Binky

Doctors at a besieged innercity clinic wrestle with the decision to condemn children to a future without hope.

Marino sipped cold coffee from a white styrofoam cup. He stood in his corner of the office he shared with the clinic staff. A bricked up fireplace ran along the wall nearest his desk, his clarinet on the mantle. Each day started with a little klezmer or polka, something to amuse the staff before the day began.

He nodded and smiled as they came in – “Morning, Dr. Marino”, “Morning, Janet.”, “Yo, Peter.”, “Yo yourself, Brian.” – performing a headcount.

He was one shy. Who…

Pahtmus’ and Officer Houle’s voices rose above the chants and hollers of protesters outside the clinic, beyond the perimeter fencing.

“You know you can’t park here?”

“I work here. You’ve seen me every day this week.”

“How come you don’t have a sticker on your car?”

“This is the first day I drove my car.”

“You got a sticker?”

Marino nodded to one of the new volunteers, “Vicki, could you run out with a parking permit for Dr. Pahtmus, please.”

He met Pahtmus in the entranceway. “Pretty loud today,” Marino said.

“Ah. You heard.”

“A little. You’re in triage today.”

Pahtmus nodded and shuffled off to the waiting and reception area.

“Wait a second. You’ll need this.” Marino held out a folding chair.

“Uncomfortable and austere is not chic, my friend.” Pahtmus waded into the sea of too many people and too much noise.

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Man and Boy; Tennessee, 1932

It’s better to be wise than rich

“Boy, what you straining with?”

“Don’t know, pa. It’s fighting me, though. It’s fighting me.”

“Look at that pole bend. Ease up a bit, boy. Give it some slack. See? Your pole’s not twitching. Whatever it is, it’s not fighting you, it’s dragging. Maybe something crawling on the bottom.”

“But it’s coming, pa.”

“Want me to take her for a spell?”

“I’d like that, pa.”

“Give it some slack before we switch poles. Something that heavy, you got to work slow, might have to get upstream of it to pull it in without snapping the line.”

“Look, pa. There it is. I see it.”

“Damn thing’s in the glare of the sun. What is it? Can you see? Feels like some bottom grass. Pity if we can’t loose the line.”

“It’s a man, pa. A black man.”

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Tag

A short story turns into a medieval mystery

The following started as a short story in 1994. It went through four major revisions as a short story and I none of them satisfied me.

A few weeks back I decided to redo the story based on everything I’m learning. Behold, a similar while completely different story emerged.

Far from complete, it seems to be taking on novella if not novel proportions. This rewrite is pretty much a rough outline, a scene by scene rendition waiting for more scenes to take place. I’ll create the connecting sections, et cetera, as I progress. I would like to know what you think, though, so please do comment.


The witch’s hand climbed the black oak’s trunk like a strangely shaped, five-legged insect, the fingers finding purchase in the bark’s crevasses. Cartilage, sinews, and ligaments trailed from the wrist where Eric’s axe severed it from the witch herself, her hold on Julia weakened by the sudden rain.

Now the hand turned to stone where raindrops struck it, freezing it forever to the oak’s trunk, forever separate from the witch hiding in the oak’s bole.

Julia stood at the top of the rise slapping at her sleeves as if walking into a spider’s web, as if beating out still burning embers, her face white and her breathe panting, staring into the hollow, to the witch imprisoned in the oak, imprisoned by gently falling rain.

Eric spun her to face him, the witch’s blood already blackening on his axe, on his sleeves, his hands. “Julia! We have to go. Now! Julia!”

She spit at the witch. “What can she do now?” She outstretched her hands and glared at him. “The rain!”

“I have cursed us both, you fool. She’ll not rest until that hand has killed us both and it will take more than my axe to finish her. Get back to the village with me before the sun clears the skies. This is for Father Baillott and the men to deal with, not us.”

He grabbed her rain soaked arm and pulled her after him.

***
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Owen and Jessica

Enjoy your meal, my darling

Owen’s gaze went from the morning sun outside the kitchen window to his laptop screen. He closed the lid so Jessica couldn’t read what he’d written.

Besides, it was time to make breakfast.

He went to the drawer with all the butcher knives in it. There was one he never used. It was Jessica’s and she kept it sharp. God knows why, she rarely cooked. It was a game with her; she’d come home, pull out her knife and hold it up towards him. “You used my knife today, didn’t you? It’s not as shiny as it was this morning.”

He checked the whet of the knife, forgetting his father’s warning: “Scrape, don’t slice.” Blood gathered in the whorls of his thumb. He stared at it and chuckled before licking it clean.

He would kill Jessica today.

The sunlight came through the window exactly how Owen told God it had to come through if God wanted Owen to kill Jessica, and it came through exactly how Owen told God to make it come through so that was it, there was no argument about it, God approved and gave Owen the sign he’d asked for so it was okay to do it and today was the day he would kill Jessica because God sent the sunlight through the window just as they’d agreed.

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Poems From the Heart (Examples)

Responding to @RealisticPoetry

In response to a Twitter request:


I have held women for one night

I have held women for one night,
no longer,
never loved
and loved them forever.
Held them so tight,
so breathlessly tight,
for fear they would let me go.
Walked one million miles to touch the sun
all the while surrounded by shadows,
fearing to feel that fire on my face
And wept, Jonah in the belly of my own whale.


I went to places

I went to places after you passed.
Places we walked
Needing to find you there.
Footprints in the sand,
Footprints in the snow.

A whisper of your words to me
     explaining tides
Or a nod, another question
     as we told each other stories about the tracks small animals made.

{We came from different worlds
     and made them one.}


The Mouse

Tiny little paws
grasping at a seed
nibbling away
to fill her breasts
to feed her pups
to insure she is remembered
in mouse dreams
when the future becomes the past.