Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Iron Forge

The snow blankets the enormous conifers and distant peaks and the ground, glittering like quartz. The tents in the area form a vague and uneven circle, leaving wide distances between some and almost none between others. There are two varieties, one that is completely enclosed and shaped like a giant mushroom sewn of tanned hides and another that is a simple canopy open on three sides. Everywhere about the encampment, kegs are stacked in pyramids and clumped together in hasty trios. They vary in size from the very small to the enormous, large enough to make a comfortable room for one of the short bearded men littering the camp. Here and there, a keg has been tapped and an assortment of characters is gathered.
The most predominant figures are the short men with their long braided beards and arms and legs bursting with muscles, but there are others as well, a few men, usually armored warriors with a weathered air about them and women as well, with their red hair pulled back in braids and their eyes shining with a hard cold light used to spying stretches of open road or smoldering battlefields. For now they laugh and toast one another’s health and drink frothy brew from beautifully decorated steins.
A tall creature with pale skin and long pointed ears protruding through the silken threads of her cascading blue hair stands apart from the crowds dancing in the center by herself. She wears a red skirt that hangs about her front and back like a loincloth leaving her long legs and toned thighs exposed. Her top barely conceals her moderate cleavage and leaves her mid drift bare. Warmed with liquor and oblivious to the cold, she dances with the sinewy movements of a serpent.
Another similar creature is inspecting a rather large ram, the mount of one of the stocky little men. The creature with the pointed ears looks into the beast’s eyes, ears, nose and mouth while the small man belches and attempts to explain the appropriate way to handle the ram, swaying all the while and occasionally loosing his train of thought or reaching out to steady himself against the taller creature’s kneecap. Every so often, a rider charges into the encampment and the motley crew cheers a greeting. They find themselves a place near a keg or by a small fire where something roasts on a spit and little men already sit around chewing at roasted meats and loosing gristle in their beards.
The sky overhead is a steely gray and a red sun sinks slowly behind the far off neighboring peaks. Horses waiting for their riders stamp the snow and whine to each other and munch bales of hay alongside with rams, while keeping a wary eye on the camp dogs who chew bones with wolfish grins and turn their pointy ears to listen to the laughter and singing of the men.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mirror in the Garage

The interior of an old garage smells faintly of old wood and earth. The air is cool and damp although soft light still filters in from the row of windows on the very top of the garage door. The cement floor is cold. It is a pale gray color which is free of any oil spots or spider carcasses or balls of dust and hair. It is a large square space that is filled only with half a dozen white washing machines and an old couch which is a few feet away from being in the center of the space. The couch is facing one of the walls. There are no shelves of built-in wood cabinets. No boxes, no resting cars. The walls are covered in white drywall. The couch is long enough for three people to sit comfortably. But it is a stern couch that lacks comfort and padding. The sides have a thin layer of stuffing, but it is not fluffy or good for resting a head. It is somber and very straight. It does not invite a nap. The upholstery is tan. It is made of many woven little strings in varying hues of brown, beige and tan fibers that combine to form a tweed fabric. There are two people on the couch. They sit close, revealing their intimate knowledge of each other’s bodies. There is a young woman, she is slender and has shoulder length brown hair that is mostly straight but has a few waves. The man, who has his arm draped around her comfortably, has a black beard and long black hair that is pulled behind him in a pony tail. He has a black hat on with a short wide bill, the kind of hat made popular by leftist-guerillas in the tropics of Central America. He has a t-shirt that is almost hidden by a black jeans jacket, but left-leaning political messages sprout from the semi-visible garment. Both their eyes are fixed on the doorway five feet away from them. The door connects to the neighbor’s house. The door has a mirror attached to it and they see their reflection. Him, with his hat. Her, with her big brown eyes. They look into the mirror, but not only does their reflection greet them, but they see a portly woman. She is in the mirror, she is behind the door which is actually not covered in reflective glass, but tinted glass. She is motionless and staring at them. She has short blond hair and large breasts. Her wide stomach is covered in the fabric of her patterned apron. The couple looks into the glass and see her, they see the living room which stands behind her. She stares at them, at the couple sitting on a couch in a white garage.