the witch of the aegean sea

I want to tell you a story about a short stout woman who lived on the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea. She fished barefoot next to her shadow just before the sun found her copper face and presented her to the world. By the culture’s warped standards, she was not pretty. But she was a clever moonlight witch with a cauldron for each day of the week, including a special Sunday cauldron meant specifically to raise something dead. She knew that at the rate the world was going, she’d spend many Sundays searching for the left tooth of a hippopotamus and the right hind leg of a field mouse, the primary ingredients needed to raise the dead. Then there was the distilled water that could not be purchased in plastic gallon bottles from a supermarket shelf. Those were tainted. They’d been sitting too long and around far too many fearful souls who believed in too many gods. The energy was all wrong; so she, Alda, had to distill the water herself, a process that took several days and a large beacon handblown by a sad naked virgin with butterfly tattoos covering most of her body. Alda had watched the process many times before and sometimes joined the virgin, her clothes tossed over chairs and tables in solidarity.

(to be continued)

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dirty blues

This is an unedited excerpt from a work in progress.

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Down by the jook joint is where the sweatin’ and grindin’ began. But it by no means ended there. It was a Sunday evening, just after church and before the end of the Sabbath for some. I was always there, bumpin’ and grindin’ with the best of ‘em. The cat calls that floated just above the smoke gave me a real high. It was like listening to a symphony. They were singin’ my song. They always did. Most’a the men were sweet on me. But they was afraid’a my daddy. He was the town pastor. My mama was the first lady and respected by everyone in our little town. Sonny would say, “Sissy, what you doin’ down here? Yo’ daddy gon’ whip you good if he find out.”
        “I’ll whip you good if you tell ‘im,” I holler’d back. I grinned on the inside, so he wouldn’t see. But sometimes he could see right through me.
        Sonny was something. He was always in my business. But he was my best friend; always tryin’ to look out for me. Couldn’t nobody do me nothin’ with Sonny around. Some ‘a the men, no matter how stinkin’ drunk they were, when they saw Sonny, they sobered up quick if they were near me. He’d bloodied enough noses and broken enough ribs for them to know not to touch me, Ms. Sissy Crawford, pastor’s daughter and the best dancer in town.

I wasn’t always as sassy as some say. But I was always alive and filled with fire. Mama said when I was born, it was like Christmas in heaven, minus the snow. I came out dancing…stompin’ on her back she’d say. It wasn’t so much the pain as the constant kickin’. I kicked as though there was a song playin’ in her womb. And when I popped out, I was smilin’. She said I smiled like there was nothin’ but joy in the world. Like love danced with me on the other side where I came from.
        “Lord! That girl was somethin’ else, wasn’t she, Joseph?”
        “Yes she was. She sure was full a somethin’ hot. Like coals were under her feet.”
        Those in listening distance would laugh.
        By the time I was twelve I started to laugh. Didn’t get it before then. Seemed like a bunch of grown folks actin’ silly and laughin’ at stuff that made no sense. It all started to make sense after a while. Plenty of grown folk stuff started to make sense. Curiosity about why mom and pop kissin’ and chucklin’ all the time soon disappeared. After Larry touched me between my legs, I understood. His hands were big, and they were hot. Felt like he held ‘em over a fire and then real fast like, put ‘em on me. He put it on me for sure. Larry was my first, but by no means my last. He usher’d me into womanhood on a starry night. He moved slow, drinking in every moment of our unity. I thought of how daddy loved mama. I wondered if he drank her in the way Larry did with me.
        Larry was gone after a few weeks of bumpin ‘ and grindin’. Said he had to serve his country. Said wasn’t nothin’ gonna stop him from going to ‘Nam. I loved him for his bravery. But hated him for his stupidity. That war was not one he shoulda been fightin’ in. Black men was always fightin’ for folks who didn’t care about them. Larry wanted to fight. He needed to fight. He said he’d be back for me though. Said he’d marry me and give me a bunch ‘a babies. Wasn’t no babies gonna be had with Larry though. He stopped writin’ after a while. No good-bye, nothin’. Just silence. Weeks turned into months. Months turned into tears that flowed like a waterfall during the rainy season. Larry faded away like a billow of smoke faded as it rose into the sky.
        I moved on. Decided that if I started seeing a bunch ‘a men, it would help take my mind off Larry. The men didn’t mind. They were more than happy to soothe my achin’ heart with their achin’ rod. And did they soothe? Yes, they did. For the moment at least. They took me away from my borin’ little town. They couldn’t erase memories of Larry though. I saw him in each one of they faces. His brown skin was like the trunk of a tall strong tree, a deep dark color filled with life. His soul was green like the leaves of those grand trees. Green an’ lush and filled with a vibrancy that creates new life an’ possibilities. No, they couldn’t erase him. But they filled in the spaces at times. They were the pockets o’ air inside a sinkin’ ship. I knew the time would come when the air would run out and I would drown, but I didn’t care. I had to feel good. I needed to feel good.
        

© zaji, 2014

i am misplaced

Writing Prompt: Misplaced

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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The cosmic hand misplaced me, Zhala, and dropped me here. I traveled in its pocket for the better part of centuries before it realized that it had lost me, somewhere on the far side beyond several galaxies. It is filled with angst because it knows I don’t belong here, but it has yet to find me, having forgotten to make the psychic connection before embarking on its journey. Now, it cannot hear me when I call and I cannot hear it. But I feel it searching for me, desperate to find me and take me home to where I belong.

I was born with this knowing, just as one is born knowing their sex. This place where I was dropped is strange to me. I have no connection to the ways of this world called Earth. Everything feels alien, stranger than strange.

But I wait for the cosmic hand, hoping it will remember when last it saw me and possibly figure out where it misplaced me. I am waiting. I long for my home, far away from this place.

© zaji, 2016

it’s an imitation

Writing Prompt: Flangiprop!

Invent a definition for the word “flangiprop,” then use the word in a post.

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Some things were too insane to be real, thought the bride. When a woman plans to get married, she doesn’t have time to think about anything but the wedding and the many details that could unravel if she isn’t careful. So when her groom walked in and said he finally picked up the rings, the last thing she expected to see were two flangiprops in front of her that she paid over $10,000 for.

“What is this?” she asked her husband to be.

“The diamond rings,” he answered matter of factly.

“Are you blind? Can’t you see they’ve slipped us a Mickey?”

“A what?”

“Oh good grief! These are flangiprops fool! Why am I marrying you again?”

“Are you serious? I didn’t notice!”

“Obviously, or you wouldn’t have brought them home to me as though nothing was wrong.”

The bride grabbed her coat, car keys and flew out the door before her husband had a chance to take his coat off the hanger.

“If they think they are going to get away with this, they’ve got another thing coming. Imagine, they are trying to switch out these flangiprops for our real rings. Not gonna happen. Not on my watch,” she said as she sped down the road toward the jewelry store.

Flangiprop (noun): Fake ring; this could include fake diamond, gold, silver or platinum.