Well, hello, gentle readers. I wrote a scree that went nowhere, as fast as it could, down a feckless road. So I scrapped it.
My inner chemicals sluice and slosh, they are pouring acid into my brain, slow little drops of acid and the clouds forming…ah, but you all know about depression and such fuckery. And I can feel whatever…ugh, that word, ‘feel’. I was told, in a creative writing class, not to ever, ever, ever use that word. It’s so ‘blah’. Find a better word. Stuff and things and feel. Those words are too bland and broad.
Yet. I feel that using things leads to some good stuff at times. Ha ha ha. Oh, I’m so almost clever.
Okay. I wrote this short story.
At ten thousand words, I guess it’s still a short story and not approaching novella length yet. But I could stretch it that way and possibly even stretch it into novel territory, which….intrigues this kitty cat with her head full of acid clouds.
Is there a small novel there in the tale of this little lonely man battling plastic lawn decorations? Mm. Mmmm.
Did Earnest Hemingway wrestle with such weighty concerns when he came across a scrap of something when he took time out from battling across battlefields and hunting water rats?
I am far too lazy right now to look up what Hemingway actually battled and shot, sorry. You, gentle darlings, can go Google it. I hear Google has answers to those trivia questions that crop up and torment us. Who played Amy the witch over on Buffy?? Doh!! What were the movies playing in 1978? Doh! Can you die from an overdose of Tic Tacs?? Doh!!!
So, I’ll post the opening of that salvo of mine.
I’ll admit, I got the title from watching an episode of Lucifer, where the character walked through someone’s lawn just studded with those plastic pink flamingos. And yeah, said something about an army of…yep. That’s the origin story behind this short story. I probably shouldn’t admit I even watch television. That I just read Proust and sneer over the crassness of the world and write my little bits so steeped in esoteric references and clumsy giant words not used outside a freshman Communistic Poetry Stylings to Go After the Christians class that no one can read them.
I was going somewhere pungent with that. I know I was. Damn brain acid clouds. Can my inner demons shoot me a memo as to when the light and hope will return to my brain? So I can make some cookies or something. Thanks!
Ah. Excerpt time!! You lucky puppies!!
They sit out there, stuck into the hard, cold ground, biding their time.
Flamingos. Plastic pink and hollow, full of malice, the spaces inside filled with a juicy invisible menace. I pull back my curtains, the blue ones I found at the thrift store with the purple chickens and the black ducklings, and their flamingo eyes find me, though the painted eyes don’t move. They find me, those eyes. Mock me. Warn me not to sleep or rest or let down my guard. Because they are coming. A pink plastic army. Coming soon. I let the curtain drop.
I don’t know why they would target me for their crusade. But they have. My safety, sanity and well-being amuse and enrage them. I have become their enemy. Not the little brown dog, with the funny ear, that comes sniffing through once in a while, who pees on them. Their only enemy is the man blinking at them from behind a rather silly curtain.
Defenses. I need defenses. I’ve had this vague thought before. Those flamingos belonged to my mother, she collected them, thought them ‘cute’ and ‘funny’ and ‘so American’. She’s buried out in the desert. No no, she died in her sleep, she had a bad heart, and there was no money for her funeral. Her death was not caused by me in any way. My mother lived and she died, simple as that. She worked most of her life as a clerk, Walgreen’s to Wal-Mart to Joanne’s, and then the doctors, at the end, took her feeble life savings. And she wanted to be buried without any fuss– just put me in the ground, she’d told me. No damn funeral homes, look at what they charge! I won’t pay that. I won’t! I took her at her word. I told everyone, well, about three people, that she just went away. That she’s visiting her sister. Her sister lives in Florida. Aunt Carol never calls, writes or visits here. Has never called, written or visited here. My mother never had time for friends, relatives, acquaintances or enemies, anyway. No one checked. No one’s checking now. Her Social Security checks go to her bank account, automatic deposits. My name is on that account. I use it to pay bills, for home repair, nothing that would garner any scrutiny. I don’t think she’d mind, at all, that her checks will keep coming until I arrange to have her die, somewhere else, be buried, somewhere else. Except there’s paperwork, death certificates…sigh. Another problem that needs my attention.
My mother was a most unpleasant woman, with a voice like a cartoon shark. She worked and she collected plastic flamingos. How she came to have me at all is a mystery. I’ve never known my father or her to have a boyfriend, a lover, a one night stand. Maybe she wished me into being. Some women have that sort of power. They can wish for things and things they get. I drink coffee behind my closed and locked bedroom door, wondering about my father, hearing the odd hopping of the spy flamingos in the little house.
They are meant to be outside, stuck in flowerbeds. A metal spike exudes from their centers or maybe two long sturdy wires acting as legs. My mother collected both kinds. At night, they’ll send two or three into the house, just to check things out, to get ready, to scare me. I hear them hopping about, the odd whistling of air in their hollow bodies. At night, sometimes, they are almost real birds. With feathers and long beaks. And they balance by my door, if on a single spike or they balance precariously on their two thin cheap metal legs. Listen to me listening to them. I stand there, by my door, my hands wrapped around a baseball bat, just in case. I know it won’t hurt them, not enough to make them go away and leave me alone. I haven’t yet found the cure for the malignant magical flamingos that haunt my life.
It was my mother, you see. She did something to them. I don’t know what. She fell asleep and never woke up and never told me how to call them off or strip them of the life slowly infusing them; how to offset their utter smoking hatred of me. My mother and I got along, we were amicable toward each other. I can’t make them understand this so they’ll turn their fury toward something else. How do you make barely sentient things know you’re not their bete noire? I haven’t lucked into the right combination of words or deeds yet to do just that.
I didn’t kill her, I tell them every day. I stand out in the lawn among them, twenty-three in all. Which is actually five. If you add the two and the three, it’s five. That’s a magic number, a number with power. I can’t tell you why. I just know. Numbers have power, they tap into the lines and pull of the universe around us, provide order out of chaos. Math is the language of the universe, someone said. The horrible ancient sound of a universe learning to speak, with things we don’t wish to hear, no matter our pretending otherwise. I have no wish to know the truth about what lives behind the sky or who hung that moon, if anything hung that moon…I have no real wish to know the actuality of such things. The terrible finality of such knowledge would surely rip the skin off my little quivering soul. Off all our souls. We’d have to face things. We’d have to line up in rows and face things and we’re not good at that. At all, we humans. I don’t know, my mind wanders off, the way gets fuzzy as a stretched out old sweater, my eyes fill with sandy tears.