I would always find an abandoned object. A dirty toy, a dusty glass, a yellowed photo, an old magazine. People inevitably leave things behind no matter how carefully they pack. But it was these things which still carried a vestige of life to the ripped up rooms, reminding me they had been part of a home until recently. I would spend hours wandering around the empty houses, reconstructing my memories of when people lived there: of their interiors and me in it. Houses of working class people, but that’s what we all were. Small houses, mostly tidy with old-fashioned furniture, some glass decorations, matryoshki, ceramics, artificial flowers, worn hand-made rugs. The houses had preserved the spirit of the time they were built, and of their original owners, now someone’s grandparents. Once in a while, their grandchild would invite me into the shaded rooms or garden.
But it wasn’t only the children. A young woman, Maria, who lived across the street with her parents, liked having me too. Their house was different. Two-storey, with narrow stairs leading to the second floor, where we always sat in a room with huge windows. Maria had some fascinating objects: an old globe, a Russian doll with the size of a small girl, a porcelain box in the shape of a swan full of jewelry: necklaces made of transparent beads imitating precious stones. The sun’s rays would pierce them, make their colours shine, make them magic. Sometimes Maria would turn the globe and put her finger on America. She would whisper: ‘You must learn English and go to the States, a country of freedom.’ I didn’t understand why she would ask me to do that; weren’t we free as well? Leaving this space, her space, of exhilarating light and unusual calm was always difficult. Continue reading “Things left behind”
Bill hiked for three hours arriving at the mountaintop Himalayan valley. The trail snaked through dense pine forests, shiny apple orchards, and fragrant lavender fields. Surrounded by natural beauty, there stood a century-old temple. Entering the temple, Bill noticed devotees praying in front of a white cylindrical sculpture. The sculpture appeared similar to a black version that he had seen before, while traveling throughout this ancient country.
The truth followed. Indeed, the original sculpture was made up of black stone. Being on mountaintop, the temple occasionally would get shattered by lightning. Afterwards, the resident-priest would collect carefully the multitudes of broken pieces from the dust of total destruction. He would then re-attach the pieces utilizing molten butter as an adhesive. In the cold environment of mountaintop, the adhesive would solidify quickly. Several iterations of the process over past century created the current completely white appearance of the sculpture along with the myth of its invincibility.
By Sankar Chatterjee
United Airlines Flight 3560 from Chicago to Tokyo was about to get an unusual stowaway.
No one noticed the tiny white and grey-spotted kitten, who named herself Momo, sneaking through a hole in the airport gate. She wandered near the airport after eating so she could find a place to answer the call of nature.
She relieved herself on some dirt before noticing a strange hard black surface. It seemed similar to the strips the strange metal objects in the city she lived in looked like. But it was in the middle of a field, where did it lead to?
Naturally Momo’s curiosity won out and she jumped onto the runway. Her tiny legs sprinting. She came upon a group of humans riding weird shiny vehicles, pulling mysterious metal boxes with curtains. She looked back and forth at the passing vehicles, several men and women were putting luggage onto the ‘boxes.’ Momo squinted her eyes and got into a pouncing position. With a butt wiggle, she leaped onto one of the moving ‘boxes’ and hit her head on a gym bag. Momo backed away from the pungent egg smell and sat next to a roll-on suitcase. The vehicle stopped and Momo decided to jump out without looking at her surroundings. Continue reading “Momo’s journey”
(The following is an excerpt from a longer piece.)
Dr. Kat Sheroki stood in her office, her hands on her hips as she leaned back and forth side-to-side gazing from her second story suite window. Her deep, hazel eyes were a perfect complement to her light brown hair, and softly painted freckles on a pale complexion. Her short, petite and gracefully slender figure seemed a contradiction by a professional sense of superiority and detachment some may have described as ice-cold and demanded sharp respect.
Lifting her coffee mug to her lips, she would have benefited from a refill, but had not the time or enthusiasm to take a trip to the break room. Instead, she slowly swirled the remnants around, and peered numbly into it to discern the coffee stains. It looked as if an alternate world had been turned upside down and inside out, and its land dwelled above a muddy ocean … a concept to which many of her patients could relate. She set the mug down turning her attention to the window overlooking parking lot. Continue reading “Dust within a thought”
This was my chance. Since the wave of bad luck with Chantilly Gates Homeowners Association, I really needed the dough. To be banned from building there had been a major downer.
I parked the Corvette in front of my parcel about a half-block from Airline Highway and got out, tucking my linen shirt into the slacks I’d bought in New York previous to the Chantilly Gates debacle. Traffic all of a sudden beat at my ears and all shades of gray smoke stung my nose.
Low-cost would be the word today. And what struggling young family could resist the package: their choice of any lot on the three-acre parcel and a new house to boot. Having paid next to nothing for the land, I’d make out too.
An ancient Isuzu Trooper pulled up and the driver’s door swung open, revealing the rear view of a sturdy fellow who was unstrapping a squealing kid from a car seat. Once he was out, I saw that the guy was not just sturdy. He was borderline fat, both face and gut like pumpkins.
“Chuck and Barb Morgan,” he said as his wife, dressed the same as him in gray and blue-striped shirt, blue shorts, and heavy knee-length socks, approached from the other side.
The guy shifted his kid, the little darling’s mouth dribbling a curdled mess, from one arm to the other and extended his hand. “Excuse the twinsy look. Saturday morning soccer, you know.” Continue reading “Trees and birds”
(The following is an excerpt from a longer work.)
DJ Kees flees Amsterdam under mysterious circumstances with teen daughter & story narrator, Alouette. They fly to Brooklyn to begin a new life of surreal gigs in illegal nonplace warehouses, exploitation by the slumlord-artist-grifter Amber, and a series of hallucinatory, hilarious and harrowing post-hipster adventures. The slumlord eventually turns the duo in at Brooklyn’s DHS immigration office as part of a plea bargain & for which he earns a modest bounty…
As the son of a legendary WW2 Resistance radio builder, papa’s name naturally came up at a kraakbeweging [squat movement] meeting. “Little Jammer” (papa’s nickname back then) was enthusiastically recruited to build a stoorzender or jamming station because people figured like father like son – transmitter-building as genetic predestination.
Jamming is the intentional use of radio noise or signals to create radio frequency disruption of normal transmissions. Jams occur when you decrease the ratio of signal power to noise background power. A decibel ratio greater than 1:1 (0 DB) means more signal [useful info] than noise [irrelevant data] and vice versa. Broadcasting consists of a radio transmitter that receives information in the form of an electronic signal such as audio from a microphone. The transmitter combines the information signal with the radio frequency signal, which generates an alternating current or modulation. The signal is sent to an antenna, usually located on a rooftop to increase reach. Continue reading “Radio activity kills”
Entered my life with abandon,
recklessly causing unwanted emotions,
reviving the lost hope of happiness.
Escaped the test of thought,
and was buried by loves intensity,
but continued to struggle to say alive.
Randomly dismissed and forgotten,
having no part of love,
joined reason in its isolation.
My life-long trusted companion,
please don’t linger far away,
I fear you must rejoin me soon.
For I do not believe in love,
and this feeling masked in beauty will soon depart,
leaving me where I will forever dwell…Alone.
By Gary William Ramsey
(The following is an excerpt from a longer piece.)
The Daily News
Man Drowns Attempting to Save 16 Year Old Girl
June 24, 2019
The U.S. Coast Guard Official said Salvatore was at South Beach when the young female dove into the water with a group of friends.
When she began having trouble, a group of people including Salvatore went in to get her…
After my death, our move was swift.
We packed our dust-covered instruments,
wrapped newspaper around our dusty photos,
tucked mom’s wishing stones, smooth and
unblemished into our pockets. Continue reading “Perchance to dream”
The second time was completely different.
“‘Low dosage’ Adam said. ‘Fun’ he said,” Elisha stumbled along the melting hallway. She dropped to her hands and knees and crawled across the floor like a civilian whose city was under siege.
“There they are again!” An ominous cadence came as one big crescendo, cascading behind her in a deranged orchestra.
“Shit, shit, shit,” she whispered. Her blonde locks dangled over her face. Her toes, knees and fingertips dug into the floor, pulling her body forward. She intermittently glanced behind her.
“My bedroom door! Only inches away, my parents won’t know a thing—they can’t hear my thoughts, they can’t hear me!”
She wrapped a reluctant palm around the doorknob and twisted with deliberate mechanical quietude. Slowly, slowly . . .
Elisha pulled the door open just enough for her slender frame to slip through and quickly closed it behind her. She leaned against the door, her head tilted back, chin up and eyes closed. She gasped heavily with heart pumping, exhaled and wiped the tears from beneath her closed, sticky eyes.
She heard an unfamiliar voice reading poetry in a British accent like some History Channel narrator. She opened her eyes, breaking the sticky web over her eyelids. Continue reading “Elisha’s game”
I stare through the window of Amy Tan’s room. Below, an old man watches his white dog running on the beach while in the distance a lighthouse blinks its one eye at me. Decaying tang of salt air wafts indoors. I turn from the shimmer of the ocean and walk down the hall, comforted by the presence of all these authors cradling me. Eerie.
A night in the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon. Every room is dedicated to an author and yes, tonight I will lie with Amy Tan, others with Shakespeare, Jules Verne or Rowling in the Gryffindor room, or for the kids at heart, Dr. Seuss. As I check in, the cat Shelley curls on a chair, warming in the sun. “She’s a sun-catcher cat. Wherever the sun is, she catches it,” the innkeeper states.
“Unlike the poor author.” The smell of musty volumes permeates, reminding me I’m in a familiar haunt. “I hear this old place either comforts you or spits you out.”
“Correct. You’ll either love it or hate it.”
I hear light sobbing. No one there. Mere literary sniffles, I assure myself. “Do you have Wi-Fi?”
“No internet, phones or TV. But at night there’s the creak of old bards’ footsteps in the hall, ocean crashing on the beach and we serve mulled wine in the library. Will that do?” Continue reading “A sun-catcher’s tears”