I strolled through the cemetery one summer morning. I hadn’t been home all night, and I had to kill time until my wife left for work.
I became acutely aware of the dead, just underfoot. They were down there in all that darkness, silently clamoring for bygone days when they were young and strong and beautiful. I stopped to read one of the markers:
Loyal Husband And Loving Father
Oct. 3, 1894 – Feb. 18, 1961
We’re born, and we die. In between, we try to live up to the epitaph that will be cut into our stone.
Tattoos drained of peacock colors, he’s traded whiskey for prune juice, cocaine for cod liver oil. The vague ringing in his ears becomes a chant. Is this Stockholm? Tokyo? New York?
No, just another flashback from his LSD days, but he’ll give them their encore if it will shut them up for a moment.
He sings the first note – instead of sound, an indigo light pulses from his being and fills the arena. Hippies in bellbottoms morph into yuppies wearing turtlenecks. Their long hair turns gray, grows thinner, falls out. They become dimmer until they vanish and finally fall silent.
I thought I’d try a Drabble today. I didn’t have time to count it, but the software says the word count is exactly 100 (however, hyphens sometimes distort the count, so this might not be a perfect 100 words).
It’s based on a true story. I saw a parrot perched up in a tree last December and somebody set up a ladder to try to reach it. But it just flew to another tree top. I guess it ended up freezing to death. The thought of it really bothered me for some reason. Anyway, here’s the story.
Somebody’s parrot has gotten loose, vibrant red and yellow fluttering in a pallid sky like the first bold strokes of an artist’s brush.
It lands in the naked branches of a twisted oak, and I want to believe it has done something courageous and beautiful – that a few days of freedom are preferable to years of life in a cage. But maybe that’s just me trying to see the world through rose-colored glasses.
The sun sets quickly in December, and coyotes are down there in all that darkness waiting to sniff you out when you fall from the high branches.