Stories

Dream Angie

I awoke from my nap and remembered I was on a plane home to San Diego. I glanced around the low-lit cabin of thirteen other passengers, most of them asleep and a few with their heads bowed over some reading material. Across the aisle, my mother snored like our boxer Max. I leaned forward for a magazine when the top of my low-cut jeans pressed against my bladder and sent me off toward the restrooms. Along the way I swept some hair from my eyes, but it returned and tickled my nose. I almost sneezed, which caused me to almost wet myself. I sprinted to the toilet and did my business, releasing some gas and sounding like my dad’s truck when it had a bad carburetor.

After washing my hands at the sink and wiping my face with a lemon scented towel, I headed back and met a pretty flight attendant coming my way. She wore the typical flight attendant uniform that reminded me of my aunt’s Coast Guard one—a starchy white blouse and dark blue skirt. The attendant was my height—5’5”—and had soft auburn hair pinned up in a bun on her head.

“Hi,” I said as she approached. “Got any magazines other than People and Reader’s Digest?”

She stopped in front of me and shook her head. “Sorry,” she answered.

I shrugged off my disappointment while she glanced at the red curtain behind her that separated coach from first class. Then she looked at me slyly with warm blue eyes. “Would you like to take a look in first class?”

“Sure!” Like a child offered free sweets, I followed at her heels past the curtains and into a small, well-lit kitchenette where a taller flight attendant stood at a counter and dumped paper packets from a box. She ignored us as we entered first class on the other side of another set of red curtains. The place was lit low like coach, but the lighting seemed sharper and the seats were spaced farther apart. We passed a male attendant sleeping in a reclined, gray leather seat on our right. The rest of the place was uninhabited. She stopped while I looked around, which caused me to collide against her backside and send her turning and falling onto one of the seats to our left. She came to rest with her legs draped over an armrest and her pink knees hiding the lower half of her face.

“Have a seat,” she said and laughed after I apologized for my clumsiness. She pivoted her body like a gymnast and took the window seat, and then patted the seat she had fallen onto. “Go ahead, it’s okay.”

I sat and felt the first class cushion hug my second class ass. I released a pleasant sigh when the flight attendant stuck out a hand and said, “I’m Angie.”

I grasped her warm, soft hand. “Lola.”

She released my hand, leaned at me and pushed aside those errant strands of hair out of my eyes. She smelled freshly scrubbed and wore a fruity scent mixed with sandalwood and jasmine that blanketed me and made me dizzy.

Suddenly, her mouth was very close to the side of my face. The tip of her nose skimmed the edge of my cheek as she drew closer. Her breath warmed my earlobe when she whispered, “I want to play a game. Close your eyes.”

I hesitated. She said, “I want you to relax and put everything out of your mind until all you see is a blank wall in front of you, and all you hear is my voice.”

Again I hesitated.

“Trust me,” she said. “Imagine you’re a great artist painting a self-portrait on the wall. You’re wearing your favorite outfit.”

I closed my eyes, saw a blank wall in front of me, and pretended I was like the landscape painters I’d seen at the beaches near my home. I wore my favorite yellow and strapless summer dress that fit me like a soft caress.

Angie said, “Paint me next to you wearing clothes like yours.”

I did that, too, so easily.

“Now paint us a world to live in, to run in, to do in whatever we want. Make it our world, to share with no one but each other.”

In an instant I created a sunny day around a flowery hill. Angie and I ran on the fragrant hill, laughing and shouting like children. Along the way, Angie took one of my hands in hers and led me up and down the terrain, singing a song about magic, and swinging my arm with hers, our hands clamped together all the while.

We did this for a long time until we came to a brook and stopped. There, Angie let go of my hand.

“I must get ready,” she said. “The plane lands soon and I have to get back to work.”

Her statement confused me; I’d forgotten we were on an airplane. She told me to relax, to stay with her at the brook. I did.

“This place you see is real,” she said, as though she knew my thoughts. “You have created a place for us to visit whenever you want, Lola. Never believe it’s not so.”

I looked around at the hilly meadow, beautiful and tranquil. When I turned back, Angie was gone. A faraway male voice said that the plane would land soon.

My sunny world vanished and the first class section of the plane came into view.

Alone, I wandered back to my original seat. When the plane landed, Angie said goodbye to my mother and me at the exit. Before I followed my mother to the tarmac, Angie winked and tapped her forehead. “See you at the brook later today,” she said. “If you’ll paint me.”

I did. Since then, Angie and I spend wonderful times together in our secret, private world she helped me find that night in first class.

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Photo Credit:
 Izzy Gerosa

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My Tangerine Days, Stories

A Glimpse At Danger

The humid air stung his eyes. He hated how the steaminess assaulted his throat and made it hard to breathe. He rarely walked, but Dr. Ford said his body needed the exercise if he wanted to get better. The backside of the park was a good place to begin. No one needed to see him huff and puff and sweat like an old steam engine. That’s why he kept inside the woodsy area. Plus, it was cooler here.

He was resting against the backside of a tree after urinating in the bushes there when two little darlings wearing short skirts caught his eye. He watched unseen as they passed within arm’s reach, giggling the way girls their age often do. He let them get several yards past him before he followed. Despite his poor condition, he was able to keep up with the little darlings—they weren’t hurrying.

On the other side of the grove, he kept his distance and pretended to stare down at the sidewalk along Seneca Street. No need making eye contact with anyone passing by. Traffic was sparse, even on Maple Drive where the girls entered Rockwood Terrace, and then an expensive looking tan and white ranch house.

1249, he read from the front door. Above it hung a wooden sign from the portico. The Garrs. He passed by the long house built low to the ground and its three car garage attached to the left. More houses like it lined the circular street active with children playing.

He turned around and retraced his steps back to the park and his car. He sat behind the wheel and decided to visit the Garrs soon … very soon.

LolaCandi, Stories

Down the River Hebrus (Revisited)

I dreamed I sailed alone down the river Hebrus to the island Lesbos where I found sudden love at the center of a liquid mirror that reverberated with the clear perfection of my face—a sweet face with angel grace as done by the master hand of the world’s finest Victorian painter.

The morning sun behind me poured my shadow pink and blue and naked to the lakeshore where water nymph lovers made this beggar maiden their queen. They presented to me Pandora’s wounded body in a red world flashing decaying sounds of war, whereupon I ordered all sentries to burn their weapons and to lay Pandora alongside the head of Orpheus in the garden of Cupid where Psyche still waits for his kiss beneath a pregnant sky of stars ready to sprinkle down upon her bosom.

Then I tended Pandora’s wounds around the weddings of children finally thirteen, and forgave Apollo of his crime. For Apollo stole jazz from us before, between and becoming the lies of the dark man who painted himself white. His broken lips never spoke jazz or placed his emasculate hands on the beating heart of poetry, or made a right move in all his life out of the womb.

His time was winter constant. He ate and copulated ecstatic with money and politics—year after year of untasted sweetness in the mineshafts of disregard. No love, no knowledge, no concern for the smallest certainties. He showed his giant genitals to the shrews in the subway and dreamed of scattering his semen to the ultimate cunt for a name and a place for him to be determined later by the jizzum in the dark alleys of the unlived.

The lies from the dark man were full of tragedy trembling like a diseased dog and starving like the world in its ultimate nervous breakdown.

And in my sainthood, I healed all hearts and flesh of the dark man’s wicked church and took away the hour that would be winter eating the earth forever.

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LolaCandi, Stories

Melted Ice (Revisited Again)

Night in the city has a strange sound—the way ice speaks before it melts and pools down, rushes gutters, rages rivers on its interwoven streets to somewhere, past everyone in and out of the shadows at night.

The night watchers look on in judgment—not of the melted ice but of each other on their interwoven streets to somewhere—to home, perhaps.

Home. Home is where the heart is. That’s what she likes telling him.

She grew up in a good Christian home, but not he, though he agrees that there is no place like home. That’s why he stays home on weekends on his interwoven street to somewhere he once traveled when he and she were young.

That somewhere is east of their home. If you follow their street across town, it will lead you to their old high school.

He walked that route every school morning; he didn’t miss a single day of school (good boy he).

She walked it too, though not with him to school. She walked with him when the school day was done.

One day, she turned in the wrong direction.

“Where are you going?” he asked, watching her go.

“Anywhere that will take me somewhere,” she said.

“Anywhere is somewhere, you know,” he said, catching up to her.

“Unless it’s giving us solace.”

“Solace? What do you mean?”

“Solace is where we sit comfortably and go nowhere. Like my dad. Every night he leans closer to the flick flick flicker of the TV’s deadlights that distract his notions and blind him of the future and the plight of melted ice.”

“What does ice have to do with anything?” he asked her.

“Night in this city has a strange sound, the way roof ice speaks before it melts, pools down, rushes gutters, and raises the river’s rage below us. Melted ice flows over boot tops, speeds down interwoven streets with signs that claim they take us somewhere—home, school, or futures everywhere that are nowhere to my dad at night.”

“Because he chooses to sit and go nowhere.”

“Except to lean closer to the flick flick flickering deadlight that distract his notions with surround-sound voices telling him how to think, and overpowering the important sounds outside our curtained windows… of me… of us… of melted ice.”

The boy took her hand. “I’ll go anywhere with you as long as you lead the way.”

So she did.

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LolaCandi, Stories

Time For Adventure

Last night, while looking at the sky on a cloudless night, the young woman saw an expanse of stars and constellations. She had seen stars before. But she had never paid attention to how many there were. The more she looked into the depth and scope of the sky, there seemed no limit to the number of brilliant, celestial objects there.

With a shiver, she felt like a child discovering something new and grand in her life.

To a child, discoveries come every day. When did she stop being a child?

She pondered why she had stopped looking to discover new things. She was an adult living a busy adult life. She had spent years developing skills and garnering diplomas and titles so she could acquire a job that allowed her to live adequately. There was no time to spend discovering something new every day. Her life did not allow it.

The life she had chosen did not allow her to live like a child exploring the world around her.

“Can’t pay the bills if I’m off exploring,” she said.

But what about grants? she pondered.

“Those are for researchers and scientists. I’m just an executive accountant.”

She poured herself a glass of wine and returned to looking at the stars. She recognized the big and little dippers, but not the other constellations.

“Need to read up on stars,” she said before retiring for the night.

And last night she dreamed adventure. She was home. She was at work. She was with friends and family at places she knew and places that were unfamiliar and unreal, especially when she visited the moon and a new bank and loan office there.

Her alarm clock took her from her dreams and she awoke feeling sad that her adventures were over.

As she stumbled from bed and past her library of books on the way to her shower, she remembered a quote attributed to the French novelist, Jean Giraudoux. “Sadness flies on the wings of the morning and out of the heart of darkness comes the light.”

And in that instant, she sensed the light of last night and knew that adventures are always around her, no matter whether asleep or awake. She just needed to give them their own time in her busy life.

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LolaCandi, Stories

News From the Future

While we eagerly anticipate traveling from New York to Paris in a matter of seconds, work continues on both travel centers.

Although the Paris building is near completion, the outer walls of The New York Instant Travel Center are now in place, allowing work to continue on the interior.

Crews from more than a dozen contracting firms have gone to work on interior walls, floors, wiring, glass work, plumbing and thousands of other details to get the new building finished in spring.

Once finished, both buildings will have seven rooms available for transportation, a world atlas and language library, and a food court.

Also, both centers will have a recuperating room for travelers experiencing travel sickness, and will be staffed by specially trained medical personnel. When the centers open in September 2030, this new means of travel will create a new center of gravity on the touring business, as well as other industries.

Lola Gentry, executive vice president for the New York center, oversees the building project. She explained that the state and federal funding agencies providing much of the funding for the $5.5 trillion project expect its completion by April 30.

So Ms. Gentry, on top of her many other functions, is watching the weather closely in the next few months. She got enough good weather in November to get the exterior far enough along to allow that crucial inside work. An early spring would help, too. That would allow for finishing any other exterior work by the target date.

It’s not that April 30 is a drop-dead date. Ms. Gentry said that the project can get an extension if needed.

In the meantime, some of her scientists are busy designing a weather controlling device in hope to speed along future construction projects.

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LolaCandi, Stories

People … Who Needs Them

She’s a bit introverted. She’s happiest when she’s by herself, holed-up from the rest of her coworkers and customers at the department store she works at. But sometimes she volunteers to come out of her office cubby and assist her coworkers on the sales floor. Like yesterday.

Things began okay. She helped stock shelves with new toys, kitchen appliances, and fragrant candles. Then she assisted the photo department whose worker went to lunch. The photo department ha machines that print photos from other photos, digital media, tablets and phones, as long as the customer agrees not to copy photos taken by professional photographers. Those photos are copyrighted, so anyone wanting them reproduced needs to have a release form signed by the photographer, saying it’s okay. Otherwise, it’s against the law. And that’s where the trouble began.

A portly man in need of a bath and a change of soiled undershirt and blue jeans came to the counter and wanted her to show him how to scan his Olan Mills photos of a dead relative so he could have copies for a funeral board. He had no release with him and had never bothered to obtain one. “Why should I?” he asked. “They’re my fucking photos.”

The woman apologized for the inconvenience and he stormed away. She returned to packaging and pricing photos that the busy high-tech printer spat out from the 8 kiosks outside the photo department that were in use. The kiosks were several yards away and partially hidden by an excessive bloating of electronic merchandise, so the woman who packaged and priced photos didn’t see the man return and use the next kiosk that became available. Nor did she see the kind, white-haired woman next to him show him how to use the kiosk’s scanner.

When the high-tech printer printed the man’s photos, the woman recognized them immediately. And when the man came to her counter, she took the photos to him and explained again how she couldn’t sell to him the copies of the professionally made pictures without a signed release from the photographer.

Well, the man whined and swore at her and actually stomped his feet. The woman wondered if he had Asperger Syndrome. When he fired off a litany of profanities at her, she figured it was Tourette Syndrome. After all, the man certainly had to have been schooled in proper public behavior. If so, he didn’t show it. He did show, however, a red, angry face, a waving of arms and fists, and some name-calling she hadn’t heard since elementary school. And then he snatched the photos from her hands and ran.

As she came out of her shock of disbelief, a woman next in line said, “If he can leave without paying for his pictures, I can too. And there’s nothing you can do to stop me, bitch.” And to prove it, she shoved her packaged and priced photos into her big-ass pigskin purse when the woman handed them to her. Then she pivoted and walked away with her nose in the air.

The woman called her manager from the photo department’s phone, of course, who immediately called security who quickly called the police who rushed over and arrested the two shoplifters in the parking lot.

Later that day, after she returned to her office cubby and found solace behind her closed door, the woman vowed never to help in the photo department again. Life was nicer and safer to her when she was holed-up from the rest of the world, just the way she liked it.

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