Ou La La!

Photo by Roman.

This is another panel from the 2022 Artists of the Wall. This one, I believe, was completed after the event as I do not at all remember seeing it when I took photos there a week after. There are usually a few panels that get completed in the weeks after, but then, befuddled by fumes of THC as I often am, how can I say for sure if this is one of them?

“Ou la la” could be an appropriate title. “La la,” I have read, is something one might say over spilt milk:

It is a dark and stormy night. The rain comes gushing down: A multitude of splats becomes a roar, the air a thousand concussions. A cold wind descends from heaven. Outside flickers with a sick florescent sky. Inside humidity makes the jar slick when returned to the fridge. It slips. It falls. It breaks in pieces: a half pound of coffee.

Oh! la la…

Thus back in the imaginary days of the Moulin Rouge, “ou la la” accompanied the choreographed display of chorus-girls’ underwear as an expression of mass mock dismay over a collective wardrobe malfunction.

Of course, that may all be so much horse feathers as “la la” is not exclusively dismay…

Santa on Vacation?

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Photo by Roman

— Santa Claus!

The fat man whirled with a finger to his lips.

— Shush! If Mrs. Claus finds out I’m here, there’ll be hell to pay. She thinks I’m in contract negotiations with the Elves Union. Not another word, not to anyone, or you won’t even get coal in your Christmas sock. There’ll be coal ash under your tree and your home will be an EPA superfund site.

— Will there be a strike?

— Of course not! We settled-up in an afternoon. It was mostly a matter of the elves trying to figure out what the elves wanted; they’re never prepared.

— What did they get?

— Anything they wanted. They’re elves for Pete’s Sake! You don’t mess with them when they’re on a solidarity kick. And, anyway, it’s for Christmas; why would anyone deny them? Now if you’ll excuse me, we’ve got tickets to see Elvish Pressley and I gotta go.

— But what are–

Not a word! Remember!

— Yip

Back when I was some 40 pounds heavier, “Santa!” was a typical wise-guy cry, at least seasonally, though my impression is that it was as much the beard and the coat as it was the weight because during the warm months of the year “ZZ Top!” would take the lead.

But I have indeed threatened coal ash when fingered as Santa. “ZZ Top” usually just got a denying shake of the head with a smile but on one occasion, the bloke was serious. That was creepy.

Before the COVID, these encounters would happen several times each year, mostly in good humor though repetitious. Even so, children, be careful what you wish for when you wish to be a star.

Post Script: It hadn’t happened in a while, but this last Sunday I was fingered as Jerry Garcia. But wait, Garcia is gratefully dead. Do I look that bad?

Arachnid in the Bathtub!

And what kind of name is “Shelob” anyway?

Photo by Roman.

For this I beg your pardon. Some will object to the image quality. Meh! The lighting was poor that morning. Some will object to simply being presented with a spider. Eek! But the spider is now dead and I wish to present its image to all and sundry because I killed it out of fear. Although, when it appeared in the tub that morning, it was warned: You have six or seven hours to leave.

Centipedes heed this warning more often than not and are gone by then. If not, it is removed, scoop and toss, leaving it perhaps a bit less fit but still alive and able to do what it does so well: Hunt other bugs.

The spider remained in the tub and was whacked with a sandal. Yes, that is a double standard for rescues. Centipedes are reliably venomous and are far more alien-creepy than any spider could be and they move real fast. Using alarm as a standard, centipedes should die on sight. But centipedes seem to listen whereas spiders have a cold just-business-nothing-personal affect even though they may be harmless and shy. I lief leave spiders be when they’re not in the way. Otherwise…

So this is my apology to the spider. It was entirely personal. You were not even food.

Sun, Sand & Sales

It was a cold day some time in 1998 along a seemingly vacant beach in Loyola Park. A lonely vendor ventures, ever hopeful, into what would seem a market wasteland and…

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Loyola Park, 1998. Photo by Roman.

…he scores! Considering his small share of the sale price, he might have been better off eating his own merchandise, but he aspires to more than just feeding himself. Will he succeed with this pushcart? The odds are: He probably did not. But who knows? These customers appeared out of nowhere, after all. I suspect them of purchasing nostalgia as well as sweets. Sugar and childhood! How’s that for a sure thing?

Night Lights 6

Photo / graphic by Roman.

Where am I? My situational awareness is absent, reduced to warmth… comfort… bed… and as I begin to awaken I seem to rotate within some delimited space, falling toward a maximum probability until: I fit! That’s right. It’s night. I’m in bed and not at all ready for the day, which it is not. If you love me, I will sleep.

Yip

In the Time of Feeling Fragile

Photo by Roman.

I became ill several days ago. Oh no… I’ll not burden you with a mantra chant of symptoms: coincidental or otherwise, imaginary or all too real, amusing or gross.

So what is wrong and what of it?

How can I tell you? I mean… I do not know. Could be one thing. Could be another. Could be several things. A label would be idle speculation.

And so what of it…

Simply that it slowed me down… Yet that only made a small difference in what I’ve accomplished. No, this is not a triumph. Rather it is that I was already moving that slow.

–Yip

Here flies the banner…

Photo by Roman.

… of the Frost Queen and Her consort,
the Earl of Autumn.

They say Her Worship is the polar bear’s pajamas. But the Mister, He’s not so much, being Her mister-right-now, not mister-right. It’s a sinister business, if I may beg your pardon, but I predict She’ll be with Winter before long, Whomever that may be, as sure as the world spins.

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Photo by Roman.

As delicate as a silhouette against a shade, it draws the eye. Are we voyeurs to witness a leaf slowly shutting down, its life draining away to the greater tree, dreaming a blaze of sun-burnt color? Is this a guilty intimacy or a sacred sharing? Or is it after all only tomorrow is another year?

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Photo by Roman.

A drama fruit, a diva fruit, the apple of my eye?

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Photo by Roman.

The social gossip of courtiers… we heard it on the grapevine… which way’s the main stem… it’s the happening scene… the carnival crowd, grifters and peasants… in this strange, strange land where even the area codes are alien and beg repeating.

–Yip

The Old Family Home

a spider’s meditation

Photo by Roman.

Our old web was never worth all that much. Mom always said that it never caught anything but dust and Dad and Dad was barely enough to sustain a clutch of eggs. You’d think a window web would prosper but no, it was a waste land. I had a whole passel of sisters when we hatched but now there’s just me. When you live in a desert, you make do. Between Mom and me, my sisters lasted a while. Dinnertime was always a family affair.

Nothing is left. Time to move on. Thanks Mom. You were great.

— Yip