Sunday, February 27, 2011

Death and Politics at the end of the world

(This is the next section of my WIP 'Death and Politics at the End of the World'. The first chapter can now be found at the top of the page under it's own page it you want to catch up. It might be helpful to know that you are entering an otherworldly realm as you journey with my character. In my last post, I was asked what genre I was writing in. My response wound up being "Genre... think magical realism meets surrealism meets Quantum Physics meets my imagination and the authors who have influenced me (including Jeanette Winterson!" things happen that are out of the extraordinary at times as a sort if so be prepared!! If you need to catch up, the first part is in the tabs at the top!)
Relative State
            If life were fair, the missing person would not be the genteel, affable woman who nourished the population of Key West. The MIA would be the detective in charge of the investigation. Alas…
His bearing is an uncomfortable parfait of govinator and Looney Toon stutterer as he ambles up to the veranda where we foxhole against the sun’s intense onslaught, the jaunty entrance invading our grief, faux royalty denying bona fide poverty. Hand outstretches, I reach out only to have his cool, dry foreignness enfold mine, a too-familiar caress pumps gently up and down, all the while eyes train on Dave, as the two exchange perfunctory greetings and my uncle asks for an update for my benefit as he slips to unawareness, clearly word weary.
“It does seem strange…” Nothing but the facts ma’am nothing but the facts … words hum, a noxious plethora of nothingness. “…but it appears she jumped over the bridge around twelve-thirteen Sunday night.” He completes the briefing, an anthropomorphic auto-attendant.
            “Did you fi--- where was she?”
            “The body?” He glances at the air over my head, then back at my uncle.
            “Body? My aunt.” I bite off the words, chafed at the reduction.
            “We haven’t found the body… yet,” His voice begins again, regurgitating evidence, snatches getting past the inner protests raging in my ear. “witnesses…”
            You don’t know crap! Idiot!
            “Left a note…”
A God-damned catechism
 “searched the perimeter…”
            We believe in
            “no trace”
            God the Father
            “no reason not to believe”
            The son and the…
            “it was suicide”
            “Holy shit!” A detonation of silence stiffens the room, then yields a mushroom cloud of resentment. “You cannot possibly believe that my aunt- Louisa Jean Cook- could possibly… She’s got a great life, a husband who adores…”
            “Your uncle tells me you’re a scientist?” Infuriating speciousness.
            “What has that got to do-”
            “Then you understand the difference between inference and actual data …” Condescending, patronizing presumptive pedagogue. “blah, blah-seem one thing-blah, blah-never know blah, blah get all the testimony-blah, blah- dope points to, blah.”
His Reaganesque “facts” were irrelevant. I am not one of those shell-shocked women who scream and cry out, refusing to correlate gun with hand, only later recognizing dark moods, caliginous silences, emotional meltdowns: Precursors of destiny. My eyelids lower, slowly shuttering out the incongruent, incompatible scene.
“blah- so very sorr-blah, blah …” There might have been a condolence amidst the disembodied syllables but it was lost in his candy-coated southern drawl.  “Best be going.”
Moving toward the door, the bereaved husband’s arm valanced the lawman’s shoulder as though he were the one in need of comfort, his low voice reassuring, even apologetic as he thanked him for his visit. The two men clasp each other gingerly, then turn to face their lives, one man’s stride cocky and insolent, the other ponderous and dilatory.
Words float back as he reaches his patrol car. “I’ll put ya’ll on the prayer chain. God doesn’t give us more than we can bear, but this is difficult, I know.”
I long to race into the yard to give an impromptu seminar for the protist on protocol, human relations and… “religious sensitivity!”
“He’s only trying to be helpful, Alex.” My uncle’s eyes hold a gentle reproach, then settle back to enveloping sorrow.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t really mean to… I wasn’t… He shouldn’t say that shi... To assume… helpful?! … What an ass… unprofessional. It’s wrong!”  Vocal chords compress producing a raucous graunch. “If there was a god…”
A death mask faces me and my soaring passion hits the ground, wings abruptly clipped. “People do the best they can,” He recedes into unoccupied space. “Doing the best I… we can…” He wanted consolation, consideration, rather than the breaking storm of skepticism. The endeavor of inhaling, exhaling, heart pumping, limbs moving are all he can sustain, the added weight of my turmoil too much.
“You don’t really think… it’s impossible, not her at all. You don’t believe it?”
“Yes, What choice? I don’t know. No. I never would have thought, it’s not something she’d do, never in a thousand years… But it’s there, her last words. She loves,” He disappears into the framework of their memories. “loved. She loved me…” The final words float back, nearly absorbed in the gulf’s tender breath, as he lumbers up the front steps of the small conch home the pair shared for over half their lives.

Don't forget to check out Meanderings of a Wandering Mind! I've written a blog featuring our favorite (but missing) MSNBC political commentator, Keith Olbermann! "He's Back!"


  1. Excellent passage - I'm anxious to come back and read the chapter I missed!

    New follower and fellow crusader! Nice to meet you!

  2. Wow - excellent writing. Really conveys the despair and grief of death...

  3. Alison: Thank you for stopping by and I'm looking forward to getting to know all my followers and fellow writers/crusaders better!

    Lady Fi: Thank you so much!

  4. I really like your writing. It flows well and the pacing is great even in such a small sample as this. The wonderful descriptive words like "conch shell home" really put imagery into my mind.

  5. So sad... but excellent writing.
    Anyway I'm a crusader making my rounds. Pop over to my blog. I'm trying to start a "review" club, where we review one another books. Got a pretty good response so far!


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