Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Snippet 44


Apparition of the Face of Aphrodite
by Salvador Dali
print for sale at art.com


Update: The snippet is now pasted in. The story returns to the time frame of the first three parts, the morning Crystal woke in the strange motel room. A year after the events covered in the last six parts. If you are lost, you can review or catch-up with the links below.

This is was a shell sans snippet again. This week it's the heat wave that is making it hard to get the scene written. It reached 103 F here today. I can't stand the heat coming off the keyboard as I'm typing this paragraph. We have a fan with a 6 inch diameter blade to cool our room.

I will get got the scene pasted in as soon as possible Monday night.

Meanwhile...

You can catch up or review via the links to the first eight parts available below.

Thanks for your patience.



Home Is Where the Horror Is
by Joy Renee

(part one; part two; part three; part four; part five; part six; part seven; part eight; part nine;)




Still holding the three Polaroids in her had as she debated whether to confiscate the two she was in and thus forfeit her chance to spend another night in this motel room, Crystal's eyes darted around the room looking for her own duffel in case she needed to make a quick getaway. She needed her beach sandals too. She bent over to look under the bed again and that is when she spotted the distinctive red beach bag with the gold buckles. The same bag carried by the young Latino woman who had sat down on the sand a yard or two from where Crystal had been eating her lunch and watching the seaguls play Chinese jump rope with the surf.

Her lunch had been half of a hamburger she had grabbed out of a waste can seconds after witnessing someone drop it in. The woman had been hard to miss with that bright scarlet bag with buckles that caught the sun and scatter shot it. The woman had laughed at the antics of the seagulls swarming around a picnicking family whose children were throwing French fries up in the air. When one child, a girl about three, had been too slow letting go of her French fry, a daring bird and swooped in and snatched it out of her hand, flapping his wings hard around her head as he perched on it, talons gripping her hair, launching itself skyward with strands of it still wound around them, the fry sticking out of its beak like a limp cigarette.

When the little girl screamed until she lost her breath, the woman with the red beach bag said, "Well, there goes another potential fan of Hitchcock's The Birds."
.
Crystal had looked around for who else she might have been speaking to but there was no one else within earshot of them. She hated that the woman had sat down so near, that she had focused her attention on the same family Crystal had been watching and was now trying to engage her in conversation. All of which made Crystal's chances of unobtrusively rescuing their lunch discards from the waste can before anyone else dumped something nasty on top of it. Families with young children often tossed out enough in one meal for Crystal to make three meals of it.

Crystal had just looked shyly down at the sand under her crossed feet and shrugged, she couldn't have made a relevant comment in any case, not having a clue what Hitchcock's The Birds was. A music group maybe? The need to think up something to say was preempted by the arrival of a man the color of fresh brewed coffee, carrying a large fast-food bag and cardboard tray holding three drinks who sat down on the beach towel beside the Latino woman. Crystal had not been able to take her eyes off the bulging muscles on his forearms and calves as he squatted down and handed off the bag of food to the woman and then lowered the tray of drinks to the sand in front of him. Divested of his burden Crystal could now see the front of his camouflage print T shirt and the words Semper FI in gold over the gold Marine Corp emblem. The same shirt she had fished out of the bed in this motel room earlier.

Suddenly Crystal was shaking uncontrollably and sinking to her knees as she remembered how he had handed one drink to his friend and taken one for himself before reaching across and setting the third one down on the sand by her knee. When she turned to him with eyes startled wide, he said, "Don't pretend you don't want that. It's a long walk to the nearest water fountain and people don't throw out as many half-drunk sodas as they do half-eaten sandwiches and those they do don't often land upright."

Crystal remembered staring at the waxed cup, mesmerized by the the drops condensing on it before her eyes and running uselessly into the sand. She had whispered a thank-you that the surf seemed to take as a refrain as she picked up the soda and filled her parched mouth with biting bubbles. When she set the half empty cup back down there was a whole, still unwrapped hamburger setting there.

As Crystal had unwrapped the hamburger with fingers trembling with as much shame and embarrassment as hunger, the man introduced himself as Michael and his friend as Gabriella. Crystal remembered having said something about archangels and someone laughing, maybe herself. But, squeezing her eyes shut as though that would squeeze out more memories, she could not remember anything of what followed with any more clarity than a fever dream.

She pulled the red beach bag from under the bed by its strap. The edge of a white sheet of paper stuck out of one of the side pockets. Crystal pulled it out and found herself staring at herself. It was a photocopy of a picture taken over a year ago. Below it read HAVE YOU SEEN CRYSTAL? REWARD! CALL 1-800-CRY-STAL.

1 tell me a story:

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