Tuesday, 1 May 2018

An Unexpected Sabbath

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2015

God, with neither Warning nor Prompting, suddenly had an entirely original Thought, the first in billions of years. Sure God was a rational Creature, fully Engaged in the worlds that He Had Created, but this Thought was only His First original Thought, after He Had Created Reality. Since that time He had been far, far too Busy. God had just Thought that He was due a Sabbath, a due Reward for eons of hard Work. He had never been Entitled to a Sabbath before, or so He Reasoned, as He was Necessarily its Subject of Veneration. Not feeling the Compunction to Worship Himself, He had Worked every day since the beginning of Creation.
    ‘Time indeed for a day off,’ He Said to Himself and Shut down His Laptop. As this was only God’s Second Sabbath it Must Needs Be a very Special One, somehow Reflecting His Unstinting, Perfect Work throughout all of Reality. To help Him Choose something appropriately novel He brewed up a Coffee and when it was ready He Sat in His Armchair, Sipping, and Considering.
    The Answer came with His third Sip and was also an entirely original Thought: He would Descend to Earth and see if He can Chat up some nice, intelligent young woman. He had never Needed Companionship before (apart from that one time with Mary, who still hasn’t forgiven Him for allowing her only treasure to be butchered), Being Complete in Himself, but perhaps time was wearing His old Habits down. After all it wasn’t so long ago that He Had Had some Wine after a Break of three thousand years. Indeed, time probably was wearing His old habits down as He had just had His second completely original Thought in less than an hour. Will there be a third? God Expected so. He Finished His Coffee and Dressed Himself for some Heavenly Romance.

*

Earth was a lot shabbier close-up, and after doing a quick tour of the world God Set His Romantic Eyes upon an Aus lass, Aus being in its warmer months, and God very much Liking the summer apparel of the Aus women. Aus was not as shabby as the rest of the world and its human population wasn’t high strung, being instead a very relaxed and sociable people. It was their sociability that really appealed to Him, being thus the easier to Find a companionable woman. These companionable women He Expected to Find in the centre of Sydney (having Chosen Sydney for its business centrality, and where there’s smart business there’s bound to be smart women in smart, fetching outfits) and Walking out of Central Railway Station He instinctively Made His way to a cocktail lounge. He was initially Going to Try a pub but the sort of woman whom likes a bitter, ill smelling ale was not what he was after. He was after class, someone to complement His Omnipotence. Sure, God Knew everyone in existence but that was only at a passing level. He simply didn’t have the time to get to intimately Know everyone, although He was always on call. He soon Found a cocktail lounge, Chez Chic, and the plethora of dazzling female costumery Made Him Sure that a right well Companion was closer than He Thought. He Ordered a Margarita and Sat down, Surveying the crowd.
    Perhaps He should have Told the young lasses that He approached that He was the Maker of Heaven and Earth and duly Showed them Proof of This for that way His luck may have been much better. As it was, though, despite how many drinks He Shouted, despite His Intelligent, Mellifluous Conversation with very attractive ladies, He was Getting nowhere. Surely He wasn’t too old for them? He had Checked His face in the mirror at the bar and He looked a healthy forty. Still, though, forty is a whole generation away from twenty- something. By an hour before midnight He had more or less Given up. Maybe these women did indeed see Him as an old Fuddy Duddy, too old to make them seriously happy. He Left the lounge for Central Station, to Return to Paradise in the blink of an eye when He was unobserved.
    Halfway to the station, though, He had a Change of Heart. By spending all night at the cocktail lounge He had Put all His Eggs in the one Basket, not Allowing the full Expression of His Second Sabbath, and not Allowing the full Scope of chance to work His Way. So He made His Way to a pub Determined though to Leave at the stroke of midnight to Salvage the rest of His Sabbath. At least He was Focusing on His Own Welfare rather that the rest of Reality’s as had been His Wont. And it must be admitted that He was Enjoying His Second Holiday. The Cocktails also helped there. And a Beer or Three would top them off very well. He Chose The Central Tavern, just across from Central Station.
    The pub was nice and ambient in noise when He Entered, also neither too cold nor too hot, and He Approached the bar while Studying what they had on tap.
    ‘You remind me of that Germaine Greer joke.’ God Looked over at the speaker. He was being addressed by the young woman behind the bar, with red and black shoulder length dreadlocks, a black throat collar with a glittering pendant, and the corners of her eyebrows and the corners of her mouth being pierced. She was smiling at Him.
    ‘What Germaine Greer joke,’ He Replied.
    ‘Germaine Greer walks into a pub and the barman says, “So, why the long face?”’ God Laughed and the barmaid responded to His deep, manly Chuckle with a tinkling laugh of her own.
    ‘What can I get You, Love,’ she asked. God Chose a Beer without Considering and Was soon Exchanging Jokes with her, whom had introduced herself as Bella, ‘as in Belladonna’ she affirmed. Her piercings grew more alluring with each guffaw, and Bella, deliberately or otherwise God was Unsure, gave Him an extra Dollar in the Change for each of His Beers. God, indeed, was fast Becoming Infatuated with this lively young lady and her very colourful presentation. What Spoiled it though was when she told him that she was only nineteen and still at Uni, doing a BA, albeit a BA (Hons). Her thesis was on Patrick White’s cultural cringe.
    But God Rallied to this news well. Since He Had Eternity at His Disposal He would Gladly wait another five years or so for her, Befriending her in the meanwhile until she’s old enough for a Mature, Deep Relationship. Doing so would be no Chore for she was very funny, even joking about God’s apparent forty years as the Start of what Looked like a lot more. She claimed to be able to tell how long someone would live.
    Thus God spent the rest of the night with Bella, until the pub shut. Afterwards He drunkenly Made His Way Back to Paradise, not Caring if he was seen to Vanish after He Passed through the ticket barrier at Central Station. He went to Bed as soon as He Arrived Home, Laughing at some of Bella’s jokes as well as the magnificent time that He Had Had on His Second Sabbath. He Looked Forward to Seeing her again next Sunday.

*

   God Was Surprised to Find that He Had Butterflies in His Stomach when He Entered The Central Tavern a week later. He Approached the bar and Chose his usual Beer, served by a middle aged man.
    ‘Bella having a sickie,’ He asked of him.
    The barman looked at Him sharply.
    ‘You a friend of hers,’ he asked.
    ‘I Suppose So. I only Met her last week though. A very funny young lady.’ The barman placed God’s Beer on the counter and took His Money.
    ‘Well, Bella won’t be in to work anymore.’
    ‘Why’s that? She’s not in any trouble I Hope. I can Help there, most Probably.’
    ‘Bella’s dead.’
    God was Speechless. ‘Dead?’
    ‘Yes. She od’d a few days ago. She told me that she had quit the heroin, was very up front about once being a junkie when she applied for the job. So I helped her help herself, gave her the job to make sure she stayed off the junk. No-one knows why she started up again. Probably just the usual relapse. I used to smoke cigarettes and know well about relapsing.’
    ‘When is the funeral?’
    ‘It was this morning. Quite a few of the locals were there. She was very popular.’
    ‘Can you tell Me where her grave is? She was a lovely young woman that One rarely Meets with these days.’
    ‘Sure,’ said the barman and gave God the location. He left without Drinking any of His Beer and was at Bella’s graveside the instant after Exiting the Tavern.
    Musing silently at Bella’s grave He had His third original Thought since after the beginning of Creation: He would Observe a Sabbath from now on in order to Remember Bella and to Ponder what had almost very pleasantly Been. Sure there were other fish in the sea but only Bella had that particular feminine laugh at that particular pitch. He would have liked to Resurrect her but that would Violate so many Natural Laws that time itself might come to an end. He would not of course See her in Paradise, Bella having pronounced she was an atheist when He Asked her if she believed in God. Given time God would have easily Changed her belief.
    ‘It was very nice having Met you, Bella,’ He said to her gravestone. ‘I could have Brought you to Heaven where you’d make Eternity even richer.’ God then Returned Home, Surprised that He had Found a regular Sabbath now.
~~
If you have been enjoying Fitzpatrick's stories here you may also enjoy his short story collections, and other books, available online as both Kindle books and paperbacks (go to http://amzn.to/1NfodtN). Other ebook and paperback options are available at  http://bit.ly/1UsyvKD Fitzpatrick is also having a collection of short stories, Aberrant Selected, published by Waldorf Publishing on September 01, 2018. You can follow its journey at www.aberrantselected.blogspot.com



   

Monday, 2 April 2018

Beyond Their Will

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2015

Elijah was seriously tempted to give himself a good kick when he discovered that the kitten which had adopted him and his family was actually a lady. This was discovered when she gave birth to kittens of her own. Naturally Elijah and all of his family were delighted with these cute, furry additions. They also all knew, however, that they were a burden, financially and otherwise, more so in the motor home they were travelling Aus in, the motor home not being as big as it first appeared. One of those kittens could well get underfoot at the wrong time and cause a nasty fall. Yep, they were all agreed that the kittens had to go. They would have to be surrendered to the nearest AuSPCA and may God have mercy on them.
     Luckily they were in the large but still country Ballarat and there was an AuSPCA shelter. They gave Lucy, formerly Luke, or Lukey, two weeks with her six young, but when that time was over everyone involved was very upset about having to break up the family. It had to be done. They all turned up to the local AuSPCA wanting to get the whole thing over with as quickly as possible.
     The AuSPCA, despite their pleas, couldn’t help. They were full. It was a few days after Valentine’s Day and they were bursting with unwanted puppies and kittens. For some reason this year’s Valentine’s, 2014, was worse than usual for them. In fact they were so full that most of their staff had taken some of the wee fellows home.
     When they had all returned home with the kittens, and deposited them with their mother, they all instinctively moved to the kitchen table in order to come up with a plan to avoid feeding this new family. Their own family could only afford the one pet.
     ‘Well,’ opened Elijah, ‘we can’t really look after this family and we can’t just abandon them. Have you met anyone, Blanche, in this park who would be willing to take them?’
     ‘Not really, Dad,’ replied Elijah’s daughter. ‘There is an old lady I met, who told me she’s living here on the proceeds of some rental properties in Sydney. She has a cat of her own but she’s also always been drunk when I visited her and I think Lukey . . . Lucy needs someone more stable.’
     ‘Why don’t we give them away on Speaking Nights, use the Nights to give them better homes?’ Janette d’Israeli was often capable of such clear thinking in times of crisis. Elijah thanked his wife, also saying,
     ‘You could probably sell them single-handedly, Janette, after such clear reason.’
     Thus it was decided that they would proffer the unwanted kittens to the public, while they all preached upon a street corner, asking everyone to find the loving Christ within them right there and then, and all were sure of their success. They spent the rest of the day with Lucy and her family, saying goodbye again.

*

Naturally they were all excited when they all turned up under a randomly chosen streetlight to listen to Elijah preach about the truth in Christ they had all realised throughout their travels, specifically the truth of charity. Elijah was indeed eloquent in his portrayal of such, clearly pointing out that science has shown that giving lights up the same area of the human brain as receiving does. And here are some kittens, brothers and sisters, newly born to the world and looking for good homes, good homes that Elijah could see many of them portending, promising unfettered love.
     But there were no takers. The unnamed kittens remained unnamed, remained unsheltered in a home that did not welcome them. Janette and Blanche both very much wanted to join their words with Elijah’s, but at the same time they knew that they would throw him off.
     They left early this night of charity ignored, charity despised. They also left feeling that perhaps humanity wasn’t worth saving, that maybe the whole human population was only concerned with their own hip pocket, only concerned with how much that they could maximise their own pleasure. Everyone else can go to hell. They, instead, could only go home to constraint.

*

Before the next Speaking Night the family all naturally found themselves around the kitchen table again, two hours before dinner at six pm. They were all keen to see if any of them had come up with an idea to safely evict the cats. They were each reluctant to start, probably because they all felt so cheap at not being able to safely rear Lucy and her children.
     ‘The only way we can advertise them,’ said Blanche after Elijah had plainly raised the topic of disposal, ‘is with our Speaking Nights. But people will still think we’re crazy. We need a way to show them that we’re just a normal family. A normal family that is under stress and needing another sturdy family’s help. We need to attract such a sturdy family to take these poor orphans.’
     ‘But they’re not orphans,’ interposed Janette. ‘We’re abandoning them since we can’t look after them.’
     ‘Isn’t that every orphan’s story?’
     ‘I’ve got it!’ suddenly exclaimed Elijah.
     ‘What? What?’ replied his family.
     ‘What does everyone want?’ His wife and daughter stared at him blankly.
     ‘Money!’ he exclaimed.
     His wife and daughter still looked at him blankly.
     ‘We’ll just offer the good passers-by some solid cash to take our kittens. Everyone loves cash.’
     ‘We’ll disperse them in no time. With money for their food. Dad, you’re a genius!’
     ‘No, just mildly cynical.’
     They all decided that they would offer ten dollars cash with each kitten taken home and they had an uncertain number of lookers-on. Nonetheless the kittens all found new homes after Elijah proclaimed that the ten dollars cash that he was giving away with each kitten would set them up finely for future life. Sure, Elijah was aware that there might have been a junkie or two who would pick up a kitten for the cash, but Elijah was also sure that this same said kitten would wield the necessary charm upon the junkie. Who knows, maybe these kittens would allure a few junkies away from the junk.
     But throughout Elijah’s speech bringing in people to purchase their kittens Blanche was very disturbed. Very disturbed indeed. She was very disturbed because her father was declaiming that the filthy lucre of money could easily buy love and happiness. Her father also pointed out to passers-by that their evil thoughts of this day could be channelled into good, the good of taking home and loving a completely innocent creature, especially since good and evil are the only definitions of each other.
     Was Blanche’s father now teaching evil as a source of redemption?  Sure Right and Wrong were mutually interdependent but surely her father was not now teaching evil as a path to righteousness? This certainly looked to be indeed the case. Blanche was mortified. And terrified. This was her worst nightmare, her father and mother working for the cause of Satan, his evil leading to a sham brighter life.
     Blanche though found her voice at home.
     ‘Dad, we’ve done wrong. We’ve preached wrong, we’ve preached that evil means can lead to a good end.’
     ‘What do you mean?’ responded her father.
     ‘We shouldn’t have given away money with each of the kittens. You shouldn’t have told them that money, rightly-gotten or otherwise, could buy love and joy or that Right and Wrong rely on each other: adopting Lucy’s children won’t counterbalance any evil. Dad, we’ve invested money we really can’t afford in what will probably be more unhappiness, ourselves now all facing lighter meals. Money really can’t buy anyone’s love, and good doesn’t rely on evil, or vice-versa.’
     ‘Maybe not,’ replied Elijah, sure that the kittens had gone to safe homes. ‘But it could well lead those who picked up the kittens onto the path of love.’
     ‘It might be best if we all take a break from the Speaking Nights,’ said Blanche. ‘I really do think we need to regroup and figure out more about what we plan to preach, since we’ve begun teaching that evil can result in righteousness.’
     ‘But we’ve only been preaching good,’ responded Elijah.
     ‘I’m not so sure, Dad. You have to admit after all that money can’t buy one happiness.’
     ‘Those kittens will make anyone happy, even the most devout misanthrope. I’m sure of it. Heck, even I miss them and I was the keenest to get rid of them.’
     ‘Still, money can’t get one lovin’. Real lovin’.  I think we need to plan our Speaking nights more. You know yourself, Dad, that we’ve been far too glib in saying that buying those kittens will bring unbounded love.’ And Elijah, despite himself, agreed.
     ‘Let’s just take a break from the Speaking Nights for a few weeks,’ said Blanche. ‘That’ll give us all time to settle our heads, give us all some time to set up what we really want to say. Give us all time to deny the hatred sold by Satan as wholesomeness. We can all repent our sin of abandoning Lucy with filthy lucre.’
     And repenting did them all good, but only for the first few days. After dinner of their fourth day’s abstemiousness they didn’t know what to do with themselves, watching the TV but speaking to each other in an attempt to lead them to a better life, speaking to each other as they spoke to the public. It was Elijah who first raised their need for Speaking,
     ‘We need to peach again, everyone. Working only for brightness, aware that evil may be used to shroud brightness, working for the joy of a bright cause appealing to everyone. Let’s express that immensely, throwing ourselves into something greater than we suspected. Let us all show each other that we are greater than we expected. Let us show the filthy lucre as the least of our worries, celebrating with everyone in the joy of causing brightness.’
     His family naturally agreed but it was Blanche whom provided a sensible warning: they would have to write out their speeches for each Speaking Night from now on, planning on how they were going to influence the crowd whom usually ignored the small family. By planning their speeches beforehand Blanche was easily able to show her parents that they could avoid Satan’s hope of their ad-lib proclaiming evil means as leading to good. And once again Elijah and Janette d’Israeli thank the Lord for their clever daughter.

~~~


If you have been enjoying Fitzpatrick's stories here you may also enjoy his short story collections, and other books, available online as both Kindle books and paperbacks (go to http://amzn.to/1NfodtN). Other ebook and paperback options are available at  http://bit.ly/1UsyvKD Fitzpatrick is also having a collection of short stories, Aberrant Selected, published by Waldorf Publishing in 2018. You can follow its journey at www.aberrantselected.blogspot.com




Friday, 2 March 2018

Such Possible Love


© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2015

“When I’ve said a thing, if it’s to myself only, it’s hard for me to go back.” George Eliot, Adam Bede.

How it was that Roland Garcia Marquez was able to awake every morning promptly at 3 am, according to his strong desire, he was never able to figure out. Mind you he never spent too long in questioning this ability but set about the morning’s business straight away. He lit the candle on his bedside table, moved the candle onto the small shrine next to this table, and then knelt in front of the shrine, devoid of all ornament, whispering invocations to the ether, his hands clasped in front of him. He was praying to everyone and to no-one in particular, spontaneously asking the Fates to in any way bring his Rosa Fernando Flores back, whom had left him when she saw him kiss another woman fully and passionately on the lips. She left suddenly, leaving only a note, and Roland did not get a chance to tell her that the woman was his first girlfriend and that the kiss was the result of a deep feeling of friendship for her, whom had made him a real man. Rosa had also left her share house and Roland was never able to find her again. Leaving him with only this crazy ritual, praying to anyone or anything to bring back his Rosa, his One True Love, the woman that revelled in Roland’s manliness.
    Three years of steadfast, regular praying to the elements was now quite possibly paying off, for Roland could suddenly now viscerally feel with all of his senses another presence within his mind, making a counterpoint to his whispered begging of the Universe. And that whispered counterpoint felt like a woman, specifically Rosa, smiling while she responded to his random prayers. Such a presence was impossible though, realised Roland, and while still begging the Universe to bring his Rosa back he subconsciously discounted the strong telepathic feeling as the result of not enough sleep. These early morning rituals were obviously catching up with him. But he continued nonetheless, his despairing prayers seeming to be the only hope for him.
    When his hour’s long vigil had ended, and that sultry, Latino voice of hers remained deep within his mind mirroring his thoughts, Roland’s fiery desire for her grew even brighter and he decided that there simply must be a way for him to find her without the unaffordable expense of hiring of private detective.
    ‘Try the phone,’ blurrily said that voice. In response Roland had an epiphany: if he could list every possible Aus mobile number and call them he was bound to find her. Seeing as how the first four digits of the mobile numbers were set and very limited the rest were just combinations of the numerals zero through nine. He simply had to do an online search for all of the possible Aus starting mobile numbers. He also needed time to make the thousands upon thousands of calls but that should be easy enough. Thus after showering and breakfasting he began to list every possible mobile number and that done several hours later he realised he could reasonably do the job in a year.
    ‘Rosa, darling, here I come!’ Then he made the first call on the list.

*

Roland was just as surprised as anyone when eight months, one week and five days into his dialling of every possible mobile number Rosa picked up the phone.
    ‘Hello, Roland,’ she said. Roland was speechless. ‘Yes, it’s me Rolando, I’ve been with your voice in my head for the past eight months and so knew it was you calling. Your voice has reminded me of the sweetness we had, of that love I’ve never been able to find again. But why did you cheat on me, Roland? Why?’
    ‘That was Catherine, my first girlfriend. I only kissed her that once and that to thank her for making a real man of me, no longer scared and petrified when a beautiful woman smiled at me.’ Roland took it matter-of-factly that Rosa had been listening to his thoughts, or at least claimed to be. Well, she must have been able to, how else could she know that it was him calling, especially since he had changed his mobile number a few times since they’d broken up.
    ‘Have you been able to hear my thoughts too, Rolando, as I’ve heard yours?’
    ‘Yes, but it’s always been just above a whisper, and I’ve been only able to talk with you sometimes. You recently read David Copperfield, didn’t you?’
    ‘Yes.’
    ‘I heard you read the whole thing, your voice inside announcing the words.’
    ‘Wouldn’t it be really wonderful if we could develop this telepathy?’
    ‘Yes, it would, Rosa, but if we were to tell anyone they would think we were both crazy. No-one would believe us no matter how we proved it.’
    ‘We have to tell people, Rolando. We could be millionaires many, many times over. We would have beautiful children who would have beautiful lives.’
    ‘Telepathy doesn’t exist, Rosa dear.’
    ‘Our telepathy exists and we should be able to show it. And if we have children they would probably be telepathic too. We could start a whole new type of person, people who can exist on just thoughts.’
    ‘Telepathy doesn’t exist, Rosa. They’d just lock us up.’
    ‘What if we went public anonymously? We could safely make our millions and no-one would be able to call us mutants, or crazy, or frauds.’ Rosa had made a good point: they could indeed safely make millions from their random ability, and maybe start a new era of humanity, heralding the greatest golden age so far.
    ‘I think you’re right,’ decided Roland, ‘we could really anonymously prove our telepathy. But we’ll have to get together. Are you still in Sydney?’
    ‘Melbourne, in Carlton. I have a very well-paying marketing job here but my bosses are real monsters and I was thinking of quitting at the end of this week. But for you Rolando I’ll quit today and I’ll see you tomorrow. Where in Sydney are you?’
    ‘Balmain, the only sales rep in this artsy town. I have a flat here that takes up most of my pay but it was the only real place available. We still have a housing shortage in Sydney and the rents are ridiculous.’
    ‘Well, I’ll see you tomorrow, Rolando darling, and together we’ll make a new world.’
    ‘I’ll message you my address.’ And with a few more love smitten words each they agreed to meet tomorrow evening after Roland had finished work and to immediately begin plans for ‘a new world.’ Both of them were tremendously excited.

*

Roland and Rosa didn’t end up planning the revelation of their abilities the next evening but instead spent the night at Roland’s flat, getting to know each other again over a bottle and a half of Shiraz. They each liked what they found and well into the wee hours made their way to Roland’s queen size bed. They made love until almost dawn and slept until noon. Roland could afford to sleep in as he was now on holidays, to celebrate his One True Love’s return. He was not due back at his sales office for another four weeks. Rosa, though, was officially unemployed and her savings would last only a month. The sooner they began preparing for their inevitable millions the better. Accordingly, once the table had been cleared after breakfast, they set to planning their momentous revelation.
    They began by confirming that they could in fact read each other’s thoughts, also briefly noting that their ‘reception’ was better the further apart they were. They then planned out a one hour show to highlight their abilities and spent the next two weeks in improving the quality and quantity of their reception. At the end of the two weeks they were even starting to read others’ thoughts, Rosa twice becoming embroiled in a telepathic conversation with two complete strangers. Things were looking good.
    Before they could begin their shows proper, however, they decided to do a bit of market research. Roland invited five of his friends over, for what Roland termed a ‘unique, never before experienced illusionist show.’ Since Rosa’s ability was the better of the two she would do all the mind-reading, wearing a mask to preserve her anonymity, and Roland would be her assistant. He told his friends that the mysterious woman had approached him out of the blue, asking for his help in dealing with her traumatic ability recently acquired. Apparently this woman had unsuccessfully asked a few people and Roland, he told his friends, was eager to help such a damsel in distress once she had indeed proved her strange ability.
    Their first show was a disaster. Rosa’s ability was uncanny and accurate, to the point where one of the audience had a massive heart attack, falling from his chair with his right hand clutching his chest. When the inert body hit the floor, almost at exactly the same time, another of the audience had a very serious asthma attack. His puffer was only of use in getting him to the hospital for serious treatment. The other three members of the audience, though not as badly upset, left Roland’s flat feeling very, very paranoid, as if all of their motives were open to the world.
    They both had to attend Balmain police station, after the body had been taken away, where they had to explain one sudden death and very nearly another one. The police weren’t entirely convinced until Rosa proved their telepathy to them. After that the police felt that they would really rather not know these two genetic aberrations.
    ‘Well, obviously now,’ said Rosa as soon as they were back at his flat and Roland had poured a Shiraz each for them, ‘we can never show anyone what we can do. No-one is ready.’
    ‘Yes. But if you like the telepathy we’ve taught each other as much as I do we have to go on using it.’
    ‘I love the telepathy, Rolando, having you so deep inside me, vibrating with my core. No, Rolando dear, we cannot live without the mind-reading but we also can’t live with it.’
    ‘We can live with it if we keep it as our secret. We just continue not showing anyone but keep it all for ourselves. We keep this bottomless love forever.’
    ‘I agree,’ replied Rosa, after a brief consideration.
    It was after these last words that Roland and Rosa largely stopped talking with each other, expressing and developing their telepathy instead. It was very much like a drug to each of them, a drug that got stronger and stronger each time they used it, instead of getting weaker like with other drugs. It didn’t take either of them long to confirm that their ability was indeed stronger if they were apart from each other, when they had measured it as best they could. Thus, for their own well-being, and for their own love they decided to travel apart from each other, whilst at the same time growing closer, easily able, about three months later, almost at the extremities each of New South Wales, to instinctively tap into other human minds about them. The minds of the lower animals were just the soughing of the wind, rising and falling.
    It is now Mayday, 2015, and Rosa has just told Roland that she is pregnant. Rosa first felt this reliant presence within her last night, dreaming of her foetal daughter, and awaking to a bubbling conversation with this daughter inside of her. Roland is of course ecstatic but both know they are not willing to give up their telepathy in order to get together and raise their child, thus reducing their telepathic ‘reception.’ It was Roland who first suggested they raise her, Gabriella, telepathically. Rosa had no objection and assures him that her daughter very much wants to explore her ability, every instant becoming clearer in her thoughts that she wants to talk without speaking. Well, Rosa qualified, that’s the impression that she gets.
    Roland soon started talking of moving overseas, the distance aiding in telepathically raising their daughter. He had not been able to touch her blossoming mind yet but Rosa assured him that their daughter had touched his mind, telling her mother that ‘Dada strong fun fun.’ Rosa translated this as ‘Daddy is strong and lots of fun.’
     And that was how Rolando modelled his fatherhood, always in contact with a perfect daughter that he never expects to see.

~~~~

If you have been enjoying Fitzpatrick's stories here you may also enjoy his short story collections, and other books, available online as both Kindle books and paperbacks (go to http://amzn.to/1NfodtN). Other ebook and paperback options are available at  http://bit.ly/1UsyvKD Fitzpatrick is also having a collection of short stories, Aberrant Selected, published by Waldorf Publishing in 2018. You can follow its journey at www.aberrantselected.blogspot.com

Thursday, 1 February 2018

An Impromptu Feast

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2016

Feeling more starved than usual, Katie Blyth, with the last $10.35 from her unemployment welfare until three more days, decided to buy a small bit of groceries. Entering the Jewell supermarket in Newtown, inner city Sydney, well into the spring of 2016 (which had so far proved warmer than usual), she had a vague idea of what she wanted: sandwiches. Passing by the tinned fish section she decided on pink salmon sandwiches, and so bought a large, quality brand of the fish, a loaf of generic, wholemeal bread, a small tub of generic margarine, and a can opener. She had some change from her purchase - not much - and was feeling proud of her new possessions. Being homeless and buying groceries are largely incompatible (especially if one is partial to very good bottles of Shiraz, and a good supply of marijuana for each day) making her revel in this delightful exception.
     Today still being much warmer than usual, she decided to eat al fresco. So she took up her lunchtime station on a bench on the footpath outside Jewell’s and began preparing what promised to be a tasty, filling lunch. She soon discovered that she had no knife to spread the margarine, and after a quick check of her change found that she probably couldn’t afford a packet of disposable plastic knives. She was too hungry anyway, and eager for the feast, to go back into the Jewell’s and see how much the knives were. So she decided to use the handle of the can opener, which proved very messy and clumsy. But Katie accepted that gratefully nonetheless.
     The sandwiches were more delicious than she had anticipated and she had three of them. But having most of the ingredients left over proved to be perplexing. How was she to store them? Her squat didn’t have a fridge, let alone any electricity. She had a few friends whom were in safe housing and they’d probably let her store the remains of the banquet in their fridge. But then the repast wouldn’t be readily available, and considering that these friends worked, her food, glorious food, would be out of reach practically all day. What was she to do? Was there any way of saving these precious boons?
     Staring forlornly at the remains of her meal she had an epiphany. Maybe if she wrapped all the goodies back in the plastic bag and buried the whole lot underground, that would keep them reasonably cold? It really was the only solution, so she wrapped up her feast and headed back to her squat.

*

Katie spent most of the night and most of the next day thinking about the food she had safely buried. It felt great knowing that if she got really hungry there was a good meal nearby, to be had without begging. Eventually though, at around six pm of the following day, she decided to take out her treasure and finish it all off in a gourmand ecstasy. She was salivating noticeably while digging up the hoard.
     When she finally had the plastic bag unearthed and opened she was absolutely shattered to see her store covered in worms, ants, and sundry creepy crawlies. Of course she had known that this might have been possible and so had tied the bag securely, but obviously to no avail. She placed the three items separately on the grass and tried to salvage each of them as much as possible. The salmon was a complete write off, as was the bread. The only thing she could conceivably use was the margarine. She felt like sobbing. Well if she couldn’t have her bounty neither would the thieving bugs. She collected the food together and dumped it all in a neighbour’s bin. It looked like she would have to beg up her dinner. Again.
     The beef kebab that she had begged up for dinner was not good that night, not nearly as normally good as it usually was. She kept recalling how close she had been to unlimited food, seemingly, and being able to have a full larder with not much begging. Certainly cheaper than the $6.50 each day for her kebab, not to mention the regular, and costly, Shiraz, and pot. She also started fondly recalling her ex-girlfriend, Mindy, and how perhaps Mindy had made the right choice when she left the streets after being moved on by the police from their squat a third night in a row. Mindy by now had probably just finished a nice steak dinner, chocolate ice cream for dessert, and was settling down to a good movie for the night. It seemed like Heaven.
     And now Katie wanted a piece of this Heaven too. Why should she be left out? Sure she had chosen to squat and opt out of modern society’s greed but maybe she could change the system she hated from within? From within a safe house, with plenty of food and plenty of comfort. Who knows, having such a haven might inspire her to be more proactive in her politics, may even be the catalyst for her to effect some noble change in Western society, doing so from a solid base. It was certainly worth a try since she wasn’t obviously saving the world by squatting.
     Enthused now with hopes of a brighter future she begged up some money for the bus fare to nearby Rozella Psychiatric Hospital, determined to admit she was indeed a depressive, as she had been diagnosed, and that she couldn’t change the world for the better by opting out of it. She would take the medications they gave her this time, gladly, would give up the pot that exacerbated her depression, and she would accept their help in finding her some decent housing.
     But Rozella had no room for her. The nurses in the admission office all knew her well and were sure that Katie had finally seen the sense of taking her meds and living like the rest of society, but there was absolutely nothing they could do for her. There was not a single bed free. She asked if she could spend the night in the admission office but they couldn’t allow that. If they did allow that the admission office would soon be full of the mentally ill hoping for a bed, presenting an occupational health and safety risk. The most that they could help her out with was to let her stay there for two or three hours on the very slim chance that a bed became available. She only stayed an hour though, as she felt tortured in being so close, yet so very far, from safety. She left the hospital feeling well-nigh near to pure despair. Was there a way out?
     Maybe Mindy would take her back, if only for a little while? Mindy would be sure to believe her when Katie acknowledged that she was indeed depressive, mentally ill and unsound, and swore to take the required medications in consultation with a doctor, and to give up the smoko that really wasn’t good for her. Mindy was in fact certain to take her in again if she, Mindy, truly did once love her. Katie wasn’t demanding the moon, she just wanted her former lover’s help for a week or two, then she, Katie, would move on, into a safe home of her own. Surely their two years together could allow so much?
     Katie hoped Mindy was at the same address, already feeling her welcome.

*

Mindy was indeed welcoming, but she couldn’t make the sole decision for allowing Katie to stay for a week or two, by which time Katie said she should have reached a much firmer domestic and social base. Katie’s fate was also to be decided by Adam, a new flatmate. Katie was quickly introduced to him and all agreed to see if they could realistically help out Katie with her hopes. They certainly believed she was committed to abandoning her wildness but they should all probably have a good natter to make sure each knew where they stood.
     Once Katie had been officially welcomed into the flat by both Mindy and Adam she chose to make best use of the resultant high she was now feeling; no more hunger, begging, and desperation. She first unpacked her meagre belongings and spread the sheets Mindy had given her onto the mattress on the floor of her new room, and then headed out to the local medical centre. The doctor she conferred with was a very well dressed, middle aged, Indian gentleman, Dr Kumar. After Katie’s tale of her sorry, mistaken, homelessness choice, her several admissions to psychiatric hospitals, and her newfound realisation that she did actually have depression, and needed help, he instantly held out his mind to help her. Dr Kumar took her seriously in hand and scheduled an appointment for her every day for the next two weeks. He also prescribed some new anti-depressants which were showing great results. They spent thirty minutes on their first consult, but Katie, at the end, did not fully commit to seeing a psychiatrist regularly. That would take a little bit of extra time. Thankfully, or so Dr Kumar informed her, some psychiatrists were willing to do consults under the Medicare of Aus, so Katie, when she was ready, need not worry about paying for the consultations.
     Katie, she realised, on the way to the pharmacy to fill the prescription (hopefully on credit) had entered Heaven.

*

Katie had a very severe reaction to the new tablets on the fifth night of her taking them, the same day that she had been placed in a job by her employment agency (Katie said a prayer of thanks when she was told of her new job, thankful that Aus had such a good economy, thus quickly allowing her a job.) She had been at home alone, enjoying her first Shiraz in five days, and enjoying a twenty dollar deal of ganja too, while she looked over her day’s work clothes that she was still wearing, in a mirror - a nice, alluring red dress, elegant, costume jewellery, blue sandals, and her clean, long brown hair which was delightfully pinching the back of her head at the base of a ponytail. She looked over all this and admired it, whilst also denying that she found herself attractive. She thought the mild twitch on the left side of her neck was just jealousy, the psychic jealousy of nameless others.
     When Katie realised that the twitch was getting steadily worse and was completely uncontrollable, she had just finished her first glass of wine, and her third hash pipe. There was not a possibly worse time to be delightfully heady, and warmly stoned. But she mentally evicted the panic and rang Emergency.
     The ambulance got to her by the time her whole head kept involuntarily swinging to her left. She had no control over it and felt that it was only going to get worse. She saw little hope in the paramedics. But they gave her some Cogentin and told her to lay down on her right side. They kept her talking, Katie actively co-operating, while the Cogentin took effect. Ten minutes later she was fine. The paramedics left feeling good, having done well. Katie certainly thought they had redeemed her sentience, allowing her to continue improving.
     But Katie was also doubtful. Since she had such a bad reaction to this medication, a so called ‘modern breakthrough’ according to Dr Kumar, she would most probably have an adverse reaction to any other anti-depressants, all of them being inferior to the new, modern tablet she had tried. Not only that, but now Katie had nothing to fight her depression with. She couldn’t fight all that good fight with willpower alone, and since meds couldn’t help, she had no choice but to leave the field early, before she somehow brought ruin unto the fine Mindy and Adam. She left them a kind note, explaining that she didn’t want to bring them down in her sudden helplessness. She begged them not to look for her, but to welcome her once again if she ever really needed it.
     When she got to her old squat, with only a duffel bag full of clothes, two books, and the remains of her ganja, and Shiraz, she was once again devastated. The place was being torn down. There was a metal fence out the front, signs all over it, and some machinery scattered over the front yard, all of it operated by men obviously intent on tearing down her home. She left dejectedly, but faintly hopeful that things couldn’t possibly get any more the worse.
     Idly wandering around Newtown then she gradually came up with a plan. She would invest in a tent and sleep in parks throughout the day, spending her active biorhythms under starlight. And when she had a tent she may as well see more of Sydney, besides Newtown. Indeed, now would probably be a good time to see Aus in closer detail. Full of a haunting purpose then she headed off to Newtown’s pawn shop and bought a tent. The guy gave her a good deal because she looked to be a damsel heading for distress. She also bought a portable cooler, enough to hold a few day’s groceries before they went off. The first park she slept in was Royal Prince Alfred, Redferne, but she couldn’t sleep that day. So she partially filled her cooler, after begging up some dollars, and read for the rest of the day and night, by booklight during the night, with the regulation bottle of Shiraz, and the regular tokes from her hash pipe, throughout the reading, and slept at dawn the next day. She was looking forward to the ham sandwiches for breakfast. Yum! Yum! Yum!

~~~

If you have been enjoying Fitzpatrick's stories here you may also enjoy his short story collections, and other books, available online as both Kindle books and paperbacks (go to http://amzn.to/1NfodtN). Other ebook and paperback options are available at  http://bit.ly/1UsyvKD Fitzpatrick is also having a collection of short stories, Aberrant Selected, published by Waldorf Publishing in 2018. You can follow its journey at www.aberrantselected.blogspot.com

Monday, 1 January 2018

Believing in Visions

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2016

‘Love attaches itself to something prominent, even if that something be what others would hate. One can scarce feel extremes for mediocrity.’ Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Falkland

Had Helena known that Justyn, despite his roguishly sexy, manly, look, and good clothes, was a homeless beggar, she would never approached him at Kelly’s, in Newtown, inner city Sydney. She did not approach with the standard offer of a drink, but with a question; did he tie-dye his own jeans? They were certainly well done, also naturally highlighting his plain white buccaneer shirt. And, come to think of it, where did he get such a shirt?
     It turned out that, yes, he did tie-dye his own jeans. Hemp jeans made the process easier too, being so malleable. He had three pairs like it. The shirt he had found in a bin. It was then that Helena found that this studly hunk was nothing more than a bum. A bum who obviously knew how to look after himself, but a bum, a dero, nonetheless.
     Helena now found herself in somewhat of an annoying quandary: though Justyn was a real pleasure to talk with, appeared intelligent, smelt of enticing woods, he had absolutely no prospects. He also affirmed to her questions that he planned to live on the streets forever. He had a place to sleep, somewhere to shower, and food was never a problem thanks to his regular fortnightly federal welfare pension payment. He also declaimed to her how it was so enervating to be able to do whatever one wanted. He mostly chose to read all day, though. Upon closer questioning, however, Justyn agreed that homelessness was sometimes horrible: no toilet, no security, usually no electricity, and it was somewhat lonely, not being able to confide in one’s fellow desperados. He briefly agreed with her that if he were offered safe, clean modern housing he would give it a good go for a while, to see if he was missing out on anything.
     When Justyn posited this last, Helena saw a slim ray of hope. So, she got him another schooner, and then persisted in the conjecture. To the point where Justyn agreed he would move in to her share house, and spend a month living like a regular young man in Sydney. He quickly became excited at the prospect.

*

Justyn took to the sheltered life very well, so much so that after his third day in the new share house (the other housemates, Sandi and Rory, were happy for him to stay, as a favour to Helena) he had easily landed a job. It was at Flemington Markets, twenty minutes by train from the Sydney CBD, and he would be offloading trucks. He had been out of the workforce for three years and was thus even more surprised at his success. The hiring foreman obviously trusted to Justyn’s good build being able to do a good job.
     He started that night and naturally enjoyed this novel experience, his body in constant motion, his mind engaged. But not pointlessly, with no form of a reward envisioned. Instead he would have a good paycheque in a week, a veritable fortune after the poverty he’d just realised he’d been living in. He would even have enough left over to save and invest with.
     Events unfolded even more wholesomely along this track and after a month Justyn had over a thousand dollars saved, after his rent and share of the bills.
     It was after setting up a good interest bearing bank account with this thousand that Justyn for the first time saw that he could become considerably wealthy with just hard work. There was plenty of overtime at the markets so doing even more, maybe twelve hours a day, he could quickly enough set himself up as somebody to observe. If he could then cut his bills down to the bare minimum he’d be even wealthier. But his biggest bill, by cutting which would have the biggest impact, was his rent and he really could not cut that. Or could he? After all, he just needed somewhere to shower before work each day. He had got by before on only that, the shower being provided by Ulysses House, a homeless shelter in Kings Cross, near Sydney’s centre. Sure he would miss the ready access to a bathroom, but he had survived without it before and he was sure he could do such again.
     So he eventually left Helena’s place on the night after depositing his new riches, a night off from work, leaving a thankful note, and found his old squat to be in the same shape. No-one was home and his mattress was in the same place. His candles and books were in their same place too. He lit a fresh candle, wondering what he’d read before retiring for the night.

*

He had no problems in any shape in his new beggarly rich life. He had virtually no expenses and he saved virtually all of his pay. It was no problem attending to his duties in a professional manner whilst at the same time his domestic life was so very unstable. He hadn’t been moved on by the police for a while, but that was only a matter of time though. He had been at this squat for around ten months so far, less the time at Helena’s, so a visit from the police, moving him, and any others, on, was bound to fall due soon.
     But maybe the police had already been by, explaining why his two fellow squatters still hadn’t returned home. He could be here another ten or so months then, getting richer and richer. Life just keeps getting better by the day!
     Helena tracked him down near the end of this sixth week of increased riches. He had allowed himself two pints of Guinness at Kelly’s for passing $5,000 in his high interest savings account. Once again, she was the one to approach him.
     ‘Justyn?’ He turned around, stout to his lips. ‘Oh yes, thank God! I’ve been coming here for the past two weeks hoping to find you.’ Justyn put the pint down.
     ‘I hope I haven’t done anything wrong,’ he said. He was as well dressed, and as handsome, as she remembered him.
     ‘No, but something very wrong is going to be done to you.’
     ‘How’s that?’
     ‘Justyn, for two weeks I’ve been having this one vivid, recurring dream. It’s a horrible dream. Horrible. I see you being burned alive over and over again. Alone. You have to come home with me now. Move back in. To save yourself.’
     ‘It’s just a dream,’ said Justyn, but he was also spooked by its vivid, recurring nature. ‘No-one can predict the future, least of all with dreams. I always blow out my candle before sleep so, since only a candle could start the fire, there’s no need to worry. You worry too much.’ He resumed his stout.
     ‘Justyn, I can feel it. You have to come home with me so that you won’t be roasted alive. I’m serious!’
     ‘Look, Helena, you’re just scaring yourself, not me. Nothing’s going to happen. That I too can feel.’
     And so they continued, arguing back and forth, until finally Justyn agreed to move back in, just to placate her, and after she assured him she wasn’t trying to take away his streets again. But he would move in only temporarily, while Helena’s forecasted doom passed over. He would pay no rent either. Helena was naturally agreeable to this, but her housemates would probably want him to pay his way. After all, a good life in Sydney was not at all cheap so his extra rent monies would be handsomely appreciated. Besides, Justyn already had lived with them rent free for a month and another rent free month might cause tensions with Sandi and Rory if Justyn didn’t chip in.  But no, said Justyn, his money was entirely his own, and he could easily remain in his squat. He was only moving in as a favour to Helena, so it was unfair to ask him to pay as well. But both being rational, clever, people they agreed on a compromise: Justyn could stay there rent free but he had to do all the household chores. All of them. This compromise Justyn was very pleased with, even considering if he could, after a month’s due diligence, make it a permanent arrangement. It would be the best of all possibilities: he’d have his rent free, rich, working life, and safe, clean shelter with all the mod cons, all for about an hour’s cleaning per day and cooking dinner each night. He didn’t need to cook breakfast, Helena told him, because everyone ate cereals for breakfast. Lunch the house mostly had outside. All up, both Justyn and Helena felt it was a very, very good arrangement, and that her housemates would also consider it such.
     Helena’s housemates did indeed agree to the arrangement, quickly, and their first dinner with Justyn as the house chef was a resounding success. He cooked up a personal favourite, fettucine with creamed pumpkin. He also added chilli paste to it which gave it a real kick. Over dinner on that first night he told of how his parents had taught him to cook from an early age, that by his mid-teens he was doing all of the cooking at home. He enjoyed it, the best part being making people fundamentally content with his food.
     So when he was fired from his job, five weeks later, for mouthing off and swearing at his boss (Justyn really had been working too hard for too long, becoming unknowingly stressed as result) his house wasn’t too perturbed. Justyn didn’t need to bring in money to the house because he was doing a fantastic job in looking after it with his cleaning and his cooking. He would always be welcome with his contributions.
     ‘Well, let’s have a party then,’ said Justyn when he was told he could stay if he still did all the chores. ‘We’ll drink to new horizons.’ The other two housemates offered to get the wine but Justyn only let them if he owed them the favour. Happiness, thus, reigned supreme.
     It was Helena who suggested they get some pot. She had never tried it and today seemed the perfect time to try. Besides, it was still only Saturday, so she should have plenty of time to recover before work again on Monday. Justyn smoked a little and so knew somewhere he could get it. They only delivered and only did fifties, three grams. Helena got out the fifty cash from a nearby ATM and when she returned, with two bottles of scotch whiskey and cola, and some cigarette rolling papers for the joints, Justyn made the call.
     The pot arrived about an hour after Justyn ordered it but by that time they were beginning to be all well-oiled on whiskey. They rolled up a big joint and Helena, never having imbibed, was given the first few tokes.
     She liked it. Liked it a lot. She had Justyn show her how to roll a joint and by the time she finished sharing a third one she felt like a goddess. So much so that she told her friends she had to take a walk in the dark so she could talk to the stars. She was only barely heard and left the house in raptures.
     She returned at dawn the next morning, not knowing where she had been or how she had got home. She was still talking with the stars when she saw the fire truck leaving what could only be the burned shell of her home. She temporarily sobered upon the instant, and ran up to the wreckage. She was told by her neighbours, whose houses on both sides were seriously damaged by the fire, that her housemates had been taken to hospital unwillingly, injured, but wanting to see if Justyn had made it out. A police officer, also with the neighbours, said that he probably didn’t, that one burned body had been discovered in the living room. Helena was asked if she could identify it, despite the body’s charred state. She identified him by the tie-dye cuff on the left of his jeans.

*

If you have been enjoying Fitzpatrick's stories here you may also enjoy his short story collections, and other books, available online as both Kindle books and paperbacks (go to http://amzn.to/1NfodtN). Other ebook and paperback options are available at  http://bit.ly/1UsyvKD Fitzpatrick is also having a collection of short stories, Aberrant Selected, published by Waldorf Publishing in 2018. You can follow its journey at www.aberrantselected.blogspot.com