Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Cycle of Constellations: Hercules (Spring)

(The Second in a Four Part Series of Vignettes)

       Evan slammed the door. Unsatisfied, he grabbed the knob, ripped the door open, then slammed it again. He stomped off into the yard.
       Sparkles in his vision wiggled on the background of darkness. His head pounded in rage.
       One o'clock in the morning. Work tomorrow.
       Three months bled into one monstrous day. Evan thought he could handle it, if he could just have his sleep.
       Night after night. So many temptations. Hold the baby. Rock the baby. Sleep with the baby. Feed the baby. But the baby must learn to soothe herself. Alone.
       And she was learning. Slowly. She cried while she learned.
       Meanwhile, the night ticked away. His eyes burned in the morning. His concentration fell flat. Six hours to sleep became five, became four. The baby woke for feedings. To help his wife, four became three.
       Evan looked back. In the night's stillness, he could hear the baby crying.
       Frustration and fury bubbled in him like a cauldron of lava, hideously hot. His eyes raced. Desperate, he grabbed an old broom handle leaning against the shed. He savagely beat the ground. Pounding. Pounding. The blows sank, and the Earth calmly accepted them.
       Still streaming fire, Evan swung at a tree. The hard connection sang deliciously in his hands, but he knew enough not to hurt the tree. He threw the stick aside, then snatched a log from a nearby stack.
       He hurled it against the fence, watched the chainlink buckle, pop back, then rattle. He picked it up. He heaved it. Again. And again. And AGAIN.
       Panting, Evan dropped to his knees. The lava was spattered over the ground. Spent. And finally cooling.
       With eyes brimming in defeat, he looked up at the sky for long minutes. He surrendered to it. Pleaded with it.
       He spied the giant square of stars forming the body of Hercules. He followed what should be the powerful reach of arms and legs. Instead of muscles, though, his mind saw only the spidery thin connection of dots.
       He chuckled at the flabby state of Greece's greatest hero. Dude seriously let himself go.
       He looked down. He chuckled at the mud soaking into his pants where he knelt. He chuckled at the befuddled log lying before him. Thank God the lights were off at the neighbor's house.
       Evan noticed his watch, sighed, then ran his fingers through his hair. His legs wobbled a little when he stood. On his way back toward the house, he paused.
       Silence. The baby was sleeping.
       At the door, he saluted. An offering to Hercules and his great labors enshrined in the sky. Greek champion. A man over all other men.
       He saluted then whipped him the finger.



anne said...

Oh I liked. :)

Terri said...

lol! Brilliant mood change!

Linda said...

WHOA!! Whoa as in I like it!! :)

Anonymous said...

Anne, I'm glad. :) You might see where this is going. We'll see Evan at four stages in his life, each vignette a moment of reflection under a starry sky.

Terri, thanks. You have to see the humor in a moment like that.

BeadinggalinMS, I'm wondering how many parents (and non-parents for that matter) can relate.

Shesawriter said...

The last line was the kicker. Gave him the finger, eh? :-)


Linda said...

Being a parent of 4 I can relate!

Cat said...

Hey Jason,
I liked it and I have to say, NICE… Very NICE!
Thanx :)

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

You might see where this is going. We'll see Evan at four stages in his life, each vignette a moment of reflection under a starry sky.

I was wondering about the mood change. Very interesting idea, Jason!

mermaid said...

"Three months bled into one monstrous day."

"The blows sank, and the Earth calmly accepted them."

Some of my favorite lines. I also like the venting of his frustration with sleepless nights against the stars, which are supposed to cast light in the darkness. (the finger)

Anonymous said...

Tanya, =D I'm sure it doesn't come out much here, but humor is actually a significant part of the things I write.

BeadinggalinMS, sometimes it's important to know other parents feel that explosive frustration. Nothing to feel guilty about.

Farzad, thanks my friend!

Kelly, you know how I like to be experimental. ;)

Mermaid, yes, I did see Evan pouring out his frustrations into two things that are essentially boundless and unmoved by the act--the Earth and the sky. Maybe you can relate to Evan. I sure can.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I too like this idea.

Writing in different stages of a persons life.

Unknown said...

I like the switch. AND the finger! LOL

Anonymous said...

UTMG, I'm also going out of order. Childhood will be next, then last will be Evan and his wife when they were dating.

Robin, I'm happy the transition in emotion worked. :)

mermaid said...

Yes, Jason. That is your talent, to take poetry and put it into prose.

Anonymous said...

Mermaid, not sure if my style is ultimately saleable, but I take your observation as a high compliment. Thank you!

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Will have to read them back to back to get the full flavour.

Anonymous said...

UTMG, I suppose this series could be like a background study/history for a character in a later novel.