Salina’s Project

Salina was putting the finishing touches, with a little fortification from what was inside of her champagne glass with ” Groom ” stenciled  along  the side in frosty script, on her newly renovated garden when her neighbor trilled ” Toodles   Girlfriend!” at her from the street.

” I thought I’d pop on by and see how you’re doing.”

Cally was the neighbor that inspired the eight foot tall fences and large black dogs ins spike collars to patrol them and at the moment she appeared  at the edge of Salina’s property, Salina’s lovely Spring afternoon came to a crashing fiery mess all around her.

” I’m doing fine, I’m right in the middle of-”

” How did you do it, how could you cope with your world just, ” Cally threw her hands and tipped with her long bony fingers out to her sides ” exploding like that? You know. I get it. Men. Right? That’s what they do.  It’s a shame though.  I mean you were with him for 25 years. ”

Cally did not sound sorry at all. Cally sounded light and bubbly and slightly frantic.

Like a cheerleader on crack.

Salina took a breath and rolled her eyes so far back up into her head she would swear to you she could see her brains.  ” I’m getting a dog. ”

Cally raced on just like Salina thought she would.

Salina could have said ” I’m getting a hit man and he’s going to take you out because right now I cannot take your crazy on top of the insanity that took up residence in my life before you opened your mouth” and Cally would have gone on babbling like a toxic river running wild after the sketchy factory squatting on it’s banks hocked up all of it’s guts.

” Well. Here’s the plus side, now that he’s gone you can get in touch with your inner Crone.  Now you can be the woman the Goddesses intended you to be.”

” Yeah. The Goddesses.” Salina said biting her lip.

It was an odd enough response from Salina to get Cally’s attention for about five seconds. Not liking to be caught looking clueless or unawares for even one second let alone five she wondered if Salina was about to laugh or cry.

When one is in such a delicate state, one can never tell Cally knew.

Cally watched Salina hopefully, if not a little hungrily as she put her glass of champagne down on  her potting bench and reached for her shovel. “Well.  I’ve got to get to back to work, I have a few things left to do and then I’m finished so-”

Cally actually shut her mouth and her thin pale lips turned up in her version of a smile. ” You know, ” she said sounding surprised, ” Your flowers and herbs really do look nice. Especially around that- what is that? ”

” It’s a hitching post, it’s a horse’s head. My Great Grandfather brought it with him from England back in the early 1900’s,”

” Oh.” Cally said with the same kind of practiced smile that most mental health practitioners mastered  before the ink was dried on their degrees. Not that Cally had one of those, she was just familiar with Mental Health services in general.

” Did he? You say he brought it  all  the was from England. ” I see ” Cally said as she made a beeline towards the recently deemed ” maybe ” hitching post.

” Hmmm, are you sure it’s a horse? Say, what is that smell? I smell, what is that? Apples. You don’t have apple trees do you? Where is that smell coming from? ” she stopped mid stride.

” It’s chamomile. See? I put enough down to carpet this area. When you walk across it, it gives off that smell. Nice. Isn’t it?”

Cally  smiled her tight prissy smile. ” Yes. It’s very nice.”

” I must say” Cally said. ” You’ve done so much since your husband ran out on you Salina. That must have been hard. It must have been worse being he ran off with someone else.”

” You know what was really hard Cally? ” Salina dropped her shoulders, her hair fell into downturned face heavy with grief and pain. She even hiccupped a couple of times.

Cally drew herself up and smiled with sunshine literally streaming from her eyes.

She put her hand on Salina’s shoulder and then she patted it. ” No. What? What was the hardest part? I can imagine how terrible it was. I thought you were the perfect couple.”

Salina swung the shovel up and brought it down with enough force on the top of her head to bring Cally to her knees. ” The hardest part was digging that grave in front of  the hitching post deep enough for two bodies. I never figured on three. Still.That was the hardest part Cally. The digging.”

Salina strolled back to the potting bench  dropped the shovel against it.  Then reached for her glass and  with her face turned up to the now clear and not fiery  blue skies she threw back the last few drops of her champagne cocktail.

When she was done she walked back to where Cally was crumpled up- and then a thought hit her.

A very important one.

What was that drink called again, Salina asked herself   as prodded  a clearly recently deceased  Cally with her toe. Damn. What was this stupid drink called. She pulled her phone out of her back pocket and checked the app where she had found the recipe.

There it was.

That’s what it was called.

Death In The Afternoon.

 

Raison d’être

Writing Prompt: Is That A Monster In Your Pocket?

Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

” I have all the time in the world.” the Ghost said to herself as she stood, or more specifically, as  she floated a little above her empty Grave.

Even though she knew she was alone there in her spot above her empty Grave where nobody had left her flowers for so many years she had lost count and her coffin and bones and broken down to a bone or two and a single coffin nail waited for a reply.

Of course there wasn’t one.

There never was.

” I have all the time in the world to decide what kind of ghost I could be. ” the Ghost said firmly and the place where her eyes would be seemed to glow a bit and the place where her jaw would had it not been covered by a  shroud of light blue haze, looked a little firmer.

The Ghost thought about her options for a moment. ” I could be a vicious ghost and throw things around and push people down stairs and scare cats and dogs-well. Not scare exactly but I can  make them puff up and growl.

Or I could be a nice ghost and when I show up people would smell things like freshly baked cookies or flowers. Actually. I wasn’t exactly a nice person so that probably isn’t going to happen at all.”

The Ghost looked down into her empty Grave and then her misty face swirled like fog rolling from the sea up to the beach and when the mist settled down she was smiling.

” I know, I could be one of those ghosts that shows up when bad things are going to happen. I could make myself look like a cat or a big black dog or a black as coal rabbit with fiery red eyes. Now that sounds like the ticket, doesn’t it? The possibilities for what I could do there are only limited by my imagination- which as we both know was pretty wild monster back in my day. I mean, that’s how we ended up together after all.”

Her empty Grave, as dark and inscrutable as ever offered no opinion.

It never did.

She sighed and her misty face broke apart.

Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

” I have all the time in the world.” the Ghost said to herself above her empty Grave when nobody was listening because nobody was ever there.

Even though the Ghost knew she was alone there in her spot above her empty Grave where nobody had left her flowers for so many years she had lost count, she waited for a reply.

This time she got one, in fact, this time she got several.

She swirled in confusion, a light blue mist hanging above her empty Grave because something behind her roared and to her left,   dead rose bushes  snapped and fell to the ground which was a riot of sticker bushes and weeds and chunks or marble and concrete.

The roar was gone and after a few bangs and thumps she heard someone say not very clearly, ” yes I’m sure it doesn’t matter if we dig around here. We might find a few bones or maybe some wood but who cares?”

The Ghost followed the voices  with her almost non-existent eyes and saw that the voices  belonged to two men with shovels.

They chose a spot and begin to dig into her empty Grave and after several hours they seemed satisfied with their work. They went away and came back many  times with black bags- several in fact and after looking at each other for a minute one said to the other. ” Lunch at The Oak Tree  on Main Street after?’

The other man said, “Sounds good. Their burgers really  hit the spot”

Unceremoniously they began to drop the black, lumpy and in some cases leaking black bags into her empty Grave.

Then they filled it.

They were not acting like they had all of the time in the world.

Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

” So  now you have a purpose, . ”  the Ghost said to her dark and inscrutable Grave. How tragic is that? My empty Grave has a raison d’être and I don’t. ”

Had she had  lungs she would have taken a deep breath  before she screeched- so she just skipped to the screeching part, ” My entire situation is ridiculous and intolerable!”

This time she felt like her dark and inscrutable formally empty Grave was listening to her because for the first time in a very long time the Ghost had a clear picture of who she wanted to be and what she wanted to do.

The ghost simmered and then she snapped together atom by atom, nightmare by nightmare and when she was done her eyes were fiery red and she was covered with dark silky fur.

Her ears were long and sleek, her eyes were as dark as a moonless night with little specks of red that flared up like embers in a dying fire when she turned her head from side.

And her teeth were a jagged nightmare.

Then she hopped over her once Empty and inscrutable Grave and she went to start her own  reason for being and her little nose quivered with excitement.

 

Help Wanted

Have you ever been on a road trip, and ended up driving down those dirt roads that lead into the dead empty towns with boarded up fast food places with names like “ Chicken Basket “ or “ Hank’s Hamburger Haven “ and have you noticed  there’s always a gas station with those funny tin signs advertising a brand of cigarettes or beer that no one’s seen on a shelf in over 50 years?

No doubt on these trips you’ve seen the houses too, the odd gray houses sitting up off the road.

You’ve probably even seen curtains hanging in the windows and you weren’t  sure but you think you may have seen someone looking back out at you as you drove by.  Maybe you’ve even seen one of those old time drug stores with the Soda Fountain in the back but you know, you wouldn’t stop there on a bet to check it out because you’ll tell yourself you don’t have the time…you’ve got somewhere to get to.

There, you’ll reassure yourself that sounds good. But that little voice, it’s  the real reason you don’t stop because it’s screaming at you, “ don’t you dare stop! Hey are you listening to me? I don’t care if you run out of gas! You will not stop in this town because if you do you’re going to have to get out and push. Don’t you even think about stopping here, is that clear?”

Then when you hit the other end of “ Main Street” (which will only take about three minutes) and you’re back on that long empty dirt road that some joker of a map maker called “ interstate 101 or Highway 19” you’ll have forgotten you were afraid.

After a few more minutes that empty little town that scared you half to death will be long behind you and it’ll be like you were never there at all.

That’s what the town of Bocksbohne is like; once you leave it you’ll never be sure you were really there.

One summer Audley Frame was driving to Seattle and somewhere along Amorita Pass high in the Olympic Mountains she passed through a town called Turnsole (clearly marked on her map) and after a few miles she was on a dirt highway that lead straight into Bocksbohne.

That’s what the white sign with the peeling black letters read. Welcome to Bocksbohne

It wasn’t suppose to be there according to the map, it had no reason to be there out in the middle of nowhere but it was there all the same and before she knew it Audley Frame was speeding passed a drive in theatre with a rusted swing set and a fallen over carousel under a weather-beaten movie screen. Across the street from the drive in was Chieko’s Drugstore and further up from that was little brick building with a sign in its window.

She slammed on her brakes and was snapped back in her seat by her seatbelt and she hardly noticed the pain because all she saw was the sign. It was a simple sign, the background was flat black and the letters were neon orange and the sign simply said:

Help Wanted.

The window was caked with dust and grime and right there in the center of the window screaming in brand new orange neon letters was the word:

HELP.

Not HELP WANTED

Now it just said  HELP.

Audley’ s foot came off the brake and she let her car roll forward and she turned to watch the window as her car tried to pull itself away from building.

Now the sign read   “ HELP WANTED INQUIRE WITHIN “.

The letters were blood red and the ink was so fresh it had smudged a little on the filthy glass window.

“ Red Ink” she heard herself say, “ it’s red ink.”

Then her foot found the gas pedal and Audley’ s car roared passed buildings and houses with broken windows and doors that were falling off of their hinges. She ignored the rusty children’s toys abandoned on the sidewalks and she hit a few curbs and before she knew it she was out the other end of Bocksbohne and when she looked into her rearview mirror she saw her dark brown hair had turned white.

She put her hand to the mirror and turned it down, she had no intentions of using it until Bocksbohne was behind her.

Far behind her.

 

If Your Name Was Mara Petgrave

For Fandango’s Flashback Friday  I have chosen a story I wrote in 2008

It’s called:

If Your Name Was Mara Petgrave

With a name like Mara Petgrave nothing you can ever do or say will ever shock or scare people. No one will ever expect you to wear anything else besides black and if every one of your six husbands died shortly after you were married and you walked into a big inheritance every single time-

No one would notice.

If your name was Mara Petgrave and you lived down the street from a family in Fall River Massachusets and one of the two sisters  just happened to mention, down her long and snobby nose,   that with your dark looks and dark eyes you could be mistaken for one of those Sideshow women that danced with snakes,  you might be moved by their quip about the snakes to take up an Ax and dish out about 81 whacks and you may have gone for 40 more on top that.

Because  if you had name like Mara Petgrave you might think that the chance to watch someone else dance at the end of a rope for what you had done was funny.

With a name like Mara Petgrave no one would ask why it was that you never seemed to age and why they never saw you laugh or cough or sneeze.

Or blink.

If your name was Mara Petgrave you could work with the dead in a Funeral Home and no one would ask why it was that on your first day of work you stood over a very messy corpse and then looked up and said, ” so, where’s a good place to grab some lunch? ”

If your name was Mara Petgrave you might get bored with doing all these dark deeds and not once…. even for a minute get any sort of recognition for being the most Macabre Danseur in the field.

All because of that name of yours.

So if your name was Mara Petgrave you might change your name to say

….Anita Marie Moscoso