Velvet Toast

The gold foil tipped cigarette, stained with lipstick, smoldered in an overflowing ashtray. Soft blonde waves of hair cascaded across her face as she softly fell back into the burgundy velour sofa, which swiftly enveloped her small frame. Slender stocking encased legs shimmered in the candle light. One metallic sandal lay discarded on the persian rug, while the other remained partially strapped to her delicate foot. The floor vibrated with bass music from the club below, mixed with din of a crowded room, occasional loud shouts, and the intermittent sound of breaking glass. With a quiet click, a door was opened. A man slipped into the room, wearing a tuxedo, dark hair slicked into a pompadour. Cat like, he moved across the room, towards the woman on sofa. As his eyes adjusted to the candlelight, he could see that there was nobody else here. Had he locked the door? He swiftly doubled back to be sure. Carefully trying the handle, he found it secure. Taking out a pack of cigarettes and a tarnished lighter from his pocket, he lit up a smoke. The flame briefly illuminated a scowling expression on his face, and the sparkle of his green eyes flashed in the dark. Taking a long pull, he dramatically exhaled towards the ceiling. Tiny beads of sweat were starting to emerge across his tanned forehead and upper lip.

Crossing the room, he reached the sofa and stopped. He stood over the blonde who was passed out cold. Her cigarette now just a faint fading ember in the ashtray. The pale blue sequined gown had slipped off of her shoulder to reveal creamy skin glowing in the low light. He reached his hand slowly towards her, running his fingertip over her bare shoulder and up the side of her neck. She stirred. He swiftly pulled his hand away, and stood there watching her. She continued to doze. Obviously she had over indulged. It didn’t help that the heroin was back in fashion, and she had been dipping into it again on occasion. He was pretty sure she was nodding off, and not just simply drunk. He sighed to himself, shaking his head. He looked at his watch and sat down in the chair across from her. As he jabbed out the cigarette in the tray, it overflowed, ash and a few butts scattering accross the mahogany table. A few minutes passed and he checked his watch again. The sound from below started to fade and within the next hour, it became quiet. Silence came over the room, other than the soft breathing of the woman.

Now, he stood up and walked towards the sofa again. He took a look down at her with pity, gently running his hand over her soft locks, pushing the hair out of her face to expose the delicate alabaster features, dark lashes and crimson lips. He let go, and her platinum waves fell once again covering her face. He took a step back, paused to look at his watch once more, and then leaned down to the corner of the velvet sofa. He took out his lighter and held it to the loosely fraying edge by the floor. The flame started small, and eased its way up the seam, as it reached the arm of the sofa it began to smolder, but suddenly a larger flame burst forward, and then another, until it suddenly burst into an angry fire swiftly devouring the sofa…he blinked as he watched for a few moments, then turned and quickly walked towards the door, making a stealth escape. Taking a back stairwell to exit the building, he stepped out into a dark alley. It was quiet and damp outside. A gentle rain was falling. He looked up at the building to see a window flickering with firelight. Taking his cigarettes out, he lit one, taking a long pull. He exhaled. He muttered one word. Bitch. With that, he turned on his heels and headed down the dank alley into the distance until he was just another shadow in the dark.

Somnia

Leaping high, legs extended, I land gracefully. Effortlessly. My body is a machine. Upon landing, I fold gently, rolling to the floor. Lean, limber and flexible, I fall smoothly into a split, exiting seamlessly. Choreographing as I go, I move with utter fluidity across the vast empty dance studio. I am free. My body is a tool for full-fledged expression. Music plays loudly in my head.

Some people dream of flying, but I dream of dancing.

I’m awakened by a sharp twinge in my knee. The swelling is going down, but the pain is intermittent. Getting up is awkward, must move slowly until the legs synchronize. I’ll never dance again, but I can dance in my dreams for the rest of my life.

CVS Psychic

Hair dye, nail polish, crazy glue, birthday card and gum. I repeat these words over and over in my head like a song. Don’t want to forget anything. Without a list, I know I’ll wind up with a basket full of makeup I don’t need, along with random things like tiny stuffed teddy bears and jellybeans. Stick to the list. Focus.

Standing in the nail polish aisle, comparing two very similar colors, I host an internal debate regarding the difference between them, one too pale, the other too grey and corpse-like. I go back and forth, finally settling on the least expensive tiny bottle in a shade between the two.

It’s at that moment that I feel her stare. Looking up from the nail polish rack, I see a petite woman, with sharp darting eyes standing in front of me. Wearing a black wool coat, purple handbag on arm, she’s a throwback to 1968. Her dyed matte black hair is perfectly coifed into a modest bouffant. She wears a red faded lipstick. Cautiously stepping closer, she let’s me know that she’s a psychic. She tells me that I have a very strong aura. I think, oh no, here we go….the psychic scam. Been there, done that. However, I am curious as to what message she might have for me.

She tells me that there is someone I have unfinished business with, and that I need to let it go. I do a quick scan over the past and, of course, there’s a lot of unfinished business back there, but I can’t think of anything that critical. I nod and tell her I’m good, I think I’ve resolved those things. She continues to stare. Then she pauses to pick up a lipstick. Holding it up, she tells me, in a heavy Brooklyn accent, how these long wearing lipsticks always make her lips dry. I let her know I’m a makeup artist, and I offer some suggestions. She tells me I have a very creative aura.

I thank her, turning to head down the aisle, making my stealthy escape. Around the corner I pause, momentarily distracted by a row of mascaras. I feel it again, she’s in front of me now. She tells me I am going to need to make a decision very soon. In my head, I’m thinking, yeah, we all make decisions every day. Case in point,  I can’t even decide which nail color to buy. But, she emphasizes that I need to make the best decision for myself, and not to let others influence that choice. I thank her for the advice, and I carry on towards the hair dye section.

As I wait in line for the register, I realize it’s saturday night, and I’m in a CVS in Burbank. I feel a wave of self-pity sweep over me. Let it go, I tell myself, let it go. You’re free. You don’t have to answer to anyone. You can stay in this store all night if you want. Self-doubt creeps in. Insecurity takes over. The psychic’s comments float through my mind. “Need to let go of something, creative aura, make a decision.” Maybe I ought to heed her advice. As I make my way across the lonely parking lot, carrying the plastic bag with my hair dye, nail polish, crazy glue, birthday card and gum, I know that I do need to let go of some things from the past, and it is time to make some serious decisions regarding my future. I embrace my creative spirit, and quietly thank the CVS psychic for her advice.

Mythical

Simple Definition of mythical
  • : based on or described in a myth

  • : existing only in the imagination

He stood 6’3″. A large man, cutting a figure with his flaming toupee billowing in the wind. He carried himself as though always on camera, in part because he had spent a lot of time in front of one, but mostly because he was completely and utterly self-involved. Every word and motion was contrived to portray what he thought people wanted to see. He knew it was all a farce. However, he also knew that if he surrounded himself with the right individuals and paid them enough, he could get anyone to do anything for him. And so it went.

He had what he liked to refer to as “powerful persuasive skills”. These methods involved intimidating, threatening, and other sorts of bullying. It worked. He powered his way to the top. Tenacious, you could call him that. Greedy, for sure. This was America, and he was getting his American dream, by hook or by crook. He didn’t care about anyone but himself. He wanted more and more. He would never be satisfied. One day, he pondered that it might be fun to run for president of the U.S. At first, it was basically a flight of fancy for him. He knew he had no patience to do the job, and he had other priorities, like building his empire of excess all over the globe. However, times were ready for something different. Many of the people were desperate, and feeling angry. The climate of hatred had been brewing for a long time, and they wanted a hero. He came along, and appealed to that part of the population. Intoxicated on the publicity, there was no way he would back out now. He convinced them that he was their man, making promises appealing to their every deep desire. He won the role as leader of the U.S.

It didn’t take long for the facade to crack and crumble. Continuously distracted, his impatience got the best of him.  He tried to keep his best face forward, but the mask kept slipping off. What many had seen as their hero was nothing of the sort. When the truth surfaced, the people finally realized that he was a narcissistic, mythical monster and nothing else. But,  by then, it was all too late.

Tarnished

Oh my tarnished heart

Do you remember when you were shiny and new?

Before the reality of life set in

When nature was all you saw and you believed in kindness

Before tv and pollution contaminated everything good

When you were just perfect for being you

Before they told you what you needed to be

When you were innocent and full of wonder

Before the ugliness of humanity showed it’s face

When you believed in something

Tarnished heart, can you remember when you were shiny and new?

The scent of  Chanel #5 and the gift of a jewel

Sometimes dreams just don’t come true.