Writing in the Short Form – Some Examples

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fluidity: post 12 for "Artists"

A full moon in Pisces indicates many threads will end and others be renewed. That pesky full moon. It’s the first day of autumn, so harvest is soon and school’s underway. I need a horoscope to tell me this? But theeenn… All three bottles of salad dressing run out, also the big tub of body lotion is low, and the thumbnail-sized container of black eye liner. When the body wash also empties, I’m reminded of the Pisces full moon.  Except I was poor all summer and not replacing household items on a timely basis. Yeah, that’s the real cause.

Eddie and Jenn clean their studio so they can get the security deposit refunded. Jillian’s moving too, and Sean. The halls fill with cast-off goods for the taking. Endless abandoned old style TV sets and dirty microwaves. The shuffle happens every year in some form or another. Jack and Paul are nowhere to be found, probably because they have been too often solicited for afternoons spent doing the heavy lifting. For myself, I decide a scotch with soda is appropriate.

Marty’s moving from 112 to 113, a bigger studio with a cross draft to ventilate his three-packs-a-day habit. He just moves out of the mess. And I mean a serious mess.  He’s a drunk who never cleans but has an agéd and blind cat. Marty shows me studio 113 with its better layout and I offer plants for the window ledge. He hedges with, “Maybe next week.” But when I visit again, Candish and Paul have installed a table with umbrella (good idea) and strung Christmas lights inside the open umbrella (bad idea). I figure I won’t visit there much.

Then it rains; a steady relieving downpour that I know boosts crops in Indiana and Illinois. The deck is refreshed, except mature morning glories streamers begin turning brown. That pesky Pisces full moon again.

It’s premiere week on TV. Lost has a new season where they enter the alien-looking container bearing unlucky numbers. I call Jenn during the first commercial to get her impression. Jenn’s teaching, but Eddie offers an idea. The commercial is over, gotta go.

One cold night is all it takes to encourage fellow tenants to pull plants in from the deck, except the mounted window boxes of petunias and morning glories. At least they cleared part of the mess. When I enter the deck at 8am, carrying a mug of coffee, I realize plants are set willie-nillie in the hall. Probably Paul pulled them indoors as an altruistic gesture to save the growth. I’m confident he’ll pay for that good deed. We need a good freeze so we can winterize the deck and carve a few pumpkins for the new season.

Rhonda dumps the lawyer boyfriend. Or vice versa. He tells her he wants a younger woman to start a family. Rhonda suspects he’s already met this child-bearer because he turned down her offer of sex. The development seems to roll off her back, though, because Fred the philosopher is back in the picture. She was willing to cheat on the lawyer to have Fred again, so her focus shifts. 

Rhonda and I commiserate while running errands to Tippre Hardware and Pier One, then it’s onto practical concerns. Rhonda advises, “That shop is the best place for a manicure. And make a Tuesday appointment. Weekend projects are brutal on our hands, but Tuesday’s manicure lasts several days. A better investment.”

Rhonda just learned her heating bill will top $150 a month over winter. She again considers moving and asks what’s available at the artist studios so she can move back into the building. I tire of her eternally undecided approach. We stop for eggs and pancakes, and Rhonda continues, “Candish thinks Paul trashed the Buddha.” I cannot believe they’re still on that topic. “That’s just dumb. And who cares? It was a broken plaster statue that Candish abandoned one other time when she moved. I’m so tired of their machinations.”

“Candish says Paul is behind all the bad feelings. He fuels the fire when he tattles on each tenant.” I only shake my head. “It all bores me to death. So childish.”

Rhonda pours more syrup on half-eaten pancakes. “My friend Beth is starting a new diet. I said I do it with her. We had a coach years back, a Russian-born trainer and body builder. He reminded her it’s not the workout that counts, but what you put in your body.” Rhonda describes a tuna-and-fruit diet that sounds grim. “I know I’ll never be a size two again.  Ah, you should have seen me then.” She swallows another bite of pancakes. We go round and round about how the body matures and how some doors close while other doors open. I try to be cheerful with, “After all, I’m teaching now. Who would’a thunk?”

“Maybe I’ll go back to the psychic,” she proposes with a brilliant smile. In August Rhonda and her sister were doing a girl’s day out and visited the fortuneteller, then dropped by the artist studios with a bottle of champagne. Dan and I sat on the deck and laughed while they told funny meandering stories about what the psychic guessed rightly or wrongly about their lives. “The psychic said she had insights for me.” 

I shrug. “Yeah, for 85 dollars a pop.” If Rhonda gets her fortune told each time she sheds a lover, the psychic could buy a summer home on the income.

So it seems there’s a web site called Rate Your Professor. Rhonda laughs at what the students post. “About Eileen, one said ‘She’s old. Nobody knows how old. But the things that come out of her mouth will shock you.’ Isn’t that great? And Fred is rated there too. If a teacher’s hot, you can add chili peppers by the name. His has several, and the students say, ‘He’s sooo-ooo-oooo cute.’ Even his boss mentioned that during a committee meeting.” I guess that Fred is back in the saddle again.

Cat’s cast is removed and he gimps around. He has gained three pounds, no longer a kitten. Paul brings cat along when he drops by to list the available repainted studios for this month, but cautions me that I mustn’t encourage Rhonda to apply. “The accountant won’t accept her because she complains too much. Maybe she should go to that psychic to get her life straight.” 

From that crack, I know he was just now talking with Candish. I tell him Rhonda is a good friend of mine and I won’t ditz her. Please take his machinations elsewhere.  There’s something in my tone maybe, and he backpeddles. “Rhonda is a lovely dinner companion. She just shouldn’t live here.”

I give him the bum’s rush. As I recall, Rhonda paid for his burger at Corcoran’s more than once. He blames the rejection of Rhonda’s application for a studio on the accountant in the management office. But we all know who doesn’t want Rhonda living here.

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