My wife had an early appointment for her first service on her new car. She left the house early.
Lorelei, the Muse, arrived just as my wife’s car disappeared. She strolled in the house wearing black tights under a grey mini skirt. She wore a leather jacket and boots.
“It appears your last excuse is gone. You need to start your novel now,” she said.
“I know, but you haven’t actually gone easy on me. I have all these characters fighting in my mind now. You keep sending them, and sending them.”
“I only do it because you’ve been stalling. Maybe one of these characters will appeal to you more.”
“It isn’t that, actually. I like the novel idea, I’ve just been waiting –”
“For your new keyboard?”
“And now it’s here.”
“I know. I need to get the Angel out of my head first.”
“Is that another excuse?”
“No. She’s just been lodged there, and if I give her some micro-fiction she will go away.”
“Then I’ll start my novel.”
“Is that a promise?”
“That’s a promise.”
“Good, I didn’t want to take more drastic measures.”
“I’m glad it didn’t come to that. I’m not in the mood for noogies, or a purple nurple.”
“I only do it to drive you to new heights.” She stood and headed for the door. Her skirt hugged every curve. She cast an eye back over her shoulder. “Write the Angel. Then get started on the novel. Don’t make me wait.”
“I gave my word didn’t I?”
And just like that she was gone. Her sandalwood perfume lingered as I attached my keyboard and went to work. The Angel story has a very slight Christmas bent. I’ll share it with you, but reserve the right to put it into a second book of micro-fiction and short stories. Let me know if you like it.
She descends from the heavens, folding her wings back into a stoop. As she gains speed, her blonde locks pull back from her face.
A flick of one wing adjusts her path toward the old part of the city. The bad part of the city.
She rolls sideways between two tenement buildings that nearly touch, and alights on the roof of a liquor store.
Freezing rain pelts her wings, and the white fabric of her tunic clings to her body. She turns toward the sound of a garbage truck lifting the round bins toward its gaping maw. Still a block away.
She steps from the roof and lands delicately in the alley. The stench overwhelms her. Diesel fumes mingle with garbage, and the odor of human waste. She walks past ramshackle shelters made of cardboard, stepping around hypodermic needles and a puddle of vomit. She moves toward one of the round garbage bins.
A faint cry rings out from inside, a cry of fear, loss, and uncertainty. She opens the bin and touches the baby inside. “Rest now. Be brave. Things have not yet been decided. If this is your only time on Earth, look at the clouds above and know there is more to life.”
The baby calms and smiles at the angelic face above her. She kicks her feet and wriggles.
The garbage truck rumbles closer. It lifts a bin and the echoes of the spilling garbage break the pre-dawn. The machinery crushes the trash with a sound of breaking glass and crumpling metal.
Voices reach their ears. “I hope we find some more pumpkins, Joe. I like it when the pumpkins squish like grapes.”
“Not likely, Chuck. The winos eat the damned things. I’ll bet half the drunks and junkies down here had barbecued pumpkin this week.”
Chuck walked to the next bin while Joe moved the truck forward. When the truck was in position, Chuck attached the hoist and lifted the bin toward the crusher. He moved it backward and forward several times with a resounding clunks. “I hate it when they pack stuff in so tight. It gets stuck, because they’re too cheap to rent a second bin.”
“Way of the world, Chuck. I can almost understand it down here, but it’s the same way out on Commerce Boulevard. They have money, but an extra nine bucks per month kills them.”
She lowers the lid over the baby and steps off to the side. The rain picks up and her hair slicks down over her forehead. She pushes it back, and ice already formed at the tips.
Joe moves the truck into position, and Chuck approaches the bin.
She squats down beside the bin, and moves her face to the side. “Fight back now. Nobody will give you anything in this life, you must make your own way. Cry out! Be defiant. Give it everything you have, because there are no second chances tonight.”
Chuck attaches the bin and lifts it off the ground. The baby cries out.
Chuck stops. He lowers the bin to the ground.
“What’s the hold up?” Joe asks.
“Keep your pants on. There’s one of those crying dolls inside. Mary Lou’s daughter might like it.”
“You still trying to plug Mary Lou?”
“Yeah, and giving her kid a Christmas present is going to make it happen.”
“Hurry up then. If we fill up in time, we can beat the rush hour traffic back to the dump. Maybe they’ll still have doughnuts.”
Chuck opens the bin. The baby cries even louder, and Joe’s head emerges from the truck window.
She puts her hands over her chest and a single tear rolls down her cheek, freezing before it reaches her chin. “Good baby. Brave baby.”
Chuck reaches inside the bin. “You aren’t going to believe this. I think we need to call someone.”
“We will, but get her in the cab, it’s freezing out there.”
She unfurls her wings and shakes the rain off them, before climbing back to the heavens.
This is probably a good time to mention that my Experimental Notebook is a book of similar short stories and micro fiction. If you click on the cover in my sidebar, you can read it for the princely sum of 99¢.
It may not seem like much, but I managed a page or two of my new novel after I got the Angel out of my head. Yak Guy is off to a good start.