Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Coyote Singing-- New Short-short Fiction. I Swear It Is Fiction.
They say I am depressed. A year ago I lost my job. I feel deeper and deeper into an abyss of nothing. I would not rise from my bed. My appetite, always hearty, left me. My wife worried for my safety while she was away at work.
The psychiatrist gave me pills. I am to take two each day. Or is it three? Or five? Whatever the number, I am diligent in this pursuit.
It was after the pills started that my wife failed to speak to me. Not that she didn't try. Oh, she did. But the sounds that came from her after this were the sounds of bagpipes dropped. She squeaked and whined. I understood nothing. I nodded in response to the movements of her mouth.
The television people spoke the same. Bagpipes, nothing but the sound of bagpipes. I could not read their lips.
I live near an open space area. There are miles and miles of trails there. After the pills began, I felt quite restless. I took a hike in the park. I sat on the side of a trail. It is in this spot that I saw the coyotes.
Two of them, one old and ragged-looking, and one young, jumped not twenty yards from me after grasshoppers. It looked like a dance. I heard the music. They jumped after grasshoppers and the pipes, not bagpipes, but some sort of Irish piping, not unpleasant, sounded as I watched them. They danced for what seemed like hours before they noticed me. But when they did the singing began.
The coyotes stopped dancing and stood and looked at me. The older one sang, "I eat bugs, and the bugs eat me. At the end of our days we shall all be free."
She sang these words over and over and it is the only words spoken-- sung to me this day, that I understood.
"I eat bugs, and the bugs eat me. At the end of our days we shall all be free." Over and over and over again.
That day I wandered home just before my wife returned from work. I hurried into bed and feigned sleep. Later in the evening she tried to feed me something. I could tell because she held a plate of food in her hands. But I wanted no food. I only wanted her sounds-- those sounds to stop. I sat up, nodded and smiled and then fell back into the pillow. She left me alone until she came to bed much, much later.
I never slept though. Barely could I stand to lie there, with the crickets calling me outside. I awaited her alarm in the morning. The alarm I heard clearly. I feigned sleep until my wife went for her shower. When I heard the water falling, I arose and threw on some clothing and my hiking shoes. I wrote her a note.
"I couldn't sleep. Went to the park for a hike. Have a nice day."
I worked quite hard to manage this note. The words came to me with great difficulty.
In the moonlight before the dawn, I was off to the park. I hiked back to the spot where I saw the coyotes. Then I sat. A few minutes later the angel came. At first I thought it was just a runner with a miner's lamp on his head, but then I saw that it was an angel. The man/angel ran toward me on the path where I sat. He glanced in my direction as he passed. I tried to rise and speak to this angel before he'd gone to far, but I could not. I heard the song of his footfalls as he ran away from me. I saw the halo fade away in the darkness.
I tried to scream at him to stop, but could not speak words. The sound that came to my voice was the sound of unutterable anguish I fear.
"Wait!" I wanted to scream. "Wait, what have you to tell me? What is it I should do now?"
But the words did not come. Just the sound-- the screech perhaps, or maybe I just imagined I made sound.
Oh, the ability to make myself understood in any manner will leave me soon. I will not be able to write or speak or sing in any manner.
I returned home, in great confusion I found the way. Took my pills. Is it one or two or four I am to take? I read the bottle but can't understand what it says. The words seem to go around in circles and I can't find my glasses. Surely my regular glasses will not stop the spinning anyway. Surely I need the special glasses that stop spinning.
My dog came up to me then. "Follow me," she said. "Follow me, hurry."
I followed her. She led me to her dog house.
"The angel will meet you here," my dog said.
I crawled inside. It is such a tight fit I fear I will be unable to leave this spot ever again, but the angel is coming. The angel will take me away.
My dog lies outside her house and we await the angel. There is music in the air. The bees and birds sing. The breeze sings through the leaves of the trees. It is all harps and Irish pipes and the smell of lavender.
We await the angel and the singing of coyotes.
Photo courtesy of Flickr and Red-Star.