Sunday Blunderbus: Pseudonymbis Evaporatus (For the time being)

A work of fiction: Sunday Blunderbus found clouds in her coffee-

Sunday’s Child is full of Grace…

The night air was crisp and fresh, the incense of a short rain shower filled the air as Sunday made her way down the deserted street about a mile away from her family home. It was just a couple of weeks past Christmas, and the rain had made the air even colder than normal. She’d been walking for what seemed a lot longer than she’d thought, and every now and then she’d pass a house that had a dog or several dogs that would start to bellow and report her presence to their owners. Sunday was always a little nervous walking after dark, and she ran her hand through her long red hair as she always did when she was not feeling so confident.

Somewhere an owl screeched in the distance, Sunday picked up her pace.  It was the night of the rally, her family members had been making impromptu signs regarding Saddam Hussein. One of them was S.C.U.D.- Sneaky Conniving Ugly Dictator, written in fancy letters in sharpie. She had just figured out what a scud missile was, they had been watching C-Span and CNN channel before she’d left the house. The other they had written had something about Bomb Iraq accompanied by some picture of some of the residents of what she presumed to be Iraq, or rag heads as they’d been referred to, holding up assault rifles with a caption that said “Death to the Infidels.”

Sunday wasn’t sure why she felt the way she did, the family all seemed to be pulling together for the upcoming rally for the war efforts in Desert Storm, but something inside her felt very wrong about what they were doing. She knew that her neighbor, Jim Peterson, was going to be giving a speech about the importance of the common good of our nation being linked to gaining control of the oil in that area.  Her mother and father had had the Peterson’s over for dinner, and they had listened to Jim’s speech that he’d planned for the rally. He used great inflection and appealed to the emotions of the listener, encouraging them to be directly involved with all the war efforts. He’d been a General in one of the Armed Forces.

He was very charismatic and funny, making light of a lot of things that Sunday thought might be sacred, but she didn’t think to speak out and ask any questions. Sunday just listened and watched, she did not interject even when she thought he might be misleading. Her father had always pointed her in the direction of the arts, and once Peterson had seen a peace sign sewn onto the back of her jean jacket and told her that she should rip that off of there, that it was the sign of the all american chicken foot. She’d taken a lot of time embroidering that patch and tie-dyeing it, so she felt slightly offended by his remark but went about her own way.

She and Peterson had several strange encounters, there was one night when she was taking out the garbage that he was outside on his porch and called her over to his yard. There had been several beer bottles and other litter thrown out onto the road and into his yard. He told her that she should pick them up and put them into her garbage can since she was already out there working. She had thrown an eyebrow up at him, sat the families’ garbage at the road and just walked away. Peterson usually had a group of neighborhood boys that would hang out around his home, some of the one’s who’d dropped out of high school, and some whose fathers had left home or weren’t around. Peterson had no children of his own, but these boys were always hungry for his attention and would often perform whichever tasks he requested because he was a fellow with such clout. She could tell that her refusal to comply confused him, but she turned on her heel and walked back down the driveway into her home.

It wasn’t long after that that Peterson and his wife came to dinner, and he’d inspired the family to make signs for the upcoming rally. All of her brothers except the oldest, who had already left home, and her sister were busy making the signs and her mother asked her what she planned to do for the rally. Sunday decided to use one of the pieces of cardboard and write out Save Our Troops plainly with no embellishments, then took a walk around her neighborhood, hoping to meet up with her friends if they were out playing basketball. Gabriella and she often shared the aspects of their home life, and her brother Zeke, or Ezekiel, had had encounters with Mr. Peterson as well and she wanted to discuss the rally with them. She hoped they come along with her so that she wouldn’t feel so alone in the midst of all the people who seemed so happy to be going to war.

Gabby wasn’t out, but Zeke was shooting hoops and she was very glad to see him out there.

“Hey, you guys going to the rally?”

“What, nah, I’ve still got to finish my homework.”

“Oh, is Gabby home?”

“Yeah, she’s inside.”

Sunday walked inside the Deaver family home to find Gabby sitting there, going through her playing cards.

“Hey Gabs, whatcha doing?”

“Oh just alphabetically arranging my X-Men figure playing cards. Hey, watch this, I can almost toss one like Gambit.” And she picked one of the cards up from the deck and held it between her thumb and two forefingers and tossed it in Sunday’s direction.

Gabby laughed, “Doesn’t have quite the same effect though.”

“Hey, so I was just wondering if your family was planning to go to the rally for desert storm tonight?”

“Well, we haven’t discussed it,but I suppose I’ll go if you are going. There hasn’t been anything like that going on around here since we’ve been around. When does it start?”

“7:00 o’clock. Town Square, Cleveland Avenue.” Gabby looked down at her watch, it was already 6:15. It was already getting dark so early this time of year.

“Damn, Sunday- short notice much?” Gabby laughed. “You wanna ride with us, or are you headed out with the fam?”

“I gotta get back to them, I need to help carry all the signs they’re making.” Gabby laughed, “The family pack mule, I hear ya.”

“Whatever,” Sunday said, sticking out her tongue and blowing her a raspberry.

Sunday headed out the door, Zeke was just finishing up practicing for the next basketball game and was putting the balls away. “Hey, what’s Gabs up to?”

“She’s gonna come to the rally, you wanna tag along?”

He made a crinkled up nose face and mocked her,”You wanna tag along?Meh.”

She laughed, knowing that it was usually her that was a tag along on their trips. She’d been on vacation with them on several occasions, and at times felt as though she was a part of their family too.

“Yeah, why not? Doubt we’ll get to see another war get started up this decade.”

Sunday put a skip in her step back to the house, everyone was already loading up to go to the rally. She felt a little better knowing that Gabby and Zeke would be there.  Her youngest brother Tommy was putting on his cowboy boots, and they were just adorable. He was still quite young for this type of thing, she thought, but he was just as happy as could be to be going out and being a part of things. Sunday looked at Tommy and couldn’t help but giggle a little and be proud of this little fella, she ruffled his hair and said,”Dude your head is totally like a brillo pad.”

“Shut up,” He said, laughing. He walked off in his boots, big and bad, even though those boots were about as big as he was. They must have belonged to their older brother who had moved out years ago. He was toting them though. Sunday hoped that they wouldn’t fall off if he had to run for any reason.

Her sister Samantha, who was three years older than her picked up the S.C.U.D. sign and carried it out to the car. Sunday picked up her little Save Our Troops sign and headed out to try and get a window in the backseat of the car. Usually her parents were chain smoking up there so she’d crack the window for a little bit of air. The windows on the car were iffy sometimes, they were electronic and when it would rain-like tonight- sometimes the mechanism wouldn’t work and she couldn’t get the window down so she wanted to make sure that she could get the window that always worked regardless of the rain.

The got into the family car, an extended version of a Chrysler New Yorker.  They headed out towards town square. It was a few miles down the road, and Sunday was sure they’d smoked at least three cigarettes by the time they got there.  There were literally thousands of people already there, multi-colored poster board signs everywhere, so many dressed up in fatigues, and soldiers there in real dress blues and a line of soldiers lined up at the stage with their weapons waiting for the speakers to approach the podium.  Sunday thought they looked distinguished, even though the crowd seemed to her to be behaving like it was more of a town fair or something. They had a snow cone and cotton candy machine and even t-shirts that had Saddam Hussein on there with the “No” mark across his face and several others that had slogans on them.

Peterson was there, dressed very spiffily in his uniform, directing the young men in their uniforms to angle the American Flags toward the crowds,some of them were gigantic,like the ones that Sunday had seen flying over the car dealerships in the largest cities.  As Sunday left the car she heard Lee Greenwood playing loud enough to bust anyone’s eardrums.  There were many swaying, singing along, and walking up to line of soldiers and shake their hands, to thank them for what they’d done and what they were about to do.  The rest of the family got out of the car and headed up towards Peterson, Sunday hung back and waited for Gabby and Zeke.

She held her small sign at her side, but the other kids were waving theirs’ proudly on stakes that they’d apparently added to them while Sunday ran over to the Deaver’s house.  She thought it was gonna be difficult to find them if there were so many people there, she hoped Gabby still had her red sweatshirt on so at least she could pick her out of the crowd.  She caught a view of her mother working alongside a friend of hers, the two of them setting up a refreshment stand with different types of cookies and snacks.

She caught sight of Gabby at the booth that was set up at the entrance, they had several gates set up to block anyone from behind the stage.  Right at that gate there was a couple of officers that were handing out leaflets, information about what Saddam was guilty of doing to the people under his reign.  Gabby was discussing the upcoming war with the soldier, she was never one to be shy about asking questions when she didn’t understand something.

“So what you are saying are that this one guy’s regime has everyone under his control, and if we don’t go over there we might have another oil shortage?” Gabby was asking the young man in army fatigues.  He had opened his mouth to speak, but Sunday came up and interrupted…”I am gonna steal her for a little while, I am sure that whatever you’re discussing is very enthralling, but we gotta talk girl stuff.” Sunday made a little hehe laugh and grabbed Gabby’s arm.

“Hey,…sup?”

“What are you doing, Sunday? I am trying to get some legitimate information about what these people are doing here- this guy had a pamphlet with some really sad looking people on there that looked like they were being herded around like cattle and they were saying that it was Saddam Hussein’s fault, here let’s look at the leaflet.”

“Okay I get it, I think they’re nomads though- but I’m not sure. Anyway, I’m gonna go up front and take my sign…check it out….sexy sexy sign, mmmhmmm, you know you like it!”

Gabby looked at her crossly and laughed. “Alright show me your sexy sexy sign.”

Sunday turned her 8 by 10 colored picture around to Gabby, she’d just used the one sharpie to write it. “Yep, Save Our Troops.”

“That sign is freakin’ terrible. Have you seen some of the elaborate and detailed posters that some of these people are carrying? You didn’t even try.”

“Ugh, c’mon are you serious? I don’t have all that fancy bric a brac and glitter to say “Yay” let’s go blow some people up. I should’ve used puff paint and the Lisa Frank rainbow…so sorry.”

“I’m just messing with you, Sunday. I’m just curious about what’s really going on here.”

“Yeah, me too.” Sunday was already feeling very pissed because of Peterson and the rally, now Gabby was acting all pissy about her coming up and bugging her when she was sweet talking the soldier.Well, she wasn’t really sweet talking him, but she really needed her friend at this moment and she didn’t seem to be responding to the rally as though Sunday thought she would. Sunday looked down and thought about the fact that the soldier probably would have given her more information than she’d gathered off of CNN and C-Span. Maybe he’d already been there, who knows.

Zeke was just standing up towards the front, there were some soldiers lined up there with their guns. He seemed to be examining their weapons and walking up and down the length of the stage, looking at the amps blaring patriotic songs and the Star Spangled Banner. He was just walking around checking out stuff, curious about the details of such a large public gathering.

Sunday’s Dad ran up to her and told her that she needed to be up front and center, Peterson was going to be on stage speaking. “Ugh, alright.” Gabby politely said hello and Sunday’s dad walked back to the concession stand where he was helping stock the coolers full of sodas and water.

“Seriously though, Sunday, you should have given the sign a little more thought. You know your Mom and Dad are always on you to be more creative, and that,well, it’s totally boring and lackluster. You’d get a lot more attention if it were at least, I don’t know….witty or something.”

“Okay I’ll try harder next time.” Sunday said, “What’s up with Zeke? He’s just running around looking at stuff.

“Yeah I guess he’s mesmerized by all the dignified soldiers and their guns.I never know what’s going through his head. He’s a freakin’ nerdhole.”

The director of the merchants from that part of town got up and introduced the speaker line up. Peterson was going on first, the the ROTC teacher from school, then a recruiter who was ready to sign up any citizens that wanted to become involved.

When Peterson got up to speak the crowd cheered. Everyone knew he was a decorated soldier and respected his position. “Hello, my fellow residents of the lovely town of Weaversville, I am here today to tell you exactly how important it is for us to support this movement against Iraq and the areas in the middle-east. I know that some of you remember the gas shortage in the 1970’s that had a lot of Americans stuck in lines for many hours, delaying their passage to work and also for some, meaning no gas at all. the suburban areas were almost always the last to receive the shipments of oil and oil products, and that meant a step backward for a lot of us. More of our commerce than you even know depends on shale oil and refined oil distribution. If we do not stop the dictator in Iraq and his affiliates, then he will most certainly either raise the prices of the oil in Kuwait and Iraq too high for us to trade, or there will be even more dire consequences. If they are to obtain control, we have no idea what they might do. He has executed many of his own people that disagreed with him.”

Just when Sunday looked away for a second Zeke walked up to her, “Sunday, I gotcha something.” She gave him a weird, “Huh?” face- and looked at him in surprise. She couldn’t wait to make fun of whatever it was.

He handed her one long stemmed red rose.

She just looked at him in disbelief.

“Ummmm, why?”

“I dunno, because…?”

Sunday hadn’t even seen them selling any flowers anywhere. Where in the hell did he even find that during this rally? Peterson continued on about some of the places he’d been during wartime in the Vietnam era. He said that he would not go into the conjecture about how that war was not won, he believed that it had been won and that there were no mistakes on the part of the United States.

When she turned back around Zeke was gone, and Gabby was waving good-bye because their parents were leaving and they had to go.

“Damn, well ok guys- bye then.”She gave Gabby a hug and a shrug, she had no idea what was up with that rose. She pointed to it like-uh, eh?”

Gabby just laughed and shrugged herself. “I never know what that dingleberry is thinking.”

Sunday just stood there looking at the rose for a moment. Peterson was starting to get the crowd riled up and they were cheering. He spoke of Pearl Harbor, he spoke of the troops in Vietnam and Korea. It seemed like everyone there had a family member involved in those conflicts. People cheered, Sunday looked around and some of the people were holding framed pictures of their loved ones. The people in the pictures all looked young, she wondered if they’d died in those conflicts.

She thought of Zeke. What if he were to be going with them? What if somehow Peterson had convinced him that he wanted to go and be a part of the troops-he’d never said. And he left her that rose. Zeke was eighteen, he could go if he wanted to. Sunday was still in middle school. She didn’t even understand half of what Peterson’s problem was. Sometimes she wondered if he even did.

She stood there and listened as the Rotc teacher spoke, told his troops about valor and heroism. He discussed the great generals, honoring Swartzkopf and the brave men fighting the war currently. He spoke of the Iraqi’s, burning their own oil. He spoke of their crude and backwards ways. He knew that the young men and women in his troop were upright citizens, and that they would do their best to maintain the American way of life.

The recruiter stepped up, spoke a little more of valor in times of trouble, and directed anyone interested in joining to the information booth where Gabby was speaking to the soldier when she’d interrupted her. There were already lining up to sign up for whichever positions were available.

Sunday stood there in disbelief at the of people headed toward the information booth.

“Maybe it won’t be that bad, they say it’s mainly just those strategic things…” she mumbled to herself. “On the tv it just looks like green blobs, they probably don’t have to actually do the whole hand to hand combat thing. She’d remembered her father telling her that there is no war without casualties. Not just in the loss of death, other things. Things he couldn’t explain. Things maybe that he didn’t understand. Sunday wondered about the boys that always were hanging out at Peterson’s. Would they be going to war? They all seemed so obedient to him, they enjoyed having the duties he assigned.

And what happens to them afterward?

Peterson stepped back up to the microphone, he said that there was now going to be a 21 gun salute for all the fallen soldiers.

Sunday looked back at her mom and dad, they were still busy with the concessions. Her mom waved at her smiling.

Sunday remembered seeing all the soldiers line up for the salute. Sunday looked down at the long stemmed rose in her hand. She knew that this was only a symbolic representation and that the gunfire was meant to startle and awe the viewers. Something came over Sunday at that moment.

She remembered seeing a girl from some college put a flower into the hole at the end of the gun. It had been a yellow daisy.

She thought of Zeke, and wanted to show everyone here how she felt about this whole rally and everything behind it, even Mr. Peterson- especially Mr. Peterson- and the ones who were following him.

As the soldiers raised their guns into the air, Sunday crossed the distance between she and the one on the left hand side of the group.

She lifted the rose, all of the thorns hadn’t been removed and one got caught on her green flannel covered shirt, tugging slightly at the sleeve as she made the motion to stick the rose into the barrel of the gun.

The image, it only took one second. The red of the rose seemed to brighten and deepen against the barrel of the gun. Her shirt sleeve letting the thorn go. The soldier’s confused and frightened face when he realized that she was that close and his muscle memory continued with him to lift and pull the trigger. The shot went off right over her head, as the motion of the gun’s angle and the bullet’s trajectory were both changed when she moved. The petals sprayed out and fell to the ground slowly, floating downward, dancing alongside her as she started to fall down.  That instant of falling with the petals,blown apart yet swaying in a downward swingThere was a huge commotion around her, some lady grabbed her by the waist and pulled her down to the pavement. As Sunday tried to wrestle herself away from this lady and now several onlookers she realized that her hearing was messed up. All she could hear was the roaring din of her heartbeat as she was writhing on the ground struggling.

Sunday finally got loose from the people who were holding her down. For a moment everyone just stood there looking at her. Then Mr. Peterson came up and grabbed her by the shoulder. “You are in big trouble. Come with me.” The smell of the gunpowder was so high and acrid in her nostrils. She looked down at her hands and they were covered with black powder as well.Peterson was pushing her toward one of the police officers, her parents were running towards them now trying to figure out what had happened. Sunday’s mom was yelling about Peterson getting his hands off her daughter.

Peterson laughed and asked, “Do you know what she did?”

“I don’t care! Unhand her!”Her mother said.

“Your daughter just stuck a projectile into one of the guns firing the 21 gun salute. She was nearly killed, or could’ve caused the bullet to go astray and hit one of the audience members.

Sunday stood there, trembling. She ran her hands through her hair,not thinking that it would spread the gun powder even more. Peterson pushed her arm back down.”Are you sure you don’t have something else up your sleeve?”

Sunday shook her arm loose from Peterson’s. “No, I don’t”

They had reached an officer, he looked angry and was calling for back up. Soon there were several there.

Sunday’s father was teaming hot mad,”You really shitfanned this one, Sun.”

Since Sunday was only in middle school they all decided that she would have to do community service after she’d gone through a juvenile judiciary process.

That night, after she got home all she wanted to do was go and sit on her rope swing that her dad and older brother had put up for her and just push herself around in circles by kicking her booted feet against the trunk of the tree whenever each rotation closed in.

When her Dad would go out of town sometimes for his job she would sit and wonder what he was doing, and build scenarios in her mind about what the place he was going might be like.

She wondered if Zeke and Gabby would ever find out about the incident.

She hoped that Zeke wasn’t mad because the flower was destroyed.

She felt guilty that she’d caused such a commotion.

She hoped more than anything that some of the people will understand. She didn’t know if she fully understood. She believed that if there was a God in heaven that he would.

Sunday went into her house, got into her bed, and went to sleep. The sound of the television didn’t even keep her awake with the sound of the commentators and the green lights falling from the sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November is National Writer’s Month

Everyone join in on Nanowrimo, national writer’s month in November. Explore your innermost fears, desires, recreate history, or imagine uncharted territory in the wellspring of future scientific possibilities. I’d love to see where your imaginations may take you.

With love and many hopes to whispers on the wind,

jitterbugrosie

Photo on 11-13-16 at 6.18 PM #3

Nanowrimo

Art at the Bridge

The Charles River Bridge :1837

Guarding the sacred….

There is a man that stands by the Charles River Bridge, newly constructed in Boston, Massachusetts  for safe passage across. Arthur Haverly, known to his friends as Art, has always been diligent in every stage of life, and is no longer working at 73 years old. Most of his family has passed on or lives in other parts of the country, and each morning he dines at the Sanitary Cafe where he meets all of his friends to discuss politics and whomever’s children were getting married and having their own children. When someone was missing they would often inquire about their whereabouts. There was a pretty large group that had formed at the cafe as of late, mostly made up of people who’d been involved with the construction of the new bridge who’d hung around to continue construction on new businesses and homes that would blossom from the new path across the waterway.

Every morning Art  has one egg, fried over easy, a piece of bread, and a glass of whatever juice they had freshly squeezed that morning. His best friend is a kind of scoundrel, always chasing the skirts in the cafe- but keeping everyone entertained in the meantime.  His name is Chester Weston, from the Jamestown, Virginia area. He’d moved to Boston as a merchant, trading absinthe and other types of alcohol to the local drinking holes. He is by far the tallest man in town, standing at least six foot eight. When he would frequent the drinking establishments he would also act as a security officer for them, and his size would always come in handy in those type of situations. Art would always chuckle if one of the women would walk by with their bosom synched up and showing out of the top of her dress. “Well Hellooooo!” Chester would say directly to her upper portion, “Great to see y’all today!”

There’d been a few times that he’d gotten a face full of their morning juice, but he never lost momentum, and continually talked to all the pretty girls regardless of if they’d juiced him or not. He would usually stand if they would stop to talk, his immenseness would often make them take a step back even to see his face when he was talking to them.  He was truly the largest man that Art had known in person, he would often joke back and call him Goliath. He thought they both knew if one of those little fishies ever bit that his size alone would probably crush them.

Some of the ladies recognized Chester’s comments as being what they were, mostly good natured ribbing- aimed to entertain the group of men that surrounded him and to let the ladies know that they were noticed, most especially when they most obviously were trying to be. He never went beyond the occasional comment. Art was glad, and even though he would cringe sometimes waiting for the women’s response, more often than not the attention of this enormous and jolly man lead to a polite conversation rather than some juice in the face.

After breakfast Art would always walk from the small little area of town to the bridge that they’d just constructed. In fact, in some of their political talks at the cafe were regarding a Supreme Court Case that effected the building of the bridge that would now, finally, be without having to pay a toll to cross. Things had been different before, and there would always be an attendant paid by the town to stop and have them pay before crossing the river for whatever trade or visitation they had planned for the day.

Art remembered a time when you’d have to pay the ferryman to carry you across the Charles River, during the Revolutionary War period.  The ferryman was an old man then, probably around Art’s age now. His name was Chandler Barringham, and from the tales that everyone told he’d always been in the Boston area. His stature was quite tall and gangly, and he would always have on long knitted coat and gloves with the fingers cut out. He would use a long wooden oar, and would often hum, sing, or whistle different tunes during the ride. On one of the trips Chandler told him about the time that he’d constructed the ferry for his livelihood as a young man, and even through all the years in which he’d been transporting people across he’d never had to replace it. He’d only had to make repairs here and there. Often Art would ride the ferry from the shortest point to land from the source of the river at Echo Lake.

Art sometimes missed the old days, when he would wake in the morning, before the Revolutionary War, and walk out to the lake. A dense gray fog would often hover almost mystically above and around the waterway, making it seem to be some sort of ethereal netherworld on some mornings. It was usually a peaceful ride, and at the time Art was just a young fellow and hadn’t experienced much yet. His job back then was transporting the days news from the more informed world of Boston to the outlying area of Everton.  It was quite a long trip, but the newsmen were always excited and enthusiastic to receive whatever news came through, and Art was always eager to help. The job became much more important during the war, but shortly after the fighting began Arthur had to pick up a rifle and fight.

For the duration of the war, Art had been a rifleman and a medic. It all began with the siege in 1776. He was much more comfortable carrying gurneys than shooting at the Tories. Even though he was brave in the lines of fire, he much preferred saving the lives of his brethren to taking the lives of his enemy.

After the war he continued his job at the post, and made enough to get by. He’d met and married a fellow Bostonian.  Gabby Leonard, one of the daughters of a local fisherman,who was eleven years his junior. By the time he married he was in his mid twenties, and with all his responsibilities regarding his job he’d had very little interest or time for the company of women. His participation in the war had made him withdraw from most people, and Gabby was very empathetic and kind. He didn’t often talk of his experiences in the war, but it had affected him in many ways.

These days, though, after his breakfast, he would stroll down to the new bridge and watch out for the travelers. He would either sit on one side or the other for a couple of hours and watch the people in their carriages pass by.  On some days there would be people who would try and jump off the bridge. He’d talked them down from all walks of life. From young people who were spurned in some type of romantic relationship to some who’d lost their spouse or children or their home during the expansion of the bridge, or some other economic tragedy, Art continually found a way to relate to them and if necessary wrestle them down from the turret like lampposts that they used to climb up the side.

There were only a few people he had to actually pull down from the side of the bridge.  The first person he had saved was by complete happenstance. It was a well dressed businessman who had lost his job in the commerce side of the steel industry, and didn’t want to go back to his home in South Carolina because he doubted that he could find another job that would support his family.   He had to grab the back of his trousers and suspenders and jerk him back from the bridge, causing him to bounce off the roadway and fall hard enough to knock him out for a moment.  Art had waited by his side until he had woken up, and his first words were “I’m still alive?”

After the initial shock the man told him his story, and Art had tried to reassure him that all there was in this country now was growth and abundance, and how he was sure that he’d find another job very soon. He’d met a lot of the steelworkers when they were building the bridge, as he’d taken to walking after Gabby had passed in 1826 of what they doctor said was tuberculosis.  The long walks he would take from the cafe to anywhere else in town were intensely beneficial to him in many ways.  That was where he met Chester initially, and many others who had become his friends along the way. He agreed to take the fellow to meet some of his friends hoping that they might be able to connect him to a job in his part of the country.

The Steel Worker had reluctantly agreed with him, and seemed to be in a state of shock for most of the day, but Art had walked along with him to the brick offices of Claytom Steel and had him talk to some of the workers there about a job.  They’d all been receptive to the fellow because of Art’s presence.  He seemed to be a lot more hopeful and calm, and although Art himself felt unsettled after the experience he for once had the feeling that he’d come to know quite well in the war when he could get one of his fellow soldiers to safety after they’d been wounded.

This caused Art to begin to walk towards the bridge more and more often, thinking that he might be able to be there in case anyone else tried to do themselves in in the flowing waters of the Charles River.  Although Art had a hard time understanding why someone would try and take their own life, most especially because he had seen so many unwillingly lose their lives in the war, and watched his beloved wife fight so hard against her illness before succumbing to it.

Oddly enough it happened more often than one would think.  Over the period of time that it took to build the bridge and the next few years there were a total of twenty-seven people that Art was able to save. He’d given them all that remained of hope inside of him, shared his experiences with them, and tried to take them all somewhere that they would be comforted. He’d taken many of them to churches, depending on their faith, or to places that he knew in town that they may be able to find work or camaraderie. Every time he walked away, he hoped that each of them had found something to keep them going long enough to get them through the tough times.

One fellow had become a part of the breakfast group at the cafe.  Rubin Silvers, a fellow in his forties, had been starting to climb the steel cables when Art called out to him from about a hundred feet away.  He’d been startled, as if he were lost in thought and had been blocking the sounds of the passing travelers behind him.  Art had been able to call him down before he’d even gotten all the way up the side. Rubin was a resident of Everton, on the Echo Lake side of the bridge, and he was alone ever since he’d gotten out of debtor’s prison.  He’d come to the bridge just to see it, as it was a big topic of debate for all the residents of Massachusetts.  He told Art that his climbing up there was just an impulse, he wanted to see what it looked like from that vantage point, and that he hadn’t planned to jump. They developed a quick friendship, and he had obtained a job helping clean the cafe in the evenings through their exchange.

Art continued his watch for as many years as he could make the walk to the Charles River Bridge. In the Supreme Court Case, they had ruled that the rules of property must be sacredly guarded, and it’s most distinctive ruling that the responsibility of government in its essence was to promote happiness and prosperity to the community to which it serves.  Art wondered how he could see such a discrepancy in the happiness of his community and those that he found upon the bridge, and he hoped beyond hope that he would find less people who felt as though their lives had no worth or significance within the growing world would diminish.

One little girl learns the word “My”

It was recess. The day had been relatively calm in the classroom. The children ran out into the playground, all excited to work out some of this energy that had built up while they’d been sitting at their desks. Their teacher Mrs. Matthias, was seven months pregnant and had a difficult time running after them out there, but thankfully the whole third grade went out at the same time so the other teacher, Mr. Panelle, did most of the disciplining or helping the kids off the monkey bars when they got stuck up there.

A group of about ten children had gathered around towards the back of the playground, it was late November so it was very chilly outside and all of the children had on their winter coats. Some of the girls were doing different clapping rhyme games and right across the way the girls and boys were skipping rope.

Millie Richards had been anxious at her desk today, she’d brought something from home that she really wanted to show her best friend Layla.  It was a coin that her grandfather had given her from another country, from when he was overseas during World War 2. He told her that this was a special coin, and she planned to keep it in her pocket forever. It had a ladies face on it, and some kind of plant in a circle around her. Millie was super excited to show her.

Millie and Layla talked so much they’d had to have their desks switched last week. Mrs. Matthias said they were distracting class. They’d even tried to pass notes but they had been intercepted. Millie had to admit that she had been paying a lot more attention in class and her marks had been up a bit, but since they moved Layla’s desk she would get more and more antsy for recess or break time. She liked Rodrigo and Jamie, they were both very nice, but it just wasn’t the same. She hoped to make friends with them,but it didn’t seen to be as easy as it was for her to make friends as everyone else.

Millie took a few minutes away from the group, she really had wanted to go and slide down the slide a couple of times and Layla was busy talking to a couple of other girls who’d she’d been sitting near since they’s switched desks. After a couple of times in line for the slide Millie walked back over to the group. Layla had just finished the “Miss Mary Mack” game with another girl in a bright pink coat with all the little puffs on it, like Marty McFly’s vest in Back to the Future.

Mille walked up, age was in her khaki colored fuzzy coat with the gold sparkles on the sleeves. It was her favorite coat but it had gotten kind of dirty because she had worn it so much. She pulled out the coin, and was smiling and excited to tell Layla about her treasure. When she walked up though, the girl in the pink coat was giving her really mean looks.

“Hey Layla,” Millie said,”whatcha doing?”

“Just talking to Lorna, what are you doing?”

Before Millie could get the coin out of her pocket and another word out of her mouth, Lorna said, “Layla is MY best friend.”

Millie just looked a little shocked and said, “Nuh uh, she’s my best friend.”

“Not now,” Lorna made a funny little smirk, taunting her.

“No she’s not!”Millie said, and grabbed Lorna by the coat. Lorna’s pink coat was a little too big for her, and Millie took her coat by both sleeves and wrapped it around her several times, kind of slinging her in the process. In just an instant they were both on the mulch and Mr. Panelle was running up fast on them. Millie let go of the coat, but she’d wrapped it far enough around her to where the stitching had started to tear.

“What is going on over here?” Mr. Panelle asked.

The kids stared up, Millie’s face was bright red and she just knew she was in for it. If she got in trouble here she’d be in big trouble at home.

Layla was the first to speak up.

“Lorna’s coat was unbuttoned and Millie was gonna try and fix it, but they fell over.”

Mr. Panelle had a skeptical and displeased look on his face.

“Alright girls, go in and wash up,” he said.

“But….my coin.”

He had put his hands on their backs and was leading them inside.

“I dropped something, something, special, something from my Granddad…”

Millie was ignored and she and Lorna rushed into the school and were forced to apologize to one another.

Later in class Millie was sitting at her desk in the fronton the room, sullen and dejected, hoping that she’d have a chance to go and look for the coin on the playground either tomorrow during recess or some time soon.

When she came back from the next bathroom break she found it tucked just slightly underneath her Reading book. She looked around the room to see if she could tell whoever that found it for her thank you.

No one responded to her glancing around, but a boy named Jason from the other side of class had his head down and to the side, obviously trying not to make eye contact with her. She didn’t know how to respond but she put it back in her pocket, and rubbed it gratefully.

Millie didn’t know how she’d ever thank him, but she hoped one day she could.

Evol Eve Fever

That damn woman

She showed me where to find that tree-

I didn’t even realize I was hungry.

Then when I got some food in me

I was like

“Damn Bitch, we naked and cold”

“How you gonna cover up them knockers, you making me feel all funny inside?”

Seems like the more of them apples I ate

the more things I could think of.

Now she got me thinking all kinds of shit-

bout how we need to name all those animals.

She was making me call all these things stuff so she could know what it was,

kept asking me “what was I thinking?”

And I was all,”Nuthin’ bitch, damn!”

 

Few years later she gave me little heathen ingrate of a son

He thought but he sure wouldn’t mind

He brought me some sheep to eat and I was like

“Eww, boy. I eat apples. What the fuck?

So I whooped him with a stick an he runoff.

Then she went off and had another damn kid

this was one was like

“Oh you like apples and stuff, let’s find out how we make more.”

An’ the first boy was so jealous he went off and kilt him.

 

That damn bitch just kept on bugging me

asking me was I mad

and I was like “Hell yeah bitch, I am now!”

 

All because that damn woman kept running that yap of hers…

It’s cause of her can’t no man live in peace.

It’s like she got me sick or sumthin’

Gave us all this fever,

always having to name and claim

play the game and face the shame.

Cuz she ain’t got no glory

I’m the one with the guts

And I’ ain’t changing’ my story

without all her shit I’d be fine.

 

 

 

 

Baptisms

Until the Water Runs Clear: The Final Baptism…

It wasn’t until 1932 that the Morrow, Finch, and Worthington families experienced their first real taste of tragedy, aside from Anna’s difficult labor and slow recovery.

Rena’s husband Gerald was in a work accident. He was installing a big new metal sign for an Automotive Repair Shop in Kansas and the hoist holding the sign gave way. It had hit him directly in the torso and nearly cut him clean in half. He was rushed to the hospital and for hours they attempted to fix the damage that had been done. Rena was at home so she had to rush out there as fast as she could, Dr. Sanders from town bought them a train ticket. He knew how bad the damage was but she did not. When they arrived he was barely hanging on, but when Rena got there he was awake and lucid. He looked up at her and told her how much he loved her and the girls and gently passed in her arms.

For years off and on Anna stayed right alongside her sister, knowing how hard it must be. She would bring Adam to her house and spend the whole day there, helping her clean, making meals, sometimes in the evenings they would play music, but for quite some time they had to avoid certain songs that Gerald would love and sing.  Sometimes they would sing certain songs on his birthday.

The years passed and the church grew, there were many parishioners that had started to become regular visitors. The Finch’s really become a pillar of the community. Adam became a teen leader in the congregation, leading games and quiz challenges, leading the youth choir and even writing some of the plays that they would perform on Easter and Christmas. It got a little easier, year by year living without Gerald. Anna spent a majority of her time helping her sister, so did their mother. They all worked together and treated each other with respect, support, and love.

Adam had moved out to Montana, he was studying veterinary medicine out there and met and married a lovely girl by the name of Abigail out there. Zachary Finch and the family traveled out there to marry his grandson and they all celebrated his success,but sadly watched his very successful life so far away from them.  Zachary and Ruby were getting on very much in age and just considered themselves lucky to have had so much time with him. They focused on the twins and their parishioners, but everyone was sad to see Adam leave.

As the years continued to fly by, the family all worked together to build a very tight community that really did work together to make each other’s lives easier. There was never a more loving family. From the outside, they just looked like any other family in their community. It was the deeds that happened in between that none else saw that bound them in this REAL TRUE love. Every day they tended to one another like patient and attentive gardener, one that cared deeply for each and every bud of every flower from it’s nursery. They each did for one another without pride, in fact their love and strength for one another was their pride.  The more that they could do for each other the better they felt. So many people said it was fake, that there was no way that these people had this true bond and that it was all a show for the church. They were so wrong,and truly just jealous of a type of love that they couldn’t understand. But it was real, and so much realer than many people ever get to know.

When Zachary passed in the early 1950’s his legacy was great and triumphant. He’d left this world with no doubt that the people he’d loved would pull together and try and fill in where he left off. Those were huge shoes to fill, and of course no one could ever replace him, but Albert did his best and took a leadership role in the church after Zachary’s passing, with Jim right there along his side trying to help him arrange meetings. Their carpentry work had slowed down, they were both unable to do as much as they used to. Their work in the church helped keep everything together, although they’s lost a relatively large group of parishioners when Zachary passed. This upset Ruby so much, and her health declined as she’d not only lost her husband but some of her most trusted friends and confidants. This was one of the only times that she’d known betrayal, as they’d all been taught that when you work against family you are working against yourself. She’d considered these members to be her family as well, but they had a more divisive nature and her kind spirit was crushed by this split.

She felt alone and betrayed by them, but she still had the girls,Albert, and Jim. Jim and Ruby spent a good deal of time together, but she would not consider remarrying and Jim had never desired another wife after the death of Albert’s mother from tuberculosis. Their work together was very thorough and they cared deeply for one another, and after a number of years the church had healed from the loss of its beloved pastor.

Jim developed heart disease and passed in the early 1960’s, and Albert leaned heavily on Anna for quite some time. He’d even gone out to Montana for several months to spend time with Adam and his family, now much larger with three children. Two boys and a girl. They dark in completion like their mother, who was just stunningly beautiful with olive colored skin and mahogany colored hair. Although Albert never got to meet her parents, she said that they were Natives and that they loved the family very much and visited when they could.  Albert’s time there was precious and he hated leaving, but he could not wait to return home to Anna. He’d never spent this much time away from her, not in all the years they’d been married.

When he got back he went directly to the church, expecting that Anna would be there with her mother since it was Saturday, and they would be setting up the Sunday School classes for the children. He was surprised to find Ruby there alone, she said that Anna had been feeling bad the past few days and had excused herself from her regular duties with the church.  The twins were there, filling in for her, and Albert excused himself to go and see his wife, whom he had sorely missed and was now a little worried about her.

When he got to the house Anna was lying down and seemed very weak and confused. He tried to rouse her but she was having difficulty understanding him. She was still smiling and filled with joy to have him be there, but couldn’t seem to get enough energy to lift herself from the bed. Albert helped her to a sitting position. She woke up enough to realize what was going on around her and the light returned to her eyes. “When did you get in?”

“Just now, my dear. I wish you’d told me you weren’t feeling well, I would’ve come back sooner.”

She just looked at him with a sort of blank look like she wondered herself whether or not she’d even thought of that.

“I think we need to get you to the doctor.”

She nodded, and he helped to get her dressed and to their car. She could hardly move her legs and had apparently been in her nightgown for quite some time.  He opened the doors but had to practically carry her.

“Where is Rena,honey? I saw the twins at the church?”

Anna just seemed a bit confused,and mentioned something about maybe having seen her last week. He later found out that Rena was heading a women’s retreat with the church and had been gone out to a trip to the Grand Canyon for a couple of weeks.

When they got to the doctor he examined her as best he could and the only conclusion was that she had either had a stroke or the damage that had been done to her body during all the blood loss had returned and she was facing the challenges that she’d experienced after Adam’s birth.

She had a pretty lengthy stay at they hospital, and it didn’t appear that her motor functions were improving. Her speech had gotten a little better, and she was able to communicate a little more clearly what she needed.

Rena helped after she’d gotten back from her trip and would usually help with cooking and food stuffs.  Albert would take her into the shower with him every morning and sit her on the seat and they would shower together. Even after all these years there was still romance in these moments. He would lean down and kiss her on her face and tell her how beautiful she was.

He was working on certain woodworking projects there in the home, intricate little figurines,mainly. He was a talented sculptor and hadn’t realized it up until that point, and he was working on using some of the photographs that he’d brought back of their grandchildren to make small statues. He had gotten down some of the old books and read certain passages, as well as bible passages that he knew that shelved and that she’d taught in Sunday School. He even pulled some of the curriculum she’d saved from her students and read her some of her favorite papers that her students had written that she’d saved and was so proud of. All of this went on for several years.

In the early part of the 1970’s Adam brought the kids to visit for a weekend, and Albert and Rena hadn’t seen much happiness and activity in her in years. She was pushing herself a lot more, moving towards the children for hugs and even sat on the living room floor to play ball with her 2 year old grandson, named after Albert, Adam’s child number four. He even looked a little like Adam did when he was a baby.

One day when Albert had left to send the package of his sculptures through the post Anna went to try and do somethings independently out of sheer hard headedness.  She went to the kitchen, holding onto all of the counter space to try and steady herself so that she did not fall. She made herself a sandwich, chicken salad, and she was so happy to be able to do this. She sat and enjoyed the sandwich, she barely even left any mess and was just very happy about being able to do this for herself.

Today Albert had left before they could take their shower, and she decided that today she was going to try and do these things for herself. She made her way to the bathtub in the corner of the room, the one he had so carefully picked out for her when he’d built the house. Holding onto the enclosure, she turned the knob for the hot water on, with just a little bit of cold. She always loved hot baths.

The bath tub was a little over half filled, just the way she liked it so that her toes would still stick out from the water a little ways. The steam was rising from her hot bath, and the water had stilled. She lifted her leg with great effort, she was trying so hard not to fall, but she lost her balance. She swayed to the right, directly into the glass enclosure that surrounded her tub. The swirled glass shattered into a million pieces, cutting her skin in many places. She grasped for the metal pieces that hadn’t shattered completely and the shards left in the structure cut through her hands.

Anna fell into the water, and some of the larger pieces of the shattering shower fell in on top of her, causing more lacerations all down her body. She knew she wasn’t strong enough to lift herself out.  She knew that she would have to lie there and wait until Albert got back, but she felt the blood leaving her body again, and like before she could feel  the life leaving her, the weakness returning.

The water was warm, it was so warm and she could imagine that night,,,,the very first night they’d bathed together in the tub and Albert’s long awkward legs hung over the outside of the tub. If she closed her eyes she could almost feel his strong body holding her, and as the glass floated around her and the water swayed about her she could remember his hands in her hair, his calloused hard working hands rubbing the soap into her scalp and then wrapping his long arms around her to hold her and make her feel so safe. She slipped into unconsciousness and went under the water, smiling, so full of all of the love she’d been given.

Images of Adam, running along the sidewalk,learning to ride his tricycle and looking back at her to make sure she’d seen him,so proud in his twinkly brown eyes. Images of Zachary and Ruby, images of Gerald and Rena, the twins. So much love…so lucky…so lucky…she was thanking God for all these gifts…and she was so grateful, so very grateful.

Albert had only been gone for forty five minutes. When he opened the door to the house he yelled for Anna but there was no answer. He checked in the bedroom,he thought she might be asleep. When he realized she wasn’t in the bed he knew something had to be wrong, it was so difficult to get around, but he’d seen the crumbs of the sandwich she’d left on the table, so she’d been getting around better than normal. He walked through the bedroom into the bathroom, and there he saw the blood stained shards scattered throughout the floor and Anna’s arm and leg draped over the side of the bathtub, blood dripping off her fingers and down her arm. He ran to the side  of the tub, and saw his beautiful wife lying there under the water. Her beautiful face was still unmarred, but the rest of her body had cuts from the glass all over it.

Without removing his suit coat, he dipped his arms into the water and lifted her out, his hands got a few cuts but he did not feel them.  He held here there for a long time, time passed without his knowing how long. Finally he went to phone the doctor and the coroner, and they came and got her and took her away.

Albert went to the bathtub and scrubbed out Anna’s blood, his tears falling in as he scrubbed. He cleaned it all down until the water ran clear. She was gone, and he had no ides what might happen now. Maybe he would go and stay with Adam. But as for here, his life as he knew it was gone.  He would hold Anna forever with him, in every step,in every breath, from here on out.