For the month of April, fellow author, Thea Atkinson is streaking through 30 blogs and flashing us a piece of fiction. I generously offered her a space today so she could expose a piece. Her book “Anomaly” was the first e-book I bought for my Kindle and I hope to review it here soon. My blog will be back to normal tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy and follow the links at the end to see who she flashed yesterday and who she will flash tomorrow. Feel free to leave a comment to let me know if you enjoyed the streak, and you are welcome to tweet it or share it on Facebook. You can also follow the chain through twitter with the hashtag #blogstreak
I asked her to write something with a Shakespearean theme of some sort as today is both Shakespeare’s birthday and his death day and this is what she came up with. Enjoy!
Ophelia Deject and Wretched
By Thea Atkinson
I’m only mad North Northwest; it’s just that I haven’t felt the wind change direction for a while.
Been alone out here six years now. Gert stayed with me for a while, kept me company, but that didn’t work out so well. Got myself a sweet little spot close to the docks, a jumble of gargantuan granite stones that touch each other in all the right places, forming a cozy Ophelia-sized hollow to keep me out of the elements and my stuff dry.
I keep my Motel Granite good and secret, even from Gert and the other gals under the bridge. I feel bad about that, but really, it can’t be helped. Last time I let someone in, she stole everything but the wind-chapped roses on my cheeks: everything I owned in this sour world, my picture of Hamish-long-gone. Even my one hand-crocheted slipper got purloined, so you never can trust a soul out here. You know what’s best for you, you settle on a wide step at the Post Office like I am now, and make with the rolling eyes. Herds of people enter and exit, so it’s as good a place as any to ply my trade.
Sometimes pity sits in someone’s palm in the form of a quarter; more often than not it wants more of a show before it deigns to make an appearance. I’m alright with that. Theater was my favorite subject in college — it was my major, after all. Shakespeare, my specialty.
I add a glassy stare to the rolling eyes bit, pretend to pass out flowers to would-be clientele.
“Rosemary for remembrance,” I say to a bulldog wearing a business suit. With his tight-assed walk, I can tell he needs something to help him remember he has a human soul.
“Just a quarter, sir.” I tug at his gabardine trouser leg and he flicks a Yoric-eyed glance over my modest skirt and trash-bin jacket. He finally throws a quarter into my jug.
“Thank you, kind sir,” I sneak a dejected look into my jar: only three coins and two bills — one of them a Monopoly denomination.
These last few years have been tough, believe me. After I fed Gert from my own stash of dumpster doughnuts and let her wear my slipper over the one foot of hers with a black toe from frostbite, she still stole from me. I thought I’d lose my mind to rage. Didn’t though. Found some reserve deep within and scouted out a new place. My little granite motel has walls of stone, a floor of earth, and a minute skylight that shows me the twinkling of apartment lights if I lay the right way. I can’t let anyone in any more, no matter how lonely I am.
Thinking about my granite motel and its potential for impregnable warmth, I feel sorry for the gals under the bridge. Doesn’t matter how sheltered that spot is, Jack Frost has a way of slipping his poison into that fluid amber they drink down there to keep him at bay. Soon they slip into another state. Soon after that they’re rotting in that state and the only one who sheds a tear over them is the coroner, and his eyes only seep from the stink of their unwashed bodies.
“What a noble mind is here overthrown,” I shout at everyone. They’ve got a nerve pretending but for the grace of God they’d not be sitting here. A right fine nerve. “But for the grace of God,” I whisper to the next woman as she hurries past, and she drops a bill in as if to assuage her guilt.
Ah, the grace of God. Would that we all show a little kindness down here so we may reap the same when we’ve gone. A gal never knows when she’ll be dependent on the kindness of strangers.
I take a look at the bustling crowds, the taxis weaving in and out, jockeying for quicker routes to their destinations, and for some reason I think of Gert. I know she doesn’t have a sweet little spot like the granite motel, or a lucrative place of business. She has no trade to ply. All she has is a black toe covered by a hand-crocheted slipper, and a picture of my man loved and gone.
I imagine she’s making her way to the bridge right now, hoping to find a sheltered crevice to keep her out of the elements for the night. I worry she might decide to swoon under Jack Frost’s embrace.
Methinks the wind may be changing.
April 22 Leah Petersen
April 23 Vivienne Tuffnell
April 24–Tania Tirraoro http://notasadvertised.blogspot.com/