Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Life on Mars

penumbra . 17

With Kelp-loosened tongue, John begins to talk. He talks about the books he is reading, pointing in turn to their M shapes in various positions around the room; he talks about the old subjects, the arts; theatre; dance; music; dance music; he talks about his childhood, his eyes unfocussed, reliving it as if it was a flickering film projected on the wall behind Anna-Marie’s head.
“My mother always believed that books made anything possible; she was an eternal optimist, right up to the end. I have a clear memory of meeting her at the station when she returned from Golgotha Sestri; to me she was the future, she glowed with the belief that she would see her plans fulfilled. I was just a kid; my life had been on hold during her time away.”
“What did they put her away for?” Anna-Marie has never been one for subtlety, even in times when it could sometimes be dangerous to speak your mind, “My uncle Vert did time for pissing in the fountain in Colonel Lombard Park; it was at the end of some official do held in honour of the mayor of Carpathia. Two months he got; Uncle Vert was never the same after that.”
“She had some sort of breakdown, started accusing her superiors in the Ministry of Chance of dirty deals in the Outlands. They put her away for a year, a long year for me, but I guess her rehabilitation strengthened her resolve to make a difference.”
“Well she sure can be proud of that legacy” says Anna-Marie “Pass me some of that Kelp.”
John looks down at the smoking cigarette between his fingers as if surprised that so little time has passed.
“I doubt whether you can honestly blame a mother for the actions of her offspring,” he hands the cigarette to her, enjoying the brief encounter of fingers, “Knock yourself out.”
Anna-Marie takes a puff and exhales a slow plume of dense green smoke.
She focuses on the broad view of her surroundings; the brick-walled warehouse interior aches with an echo that refuses to yield to her scrutiny. She hands the cigarette back and curls up on the bed.
“We’re all just satellites in orbit around one another...” she is surprised to hear herself whisper her own mother’s dying words. She fears that she too might have suffered some sort of breakdown and closes her eye in an attempt to escape her thoughts.

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Harnett-Hargrove said...

Yer good. -J

Harlequin said...

stark, dark and beautiful. great images and dialogue. you know how to weave a story.

Garth said...

Thanks Jayne :D

Harlequin: I must admit that I am struggling to tie it all up at the moment - I know the ending but dunno how to get there :/