Monday, May 14, 2012
Lydia’s taste in men was disastrous, but when she fell in love with Smokey, an even-tempered ex (so he says) Hell’s Angel, her mother felt it was time to save Lydia from herself. Gathering family members under her ample wing, Lydia’s mother fabricated a rumor that an attractive, very pregnant blonde woman was frequently seen in Smokey’s company. The family relayed false reports to a tearful Lydia, and while it was true they lied to her, these God-fearing Irish Catholics repeated their base deceits with clear consciences because they truly felt they held Lydia’s best interests at heart.
Smokey’s insistence that her family was lying shocked the pretty, but gullible, Lydia. And while she forgave Smokey for operating a drug lab because he was saving for a down payment on a house, when he wouldn’t (or couldn’t) reveal the identity of the pregnant blonde, she ended their relationship in a flood of tears.
Smokey was angered and deeply hurt by the breakup, feelings that quickened a few months later when he discovered Lydia was engaged. According to an old adage, 'time heals all wounds’. Personally, Smokey preferred ‘all is fair in love and war’, and on the day of Lydia’s wedding, he planned to exact his revenge.
Lydia’s mother was thrilled with her future son-in-law, Jason, whose recent promotion to manager of the local Super Sudsy Car Wash was featured on the back page of the weekly neighborhood newspaper. She was so thrilled, in fact, that she included a copy of the article with the wedding invitation, and a photograph of the lovebirds wearing matching Super Sudsy baseball caps. Jason’s promotion was also mentioned in the engagement notice, along with Lydia’s scholastic achievements–she’d completed a course at the Forever Young Beauty College, which for the pretty, but lazy Lydia, was heralded as a major accomplishment.
The wedding would be held at St. Mary’s, Lydia’s mother decided, and since the church was only three blocks from her home, it seemed reasonable to forego the limousine. In fact, Lydia’s mother felt that the wedding procession could walk back to the house to partake of the buffet and refreshments she would prepare.
In due course the honey-baked ham, cake and flowers were ordered. Lydia purchased a darling, freshly drycleaned wedding dress on eBay, and Jason’s tux and shoes were rented. Everyone was prepared for the Big Day, including Smokey.
It remained a mystery as to why anyone should break into St. Mary’s and steal their entire supply of communion wafers—with the exception of one box—until after the wedding, when a few savvy guests suspected that the remaining wafers were laced with LSD. The priest was the first to partake of the tainted host, and the first to realize that something had gone terribly wrong when the declaration of consent he was reading: "Ego conjungo vos in matrimonium in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti." slipped out of the bible he was holding and spilled like black alphabet soup onto the floor. Crossing himself and mumbling incoherently, he dropped to his knees in front of Lydia and Jason, and commenced to scoop up air and pat it onto the pages. Lydia let out a giggle and glanced at Jason, then slapped her hand over her mouth to stifle the scream that welled up in her throat. When had Jason grown fangs?
Lydia backed away from her betrothed and stumbled off the step. She collapsed in the front pew next to her mother, who was staring so intently at the statue of the Virgin Mother that she failed to notice her daughter’s agitated state. Suddenly, Lydia’s mother pointed a manicured finger at the statue. “She winked at me!” she shrieked, which prompted others to add their voices to a frightened chorus that sounded strangely melodic in Lydia’s ears.
While the priest crawled about the floor gathering missing letters, Lydia’s sister stood in front of a neon-tinged confessional, sobbing and stroking the velvet drapes. Lydia’s mother and maiden aunt searched for an exit and, failing to find a door, roamed the nave together, examining and occasionally nibbling the flower arrangements. A few family members milled through the aisles, rising and sitting in a slow motion version of musical chairs. Others looked on in awe, or collapsed on the floor in gigglefits. Hands fluttered through the air like rubbery streamers, touching walls, statues, each other.
A man wearing a Ronald Reagan mask and carrying a Dukes of Hazard lunchbox walked through a side door. Lydia’s mother spied him as he slipped into the shadows. “I voted for him,” she confided to the maiden aunt, then turned her attention to a particularly tasty looking pink rose.
Lydia sat in the front pew and watched Jason and the best man—or perhaps it was two vampires—arm wrestle on the pulpit. Their wedding wasn’t meant to happen, she realized, a fact that was as clear as the bouquet of cellophane flowers lying at her feet. She sighed and kicked the flowers, and tried to recall exactly why she agreed to marry Jason. As tiny silver bells tinkled in the air above her head, it came to her like a message from God that she didn’t love Jason at all. She had simply rebounded into his arms.
“Smokey...” she whispered. As she said his name, a single tear—the sensation was clear, so crystal clear, it was almost painful—rolled down her cheek. She burst into tears and buried her face in her hands.
The figure in the Ronald Reagan mask hunched behind a column, his shoulders shaking with undisguised mirth as he set the lunchbox on the polished wood floor. Moving quickly, he snapped open the lid and carefully peeled back the lid. He removed one of the several paintballs nestled inside, hefted the wobbly weapon in one hand and peered around the column, fully intending to take aim at the soon-to-be-blushing-red bride. But then the masked figure hesitated. Had Lydia said his name?
Smokey slumped against a wall and peeled the Ronald Reagan mask from his face. Winning back the fair Lydia had not figured in his plans, but when he saw the weeping Lydia, his heart softened. And when the priest crawled past his hiding place, thoughts of revenge were replaced with a considerably more rewarding plan. But did he dare? “Hell, yeah!” he muttered, and slapped the Ronald Reagan mask over his face again.
Smokey walked over and knelt before Lydia. Taking a deep breath, he cupped her hands in his. “It’s Smokey,” he said in a shaky voice. “Will you marry me?”
“I didn’t know you were that old,” wailed the wide-eyed Lydia.
Removing the mask, Smokey repeated the question, to which Lydia said, “Okay, but I better tell Jason I can’t marry him. Vampires give me the creeps.”
“You can tell him later,” Smokey said. He pointed down the aisles. “He’s busy playing musical chairs.”
Lydia and Smokey were married that day, and although no one recalled the ceremony, several people swore Ronald Reagan had made an appearance. “There’s no mistaking that black hair,” Lydia’s mother said, and Smokey agreed. And with Ronald Reagan for an uncle—well, so he said—no one dared question Smokey again.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
FITTING IN aka Fashion Victim
Snow drifted into the alleyway where Felicia’s latest victim lay, dusting the cool skin a delicate white. Wiping the blood from her lips, Felicia emerged from the shadows and walked across the street to where Josef leaned against a shop window waiting. Snow clung to his baggy jeans cropped just below the knee. Snow speckled his black socks. Snow all but covered the tan construction boots he was wearing. Felicia frowned at his bare shins as she approached.
“Where did you get those clothes?” She asked. “Aren’t you cold?”
Josef sighed and brushed the snow from his jeans. “Of course I’m cold. You’re cold. We’re dead, remember?”
“That’s not what I mean and you know it. It’s those pants. You look ridiculous.”
Josef bent his knees in a graceful demi plie. As he rose, his right hand fluttered onto his hip. “And what is wrong with this look?”
Felicia rolled her eyes. “Chill with the drama queen routine. You left the Bolshoi years ago.”
“Ah yes, the ballet. I was to be the premier danseur…” A luminescent arm arced through the air until Felicia’s withering stare brought it down. Josef shrugged. “But then I died.”
“Spare me the image of you in a codpiece. Seeing you in that tutu was bad enough,” Felicia’s gaze fell on Josef’s attire, “although it does explain your peculiar fashion sense.”
“How dare you mock me!” Josef launched himself down the sidewalk several paces, then twirled around and daintily pointed a construction boot forward. “I have designed haute couture—”
“Oh right,” Felicia smiled, baring rouged fangs, “for le Maison Impossible, wasn’t it? Hey, didn’t you create a saucy number for Madonna? Now there’s a woman who could wear a codpiece.”
“Bitch fledgling! You have no idea how wearying immortality is.” Josef hitched up his pants and grimaced as they slid back onto his hips the moment he released them. “Pah! Do you think I enjoy dressing like this, you, who hasn’t seen the turn of a single century? Wait a hundred years or so, see how you feel then, dressing like a teenager.”
“Why can’t you like just dress a man,” Felicia offered, “well, like an adult anyway?”
“Stop making make fun of—“
“I’m being serious for once, I mean, does it really matter what people think?”
Felicia linked her arm with Josef’s and gave it a gentle tug. Then let’s get you into some decent clothes, okay?
Josef cast her an uncertain smile.
“Okay…but first, I need someone to drink.”
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Today, I'm focusing on the area in the photo below, so you can expect to see this section coming into focus tomorrow.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Today feels like 'Ground Zero', although today the slate is wiped clean in a different way, and I imagine I'm a part of the majority in this country (and likely around the world), as we put our lives on hold to watch history in the making; the heady phenomenon of the Obama inauguration.
And so I continue to paint...as I listen and watch events unfold on this amazing, auspicious day.