Two be or not two be

Random words: horseback, apricot, dignitary, master, decipherer, condition, original, double, hibernation, social.

The dignitary came in on horseback.  As soon as I heard the hooves clatter on the stone courtyard I sent for the Master Decipherer.  I knew the dignitary carried an important missive from the Pope.  As I waited in the throne room, the fragrant apricot aroma from the fruit bowl nearby drifted past my royal person.  Together, the dignitary and the Master Decipherer were announced into the throne room.  I waved off the major domo and waited for him to close the massive wooden doors.

As soon as the lock clicked into place, I turned to the Master Decipherer and said, “Well, have you read the parchment yet?  We are impatient to hear the message from his Holiness the Pope.”

The Master Decipherer, ruffled, answered hesitatingly, “Uh, yes sire, I have.  It is most specific.  The condition set for the royal hibernation is, um, most original.”

I glared at him, “Continue!”

“Yes, your Majesty.    Um, as I said, the hibernation is to be most unusual, as it is to be, ahem, social.”

“Social?” I queried.  “Whatever does that mean? You are the Master Decipherer, are you not?

“Yes sire.”

“Well then, decipher!  How can a hibernation be social?”

The Master Decipher blushed and bent his head.  “Your Majesty, I believe his Holiness requires you to be, uh, wed before you go into your royal hibernation.  His Holiness said it was to be a double hibernation in order to ensure royal issue within the year.”

Incredulous, I replied, “That is blasphemy! I cannot believe that his Holiness the Pope would dare order me, the King of Altaria, to marry.  My person is holy and cannot be desecrated with carnal pleasures.  Why, that is the very purpose of the royal hibernation!”

I rapped my scepter on the flagstones summoning the Major Domo.  Before the doors had fully swung open, I barked, “Remove these offending persons from our presence immediately!”

Turning away, I walked stiffly to the open balustrade window.  Surveying the land before me, I vowed to never bow to the Pope’s demands.



Random words: savage, blackmail, liqueur, clear, dimensional, donut, insect, hairless, flawless, blunt.

I poured the clear liqueur into the petite cut glass I had brought back from France that ancient summer past.  How fitting that I use this exact glass.  The blackmail letter lay on the ornate side table next to me.  I pull the letter out of its foreign stamped envelope and settle into my Louis XIVth chair to read.  I swirl the liqueur in the glass as I scan the blunt text.  The memory of his hairless head bowed before me in that dusty backroom, such a contrast to his neat and tidy storefront, appears before me.  I remember watching impassively as an insect landed on his head and then flew off an instant later.  He was bent over his workbench with a loupe over one eye examining the very glass from which I now drink.  He pronounced it a flawless execution of the donut technique in glasswork.  I had never heard of this technique, much less cared about it.  I just knew I had to have this glass the moment I set my eyes upon it through his shop window.  I could see the world refract and fracture in its dimensional depths.  He asked too much for the glass knowing I was just a tourist on a summer vacation.  But I wanted that glass with a sudden savage need that came out of nowhere. It happened in an instant and without any forethought.  I snatched it out of his hand and ran out his store in seconds.  I was already around the corner before he had time to react.  And now, all these years later, I sit frozen with the news that someone else knows my secret.

Night vs Day

Random words:  dazzling, moon, daytime, needle, encryption, nude, habitual, best, short, bachelor.

Daytime.  I always hated the daytime.  I much preferred the light of the full moon rather than the dazzling and blinding light of the sun.  I’ve always needed more nighttime hours than day.  No matter how long the hours stretch before dawn, they always seem too short.  I can’t remember when I last saw the sun.  I spend my graveyard work shifts in a nuclear silo, reading the nightly encryption, deciphering whether this was going to be the day the needle hits red or not.  Soon though, my life is changing in a dramatic way.  Not because a nuclear war is starting.  Nah.  I’m getting married to the best goddamn woman I’ve ever known.  I’m not gonna be a bachelor for long.  I’m saying goodbye to my normal but boring and habitual life, and saying hello to my nude wife and the nudist colony I have been dreaming about for years.  I better put sunscreen on the grocery list because this son of gun is gonna be living it up in the daytime from now on!

Northern Light

Random words: even, humility, daylight, dozens, envelope, dinner, limitless, northern, kidnapper, agony.

Even as daylight faded, the envelope just sat there.  Dinner had long been eaten, the dishes washed and put away.  I just couldn’t face it again.  I couldn’t face the agony of opening that envelope and reading what the kidnapper had written to me.  Dozens of years had passed since that day.  The cruelty of that man was limitless.  Year after year, he wrote on the anniversary of her kidnapping.  I had long since given up on the FBI.  They were never able to trace anything on those letters.  All I had left was my loneliness and humility.  There but for the grace of God…  The northern light shone in her empty room, showing everything but what I longed to see.  This year, the envelope remains unopened.


Random words: pretzel, zither, scissors, porcine, butter, indigenous, olive, paw, flagpole, tulip.

Nothing twists me up like a pretzel than the sound of a zither.  It all started that day by the flagpole when a porcine zitherist took his scissors to my indigenous tulip garden and cut down every single last one of my tulips.  Needless to say, I wanted to paw his eyes out, but I held my temper in check, sat down to my dish of olive butter slathered bagels, and ate till my anger was just a dim memory.  Now, not only do I not have any tulips, but I have to go on a diet.

Central Park

Random words: umbrella, jackhammer, veil, cornucopia, disheveled, blossom, umlaut, bridge, doll, butterscotch.

I saw the butterscotch colored hair of the doll first.  Walking my dog in Central Park, I had just gone under a bridge in the park, and I saw this old-fashioned china faced doll with the most gorgeous hair I’d ever seen.  I looked around for its owner, but saw no one.  The doll’s dress was disheveled in a long-lost, left to the elements kind of way.  At least the bridge had acted like a sort of umbrella for it.  Who knew how long it had lain there. I heard a jackhammer nearby as my dog nosed at the doll.  The doll wasn’t the only lost item under the bridge; there was a veritable cornucopia of detritus left to be found or ignored: keys, trash, a cigarette lighter, even a kerosene lamp.  As I held the doll, I saw its dress was covered in tiny clusters of dots like umlauts forlorn without their vowels.  I felt an idea blossom there underneath the bridge.  So I straightened the veil on my habit, and headed straight for the doll hospital on Lexington Avenue filled with divine purpose.

This is not a pipe

Random words: pipe, pimple, appliance, clock, pacemaker, guerrilla, cinema, cloud, glacier, suitcase.

I just saw my brother’s guerrilla warfare documentary at the boutique cinema on the edge of town.  It is such a beautiful movie, but it is his last.  I still can’t believe he’s gone.  His pacemaker just stopped right as he finished filming the last scene of the movie.  Stopped!  I thought they were supposed to work like a clock.  I guess they’re just like any other appliance, prone to breakdowns.  I still remember him as a teenager, pimple-faced, smoking a pipe in an attempt at sophistication.  And now he’s just gone.  I can’t shake this cloud of despair.  I think I’ll pack my suitcase and head for the glacier where we grew up dreaming of the rainforest and South America.