Near 500 words: TW sees a robin

Episode 6 of The Writer.

Now you might think that a robin would not make TW (aka The Writer) stop his writing. After all, he finally had several sentences. “It was the week after Mrs. Dish ran away with Mr. Spoon. All because of the Cat and the Fiddle. They had introduced the two at a company picnic. On top of that, Cat had jumped over the moon.” And that was a nice start. With lines like that, he could take the story anywhere it wanted to go.

You might think that a robin would not remind TW of his ex-wife, Sylvia. He had not seen her in a beaucoup number of years. And he hadn’t thought about her in quite some time. It was only late at night when she came to mind. When he couldn’t sleep and when he was tired. Most nights he was a sound sleeper and he had nary a trouble going off to Slumberland.

And he wasn’t the lonely type. He felt his life was full. He had a good job. At the library. He had the few friends he needed when he wanted companionship. When it came to sex, he wasn’t that sex-starved.

For him, sex was more of a hassle than a pleasure. From observations he had made over the years, he had seen how much misery it brought to others. The people he knew would date. Then one thing led to another and pretty soon there was trouble.

But there had been that one woman he had dated for six months. Helen was her name. When he made up his mind to propose, she told him she had fallen in love. And the guy she had fallen in love with was not TW. So he swore off dating.

The ten years since had been one long routine. But he was a routine kind of guy. And now This. He starts his novel after battling a case of near-writer’s-block and he gets a lo- and-behold. Like he occasionally said, “Life can be a shit sandwich.”

Then a case of what Holly Golightly called “the mean reds” came over him.Tears rolled down his eyes. Suddenly he missed Sylvia, and he missed her more than he had ever thought he would. He missed those first few weeks when Sylvia was the world. He missed her soft, soothing voice. He missed her short brunette curls. He missed the palm of her hand running across his face. He even missed the piles of messes she left behind in the living room and the bed room.

He looked down at Cat. “You would like Sylvia. She was your kind of person.”

TW stood up, walked through the kitchen, opened the door and went out onto the back porch. He looked at his window and the tree nearby. The robin was gone.

The robin was gone.

Near 500 words: Fishing

Once a week, on Sundays, Doc went fishing. It was his retreat. A place where he went to rest up for the coming week and the stubbed toes and the aches and pains of the people in the town.

Beside the river there was one particular tree. It wasn’t a large tree. It was bent just like he was. Under its branches, he sat there for hours, throwing out fishing line after fishing line, not catching anything but enjoying the peace and quiet.

The tree had a gift for listening. Other trees listened but this one listened with an understanding heart. How could he tell? Doc just knew.

Over the years he’d been sitting under that tree. He kept reminding himself to go to the library and look the tree up in an encyclopedia. But this or that or the other got in the way of his remembering to do just that. On his way to the library, Mrs. Rosen might stop him and tell him about her new ache. Or Danny Porter showed him the place he skinned his leg.

By the time he got to his office and dropped off his fishing gear, he’d forgotten the question. And it didn’t come to him until the next time he sat under the tree.

Some might have named the tree. Doc didn’t. Seemed Tree was its name, and Tree was what Doc called it. So he gave up trying to figure out anything about Tree. The solitude with only Tree for a companion was a comfort to him.

Ten years earlier, Doc had lost his wife to cancer. Under Tree, he felt her presence often. He began to suspect Tree was his wife come back to him. So he began to call Tree by his wife’s name, Cassie. After all, Tree was thin and tall like Cassie.

One Sunday, he sat under Cassie’s branches feeling the warmth of her love pouring down on him. The water covered his bare feet, washing away the dirt from his walk and cooling him from the heat of the summer sun.

“You know, Cassie, I used to think I was Huckleberry Finn. When I was a kid.”

A fish jumped in the water downstream a bit.

“All the other boys played baseball. I went fishing.”

A breeze touched his face like a soft kiss from Cassie.

“I never was much for sports.”

A bird, possibly a robin, sang, disturbing the quiet. Doc didn’t mind. The birds kept him company with their songs unlike the noise he heard people play on their radios and their music players.

“You know, Cassie, I’ve about decided that I don’t like people much. I thought I did but they’ve become such trouble. All their aches and pains but not serious.”

Cassie listened and the river listened and the birds listened.

“The serious ones do trouble me. Like Ellen Gable’s cancer.”

The birds stopped their singing.

“She’s in such pain. Such pain.”

Doc pulled in his fishing line. He usually didn’t catch anything. He never went fishing to catch anything. The few times a fish bit his hook he released the fish and returned it to its home with a bon voyage.

Doc choked out his next words. “Like yours, Cassie. Like yours.”

He stood up and threw the line back into the water. It made its splash.

Then Doc cheered up and said, “Henry Stanton’s foot has healed. The poultice you recommended last time I was here did the trick. I would have never thought of that.”

He looked up at the sky and the sun’s colors filled it with a new sunset. He admired it for a few minutes, then drew in his fishing line. He packed up his fishing gear. He leaned over and kissed the bark of the tree.

“Thanks, Cassie,” he said and headed back to town.

A Job Well Done

It was around ten p.m. when L L pulled up into his driveway and stopped under the carport. Eighteen hours of work and he was finally home. He breathed a sigh of relief, then listened to the Beatles finish up with “Eight Days a Week” on the CD player. That was how he felt. That he’d worked eight days a week. He turned off the ignition and crawled out of the car.

He walked over to the garbage bin. Somehow it had been thrown on its side. Probably some neighborhood kid. Normally he would yell and scream at the street and the kids but he was just too tired. He stuck the key into the back door of the house, turned it and entered, then punched the code into the security keyboard.

“It’s just me,” he called out. His eyes were still adjusting to the dark house. He saw his beautiful two-year-old Russian Blue sitting under the doorframe from the kitchen into the dining room.

She was wary and a little anxious. She still wasn’t sure it was L L. But it sounded like him. If it had not been L L, she would have run for cover into one of her hiding places. And she had hiding places that had hiding places.

L L turned on the light, saw the cat’s empty bowl. “Geez, you must be hungry. I’m sorry,” he apologized to the cat. And this was unusual for L L. He never apologized to anyone. Except to his Russian Blue.

He had taken the cat in after she crawled up into the engine of his car. She had been six weeks old. He had run into Costco for just a few minutes. When he came out, there was a group standing around his car. He asked a woman, “What’s going on?”

“There’s a cat in this car. It’s trying to get out and can’t.”

He popped the hood open. A kid in the crowd reached inside the engine with his small hands and pulled the cat free. Then he handed her to L L. From her cries, it was obvious she was hungry. And scared.

L L wasn’t sure he should take the cat. He didn’t have time for a cat. He wasn’t sure what to do.

The woman next to him took the cat and put it into a small box. And handed the box back to L L. “I think you’ve found yourself a new friend.”

L L wanted to resist but he didn’t. For the first time in his life, he wasn’t in control of things. He wasn’t sure he liked it. He looked down at the box, the cat peaking her head outside the box.

“There’s a pet store nearby. You can get her some kitty food there.”

Keeping the box top closed, he drove straight the store, ran in and bought the food, then drove straight home. All that time the cat didn’t stop crying out its fear and its hunger. He sat the box on the kitchen counter. Took the bottle with the liquid out of the bag. Reached into the box. Took the tiny thing out. Holding her, he put the nipple into her mouth and she started sucking. She wasn’t crying anymore. L L still wasn’t sure about the kitten but it was obvious the thing was going to need him. “Well, we’ll give it a try.”

Two years later he filled the cat bowl with salmon pate. She ran to the bowl and began scooping up the food. As she did, he stroked her back. Then filled her water bowl. When she finished eating, she rubbed up against L L’s leg as he heated water.

The kettle whistled. He poured out the water over the tea in his cup. He grabbed a bag of chocolate chips and headed to the living room and some me time.

He sat down, ate his cookies and drank his tea. Slowly. The cat jumped up onto his lap, looked up into his face with her beautiful green eyes, crawled up on his chest and rubbed her face against his chin. Then she curled up on his lap and fell asleep. Except for the snoring cat, there wasn’t another sound in the house.

Sitting there in his large comfy chair with the cat on his lap, he looked down at the Russian Blue and smiled. “Well, I finally did it. It’s taken me years, but I finally got rid of Superman, Kryptonite.”

Hamlet Interval 3: What if

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall. (Measure for Measure Act II, Scene I).

Act 1 Interlude. There were only two women at Elsinore. One Hamlet’s mom, Gertrude, and Ophelia who was verboten to date him, Hamlet just didn’t have a girlfriend. No female for some whoppee, none for hanky panky. What if there had been women in the Castle in addition to Gertrude and Ophelia? Here are some suggestions and what these women might say:

Lady Macbeth: You do your Uncle in or I will do you in.

Rosalind (from As You Like It): Let’s go have some fun. You do Tootsie and I will do Yentil.

Beatrice (from Much Ado About Nothing): I’m sorry but I will not marry you. I am not into guys who wear black. Or green. Or blue. Or orange. But you might look nice in purple.

Annie Hall: I don’t care whether you kill your uncle, but you gotta kill that spider.

Emma (from Emma by Jane Austen): Have I got the right gal for you.

Scarlett: Tomorrow is another day to kill your Uncle.

Ana (from Fifty Shades of Grey): So you have a dungeon here in Elsinore?

Martha Stewart: This castle could use some redecorating.

Mary Poppins: Can you say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? If you can, then take a spoonful of sugar and the medicine of revenge will go down. Poof. No more Claudius.

Princess Leia from Star Wars: Use the Force to take Claudius out.

Mommy Dearest: Look, Hamlet, if you don’t do the job, I am going to have to use the coat hanger.

Hermione Granger (from Harry Potter): I’m telling you that Snape is Claudius.

Clarice Starling (from Silence of the Lambs) I will not eat Claudius’ liver with or without fava beans.

Jane Eyre: Why is everybody always saying to me, “To eeyre is Jane”?

Annie Savoy (from Bull Durham): Hamlet, I have just the thing for you. Baseball. You could be a .390 batter if you tried. You certainly have the arm for it.

Holly Golightly (from Breakfast at Tiffany’s): You don’t have any problems that cab money and a trip to Tiffany’s can’t solve, Hamlet.

Mrs. Lovett (from Sweeny Todd): Hamlet, I have the perfect thing to cheer you up. A lovely meat pie.

Alice (in Wonderland): You haven’t seen a cat, have you? We went out on a blind date, then he disappeared. He did have a nice smile.

Eliza Doolittle (from My Fair Lady): Aw garn, I never see’d a castle before.

Guinevere (from Camelot): Hamlet, do you want to join my Round Table?

Daisy Buchanan (from The Great Gatsby): Honestly, Hamlet, Tom knows everything. He may even know where Claudius put the poison. Now could you pass the tea please?

Ripley (from Alien): Your uncle has something growing inside of him, Hamlet.

Lieutenant Uhura (from Star Trek): Beam me up, Captain Hamlet.

Shakira: Just shake those hips, Hamlet.

Jenifer Lopez: You look so bootylicious, Hamlet. We make such a bootylicious couple, don’t you think?

Beyonce: I saw you in the elevator, Hamlet, with Ophelia of all people.

Taylor Swift: Just shake it off, Hamlet. Shake it off.

Mylie Cyrus: I could twerk Claudius dead. I have great aim. And I will just wham him with my wrecking ball.

Lady Gaga: Hamlet, we are going to have to do something about those clothes.

Marge Gunderson (from Fargo): Oh, geez.

Mae West: Why don’t you come up and see me sometime, Big Boy?

Unfortunately none of these were available. Only Gertrude, only Ophelia.

Which pretty much left Ophelia by herself. Gertrude had Claudius. Hamlet had Horatio. Polonius had his scheming and Laertes had Paris. Ophelia had no one. She was alone. Quite alone.