Sing me a story, won’t you?
With a melody sweet and plaintive.
Sing to me about the time
you loved so deeply, true and simply.
Before the busy
complications of life
turned your chords into regrets
and your voice into
a hoarse and bitter growl.
Sing me that story
that I know you still remember.
Mickey overestimated what he could do.
Like we all overestimate ourselves, sometimes.
The lake didn’t seem that big,
except he hadn’t exercised in over a year.
Just dove in an decided impulsively to swim across.
It wasn’t that bad getting over there,
it was the swim back that got him.
Midway, the wind picked up
and water kept getting forced into his mouth and nose.
Bargaining with God,
“Just let me make it back,
I’ll never drink again.”
For some the process
of coming to know the divine
is lightning fast.
For others it’s slow and arduous.
Little experiences and tiny inspirations
build a bridge to spirit.
Mickey experienced the latter.
His relationship to a higher power
was built in fits and starts.
But, over time he had no choice
but to believe.
Tempestuous wreckage to clear.
After losing it
This is a 12 word story from the prompt “Tempestuous”. When I posted it to Instagram a number of people commented as though I were relating a real story. I had to insist it really was fiction. 🙂
Mickey felt like music saved his life.
Got him through a lot of scraps,
and kept him from a life of crime.
Helped him process the pain.
Was an invitation to places he wouldn’t have gone otherwise.
It gave him something.
That old guitar brings back memories alive
and makes the present feel good again.
The old man was a retired public defender.
And a bit forgetful and disorganized.
Once Mickey figured out where the kids were,
he had to establish paternity for his daughter.
Somehow he had been left off the birth certificate.
So excited he had just trusted Maria to do the right thing.
One of many mistakes.
Down to his last.
Around the table, laughter, bravado and scorn.
Stacks so fat, they don’t care.
For Mickey, it’s not even about cards anymore.
Watching hawk-like, for a scratch or sigh.
1 mistake away.
A pair of kings and some breathing room.
Bluffs his next hand.
And feels the blood rush back.
Lithograph from Charles A. Alston, New York Public Library Digital Collection, Public Domain
The wind was full of music.
In pulsating waves he heard Mariachi, Grateful Dead and radio.
Accented by whistling explosions that cut all the rhythms.
There was no conductor for the chaos,
just random ebb and flow, moving with the leaves.
His little dog was terrorized,
panting and trying to disappear inside the washing machine.
Drawing by Eugene Zimmerman, New York Public Library Digital Collection, in the Public Domain
Friday night, workin’ the stoop.
Thinking over the odds.
Lady luck don’t give a…
She’s fickle, Mickey’s in a slump.
Put his last 25 bucks on a hard 10.
Felt pretty good, this time it came back around.
Had a hot hand, you know how it goes.
A little walkin’ around money for the weekend.
They built themselves a flying machine.
A bird with a wind up mechanism that flapped its wings.
It was the only time they all had that year.
It flew towards the lake and was lost in the weeds.
Mickey tried with all his might to stop it from becoming the story of their time together.
Sometimes we desperately want to control the narratives we remember.