Rainy day Returns

It has been a very long time since I sat staring out the coffee shop window.
The last time it had been a rainy day just like today. A full blown gully washer that causes the culverts to back up.
On a day like today everything definitely floats down there…

The sky is just one solid sheet of Paynes grey. No white clouds to mark a boundary between the blue above.

Just me and the rain going about or days unchanged.

“I’ve been here before. Sitting in this same room, staring at these same four walls, relaxing into this same old chair.”

The Watcher smiled. It had been a very long time indeed.

Wednesday of the fifth month, the one hundredth forty-second day, year two thousand nineteen a.d. of the Book of Pat

The traveller gazed up at the midday sky. Overhead two blazing suns burned down to earth. This was the first time he had ever seen such an event in his lengthy lifetime. For the traveller to acknowledge that fact was a scary thing. He had thought he’d seen it all. Now here he was stranded in a reality of time that quite honestly looked to be the end for his career and the rest of creation.

The only intelligent voice in his head was uttering the word fuck, fuck, fuck. At the moment all the other voices seemed in agreement.

Fuck.

After an eternity of quietly contemplating the situation one of the voices pointed out that as the earth rotated only the larger of the two orbs seemed to move in the arc. The other seemed to become more of an oddly formed orb which reflected more than it seemed to be burning. A few other voices began to chime in with agreement, and after a lengthy discussion it was agreed that fact was true.

“So we’re good then?”asked the traveller.

“No.”said the leading authoritative voice. “It’s probably a massive meteoroid. Even the fact that there still isn’t a visible smoke trail may mean it’s further above the stratosphere than it looks. We are screwed.”

The sound of sneakers running away on smooth concrete and then the loud slamming of a metal door was what Pat heard first.

It was a familiar but funny sound to hear over the speaker system. It reminded him of his high school days and the loud racket one could hear over the public announcement system will the principal was going over the days events. Those were the glory years for sure.

On this occasion though, Pat was a good twenty years older, and working in a tower miles away from the originator of the sound. As a joke Pat was buzzed up on the speaker. A familiar voice on the other end began a rant that unless privy to the joke itself would sound very offensive to the receiving party. The joke would have been hilarious to Pat, but as fate often intervenes it was not Pat that first answered the call… It was Pat’s boss

After a three sentence rant of blasphemy and expletives Pat’s boss began shouting expletives back and yelling “Who is this!” back over the speaker.

The only reply was “If you don’t know mother-fucker”, and the sounds of tennis shoes running on concrete right before the slamming of a door.

Pat tried not to laugh. He knew that the anger would soon enough be turned towards him.

“Do you know who that asshole was?” the boss asked.

With the straightest face Pat could muster, “No sir. I’ve never heard that voice before.”

Alice slowly slide through the small sized opening. At first what she thought to be only a thin gap she had discovered to be a hinged door. With a little coaxing the portal could easily be made to open out wider.

Alice thought how odd to have a door hidden inside a tree. Even odder was the fact she knew it couldn’t have been there before. The door opened into an immense room with vaulted ceilings that the tree she had sheltered in could not have held.

Cautiously Alice looked out into the room. Fully aware of the funny old man that even at this moment was busy wolfing down strawberry treats and having some sort of discussion with the thin air about him. Perhaps if she kept in the shadows and used the massive stacks of books between the two of them as cover the old man wouldn’t realize she was in the room. By the way the food was being consumed Alice knew speed was going to be of the utter most importance.

The doorman was partially surprised. It wasn’t a frequent thing to see the sage away from his writing. It was even less frequent that the sage would share a tasty strawberry glazed donut. Later the gatekeeper would blame those events and the sudden sugar rush as the reason he was surprised for a third time.

Even as Alice stretched out into the room she realized something wasn’t right. Where shelves of books and piles of scrolls should have been there was suddenly nothing.

Nothing was actually not quite right. There was a brilliant white, a worn mat, and a strangely uniformed man eating a pink colored pastry that at the moment was shedding rainbow colored sprinkles about the area.

Both Alice and the doorman stared blankly at each other. Neither seemed to know exactly what to do at that moment.

Alice was the first to take action. In a dead run Alice leaped past the uniformed man and on into the doorway behind him.

As quickly as she had come the trespasser disappeared into the next. In all his lifetime the gatekeeper never had this happen to him. He was pretty positive the Author would already know. What that meant wouldn’t become clear for a great while.

“Oh well”, he thought.

The gatekeeper scarffed down the last of his donut. There was going to be a long wait until the next one…

Someday Often Comes To Late

The dreamer dreams in lingering thought of reality unending and stories yet untold. Painted visions of peopled cities of different make that rise and fall like the breath in sleep.

Here there is no ticking clock to arouse the slumbering Buddha. No changing season to cast alarm to those senses that watch the sky for rain.

The dreamer dreams of reality unending, and of stories yet untold…

Pat watched the passing traffic. All the drivers going by shared the same emotionless blank face and self absorbed gaze. It didn’t take a detective to see their minds were distracted by secret thoughts of what they wish to do to the other assholes driving. Occasionally one would act upon that emotion and swerve into another lane. A succession of honks and horns would immediately erupt from the offended then the offender. There was nothing entertaining about watching it.

Across the street a mother and daughter were just exiting a white SUV. The child looked to be six years of age, very short, and very thin. The mother was only two feet taller, slim waisted, with a half starved but fit build of a runner. The black yoga pants she wore left little for the imagination to guess at. Perhaps she was in her early thirties. Nowadays it was becoming more difficult to guess a woman’s age. Even the daughter, depending on the size of the father could have been twelve years old and malnourished.

Here too was nothing of interest to the watcher. Maybe if the woman had red hair or was a large busted blonde Pat would have given her a much more intensive observation. Instead his attention went more to the little girl and what was held tight in her left hand.

A long slender ribbon tethered a bright red balloon to her. Recently bought or gifted the elastic shine of it’s red bobbed back and forth under the tension of her pull. The nearness of the slow moving traffic sent it eddying this way and that above the girls head.

Pat watched as the two figures disappeared into a resale shop. The red balloon bobbing even as it faded from view in the store.

A silent prediction was made that upon returning the red balloon would be absent, and the little girl’s mother would be dragging her by that very same hand. The pleasant expression upon their exiting the white SUV would be gone as well…

A dark cloud lurked upon the distant horizon. It looked like more than just a small rain shower on the way. A stiff breeze blew past. The storm was going to be strong enough to carry a mix of dust and leaves with it.

The traveller looked impatiently over her shoulder then back to the approaching storm. The sun was already a soft rose colored orb drifting down behind the tree line. It looked to be a cold damp night with still more distance to make before she would feel comfortable enough to seek shelter.

The look of the path ahead was of one well tended and high trafficed. The chosen route would be an easy one to travel. Still the uncertainty of the present and her purpose here was an annoyance. It had been to many times that the traveller had been caught in the open that they would ever allow it to happen again.

“They”, she repeated out loud. The host was still attempting to override the situation she now existed in. This insanity had the tainted smell of witchcraft. Whatever daemons had possessed her during the night and coaxed her sleeping body into this unplanned pilgrimage was not going to continue without fighting it the whole way. At the moment she had to admit to the sensation of being thoroughly screwed and a bit out of control. The voices inside her brain, and constant hallucinations overlaying the real world were enough for now to keep her following the path “They” had chosen.

They continued further into the wildering darkness. Like the insanity of voices, and the deepening night, the enveloping woods soon swallowed her up from the world she once new.

Pat watched as the sun slowly sank behind the grey clouds of rain. Even now the rosey reds and brilliant rays of gold were becoming muted by the storm.

The once invisible homeless became active moving about. They shuffled by with cardboard tucked awkwardly beneath the arm, strips of plastic or confiscated garbage liners clinched tightly against the blowing wind.

Pat could see the same lines in their faces and hands as his; The same age worn stains upon clothes, tired odd sized boots and shoes worn brown with neglect.

“How many times has it been?”, the voices asked.

As if in reply one green eyed transient looked nervously back over his shoulder.

“To often” came the reply blown upon the wind.

The twenty-ninth day of the year twenty nineteen anno Dominiā€¦

The traveller was very fond of old memories, strawberry shortcake, doughnuts, and the ancient writer who maintained the stories. He found that no matter the time or day those four things could always bring a smile to warm the heart.

Sad fact of the travellers reality, one couldn’t always get strawberries for the cake or hot glazed donuts. So whenever the opportunity to get them the traveller would. It was one of the few things he always looked forward to. Sometimes the traveller had to look back to find them and on those occasions having the love of old memories came in handy. And with those three bound together one could easily understand why the old bearded sage made the list.

“With great humor I laughed even as I write this.”, the sage commented. Something as time progressively circles about, you may notice often happens by him, third person or not. We both laugh a second time together at that confusing thought.

The traveller in all the forms and personalities knew one thing to be true. The sage knew, knows, and will have known so when you write the list, there really is no trouble placing yourself onto it.

“Why I’m fourth on my own list I can’t explain”, thought the sage. “Perhaps it’s because I too cheerish the other three.”

And with that thought bubble explored the sage went back to his writing. (It should be noted that a scribbled message in the border for a request for hot donuts was later found by the author and editor. Something for another story line.)

In another reality information posted on how the traveller graded the present occupied time by the HOT DONUTS sign flashing at a nearby Krispy Kreme. Only the best realities had them, and damn the world if fresh hot glazed donuts didn’t exist yet.

(Here again the author and editor can’t decide if it is truly the traveller or the sage craving said donuts. Something that will be discussed at the next panel meeting.)

Carrying on…

The traveller woke just past midnight. The cold flow of heat leaving his body creating a soft steaming mist. Where ever he was it wasn’t summer. Even worse than the cold, the fact of being completely nude and laid out on a stone slab brought a horrific terror to his groggy mind.

At a young age there were many Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft books read beneath the bed covers with flashlight in hand, then retold by fire light long into the night. Stories filled with dark shapes, beautiful women, and often daring hero’s intrepidly in search of unknown truth. Only rarely did the physical strength ever overcome the unseen evil, when it had it came with a bitter victory.

Happily there too was the great novels of King Arthur, the Holy Grail, Robinhood, Ivanhoe written down by Walter Scott and others. Valiant crusades of justice, good vs evil, light over darkness. Always follow the code of conduct to succeed. Even if you die without victory, those deeds done would bring certain honor to those left behind. Symbols of perfection, and an example for them to follow…

There was Gilgamesh, the Tolkien stories, C. S. Lewis, and the classic mead hall poetry of Beowulf too fill in any gaps. Even the wonderful writings of Alice had there time being absorbed during those earlier years.

Guides and guidance for a future that was yet to be.

The greatest book was T. H. White, The Once and Future King. In it the secrets of time and politics could be unlocked, even understood. Once those pieces feel in place, how large creation could become.

Of course nothing ever happened back then. Childhood dreams of dragons and knights; Kingdoms of elven druids, secret paths unlocked by magic balls and slithering snakes.

Not until the day at the coffee shop.

And being laid out naked flat on ones back upon a wet slab of rock was as far from any coffee shop or glazed donut a being could ever find themselves.

Of all his learned knowledge, poetic stories, and trained responses to unexpected tribulations, the only thought to find it’s way out from the clutter was… “Fuck.”

Hot glazed donuts with strawberry sprinkles dipped in jam thought the Sage. I will definitely hold out for the sprinkles and jam at the next juncture. Surely they will see how the sugar would keep my eyes from wandering as do my thoughts.

Surely.

The 91st day, 19th Year, 21st century, 3rd millennium…

Still alive; I often wonder how. It’s been a very long time since that first coffee at the corner cafe. I still remember the cappuccino double- shot, and the rush that followed. The world was electric and I saw the neon signs light up my path.

The problem with electricity is eventually insulation wears thin, circuits overload, and either a breaker pops or wiring burns. Reckless, the odds were never in my favor.

A brilliant mind once wrote that as I Time. That line of thought took an individual as a single observer at a fixed point in an endless line. He was close. Time as a unit of measure, as a distance between two unknowns, a thing without a constant… Compressed into words on a page.

Everything is related, especially believing in the wrong answer. That’s the most important thing. Believe and you can live forever. Doubt and you will anyhow. You are the question mark, not me, not them, and not time.

I woke up this morning with a splitting headache; Bloodshot eyes with blurred vision, capped off by a dry cough. The familiar joint pain was missing. It would come back soon enough. Like a missing limb my suffering from torn and dislocated ligaments was a ghost pain carried over from a previous point.

I’d travelled again. Must have died suddenly and without seeing it coming. That shit happened on occasion. No matter how long you travel some things still catch you off guard. At least we didn’t suffer. Suffering sucks even if you know it has an ending.

As I laid there the slow movement of a ceiling fan cast a flickering shadow across the ceiling. Three walls were in my range of vision. There square angles joining in uniformed lines. There were doors on two of the walls. One door an obvious wider cut than the other, but both of the same height. One window was on the third visible wall. It was shuttered tightly against the outside. Still cracks of daylight filtered in bringing with it flashes of movement, rhythmic back and forth in a fixed position. Traces of green carried in as well with a soft sounds of a breeze.

I was glad that there are plants here. I was also glad for a closed room quiet and undisturbed.

The fourth wall I could sense without looking. The soft downward movement from the fan above blowing much stronger at my back. The cool force of the walls nearness reassuring enough to ignore for the moment.

I imagine that a picture or painting there. No sound of a muffling tapestry or curtain. Crazy the things you learn to listen for.

The absence of cobwebs or animal dander in the rest of the room even more reassuring.

The bed I awoke in was unscented. The pillow beneath my head and lain tightly stuffed beside my arms were covered in a solid gray-blue pillowcase. These too lacked any smell or staining from use. By the amount of room I felt, a definite queen size bed. A pillow top liner, simi-firm. The temptations of closing my eyes and going back to a dream filled world overwhelm. Everything has a purpose, a reason, a connection even if you can’t see it.

We apparently are male, single, or at least recently so for a period long enough to remove the essence of the more pleasant sex. As a male we are clean, moderately organized with the routine of doing laundry.

Even the absence of dust spoke of organization, maybe even a means of income to support the payment of a maid. Something in the feel of the room told me no to the maid, no to a mother figure, no to any outside influence.

It was always important to understand things without relying on a host’s memories. Memories lie, sometimes tainted by previous lives experienced elsewhere, or even falsely placed by the pressures of others.

Never trust a memory. They are just the dreams of another world. I know.

Regret is the daughter of hesitation.

We fumbled around the bed and found a familiar metal and glass instrument. Another luxury of a distant world, technology of a smartphone.

A quick check of the alarm and calendar I am surprised to find the host on his off days. Nothing scheduled, no anniversary or birthday, no bill due, not even a note to perform some task or hobby.

“What the hell,” we said. “Time for another nap.”

And so it is.

The Start of Day

There are days when you know it would be better to stay in bed, roll over, and spend the next twenty-four hours pretending to be dead to the world.

Today was one of those. If not for the need to urinate every few hours the sage would have liked very much to have stayed in bed and taken the day off.

The early morning hours were spent preparing for what always turned into a marathon day of writing, blogging, scribbling, note taking, and the occasional tweet hashtag used to prompt later memories back into the forefront of consciousness.

This new age of simplicity seemed so troublesome and bulky to the sage. ” It was a new age of multitasking than one of intellectual freedom or growth,” said the sage out loud.

“So says you”, croaked out a small voice.

Half ignoring the interruption the sage continued on with the mornings chore of gathering and sharpening his pencils, cleaning and reshaping the quill, topping off the ink well, replacing the blotter or reusing some older one, and the restacking of parchment and tablets into a more tidied pile.

To the old man these forms of creation had a more artistic beauty to them. A flow of skill in the shaping and shape of each word and line. Such a wonderful talent as any sculpture or painting could ever be. The sage didn’t quite put the same skill or label of craftsmanship to this age of spell check and font choices.

“Only an illusion”, said the small croaking voice, and as quietly as it came was gone.

“Good riddance”, shouted the sage. Hoping the loudness of his voice would follow the unwelcome visitor back to where it had originated, he new better. “Illusion and allusions, mixed metaphors without pretext, trouble me no more.”

And with that the sage lit his stove, heated up the water, and began to prepared his morning pot of coffee.

“Today I think there will be a touch of Irish to it”

And another day began.