Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday Snippets 4: Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities part 4

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This is the fourth and final installment of this story so I am providing the links to each part with a brief synopsis of events.

In which we meet Faye, Julia and Wilma driving home from a shopping spree with a back seat so full of packages, Faye must perch upon them. While Julia, Faye's twin, and Wilma, Faye's sister-in-law, are busy bickering in the front seat, Faye witnesses a cat get hit by a motorcyclist and insists Julia stop. The cat is dead and Faye empties a fancy bag full of leather items into which she puts the cat for later burial.

In which we meet, Cassie, the State Trooper who pulls over to see if the ladies need help and insists on escorting them to the diner. Faye faints in the back seat on the way to the diner and must be carried in by the Trooper, whom, she discovers was once a student of hers.

In which the bickering between Wilma and Julia continues as Faye absentmindedly watches a peculiar woman walking by outside. Julia witness a woman nab the sack with the cat in it out of their car, using the handle of her umbrella. The woman, the same one, Faye had been watching, then walks into the diner and sits in a booth near by, fondling the sack as she is waited on by Sandra who upon returning to the ladies table informs them of the woman's name and several of her eccentricities. Listening to Sandra, Faye missed the moment Estelle opened the sack.

Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities part 4

“There she goes.” Julia’s voice conveyed a smug and eager expectancy. Sandra broke off in mid-sentence and turned toward Estelle, briefly blocking Faye’s view. Then with an exclamation of concern she was hurrying to aid a swooning Estelle as Julia gasped between exultant giggles, “Did you…ever see such…a sight for sore eyes! It was better than I’d hoped!”

At Fay’s incredulous, “For shame, Sister!” Julia chocked back the giggles and managed to look chagrined.

As Sandra rose from a recumbent Estelle to rush off, stuttering something about blood, paramedics, police and a Halloween Gagger Estelle stirred, muttering hectically. Stray phrases reached their ears. ‘…gouts of blood…the bloody business…wicked dreams abuse the curtained sleep...craft celebrates pale…offerings…”

“Methinks the lady suffers pangs of morbid guilt.” Julia said.

“As well she should for such mangling of Macbeth.” said Wilma.

“Ah, our star speaks lofty words.” Julia chortled.

Estelle, struggling to sit saw her bloody hand and moaned. “What hands are here?…Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red.” She commenced rubbing her hands together as if under a faucet.

“The wine of life is drawn.” Julia intoned, baiting her.

Estelle turned sharply with widened eyes, encouraging Julia’s merciless taunting: “We the three weird sisters be. Let us meet and question this most bloody piece of work, to know it further. Was there warrant in that theft?”

“Fears and scruples shake us. In the great hand of God I stand.” Estelle clutched the ill-got bag with defiant courage.

“Your cruelty shames me Sister, have you no mercy?”

“Fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood, stop up the access and passage to remorse. That no compunctions shake my purpose.” Julia intoned.

Wilma winced, “If you must misappropriate the lines, at least refrain from misquoting them.”

“Thou marvel’st at my words, but hold thee still, things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.”

During this exchange, Estelle dared again to peek in the bag. Her shriek quelled the incipient quarrel. “Avaunt! And quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee! Thy blood is cold.”

Julia meowed like a tortured cat. “Thrice the brindled cat hath mew’d. it will have blood, they say, blood will have blood.” Her voice became a cadenced growl. “Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble.” At the sound of sirens wailing in the distance Julia chanted: “By the pricking of my thumbs something wicked this way comes.” Then to preempt further protestation from Faye or Wilma she turned to them with: “I am in blood stepped’ in so far that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.”

Estelle was again agitating her hands. “Will these hands ne’er be clean?…Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”

“Now does she feel her secret thievery sticking on her hands.” Julia mocked, not hiding her glee with this impromptu game.

Estelle trembled at the sound of approaching sirens, moaning, “How is’t with me, when every noise appalls me?…Make all our trumpets speak; give them all breath those clamorous harbingers of blood and death…Out, out, brief candle!” so saying she once more swooned.

“Now you’ve done it Julia.” Faye remonstrated.

“Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake thy gory locks at me.” Julia shot back.

Sandra returned, ushering in the paramedics. “Still out poor thing? What a shame. You ladies may want to stay put for a bit. The press is swarming out there. They got word of another Halloween Gagger incident already.”

The paramedics examined Estelle, prepared her for transport. Helpless, Faye watched as the cat in its bag was placed on the stretcher with its prone poacher. Helpless? She thought, Not I! A slow smile suffused her face. There’s more than one way to skin a cat! She let her eyes roll up and with a little moan went limp, sliding off the vinyl bench into a boneless heap under the table. All the while they fussed over her, she spoke in the silence of her subtlety justification of her ruse, in the form of all things a quote from Macbeth: There’s warrant in that theft which steals itself when there’s no mercy left. It was all she could do not to giggle at her gimmick and thus give it away.

Not until she was safe in the ambulance alone with Estelle did she essay to open her eyes. Estelle eyed her warily from an arm’s length away. “I’ve only come for that which isn’t yours to keep.” Faye reached for the bag, but Estelle clutched it.

“Aroint thee weird sister!”

Faye guessed she would have to submit to Shakespeare to reach her in time. Fearing she would feel very silly, she leaned to hiss in Estelle’s ear: “Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear; and chastise with the valor of my tongue. Wouldst thou have that which thou esteem’s the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem, letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would,’ like the poor cat I’ the adage?”

Now Estelle clutched Faye, “With thy bloody hand cancel and tear to pieces that great bond which keeps me pale!”

Was this a plea for absolution? The woman’s eyes were dark mirrors of dismay. She cast about for words that could focus a light to penetrate their glassy spheres. Had Macbeth such words? She doubted so, but then her glance fell upon Estelle’s bloody hand and the lines flowed from her: “You do unbend your strength to think so brainsickly of things. Go get some water, and wash this filthy witness from your hand…A little water clears you of this deed.” Then clasping Estelle’s bloody hand in her own she spoke with force of conviction, “A little water, a little washing is all you need. You’ve the word of Faith, wife of Innocent Gardner.

Estelle’s eyes began to glow as from a fire kindled within. Tears laved her creviced cheeks. She released the bag to Fay in wordless gratitude and they lay in silent fellowship until the ambulance reached its goal. When the doors opened she stepped down under her own power and answered every protest with the declaration: “There’s nothing wrong with me the river breeze blowing in my own garden can’t cure.” She walked beside Estelle’s stretcher intent on seeing to it she got the same prescription. “You’re coming home with me for awhile.” she told her, “Just let me do the talking.” She winked conspiratorially and took the pale hand Estelle, tremulous with hope, offered.

The media mobbed them, avid for a new angle on the Gagger story. Faye marveled at such miserly imaginations. The gagger was a rank amateur, completely out-classed by the Omnipotent Prankster who pulled off the caper she had co-starred in today. Oh the story I could tell you. She thought as they clamored. If you only had ears to hear. But keeping her counsel, she only fluttered her fingers at them as she fairly flew down the corridor with Estelle who maintained a firm grip on her hand.

5 tell me a story:

Joely Sue Burkhart 8/03/2007 5:27 AM  

Oh, fun, to toss Macbeth back and forth like that!

Gabriele Campbell 8/03/2007 8:23 AM  

Macbeth is haunting me of late. :)

Now, that was fun indeed.

Anonymous,  8/03/2007 10:59 AM  

"...You’ve the word of Faith, wife of Innocent Gardner...."

Any relation to Chance (the) Gardner?

Ann 8/03/2007 11:06 AM  

Our star speaks lofty words, indeed. That was fun.

Anonymous,  8/06/2007 5:24 PM  

I can definitely tell you didn't just look up a passage of Shakespeare and plug it in, but have read long enough and deep enough that you could retrofit the language to the deed.

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