Oh, Him Again.

Victor Michter was a very, very rich old man. And a very lucky old man. He’d already died before, at ages 55, 67, 69, 72, and at 79. His family was hoping, that maybe this time, at age 88, Victor was certifiably and finally dead.

Victor’s last death, his eighth, was the most promising yet. On Tuesday evening, three of his own daughters filled up the old bastard with martinis, stuck a cigar in his mouth, and as he “warmed-up” next to his fireplace …..Poof!

Spontaneous combustion.

There was hardly anything left of Victor’s mid-section. The pyrotechnics erupting from the inside of his stomach left a gaping hole where Vic’s innards used to live.

An hour later, Victor’s wife, Beatrice, had discovered his blackened body in the smoke-filled living room, crackling amid the easy chair’s embers.

Before calling the ambulance, Beatrice offered her last respects, “Oh. Dead again.” Then she fetched a package of half-eaten Rolaids from the bathroom, and tossed the unraveling package into the sooty hole where Victor’s martini’s used to rub elbows.

But, Victor was a “tough old bird”with an amazing medical history.

After being pronounced “clinically dead” a number of times, he had made it back from the so-called “light at the end of the tunnel” to the amazement of his doctors, three of whom he’d already outlived.

His amazing “comebacks” were  featured on CNN. He was a celebrity in his little town of Michterville, in Dungston County, Pennsylvania. He never cared for the publicity, but television exposure only helped business.

Victor was also the richest man in Dungston County. Victor employed the entire town of over 4000 people in Michterville. Everyone for miles around worked at Michter Motors. They made the electric motors that went inside of machines as big as motor scooters and as small as vibrators.

If you’ve ever had an airplane flight delayed at take-off because of a “suspicious buzzing” in the baggage hold, you can probably thank Michter Motors.

MM workers earned a miserable wage. But at least they had  jobs when twenty percent of the country was unemployed .

—————————————-

Indestructible

Death number one was caused by his first wife’s numbskull “boy toy,” Tad, whom she had paid to run Victor’s car off of the road. As the old guy was driving home from his Monday night Neo-Nazi meeting, Victor’s originally-built-for-Hitler “Swabian Colossus” Mercedes was forced, by Tad, over a steep embankment. Though the car was heavily armored, Victor’s chest was crushed and he “died”at the scene.

Death number two was Vic’s own stupid fault, as he fell directly onto his head, and “died,” while fixing a video unit that he’d attached outside the guest bedroom window of his own house. The camera needed to be adjusted so that it could record video of his second wife’s best friend.

Death number three happened at his 69th birthday party, while beating his son-in-law with a lamp, the frayed electrical cord came in contact with the wet spot on Victor’s slacks where he’d either peed himself or spilled his twelfth drink. Victor was electrocuted until smoke came out of his ears. He “died” and miraculously “recovered” while still in the ambulance.

Number four was heart failure during an operation to remove a brass oil lamp from Victor’s butt. The ancient lamp had been jettisoned there, by another one of Vic’s “happy associates,” while he was on business in Morocco. A Moroccan nurse swore that she saw a genie pop it’s head out of Michter’s navel before she, herself had passed out.

Number five: His family hired a gunman who’d set up a murder that was supposed to look like a street mugging “gone bad.”

It went bad.

Victor came back to life at his own Michter Memorial Hospital, that night while his body was being zipped into a giant black bag.

During Vic’is sixth sojourn into the great hereafter, the ungrateful Dr. Ching, who kept Michter’s twin daughters Victoria and Vichyssoise as mistresses,  told the medics:  “If he’s toasted, then don’t waste my time with that prick. Victor Shmictor! Dead Shmed! I’m sick of our town’s mister-big-shot celebrity dying and never paying me because he owns the hospital. If they ask, tell his rotten family that I have a golf game in an hour at Michter View Estates.”

Death number seven, was caused “accidental” drowning in his backyard pool. This time, had awoken inside of a cold steel drawer at the Michter Morgue 0nly a few hours after delivery. Old Vic had proven himself to the frightened morgue employees:  “I’m feeling f__king great! Get me the f__k out of here or you’re all fired – See? Look! I am feeling f__king great!”

This eighth time, when he’d combusted, Victor’s most recent wife, Beatrice, along with seven of his greedy daughters had ordered him cremated.

Immediately.

It would guarantee the end of Victor.

Thinking inside the box

Down at the Michter-Fallow Cemetery, Undertaker Sam Borthwick-Fallow, 64-years-old and addicted to crack, had opened the wrong drawer for his assistant and mistakenly ordered the incineration of 84-year-old Ben Rose, a victim of second-hand smoke.  Sam needed another hit, and had left his assistant to handle the rest. It was now up to Greigor to fill the family-size Chinese take-out box of “cremains” and send them over to the Michter mansion.

“F__kin’ smaht asses.”said Victor’s ghost, as he looked down upon the morticians assistant Greigor, who had helped to cook Mr. Rose. The kid was about to pour the ashes into a carton that had previously contained a huge order of “Stir-fry Shrimp and Vegetable (Item #134) in a black bean sauce.”

Before the carton was sealed, Gregor “just had to hock a loogey” and dump his own cigarette butt into the box that would hold the remaining two pounds of Mr. Rose.

Afterward, while looking for his bottle, Greigor soon discovered the real Victor in the next drawer over. Realizing his gross mistake, Greigor moved Victor’s body into the drawer labeled Rose.

Victor’s body felt unusually warm to the morgue assistant.

”Alas! Well a day.” said the assistant as he stood upon a chair. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”The Greigor shed a tear, drank a swig, and promptly passed out on a steel lab table.

———————————————————

At 3 a.m., the next morning, Victor somehow ended up back inside of his own skin. Being a restless individual, he wasted little time in grabbing another corpse’s clothes and walking out of his own totally fucked up morgue at midnight.

———————————————

Later that same day, only Twenty percent of Victors vast wealth was distributed to his family by lawyers. Eighty percent of the money remained in his bank account, just in case he needed to buy a new suit … or the city of Paris when he returned.

—————————————–

Victor’s son Hector found the infamous brass Moroccan oil lamp in the family library among the old man’s curio collection. The rest of the Michter clan agreed that the old lamp would be a nice receptacle for old Vic’s remains.

Cold embers, a cigarette butt, a green loogie and a few Chinese leftovers were dumped into the old lamp that the mourners, friends and family would be observing atop the fireplace at “Vic’s farewell party.”

Yes, the very same lamp that Victor had been assaulted with when he visited Morocco in the 1990‘s.

The old brass bottle sat quietly on the mantle of the living room fire place.

The Gathering

Naturally, there was a good portion of the town in attendance at the Michter estate for the free eats and to celebrate Victor’s death. The choice of food for the gathering was excellent, thanks to the “party sense” of Victor’s fourth wife,  Beatrice.

Victor’s mistress, Mennah , who thanks to Victor, had been brought to America on a work visa, kept the guests entertained in the living room. She just couldn’t seem to keep her hands off of everyone elses “things.”  One being the lamp.

Beatrice walked into the room carrying a tray of small doughy, fried snacks from Michterco. When she spotted mistress Mennah with her hand on the ancient lamp. Beatrice screamed, spat and threw a handful of doughy things at the Moroccan beauty. Mennah called Beatrice a “withered old mango” in Moroccan.

The two women traded insults as the Morrocan model absent-mindedly played with the spout of the old brass lamp.

Beatrice slammed the tray of doughy, fried things on a table and stomped off into the dining room.

As the Moroccan-raised Mennah toyed with the lamp, she’d started  to read the lamp’s inscription.

“Be careful of what you wish for!”it said.  And the center of a small yellow paper diamond sticker, it also said “Genie on board!”.

It would have been obvious to most people who could read Arabic that this might be the home of an actual genie. A genie who was getting all worked up because of Mennah’s skilled hand.

Still inside of the bottle, the newly awakened genie, named Mel (short for Ishmael) suddenly exclaimed: “Whoa!! What the?!”

Mel sneezed and found himself with a face covered in ashes. Ashes of an alien human had been dumped into his home and swirled throughout the brass bottle.

“Who dumped these remains in here? I’ll f__kin’ kill them! Cough! Cough!” Mel the Genie asked in over forty dialects.

“I was supposed to be buried in the Rose family crypt at Bayside.” said Ben Rose the third, who was trying to hide in a dark place beneath the lamp’s handle.

“Who are you? and…..Wait a second” said Mel.“Oooooooooh yeahhhhhh. There’s someone summoning me Ben, so we’ll have to talk about this later, ….  It is Ben right? I’ll be right back, man.”

From the mantel of the fireplace a huge plume of blue smoke billowed out into the Michter’s living room.

“Goddammit! Who’s gonna clean this up!” said Victor’s wife Beatrice who had just caught the action as the blue dust landed.

“Whohoooo! That was fun! I could certainly use a cigarette!” said the released and relieved Mel, who magically appeared out of the plume of blue.

The gabby guests had become speechless, except for Victor’s twin girls  Victoria and Vichyssoise, who never shut up. They were arguing over their inheritance.

Vicky: How come you got twenty-five million, and I only got  twenty-six million?” (Both girls failed basic math.)

Vichyssoise: “Well, if daddy were here, he would tell you that he loved me the most! You pig!”

Vicky: “I’d kick daddy’s ass after I was done kicking your ass, of course!

“Here then! Take the asshole back!” said Mel the genie. “Your wish has been granted! He raised his arms to the heavens and said, “Hoopah hoopah blah blah blah yak yak…”

“Hey! Hold on Mr. Baggy pants!“ interrupted Mennah. “I set you free, you ….“douche!” she said. Mennah only had an tenuous grasp of the English language (thanks to two weeks at Michter College) but she obviously spoke fluent French.

“Those two bimbo biotchies had nuttin’ to do wit’ it!”Mennah said, while pointing to the twins.

“Well, bonjour mon cherie!” Said Mel.

Then he greeted his audience with a formal bow, and said

“Call me Ishma…. Fuggedaboudit, just call me Mel.”

“Sir! An’ speakin’ of dat will, dat creep didn’t leave me a penny!”said Mennah.

“I guess that’s how much my husband thought that you were worth.”said Beatrice.

“Shut up you greedy Biotech!”

“Make me, you ….”

Mennah turned to the Genie. “Mel, If he had a chance to write a will! I wish that he ….”

“Hoopah hoopah maka waka waka blah blah blah… Oh fuck it! Your wish is granted! You! You can come out of the lamp now!”

Complete with ash glasses, the cold embers flew from the spout and formed a full size silhouette which was only the approximate size and shape of Mr. Rose. Empty air filled in the voids as the ash swirled like a mini-tornado. There wasn’t enough left of the Ben Rose ash pile to fill a complete human form.

“Get that f__king thing offa’ my new white rug! I told you not to track dirt in here!” screamed Beatrice.

“Who is this lady?!” the confused Genie asked the confused Mr. Rose.

“Hell if I know! I’ve never seen her before in my death.” said old and dusty Mr. Rose, while dragging soot all over the Michters expensive rug.

“Well! Mr. smarty-pants Genie, THAT is NOT my husband!” said Beatrice.

“F–k, f–k and double-f–k! You don’t understand ma’am. I can’t put Ben back! Damn! Hmmmmm …Well, Mr. Rose, I guess that you are free to leave.”

“ Oh great! What am I supposed to do now, Mr. Big-shot?”

“Go home to your wife Mr. Rose and give her a big kiss.”

“But …she killed me already with her second hand smoke. Kissing the woman is like kissing an ash tray.”

“Then you’ll be a perfect match — pardon the pun. Here’s a bag of gold. Goodbye Mr. Rose. Go!”

The dearly departing Ben Rose had just opened the front door, when Victor appeared on the front steps of the mansion ready to ring the doorbell.

Ignoring Vic, Mr. Rose blew down the front walk and onto the sidewalk, where the wind carried him down the sunny tree-lined street toward his own modest home and his non-waiting wife.

—————————————————————-

“Oh. him again.” said Victor’s wife, who was not at all surprised to see her ex, at the doorway, alive.

“Victor. Look what that ash-hole Mr. Rose did to my new rug!”

“Who’s rug?! Whooooo’s rug?! Who’s Mr. Rose? Well it’s nice to see you too!” said the Cajun blackened version of the vindictive Victor’s visage.

Victor’s entire body was as crispy, oozing and as scarred as a fourth degree burn victim could possibly be. Something thick and green was dripping onto the rug from the huge hole in Victor’s stomach cavity.

Mel the genie had meanwhile turned his attention toward Mennah, the first woman he’d “had” in over thirteen centuries.

It was love.

Beatrice was yelling at Vic: “Oh! Great! WELL DONE Vic!”

“Yes. I suppose that I am!” said Victor, to his horrified and sickened guests.“Hello friends and family! Where can I find a drink? I feel parched!”

“Welcome back Mr. Michter! Where’d ya get that crappy suit? By the way sir, you’re oozing.”said Victor’s greasy, wobbly plant manager Mr. Ryan McMurdock.

“I’d better get cleaned up. I’ll be right back. C’mon Mel! Hey you damned genie! Let’s go!”

Mel the magic genie wiped everybody’s memories clean of his grand appearance and then sadly slipped back into Victor’s vintage vessel.

Magically, everyone, except for Victor and the love-struck Mennah, had forgotten that they had just met a real Genie named Mel.

“Hold my drink Ryan, and save me some cake” said Victor, as the leaking octogenarian grabbed his bottled genie off of the mantel and went bounding up the curved staircase.

“Our deal is off Victor.” said a voice at the top of the staircase.

“What the hell?!”

“Our deal is off.”

Victor looked up and there stood the escaped genie, above him, at the top of the landing. Victor took a double-take at the lamp, then back to the genie. “How did you get up …How did you do that?”

“I’ve found a new master, Mr. Michter. That also means that your wish of eternal life is over, kaput, fini, fenire, pau, terminar, sluttede, termino’, kumalizika.

“You’re my genie Mel! Mine! You can’t just pick a new master!” said Vic.

“Sorry Vic, but I’m now under Mennah’s spell. So I guess that I’ve taken your mistress as well. I….I….I love her Victor. This is real. She’s “the one.”Love conquers all. So this is Goodbye Vic!” said Mel, who backed his last statement up with a mighty kick that sent Victor Michter plummeting backwards down the staircase.

The Michter Messenger’s entertainment columnist wrote of the incident: Mr. Victor Michter performed a stupendous summersault at the close of his own memorial party Tuesday. It all ended spectacularly when Vic hit the bottom of his spacious home’s bannister, audibly snapping his “old turkey neck.” 

All in all, it was a breathtaking finale, a perfect culmination to a bunch of long and colorful live(s). 

Notice:

The disposal of the body will be supervised today, by the Michter family and their attorneys. The cremation will likely be “carried out,” in the big oven at Victorio Michterino’s Red Brick Pizza. Smoking is not allowed.

There will be no memorial service held for Mr. Michter.

He’s had enough of those.

Plus, I think that we’ve all had enough of him.”

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You want a piece ‘o me? (A tale of reincarnation.)

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You Want a Piece O’ Me?!

With twenty years of detective work behind me while working for the New York police, I’d never seen so much gore in my life. Sticky blood was still dripping down the wooden walls and splattered upon the two vertical rows of window panes.

There were additional “pools” and assorted guts beneath me, covering the entire wooden floor. I looked up. More blood had squirted from the floor where I stood, up onto the ceiling.

As the first officer on the scene I was still afraid to move around the room and disturb what little evidence the murderer might have been left behind. There were no signs of forced entry.

I couldn’t move. I was crouching now. Wobbling on all fours in this lake of my own blood. It looked as though I probably wasn’t going anywhere…ever…again.

As the life drained out of my wounded body, in the middle of my last investigation — of my own heinous murder,

I was sinking to the ground as

……my mommy walked into the schoolroom.

Old Mrs. Rosenkrantz came in right behind her.

“Your little boy was getting along so well on his first day, that we gave him some time in the arts and crafts room to see if he had a creative streak. Unfortunately, it looks as though he may end up becoming a common housepainter like that …..that German monster…uh sorry. I’m just so upset. Your son will have to leave. He’s destroyed our room with three gallons of red paint. We’ll never get this cleaned up.”

“What do you mean by “leave?” my mom asked.

“You’ll have to find him another nursery school. We talked it over, my husband Irving and I, and well, your son is very destructive. Possibly violent.”

” Mommy! They hit me!” I screamed in tears.

“Is that true, Baby?” my mom asked.

Before I could lie to my own mother, Mrs. Rosenkrantz broke in and said, ” Your boy is a teller of tall tales …..He’s got some imagination, I’m saying.”

“You just said that my Freddy will become a house painting Hitler!”

“If this wasn’t 1954 you’d hear from our lawyer you sour bitch!” I thought, but didn’t say, as it would have cast doubt upon my side of the case. And we had no lawyer …. except my own father, who was not feeling well.

My mother grabbed my hand and dragged me out the door toward home a few blocks further inland from our beloved Far Rockaway beach.

A strong wind had been coming off of the ocean since nine-o-clock that morning. As we walked toward our own house, the rains began to sweep horizontally. My mother walked me quickly up the tall, red bricked stairway to our front door and rushed me inside as the sky began to turn black. As she turned to secure the potted plants, she slipped on the top step and cut her ankle.

Mom seemed more concerned with the weather than my destruction of the dreaded Rosenkrantz school. She was in terrible pain as she pushed me into my room.

When the door to my room had slammed closed, I Immediately began to summon the Polynesian Goddess Debbie while the sounds of Patty Page singing, “How much is that doggy in the window?” played for the two thousandth time on my little RCA Victrola.

Debbie, who would remain my lifelong deity, looked very much like the pin-up model Betty Page on the calendar that my uncle Izzy had given me.

The Goddess Debbie, in her leopard loincloth bikini would wash the Rosenkrantz School into the wild grey Atlantic by three o’clock that very same afternoon. She would be wielding a mighty hurricane bearing her own powerful name.

It was Judgement Day. The seven seas would soon boil with sharks! Giant swells turning red with my revenge!

Freddy Deutsch

Age 4

Rosenkrantz School, Rockaway Beach 1954

_________________________

1996

While on police business in New York, I found myself driving along Far Rockaway Beach. I couldn’t help reminiscing about my childhood in Neponsit, and stopped to take a few pictures of my childhood home. The red brick stairway was still there, as were the blackberry bushes. They were still producing along the front lawn. I wondered if the fireflies still came every summer.

I had plenty of time so I decided to take a walk down to my old beach.

Though forty years had passed since Hurricane Debbie had washed the Rosenkrantz school away, the beach looked exactly the way that I had remembered it. The sea grass and the dunes were still there. Some idiot had built a new house built on top of the same vulnerable, low-lying, flood-zoned real estate where the Rosenkrantz School once stood. “Oh, boy.”

It was a rugged beach house. There was a beautiful woman in the garden who was most likely the new, and very naive, owner. I hoped, for her sake, that she realized the impermanence of her home.

When I’d reached the spot where the old school stood, the woman was setting up a tall ladder so that she could trim the  overgrown bushes along the fence. She turned to look at me, and I knew those clear blue eyes. She pulled back her jet black hair and just as I caught my breath, she asked if I could hold her ladder steady. “Could you pass me up those hedge clippers? The long ones? Thanks.”

It was a lovely view from below. “Smoothy” that I am, I began to tell her the story about how I had once spent an entire single day at a Pre-school that once stood where her house stood today. The end of the story was, of course, a warning about building so close to the shore.

I would save this damsel in distress.

I was so cool.

She said, “Oh! I won’t be here for very long. In fact, I’m moving away in just a few days! I’ve just sold this place. I’m going to get out of this house before another one of those Atlantic storms decides to take it away!

“Smart and beautiful,” I thought.

Then I told her the story about the red paint and how I was sent home.

She asked where I used to live and looked at me as though … “You aren’t Freddy Deutsch are you?” Remember me?  The little girl who lived in the big house across the street from you. You once tried to chase me through a sliding glass door, and cut yourself to ribbons.

I’m Ellen Weiner!”

Ellen was once my little playmate who lived with her working mother and the sister that I’d only seen one time. My blue-eyed Ellen.

We’d grown together as neighbors. Years passed. Both of our families had taken us away from Far Rockaway in 1959. Our love of Neponsit had brought both of us back to New York, after we’d both been to college and through a couple of marriages. Ellen had become a teacher and I had become a police detective. For years we’d both lived back in the same state and hadn’t realized it.

Passing years had faded most of my childhood memories. But I’d never forgotten about Ellen or my crazy day at the Rosenkrantz school. The buckets full of red paint dripping, being sent home and the following hurricane named “Debbie.” The  goddess Debbie is still “there for me” on the August page of my old calendar.  The calendar hangs in a safe and sacred place, on my office wall as it was a treasured gift from my dirty uncle Louie.

Ellen invited me in for a cold beer and we began to catch up on our old times.

Me: Chasing her around her bedroom during our 7-year-old sleep-over, for reasons that I was completely unaware of.

She: Our adventures when her mom was out of the house; the day that we’d spent tying up her basement with twine, like a spider’s web, only to ensnare her housekeeper. The poor woman  had tripped, and nearly broke her leg while coming down the dark  basement stairway while looking for us. The housekeeper quit her job at the Weiner’s that afternoon.

“She’d stepped into our lair!”

Cute little scamps we were.

Ellen was still a beauty. Though we were both the same age, I tried to suck in my stomach. Too many years on the force as a donut-arian had taken its toll. We talked about life and religion. I told her about how, though raised Jewish, I was never much for organized religion …blah, blah blah….agnostic …blah, blah, blah … and experienced spiritualism through nature. I was shocked at this “hippie hogwash” when I’d heard it come out of my own mouth.

She laughed told me that she felt the same. She believed that religion was the true beauty and fury of god in nature. It didn’t sound like “tofu speak” at all, coming through her lovely lips.

“When I was at the school here,” I told Ellen, “did you know that I’d once prayed to a bikini-clad goddess, who looked very much like you do now? She was also a blue-eyed, raven-haired beauty, who lived on the August page of a calendar. I was really pissed at my imagined(?) beating – (it was a long, long time ago) – and expulsion  from the school. Heck, I even blamed them for my mother’s accident on the brick stairs ……. I told Ellen that “I blamed it all on that pair of nasty old bats who ran the school. I was ecstatic when the hurricane washed the damned place away!”

Ellen, looked a little shocked, however after a few beats, she soon told me how she had lost a few relatives that had also drowned in that awful storm. She believed that their deaths could have been prevented. Ellen told me how she’d also prayed ….. perhaps too late, as the storm was already raging.

We sat quietly for a few moments enjoying the peace and quiet of the lovely summer day and being alone together in her colorful dining room. Ellen told me that she was thrilled “to see me again after all of these years.” Then her mood changed as she told me that this was a strange moment of ‘Deja Vu” for her; that she’d had a dream about this specific conversation.

She stood up and said “I feel a chill.”

“Chilly?”

As she walked around the room closing and hand latching the windows, I happily drank my beer and focused on her jet black hair and, well, her bending over.

“I prayed beneath a picture of my idol too!” she said. “I used to pray to a Frank Sinatra album tacked up on my mother’s kitchen wall when I was a kid. I prayed to him during the hurricane. I feel as though he actually “spoke” to me that day. You know how a little kid imagines things? I really thought that he did.”

She popped open and plunked another bottle of cold beer in front of me.

I laughed, and listened to Ellen while I merrily watched the bubbles fizz.

She continued: “I prayed that Frankie would save my grandma and grandpa, but he said “Sorry, Chicky” That’s exactly how Frankie said it. “Sorry, Chicky. I hate to tell you this, but this crazy coo-coo dame named Debbie has already taken your grandma and grandpa on a dead end road to Splitz-ville. You can thank some crazy kid that lives in the house across the street.”

“Did you know that my grandparents used to live here? HERE!”

She needed my attention.

“Who lived here?” I said as the bubbles hypnotized and the alcohol seeped in. “There were no signs of forced entry.” came to mind.

“Sorry, Ellen. I was thinking of …oh yeah …and this beer. O.K., so tell me, who lived he …..”

The flash of the hedge clippers had slashed across my face. Again and again.

I fired on instinct and heard Ellen scream.

I saw fountains of our blood hit the ceiling, as one, together.

Sweet …….

_______________________________

………. It was my very first day of school. My mommy walked me up to the front door of the Rosenkrantz School, kneeled down and gave me a hug and a kiss. Then she said “Oh Freddy, you’ll have such fun on your first day!”

Detective Freddy Deutsch

1950-1996

The Rosencrantz School, Rockaway Beach

Written by Freddy Barnett, age 61. November, 2011


Dust Bunnies

Dust Bunnies (at the Joan Miro residence).

They drift like ghosts, rarely meeting unless trapped together in a corner. A draft stirs the hair, and dust. The dried flakes of skin and petals of dead flowers. Insect parts, air, and light all these things commiserate in a draft of pure silence. The open window and summers night breeze introduce the skin, hair and insect parts to each other in a moonscape of cat litter that, yes frankly, the cat had dragged in.

They stir. Acknowledging each other with a gentle nudge.

Six weeks later:

Footsteps arouse the stillness while crossing the neglected floor. Dust covered slippers pressing some of the new friends together. Some get new acquaintances become entangled. Hair, feather pieces, a cockroach leg and dried flakes of dandruff. Timeless, because no one cares. No one sees.

More gatherings occur sometimes attaching themselves to the damp salty wall brought together by a sea breeze. Some groups drift down to the floor when the gathering has gotten heavy enough.

A week later, a strong afternoon breeze brings the gathering balls of dust, and hair, and general neglect together. Some of these collections have been bound as families.

Seven weeks later:

The ghostly white cat of the house sits in the room one night and gazes at the sickly yellow moon. After cleaning himself, the cat starts to cough, producing a real work of art among the dust bunny communities — in a matter of seconds.

A second round of gagging brings up grass clippings from earlier in the day.

The dust bunnies, who have been the very picture of patience, would like to own what the cat has so kindly presented to them. But they must wait for the wind god to deliver unto them what is truly theirs.

Two weeks later:

Through providence, and a door carelessly left open by the ghostly white cat, some of the more mobile bunnies have moved out into the cool night by the old back door. Picked up at dawn by cardinals, the bunnies have now become a large part of the bed for tiny hatchlings above.

The bunnies now have become part of a new life cycle, dropping an occasional feathered  gift: a hatchling, to the ghostly white sculptor of hairballs.

A new headless clump of feathers, dropped off by the door, will come in handy after a few neglected months.