“He looks so real,” says a small voice below me.
‘Because I am real,’ I think to myself.
It has been 456 days since my drunken car accident that put the real Columbus statue to rest at the bottom of this quaint Balearic harbor. It has been 8 minutes since the last Gull released a torrent of hot white excrement on my head.
My ritualistic penance is the same every day. Wake up early, paint myself in this god awful smelling grey goop and climb this obelisk. My personal hell.
I point and they gawk. I really need to pee.
Danny Machal April 30th, 2015
“Are you laughing at me?“
John grumbled blinking his eyes open from a nap. Mary held up the small mirror to her husband’s face trying to hide her sniggering. His eyes got wide.
His lips had been transformed into blood red and his cheeks a light shade of maroon. There were dark rings around his eyes like he had just gone the distance in one of his old MMA fights.
The muscle bound white t-shirt he was wearing began to expand as the thick sinew strands of his chest filled with blood in a rage. Someone had attacked him. An old rival maybe? Was the family okay?
Jumping up to a fighting stance he was met with the big blue eyes of his little girl. Her tiny hands were covered in red lipstick and blue makeup powder.
“See how pretty you are now Daddy?” she giggled. He melted.
Danny Machal April 29th, 2015
Al adjusted a set of small brass rimmed reading glasses on the bridge of his nose to get a better look at the small cedar music box. The skinny brass frames were always slipping down. Lenora always reminded him that bigger plastic frames would hold fast in place but as a stubborn husband (a bit of a fashionista to boot) he was compelled to protest. He liked the smaller shiny brass frames that carried an air of refinement when he wore them.
“Let’s see what we have here,” he said aloud in English. His accent is barely noticeable these days.
He couldn’t remember when his thoughts and dreams had converted from his native French tongue but it was a slow process. Speaking the language of his lovely wife Lenora became a familiar comfort always reminding him of who held his heart.
Of course as a great man once said, “Men often resort to their native tongue in the throes of passion.” A smile crept across Al’s face as a devilish lustful memory crossed his mind. This was quite the common occurrence when distracted by thoughts of Lenora.
Al flipped the tiny metal latch opening the lid of the small brown box. A song started to instantly chime away as the old wound up clockwork began to come to life. That song.
* * *
The caw of a small baby Jay caught Lenora’s ears outside the restaurant kitchen window. Suddenly a loud concussive smash shook the thin window pane ever so slightly startling the Jay causing the little bird to fly off and pester an unsuspecting worm or grasshopper.
Down in a bowl of fresh bread dough lay the perfect impact crater of her fist. The aftermath of the ‘widow-maker’ of a punch she just through down into it made her smile warmly. Lenora wasn’t a large woman or particularly even strong but she could hold her own against Jays and bread.
Staring down at the off white imprint counting all her knuckles made her think of Alerion’s (though most call him Al) small stint of amateur boxing when they both first came back to America together. Alerion was always ready to defend her honor any time and any place. It was part of how they first came to know each other. He was a young French carpenter of nineteen barely able to swing a hammer without smashing his thumb. She was an equally young American cooking student of twenty three studying the art of French Cuisine at the Ferrandi French School of Culinary Arts in Paris.
Alerion had taking a big licking stepping between her and a group of pesky French boys who were shouting at her with intentions that were less than honorable. After they had their way with him she remembered kneeling down next to his curled up body. There was blood all over the pavement and his eyes were practically swollen shut. Somehow he managed to look up at her through the tiny slit of his good eye and smiling a half toothless grin he muttered one word, “booty.”
Disgusted she grunted and stormed off leaving him there. Later she would learn he meant, “Beauty.”
Little did they know that one moment in time was going to be the final snowflake in the avalanche that would carry them on many adventures together before settling in Northern California and building a small Bed & Breakfast off the interstate called Château de Montagne.
She tossed a damp kitchen towel over the bowl of dough to let it rise and went off to see how he was coming along sorting out the Château de Montagne’s lost and found box.
Danny Machal April 28th, 2015
Clayton Rivershine spit over his shoulder grinding his boot heel into the iron rich red rock dirt.
The Whocka Tribal Elders looked on in disgust.
“Ya’ll can’t win no race against Lightning Rod. He is the fastest horse in the west,” he said out of the corner of his mouth.
“Horse too slow. Never win against Whocka stallion,” the Chief waved his arm forward.
A human wall of face painted Whocka warriors behind the Chief parted allowing an old brown horse to emerge -slowly walking forward.
“Chief you are off your rocker. Hell, I’ll even give you a ten second head start if that old thing don’t die first,” Clayton jumped on Lightning Rod causing him to rear up and dig his hooves into the dust.
The Chief pulled a small pouch off his belt. Scooping out a handful of its contents he feed the substance to his old horse before sliding himself on the beast’s old back.
A gunshot cracked through the air and the race was on.
The Chief and his old horse trotted forward at a fast walk. Hardly a run. Clayton counted to ten before digging his spurs in Lightning Rod who let out a cry. Muscles pushed forward like great steam engines spinning up. Smoke appeared to pour from flared black nostrils as the great steed lurched forward.
Clayton would be on the Chief in a few seconds. An easy victory. Just like he thought.
Without warning the old brown horse stopped and lifted its tail.
Clayton only had a few moments before the exposed puckering brown opening on the old horses’ behind began whistling a high pitched tune that instantly made his ear drums wretch in pain and his vision blurry.
The smell was even worse. His eyes were forced closed and flooded with tears. The very air he was breathing felt like it was made from the fires of hell itself.
Lightning Rod fell over unconscious almost instantly trapping Clayton’s leg under his great girth. Clayton writhed and wiggled failing to free himself. He began to furiously wave his hat struggling to create a pocket of fresh air anywhere near his nose and mouth.
The Chief’s silhouette suddenly appeared holding the small pouch from earlier. Clayton was now in the thick of stink fog that was suffocating him.
Tiny beans that you might use in a chili began to rain down over Clayton.
Leaning in close to Clayton’s ear the Chief spoke in his monotone way, “Horse too slow. Passes with the Wind always win every race.”
Danny Machal April 26th, 2015
Have you ever dreamt of a fantastic place you had never been but somehow knew every detail?
* * *
“I am the only person in the world with this job,” the old man flipped down one of the many magnifiers causing the tiny brass gears on his eye piece to whir to life. He seems annoyed with your questions.
You fold your hands in your lap and stare at him silently as he examines a tiny glass orb with your childhood home recreated inside. Carefully he sits the orb down on a stand and nudges it toward you.
“Is it how you remember it?” he asks you in his hoarse old man voice coughing out the word ‘it.’
You lean close and take inventory of the place you grew up. Behind your reflection on the crystal clear glass you see the front porch where your Dad talked to you about girls. Mom’s failed botanical experiments hang from the white paint chipped railings as dry and barren as they always were. You can even make out the plush old blue Lazyboy in the front window that Grandpa used to sit at whenever he would visit.
You sigh quietly to yourself nodding, “It is.”
“Good,” the old man pushes a big yellow button on his desk causing a small door to open in the wall. A tiny cart attached to a tiny rail emerges like something out of Mr. Rogers trolley to the Land of Make Believe. Gently, his old leathery but practiced fingers lay the small orb into special grooves on the tiny cart securing it into place for the journey ahead to The Archive. You wonder how many times throughout history this exact ritual has been performed.
‘How many people have been called to this dark messy workshop to validate the memory of places that once were?’ you think to yourself.
He pushes the big yellow button again opening another small door at the end of the tiny rail. As you watch the tiny cart fade into that tiny black hole you wonder if you will ever see it again. Will anyone ever be able to make memories there they way you did? How could they now that it has been destroyed to make room for a Shopping Center?
The old man senses your growing concern as he has dealt with this hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands maybe even millions of times now. You turn to him as the little cart opening closes blending back into the smooth wall from which it was born leaving the tiny rail destined to a dead end.
Before you have a chance to speak the old man raises his hand in protest.
“Sleep on it,” he smiles and snaps his fingers but the sound of the crack in the air doesn’t end. It echoes as your vision fades to darkness with each pulse of sound.
* * *
Somewhere a writer is waking up. For months now he has been stuck on finding the perfect location for his new children’s book designed to teach wholesome family values.
He WAS stuck.
Danny Machal April 26th, 2015