Monday, December 12, 2016


Taka taka taka taka HOOOOOOOOOO

Taka taka taka taka HOOOOOOOOOO

Taka taka taka taka HOOOOOOOOOO

Jenn had come down from the rooftop greenhouse at 1 am, sunk gratefully into bed and straight into a deep sleep. When the train passed through the city at 4, even dead to the world, it still had the power to send shivers down her spine. She dreamed of winding through a life, all its victories and failures, but as if she were a patron walking through an art gallery, only seeing and never touching. 

It was the best night’s sleep she’d had in a long time.

Huffing, Jenn blew another strand of hair out of her face. The three dogs she was walking all yanked her in different directions, and she wasn’t having too much luck corralling them down the main path in the park. One bounded back to her, running in circles around her, and she sat down hard, tangled up in the leash and completely immobile. The dog, Al, slurped its tongue up her stunned face, and in that moment, all Jenn could do was laugh.

On the ground, in the midst of boisterous laughter, the blind man found her. He was eerie, in the way his wizened figure cast shadows through the gloom, but a plug had been pulled inside of Jenn, and even his spooky silhouette couldn’t stem the rising tide of slightly hysterical hilarity.  

He muttered something, his voice rustling like dead leaves in the wind, but she couldn’t hear him over the sound of her own voice, bright and sharp in the muted fog. He trembled violently when she didn’t acknowledge him, and then shouted, “So, you mock my blindness? Let me tell you…” He trailed off threateningly, looming as best he could with his diminutive height. That finally shut Jenn up. Suddenly serious, she looked up at him from her place on the cold, wet concrete, still stroking Al’s head.

“Thanks, sir, but I make my own luck.” Jenn untangled herself from the leash, stood up, and in five paces had left the man behind in the fog. The dogs were docile the entire way back to the vet.

“Jenn?” Dr. Green poked his slightly glistening, balded head through the crack in the door. Thwack!

“Shi- shoot! Yeah, Dr. Green?” Jenn stood up from where she’d been putting food in the last cat’s cage, rubbing her head.

“Jenn, am I crazy?” He looked slightly perturbed.

“Not that I’m aware of, sir.” She answered quizzically. He had a lot of idiosyncrasies, sure, but he wasn’t quite off his rocker. Jenn thought his quirks made him interesting, anyway, now that she was used to them.

“Well then, I must go see the otolaryngologist.” He was quite sure.

“Sir?” She was not.

“Oh, nothing for you to be worried about, dear, there’s just this ringing in my ears. It started at precisely 12 ‘o clock today, and it hasn’t stopped since.” His faintly perturbed look had reappeared. For the second time that day, Jenn was overcome by the urge to laugh. “Are you quite finished? I might have melanoma in my middle ear, and you are laughing!” It was the first time Jenn had seen him peeved.

“No sir.” She had tamped her laughter down to the occasional giggle. “It’s just that… your ears aren’t ringing. It’s the bells at St. Mary’s. They normally ring on Wednesdays, but today they haven’t stopped tolling. You’re free from middle ear melanoma.” She cracked a grin, amused at herself. “It does remind me of that book by Hemingway, though.”

“The bells at St. Cecilia’s, dear?” He was back to his normal absent-minded contemplation. “Yes, yes, of course. Say, did you see that scarlet woman?” Jenn startled to attention, shocked to hear the amiable Dr. Green use that term, and more than a little irritated by it.

“Excuse me?” Her tone was biting. He startled, now, and then realization slowly dawned under her frosty gaze.

“No no no no, my dear, that’s not what I meant! Not the euphemism! An actual scarlet woman!” He gestured wildly.

Placated but now confused, Jenn answered the best she could. “Well, yes, Scarlett’s my next-door neighbor, so we’ve seen each other in passing. Why?”

“My dear, that’s still not quite correct. I mean the woman, dressed all in scarlet, who’s wandering around downtown. She’s asking all sorts of funny questions, she sounds like an uncertain fortune cookie. But anyway, what reminded me was that bit you said about Hemingway. She just stopped me on the street this morning, and asked, cool as you please, ‘For whom does the bell toll?’”

Unbeknownst to Jenn, for the second time that day a shiver traveled down her spine.