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It is a whirlwind in here

This Is A TEST

This is a Test  

But not “the” Test

If it were a real Test

It would need

An answer
Or two

Or multiple choice

But It isn’t.  

It is a test

To announce Something,

Or,

To warn about Something,

Or,

To warn about a Warning.  

A test basically to say,

*IF* this was a test.

Then get your shit together,

Or bend over

And kiss your ass good-bye.  

That is all.

DE BA UEL

 It is that type of test.

Six Ex-Wives Meet At A Dead Husband’s Funeral

EXCERPT FROM “There Was A Time When The Stones Were Not So Smooth”

#1-and-only husband has – in truth – not fared well under the ministrations of the Undertaker. Yes, she would recognize him, but she would wonder if he had died of some wasting disease. Perhaps the effects of the gas poisoning produced changes, though Alison Alexandra assumes the whole dying-in-your-sleep thing would make you look at peace. Perhaps he had not been found for quite a while. These are not questions she is going to ask, but he would have been annoyed about the way he looks. He was not a vain man – his standard comment about his own appearance was that ‘he wouldn’t cause a cow to have a miscarriage’. However, he was certainly showing his death.

“Should I introduce you?” asks the lawyer.

“Time consuming,” says Alison Alexandra.

Time consuming or not, it is quickly evident the other ex-wives are interested. They are happy to leave the corpse and settle around her.

“Which one are you?” The youngest woman touches her arm.

“Yes, what group do you fall into?” A heavily made-up woman leans closer. “Are you an Alison, or an Alexandra?” She laughs nervously. “I hope you’re an Alexandra like me, because we’re outnumbered.”

‘I both help and hinder your cause. I’m Alison Alexandra.”

“Well, fuck me gentle.” A woman, more sternly-tailored than the lawyer, holds out her hand. “We’ve hit the mother lode.”

“The Dayspring From On High Doth Visit Us.” A broad woman puts a chummy hand on Alison Alexandra’s shoulder and pats her. “Our Sisterhood is complete.”

“We hope so.” A woman with riveting eyes and uniform grey hair taps her teeth as she speaks. “Is Alison Alexandra the end of our merry – or, is it married – troupe?”

“Lawyer Croft?” The heavily made-up Ex points with lacquered finger. “Is she?”

“Of those who will attend – yes.” Iris Croft hesitates. “There is one deceased.”

“Oh – who was she?” The youngest Ex is excited. “An Alison, or an Alexandra?”

“There’s a story there, I’m sure.” The lawyer looks directly at the youngest Ex. “But I do not know it.”

“What do you mean?”

“She was neither an Alison nor an Alexandra.”

“Well – that’s a devilish turn.” The broad and friendly Ex now pats the lawyer on the shoulder. “What was her name?”

“Amanda.”

“He couldn’t get enough of ‘A’s”” The severe and grey haired Ex forces a smile.

“Where did she fit in?” asks the youngest Ex.

“Just before you.”

‘Well, I guess that didn’t last.”

funeral,widow,widower.ex-wife,death,history,life,Alison Alexandre,novel,marriage,“What happened to her?” asks Alison Alexandra.

“She died of heart failure.”

“Jeez Louise.” The youngest Ex is startled. “How old was she?”

“It had nothing to do with age.” Iris Croft wonders if there is any confidentiality to break. However, the Ex was not her client, and both principals are deceased. “She had a genetic heart defect, discovered at autopsy.”

“What was she like?”

“I never met her.” Iris Croft spreads her hands. “Just as I have never met any of you until today.”

“But you asked to see Alison Alexandra.” The severe, grey haired Ex speaks quickly. “What was that about?”

“It’s not for me to discuss.”

“Well…” The severe Ex turns to Alison Alexandra. “What’s it about, then.”

“She doesn’t have to tell us anything.” The heavily-made up Ex steps forward. “I have no plans of getting personal.”

“But it is kinda personal.” The youngest Ex smirks. “We all fucked him.”

“And he – us,” says the severe grey haired Ex.

Alison Alexandra would like to avoid squabbling among the members of this odd club. She doesn’t mind telling them her beneficiary status as regards the houses. They each had received the financial rewards of the houses they lived in. It’s no skin off their noses. Or hers.

“I get the house in the will.”

“What?” The severe grey haired Ex looks at all the others. “Did you marry him again?”

“First in/last out?” Alison Alexandra laughs. “Nothing like that. I was his default beneficiary for each new house – until he married again.” She decides not to tell them that she got to inspect each new house first.

“So you kept in touch with him?”

“He kept in touch with me.”

“Just about the house?” asks the youngest Ex.

“Yes.” Alison Alexandra will allow one truth to cover much territory. “Not even a Christmas card.”

“They can’t kill us all,” I said, but I knew she heard the doubt in my voice.

08 June 1917

A Gypsy confronted me today, and I was in the mood for a bit of sport. Her age was difficult to tell – certainly a decade older than me. In her swirl of shawls and dangling jewellery, heavy make-up on her face, she could almost have been in disguise. She peered at me with an intense sigh, attempting – I am sure – to penetrate my own disguise.

“You are a Jew,” she said.

“And you a Gypsy,” I replied.

She seemed pleased with my response, for her professional smile became real.

“You state the obvious,” she said. “As becomes a Doktor of Laws,”

I replied. “But to your eyes, do you not state the obvious?” 

“Are you going to banter with a poor old Gypsy woman, instead of barter? That would make you suspiciously like one of us.” She said this with a growl in her throat.

“The Gypsy and the Jew,” I said, feeling the challenge which I so miss. “Perhaps an opera – but I think it’s been done to death.” 

“They will try to do us all unto death,” she said harshly, and turned away.

I had the fear she was going to leave me without another word, but what she did was to spit fulsomely onto the street.

“They can’t kill us all,” I said, but I knew she heard the doubt in my voice.

She slowly faced me again.

“So. Even a Doktor of Laws can have hope. That is refreshing – but foolish.” She took my hand and felt my palm roughly with her thumb, although all the while her eyes never left my face. “You are going to travel.” 

“Travel is a vague word. One can go on many types of voyage.” 

“And reach many destinations,” she added, still holding my hand. “If you take away my vagueness, you take away my trade.” 

“Then let me pay you for your services right now.”

 This transaction would make her loose my hand, which is what I wanted most of all. She had frightened me, for her eyes and face were full of truth. I know the truth. I know it when it presents itself, stark and unobscured. I search out truth endlessly, yet still can flee at its approach. As in her eyes. But she gripped me more fiercely, and pulled my hand up.

“The coin, Herr Doktor.” Her voice was now soft. “The coin can wait.”

She at last lowered her eyes and looked closely at my palm. She rubbed the lines and whorls of my skin. She touched her finger to her lips, and spread the moisture along my hand.

“Your lifeline, Herr Doktor,” she took a quick look in my eyes, “of Laws. You deceive with the youth upon your face. Is that not so?” 

“If your eyes stop at the mask, then no, the years have not etched themselves deeply.” 

“Not on your face, Herr Doktor of Laws.” Her grip was intense. “But on your palm…” She hissed. “You will soon embark upon that final voyage.”

She released my hand, rubbed her fingers across her sleeve.

“But you will not go in haste. There will be many stops along the way.”

Suddenly her face was full of the most beautiful smile, and her laughter was genuine.

“I see you do not complain of vagueness now.” She held out her hand. “The coin, Herr Doktor of Laws. This time I have truly earned it.”

I dug deeply into my pocket, and feared that I may have overpaid her. But, perhaps, that is not possible.

The Police Pulled Over The Dump Truck Of Delights

It was not a day like any other day, so I suppose it did not start like any other day. I don’t know.

However the day started, it did not end well. It did not go well. It ceased being well half way through.

Half way through the day that did not end well, on the street that leads to the Causeway that crosses the Bay that leads to the street that takes you into the heart of the city, the police pulled over the dump truck of delights.

One police car with flashing lights approached the dump truck of delights and pulled it to the side of the road and parked behind it with its lights still flashing and  . . .

Well, that was it.

The dump truck, painted a utilitarian grey with a rusty dump covered in a tied-down tarpaulin, was stopped. Halted. Pulled to the side of the road by the black-and-white police car with its flashing blue-and-red-and-white lights flashing dully off the dull dump truck.

Far enough!

End of line!

Turn off the engine!

Chock the wheels!

And that was that. In sight of the city proper. So near and yet so far. Over the Causeway was the forbidden land. Do Not Enter!

For the Dump Truck of Delights would rouse the populace and inflame the imagination and loosen too too many tethers.

There were unicorns, of course, in the Dump Truck of Delights.

And Spheres with moons and stars whizzing around them.

And rabbit holes to disappear into.

And cotton candy, floating floating floating like clouds.

And real clouds coloured like cotton candy.

And the Tree of Knowledge weighted down with fruit.

And angels and seraphim with trumpets and harps and chubby cherubim with big brass drums.

And the joys of the flesh and the hopes of the soul.

And the biggest, the widest, the firmest beds where anyone, anywhere, ever eased off into sleep.

There were warming winds.

There were cooling breezes.

The food and drink were – well – beyond description.

So – of course – the police were instructed to stop the Dump Truck of Delights, and keep such pleasure and peace from the people. To make sure it would not cross the Causeway and disrupt the commerce of the city.

Besides – the driver had no permit to transport unicorns.

DE BA UEL

All The Ducks Were Not In A Row As They Sparkled

Paw, my cat/kitten,

Black as soot

With one white mitten,

Was beside himself

(almost literally),

When he came across

A mother duck,

And a dozen ducklings,

Frolicking in a small pond,

Inland, on Partridge Island.

He came to get me.

I always follow.

The ducklings swam in,

And out,

Of sparkles on the water.

At times, it was as if

They wore sparkling jewels.

They’d bob for food, and

Pop back up with jewels of light

Around their necks,.

I have never seen such a thing.

And Paw . . .

Paw stood in awe.

I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2022 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

When Birds of A Feather Are Crows Together Do They Ponder Murder?

The crows are gathering outside my window. One crow at a time. On the street. On the sidewalk. On the grass.

I noticed two at first. Close together, and walking around in tandem. On the street. Then one fluttered down from a tree. Also on the street.

There is a single pigeon on the grass, minding – as far as I can tell – its own business. Peck-peck-pecking. Neck jerking as it moves along. Seemingly oblivious.

Then another crow flies down out of the sky. Lands on the grass near the pigeon. Doesn’t move.

Another crow swoops down with a sudden landing on the grass. Takes crow hops to the crow on the grass. They stand together looking at (it looks to me) at the pigeon. The pigeon (as far as I can tell) is minding its own business.

Then a crow lands on the sidewalk, close to the pigeon that is minding its own business.

Its business, almost immediately, is to fly away.

And then the crows on the street fly away. And then the crows on the grass fly away. And last, the crow on the sidewalk flies away.

So – what was that all about?

As Europe Bakes & Burns, I Look Back To My First Time There

Solely because of the current, hellish weather in Europe, I hauled out my old travel diaries to take a look at what I was doing on this day so many decades ago. July 17.

I do remember some very hot days (though nothing like this week). I also remember the morning a month later, when I was walking through a long driveway, down from a mountain castle where the youth hostel was situated, and noted that Autumn weather had begun.

I obviously had time on my hands, for this day fills three hand-written pages. But since – oddly – it starts with a weather report, I’ll just record part of the first page.

July 17

A beautiful day erupted across the sky this morning blue clear sky and a budding sun sliding with a sultry manner into the waiting arms of the passionate heavens. It was, in other words, a nice day. And I took advantage of the whole majestic harrang** by leaving for the heart of the city around nine o’clock.

First business gotten out of the way was to buy a train ticket to Nurinberg**. It was interesting to return to Hanover Station , for in a way that’s where it all began, isn’t it? The fateful Sunday so long ago where the train was caught for Hamburg and on to the farm. It was much more pleasant being there the second time around, and I even succumed** and bought some plums in the small fruit store. They were the worst plums it has been my mis-fortune** to lay my taste buds on, and I threw half of them away.

I left the station and walked about the Square awhile, looking in the stores and wishing I could buy. But, it was enjoyable just looking around. At eleven o’clock I fulfilled one of the pet dreams which I looked forward to while on the farm. I went to a movie. Why this desire became so strong during these six weeks I do not know, perhaps a movie is a symbol of real civilization. Whatever the reason, I wanted to see one, and I did. It was, naturally, in German, but being a very sexy film, the language barrier did not make a great difference. As it was, I understood a lot more than I thought it would.

[By the by, excuse the writing, but I am on a moving train, and everything wobbles considerably.]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

** I have edited nothing, and plan also not to edit if I ever do publish these long-ago writings. The “farm” mentioned is where I worked for summer employment.

T

Franz Kafka Did Not Like Vienna, And Visits It With Hate

  In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I fill in **missing** diary entries from Kafka’s real diary. He either did not fill in these days himself, or he destroyed them. It is estimated Kafka destroyed 70% – 80% of everything he wrote. I am as accurate as I can be in my timeline. On these July days in 1917, in reality, he travelled to Vienna. He filled in no diary entries, but I have him express opinions he mentioned elsewhere.

15 July 1917

           What pretence have I not endured?

17 July 1917

            Vienna – a city which I hate. The forced gaiety of the people is as cloying to me as the rich desserts which gag my mouth. They live on the borderline with death, and their sweat reeks of terror. It drips onto their ghastly cakes as they peer across the table to see what their companions have. “Shit in; shit out,” as my father would say.

18 July 1917

           I took a night train from Vienna. Not only was it the quickest conveyance available, but I did not have to look at the wretched city in the dark. It’s not a place of dreams, but of nightmares. But, perhaps it was foolish to flee, since my destination is a nightmare.

Fine Dining With Scampi On A Plate For Breakfast

There will be scampi on a plate with breakfast.

Quarts of wild strawberries will float in flagons of cold  Rheinhessen wine.

Blueberries will be hidden by thick cream, and golden honey shall trickle from plates of buttered toast.

Braces of quail and brown roasted turkey will be surrounded by steaming heaps of new potatoes and tender ears of corn.

Joints of beef and lightly curried lamb will stand between bottles of red Anjou wine and jugs of red Italian fire.

A smoking, suckling pig will have bowls of dry, yellow squash at its feet and stacks of cheeses at its head.

Pastry and pies and a foot high chocolate cake will stand among jars of brandied fruit.

A cask of aged port will remain, to do justice at the end.

Then I shall settle back to patiently await my dinner.

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