do you dare?

The staccatoed wails and grinding moans haunt the empty street.  The sounds lilt and rend, clawing for attention, purposefully the opposite of the peaceful evening.  And, yet, it is beautiful and harmonious despite the discord.  There is magic in the notes.  There is the soul of a blues-man in the undertones of the harmonicas plaintive cry.

He sits with his back against the graffiti and shit stained bricks, the color of his hair lost in the grease and filth of his time on the street.  His knees are tucked against his chest, and his bare ankles are barely discernible from the darkness regardless of the large gap between the hem of his worn pants and the top of his tattered shoes.  The silver harmonica, however, gleams in the night, catching every stray beam of light that dared wander down the alley and passing it along in spirals of glinting rainbows.

The instrument is cradled lovingly in his tired hands, cupped against his lips, and passed back and forth in meticulous and precise movements.  His hands play the role of conductor and bring the harmonicas orchestral sound to life to such an extent the very night around him seems to pause and take notice.  His soul pours through his lips and gives the song its purpose and meaning.  The music is a story, confusing and wonderful, of struggle and loss and pain and hope.  The music is a story, transformed from misery to joy.

Hours pass, and the man sleeps where he sat, but the mournful vibrations of his blues continue to resonate in echoing calls up and down the alley.  They peek around and corners and tempt passersby to stop and listen and heed the warnings of loss and life.  They haunt the night and all who dwell within it, a constant reminder of all that came before and all that might one day still come, until the hint of day warms the horizon and then they wander into the shadows and quietly find peace.

There, in the forgotten places of brick and concrete, the music rests until night comes and the blues-man brings the harmonica out from his jacket pocket to once again purge the contents of his soul to all those daring enough to listen.

https://i0.wp.com/farm6.static.flickr.com/5576/15102555760_b24639ac7c_m.jpg
Image Credit: Steve Edwards (pootlepod)

the senses working together

Greg and his father stood on the porch, the elder’s forearms and the child’s chin sharing space next to each other on the wooden railing.  Greg had to stand on his tip toes and stretch his neck to get his chin over the beam.  His little fingers clamped on to balance him in place.

Their eyes spanned the distance from front yard to the hazy horizon and back again.  The damp grass, the cold concrete, and the packed soil perfumed the air unpolluted by the normal scents of day.  Dawn danced on their exposed flesh, a waltz of shivers and chills as the temperature dropped in preparation for the sun.  Greg licked his lips.  He could taste the day that was about to begin.

But, there was something off about the whole process.  He looked up to his father, his brows furrowed in thoughtful concern, “It’s the wrong tone.”

Greg’s dad looked down at him with a smile and a small chuckle, “Don’t worry, it will come around.”

Unconvinced, the child returned his attention to experiencing the sunrise.  Everything felt right, as it all had moments before, except the sound was still off.  Something was missing.  He frowned in his father’s direction and opened his mouth to restate his worries, but, then, a bird from one of the nearby oaks lent her voice to the air.

It quivered and hung, trilled and dropped, rose triumphantly and then seemed to be faltering when another bird joined in.  And then another.  And then another.

Greg, listening, smiled.  The taste was perfect.  The smell was perfect.  The touch was perfect.  The sight was perfect.  And, now, the sound was perfect too.  The world was ready for the sun to rise again.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

I had to use the characters from last week’s Inspiration Monday writing challenge again for this week’s.  The prompt that jumped out at me required that I return to them.  Don’t you agree?

Inspiration Monday logo

The Rules

There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.

OR

No really; I need rules!

Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.

The Prompts:

A DAY LATE

OASIS

BARKER AND BITER

INVISIBLE NATION

THE WRONG TONE

designated driver

I was given an elixir this morning… This magic potion promised to heighten, sharpen, perfect whatever sense I was concentrating on the most when I drank.  Sounds great, right?  Unfortunately, the warning label in super fine print on the back said that all the other senses would be dulled as a result.

My immediate instinct was to drink it down anyway.  I’ve been struggling with poor eye sight since I was in elementary school.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to see without the aid of glasses or contacts, without the star bursts at night, without numbers and letters swirling in front of me due to my astigmatism?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to finally be able to see what everyone else is always pointing at and talking about?

I brought the bottle to my lips to knock it back, but as I started to tilt it I caught a whiff of a rather unpleasant odor coming from it, and that made me wonder what it would taste like, and what it would feel like as it ran passed my tongue and poured down my throat.  I shivered at the thought and gulped audibly, the sound reverberating in my head.  I pulled the potion away from my mouth.

I like being able to hear.  It let’s me know what all is going on around me that I can’t see.  I like being able to smell.  The good smells are tied to memories (the oceans, the mountain trees) and the bad smells let me know when something isn’t right.  I like being able to taste.  There is nothing like having a buttery filet melt in my mouth, and if something doesn’t taste right I can spit it out before I do myself harm.  And if I dulled my sense of touch, then would I be able to lift the little prince and hoist him over my head?  Would I be able to feel him tugging at my shirt when he wants to be held tighter?

I couldn’t risk dulling any of my other senses just to see again.  I set the potion aside.  It wasn’t for me.

………

I kept it just in case I found out later it would give me a super power like x-ray vision, or laser sight, or something else awesome.  Then it would definitely be worth drinking…

smack smacks

I woke this morning just before 6AM to a sound I was somewhat familiar with but not used to hearing as my alarm: smack, smack, slurp, smack, smack, smack, pop, gurgle, smack, smack.

Softer than either of my two normal alarms it gently rocked me awake rather than startling me out of my slumber.

Smack, smack, gurgle, smack, smack.

Out of context it took me a few seconds to realize what I was hearing.  I’d heard that sound before, sure, but not that often yet, and never so early in the day.  Usually it was an afternoon or evening sound.  As I shook off the cobwebs of my three-hour nap (“Wow, it’s been three hours, that’s great” – with no sarcasm at all), I smiled as understanding reached me.

The smack smacks continued.  With an occassional coo as well.

Smack, smack, pop, smack, pop, coo, gurgle, giggle, coo, smack, smack.

Rather than waking to an actual alarm telling me I need to get up for work, or a screaming alarm telling me that a change and some food are needed, the little prince decided he’d find his fingers this morning and suck on them for a bit… before letting us know that he still needed a change and his breakfast.

It.  Was.  Adorable.

Smack, pop, snap, smack, slurp, coo, smack, smack.

So, I laid there for a few minutes and let him entertain himself with his fingers, enjoying this peaceful transition into wakefulness, and then when the smack smacks stopped I threw back the covers and rolled out of bed to rescue him from his diaper before handing him off to the queen.

It’s going to be another great day.

what day is it?

Questions, questions, questions… and then just when you think there couldn’t possibly be any more, they came up with another one.  How are they always doing that?

Do large groups of people, full of commotion, camaraderie, and a cacophony of sound (I love alliteration), energize me or do they send me reeling away in search of a quiet corner?

Simply put, yes.

When I’m in the mood, I can feed off the energy of a crowd, it can get me going, pump me up and keep me up, moving, interacting, dancing, all through the night and past the wee hours of the morning.  I’m a dj.  I know how to feed of the energy of a crowd.  I know how to take that energy and spin it right back out so that others can feed off my energy.  Let’s get this parted started!  Let’s keep it moving!

However, I’m not the 18 year old kid I was when I first stepped behind the decks and started spinning those black circles round and round.  There are definitely days when I’m just worn out to the core already and having that wall of sound all around me, having those people with their questions and their movement and their need for attention, is just more than I can handle.  The sound is like lightning, in a bad way, flashing across my brain.  (Yes, I meant lightning there, not thunder.  Sheesh!  Who is telling this story?  May I continue?  Okay, here we go…)

So, sometimes I love the crowd and sometimes I hide from the crowd.  In general, I’d say that’s probably pretty normal.  Hmm, but since I’m the jester I shouldn’t do “normal” right?  So, never mind, scrap the rest of the post, and here’s the answer:

I’m an entertainer!  Bring on the people!  Bring on the noise!

Are you not entertained?