Wednesday, June 30, 2010

To Remember the Truth

Curtis stopped typing, much to his own surprise. Every other set of fingers around him, cubicle by cubicle, proceeded in the cacophony of clicking, bounding noisily from key to key so that the song reverberated against the concrete walls like a heavy hailstorm as the letters and numbers dropped onto their screens, etched into an intangible slate, existing nowhere but in the lights before them.

He rubbed his fingers, moist enough to squeak softly, against the polyurethane coat of his narrow desk space, reminding himself of actuality. His tie felt tight around his collar and the room began to shrink around him as his chest grew with anxiety until he burst, ripped free; from his clothes, from the room, from the whole damn performance.

So, I always stop for a few when Curtis asks me for change, not just because his stories are interesting or because he manages a certain intelligibility atypical of underpass dwellers, but because every now and then when he whispers wildly about the Machine and the Trap and the System, backward as it may be, I start to feel a little less crazy.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Liliana’s eyelashes beat together like a feathered gavel before her mahogany eyes, sentencing me to “Piss off, Heremy…”--I loved how she said Heremy instead of Jeremy and the way she rolled the r, so of course it made me smile, which she acknowledged with a displeased tilt of one eyebrow, but steady as a dancer kept stride--“…because I got two good waitresses, a sussessful res’rant, an’ I don’ wanna loose none ‘ose tings porque uno pinche cabrón can’ keep his nassy lil’ hans to 'imself.”

I’ll bet she was twice my age, but like any twenty-year-old beach bum worth his saltwater, I was all about the ladies and if there was any reason I shouldn’t be with them--perhaps a generational gap--then, mo’ betta’, I figured.

Like the kind of guy I’d punch nowadays, I leaned over the counter with a smile they might picture next to “cocky ass” in Webster’s, and said, “Or maybe, you should forget what you know about my involvement with said waitresses, and find out for yourself what all the fuss is about.”

She craned down toward me, her intensity pressing me back nearly off the stool, and she reached down to my crotch, encircling the area with her fingertips, whispering, “But then, I’d wanchu never to leave, an’ you know how to keep a dog from runnin’ away? Shop off ‘is lil’ balls.”

I miss that place--missed it ever since that afternoon--but not nearly as much as I miss that woman.

Where You Lie

A breathy mumble came from her lips; a name. She tried again, after a few crackling inhales, “Where is… where’s…”

He looked all around, wreckage in each direction, then back at the stranger. “Fine… he’s… she's... they’re fine. Everybody’s fine,” he lied.

She smiled, and then was gone.

Originally posted at 6S

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Mysterious Dr. Ramsey

Ramsey Michelle Helton wore matching ruffled pigtails which looked as though they might have come prepackaged with the galaxies of freckles on her tiny cheeks. Her smile revealed two front teeth as absent as the shoes I assumed she wore, at least on occasion. A frog chirp from her overalls pocket convinced me that if I looked hard enough I would find a hidden camera somewhere in the double-wide trailer.

She skipped across the small room and looked in my eyes curiously for several moments before whispering, "You don't wanna hear them voices no more, huh?"

I'd driven nineteen-hundred miles to witness the "Mysterious Doctor Ramsey", as the tabloids had dubbed her, but not even that leap of faith could prepare me for the chill that her words issued to my tired, crazy soul, eager once more to surrender to what a wiser man might call "blind faith." Then, she kissed my head, freed me from my hell, and proved to me at last that there is no faith a man can ever have which may fairly be ruled unjustified.

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