It began to end for her with an empty glass. Just taking it out of the dish washing machine, all warm and sparkling and clean and sleek feeling—so sleek it slipped. As though her fingers had momentarily forgotten the concept of to hold. As though the sleekness was too overwhelming. As though something she couldn’t quite put her finger, or fingers, on occurred.
The glass did not float or acrobatically tumble. It rocketed straight down and exploded on the tiles of the kitchen floor scattering glass particles every which way. Fragments shot passed her feet, rolled toward the dishwasher, under the refrigerator, bits bounced up against the nearest wall, a major glittering mess from such a insignificant mishap.
Next her bottle of pills slipped. Medicine spilled everywhere. She would find hidden oval-shaped pills for days to come in the most unexpected places, usually where dust gathered. She tried to put her arm in one sleeve of a favorite blouse but missed and let go, thinking her arm was in there, and the blouse ballooned and floated, as the glass had not, to the ground, a brief odd-shaped parachute. She leaned over with a grunt to pick up the blouse and she dropped the two earrings she had been holding in her other hand. She watched both land, each one beside her feet, one left, one right.
Recently her husband had fallen out of love with her and dropped her for someone he himself had fallen for, her daughter had dropped out of university and was dropping out generally, and by the end of the week the family cat had dropped dead. Her eye-drops had gone missing. The bottom had fallen out of the stock market. There was a drop-off in the outside temperature. Flies were dropping … like flies.
At the one local bookstore that still existed she went to pick up a book on dropping things. She had been told such books were located in the Self-Help section, which she didn’t like the sound of. Yet there she found several books addressing the subject, however the prose of the first pages of each one came off as too cheery, too supportive and encouraging and so positive sounding she resisted. The book told lots of stories from all sorts of different people who dropped things and how they cured, or coped, with this minor adversity. The book was targeted at a general readership of those people who were loosing their grip.
While reading a further five books on dropping things she dropped a scissors that pegged her thigh briefly. Her glasses broke into two pieces and she’d taped them back together, and the neighbor’s tiny dog fell from the nest of her usually secure arms and the doggie never quite trusted her again. Five ink pens at five different times of the day dropped from her fingers, the last three of which she just left lying there on the ground, and she also dropped her guard and bought something over the Internet and she dropped her latest suiter, or would have, if she had had one, but that was just part of her general feeling of ineptitude going a bit too far.
It was when her little finger on her left hand dropped off that she thought that maybe, really, there was something not right to all this. She reached down to pick up her little finger — unlike the cap to the bottle of ketchup, her knitting needles, an electricity bill, a banana peel and some objects she couldn’t quite quantify and finally had just left laying about — yet just as she gripped her fallen little finger, the two fingers gripping the fallen little finger fell, and now she was, at last, deeply alarmed. She got down on her knees to study the situation closer and her right kneecap flopped off. Using her lips, she tried to scoop up one of the three fingers laying on the floor — no longer trusting her fingers to stay put where they belonged — but just as she retrieved one finger in her mouth, her lower lip dropped off.
When her head suddenly wobbled, then went points south and just plain bounced and rolled to a spot near the bedroom door, she let it stay there. Right next to one of those pens. The way her life was going, she figured she wasn’t going to need her head.
Five weeks later lazy neighbors thought something slightly sinister might have occurred inside the eerily quiet house on the street. One called emergency services. Someone from social services dropped by on their way home and knocked on the door, rang the bell, put his face next to a front window, clapping his hands around his face to see in but couldn’t see anyone. He called a real emergency number the following day.
People who dealt with emergencies arrived and forced open the front door. Subsequent television news reports called the discovery inside “The Woman Who Fell Apart”.
“Bits and pieces of a longtime city resident, a female, were found in different areas of the house. Sources close to the investigation stated that fallen objects ranged from loose eyeballs to whole toe nails. Foul play has not been ruled out. There are currently no leads,” reported the television news reader. Within twenty-four hours, this local news event failed to pick up national coverage, so the news item on the woman who dropped things was dropped.
Posts Tagged ‘Story’
They had lived together for ten months, with the first month being pure bliss and the following nine consisting of discussions evolving into disagreements, which acquired the dimensions of arguments, one after the other. They had both brought quite a bit of baggage with them into their relationship and it was showing up all the time.
“You think it’s easy being me?” With a furious face, Lorraine pulled a suitcase from under the bed. “Do you? Well, listen to this!”
Lorraine popped open the suitcase laying on the floor, the lid flew open, and her mother rose straight up out of it, finger already waggling.
“You’re a bad girl. Your math scores are low, you hang around with the wrong crowd, and when was the last time you helped in the kitchen? You are never going to amount to anything. Never ever.”
Lorraine pointed to her mother and yelled at her boyfriend Arthur. “See!”
Arthur shook his head in a combination of pity and superiority. “Oh…you think you’ve had it so bad? Take a look at what I had when I was eight.”
Arthur pulled a bag of his own down from the top shelf of the closet and opened it. A cute little doggie jumped out of it and ran around on the floor barking playfully. Suddenly a train came barreling through the bathroom door and ran over the dog, cutting it in half, then thirds, then mincemeat, and then shot out the window just a suddenly.
“See!” Arthur pointed at the bits of his scattered, dead childhood pet. “How am I just supposed to get over that?”
Lorraine stared open-mouthed at her boyfriend’s puppy’s body parts…but she had what she thought was even worse.
She walked over to her dressing table and yanked open her usually locked top drawer. Out of this arose a life-size pelt of of her skin when she was five. It was covered in welts. “This is what my father did to me when I was five. At five years old! One doesn’t easily forget such things.”
“Exactly!” Arthur shouted as he jumped toward his gym bag, ripped open the main zipper of the bag so his father’s head like a bowling ball could emerge to sneer at his son, “You think you’re a man? You’re lousy at sports, you always hide in your room with your games and books, say boo and you pee in your pants. Be a man. Come on, throw a punch? Think you’re tougher than your old man? Huh? Do you? I said, Do You?”
Lorraine opened her rather overlarge handbag and out came three giggling teenage friends who just pointed at her shoes and laughed and laughed.
Arthur popped open his mobile phone and out came thirty of his so-called university friends , each staring at their own mobile phones, Arthur’s number glowing on it, and not dialing.
Lorraine and Arthur pulled out of their separate overnight bags twenty-seven pairs of lips, which flapped crazily around the room like manic butterflies, each mouthing off different parts of their past conversations, endlessly analyzing their relationship from different possible angles, over and over and over. The combined emotional noise was frantic and piercing.
Lorraine whipped out from a hidden compartment in her baggage her seven month old self, wailing in fear and tears. Arthur did the same from his own hidden compartment, yanking out his nine month old self, wailing, teary, waving his helpless arms about feverishly. Lorraine pulled out her thirty month old self, followed by herself at eight, eighteen and twenty-one, always crying and wounded, internally more than externally. Arthur matched her with his own self at fifteen months, eight, seventeen, and twenty-eight years of age, weeping and afraid and alone. There were different scenes being yanked out of different baggage of being fired from jobs for no good reasons or refusals of employment, again for no good reason, other partners turning away from them, siblings or cruel cousins teasing them mercilessly, their parents continually appearing in different guises from different times with fuller, fresher curses to hurl at them. The couple showed off the times when they scrapped their knees at five or were slapped at seventeen.
Meanwhile, the train kept charging out of the bathroom and running over the newly revived happy pet dog over and over again, while the mother berated the daughter and the father taunted the son and many teenage friends and recent business colleagues endlessly betrayed and tormented them. And their lips talked and talked and complained and wished the other would change, change, change for the better.
Then both suddenly stared at the various traumas that pulsed and moaned all around their apartment, and they ran into each other’s arms, wanting to shout, Save me! and Love me! and Help me! and I didn’t know! and Oh my God! And in the end they always said, each time, I love you.
And the baggage zipped back up and went quiet, for a while.
When called upon to express himself in a timely manner, the rather embarrassed full-length midget of uncertain parentage came forward to the microphone in front of a quiet audience of lots and lots of people.
He stood and glanced up at the microphone. He licked his lips and they licked him back. No faces were seen through the bright hiding glare of the lights right in front of him and at the sides of him and then more lights further out, out there. But lots of people were somewhere there, beyond the lights. He heard coughs and shifting bottoms in comfortable seats.
Unaccustomed as he was to speaking in public, or, indeed, speaking at all, he launched manfully into his much rehearsed outburst, which consisted, spasmodically, of three syllables in the wrong order.
Silence greeted his immense effort.
He should have known better, in fact he did know better, but was talked out of this knowledge by someone backstage who was in it for the money.
Emptied of effort, he turned to walk off, or was it waddle off, it was hard to be exact about a full-length midget’s gait, while detecting, or so he imagined, almost wished, some distant though heart-felt boos coming from the Great Out There. If no one liked him, then he would never have to think about doing this again, which would give his limited expectations but immense imagination much time and opportunity to think of nothing but nothing at all, for as long as he wished, or as long as his heartbeats held out, as long as he lasted. He would not ever have to do anything ever again.
His immense imagination was already imagining he heard a wall of nasty boos washing up from the unseen audience, overwhelming, over-stating their distaste for his brief effort at speaking what was on his mind, in public, on stage, when, he knew, he had little to say, declaim or state.
This was now officially becoming a rough day for him. He would take a pill to sleep this evening. After he dealt with his three wives, especially the one who had been particularly demanding in sexual matters, and those two second cousins who’d shown up out of nowhere, and then, of course, feed the cats. Always, endlessly, the need to feed the cats.
Someone or two, out there, damn them, applauded, briefly, three times, like syllables said, in, of course, the wrong order.
He halted, hips turning forward, stepping toward the edge of the stage, moving his face beyond the bright, blinding light, beyond the few dying boos, beyond this point in his life, to see into this impossible sea of darkened, demanding souls, seeking that face, perhaps brighter than the rest, the one with the hands still in a phase of three-syllabled clapping, waiting eagerly to be seen by him, so he could say, without hesitation, beyond three syllables, into the dark, with a darker hope, to the person with applause in his or her hands, “Is there someone out there who wants me to go on?”
A third person applauded. A fourth. More? Was there more yet? Perhaps the sound would soon be deafening. And he would need to imagine more syllables, more than the three he had memorized and already used up. His face went through the curtain of light and into the dark, where he squinted, trying, as always, as forever, to see beyond what he had got used to seeing.
A couple of years ago I posted a short-short story called Red Ball, which became rather popular and got comments like “breathtaking” and “This is great. Really creepy!” and “YES! Creepy… for sure.” and “Creepy is the word! Especially the 4th corner.” You can read the original story here.
Now I have gone and made a short video of it. I narrate it. You can see it by clicking on this sentence.
That’s it. Thanks for coming by. V+
I went to this Brussels restaurant. I indulged therein. Leaving, I pocketed their matchbox. This 2:01 minute video tells the wondrous story. Of adventure and true, vivid gourmet deluxe.
It is one in an ongoing series that perhaps has no end.
Now, to view this most excellent, enlightening video, CLICK HERE.
Thanks for reading & seeing. – Vincent
The man shuffled into my office to tell his troubles. He sat down where I had to look at him.
Taxes were ruining him, his wife didn’t understand things, his bills were piling up, he didn’t like the weather, his car was on the bum, his children avoided him, a pet hamster had died.
“Even my cat committed suicide,” he said. “He went in the road during the night to fight a truck. The truck won. Found him next morning, his head all flat, his brains shooting out his ear holes like grey toothpaste. It nearly broke my heart. We buried it and the hamster together in a spot in the backyard. My kids prayed, and then looked at me as if it were my fault. I didn’t know what to tell them. God, why …why my cat?”
He sat there, waiting for an answer.
“Did I ever tell you about the dog I had when I was a kid?”
I didn’t want to hear this.
“He was a big cuddly mutt named Elmer.”
Now I really didn’t want to hear this.
“Fred,” I interrupted. “You’re in no state to talk about a dog from your childhood. Especially if his name was Elmer. It’ll only depress you further.”
“Old Elmer,” my friend mumbled, as though he hadn’t heard my warning. But something must have gotten through, because he changed the subject. “They say it’s going to rain.”
“They’re often as wrong as they’re right,” I said.
“I know,” he replied. “Can’t trust anyone these days.”
I tried to change the subject. “How’s—?”
“Don’t ask,” he interrupted. “Don’t make me think about it. Let’s just sit here in silence in some animal warmth.”
We were sitting together like that for about five minutes, me getting impatient to get back to my work, Fred comforted by the warmth, when the boss walked in and said,
“Say, have you seen the report on … oh, Fred, hello. How are you?”
“My cat’s dead,” Fred said. He got up and walked to the door. “Elmer’s long-gone, too.” And he left.
My boss said, “Who’s Elmer?”
“You really want to know about it?”
He did. He was the boss. It was his job to know about such things. So I told him.
After hearing everything, he was silent for a long while.
“I had a dog named Buster who died when I was a kid.”
Sharing some more animal warmth was about to happen in my office again, and it wasn’t even nine thirty-five in the morning on a Monday.
“I love you, Mam. Oh how I looooove you. So much and double so much.” The daughter opened her mouth for more.
Mam said back, giving her more, “And I love you. You are so perfect.”
Daughter ate it up and said right back, “Mam, you can do anything. Just anything.”
They wanted to hug, but couldn’t because the daughter did not have arms. Or legs. Or any appendage. She was simply one big mouth with lips, tongue, teeth, moisture and love. Love for her Mam.
“I looooove you, mam.”
“I waaaaaaant, mam.”
“What do you want, my dearest of dears?”
The big mouth smacked its lips.
“I want something you can get for me.”
“That’s why I’m here.” The Mam beamed. She could not help herself, she had to say it again. “You are perfect. Just perfect.”
“And when I do something wrong, mam? When I’m older and am bad, what will you do?”
“I will scold you, correct you, teach you, forgive you, and everything will go back to what it was before you were bad.”
“You’re the best mam ever!”
Mam went out and bought three books, a pair of gloves, five pairs of shoes, eyeglasses in a fancy frame, chocolate bars, four types of cakes so she could have a bite of each, and a new toothbrush and toothpaste.
“Oh, Mam, stuff! Stuff! Lots of stuff! You thought of me! But mam. Mam! Shoes? Eyeglasses? Gloves? What are they for?”
“For when you grow older and develop.”
“Oh mam! Mam, you think of everything! Everything!” The mouth loved using exclamation marks. She couldn’t help it if everything was wonderful. Wonderful! “Feed me, Mam. Feed me everything. I am made for it. One big happy need! You fulfill me!”
Mam went to the kitchen, stayed there a while, came back with three mounds of food, which she spoon and fork fed to her open-mouthed daughter.
“Mmmmm, Mam. You’re the best!”
“No, you’re the best.”
“No, you’re the best.”
And so forth until Mam went to get dessert.
And mam asked, defining future needs she looked forward to providing, “And what does my perfect baby darling forever want from me?”
“Hug me, give to me, forgive me, buy for me, feed me, squeeze me, fulfill me, shape me, take me, make me.”
“Oh my daughter!”
“Oh my mammy!”
“We were made for each other.”
“Oh, yes, mammy! Oh! Yes!”
And the daughter began hungrily nibbling her mother and the mam said, “My darling. My perfect, loving little girl. Ouch.”
She flew off her feet and landed on her butt when he pushed her out of his way so he could get to where he was going. She stood up slowly, brushed herself off, and gazed at his back as he diminished in the distance, hurrying away. She took a step toward him.
She landed with a hard thump and four red marks on her forehead where he had pushed her with the fingers of his left hand. This time he stood there, looking down. Her looking up. She stood, slowly, carefully, her eyes never leaving his. Took a step toward him. He put his fingertips right back on the same places on her forehead and pushed. Harder.
She was getting used to landing on her backside and seeing life from this angle. Or if not life, at least him. The guy who kept pushing her down when she approached him. She thought she should maybe sit there for a while and think over getting up again for him, but the feelings were too strong, too wild. She was up and moving toward him again watching his hands, both of them, getting ready to push her again.
For a few weeks now she had taken to wearing cushions on her backside. Her bottom had become so black and blue with this pushing down business that it was starting to hurt and could not be ignored even with this overwhelming instinct, need, passion, this desire. So when she fell, this time on gravel in his driveway, it hurt some, but not as much, because of the cushion. In fact, she bounced a bit, which was different.
Next time when she landed on her rear end in the parking lot of the liquor store, she put her hands down for landing stability and sharp-edged pebbles dug into her hands. She cried out. She looked up to see if this mattered to the man. But he had already turned away.
Again she fell, like a fluffy animal tossed on the floor.
Once more she fell and this time she fell into the ocean and a wave came and the salt went into her wounds and stung and the man stepped back, ever determined. She got up again, ever determined. They stood facing each other, her hands ready to grab him, his hands ready to repel her.
As she fell, she grabbed a bit of his leather coat and wouldn’t let go and as she fell, he lost his balance. He came after her. She landed hard on her bottom, on her back, in the dirt beside the bushes. He landed hard, on her, his front, on her front. It was progress. Perhaps a breakthrough. They lay like this in a public space until he pushed up and away from her.
Next time he pushed her away and she fell, she felt, or she thought she felt, his heart wasn’t really in it so much. Not like before. So she fell, more than ever, in love.
The next time, he didn’t walk away after he had pushed her down. He turned away, but he was not walking away. At last. Finally. She knew in her heart of hearts that now she was not the only one falling.