Monday, June 27, 2011

Dumb Luck Dog: La Sindone di Reddi

“Herr Doktor Ghoulsby wasn’t much for watching the dogs, being a busy man with his golf game and dentistry gig. Pets are for the kids, right...?”

Ruff and Reddy were a charming pair — a winsome beagle and friendly golden retriever. Sadly one day, Ruff — left outside unleashed — was struck dead by a passing automobile.
  The good-natured Reddy remained, finding more companionship next door with the Benton brothers and cat Scamp than she ever found at home. At any given time one could find her in their garage nosing through the catbox for warm treats or simply “chilling out” in a less foul manner.
  Unfortunately, Reddy almost met the same fate as Ruff. Likewise hit by a car, she was found by Mrs. Benton faltering and bleeding from her haunches. Wrapped in an old bedsheet, she was rushed to the veterinarian where her tail was deemed to be amputated. She lived on tailless, none for the worse.
  The stained bedsheet mysteriously followed one of the young Bentons off to uni, which he used as a giant doodle pad to pass the time in between the daily study sesh. “The Sheet,” as it had come to be known, was soon filled with caricatures, vignettes and whatnot, much to the amusement of residents of Reed III, who would often inquisitively drop by requesting a viewing. An unintended gallery, as it were. Some favourite sketches were the S&M Wilma, Deity-Inventing Prof, and Neil ‘Deceit Has Run Amuck’ Rubble.
[Micro-memes accumulated up to and including the 13th Stratum.]

Images in ink, archived annals of a facetious flavour muster both laughter and puzzlement. But let that faded blotch in the corner give one pause — for the first “ink” to grace this spirited shroud was from a red dog... named Reddy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dumb Luck Dog: It’s Gotta Be Jarrett

Jarrett was first spotted just off a rural Alabama road trapped in a briar patch howling wretchedly. An offer of cold pizza caught his curiosity long enough to hold still so Benoit could extricate him from the thorny brush.
  Apparently he was a wall-eyed Cocker Spaniel with an unkempt black-and-white coat. How he arrived in the middle of nowhere was anyone’s guess. Benoit tossed him in the bed of his pick-up and headed off to Classic City.

Jarrett never did fully adjust to domestic life on Papal Street. Sweet yet rambunctious, he knocked things over and generally created an annoying mess. He was endearingly referred to as being a “spazz.” To remedy, a tilt from a Mickey’s Big Mouth would puddle onto the hardwood oak floor, which Jarrett would happily lap up. It proved an effective relaxant.
  He would come and go, often escaping the house or backyard lead to wander off on great adventures, no doubt. One afternoon he mysteriously trotted through the front door with matted, sticky goo covering his daggy regions; hence, another nickname: “Bubblegum Butt.”
  One sighting placed him crossing Princely Avenue, oblivious to the four-lane traffic he miraculously passed through. Dumb luck? He was found in a nearby car park nonchalantly sniffing a pile of discarded clothes outside the Potter’s Haus.
  Benoit’s housemate Stoddard arrived home one day to furious yelping from the backyard. There by a tree was Jarrett, impossibly tangled up like a knot in his doggie line — a veritable canine pretzel. Efforts to unbind him were met with snapping jaws, so Stoddard phoned Benoit at work down at the Gristle. Five minutes later Benoit was there with his bowie knife to quickly free the hapless hound.
  Indeed, Jarrett’s exploits were quite foolhardy, often resulting in folly sometimes bordering on idiocy. Survival was considered a fluke. His experiences raised interesting questions: Can dogs have autism? Or guardian angels for that matter?
  After Benoit’s passing, memory of Jarrett faded into fuzziness. Was he given away? Some think he ran off.

Some months later word got around about the dog. Evidently Jarrett was sighted off Park Avenue, romping around the yard of some hippies. Fatter and happier, but doubtfully any smarter. A benediction from St. Francis, perhaps?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

“Akhecvs!” — Of Freefall and Momentum


The pair of canoes set off from the foot of the lake’s spillway, coasting the still branch that ran alongside Timber Ridge. Under the bridge at Willeo the band paddled through the marshy estuary onto the main run of the ’Hooch. The sun dappled the copper waters ahead of them as the sound of cicadas whirred in the distance.
  A brief break for refreshment at a shallow embankment resulted in a jovial mud fight between two bikini-clad girls, much to the mirth of the fellows who eyed approvingly.
  Onward down the river to a granite outcropping where a rope swing hangs some ten metres overhead. After tying up the canoes, Ian, Jordan, Keith and the two girls clambered up the rocks through the trees to the swing. Everyone took turns amidst the laughing and howling, pitching themselves high into the air to plunge loudly into the cool current.
  Ian was up. With both hands he gripped the thick rope above one of several large knots. With one foot he stepped into a small sling tied at the end. He took a breath and gazed over the gently burbling expanse of the ’Hooch. Hopping into the air, gravity drew the swing and passenger down a steep curve over the water with the wind whistling in his ears. The surface sped by below close enough to touch, and before the arc was completed, Ian’s leg slipped.
  The foot sling gave way and ran up his leg to clench his inner thigh like a noose. By the time the swing met its apogee Ian was literally arse over tit, suspended ten metres over the middle of the river. Back the rope swung, dragging him head-first gasping through the water, out and up for his body to slam with a thud against the rocky wall. Back out again like a pendulum, dipping low, hitting the surface face-first, he gulped for air and grasped to free his loins from this inadvertent waterboarding. Repeat the cycle several times and the alternating dunking and slamming slows till his body loosens from its vice, dropping into the river like a lead sinker.
  With a wounded groan, Ian tread to shore to be pulled in by his mates. Upon private examination, his back and shoulders seared with abrasions, and worse, his groin was swelling with purple-red rope burns.
“Gaah...”

The crew pressed on down the river to the high escarpment of Huntcliffe. Keith jumped in to scout the waters for submerged logs and unseen debris. The crew scaled steep trails to arrive at a vantage from which they could stare even higher over the river to the marshes beyond and the dull green of the wooded horizon.
  The fifteen metre acme of adrenaline was the group’s own Everest, au fond. And they stood in the high breeze facing west to take in the landscape baking under the sun. Anyone standing at any elevated height will attest that their perch appears twice as high looking down than being on the ground looking up. And it was no different peering down from a cliff.
  Ian, still sore from his rope swing mishap, stood with toes curled over the rock's edge for a moment, silently gathering grit to make the leap.

“...For a jump from such a height, it is ideal to make the entry as vertical as possible — feet together, toes pointed, hands tight at one’s sides — or better yet, cupping the family jewels...” [Degree of Difficulty: Zwei-Punkt-Null... Hoden]
Ian swallowed and bounded out from the precipice, limbs held tightly together, casting himself into free space. Flight time probably measured a scant three-and-a-half seconds, but those seconds stretch into eternity as with any freefall.

Air resistance blasts upward peeling eyelids back and filling the ears with a roar. Linear momentum pries arms away from the plummeting body to rise and match the horizon. Time slows and weight grows, forcing a Christ pose upon impact, stinging all to hell. The murky sepia of the thick water braked the descent to a halt and Ian grasped his way to the surface. With his head popping up he loudly drew a lungful of the bracing air and tread his way to the riverbank.
  Once again, a hike up the rocky incline under the cool shade of oaks to the high ledge. One by one, and sometimes two by two the guys made their leaps whilst the grinning girls sat by, eyeing approvingly. The sequence of climbing and jumping repeated throughout the humid afternoon with intermittent breaks for refreshment.
  The day wore on and the adrenaline wore off. As he was catching his breath, Ian looked down at himself. On the underside of each arm was a black and blue stripe running from wrist to armpit. Old man always wanted me to go out for Diving Team. Told ’em I wasn’t cut out for it. Guess I was right. “Bruising due to repeated improper entries” he could imagine the judges announcing.
 The worn crew got in their canoes and made their way up the ’Hooch back to the spillway before sundown. They went their separate ways and Ian, exhausted yet satisfied, hiked the half kilometre home amidst the smell of fresh-cut lawns and outdoor grills.
 Changing out of his drenched clothes, he noticed that, in addition to a rope-burned crotch, scraped-up torso and thoroughly bruised arms, he had a wicked sunburn.
He slept well that night, nonetheless.

Johnny Gutts remarks from on high:
“Those inquisitive risks borne of adrenaline and the thirst for high adventure... once common rites for a lad; now, fading mainstays. Yea, for the price may be pain, pleasure, or a melange of both.
And maturity eventually tempers the physical dares with prudence, as it should, in parallel, with moral acts as well.
But please pray heed to the youthful exploits and the spirit that drove them, lest that torch grow too heavy. For that sort of hunger, in abstracto, is what drives us beyond, for better or worse.”

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Occlusion du Sablier: Le Cœur sous l’Armure

Ah, Paris, City of Light. To the romantic, mere mention will send the heart aflutter. To three male teenagers from the States who actually find themselves there? Well... what does any male teenager think about most of the time anyway...?

[Int., Hôtel Flatotel -- Late Afternoon]

P.: Maybe we can bring one up to our room. Won’t we freak out the folks? ‘Bed check — who's that with you?’
M.: What?
R.: I don’t think they just stand around the corner of the Eiffel Tower...
M.: No... Maybe the locals’ll find you one.
P.: They don’t have a Soho district... I don’t know where—
R.: Just go to the guy [at the front desk] and say [gesticulating] ‘Wahoo!’
P.: Hah-hah.
M.: I think he knows the universal sign for Wahoo.
R.: ‘Ah, Wahoo...’ Yeah, uh, ‘Where...?’
P.: Hah-heh... [frustrated] We can’t even get a phone book from the guy!
M.: He probably knows what ‘Wahoo’ is before—
R.: —Yeah, he’s Japanese...

Just past the 11th Stratum, randy teenagers in mock eagerness posit scenarios they know will never come to fruition. But under the swagger the heart reveals itself, sometimes later, sometimes sooner.

Three hours later:

[Ext., River Seine -- Night]

A riverboat glides through the evening and tinny, canned concertina music blares out on the top deck. Stars shimmer and lights glitter along the riverbanks, painting a setting that is basically tourist-bait. Teenage girls swoon over the pop culture-fueled clichés dancing in their minds and the guys chuckle about technocratic frustrations of the social order.
  Though the scene itself abounds with trite appeals to sentimentality, perhaps there is some frisson of Parisian magic in the air that seeps through a chink in the jaded armour of wiseacre 17-year-old cynics...

Taches chatoyantes réveiller
dessus d’un bateau sur la Seine
et la liberté se trouve dans la rivière
Élever une torche à saluer
Bien que Melodica chante une
éclatement épanouissement de regarder le temps congelés
et turquoise devient velours

Vol à voile est coulissante pleure
par le biais clapotis des vagues, sereinement
deux mains se touchent, tandis que gantée
un esprit chaleureux traverse
et le miroitement gonfle
dans tous les yeux
dans tous les ciels


In the end, are jocular schemes and fanciful dreams thoughts for nought?
Grains of sand, either way.