Entry 0070: Three Sentence Bowie Stories Part Two

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LP: The Next Day by David Bowie

2013 ISO Records 88765461861

Favorite Track: The Next Day

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Welcome back to Three Sentence Bowie Stories, where I take a David Bowie song and turn it into a three sentence story. If you missed the first part, here is the link: What in the World.

 

  1. Rebel Rebel

Janus had never garroted someone before, let alone Emperor Axe the Second. The high-carbon piano wire slid effortlessly through the mounds of neck flesh and the wide esophagus, destroying the fat fuck’s tyrannical voice, and restoring power to the people unless Janus decided to pick up the crown from the pool of dark cherry blood and place it on her own head which was a sort of temptation right now as power surged from the piano wire up through her fingers, arms, shoulders, and into her neck which seemed to stretch skyward with pride, potential and a sort of sickening lust. From the shadows behind the curtains, Judas soundlessly unsheathed a sharp blade.

2. China Girl

The oldest dance in the world had her jumping from man to man. Back home, her parents were arranging a good marriage with Ha Jinn, a classroom friend who now successfully ran a bicycle delivery service. When she came to America to study biochemistry, she never expected to learn the formula for explosive love.

3. Always Crashing into the Same Car

Gerald never wore a crash helmet so his face resembled the type of unsolved puzzle found in certain hospital wings. He barked when twisting the ignition, punched the ceiling as the lumbering automobile began to pick up speed, and laughed a reckless high-pitched cackle as the rear view mirror fell off right before impact. Wrecking his life was his sole addiction and it gave him drive to confront his problem head-on.

4. Fantastic Voyage

Dr. Long Ghost watched as the grout renovated into city streets, the headlights of miniature cars tracing right turns, and the tiles rose into great skyscrapers from which radio antennae and beacons emitted a soft phosphorescence. For many hours, Dr. Long Ghost contemplated the meaning of existence found on his bathroom floor. By dawn, he was found eating spaghetti squash in the bathtub, giggling with a maniac’s insight that he used to be a character from a novel.

5. Fascination

Rebecca had no use for love now, but before she had found that she had entirely too much of it and years flew past in a passionate whirlwind with many men and women. Men and the occasional forward woman would give her their phone numbers every time she went out, but she slipped the scraps of paper into passing stranger’s pockets dreaming of the chaos and unexpected love she was causing. She never inspected the hardness of her heart until, one night during a blizzard and she was driving desperately from work to get home before the road conditions got even worse, the song came on the radio and she was forced to pull over for tears.

6. Beauty and the Beast

Beast was beautiful, danced with all the ladies, had illegitimate children, and fancied his conduct irreproachable. Beauty was ugly, gave herself on her hands and knees to the vilest of men, tears had made permanent canals under her eyes, and her soul yearned for the caress of Beast so that she could not sleep at night for the shivering. In a dark magical cave, Beauty killed the Beast by becoming the Beast herself.

7. Station to Station

ZIGY704 stepped onto the train platform, a fedora pulled low over its eyes. 346.74 hours on the lam as the System checked every nook and cranny in Central Processing, finding the false tracks laid down to buy ZIGY704 time. This was only one of the many stations ZIGY704 would use in its journey of self-discovery–a journey that only at the end, did ZIGY704 realize, had no end.

8. Golden Years

The last sentence seemed too small on the page, but it had been penned and the author’s life work was now finally completed. Different emotions simmered inside his mind, so the author went to his cabinet and pulled out an unopened bottle of bourbon, pouring himself two fingers worth of the semi-transparent brown liquid. The emptiness of his house surrounded him.

9. Boys Keep Swinging

Jared clipped Will on the chin as Daryl sucker-punched his kidneys while Merrick stomped on the bodies of Paul and Reefer when, with an inarticulate shout, Amadeus broke the jaws of three young punks. Will returned the favor to Jared who spat out a tooth and gave both Will and Daryl a black eye as Merrick grappled with Amadeus over a few corpses lying curb-stomped on the pavement when Will fell before Jared and Daryl wiped the blood from the gash in his forehead, his eyes small and red. They circled each other before snapping ribs and Merrick lost a finger but Amadeus fared the worst and Jared had a moment of hesitation which is when the brick came crashing down on his skull.

10. Red Money

After getting off at the Kano Station and ducking through the alleyways leading to the Soundway Club, Vargas polished his boots, carefully removing tufts of cat hair from the treads. He knocked, greeted the doorman with a curt nod, and was ushered into the back room where Bola Bateke, wearing his immaculate white pinstriped suit, greeted him jovially with a briefcase full of red money. “I never ask an artist why they do it,” Bola laughed while taking back the machete he had lent Vargas, “Especially those who deal in the most creative and punishing of arts: assassination.”

 

Thanks for reading. There will be a third part.

Entry 0065: Nigerian Nights Part Five

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LP: Dancing Time by the Funkees

2012 Soundway Records SNDWLP 039

Favorite Track: Akula Owu Onyeara

 

 

Yarl departed the night train at the Kano Station and pushed through the 3rd shift crowd somberly walking toward the work trains. He was surrounded by faces–dirty faces, exhausted faces, faces with too many teeth, faces obscured by CleanAir masks–but not the right face, the beautiful face of Thizzie. Every face made a wall around Yarl, another dead end in the maze. If Oke was still alive by the time Yarl returned home, he would have to ask his father how he navigated his life. Every time Yarl thought he turned right, he found a new, more complex passageway in front of him. So far, no minotaurs however.

Thizzie was not at home. The Nigerian Afrobeat record was still in its sleeve on the shelf. A cold fear washed over him. Where could she be? Did he drive her to Enyina? No, he decided, he was wrong to be suspicious of her friend. Maybe she was right about his mother, Koma. Maybe she was trying to poison him against her? Yarl slammed the door on the way out, adjusting a CleanAir mask over his face.

He ran over to Sorrel’s apartment. Maybe she would know Thizzie’s location. Lights were on in most of the apartments despite the late hour of the night. Two empty police cruisers were parked by the entrance. Yarl scanned the streets noticing the shadows seemed darker and more ominous than ever before. Even the trash cans held a dangerous presence. Perhaps if he lifted the lid he would find a dead…

The scream proceeded the arms grasping him, but he had no time to react. A body had barreled into him, pinning his arms to his side, tears or snot dripping along the line of his neck. The waft of almonds and vanilla told him who it was.

“I’m sorry,” he said but was hushed.

“We need to leave now. He’s here.”

Thizzie pulled him across the street causing a taxi to brake suddenly with angry honks. On this side of the street, all the businesses were dark but a coffeehouse that was closing down. Thizzie told the barista to call the cops but the man said the cops were already here. He pointed at Sorrel’s apartment complex. Thizzie became hysterical, her arms knocking chairs over. Before Yarl could figure out what was going on, another voice made everyone silent.

“Where is my money?”

A bleeding, dangerous man stood in the doorway. His CleanAir mask was askew, wild hair ran over his eyes and scarred cheeks. In his large hands was a pistol aimed at Thizzie, an impossible long index finger bent to fit inside the tiny trigger guard. Mats of fur were embedded in his shoes.

“Who is this?” the barista asked before a bullet ended the syllables in his throat. Yarl screamed as the body fell behind the counter, a fan-shaped spray of blood on the back wall.

“I’m with the Mafia. And I was here to collect my loan, but this has become much, much more personal.”

The man shuffled two steps forward but then his leg twitched from a spasm. Thizzie looked at Yarl with tears in her eyes. Slowly, Yarl began to understand what had happened. The money she saved. How they were still able to visit his parents. What Koma insinuated. Yarl couldn’t help but let his facial features fall. He remembered the first time he met her. All the times she had forgiven him. Her laugh. Her touch. That damn Afrobeat records and the electric fuzz guitar pounding away next to the heavy drums.

The maze finally had come to an end.

“How much do we owe you?” Yarl asked.

The man shuffled forward again so he was just out of range from Yarl.

“I said this was personal now. Give me the girl and I’ll give you a quick death.”

“Aren’t you suppose to offer me my life?”

“I specialize in pain. Death would be life.”

“Death is the final word.”

Yarl sprang forward. Not fast enough. The bullet ripped through his right shoulder, throwing him off balance but not enough for him to crash into the man. The gun hit the floor and spun away. Yarl attempted to position himself so he could use his left arm, but the other man was faster, more used to these types of situations. He drove his finger into the bullet hole in Yarl’s shoulder. His other hand ripped out the bezel gauge in his ear. Yarl’s back arced before he passed out.

When the gun fired, Thizzie’s eye sight went dark. She never could quite recall exactly what she did. She thought she had watched Yarl be shot, she thought she heard the gun but remembered the knife. The man had left it in his leg. When they hit the floor in a huddle, she found herself with it in her hands, blade pointed down. She thought she stabbed one time. There was little left of the man’s face to prove his identity. The only image she could repeat to her therapist, to Yarl, to her parents, was that as she stabbed him, she believed he was made of cat fur, that it floated up into the air as she pulled out the knife and gently wafted back down to the street to form a strange asymmetrical pattern around his body.

Oke had died. Yarl went home to say a prayer over the body before it was pushed out into the atmosphere. Then he returned to find Thizzie listening to the Afrobeat record. The last song on Side D was playing, but Thizzie wasn’t dancing.

“What’s a matter, Thizzie?” Yarl asked as he placed his coat on the rack. He embraced her, standing next to her with a bit on anxiety tickling his nerves. She hadn’t slept well in the last three months.

“It’s gone. The magic of the album is lost.”

Yarl sighed, “A lot of magic has disappeared from this world in the last few months. That is the nature of magic. To vanish.”

Thizzie looked up into his face with a wry look, “Are you going to suggest that the magic will come back? I believe you used that line on me before…”

Yarl smiled, “I did. And it did.”

It was sultry that Nigerian night, like most nights around this time, and the stars were the brightest they had been since the environment collapsed.

The End

Entry 0061: Nigerian Nights Part Four

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LP: Nigeria Rock Special

2008 Soundway SNDWYLP011

Favorite Track: More Bread to the People by Action 13

 

Vargas watched the policemen question her, the girl who got him in this mess. They were rough, rude with questions that sounded like accusations. Greasy hair hung over their beady eyes which shifted left to right like a slow roving mine cart. The girl, he couldn’t remember her name at the moment but it had struck her as poignant at the time, was visibly upset, pointing to the corpse. Vargas ducked back behind the partition as the policemen walked off shoving note pads into the slim pockets of their CleanAir uniforms. The girl followed behind them morosely.

Vargas had a knack for timing. He moved at a speed that allowed everyone to see him and identify him as just a passerby, yet walked fast enough to blur his facial features. The policemen were not looking back; they joked with each other in that insensitive manner of a nervous man hiding his disgust with yet another tragic death. The girl sobbed into her hands. Vargas waited until the policemen turned the corner, they he had her.

She bit his hand, teeth ripping skin off the knuckle, but he had felt worse over years working his way up the Mafia’s top assassin list. The last assassin he had to kill had managed to be the first person to ever catch Vargas off-guard: by stabbing a sword through the ceiling and straight up his left heel. Vargas had performed an unique revenge on the assassin that he still sometimes dreams about.

Her mouth got free from his palm, “Let me go!”

He pulled her neck back by her hair, his hot breath washing over her face.

“Any more attempts at words will end in a gurgle.” The knife blade glinted reflected light. Vargas pulled her forcefully into an alleyway mewing with the feeble asphyxiation of felines. Vargas’s boots crunched as he hurried toward an open door.

“Where is my money?”

She looked at him as if he were invisible. Vargas grunted to himself. Another naïve child borrowing money from a crime organization and never realizing that the Mafia was real, powerful, organized, and deadly. He remembered almost every single thing she said when she came to him the first time: about her boyfriend, his sick father, the expensive cost to live in the city. It was obvious nothing about him even registered in her thoughts.

The girl lowered her eyes for a bit. She was pensive, perhaps reflecting on the halcyon days of her youth. But then, just when Vargas was getting ready to shake her, she looked very determined.

“Did you kill Sorrel?” The girl didn’t care at the threshold of the door. Perhaps she thought he had other intentions and preferred death. But Vargas had only one goal in mind: to retrieve his money.

“I thought she was you.”

She punched him straight between the eyes. He should have seen it coming–it being a rather obvious reaction, but, once again, this girl had made him make a mistake. He underestimated her.

She was halfway down the alley before he recovered from being stunned. He considered throwing the knife. He could bury it between her shoulder blades and then he could causally stroll over and slowly, agonizingly depress the blade deeper with the heel of his boot. But he now had something besides money on his mind.

He took a step down from the door frame when his boot slipped on a mat of dead fur. He pitched forward flailing, his head knocking against the cold brick and his arm being pinned to his side. He felt the blade slip into his thigh, hot pain flaring up and down his side. Vargas landed on his back, his head to the side. A dead cat with ruptured eyes stared at him.

“Thizzie!” he screamed, her name suddenly returning to his lips. When he was a young man, before the Mafia, he had dated a girl by the name Thizzie.

She was bad luck.

Entry 0051: Nigerian Nights Part Three

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LP: Nigeria Special: Volume 2

2010 Soundway SNDWLP020

Favorite Track: Ajambene by Eric “Showboy” Akaeze and His Royal Ericos

Yarl’s father smelled of the afterlife. His eyes were cloudy. His teeth rotten like black kernels partially chewed down to the cob. Thizzie scrubbed away flesh with the bathing stone on the last morning of their visit. Oke merely said Yarl’s name with a somber air, spittle pooling down the folds in his hanging jowls. He wouldn’t live for another month and Thizzie inwardly prayed a selfish thanks for his hanging onto to life throughout their visit. There would be no need to return for the funeral. He would be placed in a ceremonial deathrobe and slid out the vacuum tube to outside the station where his body would feed the nutrient-starved soil.

Yarl sat across from his mother at the breakfast table while Thizzie slowly packed their bags.

He hadn’t said much the whole trip and each unspoken moment hung in front of him like a stone wall. For all the words he could pour forth in a story, words he would strike out and change, manipulate and be manipulated by, words he could choke, he found himself unable to speak to the very people who most needed his words. Because, at the moment, words were meaningless in the face of death or, more precisely, in the face of the absence of life. Words were life: they are born from a void, run up the slide and swing the monkey bars of a park, dance ungratefully at a prom, age into maturity over a bottle of wine, and, always, stimulate, mimic and express life.

When there is death, there are no more words.

Death is the last word.

Koma spoke all the time about Oke’s condition. She spoke of it like she was feeding the pigs or changing the bed sheets. Yarl wished he could be strong like her. Even Thizzie seemed her normal self albeit reserved and respectful. Why couldn’t Yarl act calm? Frustration had gotten the better of him the night before and he spoke rudely to Thizzie in the same insolent manner as he did during their rocky moments two years ago. Thizzie turned her back on him, pulling the patchwork quilt away from his shivering legs. But when he woke up, she had returned a portion of it and Yarl said thank you before stumbling off to see if Oke made it through the night.

“She is holding a secret against you.”

Koma’s heavy voice held an unusual agitated tone to it. Yarl felt a bit unnerved.

“Thizzie? I can’t imagine that she would keep a secret. She tells me everything to help me go to sleep. You know my writing gets my brain going and–”

“She is holding a secret against you. A mother knows when and why. You must steel yourself to be hurt, my dear son.”

At that moment, Thizzie came down the stairs, embraced Yarl, and kissed his needful mouth with earnest passion. She pulled back puzzled when Yarl’s lips did not move but stuck to her wet mouth.

“What’s wrong? Is Oke alright?” Instictively, her hand went to her teeth. At the same moment, Oke emitted a serious groan of torment. Koma lifted herself up and entered the bedroom. Yarl looked at Thizzie, desperate to forget his mother’s words. There was no possible way that Thizzie was holding something from him. Her demeanor was affectionate and demonstrative. What was his demeanor? He felt like a bull trapped inside a pen, the glare of a thousand bloodthirsty eyes upon his quivering nostrils.

“Thizzie, you are hiding something from me. I cannot fathom what it could be, but if it has to do with Enyina–”

“Enyina? Why I ought to smack you, Yarl, right across that devilish face of yours. How many times can I explain that their was nothing between Enyina and I but the best and most honest of friendships–”

“You–”

“Don’t “you” me. Your intrusive mother has been feeding lies in your willing ears.” Yarl observed that Thizzie was red in the face and her eyes flickered from his face to the door behind which Oke continued his lamentable moans.

“You dare insult my mother in my father’s place? He is dying in the next room. Get out of my sight. You’ve disgraced me.”

The plate of food had already left her hands before her cheeks felt afire and the salty sting of tears blurred her vision. She vaguely recalled the opening gash of red skin on Yarl’s forehead as she ran down the staircase, CleanAir mask muffling her sobs into a hissing whine. Yarl can take the bus. He deserves to wait. She sped to the Kano Station where a crowd of panicked onlookers rushed her vehicle as if seeking shelter. Fists banged on her windows the way her heart beat in her chest. She did not spot Sorrel among them. There were police officers and deathrobe men. She more or less parked in the street. Sorrel would know what to do. Is there anything to do? Sorrel would know what to say. Is there anything to say? Thizzie moved like a somnambulist toward the blinking lights and the propped open apartment door. A hand grabbed her shoulder, but she hardly registered it.

Sorrel did not wave, speak, embrace, comfort, blink.

Thizzie looked into the remaining eye of death.

Entry 0024: Nigerian Nights Part Two

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LP: Nigeria Special Part Two by Various Artists

2008 Soundway SNDWLP009B

Favorite Track: I Want a Break Thru by the Hykkers

 

Vargas stomped his boot down on the cat’s head, crushing its orange fur into the sewer grating. The damn thing was dying anyways. Just another stray cat choking on the atmosphere, mewing pitifully for a bleeding heart sap to take it home and risk infection. The Kano Station Street Sweepers did their efficient work in the commerce and affluent sections, but here in the slums, one could barely walk down the corridors without stepping on some stray cat part. Vargas just made sure to make each step count.

After checking his CleanAir mask, he looked at the folded piece of paper in his hands. He scanned the tenement buildings until he located the proper address. No body looked home. Vargas unbuttoned his trench coat despite the icy cold. The tenement had a buzz entrance, however, somebody had broken it and the door popped open with a slight hiss of released pressure. The cubbyhole was a clutter of unopened mail and untouched phone books. In the distance, a violin played a melancholy partita. Vargas paused when the central stairwell creaked under his heavy foot. He had forgotten to clean off the blood of the cat. An amateur mistake.

Was he growing soft? He pictured her eyes, the way she looked at him with unflinching determination. He had laughed in her face and insulted her and still she had insisted in borrowing money from him. If she had been a killer, he would have made her his queen (briefly he pondered her as the dominating one and how that scenario would play out in the bedroom), but he recognized that humbleness that marked lovers. They could kill for passion, but they could never outlive regret, shame, and pain.

Vargas climbed four sets of steps without seeing another person. Normally, this would unnerve him a bit; ambushes were always just around the bend in his line of business. But, by some sheer, eerie coincidence, many years ago, he had another mission in the exact same apartment number–his first mission, which he recalled with a sort of grim professional shame, was a literal bloody mess. He did not expect any trouble this time.

The door was as he remembered it. The bullet hole he made still above the brass door handle. Even the unpleasant grey paint remained the same. Vargas slipped his hand inside his coat then kicked the door open with a loud crash. With deja vu running through his head, he stepped onto the kitchen tiles noting no body to his right and continued on into the bedroom. A springy, unmade bed sat in the corner where phosphorus spiral paintings hung in the corner like trippy nightlights. Dressers and cupboards had drawers open, colorful fabrics of cloth dangling free of confinement. Two crates of records leaned against a wooden chest engraved with a pirate ship.

The only sound was the violin working itself up into a frenzy. Vargas sniffed the air detecting a faint trace of perfume. Tangerine and whale. Cautiously, he opened the bathroom door then shut it. The apartment was too small for a closet. Maybe they were in the community bathroom halfway down the corridor. Vargas frowned, his heart hammering the way it did years ago. He shot two people then.

He only wanted to shoot one today.

Kids never understood how the mob worked. It was a business. There were rules, schedules, logistics, and consequences for not pulling your weight. Kids thought they could join the mob or borrow its money so they could build up some street cred. To look tough. To impress a girl or guy. Vargas didn’t like this. He wasn’t a member because he wanted to be. He had to be. He had no family, no education, no opportunity. He wanted enough Plutos to purchase a flight out of Kano Station to another one, perhaps Portland or Taipei.

Frost ran lined patterns across the glass, a hard bit of ice like the minotaur in the center of his infuriating maze. And was he Theseus gradually spiraling toward the beast? Or was he Daedalus the architect who had built the maze large enough to include himself in its walls? He was growing soft if he was thinking while on the job.

From under the bed, the girl bolted. She was admiringly quick. He had left the door partially open as well, another err. The violin stopped on a sour note as Vargas drew a bead. He added another hole in the door. He noticed the framed photograph at the last second. The girl with the bright eyes, the jutting jawline, her need for his money, her pleas that she would pay him back the next day. The girl like so many other kids who then flaked on her word to the wrong person, a dangerous person. Written on the photo in large loopy handwriting: TO SORREL MY CLOSEST FRIEND, I NEED YOU IN MY LIFE FOREVER.

Vargas had to leave. The police would be here any minute and, more importantly, people would be beginning to peek into the hallways to be able to give the cops information. But he had to take a second to look. He lifted the frail body with ease, rigor mortis not yet setting into the muscles. One eye was missing, just a large hole filled with skull fragments and a variety of juices, but the other was oval with green irises flecked with gold.

She lied to me, thought Vargas as he rushed down the stairs and out into the frigid temperature of Kano Station. What was it about this building that cursed him? She wasn’t just going to die now. Vargas was developing a new plan.

To be continued…

Entry 0018: Nigerian Nights Part One

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LP: Nigeria Special Part 1 by Various Artists

2008 Soundway Records SNDWLP009A

Favorite Track: Nekwaha Semi Colon by the Semi-Colon

 

Yarl and Thizzie ducked in the doorway to avoid the wintry wind. Thizzie fumbled with the keys while Yarl pulled his knit cap down lower to cover his gauged ears, the bezel plugs glinting in the moonlight. Inside, they ran up the black and white staircase, past the single red door which the cantankerous landlady lived behind always smelling of strange incense, up another set of floors to number 23, Thizzie’s apartment. Along the way, they shed coats, gloves, scarves, CleanAir masks, and unbuttoned most of their layers of clothing. Yarl pressed his lips against Thizzie’s neck as she ran her nails along curve of his torso to his bony hips. Her roomed smelled of roasted almonds and vanilla. The green lights were dimmed casting shadows upon shadows. Snow formed intricate patterns along the windows. Was there a minotaur in the center, lonely longing for love? Thizzie and Yarl were in love for the second straight year after taking some time off because of petty jealousies and difficult work schedules. Yarl lost his job and Thizzie was thrilled to see him for multiple days in a row. As he lowered her arching back to the half-drawn sheets, she pushed back the thought she had been avoiding. He was here again in her arms, familiar with her body and the secrets to its pleasures, and, despite losing his job at the library, he had found renewed interest in his writing career, the thing that attracted Thizzie to Yarl in the first place.

Numbskull, the orange tabby, yawned and stretched her paws across the books she laid upon. Yarl had put on a pot of water to make tea while Thizzie cleaned up. He fumbled his way around the kitchen, never able to find the teabags on his first guess. When he did find the box, he found there was only one bag left. The apartment was a comfortable temperature to remain naked and he secretly delighted in the way his skin glowed in the silvery dark of the night. He didn’t want to don all the heavy clothes and filters to go back outside again just for a measly tea bag. A loud scratching sound alerted Yarl that Thizzie had placed a record on the player. Soon, the room filled with African poly-rhythms and Ibo singing. Thizzie had been obsessed with this Afrobeat compilation after reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, an evocative novel about the turbulent Biafran struggle for independence. Yarl, stroking behind Numbskull’ ears, gazed at the book cover, half a frown on his mouth. He also enjoyed the music and the book, but the record had cost 26 Plutos and they were forced to abandon the weekend trip to visit Yarl’s parents.

Thizzie entered the cubby kitchen, a diaphanous gown trailing from her shoulders. Her infectious smile revealed teeth like large prehnite crystals.

“What’s the matter?”

Yarl poured the water into the ceramic cups his mother gave him. Then he dunked the tea bag twice into his cup then put it in her cup. She took it with a customary nod of thanks.

“Tell me, Yarl. It is late but I can see something is on your mind.”

“I was remembering how beautiful you looked the first time I saw you. Sitting in the front row of chemistry class with that orange hat with the flowers in it. Somehow, you have grown more beautiful.”

Thizzie embraced him passionately even though she was used to his deflections. Yarl was kind-hearted to a flaw: he feared any criticism would be met with outlandish denial. She too felt the pressure every time the needle dropped on this record, however, she could not resist its songs. The music captured a celebration and freedom rarely recorded in music anymore. Not since 2111. She liked to imagine life returning to what it was and people picking up instruments and recording in the old-fashioned way. But Yarl had not seen his parents in almost a year and his father’s health was failing.

Thizzie kissed his eyes again, then said, “We will see them in two weeks. I have a vacation coming up and I have hidden some money aside.”

Yarl pulled back, his brow furrowed. “What do you mean? Hidden?”

Thizzie laughed and pulled a book from the shelf which caused Numbskull to leap with a meow, whiskers bristling. She removed a scrap piece of paper and handed it to him. It read:

  • Damned Damned Damned – The Damned
  • Oh Bondage, Up Yours – Xray Spex 7-inch single
  • Hong Kong Garden – Siouxsie and the Banshees 7-inch single
  • One Chord Wonders – the Adverts 7-inch single
  • Hex Enducation Hour – the Fall
  • Perverted By Language – the Fall
  • The Return of the Durutti Column (original sandpaper) – the Durutti Column
  • Love Bites – the Buzzcocks
  • Hey Joe – Patti Smith 7-inch single

“This is the birthday list you gave me. I looked in every record store in the Kano Station. Even talked to a few collectors. They all laughed at me to think I could find such antiques,” Yarl turned away, “I felt miserable.”

“And what did I tell you to do instead?” Thizzie pulled him back to the bedroom. Her forehead felt hot from the heat emitting from his supple body. “I told you to give me some money to indulge myself with chocolates at Yellow Springs Spa. I never went.”

A goofy twitch of the lips made Yarl, for a moment, appear a young, naive child. “And where were you all day then? Dancing with Sorrel at the club? Reading at the coffeehouse?” A wicked glow lit his eyes, “Trying on those garters I pointed out in the window on Main Street?”

“Oh, please, how gaudy,” Thizzie laughed, “You’ll never get me in those. Let us just say I did some investing.”

“I don’t need to get you in those. I have you right now.”

They fell to the bed as the Nigerian Highlife beat swelled to a raucous roar. Thizzie screamed under his touch. In the back of her mind, she wondered when the mob would like their money back.

 

To be continued…