Friday, August 13, 2010
ROBBLOG #123 W E E K E N D Edition
I don't know why I've been writing so many "tales" lately. Short Stories about
robins, skunks, corn, small town meetings and more. So, I beg your indulgence once again. May I present a story about Binoculars and Cocoa.
“I don’t know what the Hell is going on over there Harrison!”- Pearl says as she presses the binoculars tight against her brown eyes. “Maybe they’re worshipping some idol or watching True Blood or, or, or- something.”
“Why the hairy old balls are you saying that Pearl?- asks Harrison as sets his book down on the table next to his easy chair, folds his arms across his chest and waits to hear her explanation.
Pearl is still standing at the window trying to hide behind the drapery.
“Good Lord! I think they’re reading from some book while they’re standing in a circle.” She gasps! “Harrison they’re lighting candles!”
“Pearl! How do you know it’s not the Bible or the yellow pages?”- cries Harrison.
“Honestly Harrison, if you’re not going to be serious and take what I am trying to tell you in a serious vein then maybe you should just head on out to the kitchen and make yourself a nice hot cup of cocoa and think about going to bed.” Pearl meant it. She turns back towards the window.
“I mean it Honey! Something funny is going on over there at that house. It’s like the Amittyville Horror! Something funny. I know it! ”
“Are they laughing too as well as acting strange?”- he chuckled softly and picked up his book again.
“Okay, Mr. Smarty Pants”- she takes the binoculars away from her face and turns to look at Harrison sitting in his Lazy Boy with a cushion tucked between his right thigh and the arm of the chair. “Just get out of that damn chair and step over here to this window and have a look for yourself. Then tell me I’m nuts. Tell me I’m making all this up.”
“Pearl.” Harrison spoke firmly. “I am not going to get up out of this chair and join you at that window to snoop on the neighbours. So don’t even ask me. You are truly strange at times. Truly strange.”
“How in the Hobbs of Holy old Hell are you going to find out what I am talking about if you won’t step over to this window. Just leave that G.D. book alone for five minutes and have a look?”
Harrison slams the book closed, looks over at Pearl. He stares her straight in the eyes for what seems like five minutes and says- “Pearl, I am not getting out of my favourite chair to walk over there and stare at the neighbours through those field glasses just to make up a bunch of supernatural crap about what they may- or may not be doing. So just leave me alone.”
Pearl squishes her eyelids closed. Her shoulders are touching her ears. She curls her hands into small fists. She is silent as she fumes.
Harrison watches her and breaks the silence.
“Now just look at you Pearl. Look at you. You’re a walking advertisement for stress, standing there all tensed up. Now just take a deep breath and lower those two things you call shoulders- and breathe for God’s Sake.”
“You know what Harrison?” Pearl asks as she opens her eyes. “I don’t need anybody to hit me over the head with a metal shovel to make me realize just what is going on over there.”
She motions with her head towards the window and throws the binoculars down on the couch.
They bounce against a cushion and almost spring onto the floor.
“I know what I see and what I see is straight out of the devil’s handbook. Mark my words!”
She stands firmly at the window, hands on hips, her full lips pushing out, away from her mouth.
“Or, it could just be they are browsing through the yellow pages- by candle light, because they are renovating and some rooms in their house are without power.”- Harrison adds briskly.
“Oh, very clever Harrison. You have no knowledge of what I am telling you. Maybe if you put that stupid book down now and again and watch a documentary on the supernatural, you might just learn something really valuable! But, oh no! You sit there night after night reading those biographies. Just what in the Hell can someone learn about life from those kind of books?”
Harrison leans forward ready to spit bricks.
“I’ll tell you Missy exactly what I learn from my books.”
“I learn that people like you are like many people I read about in my books. Dumb as a post!”
He sits back in his chair, quite pleased with himself and begins to read.
Pearl stamps her feet and speaks loudly, practically yelling at Harrison.
“Ooooh! Sometimes you make me so mad, I could spit. I’m telling you for the last time. There is something spooky going on over there at that house and I intend to find out what it is whether you are with me or not. Do you hear me?”
She grabs her binoculars from the couch and goes back to the window.
“Look. Pearl. Sweetheart. You can think what you like about the neighbours. They can burn effigies. Light candles. Prick their fingers for blood, drip it into a glass and feed it to their friends for all I care, just please shut up about it. Let me read my book and I’ll let you spy on our neighours in peace.”
Once again she turns from the window. She drops the binoculars to her side. Her mouth is wide open. She wants to speak but the words just won’t come. Harrison looks over the top of his book at Pearl standing there at the window as if in some kind of trance.
“Pearl?”- says Harrison. “What is it Honey?”
She doesn’t answer.
“Pearl, Honey. What is it? What did you see?”
Pearl is starring straight ahead into thin air. In another moment she blinks her eyes, slowly looks across the living room at Harrison sitting there in his Lazy Boy and says-
“Well Harrison.”- Pearl slowly draws circles with the toe of her right shoe in the nap of her freshly vacuumed rug, “I guess you wouldn’t be interested in knowing that our nice neighbours are prancing about- in the buff, in their backyard.”
“What?” –Harrison says with a surprised tone.
“You heard me Harrison. I said dancing. In the buff.”- she smiles broadly as she raises her voice an octave or two.
“So what do you have to say to that, Dear?”- she speaks even louder only with a more cutting, sarcastic tone, most unbecoming for the Head of the Sunday School Committee at St. John of the Lake Church.
“I heard you Pearl. For Lord’s Sake, the whole neighbourhood can hear you now.”
Pearl has a smug look about her as she invites him to step to the window with a sweep of her right hand. She holds the binoculars by their strap, dangling from the bony fingers of her left hand.
“Pearl, if I get up out of this chair, it had better be as you say or I’ll take those binoculars and throw them into the trash faster than a weed can grow in a pile of sheep manure!”
“How romantic Harrison. Now are you going to look or not?”
“Pearl Van de Camp. Sometimes you go too far!” Harrison’s face is not a happy one.
Harrison gets out of his chair, grabs the dangling glasses from Pearl’s hand and steps to the window. Pressing the eyepiece firmly to his face, he turns and looks out the window into the night.
After a few minutes, still pressing the glasses to his eyes he says- “Pearl, I don’t see a gosh darn thing out here. The lights are on at the neighbours and there is no one standing naked in the yard.
What in Hell were you looking at? Pearl? Pearl?”
He turns from the window. Pearl is nowhere to be seen.
“Pearl!”- he calls out. ‘Pearl!”
In a moment, Pearl’s voice comes from another room in the house.
She yells out- “What? I’m in the kitchen making hot cocoa.”
She continues- “How about a nice slice of cherry pie to go along with the hot chocolate? I just made it this morning Dear.”
Harrison walks into the kitchen frustrated as Hell.
“Pearl, one minute you’re blabbering on about the neighbours and now you’re suzy homemaker and you slicing up cherry pie?”
“”What was that Dear. Blabbering about who?”
“You know, starring out the windows with those binoculars of yours.”
“Oh those”- says Pearl with a slight smile breaking on her lips, “Now just have a seat at the table.”
“Geeze. Women.”- he says, shaking his head
Pearl places a mug of hot cocoa on the table in front of him, along with a huge piece of cherry pie served on one of her favourite antique china plates. She looks into Harrison’s face and almost laughs out loud at the two dark circles around his eyes. A bit of shoe polish rubbed onto the rims of the eyepieces. That’s all it took.
“Like you said Harrison”, she was thinking out loud, “I am truly strange.”
She started to laugh louder now.
Posted by Rob Reid at 9:35 PM