Thursday, 1 June 2017

Discovered

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2014

Having never, since the age of twenty-one, been astounded by the fact that that he was a Homo Deus, a man-God, or God-man, Geaccomo Darius Worthen-Grieves, now wondered if the flames in the hearth were showing him other Homo Deus people. Well, of course there were others he said to himself, literally; God Would Need many such in order to Keep a proper Account of Reality; and God Needs more than just the one good friend.
     He took another swig of his port and then got up to stand and look out of the gaping doorway of his squat.
     Being a Homo Deus was very trying for Geaccomo: he had to be always observing his neighbours; he tended to worry over the tiniest things that could possibly harm Reality, wondering as well if he was endangering It by bringing God down to his level to report the week’s observations of his fellow citizens. God though Loved Geaccomo’s reports, God once Telling him that they were the Highlight of His week.
     He took another swig of his port and closed his not-too-dirty overcoat.
     It would be nice to lose his burden, with perhaps infinite port in exchange. He didn’t need to pay rent, the drink meant he didn’t have to eat much, he neither smoked nor took any illicit drugs, but still there was never enough port for the welfare fortnight. And spying on people had always made him feel guilty, even if it was in order to report to God. Surely he could resign his viceregality, maybe even exchange it somehow for an endless supply of port?
     He took another swig and headed back to his mattress in front of the lit hearth.
     ‘Stuff it,’ he said to the flames, ‘Satan will buy my Homo Deus title, a feather in his cap in The Eternal Struggle. He’ll easily accept my services for simply some choice drink. He’ll probably give me cash as well as the free port forever.’ His increasing alcohol psychosis made the idea seem entirely reasonable.
     ‘Where can I find Satan though in this big city?’ he asked himself.
     ‘Head out and he will find you,’ he likewise replied.
     Geaccomo finished his port and headed out to find Satan.

*

Geaccomo was instinctively sure that Satan would accept his service, being eager to call one of God’s best servants to his dark side after Geaccomo had simply muttered a bastard prayer affirming his allegiance in return for booze, booze, and more booze. Satan would probably announce the acceptance of the deal with a full bottle of top quality alcohol left somewhere for Geaccomo to find rather than making his malefic appearance before the malodorous Geaccomo. Geaccomo was also mentally too far gone for such an audience.
     And turning the corner of a street in Redferne, in sunny though presently cold Sydney, Aus, a land Worthen-Grieves was sure has a twin in a parallel universe, he was met with a bright glowing light. There was also a flashing sign: ‘Free Party! All Welcome!’ The lights were coming from a terrace house, filled also with people and not too loud music.
     ‘So, Satan,’ said Geaccomo, ‘methinks my service is accepted. You’d better keep me in port.’ He crossed over to the party.
     There was indeed port there, not of too high a quality though, and the house was full of mostly young adults, well dressed and too drunk to worry about Geaccomo’s general filthiness. It bothered Geaccomo though for he wanted to start his dark service on a positive footing. Easily finding the cheery young lass who was one of the hosts he was allowed to shower and was also given some clothes to change into.
     It was the first time that he had had a shower whilst also imbibing good sherry (for a change) and the novelty made the washing seem almost sensual, like he was being caressed by silky spirits completely surrounding him. It was also the longest shower he had ever had, over half an hour. He would have liked to stay longer but he had to refill his sherry.
     Finding the clothes a perfect fit, almost as if they were made for him, he re-joined the party and the general boozing.

*

And the party continued, long after Geaccomo had left that terrace house the first time. Geaccomo didn’t question the fact that he was now regularly finding bottles of wine, fortified wine, beer, and one time a half full bottle of bourbon, and occasionally fresh clothes. The bottles were never completely full but he was now stretching his alcohol budget to the point where he had plenty of strong drink every day of the fortnight. What Geaccomo did find surprising was that he had been shouted at most of Redferne’s pubs quite a lot over the past few weeks. His benefactors invariably explained the cause for doing so was Geaccomo’s improved appearance. On dole-day he usually went from pub to pub in Redferne, allowing himself fifty dollars for the party, dressed in his stinking, pungent rags and spying on his neighbours until he had a good drunk going. But since his deal with Satan, with its fresh clothes, and also being allowed to shower regularly at the house that had thrown the free party, the locals at these pubs had noted his improved appearance and odour and sought to encourage him in these improvements with the occasional free drink.
     But Geaccomo didn’t forget whose service he was in during these free drinks, avidly spying on the pubs’ patrons and reporting all he saw to the Dark Lord. Geaccomo never actually saw Satan when he called him up, every Saturday night upon the stroke of midnight, but rather addressed his report to a vaguely humanoid shadow, and only appearing in Geaccomo’s mind’s eye. Satan neither said anything during these reports nor showed any signs of recognising Geaccomo.
     All in all Geaccomo congratulated himself on his move to Satan’s service; the fruits of his labour were bountiful and he was now drinking more, partying longer, was cleaner, and well clothed practically all of the time.
     ‘Yes, things have improved a lot. A lot.’ Such was the constant refrain from him whenever he thought about it over a drink. He was neither sorry to have left God’s service nor did he expect any serious repercussions from his dereliction of duty.
     He was thus very surprised to be Visited by God one night in a dream, around six months since after his dark service had commenced. He did not think God would Miss him but apparently He Did.
     ‘My son,’ began God, ‘Geaccomo, My dearest Geaccomo, why hast thou forsaken Me?’
     ‘I have found Paradise in drink, Father.’
     ‘‘Tis a false Paradise, an empty temptation by My Rival, solely to take another valued sheep from My Fold. Thine monitoring of this sad world is sorely relied upon by Me and My Son. We cannot Do without thee, dearest Geaccomo. Return to Our Embrace, but return and all shall be forgiven.’
     ‘Will You Fix me up with endless drink? Fresh clothes, and no rent?’
     ‘Thine wine is a sickness. Thou needst aliment, a veritable bounty of which I can Guide you to obtain if thou but return.’
     It was no contest for Geaccomo. ‘God,’ he said, ‘alcohol is the only thing that makes me feel real, alive, potent, and eternal. I don’t need food. Being a diligent Homo Diabolus is nothing but bounty.’
     ‘‘Tis bane, my son. Ware! Even now My Rival’s firewater erodes thine heart, erodes thine lifethews. Ware, I Say! Return to My Fold lest My Rival take thee unprepared, turning thine heart against thee.’
     That gave Geaccomo pause for thought. ‘You mean,’ he asked of God, ‘Satan is trying to murder me?’
     ‘He is nothing but ill. Didst thou expect anything more?’ Geaccomo now realised his error; he had been tempted away from his holy service simply so that Satan could score one against God. Geaccomo was nothing but a sacrificial pawn.
     In his dream Geaccomo got onto bended knee, bowed his head, and joined his hands in prayer. ‘Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. Service to Satan boots nought and henceforth I commit myself to You if You will but Welcome an erring sinner.’
     ‘So be it, My dearest Geaccomo.’
     Geaccomo then awoke with a start, slightly sweating in the clothes he’d slept in, and with a pain in his chest. It was dawn of a promising spring day and Geaccomo instantly got out of bed to say a prayer on his bended knees, affirming God’s Dominion over the Dark Lord, renouncing Satan and strong drink as all ill.
     Satan mustn’t have been cognizant of this change for he still left strong drink and clothing for Geaccomo. Geaccomo was too far gone in alcohol psychosis to resist temptation and soon gave up resisting altogether the Dark Lord’s wiles. It was easier to still drink and to report to the Dark Lord, afterwards fondly recalling the halcyon days of his services to God, one of His viceroys, Homo Deus, the eyes and ears of The Almighty.
     Geaccomo was found dead by the police exactly three lunar months after his failed return to God. A neighbour had placed a call to the local police station after noticing a pervasive, unholy stench from Geaccomo’s squat. By the way Geaccomo was clutching at his heart it was fairly certain that he had died of a heart attack. The police could find no next of kin and Geaccomo was cremated unceremoniously. He was missed by none except God and Christ.
    

    ~~~ 

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 May 2017

Elijah

(c) Denis Fitzpatrick

Elijah d’Israeli, since about a month after the beginning of his freely chosen wandering life of a prophet at the age of twenty-three, absolutely hated his reflection in the small mirror on his bank’s ATMs. Elijah hated how that small mirror showed the dirt buried deep into his very pores. Presently he grimaced at it, and inserted his card.
     The machine promptly told him that he had only $114.57 left. He was short by around $100. He needed all of what he had left for his beer, cigarettes, and food for this week, in that order. And there was no point trying the Trust Fund for assistance; the regulation daily $250.00 (to cover any hotel costs that the wandering prophet might need, and sundries) would be there once again at 9:30 am tomorrow morning, and there was no negotiating for an advance. He was lucky his moderately wealthy parents couldn’t bear to completely have him at the mercy of the wilds.
     He was $100 short to entertain a new belle that he had met three days ago in Chippendaille, near the end of a very cold winter, 2011. Chippendaille he found extra depressing in winter, feeling shut away into darkness, and he sometimes wondered if its utter wintry barrenness was counterpoised by a brighter Chippendaille in another Sydney, in a parallel Universe. But to this young lass. She had seen the grimy, shabbily dressed, Elijah sitting on a wall, his travelling bag nearby, looking to all intents and purposes as if he was really enjoying the cigarette he was smoking. Probably a joint. She decided to help him out a wee bit by buying him some hot chips, a nice hearty feed of them.
     Elijah had in fact been smoking a joint and the dinner box full of chips was just the thing for the consequent munchies. He didn’t fail to notice either that they were offered by a fairly attractive young lady, in an aqua dress, with blue denim jacket, calf-length, shiny black boots, and such fine, long, straw coloured hair. She introduced herself as Janette Meunier.
     Elijah didn’t take long either to ask her out, after he had finished off the chips in conversation with her. He assured her that he had ample, ample resources, that his present homelessness was his voluntary response to a vivid dream that he had had around the start of the year: it was simply an image of Christ in a wasteland crying and pleading for help from someone, anyone, just please help. He awoke shortly after shaken to the core. That morning he went searching for the source of his vision, abandoning everything, including a writing career that was just beginning to be fruitful.
     But all this interesting history doesn’t look like it’ll be able to be conveyed upon the eager, earnest Janette, unless he can now come up with the $100 missing from bank his account. He could of course go without the beer, but then again, no, that was simply not an option. At least he had given up the red wine after waking in an old man’s house, with presumably his son in attendance, with no idea as to how he had got there after a heavy night of the red, red wine. But was there any possible solution to his present monetary woe?
     Yes, he instantly thought. Tonight’s Speaking Night (which he was planning to forgo in favour of a restaurant) so just take her around the traps. Speaking Night was every Sunday night and Elijah travelled the inner city suburbs of Sydney, Aus, preaching a particular truth revealed to him as a result of his wandering search for the wailing Christ. After all, it certainly had novelty as a date and Janette looked like she liked anything interesting. He pulled out his phone to dial her with the change of plans.

*

Janette thought that joining him on Speaking Night was indeed a novel idea, perhaps able to shed an entirely new light on her fellow citizens. They met up at a café across from Redferne station at seven pm and decided to have just the one coffee each and start off the Night just outside the station.
     The coffees were engagingly and leisurely consumed but after Elijah, who had spruced himself up very well and was without his travelling bag, had paid the bill and was waiting beside the still seated Janette to join him in the Night’s journey. She remained completely motionless. Elijah soon became slightly concerned.
     ‘Janette? You okay?’ She remained motionless.
     ‘Janette?’ She then jerked her head to her left and looked up at him,
     ‘I’m terrified of crowds.’ She looked frightened but wasn’t pale.
     ‘I’m absolutely terrified of crowds,’ she continued. ‘I know it’s a silly fear, modern life is crowded, and that’s why I decided to join you for Speaking Night. I would be in control of any crowd that developed. Or partly in control. I knew I’d be scared but I also knew it wouldn’t kill me and that I’d face my fear.’
     ‘That’s very brave, Janette. But I very rarely have crowds gather in front of me. The good people usually ignore me.’
     ‘Still, it’s the thought that a crowd might form in front of me that absolutely terrifies me. Although, my freelance painting is now starting to get talked about more so I’ve had to force myself to be amongst small crowds oftener. I can overcome the fear easily enough; it just takes a few minutes of quiet preparation. And a glass of water.’
     ‘Can I get you one,’ asked Elijah.
     ‘Yes, please.’
     While Janette was drinking her water and preparing herself Elijah offered to hold her hand while he was speaking, to help her be sure to remain steady and unfrightened. She thought about it and decided any help oughtn’t to be rejected. And he was a nice guy, well-dressed now, with Mediterranean features that alluded to curiosity. Short haired too, thankfully.
     Janette soon announced that she was ready and they made their way across the road.
     ‘Brothers and sisters,’ he assuredly called while they were both taking up their stations, hand in hand. ‘Cousins and strangers! I preach the word of Christ. And I have heard Him Calling to me and I remain responding to that call. He has told me many things to aid my search, some of them good, some of them horrible. Tonight, brothers and sisters, cousins and strangers, I will reveal an utter abomination before His Eyes, an abomination enacted by the Roman Catholic Church. Their paedophilia is well documented, people, but what is not well documented is that these very same abominable priests are regularly going to Confession, admitting their evils, and then being absolved of their sins. Of course the Father who hears the Confession will sometimes pass the information onto his superiors and another disgusting, vile priest is shifted onto a new parish with no knowledge of his damnable sins.’ Elijah paused, looking around at the passing people ignoring him. ‘An utter abomination, brothers and sisters, cousins and strangers. But there is more.
     ‘As I said the Roman Catholic Church’s paedophilia is well documented but what is not well known is that Its victims, once having received monetary compensation, must contractually agree not to talk about their horrors to anyone, neither to friends and family nor to counsellors. Brothers and sisters, cousins and strangers, it is talking about this abuse that is the first critical step towards healing. The Roman Catholic Church are simply prostituting the children in their care, buying their silence once they have been so completely damaged.
     ‘So what can you do, good people? Simply boycott Mass. Simply extend your charity elsewhere. Turn your backs upon the Roman Catholic priesthood, as the Roman Catholic priesthood had Its back turned to worshippers in Mass for centuries, until the Pontiff allows them to marry.’
     Elijah then led Janette further down the road and once again he revealed the same message. They spent an hour in Redferne, randomly moving to spots, and then spent until five am the next morning Speaking all over inner Sydney, always the same message, to make it the more effective with repetition. They parted back at the café across from Redferne station and Janette said she might like to come along on the next Speaking Night. Elijah had no problem with that. They had a milkshake each and agreed to get together in a week. Elijah headed off to sleep in a park seeing as how the morning was warming nicely.

*

Janette indeed joined Elijah for another Speaking Night, the next Sunday, and it was to both of them outside of Central train station that a Roman collared priest approached. He had heard Elijah at Central last week and wished to offer the olive branch. Would he and his wife care to join him for tea to discuss the matter?
     Elijah, naturally, took the priest at his word and they all agreed to a meeting on the following night. The priest remained affable when they arrived at his place, a balding sandy haired American, still with the accent, and they all sat down to some tea without suspicion.
     How Elijah knew he’d been poisoned he didn’t know. It was just a sure, undeniable conviction that made him dial for a taxi to the nearest hospital the instant after he’d first sipped his sweet tea. The doctor said it was that instinct that got Elijah to him in the nick of time. Elijah would be sick for a while but he just needed bed rest and he’d soon be fine again.
      The priest handed himself in soon after the attempted murder, admitting to everything. He had got the arsenic from the Net. The priest, Father Sebastian, said he did it for the greater glory of Christ and that he would easily do it again if it meant keeping the Holy Roman Catholic Church rightly all powerful. The police thought he was a nut.
     When Elijah and Janette returned to the Speaking Nights a month later she did some of the Speaking, exhorting reason to the passers-by that weren’t listening as usual. They didn’t do it primarily to be heard but to hear each other. They were never derided, simply ignored. They also did it for a love that was growing in Christ’s name. And Christ indeed must have been paying heed for after three months of Speaking with Elijah, and other dates, Janette had a similar dream to that of Elijah’s Christ wailing in a desert. She had seen Him sobbing, crouched down upon his knees and bent over, crying into His Cupped Hands.
     She then awoke with a start, shaken to the core. She naturally told Elijah of her vision the following morning, his response being to ask for her hand in marriage: together they could the better assist the desperate Christ. Janette happily assented. They took to travelling and Speaking across the length and breadth of Aus, until a year ago, when they had their first children, twin girls. They have put the Speaking in abeyance until the children should have flown the nest. They remain on the lookout for the forlorn Christ. 


~~~


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

Saturday, 1 April 2017

My Father's Last Will

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2014
(Formerly published, in a shorter form, under the title, My Father’s Ashes, in Fitzpatrick's short story collection, Bearing all Gods and Goddesses, published by www.independencejones.com.)


Deep within a dark, dark cave the ashes of my father have been spread out across the walls, in line with his Last Will and Testament. The walls of the cave are moist, not excessively so, most of his ashes being easily absorbed by the dampness. There was intermittent lichen but I worked around them, my father’s will being quite adamant that his last resting place was to be on solid rock. I spread them out in a loosely artistic shape, vaguely resembling a bird, because I didn’t want my father to spend the remainder of eternity in boring, unimaginative straight swipes across the cave’s wall. We were all surprised when his Last Will was revealed, especially with the fact that he had picked out the specific cave and that he specifically wanted me to perform the act. Maybe simply because I am the eldest son with two younger sisters, Leanne, and Daisy, the youngest. I won’t tell you where he has chosen his last rest; let him remain in peace.
    They have been there for just over a year now, and I spend a lot of time wondering why he would want his last remains treated in this way. I am not sure if he meant the act to be a boon or a bane. Did he expect to merge with the Earth in some fundamental manner? Or was he rejecting the Earth, ultimately prone to change? Was he choosing to become somehow more fundamentally solid, real, and more impervious to time, by partaking of stone’s nature? It could also have been a desire to reach Paradise by the most direct route possible, by by-passing the Earth altogether for an eternity of quietness. But then again my father was never a man who liked quietness. Growing up he always put on a classical radio station upon coming home from work as a bank teller (which he worked at until five years before he passed away at 94. He looked in his 60s until the last), have only the one can of beer, and spend the rest of the evening in joshing around with us.
    And then again, he may have been seeking utter oblivion, choosing to escape the natural recycling of his self had we emptied the urn containing his ashes over the vegetable garden that he had created. Perhaps his life was simply too full, and all he needed now was eternal rest upon a solid base?
    That garden was almost a farm it was so large. He gave us ten dollars every week when we were pre-teens if we watered it properly and did a bit of maintenance, and he always paid with a grateful heart and on time. I don’t think though that I, or my mother or sisters, would have eaten from the garden, which my sprightly 89 year old mother still maintains, should Dad have chosen to have his ashes scattered there. Dad  mustn’t have also wanted to be that close to his wife and children, forming their cells as he was absorbed through the produce, whilst at the same time being so very far away and powerless to help if his family needs it.
    I asked my mother, yesterday, again, soon after the start of Aus’ very hot 2014 summer, if Dad had given her any insight into this strange last request. I visit my mother every Sunday in Redferne, an inner city suburb of Sydney, having one of her superb lunches with her. My sisters can’t visit as they moved to other states years and years ago to take up good work promotions.
    ‘Well, Denis, he often thought life was a burden, even unnatural: I think he did it purely out of spite. Many times out of you and your sisters’ hearing he was sarcastic about modern society. Society in general.’  She isn’t usually so frank.
    ‘That’s not like him. In fact the opposite’s true.’
   ‘Remember how he always laughed at news of murder?’
   ‘Only because it wasn’t him or any of us.’
   ‘Still, it’s pretty peculiar you’ll have to admit. He also thought burglaries and thefts in general were funny but didn’t let on because he didn’t want you three thinking stealing was fun. He knew he could laugh at murders because neither of you have ever shown the slightest hint of violent attitudes.’
   ‘But he didn’t seem unhappy. In fact whenever I think of him I just hear him chuckling. Very contentedly.’
   ‘He just didn’t let on. In bed at night sometimes, admittedly very, very rarely, he would complain long, long and hard that everyone else was an idiot, taking the world with them to Hell in their collective idiocy. I used to hate it when he spoke like that, so full of venom and scorn. The opposite of the man that I fell in love with.’
    ‘I guess that would also explain why he kept his Last Will so secret at the last. He didn’t want us to see his eventually revealed possible dark side.’
    ‘We all have a dark side, sweetie, he simply kept his hidden from his children, the better to start them off in life. He told me of his last wishes soon before he went but I felt that there was nothing I could do to talk him out of it. After all, it was his Last Will, completely under his own control, like all of ours’.’
    Still, I’m not convinced that he did it out of spite, for my first clear memory of my father is that of his loud laughter while he tickled me. I had discovered his excellent tickles accidentally as a young child and remember thinking that he would tickle me again if I asked him nicely. So I went up to him on the couch while he was reading and asked, ‘Daddy, can you tickle me, please?’ He eagerly responded, the first of my many fond memories of his tickles.
    I hope he’s alright. Mind you I fully expect that he really is alright. Such a contented man must surely have only Paradise to look forward to throughout eternity.
    As for me, I want to be buried, not burned, most certainly in my father’s grotto.  At least that way I can be nearby if his spirit needs me. I have stipulated a shallow grave in my own will, the better to assist him if he needs it. After all, his unusual plan for being so laid to rest may have run into unforeseen consequences. I’ll be the more able to rescue him if I am whole and within easy reach, and the more likely to be able to give him any needed strength with my bodily nature, perhaps a somewhat decomposed bodily nature, but far, far more solid than his ashes.
    I really hope he’s alright.


~~~

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.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Luna's Grace

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2014

‘The Universe is aware.’ Deiyl Fillem




Deiyl Fillem did not in the slightest attribute Luna’s sudden appearance in his imagination, with her well-formed rump to the fore, to his diagnosed schizophrenia. In fact he thought it was his due, the natural result of his unique twenty-five years’ perspective, albeit a recently mentally ill perspective, upon a world that was crazier than he was. Deiyl of course denied that he was schizophrenic despite the evidence of over ten admissions to nearby Rozella Psychiatric Hospital. He put his mental aberrations down to his poetic, artistic nature.
    He was in his squat one night shortly after the start of 2014’s warm winter, in Redferne, Sydney, Aus, a land that crazy Deiyl thought was the natural twin to another such beautiful land in a parallel universe, smoking cigarette after cigarette and staring into his disordered mind while taking an occasional sip from a bottle of port. When her rump made its first appearance to his imagination, enticingly clad in a small, sheer pair of white silk underwear, Deiyl knew instantly that his luck had turned. Luna’s image then gradually formed in his mind, with her back to him and looking at him invitingly over her right shoulder. She was a well formed lady, with long blond hair and Dutch facial features, well able to carry her alluring derrière. He could not see her breasts but her smile, promising, aching, promised a similar largesse in their cherry red rosebud beauty. Deiyl stubbed out his cigarette.
    ‘Hello, Deiyl,’ She crooned, ‘I’ve been waiting for such an original stud like you for so many, many eons. Like what you see?’
    ‘Yes. Yes indeed; such a curvy rump as that must be insured. Who are you?’
    ‘Luna. Your local Moon.’
    ‘They say now that you’re in fact a small planet.’
    Luna turned around to face him, her large indeed breasts disappointingly housed in a pure white silk brassiere. She sat down in front of him, her legs slightly apart and curved under her.
    ‘I am a small planet, Deiyl, and a woman, a woman who can no longer spend endless time without satisfying her growing primal urges.’ Deiyl was speechless for a minute or two, watching Luna idly rubbing her thighs, her head cocked to her right, and smiling hopefully at him.
    ‘You mean . . . .’
    ‘Yes, Deiyl, I’ve become a real woman and need you, need you, so badly. We can make the stars shine so much brighter if you’re willing.’ It didn’t take Deiyl long to decide.
    ‘Well if you take off that bra it’ll be easier for me to decide.’
    ‘Not now, sweetie, let’s get to know each other properly first. Do you mind if I remain in this petite underwear?’
    ‘Not at all; they’re fantastic.’
    ‘Well then, sweetie, let’s have a nice intimate dinner. And I’ll let you feel my breasts first so you’ll know they’re all natural.’ They were natural all right.
    So this was how Deiyl spent the next couple of weeks, talking with the scantily clad Luna at every available opportunity, drinking with her, eating with her, playing with her in every imaginable way as often as he could. Deiyl was in fact falling in love, his very first love, and Luna did all in her power to enflame that desire as brightly as she could.
    The next full of the moon came around in its natural course and Luna’s ‘primal urges’ were at their fullest. She duly let Deiyl know.
    ‘Have you any plans tonight, Deiyl?’
    ‘Being with you is all I’ve got planned for the rest of my life.’
    ‘Well, tonight’s the night, Deiyl, the night when we see just how much we fulfil each other. And I’m sure you’re the complete, full throbbing man like I’ve imagined. And imagine you I have.’ Deiyl blushed.
    ‘And rightly too should you blush, Deiyl, you so very sexy young stud, if you knew just how much I’ve teased myself about you when we’re apart, rubbing my so, so sensitive parts so firmly, stroking them as my moaning thickens, lusting for you, Deiyl, so very much needing such a firm, strong and sure man like yourself, your bright blue eyes, your naturally well-formed physique, neither skinny not muscly, those beautiful, clean, thick long dreadlocks. Oh, Deiyl!’ Luna paused a short while, gathering her breath. She then resumed,
    ‘Take out one of those sexy zines under your mattress, Deiyl, and expend your lust in my name sometime today. I say so so we can spend all night tonight in finding each other’s deepest breath, moving together in perfect, satiated rhythm, delving, feeling each other’s earth move towards a mutual burst of utter ecstasy.’ Deiyl didn’t need to be asked twice.
    This expected burst of mutual rapture was duly achieved that night and both Deiyl and Luna approached the darkening of the moon in long nights of bliss, Deiyl sleeping during the day to keep up with his hungry vixen. Some of his time awake was usually spent in the only armchair of his squat writing love poetry in a hand-sized notebook. His unbounded joy in loving Luna expressed itself well, the best poetry he felt that he’d ever written, and with a bottle of Irish whiskey now instead of the cheap port. He’d bought a glass tumbler for it after a recommendation by Luna one night after their driving, flowing torrent of passion. The sophisticated glass made him feel even more of a real man.
    Two days after the first consummation of their desires Deiyl began to gain even more from their loving: he was now able to see the futures of all those around him, the passers’-by, the shopkeepers’, his few friends’, everyone that he came into contact with.
    The feeling was supremely divine, undoubtedly sure of the consequences of others’ every action and accurately predicting the results. Naturally he eventually turned this prescience towards his dearest Luna and himself.  The resultant desolation he witnessed forced a deep and strong sob against his will, the sudden explosion of despair he instinctively and with difficulty controlled.
    Surely things wouldn’t work out that bad?
   But yes, they would, Deiyl had seen it with the same vision that he had accurately foreseen his friends’ futures eventuate. He had seen his sweetest desire, fathomless and loving Luna, locked within herself, drained of all joy, barren, hollow and empty, too deeply despairing to cry throughout the remainder of time. Her emptiness had come in the wake of his death, his natural mortal death, so very brief in the eyes of countless eons, yet the prick of complete woe for Luna.
    Deiyl turned from the image and got up from his armchair where he’d been practicing his prescience. He too was now feeling the insidious creep of desolation.
    He simply must leave her.
    As a gentleman Deiyl felt that he simply could not allow this woe to come to fruition, to create such sadness to the only one he’d ever loved so purely and essentially. Certainly it was his first love and there were other fish in the sea but Deiyl had always said he would only ever allow himself to fall in love with the one woman, to love, honour, and guard above and beyond his abilities.
    He now, soon after another waxing moon had begun, had to let his love know that their passion must, must, must be sundered.
    ‘I cannot live then, Deiyl; thine heart is too entwined with mine own,’ Luna responded to Deiyl’s revelation.
    ‘I’ve shown you how I can really predict others’ futures; you know I’m not lying, or delusional. I’m sorry, so very, very sorry, Luna, but our affair tends to thine despair and desolation.’
    Luna knew he was right. There was nothing, absolutely nothing that she could do.
    ‘Let me then, Deiyl, choose that pain and sorrow: its counterpoint joy assuredly balances the endless angst?’
    ‘You know that’s not true, Luna. You are really facing endless ashes, unending sorrow. Our love the cause.’
    ‘So mine love is to be returned nevermore?’
    ‘Nevermore, Luna.’
    Deiyl then watched his well robed lady waft away before his imagination, bound to return only to the result of her infinite anguish. He allowed himself to sob this time.
    Luna was Deiyl’s one true love, which so few of us experience, and that night he, alone in bed, vowed to 
never name the word ‘love’ upon his lips. He never did name that grace again but at least Luna, his prescience with him throughout his ninety-five single years, was not bound to endless unable-to-be-shed tears. At least.


~~~

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.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Teadrop

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2014

‘So,’ thought Wu Ze Xi, ‘this is it.’ She had just sat down to the beginning of her senior high school final exams, on a very warm summer’s morning. The exam was English poetry. She had organised her exam space, and tested her three blue pens on the card with her candidate number indicating her allocated desk. Wu Ze was seventeen years of age and felt fairly confident of doing well on the exams, largely because she naturally adored learning. She had arrived in Aus from China with her two professional parents sixteen years ago, 1982, and didn’t really miss China at all, proud nonetheless of her ancient culture. The family soon after arriving here chose Sydney to take up abode, predominantly for business reasons. Naturally then they would want to live in the heart of the city, or as close as possible, and so ended up in nearby multicultural Redferne. Her and her parents all loved being of two cultures and Wu Ze was very proud of her excellent bilingualism. Well, three languages if you included French but she had never used it in France. She was also very confident in her understanding of English poetry (although she preferred Classical Chinese poetry, both sharper and more wistful.)
     The exam supervisors now began handing out the exam paper, face down on each student’s desk. When Wu Ze received hers she took out a flask from her bag. She placed it on the table and, after a quick prayer, poured herself a cup of chamomile tea. She took a sip when the supervisor announced the official beginning of the exam.
     It didn’t take long for one of the supervisors to approach Wu Ze and to query her about the flask she was drinking from. Wu Ze presented a medical certificate stating that she has suffered from anxiety for the past year, as well as having a family history of such, as a result of her father passing away in a car crash. Wu Ze had discovered that chamomile tea was great in alleviating her stress and the doctor had prescribed it whilst sitting her final senior high school exams. After reading the certificate the supervisor said that she would temporarily allow the tea but would have to show the document to her own supervisor. She told Wu Ze though that she would probably be allowed to keep the tea if the certificate proved to be genuine.
     Thus Wu Ze was allowed her tea throughout the remainder of the exams and by the end of them felt supremely confident that her many, many hours of study would bear the promised fruit. She was aiming to do Science at university, majoring in Biology and Physics, and when she received the final results she had the pick of her institute. She received 98.37%. She was slightly miffed that she fell just short of a perfect score but her parents were quick to point out that perfection is impossible and that she had done very, very well. Very, very well indeed.
     Wu Ze now came to rely on her flask of chamomile tea throughout her university studies, in lectures, and when doing assignments and exams. The other students nicknamed her ‘Teadrop’, which she was rather flattered by, proud of her eccentricity. The students liked her though and were impressed with her consistently high results. But unbeknownst to them Wu Ze was perhaps studying too hard, her goal being to be accepted for Honours Science. The crux came during the very last of her university undergraduate exams. She had just poured herself a chamomile tea but whilst having the first sip her right hand was shaking so hard that she spilled most of it. Looking at the mess she had made of her exam paper seemed to unleash a dam, and Wu Ze began sobbing uncontrollably. One of the campus’ nurses told her that it was a nervous breakdown, the obvious result of having very, very little social life since senior high school but studying intensely instead. Wu Ze had opened up to the nurse as she hadn’t opened to anyone since high school. Wu Ze had never really talked about her father’s passing, choosing to bury herself in study instead. The results, or so said the nurse, were always predictable.
     It took a full lunar month for Wu Ze to more or less recover and the university was happy to allow her to sit the final exam again after being provided with a brief report from her doctor. Her final results were again outstanding and she was invited to study for Honours Science, in Physics, which course she found gave her the first real intellectual challenge of her life. Her PhD studies, in Biophysics, were even more invigorating, with the assistance of the chamomile of course, and by the following day of her thesis’ oral defence she found herself being headhunted by some of the world’s largest breweries. At the time she didn’t know they were big players but a little research showed her that she had come under the notice of some very powerful companies. She soon enough found out why they were so desperate for intelligent employees.

*

     ‘Please be seated,’ said the suited young executive. Wu Ze had chosen to meet at random one of the brewing companies seeking her services.
     ‘Thank you.’ She was in a well-appointed office and her parents had bought her a new suit for the interview. Wu Ze was here just to test the waters, adamant she wasn’t going to fall for the first offer she was made.
     ‘Just a bit of paper work before we begin, Wu Ze,’ said the young man, taking a sheet of paper from inside his Manilla folder. His name was Earnest. ‘Would you mind signing this confidentiality agreement: what I’m about to raise with you is still commercial-in-confidence.’
     ‘Certainly,’ replied Wu Ze. She duly signed the document and Earnest then promptly got down to business.
     ‘As you probably know hops is the critical ingredient in making beer. Well, within the past three months an unknown disease has begun wiping out the planet’s hops crops. We want you to find the cure.’
     ‘On my own?’
     ‘Certainly not. We’re recruiting other higher achievers and you’d be part of the team.’
     ‘Surely it can’t be all that serious. Can’t people just switch to wine?’
     ‘One of the best things about an open market is that people have choice. And most people choose beer over wine. It has proved to be an important social lubricant over the millennia. This unknown disease is still secret because news of it could well snowball into disastrous consequences.’
     ‘And considering that we live in a patriarchal society, and that men love their beer, it could well bring society to its knees.’
     Earnest considered this a short while, and then replied,
     ‘Essentially, that’s correct.’
     ‘Well, Earnest, what are you offering for my help?’ Wu Ze listened politely to Earnest’s offer and then told him she’d think about it. She followed the same procedure with the other breweries finally selecting the largest of them, a German company, Hahne, who had the best resources for her to tackle the problem.
     Hahne paid for her flight over to Germany, arranged accommodation, and saw to all the paperwork for allowing her to work in Germany. She instantly missed Sydney, Aus, a land so pristine that she felt Mother Nature must have created another one in a parallel universe out of overflowing love for it. Wu Ze took up her role two weeks after becoming set up in her new homeland.
     Her first day at the new job was a thorough disaster. She wasn’t allowed to bring her regulation flask of chamomile tea with her into the lab, her supervisor stating that not only was it a contamination hazard but an accidental spillage would undoubtedly ruin the results of very expensive work. Wu Ze was dumbfounded. She had never had this problem before, her own supervisors at university making a medical exception for her in the lab’s standard operating procedures (within reason of course), especially since she was such an excellent student. She seriously did not think that she would be able to perform the high grade work required without the tea’s necessary soothing. But her new supervisor was not to be swayed: she must work without its benefit.
     She tried working without the tea but it was no use, her anxiety levels soon became uncontrollable. With her smattering of German she consulted a doctor who prescribed her Valium. The doctor warned her against its addictive nature and told her to have one only when the stress became unbearable. He prescribed it at the lowest dose, allowing her to work whilst medicated, although she would need someone else to operate the lab’s machines for her.
     Wu Ze thought that there was nothing finer than chamomile tea for relaxing her but the Valium was altogether in a greater league. She naturally loved it but despite her best attempts could not stop herself from popping the tablets like they were confectionary. She soon had to go doctor shopping, also necessitating improved German to argue with the doctor for what she had come to rely on. Naturally her work suffered and it wasn’t long before her employment was terminated. Her supervisors had clearly seen her popping the pills too much and felt that they had no choice but to let her go in case she caused a terrible accident.
     Wu Ze took to unemployment gracefully but she wouldn’t give up her Valium and so wouldn’t be able to reasonably find another job. A serious job. She spent her time instead in reading, pleasantly zonked throughout the day, and going to bed early. She found a black market site on the Net to supply her with the pills and felt she had no more needs. But when the news finally broke, three months after she was fired, that the planet’s hops plantations were dying out she felt tremendous guilt, feeling, undoubtedly unreasonably and irrationally, as if she had abandoned her global cousins. Life was probably going to become very trying for a large part of the world’s population and she felt that she was part of the cause. So she abandoned her own life, abandoned her flat and her pet dog, abandoned any chance of a fulfilling career and took herself to the streets of Berlin in a vague attempt to ‘atone’ for her sins. And now that she had no Net she found it virtually impossible to get the much needed Valium. She had no choice really but to substitute it with wine, red wine being the chosen medication. Luckily she had only a mild addiction, being sure not to up the dose per pill, and her withdrawals were readily quelled with the wine.  

     She was drunk throughout the various riots and looting across the globe that followed the news of beer inevitably, and soon, going the way of the dodo and she died drunk. She had accidentally become caught up with a bunch of looters and a flying shard of glass from a smashed bottle shop window nicked her left carotid artery. She died amongst her fellow citizens scrambling for the last of the beer. As she had no ID on her she was buried without being missed. The hops crops were eventually saved, just in time, through sheer luck if nothing else. Wu Ze’s parents still live in hope of hearing from her.

~~~

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 and you can follow its journey at www.aberrantselected.blogspot.com