Monster In An Angel’s Robes
I hold you in my steady arms,
I pull you ever closer,
The caress of your hands in mine
Vows that I'll be your bolster,
Dusk's chill fingers brush against us,
A silent song of closure,
My coat finds its way around you,
Falling across your shoulders,
So why do I feel so alone?
You've now become my captor,
I must have looked like such a woos
To think you'd follow after,
The moon ceases to look amused,
His eyes shine bright with laughter,
'Cause how could I have fallen hard
For one who's just an actor?
A monster in an angel's robes,
Tell me, were you ever real?
Or were you just a distraction
To keep me occupied with zeal?
I'm afraid of the memories
Of what you made me feel,
I didn't think you were a thief,
But my heart was yours to steal,
At the end of the boardwalk I sit. A saline breeze stirs the drying leaves, whistling in Summer eaves. They kept her ashes. The water laps against the rotting wood, the same as every year. They took her and held her and now they keep her? She lies somewhere, ashen and light, finally away from them. This was her time, her final time to be reunited and then unfurled into an old world. I didn’t get to hug her, nor tell her that her truth was something worth leaving for. I didn’t get to tell her that I wanted her to stay. I’ve become a little girl again, selfish and tugging at soft maternal sleeves. From before, I remember some some song that said: “sadness is a long brown ribbon”. I know now, it is. It’s silken and smooth and I want to tie my throat with my mother’s brown ribbon. I want to gleam like saint in the new sun.
old and wise
and at that moment, as they stood there, on the edge of the board walk it all seemed so poetic. the love they shared had gone through every rough patch known to man kind. but standing here after so many trying times. having experienced the sweet, bitter and sour together. she half smiled as she took in the view on the sun backing into his hiding place, its long, golden fingers stretching out and reflecting on the lakes water. This was the place they confessed their love, the place he had proposed and now after so many years the place they would spend most of their days for the time they had left. soaking in every precious moments. indulging in every memory. loving the sun rise and watching it make way for the moon to take its place with dancing stars hovering around it. here they would grow grey and tell their love stories to their childre andgrand children. but most importantly; this would be a reminder of the love they shared. through the good and all of the bad. this was their spot. their home away from home...
Odie and the Extremely Long Business Trip
I knew my wife was heartbroken the day I told her those words:
“Penelope, I’m sorry; I’ve been asked to travel on a business trip with Aj and Mede to Troysburg to promote the company.”
“Well, if you insist! Go! Pack your things already! What’s ten weeks when I have a mother-in-law and a nanny to help me!”
“Thanks Penelope, I knew you’d understand,” I smiled as I kissed her on the cheek.
“Just bring home the moola, honey,” Penelope called back.
Odie set out with his managers, Aj and Mede, as well as many other salesmen to promote their company and sell items. They conquered the meeting and made a fortune in those ten weeks. Yet on their way back, there was a terrible tornado that picked up their car and flung them about for nine hours until they crash-landed in a junkyard in the city of the Cicones. After taking three days to recover in a hospital, they ravaged the nearest grocery store for supplies since most of their stuff had been hurled out the window while they were in that tornado. They nearly bought the store out of stock when the employees chased them out by throwing outdated produce and leftover samples.
The businessmen left the grocery store and hopped back in their dilapidated car. Odie turned the keys, yet the car wouldn’t start.
“It did get beat up in that tornado. I don’t think it will even start. We’ll buy a new car,” sighed Mede.
“We used up enormous amounts of money at the grocery store! How will we afford a car?” protested Aj.
“We’ll just rent a car. Follow me everyone. There’s a car rental just down the street. Let’s pick up our things and walk over,” decided Odie.
So the businessmen walked over to Polyphemus Car Rentals. While they were waiting, some of the men helped themselves to some cheese that the store offered for customers. While they were eating, the manager, Paul Phemus, saw them.
“Hey! It’s those businessmen who bought nearly everything in that grocery store! When I entered the store, I found they were all out of cheese! Now here you are, eating all the cheese we have left! Lock the doors! No one leaves this building until I’m finished with them!”
The employees hurriedly obeyed.
“Please, sir, we just want to rent a car. Then we’ll be on our way,” defended Odie.
“You shall be enslaved as employees for me until you pay off the amount of money you wasted eating all my cheese!” boomed Paul.
“Noooo! Sir! Please, spare us!” cried Odie.
Paul grabbed two of Odie’s businessmen and gave them nametags with the company symbol on it.
“They now belong to me!” decided Paul.
“No! Not Aj and Mede! Please, friends, turn from this wickedness! Don’t join his side!”
“Odie, I’m sorry, but I can’t help it; I was given a name tag. I must work for Paul now!” confessed Aj.
“Can't...resist, must….work...for Paul!” admitted Mede.
“You see? They can’t resist. Once a businessman, always a businessman. They are now...car salesmen!” declared Paul in his deep voice.
“NNNOOOOO!” screamed Odie as he fell on his knees and wailed at the ceiling. “Why? Why did this happen to me?!”
“Odie, you are now the head manager of the company. Make me proud!” whispered Mede as he disappeared into the EMPLOYEES ONLY room, never to be seen again by Odie and his businessmen.
Paul enslaved two more of Odie’s men the next day. However, when Paul was asleep, Odie snuck the keys of two Maserati car rentals. Then Odie and the businessmen drove away.
They drove all day, though by night both cars were low on gas. They pulled over, and Odie walked to a nearby gas station.
“Please, do you have any gas cans you can give us? Both cars are low on gas, and we need to return to the city of Ithaca as soon as possible.”
“Ah! You’re in luck! I have a special type of gas for you. If you use it for your cars, they will drive on forever without needing a refill. Yet whatever you do, don’t drink it, or you’ll be up all night.”
“Why would the drinker be up all night?” asked Odie.
“Son, trust me, you do not want to know,” sighed the man.
“How much is it?”
“Well, it’s pretty pricey, yet I’ve heard about what you did to Paul Phemus, the car rental salesman. Since you outsmarted him, I’m going to give you both cans for free! After all, he cheated me on a car awhile back, so this is my way of declaring ‘Take that!’”
“Thank you..uh..what’s your name?”
“Aeol. Here are your special cans. Pleasure doin’ business with ya!”
Odie walked back to the cars and filled them up. He didn’t fill all of them all the way though, he wanted to save some for his wife’s future golden Mitsubishi Chariot. As they continued to drive that night, some of the businessmen grew exceedingly thirsty, but Odie didn’t want to pull over because he was intent on arriving home. Unfortunately, they became immensely thirsty and tired and began to crave the cans of special gasoline. In fact, two of his men drank the remaining gas and soon became severely sick. They began to feel fatigued and nauseous. What started as coughing, turned into vomiting the gas they drank out the window. Since this was special gas, their symptoms were not minor. The two men were up all night sneezing and coughing extensively as they spun the car in all sorts of directions until Odie and the other driver were completely lost. Some news reporters saw the incident and decided to name a disease after it: Corona Gasolineria.
The two cars ended up at a mansion in the middle of nowhere. They asked the residents, Mr. and Mrs. Antiphate, to let them stay the night. Yet the couple turned out to be cannibals and Odie and most of his businessmen barely made it out alive. They sadly lost a few of their men. Thus, they hopped in the car and drove to the nearest police station to report what had just happened. Then they fell asleep in the car while Odie and the other driver continued to drive on. Along the way, they stopped in for a bathroom break when Odie and his men saw the Lotus Casino across the street. They were desperate to stretch their legs. So they walked in and ate and drank to their heart’s content. Little did they know that they are wasting weeks in that casino and gambling away all their money earned from the business meeting. After many weeks, Odie asked a fellow businessman in his company:
“Hey, do you know what time it is?” asked Odie.
“Time? Why should we care about time? We’re having a blast here at the Lotus Casino!”
“Well, I was thinking, we need to head back home now. Surely we’ve been here long enough, and I don’t know how much longer our money will hold out.”
“We still have plenty of money left. Just relax, Odie, and have fun!” he smiled as he rolled his die.
Odie observed everyone and found they were completely unaware of what was going on.
“I must get to the bottom of this. I need to make them stop eating the lotus flowers.”
Suddenly, Odie spotted a woman gazing down on everyone from a balcony. Odie figured she was the manager and the one behind everyone losing their awareness of what was happening. He rushed to the door that read: EMPLOYEES ONLY. It was locked. This was not a problem as Odie rammed a chair into the door and barged in. It was the manager standing on the balcony, her name was Circe.
“Well, well, well, I see you’ve figured out my evil plan!” she chided.
“I demand you stop whatever plan you’re using on my men and allow us to leave!”
“You think it will be that easy? I will free you and your business team if and only if you beat me in a game of wits. I have this poison here; it is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. I will pour it into one of the two cups of wine. If you drink the right cup and don’t die, you and your men will be free. If you die however, your men will be trapped here for eternity! Wha-ha-ha-ha!”
Odie thought about it long and hard.
“Well, Circe, you drive a hard bargain, but I accept. Pour the wine!”
She did and made sure Odie wasn’t peeking while she poured the poison. They sat down across from each other. Odie observed each of the cups. They were identical. Just as he was about to choose, he heard a voice from far away. He turned around to notice a man wearing sparkling boots with wings attached to them whispering from outside the room.
“Odie! My name is Hermie, and I saw which cup Circe put the poison in! Don’t drink the one on your left! It will kill you!”
“How can I trust you?” questioned Odie.
“You can’t,” smiled Circe. She hadn’t heard Hermie.
“You need to trust me, Odie. Don’t you want to reunite with your wife and child again?” asked Hermie.
Yes! Odie badly wanted to return home. He picked up the cup on the right and drank it. He felt fine and Circe grew furious.
“I can’t believe you won! How did you know?”
“Are you going to stay true to your word?” reminded Odie.
“Yes, yes,” she replied in an annoyed tone. She pressed a button and spoke into a microphone.
“Please bring me Odie’s business party.”
Down below, employees heard Circe’s command and gathered Odie’s men. They left the casino only to run into an old, blind man named Tyrone who had a prophecy for Odie in an alleyway.
He told Odie that he will save his wife and son from many door salesmen trying to sell her products that she does not need or want. They will bombard their house because Penelope recently received a large sum of money from her dead mother-in-law’s will. Many people wanted her money and were desperately trying to sell their products to her. In order to prevent this from happening, he and his men must resist petting the fancy, pampered poodles of the famous millionaire Surya. As Odie and the others were leaving, many old, blind, hobos and beggars crowd around Odie to talk. Some wanted to buy his clothes right off of him; others wanted to sell them junk they had collected. To be kind, Odie stayed a while longer and listened to their stories on how they had become homeless.
Afterwards they drove on, and along the way sirens blared loud advertisements in their ears. Odie was extremely annoyed and wanted to destroy those sirens.
“AAHHH! This song will not leave my head! All I want to do is buy bubblegum and back scratchers! Make it stop!” shouted Odie.
“Odie, just keep driving and forget about those catchy advertisement songs. All they want is your money anyway,” urged a fellow businessman in the car.
However, as they’re driving through the towns of Scylla and Charybdis, Odie’s men couldn’t resist the temptation and begged Odie to drop them off so they could buy the products the advertisements were blaring out.
“We want Palmbrellas! We want Palmbrellas!”
Reluctantly, Odie let everyone who wanted Palmbrellas out and made the journey with one car now and his few businessmen left.
They drove on, only to pass by Surya’s mansion. The businessmen peered out the window only to notice the lovely green lawn full of fancy, pampered poodles. They begged to be let out of the car too so they could stretch their legs. Yet while Odie shut his eyes, the businessmen petted the fancy, pampered poodles. Instantly, Odie remembered the prophecy, and to his devastation he saw the men were transfixed in petting poodles.
“No! Stop! Don’t touch them! Do you want my wife to be swarmed with door salesmen?” cried Odie.
But it was too late. The sky grew dark and the businessmen transformed into poodles. Surya walked out and laughed wickedly.
“More poodles to add to my collection! Yes! Now I have 101 fancy, pampered poodles! Wha-ha-ha-ha!”
Odie knew there was no way his men would return. He sadly drove away. Once a poodle, always a poodle. There was no turning back.
When he reached the city of Ogygia, a new law had been announced that everyone must be quarantined due to this new infectious disease called Corona Gasolineria. Odie was forced to stay at Lady Cally’s house for many miserable and boring months. Lady Cally, however, was extremely enchanted with Odie and begged him to stay even after the quarantine. Yet Hermie, who apparently stalked Odie the entire time, convinced Lady Cally to help Odie sneak out of the house during quarantine. She gave him the keys to her third favorite car and he drove away.
Along the way, all four tires popped thanks to Percy, the father of Paul, who had hated Odie for outsmarting his son, the car salesman. Luckily, a car mechanic named Imellia was hitchhiking nearby and ran to Odie’s rescue and fixed his tires. She pulled new tires out of her magical purse. Just in case Percy were to sabotage Odie again, she let him keep the purse until he made it to the next gas station.
Odie drove until the tank was empty and then dropped off the purse by the side of the road for anyone to pick up later. The gas station was called Phaeacia’s Perfect Palace. Odie walked in to buy gas and Phaecia asked him to stay and talk of his journey and whereabouts since quarantine had given her fewer customers and less to do. Odie stayed and talked about everything that had happened the last year.
Afterwards, she gave him gas and Odie reached Ithaca City.
Meanwhile, Marcus was two years old and Odie had long missed his first steps. Penelope, desperate to give Marcus a break from the salesmen, decided to enroll Marcus in a daycare. He met a toddler his age named Pablo and together they explored the playground to their heart’s content. However, he noticed his mother was missing and tried to escape so he could join her, yet the caregiver caught him and brought him back to the playground.
Meanwhile, Penelope tried to get rid of the many door salesmen that surrounded her house. They kept banging on the door, the windows, even tried to talk to her through the vents of her house. There was hardly any privacy. Often Penelope would find herself locked away in her room to catch a breather from them. Yes, she had tried ignoring them, yet they knew she was in her house nonetheless. All the while she heard screaming men shout:
“Buy one Tandem Beer Mug, get one free!”
“Wooden saws! You know you want one!”
“Silverware made from rope! Everybody needs woven silverware!”
“If you buy this hairy plate in the next 24 hours, we’ll give you three more for free!”
“High tide heels, it’s the new trend!”
“Palmbrellas! Buy one now and receive the next one half off.”
“Ugh! Just leave!” screamed Penelope covering her ears. She finally ventured out and asked for more time to decide which product she wanted to buy, when truthfully, she didn’t want any.
Marcus walked around the playground asking for volunteers to help him escape the daycare and find his mother. It was going well until two kids saw a daycare worker blowing bubbles for some other children. Mesmerized by the floating, shining, and wonderful smelling bubbles, they run over and join the others to pop them. More and more saw the bubbles and joined in as well. That left Marcus and Pablo right where they started. With nothing better to do, they sat down and drew with chalk.
When Odie arrived home, he saw to his dismay his house was overrun with door salesmen.
“Alas! The prophecy became true!” he cried. “I need help if I want to save my poor wife and son from these annoying men. I must be stealthy if I want to catch these door salesmen by surprise. I better lay low and find some help,” mused Odie.
He walked down the neighborhood to Elijah’s house, who had been a loyal friend and helpful neighbor for many years. Odie knocked on the door. Elijah quickly opened it and didn’t recognize Odie because he was weathered down from the journey. Plus, Elijah and Odie had not seen each other for over two years because Odie’s business trip was longer than expected.
“What can I do for you, kind sir?” asked Elijah.
“I noticed the house down the street was overrun with door salesman. I was wondering if you could help me rid them from the house?” replied Odie.
“Why should we bother with that mess?”
“I have not been in the neighborhood long, but I want to be a friendly neighbor to Penelope and her household. Surely, you agree?”
“Yes, of course! However, I have no idea how to rid the house of door salesmen.”
“Well, I have no experience in vanquishing salesmen…” lied Odie. “Yet I once rid the house of a mice infestation by setting out a large plate of cheese. While the mice were eating the cheese, I quickly threw a cage on top of them and caught them all!”
“Bravo, sir! I think I'm beginning to understand your plan. Only instead of cheese, let us steal the money from the door salesmen while they sleep. Next, we’ll put it in a huge chest and put it in the center of the neighborhood. When they run up and start to fill their pockets with money, we shall capture them in the largest cage we can!”
“Excellent! You work on the cage, and I’ll work on stealing all their money tonight.”
That night, Odie snuck all the money from the door salesmen as they camped around his house. He placed all their money in a chest and put it in the center of the neighborhood. After that, he helped Elijah strap the cage to a tree over the chest. This way they could pull a string and the cage could fall on top of the door salesmen. Then they would call the police.
The next day, as the door salesmen were waking up and eating unhealthy cereal for breakfast, Odie climbed on Elijah's roof and shouted: “Hear ye! Hear ye! For all you door salesmen out there! There is a ginormous chest full of money in the center of this neighborhood. Claim it now while you still can!”
As soon as the door salesmen heard ‘ginormous chest of money’ they sprinted towards the center of the neighborhood. Elijah was waiting for them, ready to pull the rope and trap them. Penelope, Eulalie, and Marcus woke up to the noise and rushed outside to find the door salesmen running away.
“It’s a miracle!” screamed Penelope. “They’re all gone!”
“Who’s that funky looking man on your neighbor’s roof?” asked Eulalie.
“Why, if I didn’t know better I’d think it was Odie, but it can’t be because he’s still gone on a business trip,” sighed Penelope.
When Odie heard that, we climbed down and ran to Penelope.
Penelope was extremely relieved and overjoyed at her husband’s return that she didn’t know how to respond and broke down crying. While Penelope, Odie, Marcus, and Eulalie were catching up, Elijah had captured all the door salesmen and called the police.
Odie and Penelope would never worry about door salesmen anymore because no businessman would ever forget who Odie was. Odie became a legend from his two year journey. Odie became the head of the company as well. He hired new employees and expanded the business. He and his family became wealthy and lived in a rich mansion of their own. No door salesman ever bothered them. Marcus grew up and pursued a career path similar to his father. He enrolled in college and studied business for his major. Eulalie decided to live with Odie’s family, where she cared for the three of them. Thus, they lived happily ever after.
Sunday evening. The clouds are hovering low on the horizon. The sun is sinking. And then there’s just us.
Here at the end of the boardwalk, where the wooden boards are chipping, we stood there, waiting.
I placed my hand on her shoulder and felt it. I turned away so those old eyes couldn’t see me.
If by miracle she knew, she didn’t say anything. She just looked at the waves crashing onto the shores and breathed in and breathed out. Breathe in and breathe out. There was not much else that her body could muster.
You know that feeling that you get when you know it’s going to be the final time? It’s not something you become aware of because we like to believe in fairytales that never end. When reality crashes through the delusions we tell ourselves, after the initial shock, it’s a gradual descent of memories and emotions that builds on itself and collapses into a mess that refuses to pick itself up and simply. Stop. Crying.
So there we were, our final trip together. A day not unlike so many others, but punctuated by the end. I already know what’s coming. How can I not know the drowning and the thoughts that haunt you with regrets? How can I not know the sorrow that diffuses into your identity, a constant leech of your happiness, and the hole that oozes of heartbreak no one can heal? How can I not know the hollow support that never fully reaches you but echos just enough to mock you? How can I not know the ones that don’t dare take a step through the door so they don’t see what’s raw? How can I not know the alienation and the isolation, the feeling that no one can understand this pain?
The stars grew brighter as the sun disappeared. It was time to go, and there wasn’t much that could said about what needed to happen. I took her with me. I shut her eyes, and singing softly for her but secretly for me, I said goodbye to this reality one last time.
The End of the Boardwalk
The end of the boardwalk had always been a retreat, a calming escape when life got too chaotic. I would walk to the edge, and sit down, away from the people crowding around stands, winnng prizes they would throw away in a couple of monthstaking in the beautiful lake spanning what seemed to be forever in front of me. When I sat on the end of the boardwalk all my problems seemed to dissapear, the feeling that filled me was serenity. I haven't been to the boardwalk in a while, I moved for college and haven't been back since. But someday, maybe soon, maybe 50 years in the future, I know I will come back and sit on the end of the boardwalk.
This boardwalk is the only thing
separating me from you.
Its rotting wood is home to many, beetles, woodlice and worms.
At least they have a home.
They haven't been evicted, humiliated or betrayed.
The swamp below the boardwalk is full of life.
Fishes swim in the murky water and
frogs lay eggs.
At least they are settled not thrown into disrepair.
The moment you looked at that girl I knew it was over.
The kingfisher keeps a watchful eye on the water, diving in when an opportunity arises.
At least he can come and go.
You changed the locks and threw out my clothes.
Making room for your new woman,
I'm just a passing glance.
This boardwalk separates me from you.
It creaks and moans when I put my foot on it, as I move further along, water seeps onto the wood.
I want to move forward and get on with my life
but I must take a step back, create a new boardwalk,
one which doesn't lead to you.