Thursday, September 16, 2010


I dared to dream the dreams of Icaras and Daedalus. The folly of youth and the brilliance of the times ordained us as Gods. To soar on warm summer winds and caress the heavens; to seek out the face of the almighty; this was our anointed task. To this end, we became relentless in our studies. The hours spent observing the hawk and falcon; grace and speedy death. We studied the master. The great Leonardo. I was enraptured by his works. I sought to build on this brilliance. And through diligence and intense scrutiny to the smallest detail, I was utterly convinced of my success where all else had failed.

July had been kind to the farmers in allowing the crops to grow in wondrous abandon. On that day, as I climbed the tower, the burden of my contraption weighing heavy on my shoulders, my exuberation lifting me unworldly plains, I gazed upward. Higher and higher still. I must touch the clouds, for only in touching them, will they receive me and give me their benediction.

Higher still, till at once I stood at the precipice. My gaze drifted downward and dizziness overtook me. I steadied myself against the braces of willow and oak that formed this fortress that reached high into the heavens and braced myself against the rush of a hot July wind. Below me, farmers tilled the fields of lavender, blue and mauve; unknown crops tilled in unknown fields by unknown farmers, unaware of what was about to transpire high above them.

My exhilaration knew no bounds as I quickly attached the straps and moved toward the edge. In me, the dreams of Icarus, Daedalus and Leonardo would come to fruition. I fell forward and felt the pull of the wind beneath my wings and I soared! Tears flooded my eyes as the beauty overtook my senses and I became one with the summer sky; as surely as the majestic eagle. Downward I soared. In my vanity, as Icaras had tried to soar to high to touch the sun, I soared low so to as impress those nameless famers in nameless fields.

Lower, faster, lower still. I could not lift without ripping the very wings that had brought me to this. I was done! And into a field of lavender my body smashed. Its sweet perfume mingling with my blood. I lay there dazed till an unknown farmer, tilling an unknown field came upon me and brought me to an unknown farmhouse. The smell of lavender lingers in my senses and shall ever be I fear. But the dream of Icaras remains.

And now, in this painting you view, it is I, and my dog Leonardo that stands to the left on the road and stares up to the spire to witness challenge of the brave and the fool hearty. And the nameless farmers, tilling nameless fields of lavender, blue and mauve go about their business…

This was written for The Inferno’s Coxswain “Vertigo” theme where an artist from The Artist Challenge is asked to choose one of their pieces of art and the writers interpret it in words. You may find Ray Shuells painting here as well as the entire Vertigo collection.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Deja vu (or the ongoing saga of Fred and Doris)

Fred looked resplendent as he lovingly gazed at his reflection in the hallway mirror. “Yessiree, today is the day I luck out and snag that new fishing lure down at Walmart!”

His red and yellow Argyle socks seductively clung to his hairy calves. The toes were a tad thread bare as was obvious from the sandals he wore. His hunter green shorts, with the gazillion utility pockets, cinched quite nicely with a faux alligator belt, and topped with fire engine red suspenders managed to magically transplant his waist so that it now lay somewhere just below his man-boobies. His John Deere tee shirt felt a little snug around his ham sized biceps and those damned shorts were starting to ride high again! Oh well, just a small tug, and it will be fine.

“Hey Doris, you coming or what?”

“For goodness sakes Fred, hold your horses! I am just putting on my face!”

Fred frowned as he thought maybe it would be easier for Doris if he got her a spatula to put on her make up. But he had once said that to her a few years back with rather dire results, and the memory of the swollen eye returned to haunt him, so he let it slide.

Fred grabbed his lucky cap; the one that was embossed with “Old Fart” on the front, and slapped it on his thigh to remove the dust. Then he gingerly placed it over his magnificently coiffed comb-over with great care so as not to disturb his “do”. There! The ensemble complete, he was ready to hit Walmart with all the vim and vigor of a kid at Toys R Us!

Doris exited the bathroom with a gasp! “Fred! Did you forget something?”

Fred looked at Doris quizzically.

“What do you mean? I got all my lucky clothes on, and you know Doris, if I do say so myself you might have to watch them ladies there at Walmart. They may be wanting to steal your man away from you!”

Fred gave a broad, toothless smile.

“There!” said Doris, “that’s exactly what I mean! Where the hell are your teeth Fred?”

“Oh, right here in my pocket. No worries, I will put them in before we hit the MacDonalds at Walmart.”

“You will do nothing of the sort Fred! Put em in NOW!”.

Fred frowned.

“You know Doris, I don’t appreciate your tone here. I will put them in when we get there, and that’s that!”

Fred watched as Doris trudged dishearteningly off towards the kitchen and disappeared out of sight. Fred returned to the mirror for another admiring glance.

Doris called out from the kitchen, “Fred, can I see you for a sec honey?”

The last thing remembered as he entered the kitchen was a dark spherical object approaching his face at lightning speed, then total darkness. As the light slowly returned, he saw Doris sitting at the kitchen table.

“Now Fred, about your teeth.”

Fred clawed his way to the bathroom and slowly looked into the mirror as he withdrew his dentures from his pocket. Across his forehead was emblazoned “laF-T” As he stared into the mirror, an eerie feeling surrounded him.

“God lord! I have seen that mark before, I swear! This here must be one of them deejer voodoo things ya always hear about! Wait till Oprah hears about this!”

For The Inferno's theme of Deja vu or as Fred sees it Deejer Voodoo