Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Instant Karma — Part 3

Instant Karma ... The Lives of Trehorn Sandhu-Smythe

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places, or actual events is purely coincidental.

— Life 16039 —

Trehorn swam idly around his new-found home. It was quite posh, by Trehorn's standards, with a tie-dyed psychedelic castle stuck in the bottom gravel of his fish bowl. Trehorn could hide just inside the drawbridge, if he so wanted, or he could just swim right through it as he looped the loop around the glass bowl. At first, he had trouble navigating his way without hitting his nose on the glass sides, but after a few bruises, he had learned his lesson.

Every so often, something a little unsettling, if not downright frightening, made Trehorn head for the safety of his tie-dyed psychedelic castle. The face of Marsha Jewel Ambrose would appear just outside the far glass wall, and she would press her pug nose against the glass and make her lips pucker and unpucker as if she were swimming like a giant carp through the side of the bowl. Then she would use one of her sticky fingers to tap on the glass. For Trehorn, every tap sounded like someone was lighting up a cannon and sending an unearthly charge through the water. His caudal peduncle would tremble and his tiny heart would skip a beat.

Other days, Marsha Jewel Ambrose would sit by the bowl and talk to him. She called him "Goldie," which Trehorn thought a little less than original, but fitting. He was not exactly gold in colour, more of an orange calico, since he wore splotches of white and black down his sides, but Trehorn was not given to being pretentious, and he came to like both his name and the girl who fussed over him. He especially admired how she paid strict attention to feeding time. Every morning, as she wandered around her room while sifting through piles of clothes, she would come over to his bowl and shake some kind of aromatic flakes into the water.

Trehorn would squiggle round and round his tie-dyed psychedelic castle and slurp up these flakes before they reached the bottom gravel and disappeared. Most days, he was lucky enough to gulp down enough flakes to sustain him through the day. Other days, he would be less lucky, and by nightfall, he would feel weak and find his ability to swim straight up increasingly difficult. These were the days of the titled swim, somewhat like doing the breaststroke with one hand.

Then one day, Trehorn's luck went from bad to worse. His morning feeding had been disastrous. By nightfall, he was so hungry that he began foraging through the gravel for some leftover flakes of food. To his dismay, he sucked in a piece of red gravel, which caught somewhere along his digestive tract and refused to budge. Within seconds to minutes, Trehorn felt something pop in his pyloric cecum, and his small body shuddered rather drastically. Trehorn knew something was amiss when his tilted swim turned into an upside down swim. To the best of his knowledge, goldfish were not supposed to be able to do the backstroke, but there he was, spinning wrong side up, and quickly floating to the top of the bowl.

As the sun rose the next morning, Marsha Jewel Ambrose screamed in terror when she saw her best friend, Goldie, floating upside down on the water's surface. She poked her sticky finger into the water and pushed Trehorn down, as if this would somehow send him right side up again. For a moment, the girl's primitive attempt at CPR seemed to work. Trehorn was right side up, but only for a moment. His tiny gills pumped at the water, and then quit. Over he went. Upside down once again.

Marsha Jewel Ambrose's scream resonated through the entire house. Jane Elsie Ambrose-Navarro, Marsha's mother, was in the bathroom when she heard the girl's terrifying screech. She had been sitting on the toilet for a good hour, during which time, she had been praying to Jesus that she might pass a knot of feces through her colon sometime before noon. Marsha Jewel Ambrose's scream not only shocked the life out of her, it also immediately emptied her bowels and sent what one could only describe as an Oh! Henry bar on steroids splashing beneath her.

Ms Ambrose-Navarro suddenly felt light as air, and she leapt into action. She scrambled into her nightgown and ran down the hallway to her daughter's bedroom. When she swung the door open , she found Marsha Jewel Ambrose lying on her back while kicking her legs and beating her arms against the floor. At first glance, it appeared that the girl was having a seizure. The truth of the matter is that Marsha Jewel Ambrose was simply doing some kind of dryland backstroke in what could only be called a paroxysmal parody of Trehorn's dilemma.

Trehorn squinted out of his glazed eye and saw what he dreaded most. Jane Elsie Ambrose-Navarro was manoeuvring a small green net attached to a long yellow handle around the fish bowl. In no time at all, she had him doubled over in the plastic webbing. She lifted him out of the water, and Trehorn emitted what, for goldfish, would be considered a massive fart. The piece of red gravel slipped out of his anus and into the net. Suddenly, Trehorn felt renewed, but sadly, Jane Elsie Ambrose-Navarro failed to notice. She carried Trehorn quickly down the hallway to the bathroom and deposited him unceremoniously into the toilet, where Trehorn lay on top of what appeared to be a large brown trout.

Trehorn held his breath as best as he could, and then the inevitable happened. Jane Elsie Ambrose-Navarro pushed down the toilet's lever, and Trehorn found himself cycling down into a dark pit.

Down, down, and down he tumbled, until at last he caught a glimmer of light seeping into the darkness, and for some reason, he simply couldn't stop barking.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Instant Karma — Part 2

Instant Karma ... The Lives of Trehorn Sandhu-Smythe

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places, or actual events is purely coincidental.

— Life 16038 —

Trehorn squirmed between the canisters on the counter of Miss Paisley Aforesaid's kitchen. He peeked over the sugar stored in one of the clear acrylic containers, and much to his dismay, there by the stove stood the half-dressed Miss Aforesaid with a long plastic spatula in her hand. The moment he saw her, she saw him.

A change in Trehorn's colour swept over his knobby body, and his grey-green prehistoric skin was transformed and matched the yellow of the counter top perfectly.

Too late.

A shriek punctuated by the words, "You little bastard!" filled the air.

The race was on.

Trehorn scurried from between the canisters and down the length of the counter top. He skittered behind the Mr Coffee, leapt over tub of Becel, crashed through a bottle of Ibuprofen, and smacked into a box of Cheez-Its. Finally, he zigzagged around the dangerously cavernous sink and propelled himself over the end of the counter. Catching the empty air with the fullness of his little body, he managed to land safely just inches from an open recycling bin.

The flutter of Miss Aforesaid's woolly slippers kicked and stomped at him, as he high-tailed his way along the baseboards towards the dining room.

"It's not bad enough being trapped in this ever-changing Technicolor body," he thought to himself, "now I have to make like Charlie Chaplin in a Keystone Cop misadventure."

In his 3939th life, Trehorn would often go to the cinema with his adoptive mother, and to this day, he remembered her with great fondness. She would buy him a bag of popcorn and a nickel Coke, and together they would watch the first talkies at the Crown Theatre in London's West End. It was a rich and full life that Trehorn enjoyed above all the others. But that was before the great war and the bombings.

The route to the porch door seemed easy enough. It gaped open just yards ahead of him, and the morning sunlight was streaming across the hardwood floor. Trehorn sensed the freedom of the great outdoors, when suddenly the world became a fog of sticky gas. There, directly in his path, stood Miss Aforesaid. In her hand was a tall can of insect spray, which she held at her hip like a gunfighter in a Saturday morning horse opera on television. She sprayed him once directly in his face, and then once again just to be certain she had not missed her mark.

Trehorn marvelled at the sour scent of lilac wafting through the air, held his breath for a moment, and then conceded defeat as his lungs filled with the poisonous gas. His little body convulsed once, and then he lay flat on his side, just a short distance from the lawn and the ornamental shrubbery where he might have spent long summer days basking peacefully in the sun.

"This would have been such an easy life," he moaned sadly to himself, but it was a life that he would never see with his 3-D reptilian eyes again.

Trehorn felt suddenly cold and wet, but looking back over his dorsal fin, he was quite enamoured of the long and flowing orange tail that spread out in the shape of a fan behind him, and for some odd reason, that swish of orange propelling him through the water made Trehorn remember the geishas of Kyoto.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Instant Karma — Part 1

Instant Karma ... The Lives of Trehorn Sandhu-Smythe

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places, or actual events is purely coincidental.

— Life 16037 —

Trehorn felt the whoosh of the first swat. He flexed his wings and rose to the left, but he didn't completely escape the second swat.

A stubby, rough hand caught him with a glancing blow and sent him reeling into semi-consciousness. His flightpath disappeared, and he spun helplessly before dropping like a stone to the hardwood floor.

For a minute, he buzzed in a small circle like a tiny motorcycle out of control.

"This reincarnation journey is getting tedious," he thought as he searched frantically for some kind of safety through his forward feelers.

Then in the upper facets of his compound eyes, he saw it — a bare foot, scuffed and pitted with dead, yellow layers of skin, descending over him like a wrecking ball.

He squirmed to his right, but the calloused foot was too quick.

A moment of nothingness and then a kaleidoscopic downward spiral into a pit of colourful fractals, colours he seemed to absorb into his body.

Suddenly, Trehorn felt almost prehistoric. His small body rippled with bony armoured plates over his back and down his hindquarters, a somewhat fortunate anomaly, because Trehorn had tumbled through an open window and crash-landed upside down on a Formica-hard surface with a resounding thud. He quickly righted himself, and his long tongue flicked into the air. He could taste more than smell the sweet aroma of bacon cooking in a Teflon coated frying pan nearby.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

hopScotch ...

hopScotch ...

the chalk lines
on the sidewalk
have washed away now
after so many years of rain and
snow and all the
weather of decay
through the unending parade
of seasons that have
separated her from
frilly dresses and
birthday cakes
with fewer candles
marking time
but she still remembers
the way her ponytail bobbed
in the bright sun
when she skipped
over a smooth stone
and spread her legs at
2 and 3

"Promise you won't tell ..."
and he promised but lied
and told and then told again
he was Sonny Bartolo
the boy next door and
the running back
of the Clifton Cougars
not quite the prize
not the quarterback
but close enough
and afterwards
after he told and then told again
the world hissed at her
through voices in the wind
and called her the
Clifton Cunt

she hesitates at the corner
and lights a cigarette
as she peers down the
misty street where she once lived
the change is remarkable
the trees so tall
they bend and arch into one another
the houses so pale
they disappear in the blink of disrepair
then for a moment
her legs quiver and
her knees buckle
but she steadies herself against
the STOP sign
throws her cigarette
into a sewer
and steps over a broken brick
as she resolves to finish
the longest walk of her life

in college she cut off all her hair
and watched the curls tumble
into her dorm sink
sticking in silky threads
on the gobs of toothpaste
spit from Marie's mouth
Marie the dark-haired Hispanic
her room-mate and her
lover or at least
her sexual partner
who touched her softly
in the blackness of night
and who gave her wings
to fly over and above
her nightmares

she steps over the sidewalk
cracks that are filled with burweed
and she does not stop until
she reaches 308
the number still
tilted askew on the front
of the ragtag house
where she grew up
and suffered through
its screaming midnight walls
and its stench of sour beer
and vomit-stained mornings
the driveway is cracked and chunks
of asphalt have already disappeared
around the corner of the garage
as if somehow they could be replaced
there is more but
her eyes blur out the shivering past
and focus on the house next door
where a young boy plays under the Bartolo
cherry tree with a toy hatchet
that he whacks repeatedly
against the tree trunk
and in the boy's face
she sees the likeness she loathes
and for a moment
she almost whispers a prayer

after college
she joined the police force
and learned to shoot
straight and true
but never would she
fire a single shot
in the chaotic panorama of crime
she faced
never even imagined
the steel bullet
ignited by her hand
and finding its mark
until today

she calls to the boy
and is surprised at the sound
her voice makes in the October
winds that crease the grey sky
"Where's your father?"
she shouts a little too harshly
and the boy smells harm
sees something in her eyes
so he runs up the walk
then through the front door
into the house
which quickly spews out
the man she has come for
the running back grown old
and fat and confused for just a moment
until he sees the girl in her
and smiles the smile of conquest
long enough to say her name like it was
the punch line in a bar-room joke
and then says no more
when suddenly the still air lights up
and he falls into the invisible
set of chalk lines
that she has long
dreamed would be drawn
around his corpse
on the sidewalk where he tumbles
like the stone
tossed by the girl
with a bobbing ponytail
who now watches him crumble
and fall
somewhere between
the 10 and the 4


Saturday, September 26, 2015

I Wanna Be Your Pancake Man ...

I Wanna Be Your Pancake Man ...

When life loses some of its fizzle, maybe it's time for a little sizzle. Now, don't go asking, "What's the matter?" ... oh baby, please hurry and stir my batter. Spoon me into your frying pan — c'mon, baby, I just wanna be your pancake man.

Can't you see my heart is achin', for maybe just a little bacon, or perhaps some sausage on the side, to make our love life slip and slide. Honey, I don't wanna be your buttermilk biscuit or even some sweet, hot custard flan ... all I want, all I need, is to be your ever-loving pancake man.

Flip me over on your plate, and yes, a little butter would be great. Add some fruit or a little jam, and mmmmm, chocolate chips add a certain bam. Then, gimme all the sticky syrup that you can — c'mon, baby, I just wanna be your pancake man.

You can have me for breakfast, or any time of day . Brunch, lunch or dinner, you can have me most any way. With whipped cream is sometimes kinda nice, or sprinkle me with some real zesty spice. Add some cinnamon or some whole wheat bran ... all I want, all I need, is to be your ever-loving pancake man.

Cut me into tiny little squares, go ahead, catch me completely unawares. Eat me fast or eat me slow, just be sure that you know ... that, no matter what your future plan ... I just wanna be your pancake man.

Now, I know some people will always say, you should eat an apple every day, but for every apple that you eat, well here's a far better treat ... you can lay me flat with a mighty splat, and then like Charlie Chan, you'll figure out just why it is that I wanna be your pancake man.



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