The days that changed it all 

I didn’t know. Nobody knew. Me. Levine, Macy or anybody we knew. It was as if a fog had lifted, clouding us all; like infants looking for an answer. 

Nor did I see it. With my eyes wide open I didn’t see the signs. The fatigue on my own face, doors suddenly closing behind me, and those neighbors. Even the biggest goofball would have seen it in their outfits, their matter of speech and frankly everything else. It was as obvious as rain on a dark and cloudy day. 

And that’s when the days began for me. The days that changed it all. 

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Dutch monkey talk

Macy and I walk the nine streets of Amsterdam, small shops and curiosities, fuming coffee at fuming cafés, and bicycles that seem to grow out of the streets and canals filled with boats. A mini-break I can’t afford. But neither can I afford my life, so I decided it didn’t matter anyway.

There is nothing better than sitting at a cafe (in this case called Pluk) and watch people go by. Apparently, they call it watching monkeys here. We’re all for it.

‘Dentist monkey, for sure. Look at his teeth, they are too white,’ says Macy fully confident.
‘No,’ I say, ‘I’m voting for broker monkey. He looks too sharp to be a dentist if you ask me. And he’s too fast as well. Definitely broker monkey.’
‘Library monkey across the street. Look at his clothes.’
‘No, I’m sorry to say he’s sales monkey I just heard him say he reached his target and will receive his bonus.’
‘How are your ears so sharp? Sales monkey with an edge of a library monkey, and probably not a very good sales monkey if you have to call your friends you made your targets. Look at her.’ She takes a sip from her pink wine in the excitement. Pink wine is what you drink here when the sun is out and you sit outdoors and it looks exactly what it sounds like: pink. It takes a little lighter than wine, somewhere between wine and lemonade, which makes it very easy to drink; like lemonade.

‘Stylist monkey going straight for Laura Dolls.’
‘The shop we’ve just been, where they sell the incredible vintage dresses. Seriously?’ The woman disappears around the corner. ‘I’m following her.’ Macy jumps up and starts shadowing our stylist monkey. I stay put to guard our pink wine. Five minutes later she is back and crashes into her chair fetching her wine on the way down. ‘Stylist monkey, I even checked.’ ‘Okay, next one’s yours.’

A group of young men walk by. Two regular and one very handsome. Macy leans her head towards me: ‘my pleasure.’ She takes another look. Smiles. Tilts her head once more. ‘Graphic design monkey.’ ‘I’m with you on this one, but has a girlfriend, and not a fling but in a long relationship, likes to skateboard and mountain bike occasionally and has a thing with the artist Escher.’

Macy bends over and stares at the guy we just monkey-labelled. He turns his head. She produces a vague smile and falls back in her seat. ‘Oops!’ She takes a pink sip.

‘Okay, Jackson lookalike by the corner. Stay at home dad monkey,’ I say with a surprise in my own voice.
‘Stay at home dad monkey. Huh. Probably with wife with top job monkey.’ From around the corner a woman enters with a baby buggy and a phone in her hand. She immediately hands the baby to daddy and has practically no eye for them thanks to her busy phone life.

‘Wow, how about the guy with golden earing. What does he do?’ Macy looks at me with eager anticipation. But I’m done with monkey search and just want to soak in the sun and get on one of those hyper super duper bikes that look like they come right off the beach. ‘Golden earring monkey.’

Golden earring monkey smiles at us when he passes and I get an unsteady feeling. I suddenly see a weapon in my mind and I stiffen and hold my breath. Release, I say to myself. Macy leans in: ‘it was just a golden earring, not an almighty stripe.’ ‘Apparently Almighty Stripes come in various forms. Shake it off.’ Macy hands me the pink wine and throw it back in one gulp. Golden earring monkey raises his glass to us. I get another sharp streak in my head. ‘Can we leave? I’ve seen enough Dutch aapjes. Let’s get on a bike and feel the wind that will make our cheeks glow and our hair dance.’

‘Can’t we just cycle?’
‘Fine. Let’s cycle.’
‘And get a bottle of pink wine on the way.’
‘Let’s cycle and get a bottle of pink wine on the way.’
‘And maybe a Dutch monkey as a souvenir.’
‘Can I have a world traveller monkey?’
‘Good. Pink wine, bicycle, world traveller monkey.’

Take their wings

There is no sound. Only my breath fills the room. As if it’s the solo possessor of the air surrounding me. And still I’m looking for life. Life beside my own, but not like my own. The one thing that is between heaven and earth breathing the air we can’t breathe and moving on our gasps as if they’re wings. Their wings.

I have my blankets high up as if it would help. Blocking my emissions. Taking their wings. While my eyes are piercing the darkness terrified of what they might encounter in the realm of shadowy energy.

They are here. Giving me abilities, I don’t believe in.

*

‘Okay, that guy, over there. What is he thinking?’ Levine points at a man crossing the street across from us.
‘I think he’s thinking: wait, wait, no wait a little more, yes, now is a good time to cross the street. Or maybe he’s thinking why he still feels guilty every time he did not look to the right a second time, just like his mother taught him.’
‘No jokes, because to me it looked like he was having some pretty spicy thoughts.’
‘That is something only men can hear without words.’

‘We are an extraordinary species in that way. We are designed to secure the survival of the human order.’ He collects his golden hair with one hand.
‘And having spicy thoughts is the way to do that?’ I toss my hair back.
‘Well, we like to think that in the end it helps. Plus, it keeps life simple.’
‘You are an extraordinary simple species with only one thought that has to guarantee our continued existence.’
‘I can’t handle that many words with my one thought spectrum.’ He drops his hair. ‘Now guess her thoughts.’ He’s pointing at a blond-haired lady who looks a lot like the poodle she’s walking.

‘I told your one thought brain I don’t read minds, I’m not a Gypsy.’
‘But it’s so much fun when you do.’
‘But I don’t.’
‘When you do.’
‘What I don’t.
‘But you could.’
‘But I won’t.’
‘Because you can.’
‘Because I can’t.’
‘Then how come you do?’

‘It’s not me. I don’t. I can’t. And I won’t. I’m not psychic.’
‘But you can hear people from miles away.’
‘Yes.’
‘And that’s normal?’
‘It’s temporary. Maybe I’m stressed.’

Levine tosses his hair over his shoulder. I wiggle mine into a knot.

‘You can judge people in an instant and are always right because you are stressed?’
‘It is a much more productive way of securing survival if you ask me.’
‘Secure survival on that lady with the hundred shopping bags.’ He spans his hair between his fingers to imitate the amount of bags. I do the same and have my hands bump into his to demonstrate how clumsy you are with that kind of display of your riches. We drop our hands. ‘Do it.’

‘You don’t need me.’
‘She’s cranky she couldn’t get that one item she was looking for so she bought the entire contents of the shop.’
‘Securing survival of the money machine we live in called economy. We should thank her.’

‘Send it to her.’
‘That doesn’t work.’
‘Then how does it work?’
‘You have to really, really want it.’
‘Okay, then get somebody to call you. Get Macy to call you!’ He sits on the edge of his chair.

‘No.’
‘Then what? You are just going to bring out the super powers to safe humanity or what?’
‘Women don’t have spicy thoughts like you do.’
‘Shoot. Put your wings on woman.’ He sits back in his chair, swooping his hair back.
‘I would rather stop breathing.’

suspence, drama, mystery, blogging, writing

Face-melting guitar

‘What? I know that look.’
‘I need guitar. Loud and singing.’
‘Well, I’m no DJ and neither do I have my guitar on me, but maybe we can call a radio station to satisfy your hunger for echoing chords.’
‘I need coffee too.’
‘Coffee and guitar, isn’t that a little demanding?’
‘No, I just know what I want. And that’s coffee and a guitar solo, preferably by my favourite guitar player…’
‘…Santana.’ Then he grabs my arm and pulls me to the right into a doorway of a cozy cafe. ‘Coffee for the lady.’
‘You’re my hero,’ I say and I walk into an electrifying, face-melting guitar solo by Carlos Santana surrounded by mouth-watering fumes of fresh roasted coffee. My arms go straight over my head. Respect.

Black wine

I put down my excessively large cup and look about the room. My cup says ‘seize the day’, I don’t see why a cup should say anything, your drink will still taste the same no matter what is says, or does it?

‘I had it. I’m telling you, I had it,’ Levine nods while he speaks to underline his words.
‘I don’t think you had anything, you thought you had it and then what you didn’t have slipped.’ I say.
‘How is that even possible? And besides, I had it, I had it, I had it.’
‘Repeating it doesn’t make it more true. I have not received convincing evidence yet.’
‘Are you being a judge, because that doesn’t impress me. If I had it, then I had it.’
‘That simple? Now consider this, what if you thought what you had wasn’t really what you thought you had in the first place.’
‘How can that be? Either you got it, or you don’t.’

A firefighter’s truck rushes by with loud sirens and blinking lights. We all turn our heads in an instance drawn by the sudden action and most likely the excitement of the unknown. I pick up my seize-the-day-cup and dryly sip in the-return-of-the-rest.
‘You and your irony,’ says Levine to me. I shrug and smile. ‘Life is a joke.’
He takes a sip from his fuming coffee and remains silent for a moment.

‘So now you say you had it, but I say if you had it you would have it right now. Right here. Right in this moment.’
‘Now that is a little tricky.’ He puts down his mug and watches a kid throw a Lego piece at his sister.
‘I’d say he had it,’ I say.
‘I’d say he lost it.’ I laugh.
‘I’d say you lost it.’
‘I’d say I will give it to you, right here, right now.’
‘I’d say bring it on.’ I put down my mug with a sway.

Levine stretches his arms and cracks his knuckles. He’s like a magician at work. His hands make a bow towards the pocket of his jeans, he waves his fingers and reaches in. ‘If I didn’t know you better, I’d think that was pretty sexy.’
‘Thank you, I’m glad you know me better.’ Then he takes out his phone. He glances a look at me. But is interrupted by the auburn-haired waitress asking us if everything is okay. ‘Excuse me,’ I say, ‘does he have your number?’

Levine drops his arm in his lap and looks at me straight. ‘Told you, you don’t have it.’ The waitress smiles. ‘Two wine, please,’ Levine says and then turns to me again, ‘you scumbag, you miserable little shit, you cocky little player.’ He folds his arms and blushes while he speaks.

‘You are probably one of the sexiest man in the country right now. And you have to lie about having it. I think you should apologise to all other less sexy men who will never, can never and shall never have it. Because like you said, either you have it or you don’t. Now go get her number.’

‘I told you I have it.’ The waitress comes back with two totally black wineglasses. And then walks away. We pick up the glasses and examine them closely. ‘Did you order red or white wine?’

‘I ordered wine.’
‘Just wine? With the red-headed cute waitress whose number you don’t have.’
‘Don’t worry, I got this one too.’ He puts the black cold glass at his warm lips and it leaves a ring of steam on the outside. ‘White,’ he says, ‘I’m going for white.’
I take my chance at the black wine pool and come out completely different. ‘Red, for sure.’
‘No.’
‘Yes!’

‘Miss, Levine calls the waitress, ‘would you please bring us an empty glass.’
The waitress comes back with a transparent and empty glass and a napkin to clean the table.

‘Okay, what’s at stake here?’
‘Red, you are asking her number. White, I will get you in the pool for free.’
‘So I win both ways. Suits me.’ And he pours some wine into the glass on the table. Red, I smile a smug smile. Then he picks up the napkin from the table and says: ‘here.’
‘Her number! You’re that good.’
‘I told you I got it.’
‘Either you got it or you don’t. Here’s to black wine.’

mystery-blog-thriller-comedy

Men and their meats

‘Hey, my name is Zach, have you just arrived?’
I look like a schoolgirl that just had her first kiss. Eyes wide open. ‘I’m Tess,’ i say with a hesitation in my voice as if i’m not sure my name is really Tess. I pull my sleeves over my hands and answer his question, we’ve been here for three days now.
‘Oh, are you here with your girlfriends on a road trip?’ Pointing at our Defender with a tent installed on top. He’s good at being casual, I say to myself while he strokes his hair with one hand.
‘Me and my friends are surfing. We’re here for the swell at four in the morning.’
‘Yeah, yeah, I saw you this morning. You’re a pretty mean surfer,’ he folds his arms and nods, he must mean what he says. I shrug.
‘You surf?’
‘Me and some friends,’ he points at some tents in the distance, with some guys barbecuing in front, fumes reaching high, ‘we always come out here every year. The waves break perfectly on the banks and it’s still a bit of a secret spot,’ I nod, ‘hey, if you want come and join us tonight for some food and drinks and a good talk.’ He smiles and looks at me in my eyes, I can’t say no now.

‘You have scored,’ says Levine when I return, arms crossed and a smug smile on his face.
‘I have scored you some barbecue buddy’s,’ I defend myself.
‘Wow, good meat for all of us than.’
‘That guy is too pretty for me.’
‘That guy us totally into you!’
‘That guy couldn’t be more out of my league.’
‘That guy couldn’t be more of the smitten kitten.’
‘You couldn’t be more wrong.’
‘You couldn’t be more deceived.’
‘Well, corpses of dead animals will reveal all tonight.’
‘You just very effectively ruined barbecue night for me.’
‘You just found out,’ Macy jumps in.
‘They were the best minutes of the day.’
‘What’s up,’ Max sits down on the grass barefoot.
‘Tess just scored us a free barbecue.’
‘Awesome. Show me the meat.’
Macy and I shake our heads. Men and their meats.

We bring the salads and the veggies. ‘See, they don’t look surprised,’ I say to our men who didn’t agree on our plant-plan.
‘We have veggies. Check this out.’ The 7ach points his bright green eyes at me and starts stringing peppers, pieces of tomato and zucchini on a stick. I take my place beside him; this feels good.

‘No, baby,’ says Max, ‘just give me the heat and the meat and I am a happy man.’

‘Well, then I am about to make you the happiest man alive,’ a spike haired guy whom they apparently refer to as Elvis grabs a giant piece of steak from the table and starts rubbing it with yummy smelling spices.
‘Shut up,’ says Macy, ‘these spices tickle your taste buts.’

‘We can use them,’ I say. Zach hands me some, I take a whiff and I feel like I’m spice high. So we take some more and spread ‘m around like holiday spirit. Team Elvis now accepts the challenge and picks up slaps of meat and holds them on high, they count, one, two, three; spices fly through the air in all colours, ochre yellow, dark brown, earth red, cinnamon brown, sunset orange, soil black, delicious cream. Now, we grab our veggies and start swaying them in the rainbow of smells, picking up all the flavours and colours on the way, until our tomatoes become edible paintings.

Elvis stretches his arms and cracks his neck, ‘Okay, we got one more card to play men, this one is for all the real man,’ and all the men at the other end of the table start banging on their chest like gorillas. The herbs on their arms are jumping off in a fright. Then they slap the meat on the table making it come off the ground and pressing all the colours and smells into the meat so it can never leave. We nod. We’re impressed. But not stupid.

We pick up the knives, all of them. Like ninja’s we strike and chop up everything that’s comes in our way, meat, veggies, herbs, anything; until it looks like a Brazilian Carnival that’s about to hit the heat. Max puts an arm on Elvis’s shoulder, ‘this actually looks delicious.’ ‘These guys practice the art of deception. They make us eat veggies.’ The people who have been witnessing our show from a distance are clapping.

Zach puts an arm around my neck and kisses my head. ‘Good teamwork,’ he says. And we stretch our teamwork to our neighbours by handing out our spicy ratatouille to our audience and they love it. People bring in more food and we mash-up anything they give. Zach and I came up with a seven-step-system: sprinkle, spread, rub, slab, turn, chop and burn. ‘You two are working this,’ a red-haired lady shouts.

We slice and smoke until there is nothing left and we crash into our seats with a humpf. Levine is checking me. I raise my eyebrows. ‘I seem to have been outstripped by cutie green eyes right next to you,’ he whispers. ‘No, baby, I’ll never stop loving you.’
‘I would believe you if I didn’t know you this well.’
‘What? I mean it.’
‘Yes, you and your irony.’ He clunks our wineglasses together. ‘So tell me Zach, you seem like a regular here, how many times have you been here before?’
‘Seven,’ I say out loud.
‘Seriously?’ Zach starts counting his fingers. ‘For real?’
‘That was awesome,’ cries Elvis swinging his tattoos in the motion.

‘You always come here with these butchers?’
‘No, I come here with my wife and children too,’ he says without a blush. I start chortle and clunk my glass to Levine’s this time.
‘Them dirty ghosts. Well at least I’m still…’
‘…no, you will always be my number one.’
‘Here’s to good food and good times and perfect waves.’

Banana nice cream

I have been sitting behind a window of a cafe for the last two hours staring at a giant ice cream. It makes me wanna eat ice cream. Preferably banana ice cream. I text Levine and Macy:
I’m about to get me some nice cream, anybody want to share in this moment of glory?
M: I could do with some cold saucy yumminess.
L: Got mermaid nice cream? #gimme
T: I got all you need, baby. Just wait and taste.
L: #droolingalready
M: Gimme rainbow nice cream.

I bring home a bucket full of all the colours of nice cream I could find. ‘In my defence I got tempted by a giant icecream the size of Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock.’
‘That is the worst kind of temptation,’ says Levine all blue mouthed but then he stops in the motion.
‘I’m with him,’ Macy jumps in before she suddenly sits erect.
‘Whatup?’ I ladle some nice cream where it belongs, in my mouth, and then I do it again, and again, and again until I’ve tasted the nice cream rainbow. I point my spoon up in the air, give it a swing and then continue eating.

‘Hello?’ says Levine.

‘So what they all taste like banana? I ordered the rainbow and got all colours of banana. I’m happy.’