27 April 2015


Maguida raised a flag of truce and sailed into the tiny harbor of her mind. Her boat was fragile but still seaworthy, and at any rate it appeared as though there would be no more salvos fired at her from the coastal guns.

Coastal guns on the shore of the tiny harbor of one's mind can be particularly deadly.

The winds were steady but warm, and the waters fairly calm. She looked around at the ragged sails, torn from the previous battle, and she wondered how they could have ever held enough wind to bring her home – home to an occupied port, home to become a prisoner. She thought deeply and with salty-wounded wonder at how the gimple birds had made a warning call before the battle. She listened to them, but ignored their dire message. We all do that from time to time.

As her battle-ravaged boat pulled into port, she stepped into what had become a foreign land. Enemy-held territory. A strange place. She walked ashore and saw no trace of her captors.

No threatening words.

No marauding troops.

No laurel-wreath clad victors, grinning at her with bloody smiles.

She was alone. The worst kind of defeat there is.

20 April 2015


When the police arrived, there was little that could be done aside from cleaning up the mess. One older officer directed one of the younger officers to get a 2-liter bottle of a well-known cola soft drink and wash the blood away.

“Are you sure we should do that?” asked the young officer. “They might want the blood for evidence.”

“Who? Who might want it?” asked the older officer.

With a shrug of his shoulders the younger officer walked away in search of the cola. The older officer crouched down next to the body and looked into its eyes. “Its” eyes, as the officer was not sure if it was the body of a man or a woman. There were no obvious clues.

The officer stood up, shook his head and smoothed the lap of his his trousers, slowly, but almost as though he were brushing off crumbs. There could have been crumbs on his trousers, in fact. He had just eaten a very crumbly baked good on the way over. The officer was not sure, exactly, what sort of baked good it was. There had been no obvious clues.

A delivery van of some sort slowed down as it drove past the crime scene, trying to figure out what was going on. The driver turned down his radio – for that is what people do, it seems, when they need to concentrate on things while driving. They turn down the radio. When your family was on a vacation and you pulled into a strange city, would your mother pull out the map and turn down the radio, saying “we have to concentrate” ? Perhaps she did. I know that my mother did. In like fashion, the driver of this delivery truck sat up, took notice, and turned down his radio.

The officer looked at the truck as it passed by and noticed the driver staring at the crime scene. He took note of the driver turning down the radio. The officer looked at the delivery truck and tried to determine what sort of delivery such a truck would be making, but he could not decide what it might be. There were no obvious clues.

The officer returned to his patrol car and opened the trunk. He withdrew the “Crime Scene Removal Kit” that was issued to every police patrol car in Weaverton. Taking the kit to where the body was, he put on his tidy white apron and rubber gloves and got to work. The body fit neatly within the several resealable plastic bowls that came with the kit – bowls that were guaranteed to not leak, and that would keep body parts or baked goods as fresh and flaky as the day they were murdered or baked. “From our kitchen to yours!” was the cheery message that was molded in bright, happy colors on the snap-tight lid of each bowl.

The kit was very complete, the officer thought, except for the cola soft drink that all of Weaverton's finest used to give a final cleaning to any crime scene. Well, to any crime scene that needed cleaning, that is. The crime scenes of Jaywalking (unless lethal) seldom needed such a good cleaning. The cola soft drink that they used for crime-scene clean up had a special wang-doodley enzyme in it that immediately ate up and digested blood and small body parts that were too small to pick up with the tongs that were included in the kit. “Who stocked these kits, anyway?” the officer wondered aloud. He turned the lid of the kit over several times, looking for the name of a manufacturer. There were no obvious clues.

The officer wiped off the tongs, packed up the kit and the resealable plastic bowls full of body parts, and placed them all neatly in the trunk of the patrol car. He took off his tidy white apron and rubber gloves, and placed them in a large plastic bag that the City of Weaverton Police Department had so thoughtfully included in each policeman's personal goody box. The personal goody box contained very crumbly baked goods, tear gas, a smiley-face button, and a kazoo, along with the plastic bags. Each goody box was prepared personally by the mayor of Weaverton each morning, and contained a hand written message of joy. The older officer's goody box this morning had a message that read “Slap-happy to the end! Boxer dogs and hiccups! Happy!” It was, sure enough, hand written and signed by the mayor. The officer, after reading it, had misplaced it in the patrol car somewhere, but was not sure where he had laid it. There were no obvious clues.

The younger officer returned with a 2-liter bottle of the particular well-known cola soft drink, and the two of them used it to wash away the remaining blood and some small body parts. They flushed the whole of it into the gutter, where it ran over several empty pistol cartridges and down into the storm sewer. The older officer was not sure where it went after it entered the storm sewer. There were no obvious clues.

The two officers got into the patrol car and made their way back to the station. In the precinct headquarters that afternoon, just before he headed home after his shift, the older officer made his daily “record of events” and entered it into the duty log.

“Quiet day. No activity. Ate two very crumbly baked goods. Happy!”

10 April 2015

Not Upon the Feast of Marrowsuck

He did it again.

Mr. Reemer (not his real name) held out his hand on the corner of 18th Avenue and 31st Street, and juggled two balls of stiffened beef tallow, daring any passers-by to pluck one of the balls from mid-air. No one ever wants to touch stiffened beef tallow, of course, so he found no takers. It was his next action that baffled everyone – even the reporter from the Daily Slouch.

The sun burned brightly in the skies over Weaverton that morning, and Mr. Reemer's hand grew all the more slippery with each cycle of the balls of stiffened beef tallow. As one last passer-by passed by (that is, after all, what passers-by do, you know), he paused in mid-juggle, and a ball of stiffened beef tallow stopped in mid-air. It hovered. It wobbled. It glistened.

“Hear my tale,” said Mr. Reemer to the passer-by. “Hear my tale of tallow. A tallowy tale, yet not too tall of a tallowy tale.”

The passer-by stopped and stared at the ball of stiffened beef tallow.

“Hear of the genesis, as it were,” continued Mr. Reemer, smiling. “You know where this lovely ball of stiffened beef tallow comes from, don't you?”

The passer-by shook her head, as if to say “no.”

(That is often what people mean when they shake their heads.)

“Let me show you.” With his free hand (the one that was not growing all the more slippery from stiffened beef tallow) he traced a picture in the air – a picture so divine, so graceful, and so intricate. He then reached out and placed his index finger upon the forehead of the passer-by. “Receive,” said Mr. Reemer.

The passer-by shook and trembled, and then grew still.

“Deeper than you might think?” she asked, at great length.

“Deeper than you might think,” said Mr. Reemer.

The passer-by reached out her hand. Mr. Reemer reached out his own hand (the one that had been growing all the more slippery). As their hands met, he turned his over, placing the ball of stiffened beef tallow in hers. While she held it, he kept his hand on the ball for a long while, allowing liquefied beef tallow to run from his palm and cascade over hers.

“Deeper,” he said.

“Deeper,” she said.

The softened beef tallow ran down in tiny little rivulets, over her palm, down her wrist, and down her arm. She felt it dripping onto her shoes.

Mr. Reemer (not his real name, remember?) withdrew his hand, leaving the passer-by holding the ball of stiffened beef tallow. He gently directed her arm beneath the other ball that was still hovering and wobbling and glistening in mid-air.

He looked into her eyes.

She looked into his eyes.

“Receive,” said Mr. Reemer. He made the sign of the grackle and walked away. Out of sight. Out of mind. Out of body.

The passer-by began to juggle the balls of stiffened beef tallow. The sun burned brightly in the skies over Weaverton, and the passer-by's hand grew all the more slippery with each cycle. A voice from deep within came, at long last, to her lips.

“Hear my tale...”