Saturday, May 30, 2009

Everyone plays the fool

Week 65 of Raven’s wordzzle

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: parasite, meals on wheels, crows, it's my fault, everything but the kitchen sink, on sale, patriotism, the love of my life, library card, common sense And for the mini: blackmail, California, stethoscope, postage, crank

Here’s my mega offering:

No exceptions to the rule. Everyone plays the fool.

Elisa delivered meals on wheels in the Tenderloin on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Whenever she arrived at Cecelia’s apt, all bets were off. The cats would scatter, making way for a seemingly reasonable woman in a Greenpeace sweat shirt and faded jeans. Invariably it would come down to accusing Elisa of spying for the city, stealing her canes and malevolently displacing the russet heirloom curtains in her living room. Elisa would catch a flash of feral tabby tale and set the hot meal on the welcome mat.

Elisa’s family disparaged her for the “bleeding heart” tendencies which they claimed exposed her to every brand of unfettered abuse from parasites that sucked the system dry. Why afford charity to every crank in the white pages? they argued.

Elisa knew from hard scrabble experience who the true parasites were. In fact she had assembled a most wanted list. Wanted for deception. Wanted for willful cruelty. Wanted for grand larceny. Wanted for extortion. Wanted for false pretense. Wanted for spreading rumors. Wanted for blackmail. They wore masks that barely covered their identities.. Brother. FiancĂ© . Mama. They proposed marriage. They offered to fix your plumbing when there was nothing wrong with it. They borrowed books on your library card. They advanced at your expense. The overdue notices accrued on your account. “It’s my fault” for not remembering, you surmised.

Parasites on every corner who use everything but the kitchen sink: patriotism, self help and god to deceive and betray. They had the best intentions. “It’s my fault.” Mea culpa. It takes a while to catch on.

He was the love of my life you insist. He was a vulnerable child abused in a California cult. “It’s my fault” for not loving him fiercely enough. It only takes an entry level stethoscope to diagnose the pathology. Ultimately common sense prevails.

Tuesday rolls around. Elisa sees Cecilia again. This time she advances a little further. Catches a glimpse of the crowded entryway, visibly piled with expired library books. Pearl Buck. Profiles in Courage. Crates of 78’s, and a fortress of pocketbooks. Keys to long lost locks, RKO tickets, lipstick.

Crows gather in prayer. Penance is on sale postage paid.


Dr.John said...

A story so filled with observations.
Often the parasites ran the system. I knew that old lady with the cats. She belonged to my church. Me she let in. Made good tea too but she did have wall to wall cats.
Great story and a bit of your expertise in poetry slips through.

bettygram said...

Thank God for those who choose to serve in difficult situations and to care.

Raven said...

Beautiful. Your writing is so elegant and wonderful. I hope you write a book someday. You're extremely talented.... and you touched into my own personal pathology here, which made it interesting to read.

Fandango said...

What a strange ending.
We dragons get confused easy.
We are glad your character kept feeding the old lady. Food is important.
Good writing.

Dianne said...

Dr. John is right, your poetry expertise did slip in - how delightful

I could see both women
I saw a tiny building on the Lower East Side
I saw men in Armani on Wall Street
I heard the Rolling Stones

I LOVE when that happens as I read a story
It is so rare and magical

ForestJane said...

I just want to get the library books out of the apartment and back to the library before they start smelling like cat. ;)

Good story!

Richard said...

A very good story and a wonderful title. No matter how old, wise or intelligent, we do all play the fool at one time or the other.

Luther James Spells said...

Your talent never ceases to amaze
Each moment of endearing days
For with you goes a wondrous vision
To the very end from the incision.

Stephen said...

The story was good and very poetic, almost dreamlike.

Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

gabrielle said...

Dr John - I'm glad this story struck a chord. this lady is someone dear to me.

Bettygram - amen

Raven - I was thinking of you when I wrote this. Our stories are so near.

Fandango - I can't explain the ending either. The lady likes peanut butter sandwiches and I enjoy her stories.

Diane - Thank you, Diane for your story to my story. It brings delight.

Forest Jane - The cats know better… not to worry.

Richard - The Fool knows her ignorance. Back at zero, she feels free to start again, on the edge of the precipice.

Luther James Spells – Thank you for the gift of your wondrous presence. I am so glad you are here.

Stephen – Merrily merrily merrily. life is but a dream.