A Short Story (Happy Halloween)

This is Angry Tablecloth, and I have a story to tell.  The following thoughts, feelings, interactions, and crap are based on real experiences, although the part with the Sasquatch may be a bit of an embellishment.  Felt like a good time to do with, with it being Halloween.  This version is much shorter than the original I wrote a few years back, and that version was only half completed.  I’ll release the director’s cut another time, should there be a need for it, but this is more than long enough, as is.

I will never forget the first time I met Mary.  There is not a first moment with a beautiful, young woman who I have come to know that I cannot recall, although there are times I would like to forget, considering how poorly things always seem to end.  I was walking in a park, getting some fresh air, when I noticed her.  I normally keep to myself, but it is hard not to heed the call of a lovely lady sitting on the charred corpse of a unicorn, under a dazzling rainbow.  Despite the spectacle, what really drew me towards Mary was the somber way she held her head, resting in her hands, while tears streamed down her eyes.

I did not pry into what had Mary looking upset.  I did not need to know what was in her thoughts to recognize there was pain in her heart.  I simply sat beside her, looked up at the sky, and modestly spoke about my views on love, happiness, and life in general.  I had no illusions of being able to reconcile her clearly shaky state, which made the ability to console all the more possible.  As I spoke, I turned my head to notice Mary staring at me with a wide eyed reaction of awe, and marvel, causing me to stumble with my speech, almost wanting to retract what I was saying before I could finish saying it.  I was confident with the concepts I shared, but not yet being the figurehead of them.  I wanted to place an idea out there, and then step away from it, as if I had never been the one to share it.  Distractions aside, I had lifted Mary’s spirits.  She gave me a smile to which I returned, before looking back up at the sky in silence.  When I finally looked back, Mary was gone, and so I departed as well.

Soon after our first meeting, I saw Mary once again, this time sitting on the dead body of a Sasquatch, under a solar eclipse.  I stopped to talk, gladly to discover she was feeling better.  I do not know if my words were of solace, or if she was simply comforted to be around a guy who was not trying to hit on her, or hit her, from what she would tell me about her troubled romantic history, but I was happy to be a source of relief, regardless.  Once again we parted ways, never crossing my mind that our paths would ever cross again.

Our third chance encounter occurred about a month after the first.  I found her this time sitting next to the body of a leprechaun, under a lunar eclipse.  I sat next to her, once more, and we had a long chat that was more leisurely than the last couple had been.  I had gone from thinking we would never see one another again to thinking of Mary often.  I was becoming enamored with her.  She was not jaded by her unfortunate encounters with the opposite sex.  She was not nihilistic, or apathetic.  She was kind, and hopeful, and I was attracted to her strength, although that is only a part of the story.  Mary was clearly attracted to me, as well, and it is that allure that completely pulled me in.

Our fourth meeting would be our last.  This time Mary was curled up against the body of the Loch Ness monster, beneath a meteor shower.  Elation swept over me as I approached her, until I noticed a stream of tears pouring, once again, form what was now an angered faced.  An inexplicable, explosive outburst was coming, and was aimed in my direction.  She cursed at me, for ever having bothered her, and for the hope I had given her, before insulting me, personally.  I stood there, quiet, confused as to what had her upset, as she eventually petered into silence.  She may have simply needed a moment to vent, or she may have been sincere, or perhaps there was another angle to consider, but instead of taking a moment to do so, I railed right back at her, mirroring her hotheaded tone, to the extent where I devolved into spouting little more than rudimentary insults.  It was an ugly scene.

Before I could finish with my rant, a bright green, pulsating glow radiated from inside Mary’s stomach, beating at an increasing rate of speed.  “I feel really tired,” she confessed.  A hum reverberated in tune with the intensifying frequency  of the pulse.  She positioned herself in the same way as when we first met, not even reacting to what was happening to her.  Before I could fully respond to what was happening, a bolt of lightning struck Mary, momentarily blinding me in the process.  Next thing I saw, Mary had sprouted a pair of phoenix wings.  She then flew away, towards the sky, without saying a word.  I stood there, frozen in mind and body, trying to gauge how I should feel about what had transpired.  I decided to return to where the dead unicorn still laid, to reflect on what had just happened.

“When a person mentally progresses to a more considerable point, it can come at a big price to regress to a smaller level, and I had paid that toll – frittering away the wealth of my being on a frivolous expense,” I thought to myself.  I noticed a pretty girl walk by, and she was hard to look at, representing lost opportunities.  I then noticed a happy couple, grotesquely holding hands, flaunting their reasons to live.  Even a piece of road kill on the street would only symbolize the split second that the formerly living animal, and the tire that ran it over were united as one, becoming indistinguishable as separate entities, in my current frame of mind.

As I kicked the dead unicorn, continuing to contemplate on my despondency, another lightning bolt struck, this time hitting the mystical creature, reviving it back to life, and knocking me backwards in the process.  The unicorn said, “To think, all your problems could be solved by fourty minutes with a call girl… although, knowing you, it would be five minutes of fumbling with a condom wrapper, followed by thirty-five of uncontrollable sobbing, ya goddamned, miserable bastard.”

“Thanks for trying to cheer me up.”

“I’m your wake up call!  Tell me, how is anyone ever going to take what you say seriously if you cannot follow the wisdom you share?  You think the imbalance you’ve shown today is of any help to anyone?”

“Why should my behavior matter if what I say is true?”

“What if someone turns away from the insights you offer, because they cannot separate the substance from the source?”

“Then I would make it clear that you have to do so, which is as important a truth as I could possibly offer.”

“You can only scratch the surface of your truths.  You cannot explore the real depths of what you value.”

“My present state has depth, and value worth sharing with others, so long as I’m honest.  As messy as the events with Mary became, they can be learned from, and perhaps that will elevate me to where I want to be.  But how do you know about me?  How are you living, right now?”

“Because I’m in your head!  I am you!”

“Look, I don’t need your help.  I’ll show you how it’s done.  You want to be an objective source of warmth for those shivering in the cold.  You want to be a fire others can warm their hands by, but what good is a fire if it gets out of control?  That’s better than the crap you said, if a bit of tough love is what you were going for.”

“You can’t even let someone else be right, for a moment, even when you’re arguing with yourself.”

“I’m not sure that really makes sense… stupid, overrated horse.”

“You ever call me a horse again, and I’ll stab you with my shiny, pink horn.”

“But your horn isn’t pink… terrific.  Real funny.”

“Everything you’ve acquired on life’s path has been so you can get the hell off of this road.  What’s your reply to that?”

“I… huh…”

“That’s what I thought.”

“Stupid horse.”

“You have five seconds to start running.  Five… four… three… two…”

As the stupid unicorn counted down, I noticed a dot rapidly plummeting from the sky.   As it got closer, I could see it was Mary, with a sword gripped in both hands, positioned downwards.  As the unicorn counted to one, she struck it dead, before reascending into the clouds, without even a glance in my direction.  “Thanks for trying to cheer me up,” I thought, this time sincerely.

It was just after this moment that a black crow landed on my shoulder, and said, “Hey, brotha, I know that unicorn can be kind of a dick, but he makes some good points.  You have all the answers, but only half the questions.  You can dodge a problem all you want, but you’ll end up walkin’ in circles, seein’ the same troubles over and over.  You might stumble and trip from time to time, but that doesn’t mean you ain’t walkin’ down the right path.”

“Are you a part of my imagination, too?”

“You sat on a hypodermic needle a while back , and I ain’t got no clue what was in that shit.  Must be good stuff, since you seein’ Sasquatches, and meteor showers, and have been trippin’ for like a day.  You should go to a hospital, fast!  You talkin’ to a stereotypical black crow from the thirties, you racist asshole, and that ain’t normal.”  The blade of a small sword then erupted from the bird’s chest.  Behind the crow was a miniature version of Mary, who had pierced the crow through the back.  “Well, my rides here,” he said, and they flew away, never to be seen again, because I think that’s a funny way to end this.

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