Tristan was blue. He was down-n-out depressed blue. He was "kick the can down the street" blue. He was puppy dog blue. He was lonely blue. He was broke blue. He was plane and simple blue in the face blue.
He wondered what Sheri was doing at this very moment. He missed her. He missed her like a puppy. His guts howled like Jumpy did when Elisna shuffled him into the utility room last month at her annual "kiss summer good bye" house party.
Last night, Sheri flew out of the Valley in a furious storm. Her older brother Bob, who had been watching over their senile folks, was burned to death in a fire. She thought smoking would do him in. Sheri was right. Bob probably fell asleep with a lit cigarette. The cottage, on the Manhattan estate, burned to the ground like a Independence Day roman candle.
Sheri, the youngest child, had to leave her life here in the valley for the chaos of New York. None of her other siblings could do it. They couldn’t leave because wives, husbands, and children depended on them for support. Sheri and Bob were the only two of ten who could do it. Bob had children but they had all grown up. Bob was the firstborn. The surprise child. The favorite. Sheri always joked that mom conceived Bob with a different man than their father. Mom always crooked a smile when she told the story of how George, the fireman, rescued their first kitten from the apple tree.
Tristan thought I guess I can go to Ella’s, but she won’t be home for four more hours. He was about to kick the can again when he noticed a slip of paper stuck to it.
"#99 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU'RE BLUE: Come to a show this afternoon. And when you’re through visit the rapid riches room. Put a dollar in and let it spin. You can win at Legends Casino!"
That’s odd Tristan thought of all the pieces of paper on the road, why did the can happen to pick up that one. When Tristan looked up he saw Legends Casino a quarter mile ahead.
Ella got the call from the police station to come pick Tristan up. "Shit," she said, "what the fuck has he done this time?"
When she put him to bed in his one room camper, she soothed his bent arm and black-and-blued backside. Tristan, delirious, mumbled something about all that money lost, but that didn’t make sense, because he didn’t have a job. Ella wondered what Sheri saw in him. And she missed her too, because now Tristan would be pawing all over her like Jumpy. He never could be left alone.
“A deeper sleep,” Ella whispered into his ear. It was the only thing Tristan remembered her saying before she blew out the lantern and exited his trailer.
by William James, 10/15/2011
Carla Blaschka's Prompts:
- Quote: "'A deeper sleep,' Elisena whispered into Tristan’s ear." Susan Dexter. The Mountains of Channadran. (Ballantine Books, 1986)
- Random Idea: Things to do when you’re blue: "Magnify your life!"
Also check out my new wordpress website. It's a literary journal called Randomly Accessed Poetics! Submissions are open. I will be publishing literary works, explicit language pieces, and eventually a journal a relative wrote in the late 1800's detailing their journey to Oregon on the Oregon Trail. And when I gather enough submitted works from other people, I will be cobbling together an e-anthology called Randomly Accessed Poetics.