Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Stranger's Cat.

The work was hard. Gut wrenchingly, heartbreakingly, hard!

Harder than either of them had anticipated. In ways, largely unseen, it took it's toll. Both physically, and mentally.

The long hours of the days, beginning early, stretching into the late night, often after midnight before the stairs could be climbed, so wearily, so slowly, and the blessed collapse into the warm bed, could begin to to untangle knots of weariness.

Or simply bring an initial oblivion that was neither restful, nor healthy.

There were the many exits and entrances to be checked, double checked, to make sure they were all secure. Window locks to be checked, rechecked. The Garden area had to be checked to be clear, to be locked securely.

Overtiredness often prevented restful sleep. Sudden starts of wakefulness would ensue.
Had there been a noise? A tinkling of glass? Another broken window? Another break-in attempt?

The Country area was so much darker than the City had been. The far reaches of the huge car park area, shadowed, even darker, with the huge pine trees along the perimeters. The row of old, cobbled stables, which were no longer used, since there were no more horses to be stabled.

Homes now to the River Rats. An assortment of old bricks, Timber, Corrugated Iron sheets, broken furniture.
Rumour had it, that a previous owner had housed his pride and joy, an old Jaguar car, in one of the stables.
He seldom, then never, drove the car, but had loved to boast of the fact that he owned it.

One fine day, an admirer of Old Jaguar Cars came to visit, to ask if he could see the prize. Imagine the owner's horror, when he came to show off his pride and joy.
The River Rats had made mince meat of the engine's wiring. They had chewed the leather seats, making wonderfully comfortable homes for their many offspring. Even the woodwork on the dashboard had suffered. There was no part of the once precious vehicle which was untouched.

Locals sniggered, snide remarks about 'Just Deserts' were made about the greedy owner of the Country Hotel.
The locals were heard to murmur such things as " Monument to Ratshit" and
"Rodent Motel".

All that was gone when the new owners, the young couple, with such High Hopes, and Eager Dreams, took on the new prospect, of the Country Hotel.

Each afternoon, the female half of the couple, tired beyond belief, crept up the stairs to have her two hours respite, between Lunch time meals and Evening Dinner, if there were guests, which there often were. If no guests, most often Staff to be fed... after all it was a "Country Hotel", and there were no Takeaway shops to provide food or sustenance for hungry staff.

The Village had a Fish and Chip shop, but hours were limited, and appetites were not always inclined to their fare. The 'Missus' in the Hotel did not 'do' hamburgers, nor meals, apart from staff or guests.

There was a weekend Bistro Restaurant for diners. A chef/cook presided, & Bistro Type Meals were on the menu. Popular. A source for many bitter tears on a Sunday, when the 'Missus' had to clean the grease spattered kitchen, deep fryers, grill plates. The Extractor Fan. A monumental task.

The 'Missus' learnt to despise the 'Bistro/fast food kitchen' with it's fatty detritus, it's film of filth on every surface. The filthy linen, left, smeared & greased, to be cleansed of all grime, before next Restaurant Night.

Every Sunday was spent in tears, of despair, at the futility of it all. She felt she paid far too high a price for her money.
Perhaps if she had not had pets, she would have lost her mind.
Her GP advised her to change her life. Her physical problems were directly caused by her occupation.

One day, she sat in her 'sanctuary' upstairs, watching the passing parade of the small village, below

She noticed a large truck, roll to a stop outside the small cluster of shops in the street. She saw a Ginger cat, appear to disappear under the wheel of the huge truck. She looked again, but saw no cat run, saw no more evidence of the cat.

She waited, feeling very unsure. She watched. The truck driver emerged from the Butcher, and started his vehicle. He had walked around the truck, as if he, too, had felt perhaps an animal may be hiding there.
As he began to roll, slowly off, there tumbled out a Ginger cat, from a wheel well.

The watcher, from the Hotel, sprang to her feet, raced downstairs & rushed accross the street.
The Driver, sprang from his seat, & ran to the back of his truck, just as the watcher arrived.
"Oh My God" he said. "I had a feeling there was a cat there, but I could not find it!"
"I know" the watcher replied, "I was watching. I could not believe it was still there!"
She scooped the cat into her arms. "I will take it to the vet. I have no idea whose cat it is, but it needs help!"

She raced to the vet, which was close, in the Village.
The vet took one look decided it had internal injuries.
"Hold it for me?" she asked the watcher.
"Of course" the watcher replied.
"It's gums are pale, it has internal bleeding, injuries."

As the watcher held the cat, it died. She was so glad to have been able to hold the poor animal, to try to give it comfort. Tell it she loved it.

She knew her days as a Country Hotelkeeper were severly numbered.
In days that followed she shed many tears for the Stranger's Cat. No one came forward to claim the poor little Ginger Cat.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Page for Her.

The ebb and the flow, seem, somehow, uneven. There appears to be more ebb, than flow.
She knows this must be an illusion, but she cannot get past the notion, the sheer enormity, of the ebbing.

Oh, they say, you must get on with things.

Oh, she thinks, who will make me? And laughs, slyly, to herself at the childish thought.

Life might seem a pain, they say, But the alternative is worse.

Oh yeah?, she thinks, Who says so? Right now, the alternative looks really, really, attractive! I could embrace the alternative, as long as I could go, with no pain!
This pain of living, is too much. This pain of mind, is too much. This pain of physical being, is too much!!
On second thoughts, I could take the pain of going.
As long as I was gone.

The ebbing is shaded with images of children, neglected, abused, blighted, forever.
The ebbing includes the rabbits, trapped in cages.
The beautiful tropical Parrots, captive in cages.
The bears, trapped, in cages.

The ebbing contains the starved, malnourished, trust-abused, beaten, domestic animals. The ebbing is filled with the thoughts that they are still willing and able to forgive, and love.

There is more sadness, than pleasure, for her, in a rainbow. It has come to represent a false promise of hope.
After all, what is it, really?
Just light refracted, reflected, arranged in colours which delude.
She is certain, the pitiful range of colours observed by human eye, are miniscule.
She is also certain, she will never see the myriad other colours reflected there.

She realises she has lost her Rose Coloured Glasses, somewhere out on the plains. Perhaps they were swept away on the rivers of vast water.
Perhaps they were lost on the ebb.

It somehow seems, her tide will never rise again...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lost Child

The small child that hangs on the wall
Seems to bear no resemblance to me.
Who was that child?
Confident, loved? I don't see that.
Hurt, lost, abandoned?
With time, perception altered.

Or is this the overlayed,
Imprint on that image,
With the benefit of hindsight?

She sits, with a still smile
fixed forever on her small face.
The delicate tints of the colourist,
Interpreting the given details.
The accoutrements fake,
Added, to try to bring that smile.

This portrait, hung on the wall.
For most of my life, a constant.
I still look upon that smiling face,
And know the false picture
presented there.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Sea

The sea lashed itself to fury,
as it thrashed upon the wounded, aching, sand.
It withdrew itself with ebbing, boiling, rage.
An arrogant refusal to apologise
or retreat, from confrontation.

The orphaned, uprooted kelp
lay helpless upon the shore.
Knowing, it is an incidental victim,
of rage, of deep, dark, disturbing,
unrest that lies within, the sea's
deepest, primeval, emotions.

The sea, thunders again to shore
Shouting! 'You dare to threaten, challenge me?
I will crush you, demolish your very being!'
'Ah, but you must retreat', I reply.
'You cannot remain, and,.
If I dance beyond your reach,
your threats are idle, impotent'.

Who would dare to taunt the sea?
Who, could be so foolish? So ignorant of danger?
The sibilant hiss of the sea subsiding,
whispered of revenge to come,
Hissed, of eons to keep the rage alive.
"I will triumph" the waves declared.
"Revenge is mine" as it crashed upon the shore.

Who cannot retreat, beyond such threat?
We like to think, we are beyond such monstrosity.
We are puppets, dancing to some preordained rhythm
A dance upon a savage tide
Which is well outside our control.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Old Man's Life.

He is 98 years old. His wife died some 20 years before, and he has lived alone ever since. He kept good health for most of his life.

In fact, his health was better than his wife's. She could not have children, was dreadfully upset when she found out she needed a hysterectomy, at only 33 years of age, dashing any hopes she had that there may be a miracle. No one seemed to know exactly why she could not have children. Or, if they did, no one ever told her. Certainly, cancer was never mentioned.

They were quiet respectful people, who didn't think to question authority figures, such as Doctors. She went quietly, bravely, for her surgery, came home and recovered, and they didn't discuss it further, she and her husband. Just accepted that that was their fate.

She did once ask him if he would like a divorce, so he could find another woman, who might bear his child. He scoffed at her, picked her small body up, and twirled her around in the warm kitchen. He told her that it seemed he had loved her all his life, and he was content to keep on loving her.

He tended his gardens, selling his vegetables in his little shop. She would help when she could, and she took in sewing to help with the money. They had a happy life together, for the most part. He with his vegetables, she with her sewing and her cooking. In the evenings they often sat on the veranda, reading or talking, as they watched the sun set.

Sometime she would catch him talking to his tomatoes, his cheerful, soft, voice coaxing them along. She really laughed when she caught him singing to his pumpkins, his light tenor voice so happy & tuneful. He sometimes sang as he dug his potatoes too, though it was not such free flowing singing then.

Then she got breast cancer. There was more cutting away of her being, more hospital time. She came home even smaller, and was very quiet. Sometimes he saw she was crying, so he crept away, to leave her to her private grief.

A few more years passed. Another cancer, the second breast cut away. Less of her than ever. Somehow she never seemed to regain her strength after that surgery. She just grew smaller, sadder, till she finally gave up the cancer race.

After his wife died, he never had the same enthusiasm for his garden. He sold his little shop, and though he still grew vegetables for himself, he never grew enough to sell, though whenever he had surplus, he would give it away, to neighbours or friends. He would still occasionally hum a little tune to the pumpkin or the cucumber vines.

Cancer had had it's little nibbles at him, but nothing compared to her trials. He had several skin cancers cut off his face. One on his ear, another on his nose, which required a skin graft. All those years out in his gardens, they told him at the Hospital.

"You must wear your hat! You must wear sunscreen! Stay out of the sun!"

Then at 96 he had been told that he had prostate cancer. He went to hospital, had tests, surgery, more tests, more tests, some sort of treatment. He was not sure what exactly it had all meant, but finally he was told he should be alright.

Somehow it seemed slightly ridiculous to think he was still alive and OK after all these years.

He often wondered "For what? or why?" There were more times lately that he felt confused and thought life was very strange.

His hair was snow white and very thick still. He wondered about baldness, and could remember his father had seemed always bald to him, when he was a child.

He now had a little home assistance. He could still manage to get his own meals, but he had help to clean his house. A person would come to take him for Doctor's appointments or his eye tests. He had someone take him to do his shopping, because he occasionally became a little confused, or forgot what he needed to restock.

Now he refused to buy new clothes. What was the point, was they way he looked at it. He still had enough to clothe his body, and keep him warm when winter came. Never mind about fashion. "At my age?" he laughed, when one of his care workers had asked him if he would like to look at some new clothes, or shoes. This was said, as she glanced at his old baggy track pants, and his elderly slippers, which was his customary footwear.

Today, he had got up early to have his shower, and pack his little bag, he was taking to the hospital. He didn't need much and he had got dressed with the careworker to help him, if he needed any assistance.

When they got to the Hospital, the nurses were somewhat puzzled as to why he had his bag? The careworker was a new girl, she had been told he was to be overnight in hospital.
"No no," the nurses said, "He is only in for a checkup today. He won't be staying."

"Will you be alright?" his careworker asked.
"I don't know.. someone usually comes with me." he seemed a little bewildered. He had prepared himself for an overnight stay. He couldn't quite work out what was going on.

The careworker rang to find out further instructions. She felt she could not leave this dear, bewildered old gentleman on his own. She had another client, so could not remain.

She was instructed to leave him there. Public transport was mentioned. He couldn't possibly manage that on his own. She felt terribly torn.
She thought she just might give this job away.
There was increasing heartache. Money was being pinched for services. Expenses were being 'trimmed' and 'cut'.

The nurses looked quite disgusted. The careworker felt terrible. She could see the nurses discussing the situation in their little glass cubicle.

The Old Man sat quietly, clutching his little old bag, looking at his slippers.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ruffled Night

This is NOT a Chapter of the Book.

This stand alone.

Ruffled Night.

She sat at the bus stop, shivering, wishing she had a car, or a lift to this party.
It was bitingly cold, & she was only wearing light clothing, under her light coat.

She had been invited, & had not intended going. The empty gnawing in her mind had kept her thinking of the party. Thinking of the anonymity of her attendance. There was a good chance she would not be recongnized or really noticed.

How had she become friends with a girl who worked for a Funeral Parlour? She couldn't really remember.

As she sat, shivering in the intense cold, a car pulled up alongside the bus stop.
A window wound down, the driver leaning over, asking, out of the passenger side, if she would like a lift?

She debated, decided she didnt give a bugger, one way or the other. What the hell, she was determined to destroy herself anyway, so "What the Hell".

"I would love a lift. I am going to a party."
"Could I come too?" Eager, happy.
"Sure." She didnt give a damn. If that would make him happy.

He opened the door, she got into the relatively warm car, settling into the passenger seat.

She could almost feel him shaking with excitement, his bodily vibrations quite stong, almost shaking the car.

" I want to go & change my shoes" he said. She vaguely thought this a little strange, but she didn't really care. She had plotted her evening, & his movements meant little to her. "Fine" she said.

He did a U turn, on the street, though the markings on the road indicated U turns were forbidden. He pulled into a driveway, not so far from the bus stop. She sat waiting, as he leapt into the building, turning on a light in a room, at the rear of the actual house.

She listened as a young child's voice piped up, declaring "Vince is home!" "What are you doing Vince? He is cleaning his shoes!! He must have a date!! Ha Ha has Vince found a girl to go out with!"

"Shut up, you little sh!t!" " Dont you dare look out there! This is nothing to do with you, bugger off you little @rsehole!"
" Nyah nyah, Vince has got a girl!!"

Further muffled swearing, then Vince leapt back into his car, gunning the motor, & roaring backwards at 40 km out of the driveway, back onto the main road.

Off to the party, vague memories, directions being given. She was a little shakey on the addess, but eventually they arrived, & she could see some people she knew.

"Hello Hello!" "This is Vince"
"Who?" whispered by a friend.
"Oh I don't know, I picked him up from the side of the road, haha!"

"Well how do you do, Vince, from the side of the road?"

Leaving Vince on the long verandah, in the dark shadows. Moving into the crowded rooms of the house. The bright light of the lounge room, with many, milling people.

The thought that "Tonight I will end this pain. Tonight it will all cease. All I need to do is drink enough, and it will all be finished."

Meeting a familiar face, his presence large & familiar, somehow almost a comfort.
A surry of confusion. This is not the person I came with. This is someone from my past? I know this person? I trust this person?

Steering her to the bedroom, a misty vague reality. The tumble of bedsheets, the pillows tossed about, the pleas of "Don't Don't, What the hell are you doing?"

The sheets, the blood, the horrified faces. The questions, the "What the Hell?s"
The police don't really want to know.

"Did you know this person? Did you have a 'relationship' with this person? Of any sort? What do you mean by casual? What do you mean by non personal? What do you mean by aquaintance only? What are you trying to say, when you mention you thought you were 'friends'?"

"Did this mean your friend, could share your bed? Did this mean you were in a sexual relationship? What do you mean, 'Not as far as you knew?'"
"Are you trying to imply 'he took advantage of you?'. How can you say this, when you were clearly under the influence of alcohol? You might have been offering it up? Isn't that the truth?"

"Whatever you say it wasn't like that at all. But forget it. I can't be bothered, & I don't want to pursue it. Please just leave it. Leave it all."

"So, you are dropping any charges? Is that what you are trying to say?"

"It seems to be the right thing to say, so 'Yes, that is what I am saying'."

"Well, that is good, we can all go home early. No paperwork, & no dingbat moaner to deal with!"

"If she hadn't been a nutter, I wouldn't have minded giving her one!"

Monday, June 1, 2009

New Cuts. Chapter Seven

Christy hastily gathered her curly hair into a bundle, & tied it up at the back of her head.

Her thoughts were; 'I am going to be late for work. I have to get this hair cut!'

"Goodnight Gran", she called as she ran out the door.
She would have to walk to work.
She could share her mother's car, but only when her mother was not using the car, and tonight, her mother was using the car.

She strode out the gate, onto the rough road's edge, & began to walk quickly, in an almost jog.
The night air was heavy and cold, and she knew there would be frost later.
Never mind, she thought, I will be warm enough from the walk, and the work room will be soon enough, too hot.

Christy was working a job that was a 'fill-in'. Not her chosen field, but an employment she could use, until her chosen career path opening became available. She could not help but feel it was somehow cheating. She had been honest in her application for the job. She was assured it was OK.

She felt a certain guilt at the fact, that because of her academic achievements, she had a higher pay scale than some of her more experienced work mates. Somehow the fact that they were more experienced than she was, & were possilby faster than she was, made it seem inequitable.

When she ventured to voice those thoughts, she was told to "Shut up" And "Dont think!"

So here she was, jogging down the road towards her work for the evening.

A long, silver car slowed beside her. The driver leaned over, & spoke through the wound down window... " Can I give you a ride?"

Christy had been dreading this encounter. He had offered her rides before. He kept offering her rides. She always refused.

There was something almost insect-like, in his bloated body sitting on the blue seat of his enormous car. It totally repelled her, & she felt a base, almost primeval fear, at the sight & sound of him.

"No thankyou." she said. " I am almost there. No need for a ride."

At that moment, looming, almost out of the ether, was the figure of Ross.

"She doesn't need a lift. I am walking her to work! You can bugger off Valther. She doesn't need the likes of you, around! What are you, a pervert, you old bugger!"

Where had Ross come from?
Was he watching her? How come he had showed up, just when she felt threatened?

He moved to her side, & she was grateful for his presence, in spite of her resolve not to see him again.
She hated to feel vulnerable. She hated the thought she was under observation~by anyone.

Valther excellerated away from them, with a spurt of his wheels.

Christy said nothing, & Ross just faded into the darkness.

"Thankyou" Christy called, feebly.

There was no answering reply. He had gone, faded into the night.
She was at the back gates to work for the evening.

She thought "I have to get this hair cut!"
But a part of her did not see why...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Prying Eyes Chapter Six

The heat was shimmering off the road, so unseasonal, for this time of year.
Farley Granger sat and rocked slowly in his wicker chair.

His panama hat sat upon his balding head. It shaded neither his head, nor his eyes, since the sun did not shine this far under his wide verandah roof.

The creaks and muffled squeaks, of his gently rocking chair, reminded him of his joints, as he rose each day, clicking and creaking, hobbling to his bathroom, to wash, then dress slowly, patiently.

He prided himself on the fact that he still dressed well. No matter how warm the day, he still donned his waistcoat, over his neatly pressed shirt. He still wore the suit trousers, with sharp creases, which he carefully pressed under the mattress each night.

Which reminded him, he must see Harry Copesteake, at the Butcher's, to get some more of the brown paper strips he used to line his trousers, for the pressing, under the mattress.
Harry had a great huge roll of the brown paper, for wrapping the meat, and he had told Farley he was welcome to as much as he required.

Never mind that Harry's son Russell, frowned, whenever he came into the shop, to accept the free parcels of blade steak, sausages, and mince, along with great sheets of the brown paper.

Farley knew that Russell had copped plenty of teasing over his name, Copesteake, and the fact that his father was the local Butcher, and he was in line to take over the family business. His nickname had been "Steak Eyes" at school.
If the teasers were feeling particularly mean, it was "Rissole Steakeyes".

Should he, Farley, wish to venture out, into the streets of the town, he always wore his suit coat, and lately, a cravatt. He found the tying of his ties somewhat of a chore these days. His arms seemed reluctant to reach forward, so that his increasingly fumbly fingers could manage the twists the knot required, to tie the tie.

He tried to keep the knotted ties completed, so that he only had to tighten them, once he had slipped them over his head.
Then, one day, he noticed Millie Petersen, the ex headmistress of the Infants, whose eyes were like small, beady, bird's eyes, which seemed to miss neither trick, nor an ex pupil.

Millie had stared piercingly at his tie, until he felt all hot and bothered.
Why was she staring? he wondered. As they chatted, he noticed her gimlet eyes would not leave a point below his chin.

When he got home, and peered into the mirror, it became abundantly clear, why Millie's gaze had fastened on his navy and red striped tie. There upon the red, slipping onto the navy, was the distinct dribble of egg yolk.

His lovely runny brekky egg had disgraced him! How had he not noticed? He had burned with shame, at home, in his small bathroom.
To think Millie, of all people, had to be the one to notice!
How humiliating. He had vowed to never wear a tie again.
Or have his beloved runny yolked eggs for breakfast.

Farley had hastened to Manson's Menswear, and demanded to see the range of cravatts. He had hastily selected four, snapped at the silly girl, that "NO! he did not require them delivered!"

He would take them now, and he was so upset, he had even paid cash! Not his usual "Put them on my Account!"

Now, as Farley sat dreaming his old man dreams, dozing lightly, on his slightly overheated front porch, he noticed Ross Fraser jogging past.

He wondered where he was off to, at this warm hour of the day. He must still be out of work, otherwise, why would he be on the street?
Farley thought Angus had got his son to work with him, on the painting lark. He didn't hold out much hope for the boy. Ever since he had reached his teenage years, he had seemed to run off the rails.

Farley remembered he had seen Ross with that pretty young girl, with all the red curls... what was her name? Oh, yes, Christy, that was it. Lived with her mother and Grandmother. There was a boy too wasn't there? a young lad..
Farley sought in his memory banks for the pieces.
What was happening to him? His memory had always been faultless.
It frightened him, sometimes, the fact that people seemed to be slightly out of his memory's reach.
Then he remembered, the young lad was keen to work at the local bicycle shop, hung about the place every day after school... yes... Steven, that was his name.

But, back to thoughts of Christy.
What was her mother thinking, letting her keep company with a 'bad lad' like Ross Fraser?

There were times when Farley was glad he and 'Mrs Granger', as he always referred to her, even in his mind, had never had children. At first they had wondered why. He felt that Marjorie, which was Mrs Granger's actual name, had been very sad, at first. Then as the years had passed, she became very anti children, declaring them to be nasty, dirty, cheeky, spiteful, creatures.

When Mrs Granger had died, from Thrombosis aged 50, it had almost been a relief, to Farley. They had seemed to have increasingly little to say to each other, and truth be told, Marjorie had become melacholy & extremely withdrawn, never going outside, even to the letterbox.

Having driven the school bus for those many years, there were times when Farley was inclined to agree with Mrs Granger's thoughts about the children. Especially when he felt the sting of a flung apple core, or the thunk of a half eaten sandwich, on the back of his neck, or his balding head, which happened more frequently towards the end of his career.

They might have made fun of him then, but now, from his vantage point on the very edge of town, he felt he had his finger on the pulse of most of their comings and goings. He could see almost everybody who came into the main street, and he knew more than they realised about a lot of their business.

He would just keep his vigils, and know what he knew.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Chapter Five, Smoke

Christy looked out, watching the curl of the smoke, from over the paddocks, from the chimneys, of the neighbour's house. She knew they had their fires burning, and it was a fine, almost windless evening.

Looking at the streak of the smoke, breaking into sudden curls, some distance up, from the chimneys, she could feel the chill of the still night air descending. There would surely be a frost later this evening.

She could still hear the screams, echoing inside her head, of her neighbour's daughter, her age, after all, who was being attacked by her bullying brother, on their way over to the cowshed, to help their father with the nightly milking.

She could still see Irene Mc Lintock, running accross the paddock, her long blond hair streaming out, as she ran. Her bully-brother Lenny, catching her, tackling her slender body, crashing her to the ground.

He yelled in victory, as he jumped up and down, upon her poor, slim, body. The bloodcurdling screams and cries for help, unanswered by her family, who should have been her greatest shield, her fiercest protectors.

Christy's Grandmother, looking from the dining room windows, drew a deep breath in horror.

"That girl will never have children" she declared. "What is her father thinking, passing by, ignoring what his son is doing to her?"

Old Len just strode past, ignoring all the screaming, the brutalising of his eldest daughter, by his eldest son.

The younger siblings came barrelling out, onto the paddock. Laughing, jeering, as Irene regained her footing. Limped, slowly over to the cowsheds. Wounded. Hurt.
Her brother, brutally triumphant. What had he achieved?

Christy observed all this, and wondered where the brutal, primeval, urges came from. To be displayed unexpectedly in males. Why did they suddenly become some alien being? What call did they respond to, to be so base? So brutal,? so inhumane? So ...animal?


Christy thought again of Ross.
Remembered the wonderful nights they had had together.
Her mother had lent him her car, and they had travelled to a seaside destination, to join the fun of a carnival.
They had walked the streets, arm in arm, enjoying the lovely salty, warm night air.
How magical it all felt, the lovely salty feeling, the warmth eveloping them, as they strolled the sandy streets. The Pohutukawa trees lining the small alley ways. The cottages, & small blocks of flats, lighted sofly, all, somehow conveying the joy & peace of the evening.

Then, the hideous shock, of the man, kicking a woman, who was lying in the gutter crying.

Christy had leapt upon the kicker, berating him furiously, smacking him away, with slaps & mild punches.
"How dare you"!! "What the hell are you doing? Stop it, Stop it now!!"
Cradling the woman in the gutter, soothing her.

Ross, springing to her side, amazed at her bravery. A little shocked at how fierce she was, to the attacker.

He quickly backed her up, pushed the attacker away.

The 'victim' who had lain in the gutter, invited them back to her place. The 'attacker' turned out to be her husband. She was sure he was having an affair. He denied all knowledge of her accusations.

Christy and Ross never did decipher who was telling the truth. They consoled each other, that at least they had stopped domestic abuse.

They had resisted invites to partake of alcoholic drinks to celebrate the night. They took their leave, and Ross drove them safely home. A pleasant and safe evening for them both.

Another evening, another event. Christy & Ross, invited to a party.

A lot of Christy's aquaintances, a lot of 'strangers' to Ross.

"He drinks too much." A suprise to Christy, who had never seen Ross drinking alcohol, in any great amount.

He became odd. He decided he was 'jealous' of Christy's movements.

Who was admiring her? Who was making a move on her?

Ross began to be paranoid, seeing threats to his 'claim' at every turn.

She made the mistake of laughing, when he suggested such things. She laughed, told him he was "silly."
She did not see the anger, the 'almost mad' light in his eyes when he mentioned it.

Of course, she would later regret missing those warning signs. Those small signals that all was not well. That he did not register things the same way that she did. Indeed the way most other people registered things, as 'normal'.

When he struck with mean vengeance, perhaps. wanting to kill her, for his percieved transgression, Christy was unaware.

She had no idea what or why, he was attacking her. She did note, that had his father not come to her rescue, she would very likely have died.

She still shuddered at the memory. She still mourned the breakdown of the person she had seen as sensitive, loving, & wonderful.

She also knew, she would never trust him again.

Why did she feel he had been close? Why did she see his smile in the mocking curl of the smoke from the neighbour's chimneys?.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Christy's Doubt. Chapter 4.

"Morning Dew"

The winding tendril curls,
It seeks a destination.

In these magic whirls,
I see bright fascination.

A dewdrop suspended,
A treasure~ intended?

For watchful eyes to see,
A diamond blinks, in gold, to me,

It winks so strong, in rising sun,
Bright, fragile morning, just begun.

A treasure left, to flare so bright,
Or pass unseen, in morning's light.


"The Doubt, Expressed."

A little stumble at your station.
You know your situation.

You staggered at the curve,
You knew you had to swerve!

You could not swear alliance,
When you felt so much defiance.

They tried to grasp your mind,
They used the fear to bind.

In the end your sanity prevailed,
Your beliefs survive, unassailed.

The Lisping Leader, his whispers reviled,
You tried to tell them, but they just smiled,

And they said to "Have Faith"
But you knew the truth, his hands were defiled.

He clasped And he grasped,
Anatomy, to which he was not entitled.
The personal invasions, the girls that would squirm,
Who could they tell?
Of the Libertine worm?

Who would believe that the Pillar of Church
Would stoop to defile, commit acts to besmirch?
The Church.

So Churches left all the beliefs of the child.
Shed, "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild"

Never such crap, would again cloud her thoughts.
She instinctively knew, no justice from Courts.


Chapter 4, is really for Christy.

She buried her head into her pillow, sobbing quietly. She had no wish to disturb anyone else, and she felt her distress and sadness, were hers alone.
Her long auburn hair hung about her face, the wild curly tangles, causing her distress, because it was wet, and it was now, somehow, a reminder of Ross. He loved her hair, & she was determined to get it cut.

She could see his fine features. His neat short nose, his beautiful eyes, so grey, so appealing. He always felt he was too short, he told her. She felt he was just right, taller than she was, and so handsome, and fit. He had nothing to feel inferior about. He had told her he felt it unfair his father, old Angus, was taller and broader than he.

She had assured him that was nonsense, that he was perfect the way he was. She had loved his gentle sensitivity. The way he could sense a mood, and tune into it's wavelength.

She could picture his fine fingers, his delicate hands, as if they were meant to be artist's hands. To sculpt, create, somehow make beautiful paintings or works of art in other media.

She knew about certain parts of his life, but he shut out others. He became very secretive about his mother's death. He flat-out refused to talk about it. She thought that may be because he had no actual knowledge of her death, or the circumstances.

She really did not know. No one was prepared to tell her. They all feigned ignorance, & perhaps it was not feigned. Maybe they had no real knowledge.

She knew his father was a very private man. She could still see his shocked, though still handsome, face, appearing out of the mist, as she lost consciousness.
She could vaguely recall his shocked shouts, telling his son to
"Get the Hell off her!"
"What the hell are you doing? Trying to kill her?"

She could still feel that strangulation, that losing of consciousness.

Thank goodness she had had the sense to try to shout, as he attacked her. It had probably saved her life, as Angus had roused from his drunken stupor to come to her aid.

She could remember how he had shouted, to Ross first, then to her. Telling her to
"Get home" "What the hell are you here for?"

She could still feel the shame burn on her cheeks. Was it her fault??

She shuddered in revulsion, and the tears continued to fall, into the Auburn mass, which she decided had to go.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Footy Run. Chapter 3.

The evening was darkening as he hastily laced his trainers, & zipped his jacket. He had decided to take a run, down to the football oval to watch the training.

He had even kidded himself that he might join in.

After his hot day spent heaving bales of hay about for old man Purdy, he was feeling quite weary, & more than a little muscle sore. Old Purdy had made damn sure he got his money's worth out him. The cunning old sod had offered a price before the day's labours began, and he kept adding one more task, one more "little job".

The fact that he only had daughters had never slowed Purdy down, in the dishing out of jobs. He made them work for their keep. As he saw it, they were free labour, and rightly so. One by one, they had grown and gone, as soon as they could. One girl went nursing, down South, one got pregnant and married, making sure she moved away with her new husband. The baby of the family was not waiting around to be worked to a standstill, and she had run off to who knew where.

For months, the talk of the town had been that her father had killed her, and fed her to his pigs, but her mother claimed she got letters from her, so apparently she was not dead at all. Needless to say, the old biddies in the town were rather disappointed there was no juicy scandal.

However there was always other gossip to be found, not least being his return from his 'corrective' holiday, at one of Her Majesty's Establishments.

He supposed his father must have taken his share of the gossiping stares and whispers, and drowned his sorrows each night in his sherry filled haze. In a way, he felt he couldn't blame his father. He was not really sure whether his father was a drunk, or an alcoholic. Either way, the effects were the same, and he felt his father had been missing quite a lot throughout his childhood.

At least he had offered him a home again, once he had got released. It was the considered opinion of the 'Biddies' that poor Angus deserved better than his son, Ross, who had temporarily, gone a little 'wild'.

When Ross had come home from Purdy's, he was surprised to find his father had cooked him a passable meal. There were mashed potatoes, some hogget chops, which had of course come from the inevitable frying pan, along with some soggy cabbage, and a bit of carrot. No gravy, but the tomato sauce bottle was on the table.

Angus had grunted, when he thanked him, and had retired to his room, his radio blattering away, behind his closed door.

Ross had eaten, washed his dishes, then run a bath, & had a good soak to loosen his shoulders.

As he was closing the door, Angus stuck his head out, and shouted, gruffly,
"Go careful, son!"

Ross jogged down the street, in the rapidly chilling night air. As he approached the corner he saw a small bundle of fury come hurtling down the lawn. It looked like a tortured clump of brindle rags, in the streetlight, as it snarled and barked furiously at him.

"Oh Sparky, darling, come here! You know Ross, don't growl at him, he is a friend." Titter titter.

The neighbour daughter, who owned this ragged ball of slathering rage, came daintily out on the lawn, dressed in her nighty, pretending to be shocked at Dear Little Sparky's rage.

Ross ignored them both, and continued jogging on.
Who was she kidding? The dog behaved exactly the same, night or day, no matter who passed by. Ross had contemplated giving Sparky flying lessons, but had decided the aggravation would not be worth any pleasure he might get.

He jogged on down past the houses, then the 'Church of the Lisping Godbotherers', or whatever they called themselves, then past the last straggle of shops, to the footy oval, which was behind the imaginary 'end of town'.

Past the empty basketball courts, where the sweating, heaving girls, with their huge legs, and Gym frocks, with black stockings, manfully played their Saturday Games, with a fury and a passion only a player could understand.

Christy never played Basketball. Did not have any understanding of the game.

He stood outside the bright Oval lights, watching the would-be players running round the oval, passing the ball. The coach was yelling at them.

"Move it MOVE IT!!"

He watched them puffing and panting, most of them a little out of condition, from Summer's pub visits, and parties.

He watched Bennie 'Blue Balls', soon to be married to Donna Keyson, daughter of the local cop. Her father watched her like a hawk, & Bennie had no chance of getting into mischief, or anything else he should not be touching, while Old Keyson watched over Donna.

Hence the those stone flinging, tension filled, drives home, like a crazed man, once Bennie said 'Goodnight' to Donna.

Ross found his feet turning up another street, and he was running quite quickly now, a good rhythm developing, and his feet pounding out her name.

"Christy" "Christy" "Christy"

He knew he should not be coming back here. He knew it was wrong.
He just could not seem to stop himself.

As he neared the gate, he could see, the lights in the diningroom were out. Her mother's car was on the lawn. Her mother must have the night off.

He slunk up past the car, sneaking around past the tank stand. He could see the light was on in Christy's bedroom.

He was startled by a sudden burst of light, from Old Man Dan's next door, as the old man opened his back door- which was his only door, in his humble dwelling, a bach he had built himself.

Old Man Dan, had come out with his teapot, to empty the tealeaves around his lemon tree. For some reason, he believed it would give the tree a better crop of lemons. Maybe he was right.
He went back inside, & closed his door, the light suddenly gone.

Ross edged closer to Christy's bedroom windows, trying to get a glimpse of her, but her curtains were carefully closed. Her mother's bedroom light was on, but her curtains too, were closed.

He stood trembling with ... emotions, swirling, of what, he was not sure, ... was it anger... sorrow... despair?

He knew he had done the wrong thing.

She had given him the benefit of the doubt, the first time.

She had warned him, there would be no third time, should a second occur.

What the hell was wrong with him? What had he been thinking?

Cursing softly, he stole out of the yard. He began his lonely walk home, in the cold, moonlit night.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Morning Sun. Chapter 2.

He sat staring morosely at the painted cream table top, with the sun's rays showing the worn patches, the scratches, & the awful green trim along the edge. It reminded him of the institution green paint. It was supposed to calm people it was said. That particular shade of green made him feel rather green, and also, rather angry.

He supposed the table top was from his mother's days in this house. Before she died. He wondered why his father hadn't got rid of it, or changed it. He wondered if his father even saw it these days. He looked at the little dent marks he had made with his pocketknife one day when his father was not home yet.

His gaze lifted to the smudged widow, the swipe marks where someone had tried to wipe it clean, but had only succeeded in smearing whatever it was, in an arc. He glanced at the filthy curtains, the red & once-white check now grimed, & almost permanantly pleated with stiffness. He could remember the last time his sister had washed them, ironed them, & hung them back in the windows.

It was before he went away, & he was shocked to suddenly notice that the two little pot plants she had placed on the windowsill were still there. Brown skeletons, both of them, with dried soil now almost turned to concrete, or perhaps dust.

His vision shifted out the window, across the long grass, to the leaning stakes from old tomato plants. The overgrown & thigh high weeds which had overtaken the once neat vegetable garden.He remembered weeding it, watering the vegetables, helping his father plant the new seedlings.

That was three years ago now. He had been gone for a year. He had been home again for six months.

If he could really call this home.

He looked at the plum tree, now stripped of most of it's leaves. He remembered the evenings in the early summer when they had lain beneath the magic of the cotton candy tufts of pink plum blossom. He remembered how they had talked for hours. Her long hair lying on the grass.
Little petals of plum blossom, like confetti on her hair. Her easy laugh, their happy discussions of books they had both read. He had felt no one would love the books he liked, but she did. She seemed to see them, understand them with his understanding.

"Where the hell did you go last night?"

His father, standing in the doorway, his face wearing an expression as sour as his after-sherried breath. His eyes red, pouches of too many nights of drinking sagging under his faded blue eyes.

He turned to fill the jug, & turned on the element on the stove under the disgusting frying pan, which looked as if it might never have been washed. It seemed he lived on whatever food came out of that pan.

"I hope you didn't get stupid, & go making trouble at the girl's place. The old Lady doesn't need that nonsense, at her age."

"What makes you think I went there? I just went out for a run. I might play footy."

"Not with your build, your'e too slight. They want big buggers, the Maori boys would flatten you in the first five minutes."

"I might make those Maori boys my mates, then they wouldn't flatten me!"

Why did his father always have to make him feel worse about his size. Why couldn't he have inherited his father's height, not his mother's slight build. He could feel his face burning with the shame, the sense of inadequacy his father just had the knack to bring out. He wished his blond hair & white skin did not make his blushing so obvious. He felt a rage burn over him again.

"Do ya want some bacon? Eggs? May as well have some, seeing I'm cooking. What about a cup of tea, eh?"

As if to soften the remark about his size.His father didn't take milk in his tea, & he knew there was no milk in the fridge. The old man never remembered to buy it, & it rotted in the fridge when he did. He never forgot his sherry flagon though, as the stack of empties out the back testified.

"Nah. I prefer coffee."

"Well if you get a real job, you can buy your fancy coffee, can't you?".

He put the hot water in the teapot, swirled it about, tipping it out and adding the tea leaves from the packet.

"Old man Purdy said I could help stack the hay in his shed today. He'll pay me."

"You can come & work with me. I can teach you house painting, you'd do ok."

"Dad, we both know it wouldn't work, me working with you. I piss you off too much. Besides there wouldn't be enough money. You knock off too early, to get into your piss every day."

The older man turned back to the frypan, flicking the fat over a couple of eggs. Pretended not to hear the last remark.

"Just stay away from that girl, I'm warning you. I don't want any more scenes like there were here that night. Understand?"

He waited a minute or so, dishing out the dripping eggs onto the fatty bacon, some dry bread & butter.

"What the hell were you thinking? I thought you were trying to kill her!"

"Let's leave it eh, Dad? I will see if I can get the mower going, & mow the lawn later this afternoon?"

"Please yourself. I don't care anymore."

He could see his father meant it. He seemed to have lost all care about the yard, the house, his life.

It was a wonder he still had any jobs, but he was still regarded with some respect, even though he 'drank' and his only son had been sent 'away'.

Lenience was given, allowances made. After all the poor man had lost his wife, in childbirth, when she was very young.

He still managed to work, he kept that much dignity.
Night Moods Chapter 1.

He pulled his woollen cap down further about his ears. He had never liked wearing hats of any sort, but he was glad he had this one. The air was sharply cold, & he shrugged his shoulders up, so the collar of his jacket was right up around his neck. He had pulled the zip as high as it would go.

He had never liked ski type jackets, but he was glad he had accepted this from her Grandmother, even though he had not wanted to take a dead man's jacket.

Her Grandmother was practical, and had not wanted it "to go to waste", as she said.

He was actually quite surprised at how often he had worn it.

He wished he had worn the pantyhose, under his jeans, like the others wore for their footy training, The girls teased them about cross dressing, but hell, on cold frosty nights, like this one, they needed something to keep them warm initially.

He walked briskly, watching the puffs of his breath, in the bright moonlight. This was the second night he had headed off briskly, telling himself he would just take a training run.

His feet felt cold still, in his cross trainers, but he knew they would warm as he walked on, the soft spongy soles rolling under the balls of his feet, cushioning his heavy heel footfalls.

He saw the lights knifing through the darkness, as they approached the bend in the road. He quickly crouched down in the ditch, among the long grass, and bracken, that tickled his nose, until the lights had passed, going too fast on the gravel road, the tyres spewing out stones as the driver swung the ute around the curve.

He knew who the driver was, knew he was returning home and would be in a foul mood, as his father-in-law-to-be would have come out to order him home. It was a standing joke, in the dressing room, about the "Blue Balls".

Almost there now, the first fingers of frost tipping the grass, the bracken. It would be a heavy frost, and he felt the cold of it biting at his nose and teeth.

Here was the wide wooden gate, never closed, it hung slightly askew, growing more lichen with each year.

He could see the sliver of light, like a blade on the ghostly grass, thrown from the gap in the drapes that never quite closed.

He edged closer, cursing softly as his trainer sank into soft soil. The old lady must have weeded the flower bed.

He peered into the room. He could see the old Grandmother sitting in her chair at the top of the table, seemingly staring right at him. He pulled back, then realised she could not see him in reality, the net curtains prevented sight out into the dark. Not so, the reverse though.

He could hear the murmur of their voices, watched as her hair fell across her neck and face. She brushed it back, tucking it behind her ear. She said she was going to have it all cut short. He had asked her not to have it cut.

She said something, and her Grandmother laughed. She laughed too, lifted her knitting, to measure the length, with a tape measure, on the table top.

He had often wondered about the fact that they chose to sit in the dining room, rather than the lounge room. True, it was more cosy and easier to keep the smaller room warm, on cold nights such as this.

The younger brother would be in bed, sleeping the sleep of the young, the innocent.

He stared, his heart thumping inside his chest. He could feel the burning pain of her rejection. His fingers dug into the window sill to steady himself, as a surge of pain and yes, rage, passed shudderingly through him.

He stifled the urge to scream out her name. He thought of her Grandmother's soft eyes, when she had learned that it was all over.He wanted to reach out, smash the window. Pull down the drapes, the curtains, leap the windowsill, grab her and.... then what?

The pain washed over him, the feeling of helplessness.

A dog began barking furiously, somewhere over the paddocks. He could hear the chain rattle, carry in the still frosty night's air.

He looked at his foot prints, a darker green grey in the frost on the lawn. They would surely re-freeze.

His footprint in the soft earth would remain.

To Someone I Love.

To Someone I Love.
You know I love you more than life.

I gave birth to you-Perfection.

I can no longer hold the candle
At the door of your defence.

I cannot wear the mask
In the face or your pretence.

Or try to shed a light
On the path of your destruction.

Or your reasons, & excuses,
Your tides, your deduction.

I know you made the choices for the drugs
& your destruction

And your denial refuses,
To admit your wasted talent.
Your gifts untold, recluses.

Your art will remain unkown.
Your poetry - unsown.

A wasted talent
O my son,

A seed perhaps ungrown?

Feathery Notes.

This will just be for my occasional writings. I may transfer some of my odd 'poetry', or story attempts.

There is a meaning behind the name, which I may share at some time.
In the meantime, I am having fun scraping the rust off corners of my brain, trying to get this site up & running.

No birds were harmed by me for this photo ID, but I have a sinking feeling one may have come to grief by some animal intervention. Nature's ways. At least, though the bird may be gone, it is still remembered, & remarked, in this Feathery home.