Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Stand-Up Man - Flash Fiction

Jiddi had the audacity to question the teacher.

"Go and stand in the corner, insolent pup. You may sit down when you have learned obedience."

Jiddi stood until the bell rang and then walked home. He consumed his meal  in an upright position as well.

His mother shrugged and served him. Strange boy. His father regarded him in silence, then resumed his study of the financials.

Sleeping posed a problem until he braced himself in a corner with his desk.

Relieving himself was as simple as crouching a bit. It taught him balance.

The next day he rode his bike to school standing on the pedals. Mr. Tarlton frowned when Jiddi resumed his stance in the corner.

"Take a seat, young man."

Jiddi maintained his silent pose.

The instructor's face became an alarming shade of red.

"Idiot! You are stubborn as a donkey. Here, wear these then." He formed and placed two cardboard ears upon either side of Jiddi's head.

Classmates tittered and threw wads of saliva-soaked paper at him when Mr. Tarlton's back was turned. When they went outside for lunch, several threw rocks at him as he stood under a tree and ate his lunch. One projectile struck his forehead and a salty trickle of blood ran over his lips. This incited a few but caused others to draw back and keep their distance.

"He's not right," they murmured.

A few began to regard him with something akin to awe.

When Jiddi went home his father beat him with a stick.

"Shame! You did not sleep in your bed last night. No doubt you were doing disreputable things."

People judge you by your stick. His father's was very small.

In the night both his father and his mother crept into his room to make sure that he was not out in the village gamboling and corrupting. Instead he was rocking to and fro, looking out of the window. The world is a busy place at night, for man and beast. Life does not stop for darkness. Jiddi learned a great deal about the world at night.

Jiddi found that the pain in his legs was a living thing, which traveled and slept and called him to attention when his mind drifted. His grades improved remarkably. The other students were drawn to him by curiosity, and soon acquired a vested interest in seeing him continue what they believed to be a power struggle. Outside, one massaged his legs, another brought him sweet things from his own lunch tin. They admired him for being able to do what they could never do.

That was a lie which they told themselves.

When Jiddi graduated from school he tried several jobs, but most required him to sit for one reason or another. In his younger days, when he sat, he never thought about sitting. Now that he did not sit, it became the main topic of conversation for everyone around him who did sit. He stood under a tree in the town square, with a swing to rest his arms or one leg as he slept (for standing includes one leg as well as two) and people brought him things, they took his picture, they asked him questions, they filmed him so that others could sate their curiosity about him while sitting in their living rooms, their kitchens, in front of computers, with their noses in books, while riding the black belching buses. Tourists and villagers alike left money for him. He accumulated wealth by standing all of the time.

Waitresses were paid a pittance for standing much of the time.

People still threw things, but he had learned in the schoolyard that if he did not move they soon gave up and went away.

Monkeys throw poo to get a reaction. It has been deemed a sign of higher intelligence by the scientific community.

Jiddi saw the irony in this.

Eventually someone assigned Jiddi the title of Khareshwari or "Standing Baba".  Many debated his sanity. Some called him a freak or a fraud. A few sat at his feet waiting for words of wisdom.

They did not see the irony.

Jiddi's father managed his new-found riches for him. Such an important job required that he purchase a Bentley and build himself a walled compound to keep out bad men. He could now afford a bigger stick.

He did not see the irony.

When Mr. Tarlton the school master lay upon his sick bed, he called for Jiddi and asked for a laying on of hands. Jiddi did so, and the next day Mr. Tarlton rose up and began to walk.

Faith is not only what we believe, but we do with that belief.

One night a gang of marauders came to the village to loot and to kill. They saw the shape of a man standing under a tree and shot him. He remained standing. They fired until their barrels were hot and a great hue and cry had gone up in the village. Marveling at the man who was impervious to their projectiles, they ran in blind panic into the night.

Jiddi was buried with full honors the next day, lying down while volleys of gunfire cascaded into the sky. Errant fireworks inadvertently burned down a rich man's compound. It burned everything, down to the last stick.

It is possible that Jiddi, from wherever he had gone, saw the irony in all of this.

The day after that, Mr. Tarlton took up his new position, standing under the tree.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Revival - Drabble From A WIP - #FridayFlash

     Sweltering under the tent, voices call upon God, singing in undulating waves. It's the devil called boredom which makes me point out a bug crawling up Bird's leg. He jumps straight up and comes down hard, dances in a zigzag, arms aflappin', straight for the tub o'holy water, ending up in it, the precious liquid overflowing, soaking into dust. Ma gathers us close, preparing to make the usual run for it when things go horribly wrong. There's a rumble in the congregation; an answering rumble from outside, and the pock pock of raindrops on canvas.
      It is Bird's first miracle.

Friday, July 5, 2013

If You Are In Crisis - #FridayFlash Fiction

IF YOU ARE IN CRISIS CALL 1-800-XXXX-TALK read the neon welcome banner before the bridge. If she closed one eye and focused on the water, it was the bridge beneath her feet that was ambling upstream on iron-veined legs.

He answered on the first ring.

"Crystal, babe, you can't call me here, the line has to stay open for emergencies." Matter-of-fact with an amuse-bouche of tenderness. Had he really said those vile things to her just an hour ago?

Despite her best intentions, a distinctly snotty sob escaped her lips.

A fraction of a second passed; time enough for her coordinates to appear on his screen.

"Oh Crys, no, wait..."

Crystal sailed through the air, tumbling and winking before hitting the water, skipping cheerily along the surface, then sinking through the green, brown, and ultimately colorless depths. It would take a few minutes for emergency crews to arrive at the scene, for Adam to lurch away from his desk at the call center, fling himself into his car, fumble the keys, hold himself rigid to control his shaking hands, review everything he'd said and done, beg God for a miracle, and wonder what he would say to...

...Robyn, who (having gleaned immense satisfaction from the vicarious murder of Crystal the Tramp) bade goodbye to the bridge and hopped on her scooter. She knew it wouldn't be long before Adam discovered that Crystal was very much alive - and scratching her blonde bovine head over what had happened to her cell phone. Still, she would always cherish those hours during which her so-called boyfriend's heart was raw and bleeding.

She would, of course, offer him a very helpful number to call.