Zippy and Kipling are buddies now, and Zippy protects her from too aggressive dogs at the dog park, makes sure others don’t step over his imaginary line. Dancing With Kali is a work in progress, and not fully formed yet. I like the idea of a kid who wants to run away but for different reasons than most would suspect. Enjoy your own writing life. Justin
Dancing With Kali (part 1)
I sat on my bed and thought up escape routes. Every one of them lead to a brighter, safer, yet more exciting existence. No one there would call me dullard, boring, or brain deficient. So messed up.
My favorite way out would be on top of a train. The one that ran through town stopped every hour and led to exhilarating big places with names like Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus. These cities all started with the letter ‘C’ which made me grasp at coincidences, as if there’s some order left in the world. This track smelling of creosote and garbage led to the great C-ville. Take tracks three and four if you wish to go to another letter, a harsh and rasping ‘R’ — wouldn’t take you to anyplace near as great as Chicago or Calcutta, for that matter, if you were lucky; now that’s a big, desperate and vibrant city. I find all cities to be desperate. Always shilling. Come visit. Vacation. Throw yourself down dark stairwells when the elevators don’t work. Do it now. I see long, stringy arms beckoning.
I longed for it.
Nobody can tell you otherwise.
Most of the time I’d spend my free time watching old movies at the Big Star Cinema, matinees on Sundays, and hang out with the other townie kids. Even if they knew nothing about wanting more. They smiled and laughed at all the right moments. The mummy’s wrap coming undone, and the scared buffoon twisting himself up and resembling the mummy after a bit of film effects magic, and the screen beauty screaming and running away from him. Wait, sweetheart. It’s me. And then the bony mummified hand, skin stretched, clamping an arm on the laughable hero’s shoulder.
Once, I told Barbara Peacock I lived with my Aunt and she studied witchcraft and turned wayward children into all different types of horrible bugs she would then pin to a board and lock away in a cabinet. One girl’s butterfly wings still twitched the last time I checked. I told her she’d feed the most common creepy-crawlly transformed children, the flies and daddy longlegs, to her pet bullfrog, Boris. Barbara wouldn’t let me sit by her anymore and that was fine with me. At least I had an imagination.
Like so many others — because I wasn’t the only one although at times I believed I was — I felt superior in my loneliness. What did Barbara Peacock ever have to feel bad about? Troy Dunsmore? Callie Pepper? Any of the kids in my class at school? They had parents or at least one parent. They led easy lives.
Only in my imaginings did I laugh at them when passing on the street.
My second escape route out of town carried a major risk factor — it’s hidden there waiting for one false step. Unlike the train, any plan in this direction had a visibility problem high on a scale of 1 to 10. If I got on my bike, pedaled along the bicycle path on my way to the next similar medium-sized town, I’d be seen by over thirty people in the space of an hour. I’d have to say hello to most of them because they talked about me, new me on sight, wondered, with shaking heads, what would become of me.
I scrapped this idea.
When the sun peeped out of the dark clouds, showing a blue so lonely for warmth, making the mist of rain stop, I left Aunt Cruz a note:
On my way to Calcutta.
See you before you see me.
I never, couldn’t, wouldn’t use my real name on this note. Scotty sounded adventurous like the guy with the accent on Star Trek. As if my Aunt would mention it later. Fat chance. I wondered if she would surprise me one day by asking for me using the name I chose. Never gonna happen. My Aunt doesn’t live that way.
Kipling is now ten months old, and it was almost six years ago that Zippy came into my life. The dogs are very spoiled.
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