Friday, June 24, 2011

"WHAT-IF and THE TAN VALISE" ~ Epic*sode 5 of THE VILLAGE SMITHY ~ As told by Absolutely*Kate ... (friday flash)


~ Epic*sode 5  through time ~

As told by ~ Absolutely*Kate  
~ Epic*sode 5  through time ~


Click here for  Epic*sode 4 ~ "Rogues All!"

"Darling, it's a human trait to dream What-If -- "

"But Mommy, What-If can come true, right?"

"Well Lizzie, sometimes when you push it, or turn it, or twist it just so, anything becomes possible."

The little girl, crossed-legged on the gold braided rug in front of her mother's mahogany dressing table, set aside the dolls and stuff of playtime. She warbled song snippets as she lined them up pretty as precision, all in a just-right row. Barbie and Buddy Bear and two seashells and her Grandfather's extra pocket-watch she was allowed to handle if she was very, very careful, and a shiny tiny red clown car. Mommy always said clown cars get to go to the funniest places. They laughed at that, squiggling their eyes up then down, to make even funnier funny faces. They laughed a very whole lot, her and her Mommy. And they made up stuff. But they always said it was true. Made up stuff can be. Well, Mommy said.

If she craned her neck, she could feel shimmering up above, every time crystal pendants shook light into ribbons rippling off the low lamp by the mirror when her Mommy laughed. Mommy laughed a very whole lot. It came out a silver sound like wind chimes and made rooms happier than even orange sherbet on a hot day or apple muffins for breakfast or lime green tissue wrapped packages or even her new kitten, Freddy Fluffo. The day they got him, Mommy sang in her best singsongy voice, "A kid's not a kid unless she has a cat named Fred sleepin' under her bed!" Then Mommy let loose a little dancey twirl right there in her bedroom doorway and yelped out, "Fanny Brice could learn a thing or three from me, yessiree!" Freddy Fluffo perked up on the dancey shouty-out part and crept tawny fur out from under the bed and Mommy got down low and curtsied real easy-pleasy to him, right there in her best navy blue flouncy skirt. And we laughed, oh how we laughed even Freddy in his own cat-ivating way.
~ ~ ~
"Cat got your tongue, Miss? I've asked you now three times if you liked stew. I shan't ask again. My sisters, Effie and Marguerite run a right nice rooming house here in Essex at the edge of the village green. They serve up about this time. I was wondering what if you're hungry, you being a newcomer to our town, fresh off the steam train, though drenched to all get-out now. I'm usually not a man of this many words, but something in the wind is telling my thoughts your spirit doesn't quench. So Miss, what if we moseyed on over? It's a very popular place, a  lively place and sometimes, well, sometimes folks just get up out of their chairs and sing -- "

Liza roused herself to the invitation tempting fate before her while raindrops kept falling on her head,  raindrops playing misty rather than bothersome now. The smith, a mighty nice man seemed he. She should say something. Anything, and quickly too. He was peering at her, as if he could see her through and true. She should liven into less than a dolt, who had plopped down on a place on a gold braided rug where safe felt home-happy and a tiny shiny clown car created its own parades. "Well smithy, I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin' -- Nothing's worrying me. And -- these friendly villagers of yours -- you're telling me -- They actually sing?"
"You repeat well Miss," the village smithy chuckled low, but clear, with an extra splash of dark reflective pools -- his eyes. Or maybe it was the rain. Cross currents fathomed the soggy though stalwart woman before him who had been hassled by the hustle of the tussle with the curmudgeon candlestick maker making moves for her tan valise. He noted she still clutched the worn leather handle far too close for a casual passing on through. "Though you seem to have traveled a hundred miles away -- Miss?"

~ ~ ~

The mirror up there was chockfull. Liza called it Reflection City when she played make believe for real in her Mommy's room. There were backs of little statues of dressed up porcelain ladies and brassy gentlemens she would move around for Let's-have-a-show, a creamy circle Sunbeam clock that ticked, ticked time where time wanted to go and a slim book of printed poems propped up behind a cobalt bottle that spouted buttercups and black-eyed susans picked for Mommy that day. On the next to the last page in the slim book of poetry propped behind the cobalt blue, was taped careful what Mommy said was a key for me, for you. There were reflections of pots of swirly pinks and  ruby reds which her mother touched magnificently to her face just so, to put on what she called her going-out face. Fascinated by colours and textures and all the magic that changes the picture when you concentrate on just so, her big little mind wrapped 'round and 'round What-If.
"Sooo, What-If I grow up some and sneak out in the night, barefoot right out the back kitchen door, being careful not to let it slam or creak but sneak out Matthew's red Schwinn and ride and ride all over countrysides where the time isn't the time it is now and then . . . well, then What-If I forget which roads to turn to come back to you? Will you come find me? Will you bring me home and hold me close and laugh and make the day our jokehouse and teach me to bake butterscotch brownies for supper and do puzzles and color the other page in the color book on the floor alongside me? Well, will you? Mom?"
The shadow came fast. The shadow came hard, one large steel-edge workboot crushing the head of formerly furry Fred, stomping the mood of the room where shimmering and make believe had played out good intentions. Reality came in dark. No songs, no spark.
His voice was gravel guts gruff, this shadow, this gloom in the room. "Tell her. Tell her Molly. Tell her now where What-If takes you. The girl's old enough to know. Then show her." Part of the shadow, a very deep dark part of the shadow lunged for the heart of the part of Liza's mother already down on the floor gathering up a little girl from a gold braided rug. There came a rip and a shatter and a scream where time seemed to careen. A porcelain lady lost her head. Sea shells became shards cutting sharp into a little girl's knee, and Liza bled. A bloody spot stained the gold braided rug, where a mother held fast a daughter to her.

THE TAN VALISE  ~ photo ala Humbert15
The whisper whizzed fast, like a song wrung out of key ~ "Try to remember. Remember you, remember me. The poem book -- Lizzie, the key. When you go, where you go, take the tan valise.
There you'll see."

~ ~ ~

"Stew you say?", Liza repeated into the mist on the village green concealing the same in her eyes.

The bulk of the solid village smithy before her nodded once, waited, nodded twice.

"Certainly I like stew. Who doesn't?"

~ ~ ~ 

In the town of Essex, the town that Liza was making her new town -- across the village green, the butcher, who was sweet on Marguerite, wrapped and tied a paper package of choice cut meat. In the shop next door,  the baker had had some fine day, rolling in the dough. Generously he bagged croissants, cloverleafs and hot cross buns, locked his door and ran through the wet grass that made the village green to catch up with his chum. "Saaaaay. I'm going for stew. You?"

Behind heavy closed curtains and incantations, the cocksure candlestick maker pored through the large gilt-edged tome spread wide on the table before him, muttering, muttering. Lordy, he was so hot and bothered, why . . . he was smokin'.

~ ~ ~ 
"When the time is right to make the time right -
why then, you'll know where to go.  
What-If is inside you . . . and the tan valise." 

Liza's mother's last words danced every day in her head. This night of this day though, she met Effie. She met Marguerite. She swallowed a very tasty stew and nibbled good bread. She knew when the time came, she'd know What-If to do. Liza nodded to the butcher and the baker, and sang along new songs with new villagers in her new town of Essex. Liza forged her thank you towards the eyes across the table of the village smithy.

Across the village green, the candlestick maker was nowhere to be seen . . . just a puff of smoke.

© 2011 ~ Author Absolutely*Kate
 in a small-town large state of mind 

Village Smithy photo ala Wolfrage
TimeTravel lead ala TheReal OXZ


Friday, June 17, 2011

"BEFORE WE HAVE A TITLE . . . SNEAK PREVIEW" ~ By Absolutely*Kate and Kevin J Mackey -- #fridayflash


A Duet in the Key of C
~ By Absolutely*Kate and Kevin J. Mackey

BIRTHDAY GIRL! ~  artist NiseeMade
"It's my birthday and the dashing gent Mr Mackey agreed we could share with you great #Friday Flashers, and of course AT THE BIJOU popcorn munchers,  a sneak preview of our 1976 book in the write-works of social and political intrigue (plus who knows what more our characters tell us it shall be) .
We're wondering what feedback you might tender as to how/where you may see these vivacious characters entering their first scene's appearance, continuing their interactions and most definitely bon vivant political intrigue, discoveries and adventures . . . 
Here goes . . . and THANKS!    
~ Absolutely*Kate and Kevin J Mackey


"Steve. Steve." 

Steven Bradford turned in his chair at the sound of his name, and stood. Tony Callini was bearing down on him, but it was the woman with Tony that drew Steven from his seat. 

She was tall, would be even without heels. Her eyes, the clearest shade of blue Steven had ever seen, seemed to be dancing with some private amusement. The same amusement was playing on lips coated a very pale pink. 

An asymmetric gown, midnight blue and baring one shoulder, hugged her figure. It covered everything and hid little. 

"This is --" Tony began. 

"Carolina," she said. Smooth, open vowels and Steven caught just the hint of the "r" in her name. 

Carolina offered her hand, slim and warm in white elbow gloves. She offered it, fingers together, arching downwards. Steven had to fight the urge to touch his lips to them. He looked up and caught another hint of amusement. 

"So, that's it then," Tony said. "I've done my part, yes?" 

Carolina turned her head to him, her hand still in Steven's. He felt her fingers tighten a shade more, ensuring he still held her hand. 

"Yes," she said, "you're finished now, darling Tony." Carolina turned back to Steven. 

Steven blinked at the most complete dismissal he had ever heard, and then shook himself. 

"Forgive me," he said, "I've forgotten my manners. I'm Steven, Steven Bradford." 

Her smile flashed, a row of neat, white teeth on display for an instant.
"Carolina, as I said. Carolina Beatrice Templeton." She smiled again and shrugged slightly. Steven's eyes drifted over the light dusting of freckles on her bare right shoulder before being captured again by her eyes.
"An old family," she said, "fond of inflicting dignified names on wayward children."
Steven smiled in return. "Oh I am sure you are very dignified."
Her smile just broadened. 

"Steve?" Alice, Steve's date for the evening,  joined them. Steven released Carolina's hand, noticing as he did so a slight reluctance. He turned to Alice.
"Alice," he said, a shade too brightly. "This is Carolina, Carolina Templeton. A friend . . . of Tony's." 

It seemed to Steven, reflecting later, that the temperature around their little group dropped.
"Alice," Carolina said, "so pleased to make your acquaintance." 

"Likewise, I'm sure," Alice replied. 

Steven noticed neither woman moved to touch the other. 

Alice took Steven's arm in hers. 

"Steve," she said, "we really must go and say 'hello' to Sandra and her husband." 

Steven looked at Alice and then back to Carolina. 

"Steven," Carolina said, "you mustn't let me keep you from enjoying yourself." She paused a moment and then looked directly into his eyes. "I hope you will allow me to call on you sometime. Tony has told me so much about your work." 

"Certainly," Steven said, and felt Alice's fingers digging into his arm. "Call me anytime."
Carolina smiled. "I may call on you anytime?"

Steven kept his face straight even though Alice was beginning to leave marks on his arm. "Yes," he said, "please do." 

"Gift for gift," Carolina mused, her voice soft. She smiled again. "Well then, I will leave you two lovely people to enjoy yourselves." 

She smiled again at Steven and nodded to Alice. Then, turning on her heel, she made her way gracefully across the room. As she walked, Steven was captivated by the gentle swaying of her hips. 

"Steve," Alice said in a loud whisper, "stop staring at her. Who is she anyway?" 

Steven tore his gaze away from Carolina just as she left the room. He turned to Alice. 

"Just a friend of Tony's," he said, "like I told you." 

"A friend of Tony's," Alice said, her mouth drawn into a thin line. "So, where is he then, Tony?

Steven looked around the room. Tony was not to be seen. He smiled and guided Alice towards Sandra and her husband. "He stepped out shortly before you arrived. I'm sure Carolina's gone to find him." 

Alice's reply was unconvinced, but she allowed herself to be steered towards her friend, Sandra. It was, after all, in the opposite direction to the one Carolina had taken. 
 ~ ~ ~

There were actually many opposite directions steered into when folks first made the acquaintance of Carolina Beatrice Templeton. Something about a nature that daunts always veers it so. The Templetons of Montgomery came from old money, dusty money, the kind of money not to shake a stick at, though few ever considered that. The Templetons were seen to be held in the highest regard -- from their open doors on every side of the wide-planked veranda on Magnolia Lane which welcomed friend and stranger alike right on into an iced pitcher of mint juleps, to the family trait of dancing eyes. Oh how the Templeton's eyes danced, waltzed, even tangoed. Midst amusement never veiled and down right chortling guffaws, the Templetons' family tree rollicked all its branches with the good humour that glided them in good stead through conference rooms and dance floors.
Carolina Beatrice Templeton was a gliding light on the dance floor this night, changing partners left and right. 

Nodding in commiseration to Sandra's story about the gardener mistaking the potato patch for placement of the daylily bulbs, Alice's peripheral vision caught flash after flash of midnight blue. Much to her chagrin, Steven, who could care less about potato patches gone askew, was sporting a new level of intensity in his own regard for that vivid flash of midnight blue.
Bristling but a bit, Alice bolstered, rebuking herself to be a far better champ at holding her own. "Excuse us Sandra," she smiled. "Steven, I dare say this is our song. Shall we? Shall we dance?"
Strains of Some Enchanted Evening swirled the perfumed air, the evening's mood and the soft gliding collision of what dancers had on their minds in the New York minutes of a sultry Saturday night.
Carolina Beatrice Templeton had plenty on hers. And how convenient, she noticed, that the malice of Alice would bring her honey directly to the bait. The white gloved fingers of her right hand stroked tenderly the back of the neck of the broad suited shoulders who happened to be her current dance partner. Her throat arched back with a tinkling of musical laughter to something dashing or distinguished he'd just said. What was his name again? Tom? Dick? Harry?

~ ~ ~

© 2011 ~ Authors Absolutely*Kate and Kevin J Mackey
having a blast with this social scene dancing into  political intrigue,
circa 1976

Author Kevin J Mackey of great fantasy writes, insightful character observation, haiku to melt to, and every now and then a shaker-out o'Shakespeare from his prolific lit wit is a writer who at once entices and endures. A transplanted Irishman who doesn't need Tony Bennett to sing him that his heart is now in San Francisco has entertained and inspired since I've got to watch him smoke his pipe and string his words with the #Friday Flash Fiction frenetic folks. Admiring true style in the ethers, I tap, tap, tapped on his proverbial shoulder a few highly enjoyable weeks ago and cajoled, "Hey Mister ~ Would your style honour my style in a duet write?"  Well, Luck be this Lady that night, for he happened to have a piece of a writing morsel he was hankering to watch take on its own energy. Working together on it . . . we've been kind of amazed ~ sensing, watching, feeling ~ how it surely has, and how we discover in parts of our day-to-day something new our characters are asking us to have them say.

This is the fascination of being a writer, 
      watching words speak.

 Thank*you for all the times you read into that experience
  and invite / share us in to yours.

The heart of this story's start is now headed into fuller book-form. You can see more of Mackey back in town (couldn't resist) where he's simultaneously showcasing our tale, along with a slew of his dynamic to lyrical writing and recent book, Haiku - Through a Lens, enchanting minds now over at KjM - On The Web: "Duet in the Key of C". Enjoy your browse and carouse.

And thank you, Kevin. 
Tis honour in the key of joie de vivre.

~ Absolutely*Kate, Birthday Girl
Believing in Believers and the Joys of Writing

Author & Promoter Absolutely*Kate watches her keyboard rat-a-tat in the nights, dashing the shadows of crime/noir . . . along with the moxie of tales urging to be told in progressive eras of American gumption and grace, plus the occasional Ziegfeld show.
From the confluence of two rivers meandering to the sea from diminutive Derby, Connecticut, she's created AT THE BIJOU, adjusting spots and kleigs in a virtual theatre-for-the mind, where "Writers' Raves become Readers' Faves". She shall proudly sail HARBINGER*33 for authoring destiny ... will be published within GRIMM TALES by talented Editor John Kenyon and Untreed Publishing, where fairy tales become crime scenes . . . and is working on a telling tale for Main Street Rag's 2012 fiction anthology, SECRETS, at the request of savvy Editor Rayne Debski. 

Midst innovative promotion-publishing ventures stirring out-of-the-box (of course), with guts and true grit author Kevin Michaels of LOST EXIT fame, Absolutely*Kate is compiling the gusto of her debut book, HOLY MOXIE in multi-media form . . . then anticipates high faluting excitement at her first attendance of the ~  Bouchercon-World Mystery Convention of crime-fiction.  (There, a drink bet will be settled with the prolific godfather of crime, westerns and RatPack mysteries, Robert J Randisi, and Brit crime-to-fame hero Matt Hilton shall be hugged.)

Plus it's her birthday today ~ 
She's off to celebrate in full flair -- and that's no mystery.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"ROGUES ALL!" ~ It's Epic*sode 4 of THE VILLAGE SMITHY ~ As told by Absolutely*Kate ... #fridayflash

As told by ~ Absolutely*Kate  

Epic*sode 4 ~ "ROGUES ALL"
The sexton rang the village bell. The village band in the gazebo with lanky Jim Casey, the druggist's son, conducting . . . played on. The mighty village smithy moved not a brawny muscle where dripped honest sweat, but stared down the strawberry blonde, hands on svelte hips, entrenched before him. Casey's band . . . played on.
Muddled mutterings of the butcher, the baker and the cocksure candlestick maker grew progressively more profound, due in large part no doubt, to their unconcealed trouncings, closer and closer still (but not quietly), across the well groomed lawn which made the village green. The three came as one to ogle the two -- the village smithy under the magnificent spreading chestnut tree and Liza, alleged shady lady newcomer to their scene. Quick as the flick of a wick, the cocksure candlestick maker hardly ever missed a trick. He'd scurried and hurried companion businessmen so as not to let a curious occurence waft on by. And today, with his cronies . . . well, he was lit. 
SPOKE THE COCKSURE CANDLESTICK MAKER:  "I tell you boys, I've seen her. I've seen her before. She's been around town." 

SPOKE THE BUTCHER:  "Bah. She's new in Essex. You're the one after all who sent up smoke signals like crazy when she got off the train. Don't you recall?" 

SPOKE THE BAKER:  "Crazy, yeah crazy. Bartholomew cuts to the meat of the matter as usual, Chas Chadwick. Perhaps the wax in your ears got in your eyes?

At this, Bart the boisterous butcher pummeled the back of the baker good naturedly -- with guffaws. From his chum, flour flew! The cocksure candlestick maker, turning with disdain, got caught in puffs, mid airstream. A bit of a coughing fit did ensue -- but in no way, no way at all was he through.
SPOKE THE COCKSURE CANDLESTICK MAKER:  "You're right but you're wrong. She's been here longer than today. I know these truths to be self-evident. Will you two listen to me, what I say?"
SPOKE THE BOISTEROUS BUTCHER:  "Sorry Charley. History will show that you're repetitive and you blow smoke."
SPOKE THE BACKING UP BAKER:  "Yeah. That's right. Sorry Charley -- You blow smoke."
SPOKE THE COCKSURE CANDLESTICK MAKER:  "Why look you two lame lumpkins! -- Just look at her valise. Doesn't something stand out funny to you there? And there?"
SPOKE THE BAKER:  "Has a valise look to it, it does. Handles, latches, tan leather sides, every one of them, and a nice hue. Can't see how it makes me laugh though. It's made for travels, which surely she did do."
SPOKE THE BUTCHER, BACKING UP THE BAKER:  "Yup. Utilitarian, through and through."
EXASPERATEDLY SPOUTED THE STILL COCKSURE CANDLESTICK MAKER:  "But look, look there at its markings. Those labels. They appear to be not anything familiar to my learned eye."
At this the butcher and baker hooted in full chortling force,  hepping up their happy hysterics. They huffed and they hopped. They upped the ante of their antics to fan down the cocksure candlestick maker's smoke screen. Some in the village band under the gazebo's decorative Victorian roof lost their places in their sheet music, resoundingly deflating some D# sharps to come out quite flat.

Casey shook his head. "Rogues all," was all he softly said. Flo the floutist in the front row, sweet on Jim . . . fondly winked.
SPOKE THE BUTCHER:  "Hey Bakes, imagine that -- The great candlestick maker makes his smart eyes study. All I can see is wise eyes guy is up to no good with our comely newcomer."
Liza, startled at D-flats diminishing By The Light of The Silvery Moon, almost turned from where the village smithy clamped her vision, strong as iron bands. But forceful is as forceful does. This man could look the whole world in the face and cause mankind due pause. Still the village fellows whooped louder their protestations. "Rogues all", she exhaled from where still she held proud her ground.
There. Did she catch then, a twitch -- a twinkling, a besmirch of mirth in the village smithy's almond dancing eyes?
CHORTLED THE BAKER:  "Butch, I tell you, you've got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals!"
At that, Liza did swiftly swivel and turn, way past startled, way past proud. The weather took that moment to evoke a sudden turn as well. Clouds changed formation, opened propensity for precipitation and soon, very soon, raindrops kept falling on her head. Liza gulped. Liza gasped, "That line. How do you know that line? Why it's from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance --- "
ERUPTED THE COCKSURE CANDLESTICK MAKER:   "Kid? -- You new around these parts or have you been around?"
The village smithy turned more than a sudden dislike of the meddlesome and cocksure candlestick maker clutching the handle of the lady's leather valise . . . into . . .  action. Leaning to grip where it propped against his anvil, he raised high the planishing hammer. 
Like his bellows, he blew!
They scattered, they scampered. They ballyhooed and ran their aprons ragged under more persistent rain drops which fell now against the slam, slam, slammed doors of the bakery, the butchery and the candle shop beneath the forest green awning at the other side of the village green.
Liza, assessing time and time-travel might not be on her best behavior's side right now, speedily configured a range of answers to questions she reckoned would be forthcoming.
The village smithy shook his head, shook his fist and thundered, "ROGUES ALL!" to the wet sky slopping o'er the empty village green. (Though the townsfolk were titillated, they knew enough to get out of the rain.) Raindrops bounced, reflecting bright sparks off his hair, dark and crisp and long. He angled almond eyes where Liza still held her ground, as well as more tightly, the handle of the tan valise. "You're getting bedraggled, you know. Say, you like stew?"
Jim Casey's band, under protection of the decorative gazebo on the village green no longer played on . . . not since watching that scene. They packed up sheets of music, tubas, trumpets, plus a trombone or two. They encased clarinets, an oboe and of course the kettle drum. Jim was so preoccupied with gathering the wobbly metal music stands that Flo the floutist turned to Stanley for sax appeal. 

It was suppertime in Essex . . . 
It was summertime in Essex . . .
 and the night . . . was young at heart.
Fairytales could come true,
It could happen to you . . . 
Couldn't it? 
© 2011 ~ Author Absolutely*Kate
 in a small-town large state of mind 

Village Smithy photo ala Wolfrage


Thursday, June 9, 2011

THE VILLAGE SMITHY ~ "Time Travel Is A Healer, Right?" - Epic*sode 3 ~ By Absolutely*Kate ... #fridayflash

~ By Absolutely*Kate  

Epic*sode 3 ~ "Time Travel Is A Healer, Right?"

Click here for The Beginning Epic*sode

It hurt. Hitting the end always does. Not the brittle hard-tack stuff -- but the inside going dredged out empty, soft-squished, a million miles away from where empathy can repaint affection over pain stains on deck.
The Saturday night that should've been their Saturday night, celebrating of all things, out of all times, her first Grammy as a songwriter lauded and applauded for how words rivered hearts to supple soothin' . . . that night, that night of all nights out of all times, Liza lunged into the back of the tall skinny closet for the black leather duffel to hurriedly shove in what could carry wasted trust to wherever away was going to be. That Saturday night of stomped out hoopla was a night no longer made for clear-thinkings or sweet remembrances. 
Used to be, with team-them, when one cried, the other tasted salt. Used to be leaning back, spooning into one the other's curvature in the kitchen between choppin' up and stirrin' sizzle at the old woodstove --  discovering the whole rest of the world plus a few extra planets there . . . and wanting to linger the orbit, to stay, to feel, to sense, to know -- way past how chronos had its time trials. When sensations crash and coil though, and no one tells the music not to play Fly Me to the Moon or Come Rain or Come Shine anymore, things jolt way past discombobulated. Liza didn't stop to turn the music off though. One can never really turn the music off. Eva Cassidy drifted her signature rift of Autumn Leaves as June was becoming summer and serenaded departure with "When I miss you most of all . . . "
Liza hated ignominious irony even more than how hurt could rot and defile something fine, noble, true and dignified. Well it was. And it had its blue skies, nuttin' but blue skies run. Then, out of the unexpected azure, it was just done. You can only give without measure so long. So Liza, and the jaggedy scrape leaving the unbecoming marks on her soul, shut soft as regrets the front door, letting the squeaky screen swing tight as eyes yet pressed 'gainst tears which burned. And she said, into the night, into the lush gardens tended on sun-dappled days to dig her perennial love, into overcoming what bleakness snaked up to be . . . Liza said, "So long".
It was a raspy, her whisper, 
but it shuddered the night.
Her left shoulder hefted the black duffel, leanin' to the heavy side with all that fit that could take her to where away would be. She'd return in the morn when he'd gone where routines roused him to claim what lingered, what mattered most of all, all the way back behind silk scarves and linen dresses in the tall skinny closet. It was all there, tucked in her funny mother's weathered tan valise. It traveled well too. It had to. Under maroon silk lining, secrets were pressed into security. 
~ ~ ~

This time she'd traveled the Essex steam train one hundred years.  To where the village smithy pondered her now. To a town not without pity . . . but laden with plenty of conjecture.
The bodacious blacksmith glistened his brawny firmaments, leaned his planishing hammer on his pummeled anvil and conjectured now, "Miss? You asked for a hoof nipper. Have you a steed in need?" 

"Gotta lotta need Smithy. Higher than the sky, deeper than the ocean."
"Higher than the sky?"

Liza rallied senses to sensibilities, sizing up massive male flesh towering testosterone under the spreading chestnut tree. This one appeared to be not all that adversarial despite the unseen. Insights intact, Liza left the leaving of her last night in Virginia for more private moments mulling. Quick on the uptake, her response raced his open retendre, "Why certainly kind sir. Higher Than The Sky, in the 8th at Belmont, this coming Saturday. Surely you can aid a lady in distress?" Liza's eyes whooped up the Virginia reel. Old habits travel still.
The village smithy saw past batting eyelashes and fine filly form. The village smithy gazed through brazen bravado. The village smithy gleaned the skirt holding stubborn her stance had more than a stallion's win-place-show muddling her mind. 
Across the street, ambling along the west side of the village green, angling a better gander at the newcomer on the scene, the butcher and the baker's effusive musings were joined by the cocky candlestick maker. Oddly, one of them swore they spotted an old flame.

The town band practicing in the gazebo under Jim Casey's steady conductor's wand? Well, they turned a flat sharp and missed a stanza or two, what with clarinets and oboes and tubas and saxophones craning over black metal wobbly music stands . . . but all in all, Casey's band still played on.

And the village smithy's eyes danced . . . 
with those of the strawberry blonde.

© 2011 ~ Author Absolutely*Kate
 in a small-town large state of mind 

Village Smithy photo ala Wolfrage
"Street Cries Prohibited" ala Andy Rob
Essex Steam Train ridden by Absolutely*Kate


Thursday, June 2, 2011

THE VILLAGE SMITHY ~ "Need A Hoof Nipper?" ~ Epic*sode 2 ~ By Absolutely*Kate (#flash-fiction)

~ By Absolutely*Kate  
Epic*sode 2 ~ "NEED A HOOF NIPPER?"
Click here for The Beginning Epic*sode

A mighty man the village smithy was to behold in the town livening up to be Liza's new town. (If ever a lady needed a new town, this shady lady was she.)  On the shady side of the Essex green, under the magnificent spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy's planishing hammer pounded testosterone into consenting anvil. Again, again . . . forcefully again, harder, stronger, swifter, more true with every arc his sinewy hands of instinct threw. 

Rugged the repetition that rose and fell, cleared the air . . . and clang, clang, clang went that volley. Recitation of elementary Longfellow rolled as easy off the mind and tongue as primal sensations dodge to forge molten their heat. The muscles of his brawny arms were as strong as iron bands. Sweat glistened where muscles punctuated the day. Reprising exclamation's point, Liza extended one white-gloved hand, and heard herself listen to gumption say ~

"Saaaaay Mister, I'm new in town. You have a hoof nipper?"
Where the hell that came from -- a snippet of a movie time with her funny Ma, or some snatch of lore in a book long paged and just about forgotten -- Liza couldn't for the life dancing Virginia reels in her peepers 'pon the the genteel town of Essex rightly say. But banal wouldn't become her, no matter how bodacious the view.  
A lyricist, after all, was attuned to break new ground ~ especially with the pomp that circumstanced a dame just blowin' in, fresh off the steam train, desiring fiercely to make a new resounding mark in a new town.  To make other towns . . . best forgot.
Come rain or come shine, underlying forces yet unseen, the village green was fast swirling to become Liza's kalideoscopic scene. Townsfolk took notice, slowed up their chatter. The butcher nudged the baker. Keenly, the business acumen of these men heeded what mattered. The village smithy stopped mid-swing. 
Liza was quicker than her own sassy wink. "You know Smithy, it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing." 
With nary a doo wop, the brassy band in the gazebo just played on. Seems only the candlestick maker, peering 'neath the forest green awning 'cross the street corner named Desire, had a flicker of what was to come.
The village smithy spoke. "You need a hoof nipper?"

© 2011 ~ Author Absolutely*Kate
 in a small-town large state of mind 

Photo ala Wolfrage