Thursday, 18 March 2010

Second Nature

She's stumbling over her own feet just as much as her words. It was hard to hear anyway with all that noise around, but her intentions were clear with just a gaze at her eyes. He knew them so well... The bathroom was around the corner, he helped her there calmly - hiding the intensity of his worry for her. The footsteps and conversations echoed through the massive hallway, interrupting his own reasoning. So he fixed his eyes in the direction of the bathroom, awaiting her return. Unflinching for what seemed like several minutes was but mere seconds - enough time for three heel clicks and a burst of laughter - before she appeared in the doorway and made her uneasy way toward him. He took a few steps in her direction to help her stand straight so he could take a look at her face again.

Flushed. But she had only had a couple sips! She's weak. There was an exchange of words, but there was no need for them. The moments between standing by the bathroom and exiting the building were a blur of adrenaline. She knew how safe she would be under his care, so she collected all her strength. He saw her efforts. It was of most importance to get from there to a taxi in the minimal amount of time. He encouraged her to hurry because it would be near impossible to get her there on time if he had to carry her. She ran with him; weak, but determined, she ran with him through the crowd and large glass doors. They ran past all the things he had seen and remembered on the way in. This was something he did automatically whenever entering a new place - knowing the way out... Lights, Door, Porch, Stairs...Now his sight widened.

The tunnel vision of having to get out subsided, and now his peripherals were filled with thousands of entities to make sense of. A taxi for her is priority. They're close to one, it's noted... and she's close to reaching her limit of physical strength. It's starting to burn, to itch from under the skin. He sees it all in the way she looked up at him, muttering his name through trembling lips. He holds her up so her shaking knees don't drop her to the floor and helps her into the cab. She manages to remind him of the name of the hospital near her aunt's house which he frantically repeats to the cab driver, who promptly understands the emergency and makes his way.

She needs to know what's happening. Since there is nothing to do in the taxi, he takes the time to make sure she understands what's happening. Breathe. Concentrate on his eyes. Don't scratch. Her eyelids grew heavy and he lightly patted her cheek to keep her awake and for a moment, his panic was made evident to the driver in an explosive attempt to hurry. Looking back at her, he noticed she was on the very edge of her airways closing up. The jolts in the car's maneuvers told him they were reaching the hospital shortly, but not soon enough. He took a deep breath, leaned over to her, holding her nose up slightly... and as a tear made its way down his cheek, he kissed her full of air. Her lungs filled, she coughed, and looked up at him just as they rolled up to the hospital.

Emergency doors. Weak. Carry her. Almost there. Anaphylactic shock. He exclaims that she needs attention. To get her on a bed. To give her air. She's going into anaphylactic shock! The doctor's on his way. Her shoes need to be off, and her bag near her, and she needs him there, holding her hand. There was nothing more he could do when they asked him to leave. He tried his best to peek through the curtains to make sure she was comfortable. After they were done with her, he reassured her she'd be alright, and was asked by the nurse to wait outside now.

Nicotine. He must have repeated the story a thousand times to relatives of hers over the next few minutes. The whole experience had left him quite exhausted. He was still very much scared, but he couldn't understand why. The relatives drove him to her aunt's house.

Bar. Bathroom. Hallway. Lights. Doors. Porch. Tables. Stairs. Towers. Taxi. Phone. Breath. Hospital. Bed. The whole night cycled through his head several times. His body slipped into sleep, but his mind soared.

As he lay in bed, the next morning, she crawled into bed with him...

Sunday, 29 November 2009

My heart was once a Ruby Red

My lover gave me a vial the day he left with the rest to find the colours of the world.
In it lay the fragile frame of a hummingbird that had fallen victim to the Great Monochrome Sleep.

It had been a few years since the GMS. Many had died. Most in fact.
Who knew humans could not cope with no colour?
The few that had survived had already been drained of some colour by life. They were ill, or sad, or just simply pale in complexion.

The few that remained were now the Rainbow Warriors. They had now awoken to the tragedy of a bleached and blackened existence, and seeing their surrounding being consumed by the dark and the white, they decided to reform, reshape, and resist.

He had left me 24 white suns ago, and I had sat by the shore of the grey sea, watching sunset turn the sky gradually from white to black sun after sun after sun, waiting for a shout, for a cheer from far off, a sign that they had come back, that the colours would come back, that they had found the solution.

We had begun to lose hope once again. Our bravest, strongest, smartest had gone, and come back, and gone again, and come back empty handed. Our tomatoes were still grey, our bread still pasty, our appetites bland.
The GMS had claimed the red blush in the cheeks of young girls winked at by doting boys, the blue in the face of the old man who coughed and coughed, the green envy in the eyes of the wife of the two-timing husband.

The days were black, white and every shade and shape and form of grey in between, but after all that time, the grey was just one.

The Rainbow Warriors were our continuous hope. Our only colour.

And then that day came. I opened my eyes, head still resting on the soft pillow that I usually shared with the crown of my heart's prince. And I saw it.

The hummingbird. In it's clear glass vial, colour spreading slowly but unfaltering through the plumes, like blood in vessels. Blue, green, turquoise, teal, red. They flooded its being, and with every colour that appeared, the words that accompany them flowed through my head like a gushing river that broke a tenacious damn. Ruby red, emerald green, Sea blue, grass green... My eyes began to sparkle, and my now pink lips stretched into a smile. The lifeless bird glowed with colour and verve, like a brand new sun rising from the sea.

I straightened up hastily, and quickly my head turned toward my window, where I heard people shouting and laughing and cheering with glee at the orchestra of hues and shades.

The Great Monochrome Sleep was over.

And I waited, day after day, grapefruit sunset, after grapefruit sunset, by the sparkling sapphire sea. But my love was no where in sight.

And while the rest enjoyed the red of a freshly picked ripe apple, the purple of the wild irises, and the indigo of dusk, slowly but unfaltering, my world started to drain of its tints till my heart bled its last red drop, and turned to cold grey stone.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

The bait you can't buy...

Although the wheels were turning, there was something quite out of tune... The pace had not been resumed, but has been modified with an offset of rhythms. Like the calm before the storm, everything went silent. One might assume that time had actually stopped, but a keen eye would tell you otherwise.

The scene around you has slowed down for some reason. The minute details around you are more visible to you now. The cracks in the bark, the the shimmer in the leaves, the abyss of the forest... In your curiosity and down-right confusion, you explore the world around you by randomly following schizophrenic lines and patterns with you eyes. You're overwhelmed with what surrounds you. Nearby, however, you notice an odd darkness emanating from where Happiness lay.

The blood still leaks from the wound. It starts to puddle around the corpse and starts to flow through the earth. Everything it touches was instantly losing its color. It spills and continues to flow into streams and rivers. All that came into contact with that blackening sludge surrendered its color to it. The insects flee first, then the birds. Animals of all kinds from all directions evacuate the area as fast as they could. Nothing left around, save yourself, and all of what's left of nature - black.

The world it still frozen and you're walking through it aimlessly. Leaving the corpse behind you and venturing out deeper into the black belly of nature. Just beyond the hill, you reach a clearing and squint your eyes to see further. Your eyes catch the glare of something not far from you - it moves frantically. You're not sure, but you assume it must be panicking much like you are on the inside. You are curious, though, what is it, in this colorless world that could be so bright? You walk on, driven to find out. It's closer now, you can hear its tone. It sounds sort of like a bee, but not as intrusive. It's a lot mellower - like a harmonica. It's humming! It gets quite loud, you know you're so close. And as your heart trips over itself in this rush of adrenaline, it goes silent.

Distraught, you fall and lie watching the sun shine through black trees. In the branches, right above you, in plain sight, a hummingbird. It stood still on a branch for a split second before resuming its panicked flight in search of something. You notice it's moving between flowers. One branch to the next, it finds the flowers to inspect them, and turns to the next. It never touches them, just examines them from a distance, and moves on. It starts to move slower. It hits a branch in mid-flight. The hummingbird is weak. It attempts to recover back into flight, but falls to the ground, landing just over an arm's reach away.


Sunday, 24 May 2009

A fish you can't catch...

He spotted it, there in the undergrowth.
Beads of sweat were forming slowly on his skin, his hair bunching up in thick strands, the weight of the moment holding him still as his eyes tracked it, flinching from side to side slightly with anxiety.

Its skin caught the sun that seeped through the branches delicately, and the colours it reflected brought a greedy warmth to his heart. This was the hunt of a lifetime, he had a glimspe of what many had spoken about, what many had yearned for, fought for, killed for. And now he was but a few metres away from this creature.
The pressure was on, he shook with anticipation and slight euphoria at the thought of what he had within view.

It moved slowly, and carefully, and all its muscles beautifully defined a landscape of grace and strength like no other he had seen. He could only do so much to stop his lips from smacking at the thought of it finally in his clutches, the hunt.. the hunt!

And then it came, the perfect moment, the ultimate chance, the point from which there can be no return, only an ending.

He aimed, his eye still and focused, posture perfectly aligned, rifle propped against his shoulder and finger sweating yet ready and waiting to pull the trigger.

It reared its head mane flickered slightly, and for a split second hunter and hunted locked eyes and time would have been stood still were it not for the bead of sweat that rolled down across his eyebrow at that moment.

It slumped to the floor, and he sped out from his hideout, and knelt by its side, his eyes glowing with what he thought he had finally caught. He lifted its head, trying to get it to do its magic, trying to figure out how, now that he caught it, he could finally get it. Nothing happened.

As Happiness bled out at his feet, its tongue hung out to the side, eyes rolled at an odd angle, neck bent back, the flies began to swarm and the forest began to resume its pace.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Seminar : Parallel Universe

"It is a regular day. One of 365, 24-hour days during the year. We examine a very particular species on this forgotten planet, this week; a continuing study in a series of weekly projects documenting the differences and particularities in the process of hunting in different Earth species.

Homo sapiens, or humans, have developed a most intricate way of hunting. So much so, that they have redefined it. As most do not regard themselves as animals, due to their belief that having conscience and intuition separates them from the 'animal' world, their hunt has transcended past obtaining a source of food and surviving. The key difference between the human species and the rest of living organisms on this strange planet, is that humans do not hunt to survive. As other organisms hunt to fight the forces of nature, predators, and each other, humans stand their ground. They no longer hunt for their food, but have developed a system similar to trading over their centuries of existance, where money, a somewhat standardized, printed material equates to the value of their food.

When at first, humans hunted much like other species, they have redefined their hunting techniques and their definition of food. Food to them now, is not only a source of energy which they ingest - food has become everything else around them:
their wishes, their envy, the material objects, even each other. They have become so twisted in their game of hunting that their luxuries have been intertwined with their necesseties. The simplest way of comparison would be to look back at last month's penguin special. The male of the species carry the egg for months on end until summer comes without food or rest while the females gather food for the young. Humans have made sleep and their equivalents of food a desperate necessity

Their techniques are broad and vary. They strategize, they play games, they are able to get others involved whether directly or indirectly, to get what they want. Their system is quite efficient but has had an immense toll on their surroundings and on the species itself. The Human Species of Earth will be a 40-part series starting tomorrow. Be sure to join us for the next episode where we examine homo sapien history to explain where the line between necessity and luxury was erased."

"Ladies and Gentlemen, this concludes the seminar for today. Be sure to report to Sector 5 before leaving the facility - sun flares have been calculated to have surpassed the protective capability of our thermal visual films. You must have them updated, otherwise blindness will be the consequence. Thank you very much... your essays are due on my desk in 3 days. Goodbye."

Monday, 30 March 2009

Third time's a charm

"Hey, yea, Bill? It's Mack Johnson here. Been trying to get a hold of you. Just pulled out some cash out of the bank, gotta buy me that suit I've been telling you about. A bit pricey but all worth the 4 big ones. No no, I know, meetings and all that, I've been uber busy myself. We just closed on the Triangle case. Yea yea, Macy didn't tell you? That bitch is going to get her ass fired. If she didn't have such a nice ass I'd have gotten rid of her ages ago if you know what I mean hehe.. Anyway, so I've been thinking, you know how those sharks up at mana- HEY! BUDDY WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING YOU JERK OFF! God! Sorry Bill, some lunatic taxi driver nearly ran me over. Fucking pakis. What happened to good ol' American workforce huh? Anyway? Where was I? Oh yea.. So them sharks up in management, I'm thinking its about time we try and get their goose you know? Where it really hurts. Wha? Loyalty schmoyalty, it's a dog eat dog world Billy boy. So what if we catch them asleep? There's big bu- Jesuschristallmighty in heaven, fuck that was close. Huh? yea, sorry, sorry, woah, I'm sort of out of breathe after that one, I just slipped on some stupid kid's ice cream, nearly went down a manhole.. Jesus... Yea.. ok, what? No no I'm fine. So where was I? Yeah yeah, so Nick could be the first to go. It's really simple.. Pull some strings, get some dirt on him an- huh? So what if he's clean as a whistle, nothing is impossible. With him out the way- hang on hang on some hobo's bothering me... I don't have ti-... *sigh* I can't shake him off. I'm going to have to call you back - "

" Yea, Bill? Sorry, some jerk ass good for nothing bum was insisting he wanted to show me something.. Huh? Yea, three coins lined up on their edge. How the fuck should I know why that's important. It was sort of odd how they were lined up like that though, they looked like they were magnetised. Must be one of those street hoaxes, yea yea exactly like that joker you told me about. Damn parasites. Yea, so we bring down Nick, Martins follows, then there are two nice fat juicy positions for us to fill. It's simple as A, B, C. HAH yea yea you know it. The cash will just come flowing in, easiest cash cow I've ever been smart enough to milk. Yea with udders like that she could be couldn't she HAHAHAH- WOAH WOAH HOLD IT THERE BUDDY, easy now! EASY!... There's no reason to point that thing this way, now now, let's not be hasty! Money?? Err yeah here here hold on man, that's 20$ that's all I got, huh? No No!! You can't tak- *BANG. BANG.... BANG*

* * *

"Yea, Nick. It's Bill. You heard huh? Yea, yea... I was on the line when it happened.. He must've argued over the rest of his money... Stupid Mack.. Poor stupid bastard... It was terrifying you know, after the shots, I heard him thud and a few clicks. Yea, three bullets. Odd thing though, I heard people screaming and all that, and then I heard this voice, it sounded like this guy Mack had bumped into on the street only a few minutes earlier, some bum or something... Yea yea, I'm pretty sure it was him. He was shouting. He was saying "Third time's a charm". Creepy huh? Man, I should call Carol, she must be devastated. How's Macy? Upset too huh... *sigh* yea. So, er, Nick, you considered what I talked to you about? Yea.. Getting to the top? Cool, so here's my idea..."

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Jerry: The Victim of Society

Grumpy ol' fella', he was. The easiest way to describe him is Dave Chappelle's "The Grouch" from his skit about Sesame Street. He was a very angry man. He sat among his pile of stuff, all day and night, watching the city go by. Every once in a while he would yell out at people and annoy them, they would throw some change into his coffee cup to get him off their case and they'd rush off. His belongings formed a perfect bell curve along the wall and the floor when viewed from my balcony overhead. He sat right in the middle, as if to emphasize the fact that he's just another average hobo.

I had been living in the apartment on this semi-ghetto Brooklyn street for a few years now. Every day, I would come back home and have to traverse the cross-fire between his glares and stares at the public to reach the door of the building. I used to smile at him every once in a while and he responded with a blank look, rather than the profanities he would catapult at others. When I first moved in, it was winter. New York has an unforgiving wind that whips through the streets. I had an old coat I had used just a couple of times, so I gave it to him. During the colder times of the year, I would grab him a cup of coffee; in the summer, an ice-cold lemonade. Still, conversation was less than minimal.

On my way back home one day, I walked right past him and was fumbling for my keys when I realized something was different. I had a double-take and looked back at where he normally sat. It was organized. He sat in the same spot, but there was a shopping cart full of his things, arranged by frequency of usage from the bottom to the top. His clothes were nicely stacked in a cardboard box near him which he used as a sort of table for his cup. He was smiling. I had never seen that before.

Just then, a passer-by crossed his path. "Hey! Hey you, walking with your mobile phone," he said while swinging his arms around trying to get his attention.
"Hang on, some hobo's bothering me... I don't have ti-," the man replied, still walking.
"I don't want anything from you," the hobo said, "just a moment of your time."
"I'm going to have to call you back," the businessman said and hung up the phone.
The hobo then pointed up at the windowsill above his head and smiled, "Isn't that beautiful?" Three quarters were standing on their edges, side by side. The man shook his head and walked away murmuring, "Crazy fuckin' people in this city," under his breath.

I went up to the hobo, he was still smiling, pointing up at the coins, "What has gotten into you?"
"What do you mean? There's just beauty in that, don't you think?"
"Well, yea... but what happened to the grumpy guy on the street?" I asked.
What he told me next made me question whether he had gone insane or not, "See that garbage can over there across the street? Well, last night, some chick came down from your building and had this awesome looking thing in her hands. It was all colorful and shit."
I was kind of lost as to where this story was going, "So? What about it?"
He continued, "It was a goat head, all funky colored... kinda like reminded me of all them psychadelic shits I used to do back in the 60's. I was shocked, 'cuz she just put it down on the floor next to the garbage and talked to it, and walked away. Made me wonder if she was a little cuckoo."
At this point I was seriously questioning his sanity and replied, "Alright man..." trying to end the conversation as I shifted me feet to turn away.
"Wait, wait... hear me out now. That's not all. Not even half an hour after she left, some dude was walking around, probably going somewhere, I don't know," he was close to coming to his point, "the dude was curious, picked it up, checked it out, dusted it, and walked away with it with a smile on his face."
His voice was rising in tone, the climax was coming, "As he was leaving, the damn thing smiled at ME and winked. I'm telling you I was shocked at first, but this morning I woke up and didn't mind where I was. I was always pissed at how and where I ended up, but there is beauty in this world and we usually take it for granted until it's forgotten."
I was really speechless. All I could really blurt out was, "Wow!" I realized he was truly being sincere, "You know what, I have been here a few years now and still don't know your name"
His smile held its position and he happily answered, "Jerry. I'm Jerry. Now you go on up and get some rest after work, you look like shit."
We both laughed a little and as I waved and turned away, he said, "Have a good night, Mr. Gerebtzoff." I stopped in my tracks for a split second, wondering how in the world he would know my name. It's not even written on the buzzer at the door. "Goodnight, Jerry," I responded, still in awe, and went up to my appartment.