By HS Quarmby
Huge photos of her wedding day still hung on her wall, she was now divorced. The brilliant white of her dress the same white of her cat, now her only companion. The poor creature was overly pampered, overly loved and only allowed out on a lead. So we saw her, for hours every day, wondering the streets, walking the cat. Occasionally she talked on the telephone, sometimes smoked a cigarette, as the cat meandered around her feet. And then it died, as cats do, so her parents came to take her away, she couldn’t cope anymore.
First, consult the Bible. It’s full of advice on making it with the ladies.
Here, the 10th Commandment is most germane. It states: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors ox,” which probably applies to wives, too. [But remember, we’re talking about the Tenth (i.e., the least important) Commandment. So, to be safe, check your HOA covenants regarding livestock.]
If your neighborhood doesn’t permit livestock, then it doesn’t permit your neighbor’s ox, which, Biblically speaking, means it doesn’t permit his wife, either.
So, you’re obviously entitled to go to your neighbor’s house and remove said ox, at which point she’s yours!
The boy is eight when his mother dies. Her death floods him with a grief he’s far too young to comprehend. He vows never to cry, lest he look weak.
Left to fester, his grief becomes shame—a shame that infects everything.
He feels unworthy, undeserving of love.
Later, his brain’s learned response to trauma of any kind will be shame.
In high school, he will do poorly in Algebra – Shame.
In college, he will self medicate – Shame.
One day he’ll lose his job – Shame.
Divorce – Shame.
He will point a finger always at himself, never at God.
John stopped going to church after his mother died. He’d only gone to please her anyway. He remembers sitting on her lap as a child, and saying
“Just in case, when I die
look everywhere for me. If you die
look everywhere for me while I look
forever everywhere for you.”
Now he sees a storm on every horizon. Inside, he’s a rumbling kettledrum, a choir of wind chimes. He no longer seeks — but rather craves that certainty the faithful have that there is something that lives beyond this body, like amputees scratching at limbs that are not there.
Dude, you’re my number-one homie. I’ma shoot you straight because no one else has the balls to. (Plus, I’m drumpk from all that Jim Beam you just guzzled.)
Todd, bro, you need to give up this whole (does finger-quotes)
“I’m so cool, I’m so ironic,” schtick.
Why should anyone read your words? What’s so special about your words? Bro, you like stoner movies and reality television – what makes you think you’re a writer?
—Wait, is that a tear I see? Don’t cry, bro. You know I love you man!
/end Todd’s hopes and dreams.
Beneath this poolside lounger, I spot a brittle comma caught in a flagstone crevice. I pick it up, hold it up to the sunlight, and count its veins, remembering that my mother called these whirlybirds.
As a child, I’d gather them in handfuls, and toss them into a gust to watch them flutter away like moths. Then, I’d give chase, hoping to catch the one that traveled furthest and put it in brown paper bag with the others – Call it my contribution to natural selection.
By H.S. Quarmby
She shuffled around the supermarket on broken heels, turning her thin ankles. Her thatch of bleached hair obscured most of her face and the childish smudges of makeup. Her clothes were almost rags, once bought for a night club, the tights were laddered, the short dresses ripped and stained. Her whole posture was painful to watch. Bent over, carrying a can of beans, a packet of pasta. The other shoppers turned and stared as she passed; the shop assistant followed her at a distance, watching her shaking hands.