Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Call is Heard

Lucy and I have heard the clarion call. Alicia and her Genius Child Orchestra have set up on the crowded streets of downtown Picar. Our radios picked us the first scratches of their strings, plaintively calling to us, pining for their "lost shaker of salt." I take this as the dollmaker accepting my invitation.

Led by Lucy, we are marching to the echoes of the rhythm section's drumbeats. We are marching through the back alleys and shantylands on the outskirts of Picar, the site of our glorious house arrest. We are beating a path to spot where the children are performing. The men with the Roman collars have been good enough to line the way, providing an escort to our encounter, our meeting with the Softest Person.

I never check to see if Lucy is still behind me, I can feel her hot breath on my neck.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Charles Offers an Invitation

The Recruitment Officer Pays a Visit

I returned to the glory of my house arrest only to find a recruitment officer waiting in my living room. Lucy helped me take my shoe off and placed my feet on the ottoman. She said she would retire to her radios, and let us men speak alone.

Apparently, this finely groomed recruitment officer represented a group called The Genius Child Orchestra. He said they had discovered Alicia and were willing to offer her a first seat in the woodwind section of their paramilitary organization. Of course, before doing so, her guardian would need to sign a permission slip. It seems that Alicia offered up my name as guardian.

“Will I be implicated in the activities of this Genius Child Orchestra?”

“To as slight an extent as I can arrange,” the recruitment officer promised.

“Then I shall offer dear Alicia my permission, as long as holiday leave and summers under house arrest are assured by your organization.”

These things were promised and I signed gladly.

As the recruitment officer excused himself from my house arrest, he said, “The dollmaker will be pleased. You’ve allowed him to embark upon his newest and finest profession to date.”

The Softest Person is the conductor of this wonderful new orchestra. It pained me to realize that he could be behind such beauty and that he alone could bring forth the greatest of Alicia’s talents.

Lucy returned from the attic with a radio tucked under one arm and my missing shoe in her other hand. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I had it all along.”

She put on my shoes on and we stepped back outside. “No matter how exquisite the genius children sound in unison,” she said. “We’ve got to retrieve Alicia, and restore the peace of your house arrest.”

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Continuance Granted

Lucy called the whole thing off. She interrupted my demise at its most divine moment, by yelling “Cut!” The gorilla camera crew hit ‘pause’ and the Soviet warhead was left suspended in the low atmosphere above Picar. The folks around town have taken to calling it their “civic mobile.” There’s talk of bringing the Anglo-artist Helium to town, to have him judge whether Picar’s frozen warhead compares with his own installations and happenings. I assure he’ll say it surpasses his complete oeuvre.

Despite the lost art of my expiration, it really was for the best that Lucy saved me, as I can’t bear to imagine that my last moments were to be spent free from house arrest.

She stopped the proceedings because her “plans had gone horribly awry.” Apparently, for weeks now, Alicia had been tweaking the transistors at night, casting messages to The Softest Person, an old trading partner of mine, if my atrophying memory serves correctly. And now that Alicia had complete possession of the mollydoll she had left the house arrest to find this mediocre dollmaker.

If Alicia remains missing, it’s doubtful our center will hold.

Lucy says she can find my missing shoe, my brother’s shoe. Then I can move on from the spot, the locus of my aborted demise, and help her return our Alicia to our house arrest.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Beautiful Demise

The gorilla camera crew has begged me not to move. They said that if I remain in place, mapless and shoeless, it will result in the most wonderful of disasters. An explosion is slated to occur on this very spot in not very long. If they get it on tape, they will win the Grand Jury Prize for World Peace and get a three movie contract from a big studio. Also, the Soviets will be given a permanent seat in the League of Nations for ridding the world of the number one purveyor of anti-feline crime. And me? What do I get? The gorilla camera crew said I would die a free man, away from my house arrest.

I know I don’t want that.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

My Bearings

I wish I could locate a map. Picar is teeming with geography, especially for such a seemingly bucolic resort town.

I wish I had my brother's shoe back. Barefoot, I can't move.

And the gorilla camera crew has also left my house arrest to document my current predicament, on the empty streets of Picar.

Without a map and a shoe, this town is as good as a prison.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Nocturnes

I’ve been on the streets of Kallarackel's deserted kingdom all night, pacing them beside my brother Horace. For the first hour or two he was not aware of my presence. Finally, he stopped and said, “Charles, let’s be serious. Give me my shoe.”

And, with that, never once looking at my eye, or my face at all, he bent down and untied the shoe. Gently he removed it. Then - he walked on. Barefoot, I was stranded alone on the hushed streets of Kallarackel. This was certainly not the host country of my crimes or those who arrested me. I had been sent far – farther than I deserved, I thought.

I watched Horace disappear down a lane, the morning mist beginning to seep in from the seaside. I screamed for Lucy. I yelled for Alicia. I received no answer. I assume they’re still captives of my once and glorious house arrest.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

On The Outside

The streets are lined with cobbles and the salt spray is palpable if not confirmed. I still haven’t seen any actual shoreline. But what I did see was my brother, Horace. He was busy searching, very busy. I tapped my toe (clad in his old shoe) twice on the window pane, and he did not so much as turn his head. He seemed preoccupied, overturning pillows, dumping out drawers, and conspiring with a tired-looking maid.

So I’ve departed my house arrest. I’m out on the streets.

It might really be best for everyone, if I simply returned.