Saturday, January 2, 2010

vid: The Long Call

first published in Gator Springs Gazette 2004

A sea fogged then early morning Patti Stretzhure is journeyed out on the plane of her driveway with a very small red-plastic flashlight, mumbling about the anti-Christ and consorts of red-eyed turkey elves and drops the light, dim, darkened, shattered no light, and thus no words to clear the concrete mirage, so one time in the dawn she sees a stork eating meiofauna, another time an empty oak barrel that reminded her, and she quickly ran into the house to load the dishwasher; yet more often Patti blindly runs out waving a toilet brush and shooing amidst incensed chatter at the rude intrusion of their retreat, the guinea fowl which scatter and just as quickly regather, behind banging slam of her screen door righteously, getting even with her neighbor; she pulls from the freezer a hunk of bunker and goes out, surrounded by renewed chatter, and heaves it over the fence onto Jade’s woodpile where the birds, hearing the kerplunk of soon to be defrosted fish, sense it is feeding time and relocate to this position where the flesh is slowly building up into a primordial stench in the fecund yard zone between them; then she repairs inside her home to the sterile silence of her neat interior, still idly waving the toilet bowl brush as an appendage of distress; sits down in the living room and turns on the TV, then flicks from a rerun of Days of Our Lives, where Rex lets the Salem serial killer escape, as Lucas spends a tender night with Sami, and Roman falls in danger when he calls Kate to a 40s film featuring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope promoting War Bonds, then back to the Food Channel where two men dressed as Canadian car mechanics in red n' black checked hunter coats display salmon pate and canard, wild hare and crab, oyster pie, and rock lobster embellished with libations from dark caverns and drippy grottoes that make you giggle and swoon and say things in bad French to chic men with pouty lips that she will regret past her obsessive fidgets; gets up, turns the TV off; gets down in the kitchen; drinks a cup of lukewarm peppermint-hibiscus tea while staring out the slider into the rear yard; views gray and white birds flocking and pecking their way beyond a dull red fence of woody vines with black berries; views the dawn sun streaking in slats through blinds across her tile countertop; eats three cinnamon rolls in quarters of a precise filarial trim; drinks another tepid cup of tea; idly scratches the backside of her hand; drinks more tea sieving it in saury sips between the clear-cut gaps of her front teeth; breaks a nail extension; sets the toilet bowl brush down on a short pile of The Athenian Mercury newspaper; rinses her porcelain cup in the enamel sink; waters her profuse Swedish ivy; peels and eats half a banana, sneezes; goes into the bedroom for a magazine and selects a tattered Vogue off the nightstand; gets her hair caught in the silver chain holding St. Jude’s medallion while bending over to adjust her loose slipper; then in the bathroom, she lights a lavender scented candle, the cult of candle, reads three pages of a short story, about a romance between a young woman that drives a maroon Jaguar and a gas station attendant on foosball scholarship to the Tri-County Community College, that she cannot understand; then measures the black-fungal masked lines between the bathroom tiles around the tub enclosure with a clear yellow plastic ruler, fidgets with an acrylic nail, nicks her shin on the sink cabinet reaching for disposable cotton balls, drops the tip of her water pick down the drain, does not find instant glue in the cabinet, frets over her looks, swallows four St. John’s Wort capsules, cakes on layers of safflower rouge, feels the outline of her face with scrappy hands, removes all of the make-up, notices a small blemish on her unspoiled neck and dabs it with Australian Melaleuca alternifolia oil, gives up, and in search of psychic solace, she slinks back into the living room sits down lifts the phone and calls the Frederick Exley Celebrity Psychic Network.

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