Friday, July 31, 2009

one sad line

I suppose the reason mail carriers don a bluish-gray uniform has something to do with delivering somber, bad news.

Like Buddy Holly laments, a note from his baby stating she's simply no longer his....

Or maybe it's because once a long time ago 'unusual looking' mail carriers tugged the reins of hearse-like contraptions, like a dark foggy scene from A Christmas Carol, when they posted double duty and delivered to the morgue.
Not really..but this would sure give me chills passing by on a cloudy gray day:

But, alas, the Sun seems always to shine over at the home office of PFF...Pancakes For Free.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

wet and windy

I was just thinking today about how at a dinner table of the past, I'd nonchalantly and stealthily lower my right hand beneath the table, just like I was scolded not to do, and I'd feel that hot breath, detect a burst of a canine gourmet's sniff, and the ticklish slobbery mouth on my palm accepting the offer of those horrid Lima beans.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

strangers in the night

'...all inhumane, and the injustice of our shameful conditions, forced to live in unbearably barren and fruitless land...doobie doobie doo...'

Saturday, July 25, 2009

the license branch

It was swift at the BMV, not bad, coming in under nine minutes. I got it figured out - go to a small town branch to avoid the masses. And all English speaking, not glistening women at the welcome counter, those with one floating eye flown in from deep in the shrieking Amazon.
Plus, they're very time conscious these days. Total transaction time of 8:46 is documented right on the receipt. And bless there hearts..they upped it to six years until I have to go back.

But something went horribly wrong.

I had to remove my glasses before she'd snap my photo. A new requirement? Talk about floating eyes. I'm legally blind without my specs, and when she tried to center my gaze telling me to look at her hand, I was lost. No, sir, down here no over here lower your chin now no over here. Sir, you're looking at the people in line no OVER HERE!

I wandered away, kind of drifted. A small child, I think, crawled between my legs and I bumped my forehead into the glass front door as a complaining voice faded behind me mentioned something about seeing-eye dogs. I put on my glasses and walked back to the front of the white sheet and we finally worked it out by me reaching behind and clutching the backdrop.
'It doesn't look like me,' says the man with the black dot eyes.
'It never does', she smiled.

Friday, July 24, 2009

fiction about nonfiction

He stuffed the large pale yellow envelope into the rural box, the first of a four part narrative about a gruesome Kansas murder.

Back East in a few days the New Yorker editor's heart pounded, his unsteady hands grasping the manuscript as he devoured the blood-stained prose. The cheap overhead fan spun slowly and his swivel chair squeaked like a closing coffin lid, and he became a mournful small town citizen page after page, reading and re-reading until three a.m.
His empty whiskey glass left a circle on the author's unread handwritten folded note: 'More to come in few days. TC.'

Photo by Shapiro, 1967

Monday, July 20, 2009

the glass moon

A bulk of the soil is glass.

Shining like a refined incandescent ornament in a curio display case.

photo by Neil Armstrong
July 20, 1969

Friday, July 17, 2009

free deliverance

It really is free.
Just like a wink, a smile, or tender words to a loved one.
Or even an assurance to a disparaging stranger. All free. Sometimes we forget and it costs us dearly.
Happy PFF, this week brought to you by a serene woman, and her trained birds from 'out of town' vacationing in America.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I don't know's on third

I've hit the 3 year mark, Dear Reader, rounding third and heading for home. At least..putting on the brakes and thinking about it.

Thinking about the 3 years so far(21 in blog years!), the fun I've had with the sketchbook, the cyberfriends I've found, creative blogs I've discovered, my steadfast refusal to tweet and twit, the triumphs, the tragedies, tasty looking recipes I'll set on the floor for the dog, and places I can only dream of visiting.
It has been fun.

“Not all those who wander are lost”
~ J. R. R. Tolkien

Saturday, July 11, 2009

speaking of hoofing

I wonder if Michael was influenced by these 2 masters. And I suppose why they're worrying where to bury Jackson is they're tired of people dancing on his grave already.

Friday, July 10, 2009

bake evenly

Dew drips off a cold beverage, dreaming of white beaches, still waters, watching without being seen a girl-rotisserie in slow motion on a checkered blanket.

Much more fun than decapitation on PFF. No kidding, there's a sweet woman doing a lecture on funny hats and decapitation.
Happy postcard Friday thingy. I guess.

noir bridge

I was a lucky guy so far. Many cement-shoed guys have been sunk under the bridge in the weeks before I arrived. I keep still at the dark table, waiting, waiting, as Tony has the girl tight by the wrist. Her mouth is a cavern of a silent scream, her eyes white heat spotlights of sheer terror. And right here in the restaurant. Two thugs come out of the shadows and haul me off just as I hope to splatter his Greek greasy temple to one side so his brains don't stain the poor girl's pale blue blouse. Some hero I am. Now I get new heavy shoes and visit a bunch of non-talkative guys under a bridge. Like a bridge over rancid water. Someone should write a tune. Shit.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

in the shade of a tree

Sometimes when I revisit a cool shady spot where I once parked and waited years ago, not only can I remember what book I was reading beneath those leaves but also the particular dialogue. And it seems I was happier then.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

an american in paris (short fiction)

She loved the city. A warm, early-October day found her along the Champs Elysées, long strides with the sweeping breeze constantly messing her soft chestnut hair. The swift wind through the trees sounded like a waterfall. Her heart poured with joy and excitement as she paused for a moment at storefronts, peering at jewelry displays, admiring white Venus de Milo-like ladies in snug-fitting red and powder blue dresses, waving at the baker making bread, admiring the Chaplin miniature plaster cast guarding a cigar vendor. Vintage shops nestled in with up-scale stores.

Sitting on a bench close to a row of chestnut trees she noticed her black shoes were dusty. Stooping down to dust them with a white handkerchief, she thought of the designer heels she’d be wearing later as she attended a gala. She imagined how they might look along with the white pullover and tight blue jeans she wore now. A man locking his bike in a bike rack on the cross-stoned sidewalk noticed her and whistled softly. She smiled shyly at him, pushing her hair back away and he saw her exposed pale neck. He tipped his hat towards her and a faint blush appeared. She felt warm.

Later, in between two modern day stores she noticed one of those archaic shops snuggled a footstep back just off the Champs Elysées. It was a small barbershop. She’d never been in one (except for the torn comic books). Pushing the ancient wooden door open led her into a whole new world. Smelling of tonics and unfamiliar potions in bottles with dust on sloping shoulders and a hot lather machine hissing, it was empty except for the proprietor, Jean, a man about seventy years of age, graying at the temples with sparkling hazel eyes. They sparkled more when he saw her radiant face. He joyfully clasped his hands and shook them.

“I want to do you!”
“Excuse, me?” She milled and moved around, noticing up above on a high perimeter shelf old kerosene railroad lamps in different shapes and colors, covered in dust. And down below, untidy bottles and razors with a mirror along the back wall.
“I always….,” he came close to her, gesturing with his hands a swooping motion outlining the shape of her head, “snip snip!”
“Ohhhhh,” she laughed. “Well, maybe one day,” she said, thinking of her days of youth when she was a short-haired tomboy. She gently ran two fingers down the razor strap dangling from the barber chair.

She stopped and looked at one more thing as she edged towards the door. He followed her gaze. An uneven row of old picture frames dotted the paneled wall where the door swung open. One was a man playing violin, his head severely planted in the chinrest. She moved closer and rose on her tip-toes squinting to focus on the dreaded familiar tattoo on his left inner forearm.
She turned and met Jean’s eyes.
“Auschwitz?” she inquired solemnly.
“Oui, mademoiselle. Evacuated then to Bergin-Belson,” he said sadly.
Outside, the wind died away.

Anastasia sat in the barber chair, her legs crossed and jeans ready to split any moment, her feet not reaching the base of the wood framed, black upholstered throne on a shiny swivel. Jean sat in one of his naugahyde covered chrome waiting-chairs for the first time ever, thinking no wonder customers are impatient in such a stiff seat.

They talked uninterrupted for two hours as no one crossed the threshold. They spoke of many things, mostly of hope for the hopeless. She shared the story of her violinist relative that never made it out alive, recounting how her heart almost stopped at the mirror image of a photo her grandmother had shown her. Jean spoke of narrow escape, torn away from his mother in the arms of friendly strangers, and showed her the priceless pocket watch of his long lost father, allowing Anastasia to cradle it in her left hand, repeatedly snapping open it’s tarnished bronze cover.

He shared with her the tightly wrapped egg salad sandwiches out of a brown sack his wife had prepared, and two hidden bottles of spicy 3 Monts. She kidded and playfully scolded Jean that a barber should never handle scissors after drinking. Before she departed, they shook hands and she promised Jean she would let no other ‘snip snip’ her hair evermore. He grinned from ear to ear, a grin that no one could ever knock off him.

At the gala that evening she was somber but outwards cheerful. She could not get the Ghost of Anne Frank out of her mind. Back at the hotel after midnight she kicked off the tight designer heels and drifted asleep, tear streaks on her face, slumped on the edge of the bed, her last dreams softened by the wonderful barber. In the morning she gulped down room service breakfast and dressing in stylish black pants, white blouse, a pull-over green and blue cardigan, with her hair pulled back in a ponytail exposing simple, elegant, diamond stud earrings, she hurried along the sunny, chilly, streets of Paris, imagining living in the city. She peered breathlessly in the slightly blinded window of the barbershop and seeing silhouetted movements entered.

All the waiting chairs were full of the working class with one under steady scissors. They fell silent like mischievous schoolboys in the presence of an icy schoolmarm with her hair in a bun. She immediately noticed all the railroad lamps above were shining and dust free, and the cramped shop no longer appeared it‘d just been unearthed. Jean came out from behind the chair in mid-snip and they hugged exchanging warm whispers. He introduced her to his friends one by one. They each stood in turn, Anastasia grasping their hand with a firm comrade-like handshake. Messrs. Lessard, Michaud, Rousseau, wide-eyed, a bit shocked, gaped-mouthed all. She said au revoir, smiled and went away. Lessard, hair uneven, said au revoir quietly after the door had closed. The men turned to Jean in unison with unbelieving frozen gapping mouths and he shrugged his shoulders and grinned.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

knock three times

To save wear and tear on hands, some letter carriers in the early 1900's chose to use wooden, light-weight dumb-bell shaped door knockers, producing a loud cracking sound. Others blew a whistle, a much kinder, less-threatening announcement of their arrival.
If no one was home, they stuffed it back in their satchel (I want one!), took the mail back to the post office and tried again the next day.
To save work hours, the Post Office Department required residents to install mailboxes or letter slots in 1916.

Of course, you need neither a whistle or knockers to enter the Wide Wide World of Cpaphil Vintage Cards.
Thanks for visiting this PFF.

Mail truck photo courtesy
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