A BUS STOP SHELTER

 

 

A BUS STOP SHELTER

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There is a bus stop shelter down below on the corner. Tonight, raindrops sparkle in its island of light.

On the lateral sides of the bus stop shelter are LED-illuminated advertising display screens. They splash colors from their scroll of ballyhoo.

A bundled figure shuffles ashore out of the night and sits on the bus stop bench. There are no buses running at this late hour.

It is an old man. His white hair is tousled. He wears a down jacket but it is wet, dingy, and torn. His pant cuffs are tattered. He wears big red Nike Volt running shoes, incongruously.

The old man sits and stares down at his shoes.

Now his gaze is drawn to a flickering advertisement on the display screen next to him. It is a pitch from a market for Thanksgiving dinner. It shows a cozy family gathering around a large table laden with feast. The family is smiling and nodding.

The old man turns to the display screen and opens his mouth in a smile and clasps his hands, joining the rhythms of the happy family.

Suddenly the display screen scrolls to a new advertisement. It is about a Medical Group specializing in cancer treatment. It shows a woman wearing a colorful scarf over her head; a cancer patient bravely smiling as a doctor hugs her.

The old man’s smile has fallen. He reaches to touch the woman. The advertisement fades and the old man cries out in anguish. He lowers his head and sobs. He sobs and covers his face.

When the old man again raises his face the display screen is showing a young boy on Christmas morning. The young boy is holding his father’s hand as they descend the staircase.

The old man smiles once again out of his wet face. He beckons to the young boy, “Sonny! Sonny!”

The advertisement ends and the old man shakes his lowering head.

A distant train proclaims its burden to the night.

The old man listens to the train intently and then arises as it starts to fade in the distance.

The old man leaves the bus stop shelter and steps off of the curb directly into the dark road, following the calling train.

An automobile is approaching rapidly.

In an instant the old man is transfixed in the headlights.

The police car screeches to a sliding halt.

Out from the police car emerge not only the policeman but a man, a woman, an older woman, and a boy.

The street echoes.

“Dad! You scared the shit out of us!”

“We’ve been looking for you for three days!”

“Martin! I swear, don’t you ever scare me like that again, you stubborn man!”

“You aren’t supposed to go out of the house without one of us!”

“Grandpa! Why did you leave us? You took my shoes! You’ll miss Thanksgiving tomorrow!”

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And so I was glad I made the call. Can you pass the cranberry sauce, please?

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PEANUT BUTTER AND PUMPKIN JAM

The CLOUD CHAMBER

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Dare to be happy as I am
Peanut butter and pumpkin jam
Ember and ash
The world is toast
You’re still the one I love the most
~
Hear rebelling dust assert
Leave to my shadow the nap in dirt,
Flowers and rust,
A dreamer awakes
You and I are all it takes
~
Pumpkin jam and peanut butter
Lick my lips, let us mutter
Melodiously
Out of mind
Out of sight is where we find
~
Peanut butter and pumpkin jam
Sweetly spread together cram
Happiness
Into a flutter
Pumpkin jam and peanut butter
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ILLYCIT

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ILLYCIT

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I should not have been born.

It be twenty years of an earlier time our Pilgrim Fathers lead our families to this new world.

Seeking to preserve us midst wickedness that is England, our Fathers put faith into God’s Hands and sailed their congregation of five score souls hither on a sea of troubles.

Forced by the elements to avoid their true destination in the Virginia Colony, it was God’s Will that we settle here the wilderness of Cape Cod Bay.

Half of our good Pilgrim founders died that first bitter frigid winter.

It was then my mother dishonored our Pilgrim Fathers. She sought warmth in dark sinful embrace, she did so confess, darkening the pious light from our spiritual City Upon A Hill.

Our good General Court did decree my mother’s chastening and penance ‘ere I was born. As constant admonishment I was to be named, as I am, “Illycit”.

I was verily conceived of that bitter cold.

It so be seventeen years of an earlier time my mother brought me into this world.

I have always been shunned by my good peers as thus wisely instructed by their good mothers.

I have so borne my repentant mother’s punishment as she had so borne me into life.

I have seen her tears of anguish that she did give me such of her life, this dowry of sin.

At night often do I come here and in my soundless spirit follow along yon moonlight road upon dark water.

Pray pardon me to have been startled by your approach, good Pilgrim.

I have not noticed you in town likely for my head is often bowed.

I am unworthy for your company, young Brother Clemence. You are kind. Know ye, your presence is sweet water to my parched soul.

I am so bleak. Do not depart me just yet. Remain yet a while hence.

I have always drawn much solace from our honorable visits though I dread what might bethought of our innocent unchaperoned assignations.

It is your honor at risk, good Clemence. My honor has been denied me summarily by decree.

I fear I shall enter and dwell in the allegorical pig and drown, only in loneliness.

Clemence! Harken that! Who goes there?
Clemence, hide thee!

The Constable! And goodwives of the colony!

How fare ye this night, all?

What say? The Devil? I am no foul witch! I spoke not to the Devil this night!

Unhand me, please!

All is innocence!

Since you demand, it was good and honorable Brother Clemence offering me mere words of kindly Christian consolations. He took charitable mercy upon this sinner.

What say ye? Why do ye mock my humble testament?

Say ye all? There is no Clemence who habits our colony?

I swear a good Christian Clemence heard my prayers and came to me! Not the cruel and foul Devil! I could not be so fooled!

Pride? I am already cursed with sin?

You have known me! I show ye penance each day!

You would murder me by fire! I am not a witch! I am not a witch! Dear God of Mercy Who is my fair witness! I am not a witch!

Clemence! Clemence! Show yourself! In God’s Name I pray thee! I see you in my mind! I do verily!

What? You all see? What?

Now I do see there too! A star falls from heaven! No! It be a wandering star, not the Devil! Not the Devil falling to earth!

I am doomed, merciful God! With that Sign You have sentenced me to fire!

Thus does Your Infinite Wisdom set me free of this world that wants me not.

Oh, Wandering Star, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever, Clemence! Kind Clemence, will you be there for my lonely purified soul?

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