Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bedtime Story - Andrew the Mime

{A Merry Christmas, Apocalypse and New Year to you all!}

 I hope you are finding yourselves renewed and invigorated; it's time to go out and take on the world, eh?
 Please enjoy another little bedtime story with a cup of cocoa, tea, or nothing at all! xoxo

There was a town 20 miles west of Aberdeen. The city, if one were to call it that, had been scrapped together from hunks of trailer siding, blown out tires and the ends of splintered garden tools. None of the post war shanties were particularly cheery, but the town 20 miles west of Aberdeen was so lackluster nobody had even bothered to give it a name. It was a town where bones sat out in the sun to be bleached. Where children dreamed only in whitewash and lips remained perpetually chapped and cracking no matter the weather. Folks nodded to each other as they strolled down the empty roads, connected by a mutual aimlessness. The town had been built on what was once a disheveled trailer park before a series of government-run nuclear crises blew it to smithereens, along with most of the civilized world. The town's inhabitants had, for the most part, all been living there since before the nuclear blow-out; a time when the husk of the scrap city had been only slightly more of a glamorous shit hole. 

The house d'la Archambault boasted two crossed pre-war rakes completely in tact on a painted piece of sheet metal that served as a door. Behind the door, the madam was feverishly scrubbing a mismatched set of chipped shot glasses and tea cups with gaping fissures. She had announced earlier in the week that cactus liquor would be served along with jackrabbit meat to welcome back an old member of the trailer wastes, Andrew the Mime. With the excitement that Andrew's arrival was stirring up, coupled with townsfolk eagerness for jackrabbit meat and spirits, she would need every glass on hand, and then some. The madam was among a very select few people who was able to maintain something that resembled a livelihood in the wastes. Her house served as a point of respite, offering varied services to weary men and women, often times free of charge. The madam was a good woman, who carried herself with an unmatched air of dignity.

About a year ago, the madam had to make an especially tearful goodbye to Andrew the mime. He had gone off on some sort of mission that he gave away very little of, even to her. The children in the area had pried Andrew endlessly for more information, but he would not tell them what drew him from the wastes. His abrupt and mysterious leaving was the only event in the town's history that was more mysterious than his abrupt and mysterious return. He had sent a carrier pigeon (another animal to unexpectedly survive the nuclear blasts) on ahead of him with the news. The note was intercepted by the madam, who cradled it with an especially kind and delicate touch.

“ !! “ exclaimed Andrew with a fervid wave as he approached the wastes. He let out a silent belly laugh when he realized that it wasn’t just the madam waiting to greet him, but the entire town. The children ran up to him and grabbed at his tattered striped shirt. He patted the heads of the scraggle-haired children and produced enough balloon animals for each and every one of them. The children had not seen balloons since before the blasts and let out cheers of unparalleled delight. He motioned a goodbye to them and pivoted around twice to let them know he would be back to tell them his wonderful tales later on. As Andrew beelined to the madam, the adult onlookers seemed to understand that they too would have to wait until the party that night for the stories of his journey. 

Andrew took the madam by the hand and her milky eyes filled up with tears. He led her inside the empty tavern house d’la Archambault. “Madam,” he spoke. “I have been to see a doctor outside the wastes. He has put a device in my throat that has opened up my vocal passage. I want to tell you in words how exceedingly beautiful you look this afternoon, but even with this wonderful device, I'm afraid I cannot.” He planted a tender kiss upon her hand. These were the first words that the madam’s lover had ever uttered. Her blind eyes pinched out a river of tears as she closed them.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bedtime Story - An Albatross in Albuquerque

The sky was the dusty pink of a baby's fingernails; clean, quiet, yet vibrant. The ballooniers were preparing themselves for the Horizon Ball which was taking place on that very eve, 12/12/12. Some of the merry-makers wore pins to commemorate the late Ravi Shankar, who had passed only that afternoon. Ravi himself was loosely affiliated with the colorful band of balloning gypsies who filled the sky on important days. He would  often play his sitar for them as they sipped tea on colorful rugs after a  long battle. The gypsies referred to themselves as sky pirates and were fiercely competitive when they did battle, often times shooting down balloons high enough off the ground to seriously injure or kill their opponents.  It was not a crime amongst them to do so, so long as all the rules of battle had been properly observed. They kept no official calender, rather they met each other at one of three meeting places when it 'felt right', hoping that the others would also have deemed the date significant and already be waiting there to do battle. This date, 12/12/12 seemed an obvious choice for a meeting, but it was by no means uncommon for a pirate to be wrong and wait all afternoon for naught. Today the pirates' guesses had been correct and all three of the battlefields were filled with balloon baskets and gear, cannons, large tents patterned in stripes and flowers and animals of all sorts, with the exception only of those cold weather beasts who would fare poorly in the Albuquerque heat.

The albatross, Jean-Phillip was taking a smoke break when his master approached him. She put a hand on his back and another on her hip. Letting out a sigh she spoke, 'You ready for today my respected companion?'

'Respectfully at your service' said the albatross with a heavily Frenched accent. And with a sly look to the woman, 'provided of course, you have zee baguette for me? Just zee crust! of coursssssssssssse... You know how I work on an empty stomach.' He looked up at her with birdie little eyes that could have passed for a puppy’s. The woman tapped at her bag a few times signaling that his dinner was at hand. She slipped down a pair of shiny green goggles from her forehead and began walking toward her basket. Jean-Phillip flapped up to her shoulder and they began to prepare their balloon.

Companion animals like Jean-Phillip were sometimes offered as payment from gypsies to other gypsies who had bested them in battle. There was some shame involved in offering up a companion animal payment, as they were more often than not a gypsy's closest companion. It was a clear giveaway that you were on your last few dimes and could not make payment in gold, silver or trinkets. The woman, Marie had inherited Jean when he was just 14. Now he was 52 and they had become very close friends, a feat that was not necessarily easy with an albatross such as Jean-Phillip. He was moody, required endless cigarette breaks and French bread crusts, complained at length about the heat of the desert and insisted on being shown the highest levels of respect at all times. Marie was easygoing and happy to oblige Jean-Phillip’s eccentricities. In return, he was fiercely loyal to her and they had won many battles together. He would scout out the balloons’ locations and defensive structures of their fire cages as Marie readied the water canons to shoot their fires out. It was much easier with a scout, although Marie had a deadly aim. Today the pirates would not be firing to shoot each other down and win trinkets, but rather to celebrate the coming of the new era. 

Ladies wore nylon gowns and embroidered boots and the gentlemen wore vests adorned in porcupine quills, beads and leatherwork. Tonight they would all light up their balloons and dance them around one another, ushering in a new age. After the sun had long set, they would all land their balloons safely, dance and drink around blazing fires and learn to play the sitar; they would, after all need new players in the new era. And Jean-Phillip would of course have zee French baguette.