Thursday, March 27, 2014

howard and beth

beth was very insecure, so since the moment she had married howard he and i had not really been able to hang out without her hovering presence. howard and i missed our friendship though and had just decided to make plans on the down low anyway to catch a film and late lunch. we met at the theater were grinning widely when we spotted each other and immediately started cracking jokes until we were both laughing to the point of tears. we saw the grand budapest hotel which just put us in an even better mood and were standing in the outer lobby trying to decide where we were going to eat when we heard beth screaming from the far end of the lobby. 'I KNOW YOU'RE HERE HOWARD! I KNOW YOU'RE HERE!!' howard looked at me with horror and confusion. in an instant, beth was upon us, 'AHA! I HAVE PEOPLE EVERYWHERE, HOWARD, E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E!' beth looked accusingly at me, 'PEOPLE TOLD ME HE WAS HERE WITH A BLOND MODEL!' i smiled and thought,' i guess the price of my camel hair coat was worth it after all...'. howard said, 'in all fairness, shandra, you do look good.' which made us laugh hysterically and made beth even more furious. i excused myself and left howard to sort through his unnecessary tangle.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

beautiful wound


she had found the perfect weight of silk satin for her dress. it was now a matter of choosing the color that best complimented the colors in the large open wound on her side. i helped her hold each garment onto her body as she looked at her reflection in the full length mirror and tilted her head this way and that. 'does it hurt?' i wondered aloud. 'not anymore...' she said quietly, 'now it's like a map of my strength.' my eyes traveled over the topography of the wound and its living palate of color and texture. the yellow pearls of subcutaneous fat poking through here and there made the deep purples and reds of her raw flesh look quite beautiful. i marveled at the resilience of the human body and felt one more tether of certainty drop loose as i accepted the strangeness of her survival.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

popsicle sticks and jesus


the child was holding a lopsided crucifix made out of two popsicle sticks held together with too much white glue. i could see that the join was still milky and wondered how long he could clutch it in his little fist before it fell apart. his mother grasped a crucifix made out of unfinished 2x4's held together with too many screws and bent nails. she had tried to mask the sloppy intersection by winding raffia around it, but even that was done badly and the effect was total 'regretsy'. she stood in the center of the empty plaza screaming out hellfire and brimstone to no one but her invisible master. the sweet little boy was not acknowledged by his mother but stood obediently beside her and wore a smile on his face. he seemed proud to be holding his project. i stood and watched her for a long while. the depth of her fury seemed endless and sometimes the sun would illuminate the spray of saliva she spewed when she pounded out her consonants. i wondered how people could miss the point so completely that they were willing to squander their few years of existence in a perpetual state of fear and anger. i also wondered how long it would take the the woman to fully erode all the innate happiness inside of the little boy.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

drunk dog


i knew an irish dog who was always losing his car after he came out of the pub. he would wander around insisting that someone had moved it when everyone knew it was only his beers that were actually hiding the car. sometimes we would watch him walk right past it while searching. we knew from experience that he would not recognize the car unless he found it himself so we never pointed it out. every time he found it he would fret over all the old dents and scratches as though he was seeing them for the first time. we laughed at him (but never with malice). usually another dog would come along and talk him out of his keys and they would trot home together stopping every few feet to sniff the air and listen for the distant howl of other dogs which they would then lift up their chins and answer in unison.

Monday, March 17, 2014

false choices


everyone was tense and just on the edge of exploding into anger. there was an historic 3rd term presidential race between bush and obama. both sides emphatically declared the The Future Of The World Depended Upon This Election! TV's and radios blasted nothing but updates on this 'news'. total strangers demanded that each reveal which 'side' they were voting for. if the 'right' answer wasn't given, fists followed. i kept thinking to myself, 'people can't really be this stupid, can they?'. my friends were emphatic and sincere, 'you HAVE to vote!' they pleaded with me, 'the fate of the world depends upon it!'. i spent more time than i wanted to trying to point out the obvious deceit, but it was all in vain. even my smartest friends did not want to think it was anything but real- and within their control.

in the days running up to the election, things got so crazy that one of the 'puppet masters' accidentally 'dropped the curtain' just long enough to reveal that bush and obama were actually on the same side. people went MAD. my friends were incredulous and kept saying, 'i can't believe it, i can't believe it...'. i spent days watching people rage. when they confronted me about my cool demeanor, i reminded them that i'd tried to tell them from the beginning that it was only theater.

Friday, March 14, 2014

over it... tomorrow


i was sick of everybody's shit. i didn't understand why i was standing on the sound stage again when i'd decided the night before to simply leave. was i here to get my stuff? i kept wondering how did i let myself even walk back in the bay doors. the actresses were snotty and impatient, the producers were unappreciative and didactic and not one of them could actually see what i was bringing to the table. even though there was a mountain of money in the budget, the whole production felt like a third rate disaster and i was angry that i hadn't seen any clues beforehand that i would be in a situation where i wasn't valued. as i turned on my heel toward the door, one of the women in the department grabbed my sleeve and pleaded with me, 'please...oh god please stay. i can't do this alone!' 'no,' i said, 'i'm leaving.'. she answered me with an open-mouth expression that was so utterly lost and desperate that i (in spite of my resistance...) could not help but soften and see myself standing in her shoes. i allowed myself be led back in.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

tracy morgan


we found the child lying beneath a heavy fascia that had been laid over the back of a sofa. as we uncovered her, her body remained perfectly still but the the look in her eyes was wild fear. she didn't know me but the instant she recognized that i was not her assailant she made her way into my arms and wrapped her arms so tightly around my neck that it was difficult for me to speak. 'is your mother still alive?' i whispered. she held her eyes open wide like a person in total darkness and i remember thinking that i couldn't discern the color of her iris's because her pupils were so dilated. she looked into me as though she wanted me to see the images in her head. she nodded yes. 'can you point to where she is?' i asked gently. she blinked slowly, knit her eyebrows for a moment and then said, 'he's coming back with her.' i felt a rush of adrenaline and instinctively jerked my head around to check the room for my own safety, 'when?' i asked. 'maybe now.' she said softly. i pulled at her arms and said, 'you're too big for me to carry and we have to move fast' she resisted and clung to my neck with the strength of a chimpanzee. 'listen,' i said as i looked into her huge black eyes, 'you can hold my hand as tight as you want, but you have to use your own feet.' she loosened her grip and slid down my body until she stood solidly on the floor. her little hand gripped my own like a vice. we began to move like wind toward the back of the space to find an exit that would not run us into danger. headlights wiped just above our heads across the wall we were running toward and we all froze for a moment. 'now!' i whispered as i pointed to the back door and placed the hand of the girl into the palm of my fellow rescuer. they both slipped out to safety and i hid behind a stack of boxes. within moments the front door opened and tracy morgan shoved the girls mother in before him with enough force that she almost lost her footing. i saw the woman look at the fascia. tracy morgan saw it too. 'that little bitch ain't goin' NOWHERE!' he yelled as he grabbed the woman's hair and yanked her to her knees. the man tossed his keys near my hiding spot, stumbled and began talking to himself. i realized he was under the influence of something and would be able to use that to my advantage. 'DON'T YOU MOVE!' he ordered the woman as he walked toward the large screen tv. 'WHY ARE YOU SITTING THERE? GET ME SOME MOTHER FUCKING BEER!' he screamed and then he plopped down into an ugly brown pleather recliner. as the woman made her way to the refrigerator i caught her eye and motioned for her to come with me. she shook her head no and mouthed, 'my baby' as she pointed to the couch. i wagged my finger 'no' in response and mouthed, 'i have her, she's safe'. the woman sprang toward me, i grabbed the man's keys and we both flew out of the heavy steel door. as the woman ran down the driveway to safety i locked the double dead bolt and opened the valve on the industrial size hose-bib that emptied into the warehouse. by the time i made it to the driveway tracy morgan was already knee deep in water. he was laughing maniacally, screaming threats and kicking through the water looking for his keys. 'OK THAT'S FINE!' he screamed at the blackness outside of the wire-impregnated windows, 'I CAN SWIM, BUT YOUR BABY'S GONNA DROWN UNLESS YOU GET YOUR ASS BACK IN!'. he sat back into the recliner with a splash and a big false grin on his face as the tv shorted out and the water rose around him. i walked to the front of the warehouse and stood just outside the light-fall from the windows. i thought about how he would soon be paddling like a dog just to stay alive. i walked slowly away into the darkness.