Friday, October 30, 2015

Bewitched

Beyond the ads, beyond the sales, lies the truth.

"Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble." Kathryn Ferguson cackled and swirled a crooked finger, casting a fake spell. 
"Rubbish." Lori brushed the invisible hex aside.
"But that was how witches did it, according to Shakespeare." Kathryn protested. "What's more, I saw the movie Hocus Pocus."
"Well, Shakespeare is dead and the sisterhood of witches is still alive and I can prove it." Lori spotted her contact entering the coffee shop. "Quick, hide."
Lori Razzo was investigating modern witchcraft and had found a woman who agreed to take her to a secret meeting of a real coven nearby but only after she agreed to an oath of silence. Under no circumstances was Lori to expose the locale or she would forever pay the price of her tongue wagging. 
The professed witch glanced furtively around the coffee shop, swayed over to the table and drew up a chair. Leaning forward, she spoke definitely, "I'll pick you up on the corner of Seventh and Wicker at 5:45am tomorrow. Don't be late."
"5:45am sharp."
"And remember, if you violate our agreement there will be harsh consequences to pay." Gabriella's stare bore through Lori like a termite to wood. The message understood.
"This should be a hoot," she whispered to herself when Gabriella, the self-proclaimed priestess of the coven, strode out of the shop. "Witchcraft, boo-pucky. I'm so scared."
"Well?" Kathryn poked her head around the coffee bean rack. "Did she cast a spell on you? Wait. Let me look into your eyes. Okay, pupils normal and reactive."
Kathryn plopped down in the chair and Lori chuckled, "The meeting's tomorrow."
"Are they going to put a mask over your head?" Kathryn drank down the rest of Lori's tepid coffee. "Can I come?"
"And get me bewitched?" Lori feathered her short, reddish hair behind her ears. "Stay at least two cars behind in the slow lane, okay?" 
The plan set, the two said good night and went their separate ways until the early morning hour.
The sun crested over the hills while Lori stood shivering on the street corner. What is the matter with these women anyway? Don’t they know any self-respecting Witch meets in the darkened shadows under the glow of candlelight and incense?
An Exhibition pulled to the curb and Lori hopped into the front seat. The vehicle, packed with ordinary women, jerked away from the roadside. The voices escalated as Gabriella maneuvered through a series of continuous green lights on target to the prescribed destination.
"Why this is--" Lori gasped. 
The Exhibition screeched to a halt and the women quickly scooted out and marched towards the glass doors. Standing in a single line, they extended arms in front of their bosoms and repeatedly flexed both hands open and shut while chanting, "Open, open, open."
Slowly the locked doors opened and the coven welcomed the witches. With purpose, the witches entered with a new incantation under tongue, "Charge it." 
Lori stumbled onto the linoleum floor just as the doors closed tightly behind the one-way spell. Just like Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves she thought. Turning backwards, she read the word “desolC”.
"This is the secret coven?" She said, glaring at Gabriella. “The major department store…”
With the wink of a long lash and the crinkle of her nose, Gabriella tugged her by the elbow. "Hurry, the best deals are gone in the first ten minutes and remember mum's the word."
"What to wear, what to wear?" The witches chanted as they ran up and down the aisles, checking price tags and trying on shoes, looking for the perfect price an hour before the store opened. 
"A bargain hunt? This is modern witchcraft?" 
Gabriella shrugged, "Witches have budgets, too."
"But isn't this Super Saturday?" Lori looked at a store sign.
"Who do you think started that idea?" Gabriella sighed, sarcastically. "Come on, the racks are already getting bare."
Lori grabbed a leather jacket and draped it over her arm. The witches scrambled and fought over sale items and carried armloads to the cash register. Sale after sale rang up at the register, absent of electricity and a sales clerk. Tiny charge slips printed out and faithfully the members of the sisterhood scribbled signatures of credit agreement, interest-free and triple bonus points. 
Lori laid her purchase onto the counter and watched the magical forces fold and package her selection. Cool. She could get the hang of this witchcraft.
Suddenly, a figure appeared at the glass door, peering in, shocked at the private sale in action. Kathryn.
"You!" A witch cursed towards Lori and pointed a rigid finger. "You told someone of our secret coven."
"No…" Lori retreated on her left foot, looking for an escape. 
The witches encircled her, grasped hands and slowly started to cast a spell. The cash register clanged, the drawers flung open and shut violently. Dollar signs flashed by in a blur. The sisterhood sang louder and swayed as one. Voices deepened and a lone cackle erupted as the women chanted a few choice mumble-jumbles.
Lori trembled and hugged her purchase. The machine grew hotter, shuddered and spewed out the charge slip. Eyes focused on the intruder and silence overpowered the room as Lori's hand unwillingly signed the charge slip.
"What? $5,031 for a jacket at 34.9% interest. That's outrageous." Lori protested as her pen zagged the "z" in Razzo. "I'll be paying this off forever."
Gabriella spoke with a wicked laugh, "Month after month after month….pay back's a witch." 


Friday, September 11, 2015

THE BECOMING




My person waits on the outside looking in. I stand next to her. She’s the instigator. I’m the initiator. She’s the author. Me – I’m the character. Seems backward, doesn’t it?
Just who is this feisty woman that imagined my life? Temptation too strong, I escape the wall of one-inch margins in search of answers.
“Hi, I’m Mike."
A familiar presence – known like an autumn breeze greeting the darkening shadows, she checks her head to the left and turns to meet my outstretched arm. A confident hand joins mine and a friendship of awakens with the combination of the alphabet.
At ease, she slips her fingers into her pocket; my warm touch still with her. My boyish looks, my clean-shaven face and great butt make her pause. She takes another look.
That was the day I met Cynthia; the creator of me. My genetic DNA a mere 27 letters.
I only knew that I encountered a woman unlike any others and she left me in want of more beyond the distance between A and Z and dog-ear of a paperback.
Her smile edged with a spark of mystery, her Scottish fuse-box temper, her fortitude of a brick ignited my inquiring mind.
She appears to the outside world open and completely upfront - totally predictable. To me she is absolutely - unpredictable.
Just when I think I know her best she ventures beyond my grasp and I hold my breath. I discover her to be an endless mystification.
She is an Aquarius. Not that she buys into the stars but she read once that the most compatible match for her is a Gemini. She tells me she really needs me to be a Gemini because I am the only one who will understand her off-the-wall, inside-out-upside-down personality. So a Gemini I am.
A cosmic twin, a two-fold personality. Thanks, Cin. I am strength of character one day and in search of want the next. I am very complex, athletic and in her mind -- handsome.
She takes me through many adventures and real encounters of life. She promises to nurture but not protect. Sometimes I feel lost but I trust my creator to get me where I need to go.
I love the architect of my being. If I were alive beyond the dimension of words I would date her. She is always in search of adventure. She makes things happen. I am lucky because she takes me with her when she goes exploring. The mysteries of life intrigue her.
I think, no, I know, I fell in love with her the day she looked at me with her wondering eyes, a strand of strawberry blonde hair tucked behind her ear and asked, “Why do snails crawl up walls?”
“Where did that come from?” I asked in shocked response. “I thought we were having a cup of coffee?”
Chin resting in the palm of her hand she eyed me with a puzzled look. “Haven’t you ever wondered why snails climb up walls?”
I sat speechless.
“Have you ever seen a snail crawl back down?” She challenged, waiting for an answer.
Still, I had none. But then of course, how could I have the answer. She is my designer and she doesn’t know the answer so we sipped coffee in stalemate.
She leaned into the table shelving the thought and announced, “Let’s go for a run."
Running is our favorite time together. When we jog along the trail our thoughts merge. Any tangled cobwebs from the day’s stress drop with each forward motion until our mind races freely. We run in unison. I share my concerns and the depth of our relationship.
She breathes in the crisp autumn air and stops to look underneath a leaf. Bug spittle clings to the underside. She thinks it might be frog spit. “What do I think?”
“Of course, whatever, frog spit it is, but what about my problem?” A slight breeze blows through my fabricated form and scatters me temporarily east to west. I gather my self, adjust my parts and sprint to catch her down the next curve.
She runs across the wooden bridge. It bounces with her weight. She slips past the catwalk entrance her pace unfaltering onto the dirt path.
“What problem, Mike? Aren’t you having fun with me? You still have all your hair and you don’t have a potbelly. Is it the tofu in your eggs?” She jumps into a puddle and splashes muddy water on me.
I laugh. I grab her arm and make her stop. I hold her towards me. “No, it's not the tofu." I know it’s good for the prostate, not that I really have one. I feel the tightness of her muscles.
She looks up to me.
“It's just, damn you, sometimes I wish you'd quit hitting that cut and paste button. Just when I think I know who I am you either cut, paste or worse yet -- you hit delete!"
"Oh, that." She stretches her fingers and wiggles out the writer's cramps.
"Yeah, that." I stomp my foot. A knee wobbles and I pause to readjust.
"Didn't you like your part in the murder mystery?" She studies my rugged jaw, etched with a long scar of the attacker's knife. "All the reviewers gave you two thumbs up and Oprah loved you, remember?"
"I hate murder mysteries!" There it is out. I cross my arms and hold my ground, barely. "Can’t I just be me for one day? Don’t you know by now that I am the person standing next to you?”
"Out! Out! Out!" She grabs her temples and squeezes. "Get out of my head."
"Don't you get it? I move to her side. "I am out of your head." I inch closer and whisper, "I'm in your heart now."
A bird chirps in the tree. A rabbit scurries across the trail. We stand vacant of words.
She picks up a small rock and skips it across the water. Hands on slim hips she counts the number of ripples on the water and says, "Both of us are in a place of becoming, still changing. I haven’t a clue to our tomorrow." A drop of sweat slowly trails down the side of her flushed cheek. "Sometimes cut and paste is the best choice to help us grow."
Hands in my pocket my feet kick the dirt. I turn to stare out across the lake. I like who I am. I like who she is. She wants more for me, for us. Her hand gently touches my shoulder.
“Do you really want me to tell the whole world about when you…”
“…You wouldn’t. That’s between us.” The memory of the secret makes me smile and agree best kept on a cutting board. “Okay, so sometimes a little editing is good.” I resolve.
Her eyes twinkle, her face lights with the sunshine of her smile. “It's part of our becoming Mike, all just part of our becoming…”