disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Red Sky at Morning, Sailors Take Warning

He was a charmer, a fast-talker with a magnetic personality and genuine twinkle in his eyes, with a mysterious, dark and brooding quality that felt like a secret whispered in the playground, a wrapped gift beneath the tree asking, what might lie inside.  Sure, he wasn't much of a looker (not displeasing, either), but everyone wanted to know him.

She was a sweet girl, a bit naive, swept off her feet in an instant, a simple but pretty girl whose gentle eyes, soft curves, suggestive posture brought him to his knees and invaded his every thought.

They knew little of one another but for their carnal yearnings, things they kept secret as they were the religious sort and Jesus was always watching. They married just weeks after meeting and she soon swelled with child.


He became quicksilver, hot-tempered, then soft and sweet, like a wounded animal. The couple rarely spoke nowadays, she busy with a toddling infant and another on the way, he busy with work. It was ok, she told herself, he pays the bills, gives me my precious babies, and never hits. She curled her hair, splurged on short dresses and provocative heels in hopes to coax him back to the nest, just to sit at the lonely dining table and tell herself, it's good. A cherub faced baby, a man who brings home the bacon and goes to church on Sundays. She was happy, she told herself. She might not have what she wanted, but she had what she needed.

They kept their worlds separate, and he worked odd jobs here and there, nothing permanent but always a job to be had. A good pair of hands were always in need. Often he'd travel a day away, to his gloomy home city, a port city full of tenements and docks and always work to be done. His family engaged in schemes to eek out a meager living in the endless pursuit for more, as the darker parts of town took on any worker, no questions asked and none answered - those that kept in the shadows and worked mindlessly to the bone got paid.

He liked best the people of the shadows, real authentic people that patiently awaited his stories and promises, his charming tongue and wit were used as a precaution, protection, as needed.

The shadow people were always too sallow or swarthy, with awkward gaits, wild eyes, sickly yet determined countenance, yet forgettable enough to be forgotten, replaced. A sad lot from some other sadder shore, they'd be salves and servants if only someone took enough notice of them to even treat them as such. holed up in dirty tenements, they formed a strange camaraderie, loyal to the bone but suspicious and guarded, their bond as tight as steel but forgotten quickly as one left and another faceless industrial servant took his place.

His family had managed a monopoly of sorts, always laboring and managing extra cash with favors and odd jobs. They were clever enough to stay put in such a restless gypsy town, but dull and foreign enough to never make it out of the shadows. Their conniving ways made them a sort of royal family of paupers, a place of power among the powerless subcultures.

This very such life was ever present, and popped up in whispers often. One morning at sunrise, clouds pink elsewhere but grey and sooty among the docks, he and his brothers gathered beneath the damp, skeletal hulls of behemoth ships and cooked up a scheme with "someone so-and-so-knows", somewhere on a new shore, the land of opportunity. The chance and gamble of a lifetime, ripe with danger and riches, a sham job cloaking an underground network of opportunity. Besides, someone over there owed him a big favor, and he'd get it, and work using his strong hands and crafty mind in a boom town. They could become kings of a new city, with their own row house and car, the American Dream, as long as they managed the shadow world.

This prospect was life-changing, renewing, and filled him with excitement, His mind going at lightning speed, he drew up a plan to tell the wife. As the train wound through the country and approached the city, small farmhouses rising to large city building, so built his story until it was grand.

His chase of wealth, developed in the subterfuge of the shipyards, was genius. Dangerous, but genius. The brothers, kings of a new land. Sure, the mob was nothing to take lightly but he was an unsuspecting filthy Irishman, brought in to work the factories, someone the people choose to ignore and forget, so he was the perfect man for the job. He could persuade people to give the clothes off their back, and so adept as to escape the law, the perfect man to do their dirty work from thousands of miles away. But...it was factory work, a guaranteed job and home in a boom town, he'd tell his wife. With a fabricated uncle to sponsor them, he had it made.

She had to buy it. He'd won her over before.

Naivete is grand, and so he and his brothers sailed to the new land, with her permission, to get things settled. She waited by the window for a letter every day, and finally it came. The ticket aboard the Cunard Ship, this "uncle" sponsor in New York, and even some cash to buy a new outfit for her and the kids to wear for their journey.

They sailed over the cold Atlantic, landing in New York, with an address scribbled on butcher paper. A well-dressed wife and children, they disembarked with panic and wonder in their eyes. Never had they seen such a large city, never had they heard words like these, a hustle and bustle going on around them as they felt lost in a jungle. She kindly asked a police man for directions, and off they went.

The "Uncle" was a "long lost relative" a man in some nebulous entertainment business, something about professional boxing or comedy, she wasn't quite sure. His thick accent and fast talking made it all jumbled, thrashing around her head like the waves below the ship. He welcomed them into his home, a dark labyrinth of a place, a small apartment in a huge nest of apartment buildings starved for light. They felt hidden and secret here, and he left them alone for three days with only crackers and soup to eat. She wasn't sure how to get ahold of her husband, or this "Uncle", the family legal but like refugees, to be stowed away and forgotten. She cried as she held her children close for warmth, the loud strange noises of the city, the stench of trash and soot, and the feeling of despair were ever present.

Finally, the Uncle came back, with a telegram and envelope of money. They were to leave right then, aboard a train for a large city two days away. There, on Clover Street, would be her smiling husband, a nice white row house, and brand new Ford fresh off the line that her husband had supposedly hand-crafted. The sun shone over the city, bringing new light and hope, as they left for the final leg of their journey to the promised land.

But what is darkest always comes to the light.

The story continues..... http://disorderlywanderlustblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/everyone-knew.html


  1. I like how you wrote this and the pictures!
    Really awesome!

  2. thanks!
    it was a fiction piece I'd been meaning to write, forever.