Pythian Games

put on your track shoes and write the miles

Archive for October 2006

INVITATION TO THE DANSE

with one comment

aniskull1-27.gif

Feeling Brave?

Stop by the Soul Food Cafe’s Party at Halloween Hill and see what we’ve dug up…we’re at  http://chahil.blogspot.com/ 

And it’s not to late to ask for an invitation! We’re still asking for your Tales, Poetry and Art of the Odd and Macabre to entertain our guests.

Contact Anita : anitacurioustales@yahoo.com and join the fun!

misc1-221.gif

Written by Anita Marie

October 25, 2006 at 5:32 am

Violet Delaflote Was Here

with 2 comments

 by Anita Marie Moscoso

Inspired by The Soul Food Cafe Challange:

” The Red Death “

http://www.dailywriting.net/red-death.htm

crypts1.jpg 

Violet didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the end of the world; it was what happened after it was all over that would keep Violet awake at nights.

She’d would be laying there in the dark picturing a dead and lifeless world with a small yellow sun rising in front of a blood red moon while all around her room on tables and in the windows and on their own special tables were dead and dieing plants in overpriced planters.

There were no starter plants with tiny little roots floating around in plastic fast food drinking cups in this room.

Only the best for her little victims.

Violet figured it was the least she could do for some poor plant that was bound to die once she got her hands on it.

What she did to plants was nothing compared to what she could do to those colorful fish you kept in wine glasses with the half marbles scattered at the bottom. She was no expert in forensics but she was pretty sure that her collection of fish had starved to death.

She had come in from work one day and found all that was left of her fish were blue and red scales stuck to what looked like a fish’s skeleton. She felt so bad about the fish that she never brought them home again.

In fact, she decided it would probably be better if she avoided the live animal route all together.

It wasn’t like she didn’t know any better.

There was the puppy in the basket she got when she was eight. ” Santa ” had brought it and she still remembered the look on her Mother’s face when she carried the basket with the red bow tied to the handle out to the living room on Christmas morning.

Violet had said, ” It coughed all night, I don’t think it feels well. Can you exchange it? “

There was the kitten four years later that started to bleed from it’s ears and not to soon after that the baby brother that turned from pink to dark red right in front of Violet’s eyes.

Then she grew up and moved out and started with the plants.

It was like having a bad tooth…your tongue just wants to go to it and poke around. That’s the way Violet was with plants; she just kept buying them or planting seeds and they just kept dieing on her.

And Violet kept watching.

So it’s not really a shock that she couldn’t sleep at nights.

And then it got be too much.

One evening Violet’s dieing and decomposing plants couldn’t keep her mind off of the little things that nibbled away at her mind during the day so she reached for her TV remote control and when she pushed the ‘on’ button the little black and silver box hummed in her hand and she knew the battery was dead.

She reached over and turned her bedroom light on and then she popped the back panel off of the remote.

Along with plant murder she had rotten luck with batteries too. She had guessed that if she bought batteries from someplace other than ” Dollar Bonanza” (where all the stock was a dollar or less) they might last a bit longer.

She reached into her nightstand drawer for some new batteries when she saw that the battery in the remote control had split at the seam and the acid had started to ooze out and then before it ran off the side of the battery it had hardened and turned to dust.

She dropped the remote on the floor and reached for the little ivy plant that was dieing in the planter shaped liked an elephant. She touched one of the leaves and felt it turn to power between her fingers.

Now that was a new one.

Violet reached over and turned off her lamp but she didn’t sleep.

It wasn’t soon after that she stopped sleeping all together.

So instead of sleeping Violet did a lot of thinking; she thought about her dead and dieing plants, her puppy and kitten and little brother. She thought about the way no one ever sat next to her on the bus.

Even if her seat was the last open seat and they had to stand.

She remembered the way her own Mother would wipe her hand against her hip after helping Violet brush her hair and the way her Father would hold his hands out to stop Violet from rushing into his arms the way all little kids do.

It was strange, those little gestures that people used to keep Violet away. They were the same gestures Violet saw when someone had a coughing or sneezing fit and the person standing next to them would turn their head or pull in a long deep breath and try not to exhale until they were safely away.

That’s exactly the way people acted when they got to close to Violet.

One morning Violet brushed her teeth and combed her hair and put on a bright yellow t-shirt. Yellow was her favorite color and today she wanted to do something nice for herself.

She walked down to the Lake and watched birds fall from the sky and bees drop from flowers. The trees put up more of a fight. She could hear them creak and groan and she could hear the leaves whither and then curl and crumble right on the braches.

When she got to the lake she put her hand into the water and she watched it thicken and could smell it go bad and then the fish all rose to the surface and tried to jump to land and before they were airborne for more then a second they fell dead back into the water.

Violet got up and walked to a little hill and when she got to the top she sat on a bench and she could see the route she had walked because it was a dead route now and unless you were looking you probably wouldn’t notice the narrow trail of death; but Violet did.

That was it for Violet, this was all she would ever do-she would infect anything unlucky enough to get to close to her and then it would die.

Violet looked at the trail she had walked and saw the dead trees and plants she had passed could see the trees and grass and plants further away start to turn brown and curl and she could smell them turn to dust.

Violet Delaflote was spreading.

Violet walked to the lookout spot next to the Lake she had infected (there was no other way for her to think of it) and she figured she could just walk out and keep walking until the water covered her head.

She couldn’t swim, she had never learned how…not after watching her swimming instructor drown all those years ago. ” She had some kind of Virus, ” her Dad told her ” and when she dove into the water she got sick and couldn’t breathe and she drowned.”

Violet passed the picnic table and walked into the water and she was surprised at how easy this was turning out to be…but what was the alternative?

She was a serial plant killer and she lived alone.

That was Violet’s life.

She kept walking and by the time the water was up to her chest she realized what she was doing…she spun around went under and fought her way back to shore.

When she turned around and looked back at the lake…she covered her face with her hands and screamed until her throat felt raw.

Then she ran.

She ran and ran until she came to the Shopping Mall and she collapsed on a bench outside of the food court.

People were eating and laughing and scowling and living…and when it came down to it Violet decided she wanted to live too. She wanted to eat soft pretzels and drink strawberry lemonade and she wanted to shop and be rude to salespeople…just like everybody else.

That was what Violet wanted, she covered her face with her hands and she cried for the life she would never have.

When it came right down to it Violet decided she might only be a germ that had somehow disguised itself as a short woman with okay skin and dry hair but she still wanted to live just like anyone else.

She knew though she couldn’t do that like everyone else and Violet knew that was alright.

So she took her hand away from her mouth and nose….

And she sneezed.

Written by Anita Marie

October 14, 2006 at 5:35 am

A Winter Solstice Jam

with 5 comments

I was asked to design an invitation to our “Winter Solstice Party” (formerly known as our Office Christmas Party).  I decided to go with an American SouthWest theme featuring Kokopelli.  Kokopelli was originally a fertility deity.  Today he is more associated with fun, frivolity, and music.  He is also another representation of the Trickster archetype.   Typically, he is seen dancing with a flute.  Since our party will feature drumming and other percussion instruments, I adapted Kokopelli by giving him a drum. 

 Anyway, this is all just for fun and I thought I’d post it here at the Pythian Games.

Image:  L. Gloyd (c) 2006

Written by Pelican1

October 13, 2006 at 9:51 pm

Posted in Art

Tagged with

Planning ahead: Rick, Nick and Mick

with 3 comments

The Pythian Games were renowned for the abundance of skill and courage required in order to compete. I might add that the skill and courage required varied markedly depending on the nature of one’s chosen event. Three young men of dubious intelligence with an avid interest in current affairs, (being more famous than Posh and Becks) incredible ambition, (anything for fame) and a burning desire to be celebrated far and wide,  pooled their ideas together with the intent of outshining the stars. As was their custom they met up every day in Homer’s Hip Hangout coffee bar to discuss their progress and run ideas past each other. “Waiter, three cappuccinos, one no cream, one whipped cream, one extra double whipped with a flake and hold the sugar. One blueberry muffin, one redcurrant muffin and one chocolate with chips, don’t hold the calories. Three plates of pancakes with syrup, three flapjacks and a bowl of cherries in liqueur.” They were peckish and completely dedicated to healthy eating, in fact two of them had written dissertations on the subject as undergraduates at The University of Crete. In their opinions people who couldn’t see the benefits of healthy eating had to be cretins. Hmm, in the words of an Oscar winning cretin they shared the view that, ‘ Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.’ Eminently sensible then to eat the entire box safe in the knowledge that you won’t die wondering.

 “Right lads, ordered the grub from the tasty waitress, just enough for a snack to rev up the old brain cells,  so let’s see what we’ve come up with today. Marathon, pole vaulting, hurdling, swimming and anything to do with throwing things no chance, have I got that right?”

 “Yep, s’right, mmm, greatchoclalatetmuffin.” “No problem, get it scoffed Mick, we need to sort this out tonight or we’ll be too late to enter. You eating a cherry and pancake with that muffin?” “Hmmm, s’gorgeous… chry it, s’lovely. Chu wanna chry it Nick?” ” No thanks, I’ll pass that one up mate, I like to taste my blueberries. Okay Rick, have you got something concrete in mind?”

“Concrete, in a word that’s exactly what I have in mind.” “Well run it by us then, don’t keep us all in suspenders, let’s hear the man with a plan.” “Ymmm, chwets hear, chpass che cherries.” “Mick, do you know what it’s like trying to understand you when you’ve got a mouthful of everything? Don’t eat the cherry stones you animal, honest to… you can be so disgusting mate.” “Hehehehe – chi chnow, hahaha…ughhh, choking…!”

“I’m not giving you mouth to mouth so if you do choke you’re on your own and will you grab those pancakes Nick before the human dustbin gets his gnashers round all of them. Cheers mate – now, here’s the master plan for a celebrated and may I say brand new event at this year’s Pythion games. Mick, Nick….the three legged race…. in a sack! Plus….we will all carry a concrete, yes, a concrete brick! Now is that a winner or what?! Three laurel crowns for the price of one, glory to the Uni. of Crete, girls on every arm and as much free grub as Mick can eat. Waddaya think?”

“Three-legged race, in a sack, carrying a concrete brick. You want to go to the committee and propose that as an event, no, the event of the Pythian Games.” “Absolutely! Is that a  winner or is that a winner. I can see us now, on top of the podium, flag flying proud, the clapping, the cheering, the headlines next day:- Rick, Nick and Mick take Blue Ribbon at Games!”

“You can hear that mate, see it, dream it in your mind’s eye? I think he can Mick, I think he really can see that. You finished eating?”

“Yep, didn’t see a reason to stop, just kept on going, munch munch, crunch crunch. Swept the board.”

“You set then mate? ” “Yep.”

 “Aren’t we going to discuss it lads, come on, throw it round the ball park, suck it and see, look at the bigger picture?”

“Rick.”

 “Yep.”

“You’re gormless!”

“Oh. Same time tomorrow?! I’ll buy.”

“Can’t wait mate – can’t wait.”

To be continued – maybe!

Jan

Written by jan2

October 12, 2006 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT

leave a comment »

by Anita Marie Moscoso

Inspired By The Soul Food Cafe Prompt

Flight of Imagination

http://www.dailywriting.net/imagery1.htm

2830a_lightning.jpg

It was only five doors down to her own house; a three minute walk on a well lit street on a quiet cold night last October.

But that didn’t matter because Damiana Dergmuse knew she was in trouble the minute that door shut behind her and she heard the tumblers in the lock grind together and hold.

With that sound that half block turned into miles and she was going to have to walk it all alone.

” There’s nothing to be afraid of, ” she told herself out loud. ” There’s nothing out here now that isn’t out here when the lights are on. ”

Then she took a deep breath and it froze in her chest and she was about to run back into the house she had just come out of because that rah-rah speech she had just given herself wasn’t going to work.

In fact she was about to have a nervous breakdown right there on the street and how would that look?

It was settled she was turning back.

Before she turned around she told herself one more time…she could do this.

It was only five doors down and she’d be there in seconds, minutes if she could just put one foot in front of the other and move.

Then each of those steps would add up until she would be through her own front door and she would find herself in the safety of her own room and the cinnamon smell that always filled her house during the winter months.

Wouldn’t that be better then sitting in front of a neighbor’s fireplace, in a neighbor’s chair, petting a neighbor’s cat in a neighbor’s house?

Of course it would be better to be in her own home so Damiana started to walk and as she passed the first house she heard a thump, thump and then a drag and a hiss and she realized that was the sound of her own heart stopping and starting in her own chest.

” Stupid woman ” she told herself.

She put her hand to her heart and felt to make sure that it was still beating and when she felt it pound against her hand she started to walk again.

And almost hidden under the sounds of her own foot steps and rapid breathing she heard something sliding across the pavement behind her.

What she heard was a dragging sound, metal against concrete and as much as she wanted to stop and turn around to find out what could be making such an awful sound she couldn’t because now she was three doors down from her own home and in the horizon she could see a thin line of orange in the skyline.

Damiana was sure of one thing, that’s not the last thing she wanted to see on this Earth, so she walked a little faster and as she did the sky filled with crows, hundreds of them and they were flying east.

The sun was coming up, and the thin line in the horizon got a little wider and Damiana could hardly breath and behind her the dragging sound got a little louder and a little heavier and she was determined that sound wouldn’t be the last thing she would hear in this life so she picked up her feet and ran.

The scraping sound got louder and she heard a whoosh and she flew up her stairs and to her door and she pushed it open and without turning around slammed it behind herself.

It was morning and the sun was coming through the windows and outside she could hear birds singing and with that sound ringing in her ears she ran faster up the stairs to the top floor of her house.

” Made it!” she cried with relief, ” I’ve made it!”

Then she laid down on her bed and she said as slammed the coffin lid shut over her head. ” There’s nothing out there to be afraid of…not now anyway.”

dergmuse.jpg

Written by Anita Marie

October 10, 2006 at 6:28 pm

THE 477

leave a comment »

 By Anita Marie Moscoso

based on the Soul Food Cafe Exercise:

Creative Conjuring

http://www.outbackonline.net/choc%20box/choc_magic.htm williamstrangdeathimprisone.jpg 

We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea

The Garden of Prosperine
by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Clover Boonan takes the bus to work, she’s taken the same bus..the 477 for the passed ten years. Before that it was called the “S-4” but it was the same route and much like the town of Larkspear it hadn’t changed much in a very long time.

 She tries to sit somewhere in the middle and she listens to tapes she recorded herself; they don’t follow any musical style or artist. They’re just sounds and voices and phrases that the Mortician likes to fill her head with before she turns the key to the Prep Room at the Funeral Home she’s worked at for over 20 years and disappears from the world of the living into the home of the dead. 

When she was about 12 Clover wanted to be a writer, she wanted to write about demons and ghosts and cemeteries and the living dead. She wanted to dress in black and never smile and she wanted to live in one of those old Victorian style Mansions on Basam Hill. 

Then one summer, after she turned 18  her Mother’s friend offered her a job at the Leaning Birches Cemetery in Larkspear.

Had Clover thought it was cool in those days to smile she would have.

Instead she looked up from her book (must’ve been something by Anne Rice…of course) and she shrugged, “Sure.” Was all she’d said from under her heavy black shadowed eyelids. “ I think I’d fit in there.”

 That of course turned out to be so far from the truth it was a joke. 

The  Morticians Clover worked for were two brothers that inherited the Funeral Home from their Father.

Hunter and Calvin liked to sing Elvis and Frank Sinatra Songs while they worked, they attended every single Science Fiction Convention to come to town and they always dressed up as the bad guys from a show called “ Doctor Who” 

“ You know Clover, “ Hunter suggested one day “ you’re looking a little pale around the gills. Why don’t you go out and walk through the Memorial Park? All that sun, all that white marble. That’s put some color on you really fast.” 

“ No thanks” Clover said from the supply cabinet where she was taking inventory. 

“ Hey Clover” Calvin said with no room for debate “ why don’t you go out to the Memorial Park and do some maintenance? Rake up the leaves, clean up the dead flowers. That sort of thing. In fact, you should probably hop to it before you loose the Sun.”

Then Calvin opened a package on his desk and pulled out a little toy space ship that hoped you would live long and prosper when you pushed a little button on its  underside.

He held the toy up to his brother, “ Score.” He said with awe.

 Score. “ Hunter echoed back with reverence.

Clover was odd and pale and wore too much black but in the end she found out it was impossible to be around Hunter and Calvin Larkspear and not end with some color in your life.

It took a few years but Clover made it all the way through Mortuary College, she attended Comic Book Conventions and she even got it into her head that she might start writing some day.Mysteries were her thing now and the only horror books she read anymore were true crime novels.

Over the years she couldn’t read or watch a horror movie with out laughing out loud, so she have them up ages ago.

But when she put her headphones on and took that bus ride to work it was music she thought about. She loved the way the notes went together and the stories the songs told and she loved the voices, those lively colorful voices that wanted to tell you their secrets.This was the world she was in the day the lady in the gray linen shirt dress got on the bus.

The woman dropped some change into the fare box and carefully made her way down the aisle as the bus pulled away from the stop. As she walked towards Clover Boonan, something about the dress yanked out of her day dream of rock stardom and to the little black belt that circled the woman’s dress.

It looked like one that Clover use to own.

The edges of the belt were finished off with purple thread and because of that the belt had been considered flawed and she had bought it for less then dollar.And the dress…that dress looked like one of four shirt dresses her Mother had donated to the Funeral Home last winter. They had a closet full of donated clothes that they dressed  Jane and John Does in. Jane and John Doe were people the County brought to Leaning Birches, which had some years back devoted at least 20 acres of the Cemetery to the surrounding cities less then fortunate citizens to be buried.

Calvin and Hunter had started the “ Closet” because the idea of burying people in sheets and plastic bothered them. “ I’ve buried Gold Fish with more dignity then this, “ Hunter had mumbled one day as he prepared John Doe 21704 for his casket. The next day the brothers brought in some clothes and the closet grew from there.Clover decided it was nothing, the belt and the dress weren’t unique. But the thought raced around her head all the same, “ no they’re not unique but those things are yours Clover. You know it…that’s your Mother’s dress.The woman took a seat across the aisle from Clover and she smoothed her dress out before she sat down and Clover  just knew the woman was going to look over at her and smile.

She snapped her eyes forwards and tried to concentrate on her tape where a man was growling into her ears that he could do dirty deeds for cheap.

Clover could smell the faint sweet odor of Jasmine, her Mother’s perfume. The thing of it was Clover’s Mom has worn that scent for so long she can’t smell it on herself anymore and she has a tendency to wear too much of it now.

So all of her Mother’s clothes, no matter how many times you wash or dry clean them the always smell like Jasmine Delights by Lucia.

Lots of ladies that age wore that scent, Clover told herself,  lots of women that age wore that style of dress and lots of them had that hair style too.  Clover did hair and makeup at the Funeral Home and of all the things she had to do that was the task that worried her the most.

“ It’s cinchy Clover,” Hunter explained on the afternoon she had finally run out of excuses for not doing  hair “ it’s a pretty basic style just take the small barrel curling iron and make three curls on the top, two on each side and brush it out.”

It was  called it the Granny  Brush Out and even though it turned out it was an easy do Clover usually had to cheat and use bobby pins to hold the waves above the ears  up.

Clover’s eyes shifted to her right, and of course right  above the woman’s ear were two crossed bobby pins with a tiny bit of cream colored thread to hold them in place.

As the bus slowed down and pulled over to the next stop Clover hoped the woman would do what most of them did when someone got on the bus, the seated passengers  looked out the window. And the Grey Lady was no exception. She turned her head too as the next passenger started towards the back of the bus and when she did Clover’s eye went to the woman collar bone.

Just under her white linen collar it was there, just like clover knew it would be because she was the one who put it there.

The little line of puckered skin held together with string.

Clover had made that incision herself and she had gently reached inside of this woman and found the artery .

And then Clover embalmed her.

She was sure of it as the woman turned and looked at Clover and smiled and when she did Clover decided she knew this woman.

Clover after all had shaped the woman’s mouth into a small smile with her own hands and she had brushed her hair and put blush on her cheeks and colored her pale lips with a soft shade of red.

The Gray Lady was a dead Lady and she was riding the bus with all of the other morning commuters like she belonged there. She fussed a little more with her dress and her hair and then she reached up and pulled the yellow cord and the bus slid to a stop.

She got up and before she could pass Clover, Clover reached out and touched her hand, still bearing traces of the power she had dusted on to give the woman’s hand’s some color. “ Where are you going? “ was all Clover could think to ask.

The Gray Lady looked down at Clover and smiled and she leaned towards Clover a little and said, “ I’m just visiting dear, just like everybody else.”

“ Just Visiting. “

Written by Anita Marie

October 9, 2006 at 12:15 am

Welcome To Bocksbohne

with one comment

By Anita Marie Moscoso

Based on The Soul Food Cafe Prompt:

Rear Vision Mirror Memories

pump1-58.jpg

 

 

Have you ever been on a road trip, and ended up driving down those dirt roads that lead into the dead empty towns with boarded up fast food places with names like “ Chicken Basket “ or “ Hank’s Hamburger Haven “ and have you noticed  there’s always a gas station with those funny tin signs advertising a brand of cigarettes or beer that no one’s seen on a shelf in over 50 years?

No doubt on these trips you’ve seen the houses too, the odd gray houses sitting up off the road.

You’ve probably even seen curtains hanging in the windows and you weren’t  sure but you think you may have seen someone looking back out at you as you drove by.  Maybe you’ve even seen one of those old time drug stores with the Soda Fountain in the back but you know, you wouldn’t stop there on a bet to check it out because you’ll tell yourself you don’t have the time…you’ve got somewhere to get to.

There, you’ll reassure yourself that sounds good. But that little voice, it’s  the real reason you don’t stop because it’s screaming at you, “ don’t you dare stop! Hey are you listening to me? I don’t care if you run out of gas! You will not stop in this town because if you do you’re going to have to get out and push. Don’t you even think about stopping here, is that clear?”

Then when you hit the other end of “ Main Street” (which will only take about three minutes) and you’re back on that long empty dirt road that some joker of a map maker called “ interstate 101 or Highway 19” you’ll have forgotten you were afraid. 

After a few more minutes that empty little town that scared you half to death will be long behind you and it’ll be like you were never there at all. 

That’s what the town of Bocksbohne is like; once you leave it you’ll never be sure you were really there.

One summer Audley Frame was driving to Seattle and somewhere along Amorita Pass high in the Olympic Mountains she passed through a town called Turnsole (clearly marked on her map) and after a few miles she was on a dirt highway that lead straight into Bocksbohne.

That’s what the white sign with the peeling black letters read. Welcome to Bocksbohne 

It wasn’t suppose to be there according to the map, it had no reason to be there out in the middle of nowhere but it was there all the same and before she knew it Audley Frame was speeding passed a drive in theatre with a rusted swing set and a fallen over carousel under a weather-beaten movie screen. Across the street from the drive in was Chieko’s Drugstore and further up from that was little brick building with a sign in its window.

She slammed on her brakes and was snapped back in her seat by her seatbelt and she hardly noticed the pain because all she saw was the sign. It was a simple sign, the background was flat black and the letters were neon orange and the sign simply said: 

Help Wanted. 

The window was caked with dust and grime and right there in the center of the window screaming in brand new orange neon letters was the word: 

HELP. 

Not HELP WANTED

Now it just said  HELP.

Audley’ s foot came off the brake and she let her car roll forward and she turned to watch the window as her car tried to pull itself away from building.

Now the sign read   “ HELP WANTED INQUIRE WITHIN “.

The letters were blood red and the ink was so fresh it had smudged a little on the filthy glass window.

“ Red Ink” she heard herself say, “ it’s red ink.”

Then her foot found the gas pedal and Audley’ s car roared passed buildings and houses with broken windows and doors that were falling off of their hinges. She ignored the rusty children’s toys abandoned on the sidewalks and she hit a few curbs and before she knew it she was out the other end of Bocksbohne and when she looked into her rearview mirror she saw her dark brown hair had turned white. 

She put her hand to the mirror and turned it down, she had no intentions of using it until Bocksbohne was behind her. 

Far behind her.

bitterklee2.jpg

Written by Anita Marie

October 9, 2006 at 12:11 am