Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Like All the Old Horror Movies
I received my first obscene phone call when I was twelve years old, Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" playing in my parents' living room, my younger sister in her bedroom sleeping. My parents were gone for the evening so I was at a loss for what to do. The backyard neighbor was gardening so I walked outside and told him what had happened. He asked me if I was scared and I said, No, I'm a fatalist, a remark oft-repeated by the adults for years after. I hated admitting I was afraid, still do. To note, I'd given myself a black eye in this very yard the year before by showing off my gymnastics skils to a very enthusiastic (read drunk) audience of my parents' friends and ended cartwheeling right into the overflow of the septic tank, slipped and busted my ass and blackened my eye in one grand swoop. I stood up after and saluted for the invisible gymnastics judges, told everyone I was okay, and the next day my eye was so bruised, I couldn't open it for school pictures.
So I lied about not being afraid as I was wont to do and went back inside, my sister woke up, and we danced to more Simon and Garfunkel until the record ended, and I decided a little Steppenwolf might cheer me up as well. Nothing like John Kay's searing odes to the "pusherman" to perk one up after a rough night! The phone calls continued off and on for years until we figured out it was an old man living directly behind the house as we caught him looking out his window, one hand on the phone, one hand someplace else, and well, the calls weren't coming from inside our house, like all the old horror movies, but close, spitting distance, if one were inclined to do so. As a fatalist, I was not inclined to do anything since time takes care of everything.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things." Tom Waits
More movies to drink by that star Billy Bob Thornton:
Benedictions and Maledictions
First published in Flint Hills Review:
He killed almost every one that summer at the lake,
severing the head from the body, the body jerking
for a while, then not. We couldn’t move on
until he defeated each threat to our paradise.
Near the end of the summer, I saw one drip from a tree,
but I didn’t say a word because I knew it would mean
the hoe, the fear and ugliness of its death, the disruption
of our entry into the water. From time to time, I’d look
up from my raft at the place the snake had been, wondering
where it had gone, close or far. That night, I shivered
and pulled closer to him, thinking I’d made a mistake not to draw
attention to the danger, could see it entering the house, a casual betrayal,
like a secret kiss that goes too far, the poisonings of love.