This is February’s monthly watercolor submission.
She was watching the white rabbit carrying a satchel. Being curious, Alice Liddell followed the hare into the garden.
“Why are you running?” she asked.
“I’m very late. No time to talk.”
“You can speak!”
“No I can’t, I’m late.”
“Where are you going?”
“To the Red Queen’s. It’s her birthday. I’m to bring her a gift!”
“I’d love to meet her.”
The rabbit slipped into a hole, leaving behind his satchel. Alice picked it up and looking inside, found a pair of ruby slippers. “I could wear them till the rabbit returns,” she said, slipping them on and excitedly clicking her heels together.
Suddenly, Alice slipped into confusion. Once she could think straight, she found herself sitting along a brightly painted cobblestone road, “I don’t think this is Oxford anymore.”
Still slightly stunned, a very small man approached her and she asked, “Who are you?”
“Welcome to Munchkinland. I represent the Lollipop Guild and I see you’ve brought Dorothy’s ruby slippers with you. Miss Gale will be so happy.”
“Found a badly thrashed Nikon CoolPix L31 camera hanging on a tree branch while driving in the desert south and west of the Hungry Valley Rez. It has a slightly bent and mangled micro SD chip and I’m doing my best to salvage whatever might be on it. Fingers crossed. More to follow…” – from my Facebook timeline.
As I drove over the hill from the house, I turned left onto the muddy road leading into the high desert that skirts the Indian reservation. Having recently snowed, I was having a time trying to climb a steep hillside as my tires refused to gain traction and I kept sliding backwards.
That’s when I saw it – a small silver and black object hanging from a tree branch. It turned out to be a small pocket camera.
“That’s odd,” I thought as I got out of my truck to investigate.
Ever the cautious one, I examined it outwardly for possible booby-traps. Seeing that it wasn’t attached to any trip-wires and that the branch it was hanging on wasn’t set up to deliver a ‘spiked surprise,’ I removed it from the tree.
It became clear that it had been in the desert for sometime (2014, if photo’s recovered are any indication) and that it would take a miracle to get the piece of electronics to work again. That being said, I brought it home and packed it in a plastic container filled with white rice, hoping to dry it out (which, for me, has never worked.)
After 24-hours and a pair of new batteries, the camera did failed to come on, however I found a memory card. Looking the card over, it appeared folded in half at one time and there was a fracture in the back-half of the thing.
With no idea whether it could be salvaged, I tucked it inside the container of rice and let it stay there for about five-hours. I would have given it a full 24-hours to dry out, but curiosity got the best of me and I gave in.
A closer examination of the card showed that the metallic strips on the front end were in good shape and I was reasonably certain I could get it to work once inserted into my computer’s port. Within a minute of inserting it, I found the card (which eventually broke in two) to be filled with photographs and videos, that I’ve transferred to my computer’s memory for the time being.
But now for the twist – while the majority of the pictures recovered are of a baby girl, her older sister, mom, dad, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandma’s and grandpa’s, some of the images are of sites in and around Crescent City, California, 20-miles from where I grew up. Simply put…mind blown.
Time now to find the people in the pictures.
Dugan dipped beneath the yellow police tape and walked through the door, “What do we have?”
“Another one and more of the same,” came the answer.
He walked towards the back of the abandoned house. Streams of bloody cast off covered the room.
Dugan squatted down as he pulled on a rubber glove. He shined a light in the victim’s eye, quickly checked behind her left ear and inspected her large right toe nail.
“Shit!” Dugan exclaimed. “He’s done practicing and has begun escalating.”
“What do you mean, Lieutenant?”
“She’s not a cybernetic, she’s for real,” he answered, “Notify Homicide.”
“Just walk a mile in his moccasins, before you abuse, criticize and accuse,” Mary T. Lathrap wrote in her 1895 poem, ‘Judge Softly.’
But looking at the seven-inch high heel on my neighbor’s boots, that shiny black patent leather, reaching mid-thigh, I thought, “I’d rather not take a single step, let alone attempt a mile.”
But, hey, if they want to spend their day as a ‘number-cruncher,’ in a suit and tie, in an office, and nights dressed as a pole-dancing drag queen – who am I to judge. To each their own, right?
As for me, I’ll stick with tennis shoes.
The Electrician’s Mate twitched involuntarily as Sailor Jerry ran more color through the lines of the drawing he’d traced on the kid’s chest. The piece had morphed over the six-hour time period since he’d dropped the ten-spot on the tattooist’s tray and took the chair.
Jerry’s art was known as being mystical and as proof, what had started out as a half-naked Hula dancing Hawaiian girl had transformed into an anchor and then a battleship. As he worked, the battleship began to list, then it slipped beneath the waters’ surface.
“So, what ship you stationed on, sailor?”
“The Arizona, sir.”
Morning time arrives, but not yet the sun, its common sense used to stay asleep a few precious minutes more than it’s human counterpart. As for him, he toggles on the computer’s power button. It now controls his being, zombie-like, graying-glow and stupefied. Best described as love-hate, his Facebook news feed beckons and he answers, knowing he’ll find his anger and disappointment tracking amid the scrolling and flashing, the blinking cursor and the bitter words of a world still mad at itself as it has been forever. Watch the cursor pulse and be mesmerized, lulled into disappearing into wasted time.
It’s fatigue, the illness complaining, but that truck! Must it run for half-an-hour every morning before hand? No! It isn’t a diesel. It’s simply loud and annoying. They have no idea as it sits idling so damned loudly that it cannot help vibrate the windows in our home. Often I daydream, a potato shoved up the tail pipe; fixed. But then I cannot control the outcome after discovery And where that would lead, nowhere good I suppose. So I deal with it in silent rage each morning as I sit, facing reality that it’s not worth the trouble of complaint.
Somehow I misplaced them, those years of youth. That time period between my teens and my thirties. They disappeared, never to return, to be enjoyed. Maybe this isn’t true, maybe it is but a feeling to have. Not even music allows for the chance to relive them. Only glimpses, a flash here, there, but nothing real. I find that I am decaying, falling ingloriously apart. There ain’t a goddamned thing I can do about it. Alchemists spend life times searching for changes, clay to gold, gold to silver, silver to dirty then dust, without understanding, we are that nightmare’s end.
Default, it’s a place my soul secretly and openly resides, yet no one notices as we’ve been trained from childhood to ignore that we find noticeably different from ourselves. Not me though, my blinder’s lost many years ago, I see those paths not taken, stepping-stones that willfully trip, the tender stream to ford, turned torrent in a shadow’s flicker. Stick in hand, I continue digging the dust of an open field building my personal trench, one stab, one poke at a time. You’d think I’d know better by now, perhaps I do know, but habits, obsessive, compulsive, drive this system.
Try not to figure all these words out, they are only fleeting, moments in a time that is passing before our very eyes. Yes, you can see it happening in the relationships of being, like social media, a platform leading to anti-social behavior. Likewise, passive aggressive actions. In reality, neither are. Words, they have definitions, but their meanings now obscured, tucked away in cute misstated phrases and paragraphs. So do not try to add meaning where you find none. Simply know that what you read today meant something totally different yesterday and they’ll mean nothing hundreds of years from now.