Kirsti – Church

(It’s a bit rough, but thought I would post anyway. )

 

Gloria Swanson skidded to a stop next to the outdoor rink and belted out the window that her son, Billy, better get his ass off the ice and in the car this minute or his days of playing hockey were coming to an abrupt end. Several blocks away, Margaret Olson, who was notoriously late for church, was coaxing, Fifi, her ten year old poodle mix, into the house. The last few stragglers of Trinity Lutheran Church, 10 am service winters: 9am summers, were on the move.

Kirsti, organist for the week, was heading towards the woman’s room for one last stop before services. She had had a little bit too much coffee that morning and was regretting it.  Gloria Swanson was finishing up her lecture to Billy regarding responsibility, the importance of a being a good Christian, (Billy had made the mistake of referring to church as stupid.) and respect to adults just about the time that Fifi decided it was time to go in.  Margaret hopped into her car and pushed the speed limit to 15mph on the icy roads.

The church was crowded. There were actually 72 people attending this Sunday, mostly as there was a baptism and the entire Sauvola family was in attendance. Unused to church, several Sauvola’s fidgeted in the pews. The young minister smiled at the Sauvola clan, thankful that they were showing up in strong force, but also knowing that as soon as the service was over and little Coriinna was baptized, the clan wouldn’t show again until Easter, unless of course there was an unexpected death in the family. Kirsti started playing the first hymn just as Margaret bumped into the last pew.

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Trampled Tulip – Part II

Calvin had approached the rally with the feeling of a five foot uncoordinated youth signing up for basketball. As he approached, he had observed a young girl picking red tulips that surrounded a granite memorial.

He kept to the edges of the crowd and had only caught bits and pieces of the speeches. But he was there. He felt involved. He was glad he came. And then he heard a thudding metronomic sound coming from the other side of the crowd.

Calvin had stood on tiptoes to see what was causing the sound and he saw a row of riot police approaching, their batons thumping body shields. Suddenly, the police charged, their arms scything as they entered the rally.

People screamed. A swirl of faces turned and blew at Calvin. Calvin froze. A snowplow of a man came at Calvin swerved to avoid a collision and clipped Calvin’s hip. Calvin flew into the side of the granite memorial.

The seconds he lost regaining his feet cost him. The first hit caught his shoulder, the second the side of his head. Calvin dropped into a tight ball just like he used to do to protect himself from tickling Uncle Fred. As the beating continued, he prayed.

Then, the beating had stopped. Calvin lay still, quiet. Some time passed before he rolled onto all fours and started to crawl. He had crawled several feet when his left hand ground into something wet and slimy intertwined with gritty blacktop. He looked to see his hand resting on a red tulip.

 

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Soon

Tense, muscles aching, she looks out the kitchen window. A cold wind is blowing in from the north; touches of freezing rain, mixed with snow fall. By morning the village will surely be covered by a thin layer of ice.

She glances at the mantle clock. It looks like it is going to work. It is nearing lockdown, the time when the gates to the isolated village are shut and locked for the evening. The law, arcane but enforced out of custom, stipulates that once locked, no one is allowed entry.

Intently she listens for any sound, any indication that somehow her two children have been able to reach the abandoned south apple orchard, fill their sacks and get back before curfew. She knows that it would be difficult for her and they are only 6 ½ and 5, so surely the two extra stomachs will not make it in time.

The town clock rings out the warning for lockdown. A small sense of relief, excitement courses through her body. It knows it will be soon. She retrieves her wool cloak, and wraps it tightly around her bony body. Before opening the door, she breathes in deeply, tries to steady her jittery mind. Her performance must be good, must be convincing.

Her screams echo against the quarry stone walls as she pounds on the gate. She pleads to have the gate opened for her little ones. Her display of grief, anxiety, and desperation is so realistic.

At home she paces her body craving. Soon, it will be soon. There is a knock at door. She snatches it open. A hooded figure steps in. She hands him the last of her coins. He smiles knowingly. She has become a dependable client.

Her eyes are wide, her body shakes in excitement as she watches him measure out the white powder. Even before he leaves she indulges.

 

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Forrest Daniels II

(Trying something new. Let me know if  it works. Thanks!)

Someone speaking. A touch. A face. Words, but not words.

“I don’t understand.”

Woman, wearing white. Smiling. Talking. Name, a word I understand.

 

“My name?”

My name…..nothing.

“I don’t know.”

“Forrest? Ok.”

Forest. My name. More words. Anger.

“What’s this?”

Red water?

“Juice? I don’t know that.”

Sip. Sweet. Wet.

Quiet. Time gone. Want to go. Stand. Move.

“Sit? I don’t want to sit.”

Anger. Mad. “Don’t touch me.”

Words.

“I am being nice.”

Words.

“My name?”  Tired. Sit. “I don’t remember.”

“Forrest.”

New face. Eyes. Blue. Remember. Happy. Love.

“Mmmargaret???”

Smile. “Yes, it’s Margaret, Forrest, your wife.”

 

 

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Trampled Tulips

It was several minutes before 2:00 am. The dark narrow alley smelled of urine and rotting food. Calvin Tarron pushed his beach cruiser the last few feet towards the dumpster. As he quietly hid his bike behind the dumpster, Calvin heard the scurrying of rats. If there was one thing Calvin hated it was rats, but even rats were not going to distract him. He was determined to mark the third anniversary of his first political protest.

Calvin was one of thousands that day, standing proudly for what he believed for, what he thought were his rights as a citizen, but he learned quickly that the idea of rights were a matter of perception. And those in power didn’t perceive the ongoing protests as rights, but as a movement that could put them out of power, power that had taken them years to amass and they intended to keep that power.

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Oh, Georgina!

“Do you know what Louise told me today?”

George Phillips rolled his eyes behind his reading glasses, turned the page of his book and replied, trying hard to keep the sarcasm out of his voice, “No. I didn’t know you talked to her today.”

His wife, Georgina adjusted the covers and plopped her heavy frame into bed. Georgina continued, oblivious to her husband’s tone, with a nod of her head, “Well, she said that Reverend Riley was a pot smoker.”

George marked the page of his book with his finger, knowing full well he needed to nip this in the bud, “And how would she know that?”

“I don’t know, but she claims it’s true.  And I believe her. He looks like a pot smoker to me.”

“And what does a pot smoker look like?”

Georgina, who didn’t respond to questions to which she didn’t have a ready answer, nestled down on her side of the bed and stated more to herself, “I hope the congregation doesn’t hear about this.”

“Well, don’t you go repeating it.”

“George! How could you accuse me of spreading gossip? You know I don’t gossip!”

 

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Forrest Daniels

Forrest Daniels’ eyes darted. He was alone. He stood and anxiously walked towards the gate with a need to escape, to get away. To where? He didn’t know. He grabbed the gate and pulled. It opened several inches and then came to a jarring stop. Forrest looked at the padlocked chain and yanked angrily on the gate several times in a vain attempt to open it.

A warm, friendly voice interrupted his efforts, “Forrest? Is everything ok?”

Forrest looked at Mrs. Anderson, the neighbor of twelve years, with a confused expression. He barked, “Who are you?” and pulled the gate hard, so hard that when it abruptly stopped the entire chain link fence rattled.

Mrs. Anderson calmly answered, “I’m Mrs. Anderson, your neighbor.” As she opened the lid of the large green trash bin and dropped a black bulging plastic bag into the container, Mrs. Anderson kept an eye on Forrest.  She commented, “Nice day to be outside,” and smiled warmly at the eighty-three year old. She looked past Forrest, “Oh, here comes your wife.”

Five-four Margaret was bustling across the lawn and as she got near, placed her hand on Forrest’s arm. He turned abruptly and snapped, “Don’t touch me!”

In a calm, firm voice, Margaret stated, “Forrest look at me. Now, calm down. Everything’s ok.”

Forrest stared into the brown eyes of the frail, grey haired woman. The love, the compassion that he saw touched something deep inside and his demeanor changed.

“Forrest, let’s go inside ok? I’ll get you some cake.” Forrest slowly started walking towards the house. Before following Margaret turned and mouthed, “Thank you” to Mrs. Anderson.

 

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Jacob – Funeral Home

 

As soon as he saw Mrs. Mattson, Jacob turned and took another drink of water from the fountain. She had walked into the funeral home about twenty minutes earlier and in an attempt to avoid talking to her Jacob had left the viewing room and hid in the restroom, hoping she wouldn’t stay long. And there she was not more than ten feet away. Looking out the corner of his eye, he deflated when he saw her approach.

“Jacob, there you are!”

Jacob took a last sip of water. “Oh, hi, Mrs. Mattson,” he commented to the second year teacher.

“Jacob, it’s good to see you. We’ve missed you at school.” She smiled. “Are you doing ok?”

Jacob wanted to yell and swear. He was sick of the questions. “Are you ok? How are you holding up?”  These people didn’t really care.  It was all talk.  Just talk.

“Yes I’m fine, Mrs. Jacob,” he answered politely.

“I’m happy to hear that.” She reached out to touch Jacob on the shoulder, paused and pulled her hand back. “Don’t worry about the work at school. You will catch up just fine. I can send some work home, if you like.  Would that be ok for you?”

“It’s ok, Mrs. Mattson. I’ll be back at school tomorrow or next day. I don’t feel much like doing anything. So doubt I’ll get any of it done anyway.”

The door to the funeral home flew open and in came a blast of cold air, a flurry of snow flakes and Jacob’s mother, who was ninety minutes late to the viewing.  At the sight, Jacob’s pale Finnish skin actually became one shade whiter. His mind raced, “Please, please, don’t come over here.”  Jacob started to walk away, “Sorry, I got to go Mrs. Mattson,” but it was too late.

Jacob’s mother stomped over, loudly asked, “Jacob honey, how are you doing?” She stood next to Jacob, put her hand on his far shoulder and pulled him with a jolt into her side. Jacob’s body stiffened.  “And who is this honey?”

Before Jacob could respond, Mrs. Mattson said, “I’m Alice Mattson,  Jacob’s teacher.”

Jacob’s mother strongly shook Alice Mattson’s hand, “Oh, nice to meet you. I’m Jacob’s mother of course.” Sylvia Saari’s head and shoulders went back as she looked at the young petite teacher.

Mrs. Mattson quietly replied, “It’s nice to meet you too.” She looked at Jacob, “Jacob is a good student and I’m sure he’ll make up the work at school quite easily, so you don’t need to be worried about that.”

Sylvia smiled, “I wasn’t.”

“Oh ok. Well…um, nice to meet you. I’m terribly sorry about your loss. Well, I better get going.”

As soon as Mrs. Mattson left, Sylvia released Jacob. She looked at Jacob asked, “What you looking so sad for?” and walked into the viewing room.

 

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Niemi – Hockey Skates

Outside the kitchen window, snow swirled in large looping loop de loops carried on by strong gusts of wind the activity mimicking the mind of Detective Niemi. The pen in his right hand tapped on a pad of paper where he had jotted notes about the case. Progress on the case had been slow, too slow. He tossed the pen onto the table. It bounced, flew off the edge and rolled under the kitchen counter.

Pushing his chair back, he stood up and strode to the spice cabinet. He opened the door, examining the upper hinge. One screw was missing and the other loose. He shut the door carefully, walked to the basement door, opened it and clicked on the light switch. As he trudged down the narrow stairway, stale, dusty air filled his lungs. Even though there was a three and a half inch clearance, he ducked on the bottom step to avoid bumping his head. He walked across the cement floor towards the cluttered work bench.

As he looked for a small Philips head screwdriver and burrowed through a mound of assorted nails and screws, he thought, “One of these days I got to organize this mess.”   Finding what he wanted, he turned and froze. David’s hockey equipment hung against the wall where his son, David, had last hung it to dry out. Niemi looked at a pair of Bauers, which he had bought for David two falls ago and David only had had the chance to wear four or five times. He paused, told him myself, “It’s time.” He carefully unhooked the skates and walked upstairs.

Sitting at the kitchen table, he used a soft damp cloth to gingerly clean the accumulation of two years of dust off the skates. The rust spotted blades would look like new with a good sharpening. He placed the clean skates on the table and then started fixing the cabinet door.

Happy with the work on the door, Niemi returned the Philips screwdriver to the workbench. Coming up the basement stairs, he heard Mrs. Niemi come into the house.  She yelled cheerfully, “I’m home.”  She walked into the kitchen and placed some bags of groceries on the kitchen table. She looked at the skates, slowly turned and asked in a dull tone, “What are you doing with David’s skates?”

It took several seconds for Niemi to respond, “I was thinking that Hanka kid could use them. He needs some new skates and it’s not like his parents can afford to buy them, so I thought we could give them to him.” He looked at his wife. “Is that ok with you?”

She walked over, gave her husband a hug, “Yes, it’s ok.”

(What feelings or emotions does this short scene generate?)

 

 

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Koira – Hockey

The slap shot came in low and hard. The goalie went down, stretched out his right pad, made the save. The rebound slid out towards David Hanka. David swung at the puck, anticipating his first goal of his young hockey career and missed. The opposing team’s center checked David off the puck, picked it up and started to skate up the ice. David chopped his stick on the ice with frustration and started skating towards the bench as hard as he could which for David, who was the slowest skater on the team, a struggle of speed. As he approached the bench Assistant Coach Niemi opened the door. David turned into a hockey stop, promptly fell and slammed hard against the boards. The echo caused Susan Miller to look to see what had happened and comment with a tone of disgust to her husband, “Is that that Hanka kid falling again? My God! Maybe they should sharpen his skates already.”  Three rows behind, David’s mother scowled at the back of Susan Miller’s head and wanted to comment, “We had them sharpened before the game bitch,” but held her tongue. After the game, David would comment to his mom, “I think my skates were too sharp, so I had a bit of trouble today. But next week I know I’ll do better.”

Detective Niemi looked down at the young hockey player laid out on the ice, “Come on David, get up, so we can get another player on the ice.” David scrambled to his feet, slipped, fell to his knees, and crawled to the open door where Niemi grabbed him by the shoulder pads to help him off the ice.

David planted his butt on the bench and through gasps of air said, “Sorry Coach, I thought I had that goal. I just missed it, but it was close!”

Niemi padded the kid on his helmet, “Keep up the good work David. Just play hard, do your best, and have fun.”

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