fantastic flying books
Academy Award Winner for Animated Short Film
"Let me see if I understand you, sir - like pickled pigsfeet or Abby Normal's Brain, you have a chunk of the Aurora Borealis in a mason's jar"?
"That I do. That I most certainly do".
"And you are willing to donate your precious discovery, for no small residual fee mind you, to the American Astronomical Society, fully and freely?"
"That about sums it up, ma'am".
"Sir, I think what you have are called fireflies".
"Oh no, ma'am - what I have is..."
Muffled dog breathing snickering pause. "And where is this jar now, sir?"
"In a brown paper bag, right here with me in the phone booth. You really gotta see this, ma'am. I can beeline my bike right to your front door. I can be there in three weeks".
More snickering with molasses-thick sarcasm layered on top. "Oh, I'm just sure it's a sight to behold. Upon arrival just ching ching ching your little bike bell and we'll let you right in".
image - epic mahoney
I see her everywhere. In the way the smallest bird's black eyes on a pivoted neck catches mine in that fleeting moment, grasping my little finger, bewildered yet unafraid. In the vertigo of white cream in the aromatic quiet cup of java on a ten degree morning, skinny-dipping like her rhythmic dance she only performs to a grateful audience of one. In the sound of her lonely voice, distantly trembled in the black speaker of the only cracked-glass phone booth left on planet Earth, her hazel eyes closed, tears streaming stealthily under masking blonde hair, in that blushing moment when she screams in a whisper I Love You too.
There was this buried canister from a long time ago - 100 years - to be raised, jack-hammered out of the cement block in front of the knoll where the orchestra played. I had the best view in back, solitary triangle player of the symphony, on my feet at the ready. I was excited - what treasures were hermetically sealed away so long ago in 1912? So excited I dropped my sheet music and it fluttered to the windy horn section. Yes, the self-important conductor with the banana proboscis demanded that even the tuxedo-ed triangle man follow the separate line of dots above the regular staff of notes. 'I'll wing it', is what I tried to tell him if he'd just easily read my lips, but he'd have none of that insubordination. I saw him grow bright crimson when he easily read my lips to where I believed he could shove my cold copper triangle and leather-handled wand.
By this time anyway there was a massive stampede by the crowd, chairs falling like dominoes, with a few of our lead violins stampeded. I didn't care anymore and walked off, triangle heaved, and soon found myself along a shady path towards Shady Grove Cemetery, silent and cool amongst the lime trees. Along the way I caught my girl, fourth chair violin, behind a hedge, kissing the six foot four bassoon soloist, and I was feeling beyond pretty low on the way to zero. A black cat, looking as though it had two stomachs, slunk by like a snake in slow motion, and three magpies were playing tag with some peeled away bark. I walked on, watching my polished shoes, pinched face reflected, and found myself in a most remarkably quiet place where the grassy path met a section of burial plots with singular headstones, lovingly oblique and modestly engraved with lower-case surnames.
I saw one grave adorned with three distinct angles in scintillating red, radiant from the lantern light sifting through the leaves. Dreamily drawn to it I removed my jacket, stretched out on my stomach and pencil sketched it on the back of the concert program while the two-stomach cat watched from a safe distance, and a few moments later there was a disturbing noise in the direction of the gazebo, sounding like water hurrying through an old fountain coming alive in Spring. Later I read in the paper how someone had dug up the canister in 1914 and took everything out and left a note with one word: Fools!
image: Novodevichy Cemetery, Moscow
It was the barking at first. Rather, it was the idle growling of my faithful companion, Astronomer, as I had given up waiting for the clouds to drift out after setting up my telescope on the front porch after supper to witness the four large moons of Jupiter in alignment. I could hear her rumbling fuse of a bark as I stood at the sink in the kitchen finishing off cold soup. And then it was a choking bark, like she was trying to talk faster than her brain would allow.
As I approached the front, there were those spinning lights, and the knocking from above, and I worried the porch overhang standing on three wobbly timbers would collapse onto poor Astronomer before she was done cursing.
Outside now, there was somebody...no, something in there, and I can't explain how a creature with two eyes(me) could make direct one-eye contact(it), but along with Astronomer's comments and my own one-eyed shotgun, 'It' bolted on two creaking stilts.
I had to shove Astronomer out of the driver's seat and reach down to the floorboard to retrieve the dropped keys a couple times before we could give full pursuit in my '71 Mercury Comet. We didn't exactly have piercing searchlights, and lost the escapee out in the dark, Astronomer not relenting in her opinion of the situation one iota as we sat in darkness with engine stalled and cold soup coming up.
You're the first one I'm telling, and I'd sure appreciate you not mentioning this to nobody.
image by Hervé
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