Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fired & Out Rev 1

All that compromising for nada, nothing, not a damn thing. All the money I wasted on meds to help me cope and sleep, all the trips to the work therapy group (dedicated employees with asshole bosses or supervisors). I’ve put up with so much crap the last 40 years. My mantra “I understand” has gotten me through some tough situations. But it didn’t work this time.

She’s such a bitch, he thought as he headed out the door, not even noticing the “good nights”, “see you tomorrow”, or” Jim, Jim, wait up!” He pulled out his keys, and pushed the remote button. Nothing.

He realized he was standing in the parking lot of his former employer and his car was gone. Oh shit! Perfect! he screamed, and sat down on the curb, tears streaming down his cheeks. He sat there sobbing quietly, just out of view of the employees clocking out for the day. If you asked him what he was thinking, or what happened during that time, he would give you a blank stare, slowly focusing and responding with “what? And then fading away again, back inside where it’s safe.

He felt a hand on his shoulder and saw the blonde panhandler who had been holding court on the median strip the last few days. What’s wrong honey? she said quietly. He looked up at her silently, thinking that she had an awfully nice pedicure for a panhandler.

The next thing he knew, he started to get cold, and realized that night had fallen and he was still sitting on the curb, on his own. I didn’t even see her leave, he thought, and using his hands pushed himself to his feet.

His legs were asleep and prickly. He rocked back and forth, shifting his weight from one leg to the other, until they returned to life. His new black work shoes, ordered from a catalog, were gone. So were his jacket and his wallet. He looked in the bushes behind him and found a trolley pass, along with his empty wallet.

Good Karma he thought and began to laugh hysterically. Brushing the dirt and gravel from the seat of his pants, he wrapped his arms around his torso, running his hands up and down his side, to try to get warm.

My car, he remembered, my car is gone. As he returned to reality, he headed up the street, in his socks towards the trolley station. As he passed the brake shop, he stopped suddenly, remembering that he had lost his car to the finance company months ago, and had been riding the trolley ever since. He’d dropped some of his baby fat too, with all this walking. He chuckled to himself at the thought of anything related to his body being described as baby, by anyone.

Can’t wait to tell my wife the bitch won, and I’m out of a job, probably shortly out of a house, maybe out of a family. What about his pets. How would he ever feed them?

He stopped again. A sharp rock that pierced the formerly white athletic socks that were now covered with dirt and grime. How much food is left in the house for us? Is there any money at all in the bank? I need to remember to call and have them issue a new check tomorrow, to replace the stolen one. Maybe his son in law could float him some money for a day or two. He was working, and the two of them had been living in his house for over two years. Wish he had a cell phone so I could call him. Wait, where’s my cell?

He realized in his rush to get out of the building after his visit to HR, that he had left his personal cell phone on the computer stand in his office. Did I turn in my key, he pondered? Should I head back, see if I can get in, see if there is any change in my desk, and then head home, or to Clancy’s first for a beer, if he can come up with some change?

It’s only 7:00pm so it’s not too late. If I can’t find a security guard to get my phone, should I use the key? Will they think I’m breaking in to vandalize the place? Will the guard even give me my stuff without getting authorization from the CEO, who barely knew I was alive when I worked there, and probably has no idea I exist at all. HR will think I’m up to no good, thanks to the bitch and the ”set up” that had caused all this grief.

God, my eyes itch. Is it spring already, allergy season. Thoughts were racing through his mind, random, seemingly unrelated. All he knew was he needed his phone, he couldn’t leave without his phone, so he reversed direction and headed back towards work, or his former work.

©2010 sharonjcorrigan

Flying Away Rev 1

I have to be in Houston by noon tomorrow she thought. Better book a seat- so I know if I have to leave tonight. She grabbed her coffee and headed inside to the spare room where the computer was. We have to get wireless installed she mused silently to herself for the hundredth time (at least).

Working as a flight attendant since the days when they were called stewardesses she had her life down to a structured routine. She bid for jobs that took her on the road from Sunday to Wednesday if possible because her husband worked retail and had Thursday and Friday off. She also liked lunching with friends in LA or San Diego on Saturdays after her morning yoga class and the farmers market.

She pushed the power button and heard the familiar tune as the computer woke up from a night of rest. Quickly opening the browser the flight schedules appeared on her home page and she saw with dismay that all of tomorrows early flights were fully booked and she would have to hustle to make one this afternoon. Is my uniform pressed? She thought.

It had been a busy few days with dinners out and a concert at Humphrey’s – a band from the early 80s. She’d also had a bit too much wine on Friday night so she was moving a little slower this morning despite her best efforts. A sigh of relief escaped her lips as she remembered planning to leave on a moments notice almost subconsciously when she got back from her last trip on Wednesday night.

God I’m exhausted she thought and my hair needs a trim. No time to do that, she said to herself as she pulled her bag out of the closet. So many years of making this same trip made packing a breeze. She grabbed her toiletries bag, a couple pairs of underwear, her running shoes, bathing suit and her workout gear, and tossed them into the bag. A quick trip down the hall to the bathroom where she checked her makeup and then quickly down the stairs to the garage and into the car.

It really is a pain to have to wear a uniform when she wasn’t on duty, but at least she didn’t have to pay for the flight. Merging onto the 15 south she exited at Friars Road and sped quickly past the stadium to the center where her husband works managing a furniture store. She pulled up in front and opened the door to the store, seeing that he was with customers – and caught his eye as she dropped the car keys on the sales desk, and then headed back towards the door, blowing him a kiss on her way.

He smiled with affection and excused himself, walking rapidly towards her and giving her a big kiss and asked where you headed? Caracas she answered smiled at him and left the store. Grabbing her flight bag out of the car, she made sure the door was locked and headed for the trolley station. Fortunately this time of day the trolley ran every 15 minutes and when she got to the train depot, she hopped on the airport express bus right away- getting to the plane with 15 minutes to spare.

©2010 sharonjcorrigan

Yard Sailing Rev 1

We pulled up in front of the first house and got out. The house was a rundown ranch style structure with peeling paint on the wood trim. The double garage door was open and a small man with a big smile looked at us as we approached and shouted welcome. At this feet were two small children in diapers crawling on a thick pink fleece blanket. Look around; give me a shout if you see anything you like. Jenny walked over to a table in the corner and was picking up small items and then setting them down again. Since she looked more bored than excited I didn’t bother to see what they were. I was looking at the sleeping bag covered with books to see if there were any cookbooks I didn’t have- although in reality I have more than I need at home already.

Jenny looked at me and we both said thank you at the same time as we headed back to the car. I hope the next one has some more interesting things, she said, and I nodded my head in agreement.

A lone blue balloon was tied to the mailbox at the second address at the end of a very long very steep driveway. We parked carefull; turning the wheels to roll into the curb, if the brakes should fail while we were shopping.

It was getting hotter as the sun rose in the sk,y and I still had several layers on, from the chill of the morning when we started out. Breathing heavily we struggled up the driveway and finally saw the house, the front door ajar. No signs or sounds of life beckoned us forward so we slowed our pace, thinking perhaps we had misread the address and stumbled into someone’s yard who wasn’t expecting visitors.

Jenny was a few steps ahead of me and she called out Hello as we stepped onto the porch. A strong woman’s voice answered with Hello echoing our greeting come on in.

The house was very dark and the curtains were heavy velvet and covered with a thick film of dust. Beaded strands hung in every doorway at least 3 off the main room. An older woman wearing an odd heavily embroidered peasant dress appeared through the center archway and the beads slapped the wall on either side as she passed through them

Look around she said in a small tight voice. She gave me a funny look and glared at Jenny. We gave each other a look and silently agreed to stick together while we were inside this strange house.

The woman disappeared back through the door that she had entered and the sound of the beads on drywall began singing..

Let’s look in here, she said, and we went gently through the beads and the archway into the left room. It was really quiet in the house but we both felt like we were being watched. The room was filled with shelves of varying thicknesses and lengths and every shelf was crowded with thick white candles every other one had been lit. They were unscented so the only smell was that of burning wax.

©2010 sharonjcorrigan

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Pool Boy Rev 2

She was lying by the pool, marinating head to toe in Coppertone, her sticky thighs splattered and glued to the vinyl ribs of the lounge chair as the elastic in her bikini bottoms snapped, sagged, and slipped through the cracks. On her back, her saggy tired breasts looked like balloons slowly deflating, and a quick dip in the pool had left her hair frizzing up like Ike Turner in suspenders. The sand invading the pathway to the pool left a gritty mess on the top steps at the shallow end. Her makeup was running, leaving ochre smudges on the white towels the pool boys carelessly tossed at the guests as they scurried back and forth like bait on a hook. The slurping sound of bodies sliding into water was accompanied by the sound of the bartender starting yet another daiquiri- ice clinking violently against the walls of the blender, sliced by the whirling metal blades.

I, finished off the last of the rum, scattering tiny red umbrellas, and watched as the tropical breeze sent them spinning round and round in a hypnotic dance.

Another towel Troy, I demanded as my favorite pool boy passed. I saw him glance at the 3 empty glasses and wince slightly. How dare he judge me, I thought to myself. Troy, Troy, I need it NOW!

He hurried away, pretending not to hear, and in his haste stepped right on top of one of the umbrellas, piercing his foot and causing him to shriek like a girl. He went down hard, landing on his kneecap, and she heard another yelp. Holy Buddha he screamed, tears streaming down his bronzed cheeks.

I flopped over onto my stomach, stopping mid way to tug at my bikini, one side then the other, so I wasn’t hanging out. I would give him 5 minutes to recover or I’d call the captain about his attitude. I need another drink too, and it’s just too hot.

3 minutes. 2 minutes, one, and he’s on his feet, one of those adoring young girls splashing water on his face, and handing him a stack of towels from the tray nearby.

Miss Julie, here your fresh towel . Would you like another drink? She hoisted her shoulders off the lounge and twisted her body to face him, her sun scarred breasts rolling back and forth inside the tiny top. Her face was red and blotchy and creased from lying on her stomach. From this angle the loose skin on her belly looked like an abandoned air mattress. He noticed that one of her eyebrows was funny, missing the part on the outside that usually swooped down, but he tried not to stare.

Julie felt a little disoriented as she attempted to open her eyes, and focus through the haze created by the sun and the rum. She started to respond, then her eyes rolled back and her arms gave way. Troy heard her skull hit the metal frame and he dropped to his knees,trying to catch the attention of one of the servers. When he turned back around, she was rapidly losing color and her breathing was irregular. He grabbed a pitcher of ice water from the sideboard and poured it over her head in a futile attempt to rouse her. Her body arched backwards in shock, sending her rolling partway off the lounge, still unconscious in a very odd position, and he began to panic.

©2010 sharonjcorrigan

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cava & Flowers Rev 1

Winning the lotto had changed so many things in his life. Joey however, was a gift from the old days, and they were celebrating 20 successful years in the import business this May, and 30 years of companionship. Neither man was gay, they would both describe their sex drive as ambivalent, but they had given up trying to convince their families and friends years ago. It didn’t matter.

They had just arrived in Barcelona last night; one of their favorite cities in the world. La Boqueria, how could any other market in the world compare to that bustling building full of vendors, and colors and tourists and locals and smells. It always felt like a homecoming and he could find his way to Las Ramblas and the entrance to the market, even if he somehow lost his sight or his mind. It was a haven, a delightful journey away from the rest of the world. Driving into town from the airport sitting on the sticky back seat of an old taxi cab, gazing out the window at the crypts built into the hillside, at the enchanted steeples of the old cathedral, shop front after shop front of gorgeous shoes and handbags and flowers.

On their last visit they scored on a truckload of Mallorca pearls, the big chunky ones so in fashion now. And silver was coming into its own-the shops filled with trendy new designs and 60s classics.

Everywhere they looked the plazas were full of people of all ages walking arm in arm, chatting in small groups greeting their friends, walking their dogs, or following a tour guide speaking into a walky talky, a herd of poorly dressed Americans from one of the cruise ships in port.

They stopped into a local cafe and ordered a cava, instructing the waiter to serve them at an outside table. The glasses came first, and then a bottle, opened with a flourish tableside and then placed into a bucket of ice just behind them.

We didn’t order a bottle they protested, and the waiter just smiled and shook his head, and nodded towards a little hobbit of a man standing in the doorway. He was barely five foot tall and was completely hairless, not just his head, but his entire body. He had two curious prominent upper teeth which gave his face the look of a rabbit, the eye tooth on one side was missing and he looked like he had been in some sort of horrible accident years ago, the scars thick and swollen together in vertical lines on each side of his face.

©2010 sharonjcorrigan

Romeo & Juliana Rev 1

Hey! She called down from her balcony. What are you doing back so soon?

Oh my god. He’s a Christian. Not just a Christian, a reborn, bible thumping, I have an overwhelming need to convert you, I’m going to hold you hostage until you agree, Christian.

Sandy burst into a raucous laugh. Well, Christians aren’t so bad. But for you….maybe not your soul mate.

We had decided to meet to get to know each other better, and had agreed on a wine bar near the trolley and his office. I was there first, and ordered a prosecco for myself. I planned to pay my own tab, unless he insisted, and to get something to eat. He walked into the cafĂ©, and joined me outdoors at a small table. The waiter dashed over “What would you like to drink?” and he said coffee. Coffee. Coffee at a wine bar. I felt like an alcoholic. This is not beginning well.

He went on to explain that his ex wife had cleaned him out, and he was living in a house with six other guys in their 50s near the border. He was totally broke, and didn’t have a car right now, just used public transportation. In my mind this was going from bad to worse. Was he going to expect me to pay for his coffee?

How in the world we started talking about religion, I can’t even guess. I certainly didn’t bring it up, but once the subject was on the table, he was unstoppable. He was so aggressive about it that I decided to add fuel to the fire and said I always avoid sitting across to or next to people on the train who are reading the bible, because I think it’s creepy.

It didn’t seem possible that he could get any more pushy about the subject, but that did it. Her lept from his seat yelling, what if they were reading the Koran? Would you sit across from them quietly? What’s wrong with the bible? Why do you hate god.

All the other restaurant patrons were now at full attention, looking at his man standing on the street yelling at me about jesus. I wanted to hide under the seat, but I just motioned to the waiter to get me a second prosecco, quickly.

He was the perfect man, on paper. My age, attorney defending mothers in child support cases, rn a not for profit in Idaho creating low income housing, worked as a consultant overseas, graduated from Berkeley, former politician. Smart, short but smart, and very attentive.

We met at a picnic for an international group, hosting visitors from the former USSR, and he followed me around all afternoon. We had so much in common. Little did I know.

Eventually I escaped and I heard he found someone to marry. Good for him.

©2010 sharonjcorrigan

Freeway Personals Rev 1

I should’ve had the a/c fixed and gassed up this morning, Sarah thought; well, there’s no sense dwelling on it now since I’m going to be either stuck here in traffic, or stranded at the side of the road- a mile or two from the Genesee exit. There are no gas stations nearby, so I’ve really got a couple of hours to kill.

What’ve we got here? She wondered aloud. I’m bored.

The car just ahead was about two months overdue for a wash., although it was a late model Lexus. The rear bumper was covered with stickers” Hang up the damn phone and drive” “Jesus loves unborn babies”, “My child was a royal screw up at Billings Elementary. The back windshield continued the diatribe “You suck, I’ll eat baby deer if I want to", next to a large rifle shaped sticker screaming “Shut the F### Up!"

Oh boy, I thought, here we have a real winner. Is it a man or a woman, how old is they? Where do they work? The driver of the Lexus turned her head and Sarah realized it was a woman. Oh God no. Her face reflected in the rear view mirror, zeroed in on Sarah, sending a look that almost cracked her windshield. Avoid eye contact, she thought. Pretend to be singing with the radio and bob your head around.

Bet that bitch is single or divorced. Wow, what a prize she would be on Angry soul.

Brunette Lexus driving siren with a yen for the printed word and a ride though the suds at the car wash seeking her chamois man. No experience necessary. Hearing or vision impaired men 18-80 strongly encourage to respond.

Oh boy, wouldn’t I love to see that meet up. She glanced up and saw that the Lexus lady was focusing her negative energy on the car in front of her now, wildly gesturing and driving in a crazy weaving motion, slamming on her brakes just sort of the bumper ahead of her. Indiscriminate rage.

Let it go, yoga breathe.

Who is next to me. It’s kind of disturbing because they are driving at the identical pace, and I sense it’s a creepy guy who will probably follow me off the freeway and into my community and I’ll have to drive around for an hour until he gives up. Shit, I forgot about the gas tank.

Anyway, how will I describe him? Pleasantly plump, rosy cheeked charmer with full street credentials seeks a compatible partner for movies, conventions and unnatural sex acts in my parent’s bedroom during their weekly dinner excursions to Denny’s for the senior special. Any female, any age, welcomed with open arms.

Oh God, I’m giving myself the creeps.

©2010 sharonjcorrigan

Made in China Rev 1

Made in China

Do you want to go to disco? The guide asked me as the group returned from the day trip on the river to our hotel in Guilin. It was bitterly cold, the week before Chinese New Year and the 500 room hotel had 495 vacant rooms. I’m a solo traveler but I seldom venture out alone after dark, preferring instead to launch myself into the awakening dawn and spend the day exhausting myself with vibrant images of other cultures.

No I said. I have an early flight and I’m worn out from the cold. He bowed slightly and moved quietly through the front door of the hotel- not pushing, no expectations, polite and resigned to another night alone in his tiny cement room down the 3rd alley- where the smells of the city were frozen into his flesh.

©2010 sharonjcorrigan

Sleeping with Dogs Rev 1

Sleeping with dogs begins when you are quietly reading or watching TV or paying your bills and they are sprawled out nearby legs in the air, sometimes running in place or twitching, and making funny little sounds. Then in an instant they smell another dog outside, or a bird, or a rabbit and they are on their feet in full protective mode, racing from one end of the house to another, barking barking barking.

Moments later they are back in their spot snoozing away.

At my home 8:00 is bed time. Just like the alarm in the morning, my dogs know how to read clocks and they let me know when it is time. Daylight savings and other time changes throw them off by an hour either way, and sometimes they just feel like playing in the middle of the night for no reason I can figure.

So I’m sitting calmly and have two dogs sitting right in front of me, searching my face, and letting me know it’s time to turn off the computer or the TV and head for the bedroom. If I choose to ignore them, they will take turns jumping onto the couch, and onto my lap, or using their noses to disrupt my writing or to try to get me to stand up.

They use a similar technique to get me to let them out to pee, to remind me if I haven’t fed them, or when it’s time to refill the water bowl. The little one is especially good at the pee thing, and if I got up and let her out, she would go outside instead of the pads I have set up in the garage.

So I turn off the TV, pick up my cell phone, plug in my net book to charge, turn off the lights and head into the bedroom, first the small bedroom light, then the hallway light, then the bedside lamp.

I have to immediately position the two pillows in the center if I plan to watch TV, and get the remote within arm’s length. The minute I slide under the cover, they are both leaping onto the bed and heading towards me to be petted. Joey likes to have his back scratched, back hear his tail. Pumpkyn loves to have her little nippies petted softly. They both go into a trancelike state when I do this right. Eventually they are ready to settle down, and usually try to get as close as they can to me on top of the covers, one on each side, near my feet. My feet are trapped, and I can’t turn over so I have to move one near the top of the bed and one near the bottom and lay diagonally.

©2010 sharonjcorrigan