The Lighter Side of JzB

Here you will find photos, poetry, and possibly some light-hearted foolishness. For the Heavier Side
of JzB
see my other blog,
Retirement Blues. (There be dragons!)

I claim copyright and reserve all rights for my original material of every type and genre.

Every day visits*
From Moose, Goose, and Orb Weaver
All seized by Haiku

"Why moose and goose?" you may ask. Back on 2/04/13 Pirate wrote a haiku with an elk in it, and I responded with
one with a moose and then included him every day. A few days later in comments Mystic asked "Where's the goose?"
So I started including her with this post on 2/07. A week later on the 14th, Mark Readfern
asked for and received a spider. The rest is history.

*Well, most days, anyway. Grant me a bit of poetic license.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Marci's Thread

This post contains the story fragments in which Marci is the PoV character.  They are presented in story order, not posting order.  Links to the original posts are provided.  There you will find the prompts, and quite often some other elaboration on the story fragment.

Marci is the pivot for this story, but as of 11/15/12 BUSINESS was the first entry from her PoV.

Like many 10-year-old girls, Marci believed in Fairies; and unlike most she had good reason to - so midnight at mid-summer seemed like the best time to go find one.

She sneaked out of the house and ran the five blocks to the little neighborhood park - the perfect place at the perfect time - and just then a connection to their world opened, and she stepped across.

Soon she came across a real fairy, the size of a grown woman with a wing-span at least twice her height, awesome and terrible in her austere beauty, who was not at all happy to see her.

She spoke strange words in her melodious voice, rippling like the fast water in a shallow brook, but somehow Marci understood their meaning: "Go home child, you were not invited here - and you are not yet ready."

When Marci woke the next morning she thought it might just have been a dream, but years later she discovered it was all true.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Marci was a sophomore majoring in art when she met H. Bradley Tallemond, benefactor of the school and patron of the arts, at a student exhibition.

After 30 years of marriage to the former high fashion model he called "The Ice Queen", Brad was more than ready for a woman one third his age, and at 19 Marci was a prime and compliant target: their courtship was quick - she was in his bed that same night.

He loaned her $10,000 to devote to an IPO he couldn't legally touch, and within 6 months she had not only paid back the loan but was $137,000 richer.

Her part of the bargain was that he could have her whenever he wanted in any way that he wanted, and for the next few years he called on her two or three times a month, meanwhile guiding her investment decisions in up and down markets.

By the time he died in a mysterious boating accident when she was 26, Marci already owned her own gallery and was well on her way to her second million.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 


She knew right away the stamps were no good — no good for mailing anyway. They were, if anything, Marci thought, even stranger than the other weird artifacts in the oversized roll-top desk that crazy old great-uncle Albert had bequeathed to her. He had disposed of most of the detritus of his picaresque life before his final illness laid him low. But either he never got around to the contents of this desk, or they were things he simply couldn’t bear to part with. 

There was the quill he used as a writing pen, that he claimed was a hippogriff feather, and a vicious-looking, foot-long bony spike he said was a manticore's sting. Marci unrolled the tattered scrap of what looked like starched silk, but felt like a rubbery membrane. Uncle Albert claimed it was a torn remnant of a fairie's wing. The only time Marci had ever seen him break down in tears was when he told her that story. 

With a sigh, she rerolled what was left of the wing and returned to the strip of stamps. Each was the size of a playing card, and as she touched each one, its picture seemed to come to life for a brief instant. The sad-eyed fairy fluttered her wings and hid her face in her hands. The threatening-looking unicorn aggressively stomped a fore-hoof. The lascivious faun satyr, strutting in full tumescence, winked and thrust himself at her. 

Suddenly aroused, Marci shuddered and, blushing, put the stamps away and closed the desk. Here in uncle Albert's study was not the place to explore those kinds of ideas. Before Rob moved off to Lansing, she'd have him and his friends move the desk to her apartment. 

There she could explore the many oddities of this old desk, and ponder the things she found there at her leisure. Most specially those stamps. Maybe that shy fairy had a sad tale to share. Maybe the faun satyr could teach her about pleasure in ways she hadn't yet imagined. And maybe that unicorn could transport her to adventures in a strange new world.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Weird Cubby Holes
[100WCGU #68]

Marci decided that such a bulky piece of furniture needed to do more than just take up space.  The cubby holes behind the roll top were perfect for storing her transistor radio, tape player, and the watch Rob gave her.

Later, she replaced the batteries in the radio and tape player, but neither ever ran again.  She took the watch to a repair shop and paid more than the original purchase price for a new mechanism.  But afterward it always ran unpredictably either fast or slow.

“It’s weird,” she told her friend Amy, “they worked when I put them away.”

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

SLUMBER [Vision]

After dinner, Marci was drawn again to the roll top desk.

Almost absently, she opened it and slipped into the heavy oak chair.

Suddenly sleepy, she laid her head on her arms, close to the cubby holes holding some of Uncle Albert's weird artifacts.

She missed the old man, and welcomed the connection the old desk offered.

Soon she drifted off, and in her strange dreams saw life-like visions of [what she thought were] imaginary creatures.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

When she woke from the dream, Marci felt drawn to her easel.

Usually she would carefully strategize and then sketch out a drawing; this time the paints almost seemed to spontaneously fly to the canvas, as if the brush were guiding her hand.

Eventually, it dawned on her that he hadn't yet had breakfast, so she set the brush down and stepped back for a moment.

Yes - the likeness was almost perfect; she had captured the dreamy beauty of that long oval face, though her eyes weren't quite the exact shade of green.

Now - to get the angle just right on her wing  .  .  . 

 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Marci found the gilt-framed painting behind Great Uncle Albert's desk - another curious artifact.  The family resemblence was obvious, and she speculated that it might be her grandmother, as a young woman.  That would place it in the mid fifty's, though the hairstlye, dress and oil lantern were not of that era.

She hung it in her bedroom, and soon it became a familiar feature, easily overlooked.  At times, though, Marci thought she noticed a slight change in position or expression. But that seemed too weird, and how can you be sure about these things?

A few months later, when the full moon streamed through Marci's window at midnight, she woke to find the woman striding out of the picture frame.  She placed the lantern on a side table, sat on the edge of Marci's bed and stroked her hair.

"There is much I need to tell you," she said.

 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The club was quiet that night, but Marci wasn’t bored.  She stayed until closing time, nursing a glass of pinot noir and her own private thoughts.  When she left, instead of getting in her car and driving home, she set off into the woods behind the parking lot. Just a whim, she told herself, though it felt purposeful.

She thought about the time when she was young and had wandered on her own into the other realm, and wondered why she had never tried to do it again.

Until now. 

The woods grew deeper around her and, though the night was warm, goose bumps rose on her bar arms.  She looked up through the dense branches as a whisp of cloud passed over the full moon.

She was then drawn to a shimmering glow behind a large oak tree.  When she stepped around the tree the world flipped she found herself at the edge of a clearing, standing in several inches of fresh snow as the rising sun filtered through the trees.

A satyr emerged from the trees, and she knew somehow it was the one from the picture in Uncle Albert's desk.

"Finally." he said to her. "We were wondering when you were going to come."

~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Marci met The Time Shifter at a small, out of the way club where he played magical jazz piano for tips he didn't need and drinks that seemed to sustain him.

He also worked real magic and, for a while, she thought he might be a god.

At midnight, after he finished off a set of odd-metered Brubeck tunes with The Unsquare Dance - and she finished off her third glass of Pinot Noir - he walked a long way with her through shadow to a place where time slips along a different stream and the gibbous sun hung just past its zenith. 

They made love there on the soft grass by a waterfall under the sheltering boughs of a weirwood tree, slept entwined, then, as the russet sun stained the late afternoon sky magenta, made love again.

When they walked back into the club, only nine minutes had elapsed.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Kaasu Räjähdys*
[photo prompt]

 He took her to a place he loved.

They sat watching for a while as the bubbles rose like clockwork from the bog beyond the river, expanded dramatically in the open air, floated overhead, then exploded, roaring into mutlicolored flaming spheres.

Marci turned to the shape-shifter and said, "Back in my world we have fireworks and geysers. And swamp gas, I guess, but nothing like this. It’s like an amazing combination of all three."

He nodded. "We call them lohikäärme peräaukko kaasu.*"

"That's so beautiful and exotic sounding," she said, starting to feel romantic. "What does it mean?"

"Dragon farts."

~  ~  ~  ~  ~


For her 32nd birthday Rob treated Marci to a special dinner at the fanciest restaurant in town.

He wasn't always around, but when he was he always made it special.

And when he wasn't, Gil would sometimes fill in for him, and that - in its own way - was special, too.

But neither of them knew - in fact nobody on this earth knew - that Marci was worth close to 5 million, that she was a mother, and - though this was only her 32nd birthday - that the total chronology of her life spanned almost 36 years.

Marci knew from Rob's reaction to her painting that he had also had some other-wordly experience; and as she gazed at him over her grilled salmon and the iced bottle of Chardonnay, she wondered if maybe - just maybe - he could be the one she would share these secrets with.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Cheryl's Thread

Gil's Thread

Rob's Thread

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