Friday, April 18, 2014

A Night at the Theater – Part Two

I consider sending my boss out to get help while I make my escape. Unfortunately, my disappearance would only fix a memory of me in his mind. I look at my partially ruined jacket, 100 percent virgin wool, still salvageable if I get it to my cleaner on time. I sigh and close my eyes as I place it on the floor and use it as a shield to shimmy my way back under the stall’s door, virgin no longer. My boss stares at the jacket as I walk past him.

“Aren’t you going to pick it up?” he asks.


“That jacket still has value, are you going to let that go to waste? I can give you the name of my dry cleaner.”

I can give you the name of my janitorial service, I want to say. I should be thankful he’s distracted, but I want to throttle him. When a board member’s shoes stick to his theatre’s bathroom floor, he should have better things to do than lecture someone on dry cleaning costs. He’s always missing the dollars floating above his head while scrambling for pennies on the floor.

“It was fifteen bucks on clearance,” I lie. “Don’t worry about it.”

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Night at the Theater - Part One

Image by yiftah-s via Wikimedia Commons

The ballerinas wear gas masks, and I wish for one too. Someone sitting near had hit the garlic too hard, and tried covering it with cologne. A rotten spiciness mingled with peppery flowers causes my eyes to water. I can’t decide whether it is worse to breathe through my nose or mouth, and I wonder if I can get the usher to throw the offender out, or at least douse them with a bucket of something less offensive, like fish heads.

Of course, it could be a plant. Any director that would attempt interpreting trench warfare through ballet, with the prima wearing the spiked helmet of a Prussian officer would not be above gassing the audience. Then again, the production budget and meager cast can’t waste a warm body in the audience. Perhaps there are packets of garlic oil and gutter-quality Chanel under our seats. This is off-off-Broadway after all, dear. Kiss-kiss. Can you handle it?

I am the only accountant in the room. White hipsters living in the former ghettos sit in front of me, arguing if Samuel Adams is really a craft brewer or mini-Budweiser. Two haute couture designers to my left with gravity-defying asymmetrical haircuts whisper  to an immaculately groomed black man so small that I believe him to be a Pygmy. To my right, three Eurotrash gay men in summer-weight scarves hold hands and twirl their feet in synchronicity. The masses of malnourished actors in black sit in either the front or back rows according to some pecking order I cannot fathom. I feel the collective gazes on me and the unspoken question: what’s he doing here?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Losing Game

By Bettyann Moore

“Jesus, Dorkshire, where the hell you been? I’ve been freezing my ass off out here!” Chuck Copiski ground out another cigarette with the toe of his shoe and blew on his fingers. The sidewalk at his feet was littered with butts smoked down to the filter.

“You said 7 o’clock, right? I just heard the church bells ring.” Doyle Dormeyer hobbled up to his friend, out of breath.

“That was 15 minutes ago, Dorkus.” Chuck hocked up a wad of phlegm and spit it onto the walk, just missing Doyle’s shriveled left foot in its built-up shoe.

“Sorry, sorry,” Doyle said. “My ma needed help with Petey. He ain’t feelin’ the best.”

Chuck knew better than to challenge anything to do with Petey. “Yeah, well, don’t let it happen again, Dorkmeister. Come on, we gotta meet The Wop over by the pool hall.”

The two set out, one reed-thin and limping, the other short and stocky, leading with his jutting chin.

“Why do you call him that?” Doyle said, struggling to keep up.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Trip to the Bazzar

Image by Ensie & Matthias via Wikimedia Commons

Author’s note: This week, I ran out of story ideas, so I’m substituting this travelogue. Enjoy!

I walk through the bazaar, the air filled with coffee and spices, while stands of every color and shape assault my senses. Silhouettes of femme fatales gyrate on the wall of one tent, pixies and leprechauns play dice in front of another. At an outdoor cafe, a knight sits with a man in a tuxedo and a woman in an aviator helmet sharing coffee and cigarettes. Another man sits alone at another table, casting furtive glances at the trio and whispering into his sleeve.

Normally, I'd hang out at the cafe and see who I'd meet, but today, I'm in need of something quick, a plot driver. Something to take back to the office where my characters are sitting around on set, complaining about their motivations. (Ugh! Characters!)

I stop at a stand painted green where a short bearded man looks up at me expectantly.

“Welcome to Macadoo McGuffin’s, sir! Please come into my humble stall and find the solution to all your plot problems!”

I thank the man and browse around the shelves and barrels. Macadoo hovers around me like a shadow, making comments of the obvious.

I look at a barrel filled with black falcon statuary.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Cooking Up Trouble - Part II

By Bettyann Moore

Many times Maggie had heard Porpoise say “They don’t call it the web for nothing,” but didn’t realize what he’d meant until now. After reading and rereading through the recipes and jotting down notes until she felt a bit more comfortable with them, she clicked on a highlighted link for Family Recipes. Then on a link for Pot Pies, which led her to the HappyGrumpyChef. As far as Maggie could tell, the HappyGrumpyChef (such a name!) was just a grandmother in Kansas who liked to cook and put up a recipe Web site. Nonetheless, Maggie spent a long time looking at the woman’s pictures and videos and reading stories about her family. Maggie had been ensnared in the World Wide Web. She didn’t surface until she heard the clomp of John’s boots on the back porch.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cooking Up Trouble - Part I

By Bettyann Moore

Porpoise McAllister was the only boy at Dailyville High who elected to take cooking class instead of auto mechanics in his junior year.

“Always knew you were a freak, McAllister,” Troy Jones, the captain of the football team scoffed.

“Gonna make tiny cakes for tea parties?” a kid in chemistry teased, miming sipping tea with his pinkie in the air.

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Porpoise always answered with a mysterious smile.

The fact of the matter was that there wasn’t much more for Porpoise to learn about vehicle maintenance. He’d been taking apart cars, tractors, mowers and combines on the family farm since he was big enough to hold a wrench – and putting them back together again. When he wasn’t working on the farm, he was working on the things that kept the farm working. The thought of spending part of his time at school doing the same held no thrall. Cooking, though, that was different.

Friday, March 7, 2014

City of Wonders

Photo by By lafleur, via Wikimedia Commons

My name is Michca, and I live in a city of wonders. I live in a flat on the highest floor of my building. It looks down on the mansions, ski lodges, and expensive shops across the river. Some days, I watch the little people ski down the mountains right to the edge of town, and dream that I am a queen surveying my subjects. To either side, identical flats in identical blocks to my own form a kind of castle wall. I wonder sometimes if in the hundreds of families lucky enough to have a view like mine, if there is a girl that thinks she is a queen too.

My cousin came to stay with his worn suitcase and old person’s clothes, reeking of animals and diesel. I wondered if we could find him something else to wear before we went out to meet my friends. He almost looks Roma, his clothes are so worn. The Roma pick through rags and live like peasants. The city makes them live away from us, which is good, because otherwise they would steal from us all the time. Every year, the Americans and British come to give them food and toys at Christmas. Why, I do not know.

We have fine Western clothes, with the names and logos of many American sports teams. My cousin looks like he is from the country, but I look like I could have just come from New York City, or been in a hip-hop music video. Someday I will be a famous model in the magazines and I will live on the other side of the city. My cousin will never be this; he will always be a pig farmer.