Bus Monkey

Everyone who boarded the Q69 bus saw the scruffy, brown monkey sitting in the hard plastic seat by the door. It was impossible not to; animals in general were a rare sight on public transportation, but primates especially so. When each passenger paid for their ride and walked past him, they were inevitably presented with a flash of fangs and an anxious squeak from below. He bared his teeth at every third or fourth person who passed, startling each of them without exception. Some gasped, some quickened their pace, some made accidental eye contact and then immediately cast their gaze downward; the reactions varied, but not by much.

 

As peculiar a sight as the monkey was, nobody seemed to question his presence; after all, they reasoned, he probably had somewhere to be just like the rest of them. Why shouldn’t he be allowed to ride the bus? How else would he get around the city; by motorcycle? In this traffic? The thought of it was like something out of a cartoon, or a Sesame Street episode brought to you by the letter M. No, the bus was the only logical way to get from Point A to B in this town, whether you wore a suit and tie or a more literal monkey suit.

“45th street next,” squawked the bus driver’s modulated voice through the loudspeaker. The monkey stood up in his seat and chirped excitedly, grabbing the pole next to him and spinning around it like a small, exceptionally hirsute stripper. His feet brushed through the blonde, blown-out hair of the lady next to him, who immediately pulled out a compact and began putting it back in its place.

When the bus pulled to a halt, the monkey jumped down from his seat and ambled to the doorway, his bare feet slapping the floor; the steps were made for humans, so he worked his way down them cautiously and onto the sidewalk. He made no attempt to turn and thank the bus driver for getting him to his destination safely, and the driver didn’t seem to mind. “50th street next,” said the bus driver into the loudspeaker. The Q69 bus hissed as it rose from the curb, and the monkey screeched at it in return. Then it scratched itself, sniffed at the wind, and ambled on down the street to its next appointment.

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Past Due

stillwaiting

Well, this is awkward.

I started this blog awhile ago with the intention of writing every day, posting content regularly, and generally developing a body of work that reflected who I was as a person. And given that I haven’t updated it in over three years, what does that say about me?

*EDIT*

I went into a whole bit here about where I went wrong, bemoaning my tired excuses and citing the frozen agony of the blank page… but then I deleted it, because honestly, who wants to read that crap? Who even has time for it? Is there anything more worthless than a writer whining self-indulgently about how hard it is to write, without ever actually producing anything?

Answer: there isn’t. And since the hardest part of writing is actually getting words down on paper (aka the part where you write), I’m going to use this brief post as a jumping off point. Rather than staring paralytically at my stagnant page, wondering whether I’ll be able to fill it with anything meaningful, or if I should just stop paying the annual domain fee and start collecting crickets, I’m breaking the ice right now. This is my next update.

It isn’t the next Great American Novel, or an incisive rant about the state of things, or a stage play in three parts that’ll bring the house down when Helen bursts from the cupboard to reveal she was alive all along. It’s an update for its own sake, and now that it’s out of the way, the real work can begin: y’know, the part where I actually write stuff and see it through to the end.

Stay tuned for more. I promise, it’s coming.

 

 

When I Turn

She did her best, but she was young. When her father sighed, she kissed his eyes and placed a wet towel on his forehead, felt the heat of his skin as she touched his restraints. He’d told her what to do, before the fever made it so he couldn’t speak; once he was dead, she was to ensure he stayed that way. No physical contact.

The sun sank in the sky, and the light that colored the workshop’s interior began to change. Now the room was white, and the father’s sweat sparkled. Now the room was yellow, and his mouth made soft sucking sounds. Now the room was orange, and his brow coiled like a viper. Now the room was red, his skin dry and loose, and he stopped making noise.

She knew he was dead, and it made her cry. Her hand drifted toward his workbench ghost-like, past the tin-snips and vicegrips, hovering over the little ball-peen hammer. She’d watched him knock the dents out of the old station wagon’s roof with it. Her fingers curled around its thin wooden handle. The redness of the room frightened her.

In the prolonged silence, the sudden sound of movement made her gasp; the hammer slipped and clattered on the poured concrete floor. She gazed at the table where her father lay, saw his still body begin to wriggle. His eyes never shut, never blinked, and his hands pulled at the restraints. They held, but he kept pulling. She edged nearer to the table.

His eyes locked onto her, and his mouth gaped into a dessicated rictus of teeth and tongue. She knelt to pick up the hammer and stood above his face, biting her lip. He tilted back on his head and reached for her with his eyes, with his teeth. She screamed, and brought the hammer down on his forehead as hard as she could like he’d told her to. The sound was an egg cracking inside the carton. Her father’s face was red.

She placed the hammer on the table and wiped a sniffle from her nose. Leaning over him and placing a hand on his cheek, she whispered something sweetly about how he’d be alright now, and how he was with Mom. She stroked the flesh of his face, felt it like sackcloth under her fingers.

The smell of her stimulated him and he gnashed his teeth, catching the skin of her finger and tearing. She screamed and ripped herself from his mouth, but his teeth wanted more. Grabbing the hammer from the table, she brought it down again and again until she didn’t see her father’s face anymore; all she saw was red.

Backing away from the table, she ran to the utility drawer and found the bungee cord she’d seen him use to strap down the generator when there’d still been fuel for the thing. She coiled it around her thumb, just below the knuckle, until the nail turned red. Then she reached for the tin-snips.