What’s in a name? Week 2

week2

Mr. Whiskers. That’s my name. I can’t express enough how much I lobbied against the name, but they didn’t listen to me. they never do, not really.

I do, however have to admit I have lovely whiskers.  Long and supple, but strong. And perhaps more than the average, but still, why Mr. Whiskers? I could  have really taken to Snarl or Claw. Heck even Strike or Smoke would have done. Silver Streak. Now that has panache. It describes me beautifully. Light gray, flashing white teeth and pure white feet and the sharpest claws of all time.

But no. Mr Whiskers. I shouldn’t complain, Lucy named me. I am after all, hers. Let me roll that back a little, I am here for her. She’s my ward. I protect her from the things she cannot see or interact with her. but they can interact with her.

I’m a Warshire, and there are things that can cause harm. They swirl around unseen, and especially at night. My mere presence can keep most at bay. Others, need my direct contact to keep them away. I call them Swirls, but they are so much more than that. and evil too.

Anyway, I digress. I, Mr. Whiskers am here for Lucy. I wish I could say she’s four. She isn’t. She’s twenty- four.

My mission is simple. Protect. How I do that is a bit more complicated. I have to act as though I’m a regular animal. Vapid looks and playfulness. having to act as though I want attention, then coyly dodging the attempt at attention, only to be caught and receive attention. It’s what I wanted anyway, but I can’t let them know that.

Once I’m in her arms, I just relax. that’s all. the Swirls are unable to touch her. Easy. Nope. Really, I cannot convey how difficult it is just to get fed, let alone get her to pick me up by acting like I don’t want her to. Bedtime is easy though, just plop up there and dig out a hollow and sleep. Until an unceremonious kick sends me flying. I really am upset when that happens. makes me want to leave her to the mercies of the Swirls.

But I won’t. I’m Silverstreak, otherwise known as Mr. Whiskers.

Advertisements

What’s in a name week 1, #2

week1

The slab of beef swung by. Hacking with precision strokes, another piece fell on to the conveyor to a different part of the facility.

“Hey Charles,” Mike had to shout over the noise of the equipment. mike wore his usual white bloodied coat, with a yellow hard hat and matching earmuffs.

“Hey,” Charles shouted back. Mondays were always jarring from the peace of the weekend. he shoved his safety glasses back up his face. the stupid things slipped down a lot, but they were supplied at no cost to him.

“How was your weekend?”

“It was okay. I signed up on a new blog this weekend. Writing challenges for new writers.”

“Um. That’s interesting.” Mike didn’t look interested. “Why?” Mike hacked a piece of beef off the carcass and let the hooked remains go on.

“Because I’m tired of working in a meat packing facility, that’s why.” Charles stood from his latest slice.

“And you think you’ll make it big writing? So what’s the challenge?”

“Make up a name for a character, and make the reader believe the name fits.”

“Sounds, great?” Mike swung his large knife twice, expertly severing the leg off, then turned to Charles, waiting for the next piece to come.

“Well, not totally, but if you make the right name for the right character, things can fall into place. remember Luke Skywalker? Would you like it better if his name had been, Jeremy Sinkhole? Or Harry Potter- what if she called him Martin Dale? See, if the name doesn’t fit, you have a harder time selling the whole idea that you need to suspend disbelief.”

“What the what?”

“Okay, take my name. is it easier to believe Charles Hall, works here, or Dirk  Darkke?”

Mike laughed. “Going all spy on me are you?”

“See? Or would you read a book by Charles Hall, or by  C. B. Hall, instead?”

“I don’t read.” Another leg of beef fell to the conveyor.

What’s in a name Week 1

week1

“Ron?” The pretty woman spoke out to the lobby at large, he wasn’t the only one waiting.

He lifted his head in acknowledgement. Quickly, he set his copy of the latest People Magazine  back on the table. Apparently Tom Cruise was having more trouble with his chosen religion. Not that Ron really had a problem with it. The wait could take forever, and it was on top of the scattered pile.

“Just sit in that chair there, I’ll be right back.” The woman said.

Ron sat down, and waited. the chair spun on a central foot, so he passed the time turning the chair one way and the next, as far as his foot on the floor would let him. He didn’t dare give it a good wing, people didn’t like it when you had fun with their stuff.

She came back with a black vinyl plastic thing and draped it over his front, and snapped it at the back of his neck. she smelled good too. It made him think of sophistication, and mood lit apartments and the things that you generally don’t talk about on a first meeting.

“Hi, I’m Andrea.”

“Ron.” he made his best attempt to sound interesting, but it usually didn’t work, well, not when he was at work.

“So, Ron, what do you do?”

“I sell used cars.”

1st Person POV 1

picture-2

Photo owned and copyrighted by Katie Johnson. Photo credit: https://katierenejohnson.com/

It wasn’t a part of the city I had visited often. But then, I wasn’t fond of the city. since I had been there I found too many people living too close together, mashing noises, and smells and, well, bodies.

I haven’t once smelled a green fresh-cut lawn, or a river without chemical ‘detoxifiers’ or even a good ‘ol cow patty since moving to the city.

Some of my excursions took to interesting places however. Smoke filled clubs with pulsing lights, and driving bass beats that took the place of my heartbeat. Not really, but it was definitely too loud.

I spent weeks without seeing actual natural sunlight, it was the worst.

So my friend Stacy asked if i would like to go someplace where I could, she used the word, rejuvenate. Not too sure what she meant, but since i didn’t have too many friends out here, I accepted.

She gave me directions to her place, and entered it into my phone. no getting out of this unless I was hit by a cab. An actual possibility.

Lucky for me her place wasn’t too far and I could walk it. About the only thing that people in the city still did that was… natural.

I knocked on her door, and waited. She opened the door, and gave me the signal to wait. she was talking to someone deeper in the house. “No, why?” she she said with a raised voice, but certainly not fighting. She gave me a smile and left me at the door.

It wasn’t too bad of a place really. Cottage-looking hoses ran the street, and there was even some greenery. Small, unkempt lawns overgrown with weeds and bushes. Typical.

Stacy closed the door behind her. the door looked old and rough, a real wood door with real wood trim, also rough. splinters everywhere.

“Hey,” she said.

I replied in kind. “So what’s your plan ?” I asked turning around as she led me from the door to the cobblestone path. Sidewalk, I guess. Pretty cool, since it wasn’t as impersonal as most everything else.

“I have a real good plan. It involves me jumping on your corpse, after i behead you in the park under the bridge.”

“I see. So there’s an actual park out here?”

“With actual trees, and actual grass.”

We walked a few minutes in silence down the cobblestone, okay, hexagonal bricks. some looked exceedingly old and others looked to be newer replacements. did someone actually care in the city?

My nerves calmed as we walked, and i began to notice more and more. The old time streetlamps were straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. the street had few cars. And those all passed by slow and unhurried. A house going though a huge remodel had a seven foot enclosed fence all the way around it. Muffled sounds of construction and fresh cut wood wafted from it.

How long had it been since I smelled cut wood?

Stacy surprised me by taking my arm. “Protection, you know. the city is a dangerous place for a country boy.”

 

The Bridge, part three

picture-1

Photo owned and copyrighted by Katie Johnson. Photo credit: https://katierenejohnson.com/

 

“And there, right there, is where we pulled a bum out. He was a popcicle before the sun went down.” Archie was getting on his nerves. “Over there, we found a couple, victims of a robbery gone bad.”

Jake knew the bridge had a history. He raised his left arm to point at a spot where the bridge cables met. “Is that covered by cameras? Where are they?”

“Ah, that isn’t really covered by the cameras well, see, over there, and there.” He pointed up the bridge ahead and swiveled back the way they came a short distance. Jake’s over coat flapped in the unpleasant breeze. It promised another cold night.

Low railings provided little protection from gravity. Gravity always won.

Archie smacked his gum. If there was one thing Jake hated, it was hearing other people chew on their food. Gum included.

Archie had the walk of a confident beat cop. slightly bouncing with each step. Overconfident whelp. He had no other training than what the police force gave him at his academy, and what pitiful training that was. he was sure that without his gun, Archie would not be able to fend off more than one untrained attacker at a time. Jake would have four, perhaps five alternate ways to deal with the attackers.

Training was everything. The sudden thump, thumping drew his attention. he reached for his concealed handgun at his side under his jacket almost before he knew it, and paused. a trio of children’s balloons had found their way up to the bridge and caught in the cables at the mercy of the wind.

“A bit jumpy there are we? Nah, there’s nothin’ here during the day to worry about. ‘cept maybe a few loud mouths. they’ll hurl insults, but we can’t touch ’em for that.”

“Do you never wish to instill some civility into their heads?” Jake wouldn’t allow that sort of behavior if he was in charge. the do-nothings would be put to work, even if it was to dig a ditch and fill it in again. The value of work had to be learned, and as of yet no one had taught most of these hooligans what it was. the self- worth it gave you.

Jake looked up and down the bridge again. Knots of people walked by engaged in their own lives. The fluffy red blue and gray coats on the people bundled up in the wind were perfect hiding places. Pistols, clubs, knives were the most common. Huh, even pepper spray is a weapon. but most thought of it as defense. So soft. the people go about their day and think they’re safe because that star lets them see a bit further into the shadows. The shadows can be closer than they ever thought possible.

“Tell me. How many pass over this bridge in day?” Jake posed the question with only passing curiosity. the number really didn’t matter, it was what drove the individual and how many individuals had parallel purposes.

“That depends on who you ask. Just cars, pedestrians, total of people in the cars and pedestrians, the number is always different. But up here, it should be somewhere…”

Jake stopped listening. It wasn’t really advised, since he could have learned something, but Archie’s accent was one that grated on people all over the world. people just did not like Americans, and Archie was proving why. “I see. And you are certain that there will be adequate coverage for the procession? My main force will be in front and behind, but I will need added forces. Her Ladyship will be most displeased if any harm comes to her or hers.”

“No worries cap. It’ll be all Bangers and Mash. That’s right isn’t it? Bangers and Mash. you peoples sure do talk funny don’t ‘cha. Well, listen. we’ve got it covered from here, you just do your thing down there, and we’ll do ours. no worries, mate.”

Jake didn’t think he could make it out of this stinking, refuse- filled city. Not with all of his intelligence still attached anyway. His hand twitched to the side holster again. Just too many ruffians in every corner, sucking intelligence like their fad of zombies.

A commotion from further down drew his attention. people in their puffy jackets scattered in front of one shambling man. Jake groaned. Maybe they would need to choose a different route after all. The shambling man drew closer. There’s something wrong with him. His skin is grey and is that teeth showing? Jake drew his pistol, instantly recognizing something was wrong.

The shambling man continued forward issuing hisses and gutteral  noises. A zombie! in actual life! “Get behind me,” Jake commanded. “Get your people down here on the quick, this could be very bad.”

Archie slapped his hand down, “Put that away. It’s a zombie crawl. Or don’t they have any fun across the Pond? I don’t know why I got saddled with babysitting you foreigners. Guess I’m just a good guide.”

The bridge, part two

picture-1

Photo owned and copyrighted by Katie Johnson. Photo credit: https://katierenejohnson.com/

 

Night was coming. The clouds rolled in and rolled out, sort of. what they left cooled the day, but promised a warmer night.

Jim walked with his hands stuffed in his pockets, as though there was something precious in them. “My precious! What has it gots in it’s poketetses?”

“You’re stupid.” laughed Gail. “Sometimes it’s fun just to stuff your hands and wedge them . Now that I say it, i sound kinda dumb too.”

The bridge took them home, and sometimes walking was faster than cars. Cars were cool, but they seemed like an awful hassle in the city. And they smelled some did. Trucks, the big ones that always seemed like they were going to rattle themselves apart. they just sounded, well, sick somehow.

Jim and Gail walked above the traffic, but not above the smells. Gas, diesel, and whatever else they used. Other smells came up too. from the ships underneath. Jim smelled fish, sea water, and, uck, other things.

“Hello, ‘precious’. Where did you go?”

“Sorry,” Jim cocked a smile, “Just got lost in the smells up here. You know, I bet with the right plants, I could make this red and rust turn into something more inviting. With colors and the whole nine. An adventure crossing the bridge.”

“A jungle crossing the jungle. How quaint. If the muggers don’t get you, the eight foot tall man- venus- flytrap would. ‘Feed me!'”

Gail attempted to change her voice but it always came out sounding like a choked mouse. He liked it anyway. she made him feel all kinds of things, mostly used though.

More fish smells wafted up.

He wrinkled his nose. “Wow, the smell is bad today.”

“Is it? I can’t smell anything, but I can see. Like those balloons up there? Some kid is going to be plenty difficult to calm down tonight. They’ll be like, ‘but i can’t fly to dreamland without my balloons’, and then the mom will be like, shush it. I’ll use a two by four and hurry the Dustman along.’ and the kid will cry, and I will laugh. like this: ha, ha.”

“Now who’s stupid?” Gail swished her head with the red knit cap, and her beautiful blond hair danced crazily. Soon, tonight maybe in their little flat, maybe by candlelight, I’ll propose. she’s pefect for me, and we can plant a tree somewhere that will grow like our love. “So, what’s for dinner?”

“Oh no, I cooked last time.”

“No, what you meant was you cooked mac and cheese one night last week. For yourself.”

“Hm. That does sound familiar. But I burned it. It could be dangerous if I cooked.”

“You do have a point. good news is, I have some fresh thyme coming up, and i know just what to use it with.” Jim’s stomach turned to butterflies. “And there’s something I have planned for desert.”

“Something? Is it good?”

“Better be.” It’s only the rest of my life.

The bridge

 

picture-1

Greg sat on the bench of the suspended bridge. The cables strummed in the wind, a sound he always liked. So it was only natural after high school that he chose a college he could study and design them. the cables themselves were a high tensile steel, and every year, a technician would tie off and walk the cables looking for frays.

When it was built, suspension bridges heralded a quantum leap forward in technology. before that time, in the early 1900’s, bridges tended to be clunky and very expensive. Wound cables provided strength and inexpensive, relatively, towering achievements of men.

Greg wasn’t the only visitor to the bridge, not counting the cars streaming by in both directions. Mothers ushered kids along, either on foot or pushing little strollers. they rushed too, the wind had a chill in it pushing the clouds in. Rain seemed likely soon.

One set of parents and kids on their way by had balloons. A red one, a green and a gold streamed from the Evan’s hand. His sister, Ella took three yellow ones, since yellow was her favorite.

Ever since she was three what she wore and ate came from the color choice of yellow. bananas and mac and cheese were her favorite foods, where broccoli and bread didn’t get chosen until it was forced on her. Sometimes that involved threats of spankings. Those, she could do without.

Evan, in a fit of sudden dislike for Ella, pushed her. as she stumbled she forgot to hang on to the balloons, and they floated upward until they hooked on to the cables where they fluttered wildly, teasing her.

Greg smiled, she would get Evan back later, and for days to follow. She held a grudge, and someday she would be labled something far worse.