An Automatic Habit

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Hard? “Hardly,” came the voice from the other end of the phone. More like “impossible” or “flat-out undo-able.”

“Hon – chill. If you can’t even muster up a dollop – that’s all, just a dollop … about the same amount of hot sauce you like on your eggs .. give or take .. but, yeah – just a dollop – of patience, you’re never going to fix it the way you’re wanting it to be.”

To herself, Eleanor thinks: ‘Steerike Two.’ ‘Oh no you don’t. ‘ First: ‘Hon – chill.’ And now: ‘what was that word you used? Started with a ‘p?’ Prurient .. Prevaricator .. Piss pot Fusspot? No. No. No. Ha – just now coming to me: ‘premeditate,’ as in my wheels are going round and round. Best quit while you’re still – or still have – a(head),’ Eleanor teased. Now – tell me again how I need to be ‘patient.’

Good God, Woman. You need to apply for a concealed carry for that brain of yours. Shoot first. Pick up the pieces after. With ‘ask hubby for clarification’ hovering somewhere around the 9th or 10th option.”

But, by this point, hubby’s insights, dressed even as dapper as they were – in their Sunday finery, no less – sounded to Eleanor eerily reminiscent of the sharp snap and retort of a bull whip breaking the sound barrier. Its crackle-pop whistle snap at its apogee. Igniting instantly some dormant dry leaf pile memories. And just like that – whistle snap – she was back to being her 9-year-old self once again.

As automatic as a habit, she retreated into her own head. Her mind both shunning and sequestering all other external stimuli at this point – save the imaginary birth of the bullwhips unmistakable whistle snap against the brick wall between her and reality.

The feeling faded.

It always did.

‘Thank God for that.’

Photo: Angela B. – the woman who coined the term: ‘Automatic Habit’
thanks, girl. hoping you’re at peace with your piece of your pie in the sky.

 

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The Multi-Colored Crowd

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Parameters:
‘Waves’ to start story
‘rash’ & ‘touch’ in body

Waves upon waves of depraved suit and tie lunchtime crunch-time ‘gotta meet the office deadline’ workers – all neat as a stick pin – departed en masse from the slave ship known as Metro Bus #222.

It was early morning – just a wee bit before 8 am. None the less, every single soul stepping off the gangplank wore the exact same rash ‘trust me for I can smile with the best of them’ foolish grin. That – right there – should be reason enough for any prospective client to embrace the precise equal and opposite desired reaction : by ‘not’ trusting any of them. For, who in their right mind is as bright and chipper at this early hour as the Big Dipper?

Salesmen of the latest and the greatest ‘new and improved’ ONLY $19.95 .. but WAIT .. gizmo or gadget. Doom and Gloom insurance salesmen preying on the fears and tears of the elderly and otherwise prone to worry. Stock and roll prognosticators spit shining their interpretation of the latest indicators. Will it go up? Down? All the way around. Either way, to confuse or confound, 10 somersets they’ll undertake on solid ground.

Fools on the hill – on the lam? – hiding their morals away in the jar just inside their office door jam. Just a touch to the right and under a poster of The Fab Four. The one, sadly, depicting what it claims is ‘the last photo of all 4 Beatles together.’

Maybe one day someone in the multi-colored crowd will notice the empty hypocrisy. As the police converge on his funny home after his latest funny caper. All singing … Big man, pig man ha ha charade you are … ‘they never gave you their money – all they gave you was their funny paper.’

An Unstable Delicacy

An Unstable Delicacy

Parameters: Begin with ‘Waves’
Include: ‘rash’ & ‘touch’

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Waves. Upon waves. Upon wave. Upon wavelet. Our secret, stealthy, silent partners as we go about our daily lives. As a rule, they come in peace. An orchestrated cavalcade of oxen bending to do our bidding.

Of sadness .. Of joy .. Of nausea ad nauseam .. Ocean .. Electric .. Sound .. Micro .. even in your Brain .. and mine .. right this exact moment. Thankfully. For the absence of such would prove to be quite deleterious to ones health. Sounding, in such case, no less than a death knell.

Otherwise, life-giving and sustaining, they do their best work behind-the-scenes. In the background. Silently powering whichever ship they captain – and enabling it to thrive in its inherent uniqueness.

The radio playing in the background as you go about your busy day. Serving up, perhaps, that one little ditty which might one day evolve into your wedding’s theme song. Your child’s grade school mascot’s signature piece. Perhaps, even, capturing your core beliefs neat as the proverbial pin. In any event, some pretty heavy lifting. Especially considering the invisible nature of said stealthy radio waves.

Yet even more vaguely esoteric: the rash rush of a single, salubrious, shimmering droplet of just one salty tear as you feel it touch your cheek in its inimitable loving way. Undoubtedly soon to be followed by wave upon wave upon wavelet of its brothers and sisters.

For a tear – like Love – Like Friendship – Like a long distance Love Affair with a kindred soul such as you’ve never experienced before – never travels nor travails on its own. It’s too delicious and unstable a delicacy to dine, as such, alone.

Waving silently – but oh so beautifully and loudly – across the miles – to touch a past that didn’t exist. To create a future not one nor the other could resist.

Sophia’s Dress

Start story with ‘Impressive’
Include: ‘damned’ & ‘Jackson’

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Impressive. What the mind of man can conceive and achieve. Towering thirty feet above street level in downtown Buffalo, New York: The oh so appropriately – if somewhat unimaginatively-named: ‘Skyway.’

Built on engineered columns thick and strong as the thousand-year-old residents of California’s Calaveras Big Tree State Park. It’s roadbed a compressed sandwich of rebar thick as a man’s forearm, steel and concrete. Impossibly dense and sturdy.

Yet equally soft and sinuous. Its curves gentle, but pronounced. Subtle, yet provocative. Embracing and enhancing the road as would a dress decorating the inimitable Sophia Loren. The tiniest breeze pressing it tighter and tighter , accenting her womanliness. A fine wine poured into and assuming the contours of an even yet finer glass. Thus, it’s nickname to the locals: Sophia’s Dress.

Her undulations being constantly traversed by semis packed with anything and everything from slinkys and gold-gilded Bibles to Action Jackson figures and ‘read this and forever be damned’ underground writings and ramblings.

Some of these, perhaps share a pinch of rationality. Some pure fictional mystery. Others yet, prophetic in their synchronicity: ‘How can this possibly be ?!’

Those who first experience a ride along Sophia’s Dress sense a mixed menagerie teasing and tickling their five senses. Such is the all-pervasiveness, the gloriously genteel tiniest-touch-of-a-fingertip ethos imbued in this otherwise mundane mixture of rebar, concrete and steel.

Impressive: What the mind of man can conceive and achieve.

Oftentimes, inexplicably yet so wonderfully augmented by The Universe .. in this case:

… the steady, repetitive dup dup / dup dup / dup dup unmistakable sound of a heartbeat generated as one’s vehicle passes over the slightly-raised expansion joints embedded in her on ramp …

Offering to you and me and all a gift equally esoteric in its beauty, mystery and serendipity.

The Taste of Forever

theunivers

Begin story with: ‘Profundity’
Include: ‘Many’ & ‘Never’

Profundity: That rarest of rare ineffable exquisiteness which bestows itself on only a few, select moments in ones’ lifetime.

The heart-palpitating wild wonderment of your first kiss shared with the girl in high school you couldn’t imagine was but just another living, breathing person like you – her innate incredulity in your eyes lending her more the air and aloofness of Queen Nefertiti.

You & her. Together with a bottle of wine, two Ball canning jars and a cooler full of ice. Thoughts and feelings aligned as precisely and perfectly as the arrows on Orion’s belt. In your 1976 Pontiac Catalina at the drive-in movie show. “Supper’s Ready,” the magical, mystical soul-searching opus co-crafted by the English band, Genesis and God Himself playing over and over on your car’s state-of-the-art 8 track tape player.

Heaven has its angels. The Universe: its stars. The oceans: their layered depths of mystery decorated with otherworldly miracle upon miracle swimming .. floating .. cavorting .. exploring .. mating .

You … have her. She … has you. You’re both young. Healthy. Innocent. Searching. Yearning. Discovering. Strong, pink hearts measuring out the seconds .. the minutes .. the hours .. the lives the two of you have yet to immerse yourselves in.

Orion. The songs of the Whales. The furthest unseen planets circling the furthest unseen stars. As you take her hand in yours. Comforting her soul. Your heart nearly overdosing on the mix of sheer beauty and adrenaline as you feel her give your hand the slightest, barely perceptible squeeze in return.

No words. No thoughts. Just a plea to the Heavens: Please. Let us share this moment again and again and again. As many ‘agains’ as can fit into one lifetime.

You share a kiss.
Flavored with the taste of forever.

Hold on. Never let me go.

JFK and The Sun Kings

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Parameters: Begin story with ‘Be.’
Include in body: ‘like.’ ‘November.’
Exactly 300 words.

BE. A. T. L. E. S. ARRIVE IN NEW YORK February 7, 1964

John. Paul. George. Ringo. Right? Isn’t that the order … the ‘accepted’ order, at that … most of us use when we refer to The Lads? It just kind of morphed into that over the years. Whether this particular order is intended to signify the level of innate talent each brought to the band or their names just roll off the tongue easier this way is up for debate.

First off Pan Am flight #101 was George. Following him down the stairs was John. Then Paul. And, lastly, Ringo. With George & Ringo essentially forming a set of symbolic parenthesis or quotation marks around the juggernaut that would become “Lennon-McCartney.”

Of course, maybe George happened to be sitting closest to the door. And Ringo, furthest. Thus, the order of disembarking. No mystery. No debate or deconstruction necessary. For some things are as innocent and straightforward as they appear.

Others are not.

November 22, 1963. JFK Assassinated.

A momentous event also captured live. The film of which – on a much deeper level – continues to provoke more questions than answers.

Regardless of whether it be JPGR / GJPR, the infectious enthusiasm of these 4 kids from across the pond was exactly what America needed at this exact time. For, although it had yet to be written, let alone released in 1964, She could be heard softly singing one of The Lads’ next hits : Help me if you can, I’m feeling down / And I do appreciate you being ’round / Help me get my feet back on the ground / Won’t you please, please help me?

America. JFK. The Beatles. Inexplicably. Inexorably Intertwined.

Which was most like the photograph? The photographer?

All. None. Either. Or.