Category Archives: drama

A Day In Provence (French Chronicles) by Matt Carlson

Jie Jie Sola-Binna sat at her desk, in her illegally built wooden house in the countryside outside the village of Cou-Poux (neck poop) where she lived. She had had it built by her son Tony and his friends, from the left over monies of her dead husband Jackie. It was a modest house, but well put together mostly, though the tin roof made it insufferable during the summer months. She wrung her big old hands together while staring at her computer screen, the arthritis taking a toll on her hands the more she aged. She was close to 70 years old now and had on occasion thoughts of death. She knew that that day was coming and she wondered about her existence, had she lived a life worth living? Hell, no! Of course not. The fact that she hadn’t already killed herself or one of her two children when they were young had always amazed her. Now, of course, she was glad that she hadn’t, she loved her grand kids who lived next store, or at least the youngest one who still lived there. It gave her something to do, something to ease the pain of her own painful thoughts. Life had seemed like that: just a series of painful memories or realities in progress. She alone knew that she suffered from BPD (borderline personality disorder) but she had pretty much control of that today – or so she thought. Nothing was perfect or forever.

 
To her,  her whole life seemed like something that should never have been. I mean, her own Mother hadn’t even wanted her, so she grew up living with her grandmother, and a private Catholic school, always feeling a sense of being abandoned, of not being worthy of love. So she never really learned how to love, or to show it. No one had shown her! What could you expect? You can’t wring blood out of a stone, she thought. Later on, she pushed away the feelings that she had for other girls. It was considered wrong to love other girls like herself, and yet the other girls liked her for her masculine side and look. She was a bit comforting, until you got to know her. She’d always kept her hair short, never wore make up and just wasn’t like any of them. She wasn’t feminine at all. But took up the role, the only one this world had offered up to her: a woman. Then she got married to a man she didn’t love, had his children, worked as his secretary and then when he died, she was relieved. He played the guitare alright, was a good provider, drank himself to sleep every night over a bottle of wine, had an erection whenever it was necessary and then ka-poot! He died. And in any case, he hardly ever spoke, for God’s sake, so conversation sucked big time. He spent most of his energy working with his hands or on graphic projects; he’d been a graphic artist. Still today people didn’t know exactly what that meant. To Jie Jie, they had carved out a decent life together, but a modest one. She still wondered about her missed out life as a lesbian. and at least now, if there weren’t any conversations, it wasn’t due to the fact that you had nothing to share with your significant other.
 
Jie Jie wasn’t a happy woman, she never would be and had decided that she could live on, knowing that. She loved her kids now, her grandkids too, tolerated her daughter-in-law Dee-Nuh, and still managed to maintain a friend or two, or three. Her sons, Tony and Bertrand were good kids, though they too had their demons. The oldest was very technical and good with electronics, trying these days to make some extra money in landscaping , cutting trees and such. He was a bit slow in the matter of understanding relationships and so on, but so was Jie Jie, so was Bertrand. They together had no love, but they had blood. For the three of them, it was the same, they had never leanred about love, so didn’t know how to show it, to express it. All too stressful that. It was easier to talk about mundane things, or things outside of oneself, like culture, or  work, the house. Anything too personal was avoided. Love would remain an intellectual concept far from their realities.
 
The youngest was the gay of the family, artistic (well they both were) and was attempting to work as a hypnotic-therapist. Well, at least he had been. He wasn’t able to do anything anymore. She thought of Bertrand’s ex boy friend and how much she hated him. That whole relationship had been a mistake, she thought. But in reality, it was mostly because the ex in question totally had had her number and would have nothing to do with her. She hadn’t been able to manipulate him the way she had the boyfriend before. And now her poor Bertrand was still a mess (three years practically) after the break up. She remembered that day when HE (the ex boy friend) had come over to her house, without calling and run off with Fee-Fee and Fantabulous, the two Yorkshires that she’d been baby sitting together with Bertand for five months (Bertrand was recovering from his back “ ak-si-dent” she would say). True, her and Bertrand had kept them initially temporarily (the boyfriend was working in England) but then, when her Bertand had had that back “ ak-si-dent”  (again due to the ex!) well, she just didn’t want her little precious boy to suffer anymore. The dogs had to stay! That she had lied to the Gendamerie about everything didn’t faze her. That she had said he had broken into her house, while they were bother there didn’t faze her either, that she had said he had attacked her either…didn’t faze her. It was all about the result, not what you did to get what you wanted….And of course he hadn’t hit her physically, it was the emotional cost that he had put upon her that she would make him pay for! And in reality, it wasn’t about her son, it was about her ego and the abandoned feelings that he had brought back – the ex had revived all that by breaking up with her son and then the gall of running off with Fee-Fee and Fantabulous! Those dogs, yes, she had really loved them! 
 
She would make him pay, “Elledgmother-fucker-cock-sucker-in-hell-bastard-theive-hateful-hateful-hateful-black-hearted-son-of-a-bitch,” her rampage began and ended before she realized she was still at her desk, with her painful hands irating alone there…
“Oh, I think I’ll make some tea,” she sighed.  The BPD had roared its ugly head yet again; the sleeper has awakened.
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The Father Ghost of Jane Snitly by Matt Carlson

She had never really considered it. It was something that she’d just decided to do. One day Jane Snitly bought the auburn hair coloring treatment, went home, read the instructions on the box, locked herself up in the bathroom and one hour later it was done. She’d become a redhead at twenty.

On top of it all, she looked good as a redhead. It wasn’t the flashy bright red of some, but more classy, like Katherine Hepburn in the 50’s and 60’s. And so it was, she’d chosen this look seemingly out of the blue – thinking it gave her an aura of the beautiful actress. And yet, even while she looked at herself in the mirror, she couldn’t ignore the pressing images that assaulted her there…

It was a gorgeous Buick of light blue sitting outside on the street under the front yard maple tree  – to keep under the shade. It was a hot summer day in the valley. There’d been a woman sitting in the passenger seat. She was very pretty, quite well dressed and she’d come with her Dad who was now in the house. He was having a conversation with Jane and Jenny’s Mother. The two little blond girls were 9 and 12, Jane was the youngest; Jenny the oldest. The two little girls were intrigued with the woman but didn’t dare speak to her. They’d been playing jacks in the driveway.

Blue curling up smoke from the woman’s cigarette went into the tree itself – seemingly dancing with the leaves – and Jane wondered who she was: this silent friend of her Father’s. Jenny felt it too and the girls left long lingering looks in her direction while halfheartedly spinning and catching. Voices were suddenly raised within the house and Jane and Jenny knew what that meant: another argument between their Mother and Father. They’d known something was up as their Father had ordered them to ‘stay outside and play’ upon his arrival and that he’d ‘wanted to speak to their Mother alone.’ Hearing those words had created a stir in their young bellies, but they had no clue as to why.

The wailing coming from within was low at first: a kind of moaning. Was that human? They both wondered while looking simultaneously at the house where their Father was now exiting. He didn’t say anything to them except that he loved them and would talk to them soon.

Jenny being older asked,”Daddy, where are you going? Why is Mamma crying like that?” She asked while chewing on her fingernail. Her Father stopped and seemed to reconsider something. The woman in the car was watching intently.

“Honey, Daddy is going to go and live somewhere else for a while…. but I’ll come back soon and we’ll do something fun, okay?” This was a lie, of course yet he wanted to give them a warm fuzzy of some kind. A lie was better than nothing. And perhaps he’d made himself believe that his words were true. Jenny didn’t say anything and he got into the car and started up the engine.

The wailing from within the house went up a notch and Jane suddenly found herself standing in front of the running engine, standing in front of the car where her Father sat with a strange & beautiful woman. Jane knew what it all meant. He was leaving. Leaving their Mother; leaving them. Leaving with the woman with auburn hair. Her Father stepped out of the car and asked, “What is it Janie?” But a paralysis overtook the little girl and no words would come. “Honey?… Okay, I’ve gotta go now sweetie – move out of the way.” And just like that she did what was asked of her. Her Father drove away. The woman gave her a sad smile and a slight wave of a manicured hand.

“Don’t go Daddy,” she whispered as the car drove out of sight. She’d forgotten to breath for a moment and felt slightly dizzy. Jenny had run inside to see her Mother. Janie stood there for a long time. Watching, waiting, trying to figure out what had just happened. Her tears and the low moaning were suddenly hers. Her Father had left her. Had left her Mom and sister. Only a Father Ghost would remain now….

**** Explanatory Note:

Almost sixty years later, Jane Snitly (her name has been changed to protect her identity) would die of Emphysema at the age of 68. According to a certain psychiatrist, she chose this hair color because unconsciously she chose to be the woman that her Father left with. That means she wanted to be the woman he chose to be with. (To be the woman that her Father loved). At the same time, she also chose to be the Mother that her Father left. The woman scorned and angry. Probably too,  that both of these identities  co-existed subconsciously within.

That being the case,  the two inner personalities or roles were at constant battle with one another; that the Mistress hated the Mother and that the Mother within hated the Mistress…The Father reassures and helps in developing a sense of identity to children in a family. When a Father abandons his children or is absent, the child will constantly search out that Father image – an image that he or she needs in order to construct their identity. The child (and later on adult) will do this subconsciously, of course and unknowingly will set up repetitive failures with people, people that the unconscious mind will perceive as a potential Father image. This is called the Father Ghost. Many of us have a Father Ghost, though we don’t realize it. He hoovers there constantly and is played out within the people around us, especially family members or other potential father-type images. Because it failed with their own father’s, and is an unconscious functioning, it will fail time and time again. No matter if you are a perfect Father figure, the scorned child will find fault with you somehow. Until the child becomes consciously aware of what is happening (and learns to make a conscious effort to change) he or she will continue to destroy potential Father figures. It is something imprinted within and a vicious circle…Some people will find other ways of creating identity with the pathology of the Father Ghost haunting them. Some will choose to work in psychology, health services and even religion…Anything that will give them a strong sense of belonging and reassurance…

*** ‘A noted sociologist, Dr. David Popenoe, is one of the pioneers of the relatively young field of research into fathers and fatherhood. “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home,” he says. “Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.”  Fathers have a direct impact on the well-being of their children. It is important for professionals working with fathers— especially in the difficult, emotionally charged arena in which child protective services (CPS) caseworkers operate—to have a working understanding of the literature that addresses this impact.

Such knowledge will help make the case for why the most effective CPS case plans will involve fathers. This chapter lays out the connection between fathers and child outcomes, including cognitive ability, educational achievement, psychological well-being, and social behavior. The chapter also underscores the impact of the father and mother’s relationship on the well-being of their children….

THE IMPACT OF THE MOTHER-FATHER RELATIONSHIP ON CHILD OUTCOMES One of the most important influences a father can have on his child is indirect—fathers influence their children in large part through the quality of their relationship with the mother of their children. A father who has a good relationship with the mother of their children is more likely to be involved and to spend time with their children and to have children who are psychologically and emotionally healthier. Similarly, a mother who feels affirmed by her children’s father and who enjoys the benefits of a happy relationship is more likely to be a better mother. Indeed, the quality of the relationship affects the parenting behavior of both parents. They are more responsive, affectionate, and confident with their infants; more self-controlled in dealing with defiant toddlers; and better confidants for teenagers seeking advice and emotional support. One of the most important benefits of a positive relationship between mother and father, and a benefit directly related to the objectives of the CPS caseworker, is the behavior it models for children.

Fathers who treat the mothers of their children with respect and deal with conflict within the relationship in an adult and appropriate manner are more likely to have boys who understand how they are to treat women and who The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children are less likely to act in an aggressive fashion toward females. Girls with involved, respectful fathers see how they should expect men to treat them and are less likely to become involved in violent or unhealthy relationships. In contrast, research has shown that husbands who display anger, show contempt for, or who stonewall their wives (i.e., “the silent treatment”) are more likely to have children who are anxious, withdrawn, or antisocial.

THE IMPACT OF FATHERS ON COGNITIVE ABILITY AND EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. A number of studies suggest that fathers who are involved, nurturing, and playful with their infants have children with higher IQ’s, as well as better linguistic and cognitive capacities.Toddlers with involved fathers go on to start school with higher levels of academic readiness. They are more patient and can handle the stresses and frustrations associated with schooling more readily than children with less involved fathers.

The influence of a father’s involvement on academic achievement extends into adolescence and young adulthood. Numerous studies find that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement among adolescents. For instance, a 2001 U.S. Department of Education study found that highly involved biological fathers had children who were 43 percent more likely than other children to earn mostly As and 33 percent less likely than other children to repeat a grade.

THE IMPACT OF FATHERS ON PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOR Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers. These children also are less likely to get in trouble at home, school, or in the neighborhood.13 Infants who receive high levels of affection from their fathers (e.g., babies whose fathers respond quickly to their cries and who The Link Between Marriage and Fatherhood Caring, involved fathers exist outside of marriage. They are more likely, however, to be found in the context of marriage. There are numerous reasons for this, not the least of which being the legal and social norms associated with marriage that connect a father to the family unit. That may also explain, in part, why research consistently shows that the married mother-and-father family is a better environment for raising children than the cohabitating (living together) mother-and-father family.

It is interesting to note that, contrary to stereotypes about low-income, unmarried parents, a significant majority—more than 8 in 10—of urban, low-income fathers and mothers are in a romantic relationship when their children are born.

Most of these couples expect that they will get married. One study found that more than 80 percent expected they would get married or live together. However, only 11 percent of these couples had actually married a year later.

Why they do not marry is an interesting question open to conjecture. However, as Dr. Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has pointed out, it may be because these couples receive very little encouragement to marry from the health and social services professionals with whom they come in contact.

Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Well-being play together) are more securely attached; that is, they can explore their environment comfortably when a parent is nearby and can readily accept comfort from their parent after a brief separation. A number of studies suggest they also are more sociable and popular with other children throughout early childhood.

The way fathers play with their children also has an important impact on a child’s emotional and social development. Fathers spend a much higher percentage of their one-on-one interaction with infants and preschoolers in stimulating, playful activity than do mothers. From these interactions, children learn how to regulate their feelings and behavior. Roughhousing with dad, for example, can teach children how to deal with aggressive impulses and physical contact without losing control of their emotions.19 Generally speaking, fathers also tend to promote independence and an orientation to the outside world. Fathers often push achievement while mothers stress nurturing, both of which are important to healthy development. As a result, children who grow up with involved fathers are more comfortable exploring the world around them and more likely to exhibit self control and pro-social behavior.

One study of school-aged children found that children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie and were more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior. This same study found that boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems and that girls had stronger self esteem.

In addition, numerous studies have found that children who live with their fathers are more likely to have good physical and emotional health, to achieve academically, and to avoid drugs, violence, and delinquent behavior. In short, fathers have a powerful and positive impact upon the development and health of children. A caseworker who understands the important contributions fathers make to their children’s development and how to effectively involve fathers in the case planning process will find additional and valuable allies in the mission to create a permanent and safe environment for children.’

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/fatherhood.pdf

The Last House by Matt Carlson

It sat on a street with a dead end. It was the last house. A small wooden house from the forties; white with dark green trim. It had a garden in front of it, a tiny lawn, a stunted Japanese Maple and a fat laughing frog. Facing it, on the left side a double swing perfectly angled to catch the sun, when it came out – a place where you’d want to sit. Behind the house, a forest of dark green, tall trees and little creatures, mulch galore because no one ever walked there, human that is.

Spiders lived inside the house, but then they lived everywhere in the forest – and in all of the houses.  Being that all of the houses on the block also straddled the forest – it was of no surprise that spiders lived in them. The wooden houses (they were all made of wood) were merely an extension of the forest for the spiders….

Bee-Bee lived in that last house, on that block known as Idlewhile. A place where they painted green beer glasses on the streets for Saint Patrick’s Day. Where everyone seemingly had a taste for a perfect mix of wild nature and tamed nature in their gardens. No one wanted their yard to look like something out of a California suburb. This was Washington, not California.

Bee-Bee had lived in California before, but never offered up that information as she knew Washingtonian’s didn’t really care for Californian’s that much. Bee-Bee was a quite woman in her early seventies, she enjoyed taking care of her garden, feeding the birds and looking after her five cats: Edna, Bjork, Nana, Burt and Ernie. All street cats, all different colors. They loved Bee-Bee as much as cats can. She always gave them delicious food and always waited for them to come to her, never seeking them out first. They slept on her bed at night when it was cold outside, they sat near her when she ate. Often she would give them bite sized tidbits of whatever she was eating. She understood cats, their nature. They were hunters. But then, so was she.

It all began when she was in her sixties. She had gone shopping at the nearby Sprouts on Heavenly Road and while coming out of the store with her cart full of groceries she began watching a woman. A woman in her early forties with red hair and a pale yellow Vera Wong dress. There was nothing special about her, though better dressed than most.  Bee-Bee had seen her earlier inside the store and had witnessed this woman’s nastiness to a check out lady. She’d been surprised to see such vehemence coming out of the woman’s mouth – something about a product she’d returned. “You owe me!’ The woman had yelled. Bee-Bee thought to herself, “That entitled bitch.” The woman had been quite insulting to the cashier, flaunting pink manicured nails  at the cashier Bee-Bee had always liked so well. Bee-Bee pinched her mouth over the incident and thought briefly that ‘someone’ ought to put that woman into her place. Preferring to focus on the task at hand and not on the woman Bee-Bee went about her business. That is until she saw the woman again in the parking lot. This time she was yelling at a bag boy who had helped her with her groceries, and of course she didn’t give him a tip. This time, Bee-Bee felt a twinge in her gut.

It was on automatic that Bee-Bee found herself turning the steering wheel in the direction of the woman’s car and slowly following her. Bee-Bee’s car was an old ’67 Oldsmobile in mint green and in a perfect state. The red headed woman drove a fancy new black Audie. She pulled out rather fast out of the parking lot and Bee-Bee had to accelerate to catch up with her. Her long gone husband had always kept their car in pristine condition – it still looked brand new after all these years – so she had no trouble at all keeping up with the newer automobile. On and on they went the two of them driving towards the Olympic Mountains. One black car being followed by one mint green one…

Bee-Bee didn’t  consciously know why she was following this woman. Something in her mind had shut off. She was no longer thinking, but reacting, sensing, observing. Her heart was excited. She knew that she shouldn’t get too close to the car ahead of her, that she wanted to remain at a safe distance. Safe for what? She didn’t know; she just continued taking slow deliberate breaths and watching with cat eyes the car in front of her. Waiting. This went on for several miles until the woman stopped on an unpaved turn out. Without considering what she was doing, Bee-Bee stopped too pulling very slowly up near enough to observe the woman.  The red head got out of her car, slipped off her Vera Wong dress, pulled on tight black yoga pants, put on her gold rimmed Nike’s, her ear bud’s, adjusted her Fitbit and while warming up moved towards the woods. BeeBee followed her unnoticed.

Not more than fifty feet a head of her she heard a noise in the bushes. She felt her heart race further, tiptoed without a sound until reaching a short distance away. The red head was stretching her calves on a log. Then she stood up, turned around and looked right into Bee-Bee’s green eyes who now stood a mere two feet away.

Startled and angry ; suddenly she said with beligerance, ” What the fuck?! Who the hell are you? Scared the shit out of me! What do you want old lady? Are you some kind of perv….” Before she could utter another word a blade flashed from Bee-Bee’s hand and was thrust into the younger woman’s throat. A horrible gurgling noise followed as the red head tried to speak, grasping fraily at the knife now protruding from her blood gushing throat, not totally comprehending what was happening – all of it so quickly. She fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes, twitched for a brief moment and then was dead.

Bee-Bee stood for a moment and observed the lifeless body lying there. And for the first time in her entire life, she felt truly alive. An indescribable elation filled her to the brim. She took a deep breath and smiled to herself. What a wonderful feeling! “Wow, she’s dead as shit!….That’s one less entitled bitch in the world…” She said out loud and bent over to retrieve her favorite ceramic kitchen knife. “How’d that get here?” She asked humming to herself  as she wiped the blade on a Kleenex in her pocket.

“Do I feel good or what?!” She exclaimed as she walked back to her car. There was no one around but she preferred leaving quickly just in case. Her heart was still beating fast, the freshness of the kill still alive and well in her breast.

It had been an exceptional day. “I think I’ll bake some chocolate chip cookies and make some tea….” And she sped off to her little wooden house. The last house on the block.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change In The Air at The Château de La Reine Blanche by Matt Carlson

Cars sped by on the cobble stoned road. People ran around inside the Rene La Gall Square in their jogging clothes & earphones. Gelledge with slumber in his eyes, similar to having a sleeping bag on his head, walked around & outside of the square. It was chilly early morning: the leaves already carpeting the dirt  but mostly cement floors. His two small off leash dogs sniffed and peed alongside while visiting the row of trees on the outside of the square. Inside the park, two men were holding canon-like devices and blowing leaves and other debris off into a corner. The noise was annoying to say the least.

A woman with large breasts and a large basset hound walked by smiling at the two small white dogs. The three dogs stopped, sniffed butts, each taking a pee, then went away from each other – apparently there wasn’t much to communicate today. The woman wished Gelledge a nice day and walked off – her breasts rising as she did so. Gelledge spoke briefly to a pleasant man in black while their dogs made acquaintance with one another: this time a beige blind Pug.

Back at Le Château, Patches lay in bed half asleep,  knowing that someone would be coming soon to get her up. She had as usual, peed on herself during the night but the huge diaper with double protection absorbed most of it. She didn’t really care about things like that any more. Her brain was on a defensive roll. It kept her from realizing what a horrendous state she was in, constantly keeping her from seeing the hard reality that was.

A few weeks ago she had stated to Gelledge who rented her alcove, “I’m thinking about getting an electric car subscription…” Gelledge had looked at her with mild surprise. “You do realize that you are in a wheel chair and that you can barely use your right hand to stuff food in your mouth, right?” There was a pause. “I don’t wanna break your bubble, but you know that’s impossible right?”

It was brutal perhaps, but with everything in perspective, it was only very honest. Patches was ‘out of her hat’ so to speak and no one was saying anything. She spent her days, from the time getting up until going to bed in conflict with everyone around her. Unfortunately, her mouth& tongue still worked – not very well but enough to piss everyone and the queen of England off, so to speak.

If it wasn’t “Merde, merde, merde,” it was “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” or telling the poor cat  named Bat-cat, “Get down Bat-cat, down, down…,” from where ever the cat was. Or it was “No, Bat-cat, no, no Bat-cat!” and so on. Or she would make phone calls, which sounded always the same: “Phuckett. P-H-U-C-K-E-T-T…my number is….” It was always about an order for something, pills, diapers, clothes… And often times the person on the other line had a hard time understanding what she was saying. During the day as she had nothing to do but eat, go to the toilet and make green stools and piss (she did that a lot) she tried to tell people what to do & constantly. Needless to say, the hired help (mostly paid through the social system) were always leaving. No one could put with her for very long…And in Patches’ mind, all was well. She refused to see her true state of ineptitude on all levels. In her mind she was still designing rocket engines to go into space and the people picking up or cleaning her inert body were secretaries, assistant engineers or associates of the firm.

Brandon, her live in helper was also at the end of his rope. He could hardly speak civil like to her any more; and it was rubbing off in other directions and onto other people. His self imposed 24/7 enclosure in his bedroom was getting to him – that and no girls! Yes, all work and no play was not healthy and the word work wasn’t so easy to define anymore either. He felt like he was always working, but in truth he was unfocused. Nothing was really getting accomplished. Dealing with Patches just made things worse.

And Mahta, the tall, beautiful black as night Camorian had left the fold, or rather had been fired months before. She hadn’t told him about the baby. a little baby Brandon of sorts, named Ahmed jr.

Maybe if he’s known that he’d had a son, life would be very different. Patches yelled from downstairs, “Rob, wil yi tk mo t th tlet pleeze..?” It was hard to decipher what she was asking, but he knew. He waited for the phone to ring, the answering machine to pick up, then finished reading his article before going downstairs.

Diapers in The Castle by Matt Carlson

It smelled. Really bad too. Gelledge quickly opened the window as he climbed down the stairs to the first floor. Someone, or rather one of the Life Assistant replacements had once again NOT taken the used diapers down to the cave/ trash area. He reached under the stairwell and grabbed an aerosol can marked ‘BIO Air Scent Lavender’ and sprayed the offending black plastic bag which sat on the cat’s enclosed cat litter tray. Gelledge imagined correctly that Ninja, the calico cat probably didn’t care for that bag on her litter tray house anymore than he did, having to smell it. He knew that dogs had one hundred times the sense of smell more than humans, and so he wondered what the ratio was for cats.

It was one of those days to try and stay focused while hell was being raised at the Chateau  La Reine Blanche. Patches was always screaming, or refusing something or displaying her unhappiness, which was constant. It was her home, it was her disease too and she made everybody pay for it. That is to say, that her frustrations and anger were such that everything was an excuse for being mean. It made her feel better somehow.

The long line of Life Assistants: Algerian, African, Romanian, Bulgarian, as well as other 3rd world countries, succeeded one after the other. They were all incompetent of course, as none of them had any experience upon arriving at the castle with Patches They were cheap labor. They had no idea that hundreds had gone before them, all replaced or who had quit. They all hated the bitchy white woman in her wheel chair, though they did feel sorry for her sometimes. When their employer, a company called Planitnow hired them, it seemed exciting knowing that they would actually be working in a castle, in the center of Paris, near the Goblins. They told all their friends and families. But the bubble of fantasy popped fast enough as the rude, dictator of the apartment known as the ‘Galleries’ started telling them what to do on their first day. Of course, there was only one at a time and for one shift at a time too, usually for a few hours – but sometimes  for the entire day. Patches required full time help as she could only use her right hand and unfortunately, her vocal chords. So she had at least three different ‘slaves’ at her service. Mostly all paid by social security.

“No, not there, it goes on the left.” The tall, large, sweet spoken older woman with glasses and skin ‘black-as-night’  hesitated. Should she put the plate in the other cabinet – or just on the left in this one? Patches could not explain herself clearly about anything so following her orders was tough. One usually wanted to just do the task as quickly as possible and at one’s own volition, but Patches wouldn’t have it. “No, no, not there,” she continued in her pigeon sounding French. “It goes on the left, on the left, LEFT, LEFT!!!!Oh, fuck, fuck fuck…!” She now screamed. Her brain short circuited when she wanted to make complete sentences. Frustration leaked in like greasy car oil, dispersing itself in her cerebral pathways. The poor woman was so surprised she dropped the plate ; it crashed to the ground.

Now the real fun would begin as Patches would dictate every movement to the woman in order to clean it up:

” Take the broom and the dust pan – no the other one, it’s in the corner”, and… “don’t throw it in THAT trash, it’s the other one- under the table!” Then, “You”ll have to move that small table, then bend down – no, not like that, not there…! You have to separate the pieces from the rest..” Then, “Move me please…turn my chair so I can see better – you missed a piece…”….”I’m thirsty, wa… wa…water please!”…Thirty seconds later, “Toilet!” She would announce. “Take me to the toilet. Hurry, hurry, it’s an emergency! i can’t wait! Oh, shit, shit, SHIT!….” Anguished by the stress and the volume of the words, the assistant began rushing to get to Patches. But what was there to do? She was in a wheel chair! How was she going to get her onto the toilet? Precipitating, she bumped the wheel chair into everything, the wall, the table, a door…Patches began screaming once again, ‘Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck:”…Now Patches would begin to explain about the “People Lifter” called Tony for short. It was a strange metal device, automatic, that lifted a person up so that you could transfer them into another place, like toilet, bed, another chair and so on. But you had to belt her up, tighten it, make sure Patches feet were in a stable position and get her to hold onto the bar in front of her. Once up in a secure position thanks to Tony’s mechanical abilities, you had to wheel her over to the toilet, pull her pants down and do everything in reverse!….The long day had started. They had made it to the white throne too late – now pants, plastic covering and diapers had to be changed!

Being Patches assistant was as if you no longer had control of your own body (if you let her, that is), Patches wanted to control it (your body) for you. Her body was now useless, it peed and pooped, it consumed food… but it didn’t work properly anymore. The brain, the muscles, the nerves, the cells were degrading… Crazy with anger, she wanted to manipulate  your physical actions. It made people very mad and they simply flipped out; most of them having no idea of what her illness was… But then conversations were a two way street. Patches didn’t care about them, she only wanted what they could do for her. The assistants weren’t stupid either, they sensed the anger, the perverseness from the shriveled woman with a C formed body, in a wheelchair, her twig like arms from branches of a forgotten tree. They hung there static, waiting.

Gelledge had told her off immediately the first time when she had attempted to do dictate his body –  It’s why he no longer helped out, unless there was an emergency of some sort.

“That’s enough Patches. I am doing this – this is my body and my task. Stop telling me what to do – that’s enough. You want to do it? Then come over here and do it. If you can’t, be quiet and let me do it.  I will not tolerate being ordered around, so stop immediately.” The tone had been set. Patches knew that she would not be able to get away with anything with Gelledge.

One morning, no one came to get Patches up. She sent a text message to Gelledge asking him to help her. He went downstairs and into her bedroom. With a dry mouth and disheveled look, she got it out that she needed someone to get her up. Now Gelledge had witnessed her morning ritual more than once – knowing that never in a million years would he follow it and if he tried to, he would probably kill her in the process.

“Okay look Patches, Since you have no one this morning, I will get you up. BUT, hear this: I will do it my way and no other. I will not be rubbing your feet, getting you your meds, fixing an elaborate meal – you’ll have what I have – I’ll put you on the toilet, get you into some clean clothes too. That’s it;  take it or leave it.” Patches frantically began pushing on her telephone screen, a look of panic on her face. Gelledge giggled inside, he had her number. Still he felt sorry for her…

Paris Times “The Aftermath” by Matt Carlson-

Paris Times “The Aftermath” by matt carlson

We were back in Paris, back in the Chateau La Reine Blanche (the white queen); back with Brandon Smerque and Patches Phuckett and they’re boxing style relationship: she was still in her wheel chair and he was still hiding out writing or doing political research in his room on the first floor; back with Carlotta, the Bulgarian house keeper who wore her heart on her sleeve and also was the life assistant to Patches; back with Narnia, the calico cat who for the last seven years had never socialized with another four footed creature until now…

Fatty and Finny had arrived. Two loveable Jack Russels, Fatty with her black ears, black spot on her ass with white eyelids matching her short hair jacket of sorts; Finny with one tan ear, one spotted ear and a tan spot on his butt. Big sister and little brother adorable and ready to take Paris by storm, but first there was the cat to initiate. Narnia has been hiding out pretty much, but also quite curious about these two invaders on her territory. A little poop here and a delicately placed urine puddle There… but who was messaging who? It was their version of Internet, more interactive with odors in real time.

Getting back to Patches and Brandon…

(Scenario) Brandon is building shelves above the newly installed Happystep, a large platform which can lift and take down again a heavy wheelchair with a person in it. Patches arrives at the front door around 9 p.m.. Her battery operated remmote control opens the front door and she slowly moves into the entry hall. She quickly surveys the scene with squinting eyes and gnarled hands.

“Hey Brandon, looks good,” she says.

“Thanks,” he replies while continuing his work.

“There’s water on the floor,” she says.

“Yea, I can see that Patches.”

“Well, could you clean it up?”

“No, not right now. I’m doing something else.” Brandon’s eyes widen slightly in annoyance but Patches doesn’t see it.

“Yea, well Brandon, I just can’t do anything if there’s water on the floor!” She insists. Patches is in ‘conflict mode’ and nothing will stop her now that she has chosen her battle: the water puddle.

“Do you want to come in then? The water can wait.” Brandon moves a few things out of the way of the giant red and white mechanical platform.

“Well, I don’t think I can do that when there’s water on the floor, Brandon!” The volume of her voice goes up a notch, she begins to spittle and lose her words.”C…c…could you g..get the damn th…things out of my b…bag pluuuease?!”

“Let’s get you into the house and then afterwards I’ll get your stuff out of your bag.”

Patches fumed in anger. Unable to do anything by herself (aside from pushing onto the screen of her smart phone and using a big spoon to shovel food into her mouth – most of it going onto the floor) she is always stewing in frustration. Anger is never far away.
Brandon gets her on the platform, pushes the ‘down’ button and waits for the contraption to stop. The next step is to lift Patches from her electric chair to a smaller chair on wheels, the only one suitable to circulate from one room to the next. There is just too much stuff everywhere. Patches doesn’t believe in throwing things away.

“Goddamnit Brandon, gru black mon blah gr smm…!” The spicy mix of MS and anger are reeking havoc on her ability to yell coherently.
“Uhhh, could you repeat that in English?” asks Brandon with a slight smile.
“I…I c..c…cain’t do any…any..aA..anything with that damn water on the floor over there! FUUUUck!” She screams suddenly.
The puddle of water in fact is from her cat Narnia, who has left an important message in the far corner of the kitchen for the dogs.
Brandon ignores her, grabs her and lifts her into the awaiting chair. Patches screams her bloody head off. Fatty and Finny who were quietly laying on their bed upstairs are now at the stairwell gate wondering what the hell is going on.

“I need to eat now, could you get me my dinner?…I need my stuff out of my bag…That water, is that cat pee?” Patches is on a roll.
“Patches, just simmer down. I’ll get your dinner in a minute, I’m going to finish this first. Your bag and the water puddle can wait.”
Patches begins to scream bloody murder, only half of it is understandable. The same themes are repeated over and over, she becomes threatening telling Brandon “Beurk, blah, blah, blah….fuck…g….ge…get an…another job if…if….grrrr blah shshshh….it…”

There is an ensuing battle. Fortunately Brandon closes the door and I don’t (with F and F) have to listen to it.
I’m back in Paris!

FRESNO TIMES (N° 11) Clash At Yosemite Lakes Park by Matt Carlson

Piddy and Diddy had been married now for a number of years and their life together, though complicated, was comfortable financially. Diddy had his Broker’s License and had established himself at Yosemite Lake’s Park as the main real estate agency. Piddy, through the love of her Father, a man who loved to play with money, had given his daughter half a million dollars.

Of course course Piddy’s sister Clara and her Mother Edna were scandalized, calling out injustice. A family war broke out that would never be healed again, even after Diddy had had the biggest of all houses in the park built for Edna, complete with fancy doors and southern white front porch columns making Tara in Gone With The Wind look small in comparison.

“You’re just an evil daughter!” Edna screamed out at Piddy. “Wheeling &  dealing behind my back to get at your Father’s money. I should of had that egg ripped out the moment it got fertilized!”

Piddy’s eyes rounded out in surprise then narrowly focused at her Mother. She’d held her tongue too long. She was gonna take down this old croony for good now – she didn’t need her bullshit any more.

“You are the poorest excuse  of a Mother – all you think about is yourself. You’re a cold, calculating, old bitch…. it’s a miracle Papa slept with you twice at all. No one else would have! And Papa gave me that money ‘cuz he knew I was the only one smart enough to do anything with it. What did you do to ever help him out? All you’ve ever done for years is get on his back and complain! Bitch about your clothes, bitch about your house – now you’ve got a fucking mansion and you’re still bitching!! Well, you know what? I’m sick of it.”

She picked up her her purse, turned towards the door, paused and then turned back towards her Mother and said, “Just fuck off now and forever. I don’t need anymore of your whining and complaining. You’ve got what you wanted, just get on with your life and leave Papa alone. And me too. I’ve had it.”

And out she went from her Mother’s house on the hill with it’s exquisite decor and fancy garden landscaping, then got into her brand new Porcha 901 and sped off down the road. She was barely 30 years old, rich, brazen and free from her Mother once and for all. Today she had lots to do: houses to sell, rentals and she had just been elected President of the Home Owners Association of the park. There were weeds to be pulled out there – too many old gezers with their narrow minded ideas. She loved a good fight and was ready for them!

Edna, in the meanwhile sat down in her beautiful kitchen with all the latest modern appliances. She and her husband Bill had been separated for many years, but they still saw each other on ocassion. Their two daughters were the connecting force, otherwise they would’ve chosen to not see one another, although, this was a quandry for her and her Mormon religion. She still loved him but could do without him. He was always getting involved in some some ‘cock- a – mamie’ scam in order to make money. He had already lost millions several times!….And he was not a practicing Mormon either. Her body was a temple, so she didn’t drink or put unhealthy things in it, while Bill was like a fish consuming alcohol like it was water.

And now this final betrayal, giving all that money to Piddy! Such an ungrateful child…She pursed her lips and without thinking ground her teeth together too, her left leg began tapping all by itself. Passing the living room mirror, she looked at herself, a slight woman, quite thin, 5 feet, 5 inches tall with a roundish formed black dyed permenant sitting high on her head to make her look taller. Her clothes expensive and exotic looking, but still she had aged considerably. At 60 the wrinkles were taking over. She decide she would make a hair appointment for the afternoon, get a pedicure. That would help her think about something else other than the selfish daughter of hers’.