It’s Not You, It’s Me
I’m not just not talking to you
I’m not talking to you
Or you either
I’m mostly just talking to me
And you too
Don’t deserve to have to carry my weight
Because neither you
Nor even you
Know how heavy an empty frame weighs
Reel ’em in.
Writers are fishermen of attention. If the good ones hook you, you'll never get free.
Prologue to JADE - MURDER WITHOUT REMORSE
“I have no feeling when I kill! I feel no remorse! I am not like other people. Killing is only a means to an end for me. I have certain goals and killing brings me closer to my destiny. Can you explain to me why I do the things that I do? I’m afraid I will continue killing but I want to know why,” Jade related to me with a stone cold face.
Jade had only contempt for the emotions of others. Her sole gratification was based upon her need to delude, control and exploit. However, she was so narcissistic that she wanted to feed upon my deeper emotions since she knew that I cared about her well-being. She really did not care if she had the understanding or company of others but I realized that she could not survive a solitary existence. Thus; she used me as a sounding board. I understood that her emotional persona could not subsist without collateral damage. I knew that I could not let myself become one of her casualties because she was quite capable of victimizing, persecuting and tormenting me as well as others.
I am Dr. Stanley Cohen and I am a psychiatrist working on a research project to further my own understanding of this psychopathic young lady and others like her. Because of medical ethics, I can never share this information with legal authorities so have no input in establishing whether she will, in fact, kill again. I want to understand why she feels driven to act out her desires in such a murderous way. She has admitted that she is unable to change and is completely lacking in empathy. The young lady in question is self-referred to me and is a fascinating case study. The crimes that she has committed are brutal, heinous and without any reason or merit. Her exquisite exterior belies that which is beneath the surface.
Although I fight my own feelings when dealing with Jade, I must admit that, sometimes, I feel a vicarious thrill when she tries to justify her actions. I do my best to fight my reactions but despite these efforts, occasionally find myself unsuccessful. I wonder if this is why some psychiatrists go into this field in the first place. I want to help my clients but have to admit that after years of dealing with psychiatric patients, I have developed almost an understanding of their behaviors. And, if truth were to be told, I almost feel a deep affection for this particular patient, Jade, although I would never admit to this response when I counsel her. I strive to remain objective at all times but have to admit that I am imperfect at times. I can’t realize it as I write this, but my feelings for this client will ultimately lead to a disastrous ending which I will be unable to prevent no matter what actions I take. The story that I am about to tell will snowball completely out of control and will culminate in a catastrophic conclusion for which I will be unable to suppress the consequences.
I have changed the names, places and most of the locations of these murders committed by Jade in order to preserve the sanctity of my profession. I wish I could be of help to this disturbed young woman but I honestly don’t think I can. Here is her story as related to me and as I understand it.
I inhale deeply and watch as a thin grey haze fills the room. Small clouds of heavy smoke swirling around me as if forecasting a change in the weather. Silently waiting for a storm. I narrow my eyes and gaze at the only other person in the small room, then my eyelids close for a moment and a smile spreads on my lips.
“Tilly Saint Jones, now that was a character. Couldn’t stay in place for five seconds even if her life depended on it.”
I look at Marry Lou as she works on her wine. She doesn’t seem to be very interested in the subject. She stretches on the green sofa, her eyes a bit glazed. But then she looks up as if she just heard me.
“People talked a lot about that girl back in the days.”
“Why wouldn’t they, she was a real sight, that one.”
“Yes, Tilly was - special.”
“Don’t smile like that Lou, you’ll get crow’s feet.”
I stare at her for a moment, inspecting her blond curls pinned up like a little piece of art. Some of it slipping out, burgundy heels laying on the floor. She sits in a half lying position, her right arm supporting her head. Her deep emerald eyes narrow like those of a cat.
“Rubbish, I will smile however I want.”
“Do as you please.”
My own eyes wander to the window and the darkness outside, its past twelve and the street seems deserted. I sigh and let my brain sink in the memories. I put down the cigarette and sip on my tonic.
“There was just something about Tilly, pretty girl, but always getting herself into trouble.”
“You used to hang out a lot with her.”
I look at Marry Lou, as she pulls out the pins out of her hair, golden locks falling down her slender shoulders. She seems more relaxed now. Well, I guess that’s what the liquor did. It made us care less about our surrounding and more about our comfort.
“Yes, once upon a blue moon. One could never get bored with that creature. She made everything more fun, while she constantly spent her life running away from herself. Did you know she was married once? She married this businessman from Seattle. She didn’t really care for his money but for the way, he swept her off her feet. Made her feel special. He romanced her and showed her the world. He thought he could keep her. But nothing could keep Tilly in place. Maybe he thought that he would keep his girl entertained. Cause that’s what she was, barely seventeen - but he had the money, so they made it legal. After all, what are over twelve months against the power of real love? Boy, did he have it wrong, four months and she was gone. Like no one ever heard of her, as if she disappeared into thin air. How she managed to run away from such a powerful man? That still remains a mystery.”
“So no one knew?”
“Not officially, but there was gossip, there always is. Most people believed that she had problems and wanted to end herself, but that was just the vile tongues jealous of her new status as Mrs. Edgar Morentine... then again, maybe they were right. Tilly did have problems, so many of them.”
Lou shifts on the sofa and sits up.
“So what actually happened there?”
I light up another cigarette and take off my jacket, the sparkly long dress that I wear under it was a bit uncomfortable but at least it looked good on me.
“As said, there was gossip. But people who were around then, know that the newest Mrs. Morentine was a smart little thing, that could have made things happen if she wanted it badly enough.”
Marry Lou gets more animated, eyes blinking faster.
“So a guy?”.
“Yes, there is always a guy, sweetheart. People said it was the gardener; a strong looking fellow but it was actually his youngest son. Just seventeen but madly in love our little Tilly. She had him wrapped around her finger. He never stood a chance.”
I get up and pour myself another gin and tonic, then I pick up a bottle standing on the floor and pour some wine for Lou. I’m trying to keep her attention awake while she is still animated. She looks up at me and waves a hand at my feet.
“Take off your shoes, darling, this isn’t exactly Milano.”
I do as she says and sit back by the window. I close my eyes and massage my feet. I shouldn’t have spent so many hours in these. The sudden sound of Lou’s voice brings me back.
“So tell me, Katherine. How did T. Saint Jones run away just with the help of a boy? After all, crazy hormones will only get you so far.”
She smiles and sips on the deep ruby liquid, her red lipstick leaving stains on the glass.
“You are thinking like the rest of them. Always not appreciating Tilly’s many, many talents. That girl knew how to get around even at her young age. And she knew that James... let’s call him that, was mad for her, but the thing that was important, was how popular the gardener’s son really was. People were very fond of him. And to get a favor from those people was the easiest thing in the world. Especially when planning an escape.”
I stare at the night behind the thin glass, and lower the zipper of my dress a bit; such a pretty thing but so hard to breathe in. I hear faint rustling sounds and turn my head around. Marry Lou crosses her arms, giving me a funny look.
“Don’t you think like this story is a bit over the top?”
“No, if anything the story doesn’t have enough facts. There is so much that we don’t know. For example, we know what happened to Tilly in the end. Such sad news, don’t you think?”
“Some of us weren’t that surprised. To be honest, a lot of people thought it would happen sooner.”
“Yes, they didn’t have the same faith in her as I had. They didn’t know how she really was.”
Lou lifts her legs and puts them on the sofa, then strokes the velvet material covering it and furrows her eyebrows.
“Kat, what really happened to Tilly?”
I watch her calmly and see her shiver.
“I think you already know, I think everyone knows.”
“No Kat, I mean why did it happen? Why did she fall?”
“Just like people said, she had problems.”
“But you don’t believe it.”
“Believe in what, Lou?”
“That she took her life because her mind was wrong ... or that she just slipped?”
“Silly girl, a woman like Tilly Saint Jones doesn’t just slip or fall. She doesn’t overdose like the coroner states. I think you and I both know that she had some help with leaving.”
I can see her still shivering as if there was a draft in the room, but she herself doesn’t seem to notice it. She gulps down the entire glass of wine and pours out of what’s left in the bottle. Then she looks at me as if challenging me.
“Tilly was strong. Maybe I didn’t approve of her and gossiped just like the rest of those fools, but that’s the one thing I know for sure. She was strong.”
“Yes, but she was also wild and untamed, too many people trying to kill that quality in her.”
“Tell me more about Tilly. I want to know her better.”
I light up another cigarette and watch the heavy smoke float lazily in the air.
“Not a problem, we have the whole night for that.”
I smile and empty my glass, running fingers through my thick chocolate brown hair.
“Lou, did I ever tell you how she met that funny fellow, Carl?”
“Yes, now that guy was amusing. Tilly absolutely adored him. Some she was even close to love.”
“Our little Tilly Saint Jones, in love?”
“Yes, well stranger things happen. But I will tell you one thing. That girl was the wildest of them all. She had adventures that most of us can only dream about. It’s a shame that some didn’t appreciate her the way that they should.”
My voice turns cold as Lou asks with a sudden intensity that wasn’t there before.
“Please, tell me more about her?”
My lips stretch out into a smile and I loosen my dress even more. This story might take a while.
“As said, we have the whole night, and there is much to say about Tilly. So back to that Carl guy. Now that one I really liked, he always made her smile....”
(A slightly ajar door to the room closes, as smoke still lingers in the air and two women talk more. Their voices low in an empty house. The view moves to the hall and then outside. The lock on the front door clicks shut, and the night slowly turns into morning.)
And to this day people still wonder. What did really happen to Tilly Saint Jones? That crazy, unstoppable girl. That’s something no one knows for certain, but people gossip.
After all these years they still gossip.
(The picture slowly grows dark, and a fade out on the scene.)
Wandering on Edge of Life
Whet thy whistle and cherish
soft peaks of life
swing from frayed ropes
dangle from hot tin roofs
tap wild bare feet
Whet thy whistle and savor
horses trotting on old brick roads
black eyed sunflowers bending
spirits hiding in gray mist
rushing wind on blushed ears
Whet thy whistle and witness
feverish tracks of strewn rocks
fingers rustling on silken grass
fingernail moons and froggy leaps
sun dances in waving winds
Whet thy whistle and listen
warm breeze piping
wetness whispers of wind
waving palms mid azure skies
thousands of tales murmuring
WANDER AT THE EDGE OF LIFE WITH EARTH AT YOUR FEET
Merry Christmas to All My Friends at Prose
Let this Christmas Day
and this holiday season
embrace our time together
singing the songs of angels.
May the joy you bestow
to others come back
to you on winged feet.
Let the peace in your hearts
waft into still air as you
cocoon yourself in
warm magic blanket
of Christmas morn.
Absorb childhood fantasies
and pleasures of youth.
May you wave a wand
and transform your existence
into one that is softer and brighter.
May your skies be so high
that you lose sight
of your troubles.
Embrace the genial flickers
of heartfelt charity.
Know that every sunrise
brings a new day.
at gliding clouds
and diamond stars.
May the feelings
live forever within
your heart, filled
with good tidings.
Beware of office
so you won’t have to
look for a new job!
(I threw that in to see
if you were listening!)
and may you be heir
to peace and goodwill
and a mighty New Year.
the crisp air pierces
untangle and stir
a subtle ache
and finally in place
the art of letting go
it’s last string
are blackened ; faded
it is time to bask,
in the distant sunlit rays
Warm air, hot sand, and garage bands.
Big waves and salty hair,
Cotton candy skies and flutterbyes,
Smells like summer,
Closed eyes and warm embrase,
Sun kissed skin and tropical perfumes,
Peace, love and happieness, and VW vans,
Lots of friends, losts of laughter, and lots of love....
Quiet I sit in the middle of chaos,
Thunder clapping from all directions
Screams and crying flow thick through the air.
I grip onto what sanity I have left. A sliver of hope.
Make it stop. Make It Stop! MAKE IT STOP!!!!
Clench my eyes shut. Just to open them to nothing.
I am alone. The world is still.... the world is quiet... I am calm.
The winding road
the road is an open canvas,
even when one strays
a new galaxy, a gallery of beauty
never before encountered
gently beckoning the eye