by Mark Ulyseas
From The Seductive Avatars of Maya – Anthology of Dystopian Lives – book available HERE
He walks into Joe’s. It is crowded. The air smells of sweat and ciggies. Chatter sounds like birds gathering in a tree at sunset.
“Sorry this is a Wake. You can sit at the bar, I’ve a stool for you”, says Joe guiding him through the pulsating bodies.
After the first shot of absinthe clarity emerges. A pathway is cleared through the densely polluted thoughts growing like weeds and glowing like weeds in a stagnant pool of remembrances.
A hand is placed on his thigh, then rides up to his stomach.
“A drink for the lady?” asks Shirley.
He turns and kisses her. She tastes of sweet green mango.
Shirley’s bright floral cotton frock and casual scarf thrown around her shoulders gives her the air of a praying mantis that eats her mate after fornication.
They drink in silence. Shirley leans against his knee jutting off the bar stool. There is a calmness, a strength in him. She feels it, like an aura. And she wants it, in her.
He looks around the room. Many new faces, young, eager, reminds him of his first trip…where the women wore garish satin clothes and frilly underwear, talcum powder encrusted armpits and fluorescent lipstick. He went home and vomited. And tried in vain to wash off the smell. He couldn’t. But he returned, again and again until he lost interest and began searching for love.
After the second round of absinthe life begins its earnest journey towards coherency. Sitting in a corner near the bar is an old lady on a young man’s lap, biting his ear while his hand searches for her quim. His wife has died. This wake is for her. The man needs to return to the womb, to find his manhood, again.
“What’s this?” he asks.
“Mulligatawny soup and garlic bread made by Maria”, replies Joe. Maria is Joe’s wife who always smelt like old spice.
Shirley reaches out, breaks off a piece the bread, dips it in the soup, blows on it and puts it in his mouth. Some of it trickles down the corner of his mouth, which she promptly licks off. Then kisses him on the head. Men never grow up. They remain boys. Mama is here, if only he notices.
Someone begins to sing, I don’t know how to love him, and silence falls. A siren wails, police car racing past Joe’s stops the singer. Everyone returns to their chatter.
Another round of absinthe finally breaks the barrier between the two worlds he has been living in. All is one now.
Shirley is washing herself in the mulligatawny and wiping herself with the bread. That’s why it tastes of her, he mutters to himself.
“I want to go now” she says to him
He gets off the stool, holds Shirley and sucks the breath out of her.
The day has just begun this night for him.
Should he, shouldn’t he?
It is only about years. A limited period. Then the wake-up call comes. A yearning to be young again with a firmness that delights the soul.
Shirley takes his hand and leads him out onto the pavement where a dog lies moaning…having been run over by a car, its entrails look like chicken noodles.
He is confused. What is today…Sunday or Monday?
“Today is my birthday…I am seventeen”, she whispers in his ear.
Absinthe is my travelling companion in the metaphysical world where one frolics in the font, where images become a reality and where one can delete forever those that haunt the soul.
© Mark Ulyseas
September 08, 2014