonder” I thought to myself…. “They wouldn’t believe yah if yah told em’!”

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