by Mark Ulyseas
From The Seductive Avatars of Maya – Anthology of Dystopian Lives – book available HERE
Joe’s place smells like boiled eggs under a blanket on a cold winter night. But I like it. There is an atmosphere of resignation to life which resides in the water of life that is served on the rocks. Comforting, for it gives one an excuse to dodge hard work.
In one corner is a table with four chairs but no one sits there for the table is being eaten away by white ants. On a quiet afternoon an inebriated overflowing amphora can hear them munching on the wood, you know like the crackling of a potato chip being crushed between nicotine stained teeth. The carpet was a bright red. Now it’s a deepish maroon and if one hits the floor in the course of the day or night the carpet’s all-encompassing aroma acts as smelling salts. It awakens the senses.
Joe is the owner. An expat living his life out with a brown bunny who could be his granddaughter. She doesn’t mind working under him at work and at home. Her family are watered, housed and fed and her relatives in the village get the crumbs. No one knows which crack Joe emerged from and from where. But it has been universally agreed that Joe was, is, and will always be Joe’s…the watering hole for humanity, a place under a rock.
Sitting here on a Monday morning and marinating in the warm sunlight seeping through the greasy window panes, I sip on my absinthe and watch a line of ants rising from the floorboards carrying yesterday’s leftovers of a drunk’s regurgitation. They have created a nest in a crevice in the wooden frame of the window. It has been over an hour and the little critters don’t tire or even take a break. I get exhausted looking at them. Must turn away.
Ahhh…Shirley has just walked in. Humm…god… she is still wearing the same clothes since last Saturday. Her untouched eye brows, unshaven fur on the upper lip and chipped pink nail polish, with hair neatly tied back, gives her an air of a creative person. You know, the stereotype. From passing remarks it is true. She is creative with an egg beater when one is involved in horizontal recreation. I have also read her poetry. Red hot coals, just like her eyes.
Shirley comes over and sits down at my table, lights a ciggy and blows the smoke into my face. Then looks away as if in disgust. Silence.
Joe brings me another absinthe. He points to Shirley and asks if I would like a little bit on the side, courtesy Joe’s. I shake my head and cross my legs.
The ants have disappeared. I think the smoke from Shirley’s orifice has frightened the critters.
She glances at me and smiles wanly. I return her greeting by putting a tenner under her ashtray, which she quickly picks up and tucks under her watch strap.
“Anything?” she asks.
“No”, I reply, then get up, pay my bill, and walk out.
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 02, 2014