“West Silly Skunk, Georgia”
by Jeannette Harris
“Got an extra butcher knife?” Claudia asked.
“You can use mine. I ain’t got none extry. Drawer to the right of the stove,” Lottie offered. “What’s it for?”
“Cut the heat away from my front door. It’s so damn heavy and thick, I can’t get inside. Or find the doorknob.”
“Yeah. It’ll come away in big sticky chunks, I’m sure,” Lottie agreed, leaning back to spread her legs wide and fan herself with her dress.
“Might be a breeze down by the stream,” Claudia suggested, longing for the shade of its weeping willows and cherry trees.
She loved the little natural grove there of forget-me-nots that appeared annually by communal whim. Tiny violets disarrayed on its perimeter. Delicately wild white roses arced achingly over spiked grasses outlining the stream-bed.
Lottie sashayed toward and into the raw-rope hammock, swinging it back and forth toward reluctant waters churning through clumps of storm debris and rotting leaves down a slight incline of the clearing.
Claudia sat gingerly on the jagged summit of a rotten pine stump and from an interior dare pulled over her head the woven frock top clinging to her in widening sweat spots, crumpling it into an uneven clump to wipe her glisteningly wet skin free.
“The heat makes me crazy,” she explained.
“There’s no one here to mind or care,” Lottie noted, listless in the humidity.
Claudia dipped a part of the shirt-ball in tepid stream water to run it over her arms and under swinging breasts.
“Ah, that‘s better,” she shared before adding, “I’ve gotta get back home before Dell gets there.”
Claudia dipped the whole shirt in stream waters, wrung out the excess, and pulled it back over her head and shoulders before dragging her bare toes back on the path to Lottie’s family cottage.
“Potsy, would you come here for a minute please?” Roland leaned on the bannister and called up the curving stairs glowing with fresh wax.
A bald-headed and robust figure, vacuum at hand, shirtless in gray denim bib overalls appeared in the upstairs foyer.
”Yessir,”Potsy responded in a deferential tone. He truly liked and admired his boss, enjoyed his work and surrounding circumstance.
Roland limped toward the kitchen. “I can’t reach the juicer in the cabinet and I promised Fran I’d whip up some passion fruits for supper to go with our sweet-and-sours. They’re marinating now,” he added.
Potsy stepped carefully in thickly rubber-soled shoes down to the great room landing.
“I’ll get it,” he assured his patiently affable, diminutive employer as they walked together toward the pantry.
“Which cabinet?” he wondered, peering around in that crowded and dimly-lit room. Neatly stacked cartons of emergency supplies filled every free floor and air space.
“That one to your left with the flashlight hanging from doorknob,” Roland directed as he pulled the cord on the light fixture overhead.
Potsy lifted down one tall, bulky implement. “This?” he asked in befuddlement.
“No, that’s a regular blender,” Roland informed. “The thing with the blue base beside where that was at.”
Potsy handed it down cautiously, as the jar-top was obviously glass by its weight.
“While you’re up there, would you hand down those heavy multi-colored crystal goblets please? Fran’ll enjoy those,” Roland guessed, looking forward to pleasing by surprise his long-awaited guest.
As twenty-somethings, he and Fran had beach-bummed in the Keys, working toward a break for their devoted artworks within mid-Atlantic and Gulf breezes and tidal waters from a sand-logged trailer they salvaged, spiffed-up and shared with a ragged assortment of free-range cats. Grasping for the brass ring, Fran had married Miami’s main art dealer and wound up as a single mother clerking in Jacksonville, Macon and Athens. Roland had been thrilled to hear her voice again and discover she‘d come within easy visiting distance so he could practice his recently rusty “charm“ on her softly affable swerves.
The bell rang at the front door.
“Oh, no,” Roland tittered, “Nothing’s ready yet!”
“Want me to thread these skewers?” Potsy, reaching for the marinade dish, asked from the kitchen counter.
“Yes- yes,” Roland nearly screamed. “And fire up the patio grill!”
He sped nervously into the kitchen.”Where’d you put the juicer? Nevermind, I see it.”
He pulled an earthenware bowl of peeled fruits from the refrigator impatiently and placed it next to a large bottle of dark Jamaican rum.
The bell rang again, longer this time.
“I’m coming. I’m coming,” Roland promised excitedly, skipping and sliding down the varnished hallway.
Fritz bounced down the road toward Christy.
"Here, boy," she called, bending to pat her thighs in welcome.
Beulah raced out of the wood to join him and jumped, front paws forward, to greet him with a friendly lunge.
Jet black smooth and shaggy shades of red they advanced in step, side by side, shaking their heads and yipping in enthusiasm by each side of Chris.
The threateningly gray sky rolled back into mountains on the hazy horizon leaving a brazenly blue glare overhead to promise heat without respite to all the organisms of its dominion, the mongrel domain of the third planet from the Sun in what its grammered guards called The Milky Way. Ladla The Peace Centurian flung a whining stream of rainbow-jelled jujus from Star Nebula Orisis into its largest boiling sea to calm and disperse the storm brewing there.
Fibrous filters from The Mangrove Maelstrom Galaxy dropped of their own sentient accord over atolls teeming with giant scaley lice and caught the percolating insect plague up into The Grand Universal Void for permanent dispersion amidst the waxed ion and waned aeon droplets stored there.
Ignoring the tremulous tumult of the nearby universe, Chris whistled for Fritz and Beulah as he pulled a compact mirror from his back left jeans pocket and smeared liver-flavored orange lipstick onto his eyelids and into his ears to amuse and entice them. Up each nostril he pushed dog biscuit-shaped licorice sticks and pushed his pants down toward his hips country-style to stagger waist-bent bravely toward the flaringly flaming citrus orb that had grounded along his path.
"Git," he yelped in the wrong direction, turning his fevered head toward the icemelt reigning from the Seconded Stunship sent from the sweltering homegloam barium star in its spatial trail of catsup-colored and flavored filaments of the moons of Planet Phyllis in The Dimension of Dreadfull Dead.
Galactic blood urped, clotted and oozed from the pustule pool of putresence spewed from the agitated orb visitation mirage. Its alarm excretions in crusty curds of jaggedly jangling gelatinous whiplike strips of froggy groanings soon jammed the way home to Christy and her canines.
He had to make his way home through that to secure it safe from the irradiated proton plops the orb expirated obsessively before the massive mess depleted all the neonate nitrogen from the storage cupboard or the dogs would have no fodder.
Earthmoon hummed her a soothing tune and breathed its blue steamers with comforting encouragements and vaguely pastel blandishments for sprinkling on pink-jumping pits that tripped him.
Comet Caligula crooned in nordic notes of disdain as Christy crawled through a zapped strain in the blighted spore of starsun Jules.
The oven door banged closed. Jamie hoped that meant a meal soon in the offing. George appeared in the doorway and skittered a tin pan noisily across the wood floor toward the paper-strewn desk in announcing, "Fix your own damn dinner, bum. Are you ever going to be done writing that trash?"
Jim grasped the pieces of his latest obsession, The Great James History of the World Through The Eyes of a Mouse, together with both hands into an unruly stack.
"Yes. No, I just began writing a sequel: The Grated History of Evolution Since Time Began As Experienced Through the Teeth of an Omniverous Gnat."
(... to be continued....)
"Please, mommy! Let me go one more time," Freda begged in girlish anticipation.
Alice pressed the button once again for the lobby floor and the plexiglassed cylinder glided down in its smoothly silent drama of the hotel tower unfolding before the cushioned bench where Freda rested entranced before mutely passing outdoor windows and private room doors and open-railed hallways and other visitors.
The elevator stopped on the plushly carpeted dais where a chair-seated woman wearing a thigh-length silver t-strapped shimmy with matchingly shiny beret and skinny slingback high heels finger-danced out ragtime on an opened white grand piano. A small pale-blue tuxedoed gentleman in the alcove shadows on her left held a saxophone patiently by one side and blended in when a chorus was played. The percussion-surrounded drummer behind him wore a strapless form-fitting black jersey bathing suit with matching felt fedora and glittering rhinestoned sandals on her tapping feet. Their flashing neon sign blared "The Electric Bandittos Eclectica!" for an all-acoustic group that formed and reformed depending on who where wished to perform at any given time or place. When Freda and Alice passed through earlier on their way to breakfast, a heavily made-up and denim-jeaned instrumentalist on french horn sat in. He reappeared during lunch in the company of a grinning evening-gowned teen in garishly sequined waist-length cape and elbow-high gloves with a trombone.
Alice handed her daughter a few dollar bills to place in the glass bowl on the piano, as the still-seated musician smiled and nodded to her tiny benefactress. "Okay," Freda announced, looking up to her mother and with a happy dance step, "I'm thirsty now. Let's go."
Alice reached for her hand as they headed toward and into the cinderella-style lift once more to the top floor with its gleaming rows of tempting refreshment dispensation machines by a bare-floored and wallpapered community room of magazines and newspapers, sofas, tables and chairs with a cozily-cluttered kitchenette area by the wide floor-to-ceiling window onto the hotel's strictly-manicured English gardens flanking its highway-side main entrance passage and deeply-carved Moroccan mahogany front doors.
Alice studied the soda machines.
"What color?" she asked Freda in their customary game.
"Green," Freda called back.
"Dew, 7Up, limeade," Alice announced.
"Dew," Freda answered easily.
"Ready for a sandwich?"
Freda nodded and moved to her mother's side.
"Burger? Dog?" Alice questioned studying the compartmented window of another machine.
"Ham and cheese? Tuna? Roast beef and swiss? Cream cheese and olive?" Freda grimaced until Alice completed the enumeration. "Baloney and
American? Liverwurst and muenster? Bacon and cheese biscuit?"
"Beef," Freda finally decided and they walked to the mini-microwave to warm the roll and melt the cheese.
Alice found ice trays in the little fridge, filled a large red plastic cup, opened the can of pop and poured the fizzing green liquid out, dramatically holding the can high in the air to create a fountain.
The mini-oven bell rang as she stood on her toes and reached up onto the counter for the door latch and her snack.
"Sarah Luna. Sequoia Madrigal. Tamara Daniel. Samuel Katrine. Kava Selena," Linda offered as interesting possible names for the baby.
"Let's not have one," Manny reconsidered.
(... to be continued....)
"You won't believe the news today in the Silly Skunk Daily Standard!" Penny exclaimed to Patrick, her Irish Setter.
"We have company finally. Zeezee is here as prophesied!"she added animatedly.
Streaming from the barrier islands, she related, Guelotians had come ashore during the previous week with their translucently viscous over-large heads shaped like jagged rocks over transparent bodies that copulated and propagated by sympathetic vibration in agreement without regard to gender of which they'd only one or many compatible, depending on other wavelengths and intensities in their environment. All of their thought communications are telepathic and soundless to human ears, Penny explained to an attentive Patrick, although some earthly species like dolphins can and do tune in to their frequency to listen and respond. Outer Terrestrials call the Guelotian native home Starson Beb of the Ultra Dimension and its inhabitants Beins.
Guelotian transport around their home and elsewhere is through intention and welcome, Penny continued to an enthralled Patrick. Beins are accommodating and conciliatory, agreeable and harmonious in general, she assured him. They aren't found where uninvited or unpleasing to them, but they're capable singly and especially in concert with each other of Herculean tasks and triumphs if they and/or their hosts are threatened or attacked. The methods employed and goals attained in victory aren't necessarily apparent to humans at the time, or occasionally ever, being undetectably invisible and inexplicable to them, and are often ascribed to discernibly familiar but erroneous forces. To interact with earth forms Beins assume randomly male and female physiologies, Penny informed the still-curious Setter, with consequences from tragic to comical since earthly sexual activities and gender expectations are completely alien to Beins (and many other outer terrestrials), of all ages and types for reconnaissance, research and assistance. As with all life forms, Beins are spirit emanations of God in a manner similar to earth forms but different in apparition and abilities.
Starson Beb's terraced gardens of the elusive raspberry tree and fabled conifer mustard are famed throughout Outer Terrestrial territories, Penny went on to summarize from what she'd read of The Standard's background research coverage.
Zeezee Bein, assigned as a gardenskeep of the invaluable raspberry and mustard orchards, had never been allowed on any extraordinary adventures. Petulant as Zeezee felt about restrictive responsibilities off and on, nurturance from sprout to flowering profusion of succulence and spice that are every Beins dietary mainstay brought also its measure of comforting joys and satisfactions for the meanwhile. And then it happened! Finally Zeezee was called, needed more urgently where earthforms have been challenged and nearly smothered by a brutal invasion of Dedseds from the black hole Dimension of Knot in the Nebula Twangle.
Patrick lay on his back and stretched contentedly on the fake fur rug, relieved to know the universe had sent assistance to save them from the structural shambles engulfing earth.