Do Not Disturb

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There are no monsters

under my bed

they aren’t hiding in my closets

they’re not buried in my shed

 

There are no ghosts

rattling their chains

up in my attic

moaning in pain

 

There are no witches

knocking at my door

there are no devils in my garden

trying to steal my soul

 

We all live nicely

inside of my head

things are pretty quiet here

now that I’m dead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solitary Soul

Ellen Telfer sits on a bench, the same bench at the train station on King Street every single day of the week.

She is there  when it is raining she is there when it is unseasonably hot or cold. She is there when the first train pulls in and she is there when the last train leaves in the evening.

No matter how crowded the platform gets or how many people wish she would move so they could have the bench to themselves – Ellen stays seated. This bench is her place and she holds it with her silence which is as steely and formidable as the locomotives that roar by every half hour.

The morning commuters and the evening commuters, the security guards and the station agents have gotten so used to seeing Ellen Telfer that sometimes they don’t notice her at all.

Now you see her, now you don’t and now you see her again looking right through you.

 

It was two days before Halloween when a new commuter joined the 1513.

Mary Morse was not like her fellow passengers.

She didn’t have a phone, she smiled at you not through you and she spent her commute either reading an actual book or staring at all the faces she wanted to stare at that were sitting around her because everyone for the most part spent the train ride staring into their hands.

It was like she was the last person in the world and she could walk into any house or building and try on clothes or go through drawers or sit on the furniture because nobody was there to stop her.

There was nobody left to care.

 

On Halloween Mary Morse swung off the train and hopped onto the platform and she ended up right in front of Ellen Telfer who was planted on her bench.

Mary stood there staring at Ellen until she saw stars and was able to take some air into her lungs so that she could yell but her body decided it needed that air and she remained silent.

Ellen Telfer, the lady on the bench was not alive and Mary Morse didn’t understand why she was the only one on that platform to notice there was corpse with it’s melting face and the bugs and flies flying and crawling all around her and the crows sitting above her and flapping their wings and chatting excitedly- “look!” they seemed to be saying, ” Someone down there sees it too!”

” At last!” The Murder of Crows replied.

Mary Morse was trapped in that crowed, she was  in danger of being swept away by a tidal wave of humanity shoving it’s way through the King Street Station with their eyes focused inward and their heads bowed down mechanically following a path carved into their brains, etched in their DNA,  each person wired into their own reality- lost in their very own Universe, obliviously  falling through Space on their own.

Mary Morse got her footing back and she pushed her way up the stairs and she fought to way to the street above and when she was topside she did yell and she screamed but it didn’t matter to anyone around her.

No matter how loud she yelled, nobody heard her.

Not a single solitary soul.

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking The Goose

Jack and Jill

went up the hill

to fetch a pail of water

Jack fell down and broke his crown

and Jill was tried for his murder.

Little Jack Horner

Sat in the corner,

Eating his Christmas pie;

He put in his thumb,

and pulled out a tongue

and he said nothing

nothing at all.

Polly put the kettle on,

Polly put the kettle on,

Polly put the kettle on,

We’ll all have tea.

 

Sukey put something in the tea,

Sukey put something in the tea

Sukey put something in the tea

Now they’ve all gone away.

 

Polly and Sukey  are coming my way

coming my way

coming my way

Polly and Sukey  are coming my way

that’s what the Hangman says

Marjory Blair

RDP Wednesday – TENEBROUS

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

 

Marjory Blair

fell asleep in a field

covered with flowers and trees.

The grass was so cool

the Sun was so warm

” Wake up, come play with us “

her new friends begged her that day.

 

But the dark  Earth beneath  her

and all the creatures that live there

reached up and claimed her

before she could wake.

 

So with them

Marjory Blair

will sleep

and with them

Marjory Blair

will dream

And with them

Marjory Blair

will  forever

Rest In Peace.

 

The Mystical Madame Esme

Halloween Night

Seattle, Washington

1973

 

” No Felicity. No. Not this again.”

Felicity was digging her heels in, like she did every Halloween in front of one doorway or another with a tastefully handwritten  printed placard taped on the window  inviting you in for a ‘consultation.’ with- who is it on this night?

Madame Esme.

Why not Archie thought to himself. Why the heck not. Last year it was Madame Francesca and the year before that The Amazing Zephron.

” Felicity, this never works, it will never work and you’ll spend the rest of what should be a festive night for the both of us crying over spilt milk. Come on old girl, it’s Halloween. Let’s kick up our heals and maybe have a little fun for once.”

Felicity gave him that look- the one that said we have had a lot of fun and look at where it’s gotten us.

When she was sure he heard, or rather saw that, she continued:

” I have a feeling about this one Archie. I think this is the one that will help us -please don’t turn away Archie. Look. ” she took his hand and placed it on the glass door. ” Can’t you feel that?”

Archie closed his eyes and his lip curled back. He tried not to gag. ” Felicity. Something is sticking  to my hand and it’s sticky.”

Felicity’s eyes welled up a little and she let her tears, cool to the touch Archie knew, roll down her cheeks. ” Please Archie. Let’s try. What can it hurt? Maybe tonight we can talk to our Son. Maybe tonight is the night we can find him and  he’ll forgive us.”

Archie loved Felicity. He loved her weird taste in music and the way her eyeliner always ended up getting smeared so her eyes ended up looking like they were melting and the way she always poked herself in the chest when she put on one her Great Grandmother’s many broaches that were shaped like Bumblebees and said, ‘oh it stung me the nasty thing.”

” Oh Felicity. Ok. We’ll try. Again. ”

He held the door open and Felicity went through first.

Madame Esme by far, had the best fake British accent Archie had ever heard. Both he and Felicity had grown up just outside of London, but that was a long time ago and they have lived in the States for so long that only the faintest hints of their old life came through when they spoke. Still they could spot a fake accent in a heartbeat and Archie for one was ready to write Madame Esme off right then and there.

But not Felicity.

They followed Esme into her Parlor- it was lit with candles,  the windows were shuttered and there were ferns  hanging from the ceiling in baskets . All around the room there  were shelves lined with little jars full of dried herbs and plants and shells. A cat was asleep on an ‘offering table’ next to  silver box with slit on the top.

With a little bow, Esme invited them to sit at the table in the center of the room.

After they were seated, Madame Esme leaned forward and looked deep into Felicity’s eyes after first  looking  into  Archie’s less then amused ones. ” I think for you, we will use the Crystal Ball.”

” It’s very pretty. I think that’s a  wonderful choice.”

Madame Esme remembered to learn forward and to gaze with intensity from Felicity’s face into the crystal before she dramatically  took Felicity’s  hand into her own . But she did she pull  back a little when looked up and she thought Felicity’s eyes were melting. Before she broke character all together she realized it was her eyeliner it was smudged ,  apparently the  lady did not have a steady hand.

Esme ( aka Edna  Phillips ) took a deep breath, she looked up and wondered if she remembered to turn the coffee maker on before the  couple came in and then she closed her eyes and dove into the Crystal Ball remembering to let her earrings and bracelets and necklaces swing and jingle as she leapt.

”  Close your eyes and imagine that we are standing in front of an elevator in the lobby a  grand old Hotel ”

” I’m seeing the elevator in the Marsten, what are you seeing Archie?”

” Felicity, shhh.”

“The doors open and together we move into it. The doors shut and a button on the panel lights up and we start to move slowly up  to the top floor.”

Esme opens her eyes and  looks into the crystal ball and she says, ” We’ve stopped.  I see the door opening, I see someone standing there, wrapped in shroud. It’s falling away from the figure. This gentle Spirit has been waiting for you with a full heart for a very long time. ”

” Who -. Oh no Archie. Oh NO!” Felicity reached for Archie and if she could have moved fast enough she would have been out of her chair before anyone could stop her.

Esme reaches out to Felicity and takes her hand and gently encourages her to sit down. ” Don’t be frightened. This Spirit means you no harm. He has a message for you.”

Archie puts his hand on Felicity’s shoulder. ” Listen here Madame Edna ”

Esme dropped Felicity’s hand. ” What did you say?”

” You’re scaring my wife. Now fun is fun and it’s the night for it. But  I can not tolerate…-”

” It’s someone who loves us very much? Only one person could say that without laughing. Our Son. But in the end, we even let him down. We should have never gone out to the Circus that night. We got a little tipsy you see  on the way home with some Gin we bought from the Bearded Lady and on the way back…”

Felicity  reached for Archie and she took his hands in hers and lifted them to her cheek. ” We had an accident. At the Bridge. And we lost our Son, he was only five years old and he is the only other person we loved more then we love each other.”

Esme was on firm turf here. ” Your son says all is forgiven and that he has known great peace.”

Felicity dropped Archie’s hands and she lowered her head down and sobbed. ”  Our poor Son. He was such a gentle creature. Two Devil may care people like us should never have produced such a  lovely soul.”

Madame Esme aka Edna Phillips went into Earth Mother mode. She dropped the dramatic gaze, she fluffed her hair just a little, just enough to let the scent of lavender fill the air. ” But he loves you and we wants you to know that he is waiting for you, that he will be there when the time comes. ”

” But he’s gone. He lived an entire life without ever knowing how much we have missed him. ”

Edna echoed ” You left him and he lived an entire life? ”

” Our Son is dead Archie. I really thought we’d find him first and that we could say we were sorry for leaving him and now he’s dead and he’s on the other side and we will never be able to…” Felicity grappled for the right words and found none.

Her sobs were heartbreaking.

” He wasn’t in the car Felicity and that is all that matters. He wasn’t in the car with us that night…Now calm down. I’m pretty sure that Madame Edna here got her wires crossed and  she stopped the elevator at the wrong floor and had a chat with the wrong Spirit.

It wasn’t our Hamish, I’m sure of it and nobody we know has ever, geeze I can’t believe I’m going to say this- rode the elevator to the top floor, so I’m sure Hamish is fine. He’s probably out there right now with his  Grandchildren, he might  have a dozen of them by now. I’d bet the farm that they are out there right this second celebrating Halloween. Our favorite holiday. Just picture it Felicity. Our Hamish with his big wonderful family laughing and happy and Trick or Treating. I’ll bet he even has that dog you always wanted him to have.”

”  I wanted to give it to him for his Birthday that year. I wanted to name it Champ.” Felicity hiccupped and covered her mouth with her hand.

” I am POSTIVE”  Archie glared at Esme ” that Madame can  gaze into her crystal ball, ride the elevator and find a spirit who can tell us where to find Hamish so we can pop in and see how he’s doing.”

Archie’s eyes  burned like coals and before she could cry out Archie was on Esme’s side of the table – she wanted to look anywhere except for Archie’s face because Sixth Sense or not she knew what she was going to see wasn’t going to be good. So she looked down  and that’s when she saw water was pooling at Archie’s feet and  she turned away and looked across the table and saw  small slow moving rivlets of water  were streamimg from Felicity’s forehead and into her eyes and that her eyeliner was running down her cheeks.

“Give it another go Edna. What have you got to loose? Two lost  Devil may care spirits like me and my wife are game for another try. Are you?”

 

 

 

 

Classes

Maggie Drew started to take classes, all kinds of classes after her world fell apart two years ago.

” Do something to occupy your mind.” Her friend Bernice said, ” That’s really important because at our age  Prince Charming isn’t going to ride up and save you. He’s to busy chasing a twenty year olds and he’s not going to have the time help two little old crones like us stranded at the side the road out.”

Bernice was laughing and tossing her  hair around like one of those girls in a shampoo or Tampon commercial, but Maggie got it. Bernice wasn’t talking about them she was talking about Maggie.

 

Just after September rolled around Bernice invited Maggie out to remind her that anyone who wore Pink during the Fall should be shot  ( yes indeed, pink was Maggie’s favorite color and it is always somewhere on her person ). They  were at a The Pie Stop when Bernice launched into her newest lesson in how Maggie should  present herself to the world and they were sharing something called a Milk Shake Pie. A milk shake pie  is something you got when you crammed a slice of pie into a blender with ice cream and smooshed it all together.

It looked like puke, but Maggie had vowed to jump into trying new things with gusto and she did, every chance she got.

Prince Charming wasn’t going to save her, like Bernice said,  so giving edible vomit a try  while she had all of this free time on her newly defined by Bernice- “old lady hands” didn’t seem like such a bad idea.  She wasn’t considering suicide anymore, but her stomach had a mind of its own.

 

Maggie spent all of her free time at the Community Center- she took sculpting classes and watercolor classes and oil painting classes and she took one on candy making and an entire course of belly dancing.

She even went to a series of lectures on Beekeeping- which if she had to choose turned out to be her favorite.

Bees, she decided would never endanger their hive by running off with another colony they hooked up with on a dating app after 35 years of marriage.

Bees, Maggie decided were pretty trustworthy when you came right down to it.

 

On one of Maggie’s  increasing number forced marches with Bernice down the ruined road of her life, Bernice noticed that Maggie always looked vaguely surprised when Bernice reminded her that her husband had run off and left Maggie an invisible Crone, stranded at the side of the road with the rest of ‘us Crones’

That was ok. Bernice was here to remind her. Because that’s what Crones did for each other. They supported each other, they were each others ‘she-roes’  and Bernice was happy to remind Maggie that is  where she was and belonged  in the grand scheme of life.

 

Maggie of course didn’t see herself as a Crone, but sometimes you had to let things slide- especially if you aren’t in a real position to get a word in edgewise. One should not be defined by other people. She read that in a self help book once- the cover had flowers on it and Maggie still had it on her bookshelf at home.

 

Bernice, oh Bernice, Maggie’s little cloud of bitterness drifted around to Maggie’s end of the street now and then to check up on her and to most importantly to remind Maggie that ‘ at our age’ women need to stick together.

That was  Bernice speak for” I’m going to hang out with you, whether you me to or not.”

Maggie had opted to drive instead off taking her motorcycle out on errands on one of those days that Bernice decided  ” Crones like us ” should stick together.

Bernice hopped into  car right after Maggie started it and the auto locks hadn’t kicked in yet. Bernice slipped her sunglasses down from the top of her head. ” So what’s up for today?”

For a second Bernice’s entire performance in that moment reminded Maggie of one of the men’s shaving cream commercials where a woman was on hand and ready to admire the amazing results of this must have product.

”  I have to pick up some supplies for a project I’m going to start work on. Want to come along?”

It really wasn’t an invitation on Maggie’s part, it was more of an affirmation- she had taken a class on making life affirmations  at that Community Center. They put their affirmations on poster boards in magic markers and decorated them with  glitter and their choice of stickers that the instructor had brought in for them to use.

She found that class to be very helpful in this moment, like what she was affirming in her head at that exact second  was that Bernice was a fixture in her life a and that this unhappy situation could really work out to become a positive experience and an advantage too.

Anyway, what she learned in  her class.

 

The craft store was big and bright and surprisingly  utilitarian for a place where creative people bought their fabrics and glues and wax and needles and chocolate molds and doll eyes.

The downside was that setup  didn’t really invite you stop and chat or browse. The racks and shelves invited you to find what you needed and be on your way.

 

” What class are you taking now?” Bernice pushed her sunglasses up over her forehead and tossed her head around a little and lifted her chin up when she was done.

On cue Maggie asked ” Are those the Dior sunglasses  your sister got you for Christmas?”

After a quick series of lectures on how ‘crones like us”  ( Meaning mostly Maggie) should dress and act and let their hair go gray ( meaning Maggie ) and should accept their invisibility status ( absolutely meaning Maggie because no way  in Hell would Bernice let herself go to seed ) Maggie jumped in.

Could you grab me that package of pins from the shelf over there?”

Bernice held back a smirk. For all of her classes and riding her Harley to work on sunny days, Maggie still needed someone to get stuff off of the to shelf for her.

 Bernice reached for one of the little acrylic boxes offering an assortment of pins ” Oh not those, -” Maggie reached over Bernice’s shoulder and pointed ” those”

Bernice reached up and as she did Maggie bumped into her shoulder.

” Oh sorry.” Maggie moved back and Bernice tossed the pins into the cart.

” So what class are  you taking now?  I think it’s great. Crones like us should share our talents with each other.”

” Actually, I’m not taking a class for this project. I’m sort of brushing up on an old talent of mine.”

Bernice wasn’t listening, of course.

Maggie let Bernice walk ahead of her and she kept her hands behind her back until Bernice turned the corner at the end of the aisle because

in one hand Maggie was holding a tiny pair of scissors and in the other a snippet of Bernice’s hair.

Maggie’s eyes went from dark brown to yellow and back again. Then she took the handle of her shopping cart and pushed it down the aisle to the check out counter.