Friday, 19 October 2012

FLASH FICTION AT FIVE: A Monkey's Wisdom by Darryl Robert Schoon

Sometimes, in the early morning hours the conversation I had with the monkey comes back to me. The conversation occurred when I had a summer job at the biological sciences lab at UC Davis. For reasons unknown to me then and now I had dropped acid at work. Maybe I had dropped out of boredom or maybe I did it because I was supposed to hear what the monkey had to say. I don't know, but I do know when I heard the monkey's words in my head, I wasn't surprised in the least. Sweeping the floor in front of his cage, I had looked up and noticed this animal watching me. I remember my first thought: "Wow, check out this monkey!" And as I stood there tripping, I heard the words in my head that are as clear today as they were then: "Who do you think you are anyhow? At least I know I'm in a cage."
The tires screeched as we turned the corner. Her body, warm and full of promise, pressed tightly against me as the car's momentum brought us closer together. When we came out of the corner she didn't move away and although the road ahead was now straight and clear, my feelings told me that I could no longer see where I was headed.
Her name was Pamela Huntington. I had met her only a short time before but the brevity of our acquaintance was irrelevant. Even when I first saw her, I wanted to spend a long time with her but in the event it wasn't to be, I was equally sure that a night would do just fine. Though I didn't know what kind of woman Pamela Huntington was, I did know what I wanted her to be. In retrospect, I couldn't have been more wrong.
We pulled out onto Doyle Drive, merging with four lanes of heavy traffic as we headed across the Golden Gate Bridge towards Marin County. I had lived in Marin years before. Time changes everything and Marin had definitely changed for the worse. Once open countryside populated with small towns and interesting people, Marin had become increasingly inundated with aging yuppies, temporary winners in America's restricted affluence sweepstakes where the winner takes all and crumbs are left for the losers.
Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge with a beautiful woman on a beautiful night was an unexpected pleasure in a life filled with unexpected events. I have observed that certainty is but a defense mechanism against life's abrupt nature; and, as I got older, the less I would take refuge in its illusory safety. A woman like Pamela Huntington promised to be a far better haven from life's constant storms. I was to find out, however, that Pamela Huntington was to be no haven at all - at least for me.
All across the bridge up 101 through the tunnel and then down into Gate 5 in Sausalito I had the pleasure of feeling her body next to mine. A woman's presence is an extraordinary thing. It is not a question of what women bring to the party; for if the truth be really known, without women there is no party at all. There is no perfume in the world more heady then the simple presence of a woman. From women emanates a magnetism, complex and powerful, comprised of insistent needs and hidden desires, and of promises as old as they are misunderstood. One of the greatest pleasures in being a man is knowing the gifts that a woman gives. They are gifts, however, that women can bestow on whomever they please, not just men.
It was with regret that I parked the Alfa in front of the Yellow Ferry Harbor. I didn't want things to change. I wanted to feel the presence of her body forever and the pressure of her warm flesh against mine until, at least, there was the certainty of more. We got out of the car and the Sausalito air was crisp and clean, reminiscent of cool ocean sprays commingled with the sweet rich warmth of the earth which had now risen up to meet it.
I followed Pamela down the harbor's wooden walkway until we came to a houseboat next to the Yellow Ferry itself. What little I knew about architecture, I knew for damn sure this floating home wasn't cheap. It was constructed of expensive hardwoods. Stained glass and leaded windows were in abundance and the detail and finishing work were absolutely professional. Those who built this houseboat were as much artisans as laborers and whoever paid for it had bucks as well as taste. It didn't surprise me that Pamela would live in such a houseboat. It would surprise me who lived there with her.
Inside, the houseboat was as opulent as was its exterior expensively demure. Hidden lights hi-lighted artifacts whose origins ranged from pre-Colombian digs to expensive New York and European galleries. A whistle of appreciation escaped my lips. Pamela smiled at my surprise.
"Beautiful, isn't it?"
It was and it seemed all so perfect. The clear Sausalito night, Pamela Huntington's magnetic beauty, and now this magnificent houseboat.
"Pam, is that you?"
Footsteps followed the voice down the spiral staircase and a woman entered the room. It wasn't just any woman, though, just like Pamela wasn't any ordinary female and the houseboat wasn't just another floating habitat on an overcrowded waterfront. No, the woman was as well known to me as was the London spot price of gold to Swiss bankers. She was Sara Gold, one of the nation's pre-eminent criminal attorneys. Big time drug cases were Sara's stock in trade. A godsend to those desperate and lucky enough to have her services, she was respected and feared by the prosecuting attorneys having the ill fortune of facing her in court. Every time I had seen Sara before, she had been dressed in a power suit. Tonight, she had on a silk kimono.
You Can't Always Get What You Want by Darryl Robert Schoon,

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