Category Archives: fiction

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.
Advertisements

Fresno Times Chronicles by matt carlson

Lily Bean – (Part 2) by matt carlson

The children had been manic that day, so had she. They’d laughed and sang : giggling like crazy! Such a fun day at the San Francisco Wharf last March. They’d eaten fried fish and chips, sodas and cotten candy. They’s walked along the water (Lily more slowly due to her increasing weight) and watched the seals play on the rocks down below. The boat trip to Alcatraz so scarey  too – and beautiful. Now it seemed  so long ago.

Patsie Bean, 14 her overweight daughter was still at home, the spitting image of a younger Amie Winehouse but without the drug problems. She was a sensitive girl, an artist. Open to the world, but only on her termes. She was reclusive in nature, an introvert most of the time and tried as best she could to deal with the world. Her new bedroom at Creek Haven in Fresno California was a protected space, her ‘away space’. she loved stealing away Snickers bars and Gummy Bears in her secret drawer of delights.

Her skinny, pot smoking  younger brother Bernie was in Juvenile Hall. He was 17 going on 30. Already a Father to two little girls who lived with their mother hidden away in Dinuba. He hadn’t met them yet, hadn’t told his own Mother about it either. He felt shame. Adding to the growing list of problems, his stay in Juvenile Hall wasn’t all wine and roses. He’d been picked up for stealing a second car and was paying the price.  Plus he had had marajuana on him when the police arrested him.

Lily sat at her small table in the den, munching on a Gummy Bears (her favorite along with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups) while looking out the window towards the courtyard. She scratched her left arm while watching a young mother play with her daughter. It was a special moment for them and while observing the two was thrown back again into her past, when raising her young children had been fun. It wasn’t the case anymore, aside from Patsie of course. Patsie was her rock. So solid that girl. They’d developped a close relationship, much more like  two best friends than daughter and mother.

She ran her fingers through her brown hair and remembered her very short ex-husband Bill with his wavey brown hair; he too had been a part of that little family once upon a time. They had grown apart, wanting different things. He had suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder – this had created an enormous division between them as well.  She had sincerely tried to help him up to a certain point, but to no avail. His being almost dwarf-like had pleased her, at times she could imagine he was her little boy as they walked the aisles of the grocery store. But he had been all man in bed, his endowment below the waist making up for any short stature elsewhere. ..

Besides being alone suited her best. She liked being single. She could just fart in bed when she wanted, instead of leaving the room with a pretext and having to pass gas down the hallway. That and nobody stole her candy or raided her prized refrigerator. It was a european brand called SuperCOLD 5000 and she had gone through a lot of trouble to get it here in California. That was partly thanks to her husband who still sold appliances and had contacts over there. She smiled to herself while looking dreamily at her beloved grey shiney colored refrigerator and its unusual cucumber shaped door handle…With a sigh she breifly remembered Bill’s below the waist attributes…

Suddenly, she briskly pulled a package of hair color out of her purse:  was she really gonna become a blond? Ted had often asked her to do it – now she would do it just for herself. Now that ‘Tampon Ted’ was out of her emotional picture, she could be herself again. She still missed his long blond curls; loved playing with it, brushing it. He had wanted something more from her, something that she was unable to give. Now she wanted to answer that eternal question : ‘Do blonds really have more fun?’ by herself. Patsie would of course, be her hair assistant.

“It looks great on you! I can’t believe it,” claimed her daughter. “You look soooo different!” Her eyes bugged out of her head, her mom really did look terrific.

“Really? You’re not just saying that are you?” Asked Lily. She looked in the mirror, squinted hard at her reflection in the mirror. She kind of liked it, kind of didn’t. But she was going for different and different it was! She smiled at herself, “You’re right it does look pretty good.” Now if only I could get rid of these 20 extra pounds on my ass! They laughed in unison. Mother and daughter where a bit chunky, both with consequential behinds – very popular with black men….

She stood up and looked at herself fully in the hallway dressing mirror, Patsie standing next to her, twin-like, one blond, one dark haired. They laughed together at their image. These little moments were what life was all about.

 

Sidewalk Seas & The Eiffel Tower by Matt Carlson

It was early evening and time to take Miss Busybody and her brother Federer out for their evening constitutional. Both of them happy and energetic. Led lights blinking on their collars. “Oh, look! How wonderful.” A passerby would exclaim. The lights of red and white, a beacon on sidewalk seas.

Autumn had arrived and time had gone back one hour. Fall back spring forward. Wet leaves attributed to two footed ants in bright green & yellow (clean up crews) who were running water off into the gutters. Never at the same hour of course and you never saw who was doing what. The ant queen was surely sleeping in her warren somewhere nearby.

One day you would perhaps see piles of leaves huddled next to the trees. The piles  would stay like for a long time (unless a nice wind came along), then you might observe nearby trash containers resembling starving dogs with rib cages full. Always hungry those dogs. Then maybe an employee nonchalantly pushing a chariot while engulfed in a telephone conversation – NOT seeing you if you passed them by, “Have I suddenly become THE INVISIBLE MAN?” thought Gelledge… Then water would appear, running down the gutters. Who did that?! You never knew… And there were days when a small green truck for washing the sidewalks would be there, with its huge tooth brushes and a whirling one. It could spew water in every direction. The man driving it saw you and would smile (he liked his job) “Ok, then I’m not invisible!” Exclaimed our hero. He could breath safely. He still existed.

Trash would stay sitting there for long periods too alongside household objects that people no longer wanted. Unclaimed. Big cardboard signs taped to their bodies like: NZECHLOP1255983. They were remnants of someones life – just sitting there. Naked, finished, kapput. Who had these things belonged to?  Where had they gone? Had it been their choice to leave? The city scavengers were never far off: the displaced, the poor, the immigrants with a kid or maybe a dog. Had they been swept under the rugs of the system?

Gelledge was bored of the neighborhood. Sick of walking the same old tired streets. The dogs were too. When they no longer wanted to walk, they slunk back, appealing eyes looking into his. They wanted to go to the park, of course…or maybe climb into a warm bed if it was cold enough. Living in the big city after the wide open spaces of Provence hadn’t been an easy adjustment for any of them. Of course, the walks were more fun with the many ‘pee-messages’ everywhere. Details of what was eaten, how long ago someone had passed by: biological imprints still easy to read after several hours. Friends were made on every street corner, an occasional foe. The foes were on leashes, attached to angry, usually bitter womenfolk. Thermometers to how shitty their lives were. It was rarely the dogs fault for their bad moods. If you were stuck to someone 24/7 who was unhappy, angry at the world and/or constantly afraid, you too would be affected.

“Why not take a drive somewhere?” Gelledge asked the dogs who looked up at him with anticipation. They climbed into the old station wagon and after trying to unsuccessfully decode the radio (a security measure by a previous owner) well, let’s just say that the radio would continue on in silence. “Oh, let’s go visit the Eiffel Tower!” Exclaimed Gelledge. He wasn’t sure of the directions, his smartphone again in the shop so there would be no GPS, but he figured he could find it. He knew the general route. And at this time of night they were few people on the roads.

In fifteen brief minutes, there they were! The orange glow of the splendid tower reaching up like an immense Lego toy in the night sky. A giant metallic penis of sorts, built for the World Expo of 1889, it had stayed & vanquished the debate of its construction and had become a glowing pillar for Paris. It seemed close enough to touch. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiffel_Tower

The base of it was huge with its four gigantic pillars and never ending tower: up, up up it went! There were a few buses parked along the streets & darkly lit parks surrounding it on two sides with the Seine River on another side. Getting out of the car, Miss Busybody and Federer looked up too and in their dog minds were astounded by the structure, the lights, by the many people too, some with dogs on leashes. Mostly tourists but with the vultures of commerce closing in fast.

Strange small colored lights shot into the air under the tower and floated downwards, spiraling in blue, purple and green. Fun to watch Gadgets for the tourists. A large number of African men walked around with them & miniaturized Eiffel Towers and other glowing objects, like key chaines and even plastic glowing hair ribbons (which looked quite funny on at least one man wearing one.) They didn’t pay any attention to Gelledge,  he was obviously a native walking his dogs. “Fooled them!” He thought.

They walked across the street to get some perspective of the huge structure. Then suddenly the tower began to twinkle with a thousand lights: white dots of illuminated butterflies in an October Parisian sky. It was warm; the people happy. People chatted, hugged, kissed, played. There was tenderness in the air. There was music too. Someone had brought his sound system, a guitar and a cup for money offerings. He was actually pretty good, singing in English and French & with a very nice tenor voice. There were easily about 50 to 60 people standing around nonchalantly listening to him. He was tall, nice looking & French. Gelledge would’ve liked to chat with him, but didn’t dare. He was on stage performing, even if it was on a sidewalk in a park at night. He would have to come back.

Next a walk under the tower itself & along with that the strong smell of ‘I WANT YOUR MONEY” in the air. Many people of all nationalities wandering about or standing in line. Millions of people came here every year. The tower attracted a multitude of languages & cultures from throughout the world.

A few people stopped to pet the two dogs and ask a few questions. Then an older man came along with a beagle and tried to communicate something. He kept making biting movements with his lips. Was it because Miss Busybody hadn’t taken to him or Chuck the dog? His French was limited. Miss Busybody barked protectively. Federer sniffed Chuck who was wearing a pretty cool grey and beige sweater, his well shaped head almost entirely black. He was cute as  a bug in a rug, (well cuter even) because let’s face it: bugs are not cute in rugs. http://rugchick.com/rug-eating-bugs-what-to-do-about-them/ They slowly edged away from the man, seemingly nice but totally not understandable with his gibberish.

It had been an eye opening experience to visit the Eiffel Tower this way. Driving at night was a great way to visit Paris. During the day time there were too many people, cars, trucks, the buses and taxis, the pedestrians… Getting away from the toxic atmosphere of the chateau too, had also been a good thing.

He would try to forget the nasty hate mail received from his ex’s lawyer the other day: a letter full of lies and inexactness wrapped up in legal jargon.  http://nobullying.com/borderline-personality-disorder/

Once again, Gelledge would have to counter deceit, counter hatefulness, counter jealousy. “Don’t stare at the past,” he reminded himself. “You’re not going that way.”

walking into the future

walking into the future

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…

She Loved Her Coque by matt carlson

Patches loved her coque. She couldn’t get enough of it either. She loved lying next to it late at night and with her good hand, trace her fingertips gently along the side of it; though it was a strange request to her life assistants asking them to lie it down beside her. But she didn’t care anymore about things like that. It was her coque and she would have it nearby! She sighed, thinking about it, her breathing deep. Even the form was elegant. Eyes shined while looking at its’ beautiful shape, the way it curved just right, the wideness of it. Fantasies danced in her dreams.

She had had only three coques her entire life. The others two, well they hadn’t fit the way she would have liked. When sitting on them, it had hurt quite frankly, made her feel as if they had been made for someone else. She was so happy when this third one arrived. She had ordered it to specific measurements with help from doctors. Yes, doctors were very helpful when it came to ordering a good robust coque that fit perfectly. After all, they were architects of the body these days, weren’t they?

The thing was, she couldn’t sit on it all day long. There was a moment where even the best, the finest coque ever created, was just too much. But at other times, before it began to feel painful, she would be trying to have a conversation while secretly sitting there on her coque (it was unseen by most people), loving its sensation while talking about (as usual) nothing to someone. Nowadays most conversations were quite limited to;  the toilet, food, a spoon, being wiped, her medications, her physical therapy, telling her hired slaves what to do (they were her hired hands, literally)…Anyway, she would utter her fewer and fewer syllables all the while thinking about her coque, the way it held her into place. She did its biding, not the contrary!

Of course, all that was in her head. She knew that it was a fantasy only. Between her and her coque, well, it couldn’t be more than just a temporary meeting of two; a coming together of hard plastic and bending flesh. It had to end one day. Unfortunately, the day came too soon. One morning, after following her usual routine of getting up (which actually meant someone else getting her up) well when they helped her sit on her coque, this time it didn’t fit. No matter how she twisted and fettered, demanding to be pulled up further to the right, then further to the left – nothing worked. Then crying out “Pull me back! Pull me back!” But that hadn’t worked either. The coque hadn’t changed: it was still as hard, still as beautiful, with the curves in all the right places. It was she who had changed. Her flesh was different today; bones having stretched off on a private agenda.

“Give me a ‘C’!” Cried out Gelledge to Patches. It was better to laugh than cry, wasn’t it?

Her once-upon-a-time ‘I’ formed body was now the letter ‘C’.

“Here you go!” She responded with a smile while trying vainly to lift her right arm to add to the ever encroaching  ‘C’ form of her body. But inside, she knew she was going to miss her coque: the man made back forming shell meant to straighten her back.

Maybe the next coque would be better, she thought.

‘I’m An Alien in A Human Body!

‘I’m An Alien in A Human Body!

by matthew carlson

I am here, safely landed onto alien territory. After having parked my space vessel, now hidden as a family style Peugot 307, (an unassuming replica of a native mobile transportation unit- with appropriate dent markings), I have recently secured quarters in an ancient building in the southern part of the city known as Paris. My two furry four footed drones ‘IDU’s’ (Interstellar Drone Units) alias Foebbe and Fender have accompanied me on this mission, berift of danger and the unknown.

Through no fault of my own, recent planetary voyaging has created a rift in my neurological pathways whereby I have forgotten at least a part of my mission here in this stange land. I am in the middle of a thorough analysis which should be completed within a twenty four hour period. I have great hopes to remember soon my primary function here on this planet known as Earth.

The two drones due to their altered state, actually require processing matter in order to utilize their new physical units, as do I. Although pleasurable to consume, the appropriation of food is a strange process: one must render physically to structures where supplies are kept. These supply structures are known as ‘grocery stores’ and are heavily guarded by security personel, along with video surveillance systems. When entering, it is a custom to utilize a kind of cage on wheels, whereby one puts young children and required nutrition known as ‘food’. Although, there does seem to be some confusion as a great deal of these elements placed in the cages, are not nutritious. Further research is required to  understand the hording of such objects.

My two drones have been refused at the door, forcing me to return them to my current living structure. I have been warned not to leave them secured at the entryway of the ‘grocery store’ due to individuals who may ‘steal’ them away for ransom ( money in exchange for rending the animals stolen)  or for food at one of the many asian restaurants within the city limits. Though I am quite sure, my drones could protect themselves from such a misadventure, I do not wish to implicate myself into such a messy affair. They will, from now on when I procure eating material, wait at our sleeping quarters. After filling ones’ ‘cage on wheels’, it is customary to wait in a line with other people who are also supplying their own cages with food stuffs. While waiting, it is customary too, to either look at your smart phone, talk on it or send brief messages called ‘texting’. If you do not have a smart phone, you either avoid looking directly at people or do the opposite by engaging in ‘small talk’, or eventually when the occasion arises, talk badly about the person behind the ‘cash register’. “She’s so slow” and “there she goes again picking her nose…” etc.

Now the cash register is a computer which reads numbers on the objects that we ‘slide in front of it’ something called ‘scanning’. The machine takes all of the indentification sequences along with a second number called a ‘price tag’. These price tags are added up at the end and one must ‘pay up’ (render  the desired sum) with something called ‘money’. Money is a form of exchange, measured through a very complexe  system called the ‘monetary system’. There are many terms related to money; further investigation is required to fully understand the process.

In any case, once it is your ‘turn’ with the computerized cash register and the person behind it, you either give money (rectangular paper notes and or coins, small round hard shaped flat objects) or  insert a small square card into another small box. Then you must enter a designated code to activate said card, whereby an account is ‘debited’ for corresponding money due. Then you mst engage once again in small talk, but this time with the ‘clerk’ behind the cash register, which seems odd especially if you’d been ‘talking badly’ earlier about her performance levels.

All is terribly confusing. I have managed to obtain the neccesary ‘bills’ in order to procure nourishment. I am exhausted though, from the experience. The terrible lighting, horrendous vibrations known as MUSZAK, and the anxious natives running through the aisles of packaged foods has zapped me of energy. I require rest and quiet….and a relief room to dispose of waste materials. Hmmm, hopefully that will not be too complicated.

Captain out.

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!