Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble… hey, bartender, make mine a double.
Is it just me that likes to pretend I’m a cackling witch brewing a potion when I am cooking? That wishes they were dicing up some eye of newt instead of carrots to throw into that cauldron simmering on the blue flame of the stove top? Aside from the whole being burnt at the stake thing, being a witch would actually be pretty sweet. You get a fabulous wide-brimmed hat and dress in a chic black maxi dress, unless you are off to dance and fuck under the full moon. That actually sounds just like the single life in Brooklyn anyway. I already have the requisite black cat and if I get a little warty now and then who cares! Dermatology has come a long way, baby.
The added bonus of flying about on a broom would really help my morning commute. Brooms for everyone I say—let’s run the MTA right out of business! I’m sure the resulting cluster-fuck of having 10 million people air born at once over the small island of Manhattan as they commute to their midtown office jobs would be extremely entertaining for a while before it joins the list of daily humdrum annoyances. I can just picture the broom-messenger daredevils swerving in and out of traffic to get their packages delivered on time while hipsters look down their noses in competition to see who has the coolest and hippest of sweepers. The helicopters that now plague the Friday afternoon skyline carrying the wealthy to their Hamptons escapes would now be broom powered chauffeurs pulling the precious cargo behind them. There would be an app on every phone for broom service arriving at your doorstep, or windowstep in this case, to give you a lift. Gangs would pull fly-bys and broom-jackings, while the drunken 4 am bar crowd would accidentally fly into your window while you try to sleep like deranged pigeons trying to make it to their roost.
Actually maybe our world is better off flight impaired. Time to cook up something else in my cauldron.
She came with all the supplies she had left in the chaos after the storm—a change of underwear, an egg, and half a chorizo. She’d fled the dead city late the night before when it became apparent that the power was not going to be restored. With all communications and transportation down she took her chance and surprised me. The devastation hadn’t effected my area, just about a half hour away on foot from hers. Life here was still completely normal except for the forced holiday from work.
On the clear afternoon that followed, my refugee and I decided to walk the Bridge to see the damage for ourselves. Progress on the bridge was difficult against the hoards still vacating the city in a shoulder-to-shoulder crush. They were clutching their pillows, their luggage wheeling behind them taking whatever they could comfortably carry in a slow migration in an eerie silence. None knew when they would be able to go back to their homes. The worry and shock were almost tangible qualities in the air.
The Bridge was a stark contrast to the affected area itself—it was like a ghost town. The streets were deserted, lifeless except for a small crowd hovering around the one working outlet at the fire hall like it was a lifeline. The constant hum of the city that never sleeps is known for was silenced for the first time in my experience. Funny that something that you can be completely unaware of most of the time can be so disarming in it’s absence.
My guest and I split different ways as I walked home in the absence of public transportation, and she headed back to her place to gather her things for a longer stay chez Hotel Me. Every couch in my burrow now seemed to have a similar occupant.
That night was a blur of horrors—dreams melted to nightmares as sweet scenarios turned to shit and loving familiar faces distorted and became monstrous. As I slowly drifted to consciousness my last vision was of me, sleeping just as I was in my bedroom. A shadowed demonic specter hovered in the air next to my head whispering awful things to my vulnerable subconscious in its dream state. It had followed me home that afternoon from the city, hitching a ride with the fleeing masses.
Finally, my eyes opened but instead of a ghost by my head it was my black cat on the nightstand. She was batting at something in the air above her, where the demon was in my dreams. She then followed the unseen thing, chasing it into the wall. My eyelids now peeled back and my eyes popping like grapes from my skull. They were not going to shut again anytime soon. I scooted up so I was sitting up with my arms around my knees. My imagination begins to run rampant—It was just a dream, right? Ghosts aren’t real. Was it my brain’s interpretation of an insect buzzing around in the dark? Maybe the sight of seeing the displaced fleeing their homes had a greater impression than I thought. Or maybe the living weren’t the only things fleeing the city core.
I can hear my friend role over in the adjacent room. She’s fairly superstitious so maybe I won’t tell her about my dream… not yet anyway. Not until I have a chance to sage the house… you know… just in case.
Are you watching, Orion? Your 3 little belt stars sparkling bright in a line to guiding my walk home. If I was the wishing sort it would be to Orion, as on these long night escapades where he is my only company I begin the ridiculous notion that he’s my guardian, my friend, always the gentleman seeing me safely to my door step.
I make this walk a lot, the one at around 3 am from the bar to my house. I love this time of night when it’s quiet and dark. It clears my head to feel the cold clean northern wind that comes down from northern Pacific, sobering me up from my night’s activities. A time to think about what was said, what was done, before leaving the mess to my dreams to clean up. The walk is long enough that I always have to make a stop. When nature calls I find a dark unpopulated alley to cop a squat where no one will catch me.
On this one particular night I should have come out from my thoughts to check the alley a little better before dropping trou. Mid stream a family of raccoon start rummaging through some recently discarded bags of refuse. It’s a common sighting in Vancouver. I guess I should just be grateful it wasn’t a mountain lion or a coyote. And I guess they decided that once I was in such a vulnerable position coming out from whatever shadow they were hiding in didn’t seem such a great risk. There are about 4 of them and the closest one was standing tall on its hind legs about 3 feet in front of me, staring at me face to face as our heads in our respective positions were about the same in height, while his family examined their loot. The buildings are blocking any view of the moon, the stars, and my favorite protective constellation, so I will forgive you for not warning me of the invaders this time, Orion. Crunch go the bags while the little bandit and I lock eyes and make a silent bargain. We’re both caught in the act, our moment of trespass in the dark. You do you and I’ll do me his masked eyes say to me. He’s slowly lowers and waddles off and I pull up my pants to slink off in the opposite direction, neither looking back. Sometimes you don’t need words or even be the same species to reach a perfect understanding.
I was sitting on the steep hillside lawn of the Sacré Coeur—ironically translated as the Sacred Heart, a beautiful old church popular with tourist—waiting for the slight pounding of my hang over of the night before to ease. Nothing a little fresh Paris air and a few hours with a good book couldn’t fix. As I tried to fix my eyes on the pages through the lenses of my sunglasses, I noticed from the corner of my eye a wormy man slowly weaseling his way over. He introduced himself in the usual fashion, making pleasantries and asking where I’m from, finally situating himself a few feet away from me despite my obvious reluctance to talk.
“I am, how you say, artiste of pleasing the ladies” he declared as I watch the dry saliva cracking in the corners of his mouth.
“You mean a pick up artist?” I said, surprised at his honesty. This just got interesting. Proceed, sir.
“I circle the women, circle and circle,”he makes a gesture like a gnat buzzing around his head, “and then I find an opening, and the women, they open.” He makes the slightly vulgar gesture of a book opening over and over.
“So you just find the opening and then they open. That’s your strategy?” I said with a childish smirk.
“Yes, I circle, I talk, I find the opening, and then the women, they open.” He proceeded to tell me of several of his conquests. First was a middle-aged divorcée visiting from small town America. He warned her not to fall in love with him but she just couldn’t help it. “I warned her not to love me, you know, too she was old.” She was apparently about the same age as him so completely unacceptable. He then spoke of a married woman from Germany who frequently visited. “She asks me to visit her in Germany, but, you know, I am scared I meet her husband and he get angry.” He started resembling a kid, fearing being caught red handed with his stolen candy.
As he talked he slowly worked his place on the lawn closer and closer. Starting off about 4 feet away he was now about 1 foot away and I was on my outer hip about to role by accident down a serious hill to maintain physical space. So I excuse myself and get up to leave.
“Goodbye, my boyfriend is expecting me.” I say making a swift exit.
“Okay but if I see you again you must sleep with me!”
Not if I see you first.