Cloudy Day by J.C. Combs
“The weatherman didn’t say it was going to be cloudy,” Frank suggested to himself as he stood up and patted the sand off his legs. “Bad day to go to the beach,” Frank thought. Then he thought about it some more… He put his sunglasses on and looked up. “Damn clouds,” Frank muttered to himself as he sat down on a log which was in the curious shape of some sort of large mammal. He couldn’t make it out. “Maybe an unknown species. Good day for a discovery,” Frank concluded as he pulled out his switch blade and proceeded to carve eyes into the log. “You look like someone I once knew.. Frank, Frank, Frank, Frank, you really did it this time.” The man was now walking along the beach, scanning the ground for flat rocks. Quick side arm throw. A couple skips. “Not bad.” The man was indecisive. “I could walk back to my car or stand on this beach pointlessly.” The man decided to flip a coin. “Heads its the car, tails I stay.”
Blue by J.C. Combs
Adam neared the piano, center stage of a large hall. The piano was blue. He turned his back to the piano, and directly across the stage was a viola resting on a stand. The viola was blue. The sky was blue and the moon was blue too. The stars were twinkling blue.
Adam was blue. He exited the stage and made way for the first row. He found a seat in the middle of the aisle and pulled out a notepad and pencil. Frantically, he jotted down several notes, “too loud, abrupt, hurried.” Having none of it, he stood up and shouted “who will pay to attend this pathetic exhibition?”
As Adam walked to the exit the blue sky remained blue. As he opened the door the stars put him at ease. Adam ripped up his notes and decided a better outlook was in order.
Now Adam was standing on the beach and the sea was blue. He laid down a blanket and devised a scheme to create the perfect sand castle. He would charge 20 dollars per showing.
The castle was washed away.
Megalomaniac’s Machination by J.C. Combs
I entered a room. Twenty people stood in various poses, chatting about this and that. “Why, I heard that Nixon ordered an investigation,” a man in a flowery yellow suit replied and then took a puff from an Ashton. “Felines are immune,” I made out from another conversation at the window at one end of the flat, “but not all, not half breeds.” Two elderly ladies nearby sat facing each other in red velvet chairs, both adorning gigantic white wigs and long painted black glue-on fingernails. “Let me read your palm,” said a young man who approached the elderly lady in the chair to the left. She blushed, slightly embarrassed, extended her hand and nodded. He took her hand and turned it palm up. He steadily ran his index finger along the lines and cracks of her palm, all the while his eyeballs rolling forward and backward, almost seizure-like. He then became calm and at once let go of her hand. “What I see in your future,” he began when out of nowhere the young mystic was smashed in the head by a statue head of Beethoven. The young man who just seconds before feigned seizure-like activity was now in full spastic dance, blood spurting from his eyeballs, legs kicking, arms flailing. All attention was directed toward the wielder of Beethoven’s head who stood over him laughing blissfully. The man shouted, “anyone want to read his mind?”
Homicidal Thoughts by J.C. Combs
I used to admire you. As I walked past every day, quickly glancing your direction, I could smell your pleasant scent wafting through the air. I also noticed your curves and how you were the quiet type, never making even a sound. But all that changed, didn’t it?
I used to think it was his fault. He was attracted to you because of your beauty. How could I fault that, you had no choice in the matter.
I remember the first time I thought about splitting you open with an axe. I was on my route and, as always, anticipated seeing you. As I neared, I made out a conversation you were having with some dirty, rotten bastard. You were talking sweet with him. But as I listened closer I realized you were just being polite and it was really that creep, the horror of a man, who was making all the moves. He wouldn’t quit. I closed my eyes as I passed and a vision of an axe appeared in my mind’s eye. I remember thinking, almost out loud, ‘but it isn’t your fault I know! Why then do I fantasize about killing you in the worst way?’
As days turned into weeks, as the same foul man persisted in visiting you, I realized the truth. The only way to fix the problem was to take that axe and chop you into little pieces.
The very next day as I was leaving to carry out the sinister plan, I put on the trench coat tucked away in my closet, which I’d been dying to wear since the late 80s and carried the axe underneath. I looked like I was about to pull out a weapon, but I didn’t care! No one was going to stop me. You might wonder, what about the bastard? Well he had it coming too. Would he be there, playing her with those sick, disgusting, egregiously sappy lines? I hoped so.
As I entered the lobby, my eyes reflected one thing, murder. Sure enough, the scoundrel, the cad, was putting the syrup on with large strokes. I think it was “Piano Man,” “Feelings,” or “Chariots of Fire,” I can’t remember, everything was a blur. I only recall the continual horror of his Satanic left hand rolling from C to E to G to the C and back and back and back! “You’re fucking killing it with sugar!” I wailed as I pulled out the axe and with one furious swing chopped the swine’s head off. As his head lay spinning atop the once beautiful grand piano, I promptly started the work I came to finish. Starting with the legs, “crack, boom, wham,” THUD.
She now had no legs, but for once she made the most beautiful music. Overtones intertwining, screaming, yelling. Pain! I looked around and saw people running for every exit.
That’s the problem with people, they hear the real beauty, the innermost articulation of our deepest fears and regrets, and they run for the exits. Well the next time you try that, just remember who might be standing right outside the door!
Asleep at the Keys by JC Combs
I am asleep, dreaming of typing obscure thoughts – elephants, speck of chipped paint distorts, sudden conversation, shadowless objects, shhhh. Xi Hu Longjing in a bag, protesters, pigs, blood-sucking aphids, daffodils; peering into a curved mirror, volcanic glass. “Wait, I know the name, don’t remind me.” “Mercury,” she interrupted. “Jupiter,” I replied. “O Father Sky God.” She laughed. I smiled. “Juno and Minerva,” she continued. “Feel free to interrupt me.” We both laughed as the Sapphire skyline gave way to Amaranth. Gusts of wind pushed against our backs and around and around. A figure-eight medley. We sat atop the cliff, legs dangling over the edge, dreaming. “Not just yet,” she said. “But a dream is always short,” I consoled her as now she was sad. “Sometimes,” she whispered faintly, “it can go on seemingly forever.” She elaborated, but the sound of her voice had disappeared and a flash of lightning broadcast across the canyon. A thunderclap followed.
Eastern Walk by J.C. Combs
Observation three of John Cage’s “Water Walk:”
One day I decided to go for a walk. I was so intent upon this impulse that I almost tripped walking down the stairs and out the door of my house. I made my way to our little town’s main road and for the next two-and-a-half hours I walked east along that road. It was then that I came upon a forest right at the edge of the road. A grey guard rail stood between myself and the forest. I suppose one would argue if it was actually grey.., it really was made up of many colors, as sprayed upon the rail was a graffiti tag which read ‘chance.’ Every letter was a different color, except for the ‘a’ which was simply white, without color at all.
I crossed over the guard rail and marched through the forest, taking care to continue traveling east. After an hour of walking around large trees and stepping on small sticks I was hit by the silence. I stopped in place and stood. I don’t know how long I stood there, but long enough to notice, almost in a startled way, that the combination of forest noises (the wind, birds, and all sorts of strange sounds) seemed to make music. As if nature made its own music! I wanted to write this observation down to make sure I would not forget, but I had not brought paper or a writing utensil.
I carried on and after a half an hour I became extremely hungry. I had thought to bring water and still had half of the canister remaining. However, I had neglected to pack a meal along for the trek. I decided I would watch the forest floor for mushrooms and snack on those until I made my way to the next clearing where there ought to be a road leading to a store. Within approximately thirty seconds I found two mushrooms side by side. They were beautiful and white as snow. I wondered why I had not noticed these before? ‘Had I not ever looked down while I walked?’ ‘Was I never watching for obstacles?’ I reached down and plucked them out of the ground. I recalled something about edible mushrooms from a textbook I had read back in school. It described every possible feature of the inedible mushroom, covering all the markings. Colorless mushrooms, hence, were edible.
I ate up the mushrooms, making quick work of them, and walked along watching for more to pick. Within approximately four minutes I had come across ten more! Yet they all had markings of some sort or another. I wondered to myself, ‘what are the chances of that?’ ‘Possible poisonous shrooms all over the forest floor and not one positively edible one!’ I stood still for a second and pondered the thought, ‘had I gotten it backwards… Could the white shrooms I ate in fact have been poisonous?’ I started to become paranoid and increasingly anxious.
I sat down, trying to remember the course on edible mushrooms. I sat there within the concert of the forest musical, remaining unsure.