Dr. Paris: In Conversation with Cupid

Read Part 1 & Part 2

“Testing, 1, 2, 3,  I am Dr. Andy Paris, this is February 15th at 2pm. My next client, has a standing appointment once a year on this date.”

“Hello, Dr. Paris.”

“Good afternoon. Would you like some chocolate? I have plenty leftover from yesterday.”

“Is that a joke?”

“I’m so sorry, that was quite insensitive of me. I’ll put these away. Can you tell me about your week?”

“It’s not just a week now. It’s the entire month. It’s almost two months! Two months of fat diapered babies with bow-and-arrows. Do I look like a fat diapered baby to you?”

“Of course not.”

“Plus it’s not even about love anymore. It used to be about love. Now it’s every kid at every school in the whole damn continent. They don’t love each other, some of them don’t even like each other. Why do they keep it up? Is it just to torture me?”

“I’m sure it’s not.”

“And what do mutated turtles and large eyed women have to do with me anyway? They’re almost worse than the fat babies. I don’t even know who I am anymore. Am I the god of Disney and Star Wars? Am I the god of cinnamon and chalk?”

“…Chalk?”

“Those tiny hearts with writing on them. Are they not chalk?”

“Those are actually supposed to be candy.”

“Really? Well that’s just a slap in the face.”

“Getting back to yesterday, did you do what I suggested last year?”

“I’m trying. I tried to do what you said, but I don’t want to be by myself for two whole months.”

“Did you at least get to a secluded spot yesterday?”

“I…. attempted that.”

“And what happened?”

“I booked this cabin in the woods, this cute little exclusive resort, away from everything.”

“Oh no.”

“It turned out to be a couple’s resort! Cabin after cabin of blissful couples, all there for..for…”

“It’s okay to say it, saying it won’t hurt you.”

“VALENTINE’S DAY!”

“I’m so sorry that happened to you.”

“I was surrounded by them! Flowers and chocolates and stupid fat babies. I had to fly from cabin to cabin. I witnessed three proposals!”

“That must have been very frustrating.”

“I can’t get away from it. When love is near, I have to obey. I have to go and fire my stupid magical arrows all day. It’s exhausting. It’s un-ending. AND IT’S EVERY DAMN YEAR!”

“I know, Mr. Cupid, I know.”

[muffled sobs]

“Same.” [sob] “time” [sob] “next year?” [sob]

“Yes, of course. And more often if you’d like. You cry for as long as you need to.”

 

[end recording]

Motherhood

                  

001Motherhood

I dreamed

that you drowned.

Your little head

beneath water

and no matter

how hard I tried

I couldn’t reach you

in time.

I felt your small body

limp in my arms.

 

I awoke to your cries

alive, awake

seeking milk and comfort

not knowing my fear

only my love.

 

 

artwork by Paul Moffett

Fanfic Friday: Devotion

She wakes him up every morning by placing her paws on his chest. He rises, groaning, pours his tea and eats kippers and toast. He puts half his breakfast in a saucer for her. She worries he’s getting too old for this, but it has been their routine for so many years. She watches, he mops. She prowls, he scrubs. There is not a soul in this castle who fully understands their connection. It began so many years ago; her abilities were so strong and he had none.

She worries that maybe he’s forgotten who she used to be, before the change, before the punishment. Once, she was human, a witch so powerful it almost made up for the fact that he was powerless. But she left him when they were still children, she fell in with the wrong sort.

She worries he doesn’t remember the time she showed up on his doorstep. It was the last time he saw her as a human. She begged him, pleaded that he take care of her. He was the only one left alive that loved her. Her punishment would become bearable if she came with him. He agreed, and that was the last she’d heard him speak of it.

The next time they met she was confined to a cat’s body, punished to live the rest of her days in feline form. Her task was now protecting the school she’d once attended. He took a job as caretaker and now so many years had passed them by.

She worries that he’s bitter, that he truly does hate all the children and the teachers and the entire castle. She worried that one day he’ll leave her.

But still he stays, eternally devoted to a cat with lamp-like eyes.

Dr Paris: Therapist to the Supernatural

Read part 1

“This is Dr. Andy Paris, recording this 14th day of January at 3:30 in the afternoon. My patient is Ms. Belledonte.”

“Good afternoon, Dr.Paris.”

“I need to inform you that I have begun recording my sessions. The recordings are password protected on my computer and will not be listened to by anyone else. Do I have your consent on that?”

“Yes. I suppose that is fine.”

“How has your week been?”

[a long sigh from Ms. Belledonte]

“He’s been following me again. Theo. I haven’t seen him in almost a  century and he’s started following me.”

“Where was it that you saw him?”

“He has a MAN BUN! A fucking man bun. And hipster glasses. He didn’t even wear those in the 60s. He has never been on trend. When I saw him in the 1850’s, he was wearing a tricorn hat like it was 17-fucking- 76. Where does he get off with this flannel and man bun nonsense?”

“So you saw him…”

“He used to do this, you know, he used to stalk me, follow me around all the time when we were both in Vienna.”

“And this was…”

“During the Black Plague. He got it in his head that this would be the thing to finish us off. He followed me around, seeing if I would catch it first. But of course I didn’t. Of course WE didn’t. I couldn’t shake him if my life depended on it.

“He’s been following you…”

[a cough] “Well.”

“Are you worried he followed you here?”

“He followed me…on twitter.”

“On twitter.”

“Well it’s bloody the same as following me down the street nowadays isn’t it? I just want to know what he’s playing at. Following me like this.”

“This seems to have had quite the effect on your week.”

“Not just my week, Dr. Paris. Not just my week.”

“No?”

“My whole fucking existence! I only see Theo once, maybe twice a century. He’s this… simpering idiot. This fool of a man. How he got to be an immortal, I’ve never figured out. But to have him following me on twitter changes our dynamic. Plus that fucking man bun.”

“Have you considered blocking him?”

[another long sigh from Ms. Belledonte]

“That’s… an idea. But, I don’t know… I don’t care. I don’t care about him, I don’t care about his stupid, immortal face. I just want it to go away.” [a long silence] “I mean, of course I CARE about him, he’s the only other immortal I’ve got. But I can only take so much of him.”

“So what happens next?”

“I just don’t know. I used to be the one who was ‘of the now’… maybe now it’s him. Maybe I take a rest for a decade or so.”

“A rest?”

“Just a… time off from being the most fabulous creature in the room, you know? A thousand years of trendsetting is wearing a little thin. Every move I make followed by everyone around me. Even you, doctor! I see you watching me. You’ve even stopped writing on that damn notepad”

“I did inform you I’d be recording these sessions. I don’t need to take as many notes.”

“You’re just as obsessed with me as he is. The entire thing is so typical of him. I was on twitter ten years ago. And now he’s on it just to annoy me. As if a thousand years of annoying me isn’t enough.

“Could I-”

“This week has just been the absolute worst! You mortals have no idea what it takes to maintain this level of sophistication. Justine – that’s my hair stylist – Justine is retiring! She just started doing my hair thirty years ago and now I have to find someone new. Again. My housekeeper wants to work fewer hours, just because she had a baby! Doesn’t she see how that inconveniences me?”

“Could I – “

“Everything is fucking wrong with everything. I think Theo is behind it all. He wants me to suffer. He wants to take all that I have!”

“Ms. Belladonte. Marina. Could I just ask you a question?”

“Fine.”

“How many followers does Theo have on twitter?”

“MORE THAN ME!”

“That’s what I suspected. Now, I know you want help with this. You’re coming here because you want to work on your relationships.”

“With mortals. Not with Theo.”

“Exactly. So, I want you to start by blocking Theo on twitter. Just for a week and see if it makes you feel better.”

“I guess.”

“I’m afraid our time is up for today, Ms. Belledonte.”

“Alright, Dr. Paris.” [a long sigh] “Same time next week?”

“Absolutely”

[end recording]

Deadlines

The deadline for her writing project grew nearer and nearer and she stared at the blank page with increasing frustration. How was she supposed to write in her voice, but about herself? It seems like such a fun assignment, but the distractions kept mounting. New books were published, podcasts filled her phone, twitter kept updating and that candy certainly wasn’t going to crush itself. And most of all, they just kept airing more and more superhero shows. It was a job in itself just to keep up – nevermind her actual job. Plus two kids. Speaking of which, the voice of a five year old little girl called from the bedroom.

“Moommmyyyeeee!!!”

Sighing, Jan walked down the hall and knelt by her daughter’s bed.

“Mommy, I can’t sleep. Tell me a story.”

“Alright. Once upon a time there was a tiger named…”

“TIGG!” The little girl held her stuffed tiger aloft.

“Tigg. Tigg lived deep in the dark jungle. One day Tigg wandered away from her mommy and daddy and found herself all alone in the jungle. No matter where she looked, she couldn’t find her way home. Suddenly she heard a noise ‘Ah-chooo!’. Tigg was scared, but so she hid in some nearby bushes. She watched as a big grey foot stomped by and heard another ‘Ah-choo!’. It was Sneezy the Elephant!”

“Yay!”

Sneezy was a character Jan had invented one night when her story had been interrupted by a sneeze attack. In the past, Sneezy had rescued a princess, saved an owl and helped a bunny find her carrots.

“Sneezy saw Tigg cowering in the bushes and said ‘What are you doing in there, little tiger?’ And Tigg said ‘I’m lost and I can’t find my home.’ So Sneezy scooped up Tigg with her trunk and sat her on top of her head. From there, Tigg could see all over the jungle, and she saw where her house was. So Sneezy took her back to her home where she was so tired from her adventure that she curled up in her cave, slowly relaxed her whole body and fell fast asleep.”

The kids had yet to notice that every single nighttime story ended with the main character falling asleep. She whispered goodnight, left the room and faced her computer again, this time with a story in her head.

Home

The hunt for Polly began just after midnight. We knew she’d wandered off, but it wasn’t until the credits started rolling on our movie that we realized she wasn’t there at all. It wasn’t normal for her to be gone at this time of the night. Then again, we’d been distracted lately. Tonight was the first time Sera and I had been able to relax and watch TV in several weeks. We had curled up on the couch together, but Polly hadn’t been there, trying to sneak popcorn and waving her tail in front of the screen.

Sera and I searched the house, calling for her and peeking into her usual hiding spaces, but she wasn’t under our bed or in the basement. The house seemed huge, there were so many more tiny spaces than our old apartment. We couldn’t hear a single meow, so we ended up putting our shoes on and heading out into the yard. I pulled up my hood as Sera and I headed in opposite directions. It seemed unlikely she’d be out in this rain if she could help it, but there were many places to find shelter. The barn seemed the most likely, even if she wasn’t a fan of it. We had only moved to the farm a few months ago and Polly was much more content to stay inside the warm house rather than explore the drafty rotting wood of the barn. I didn’t blame her. I hoped we’d tear it down soon, but other projects kept getting in the way. I held my flashlight aloft and swept it back and forth,  checking the darkest corners, but I knew it was unlikely she’d be there.

Sure enough, empty.

Polly was used to the city. It was the only home she’d known. We both struggled to make the country our new home. We were here for Sera. She had a dream and so we packed our things and moved into this fixer-upper house with 10 acres of land to make fertile.

“Maia! Did you find her?” Sera called from the tree line at the front of our property.

“No luck!” I called back. We met back at the house, and she embraced me.

“We’ll find her. But maybe we should just search in the morning.” Sera knew how I felt about Polly. She had come with me into our relationship. In name, she had become ours, but she always remained mine. I felt terrible that I hadn’t given her much attention lately. Our renovations had me falling into bed without seeking her out for a snuggle. It felt like it had been months since her warm body had been curled  on my lap.

Inside, we stripped off wet coats and clothes and climbed into bed. Sleep overtook me and before I knew it, I was staring at a clock that read 5:22am. I shouldn’t be awake this early, but something had woken me. I sat up and paused, my brain slowly coming out of its fog. My ears began to realize what they were hearing. It sounded almost like a baby’s cry, but now it was a meow somewhere in the house. My feet fell into my slippers and I padded down the hall to the spare room. How had we forgotten the spare room closet? I pulled it open and there she was.

I knelt beside her and stroked her fur. Quietly, I padded back to Sera and shook her awake.

“Whatsit? What time..? OH!”

I placed impossibly tiny kitten on her pillow. One of five to be born in the wee hours, making this her home and Polly’s. And mine.

Visitation

The air is thick with grief in this house. Every move I make seems intrusive. I’m sitting on a chair that could be hers, drinking tea from a cup that once touched her lips. Am I being properly respectful? What should I mention or not mention?

There’s just the two of them now, mother and daughter. I don’t know about the father, but the sister has been gone just two weeks.  I have not met them till this day and unlike so many others to cross their path, I have no sense of what fills the hole. I had never met the dead sister, only been told of her charm, her outgoing personality. All I see here is the gap, this space where she once was, now filled by pain.

I’ve accompanied my pastor on this visit, in the hopes I can talk to the younger sister, be an ally in the days to come. My mouth feels full of marbles and sand as I try to talk to her. The two of us awkwardly set up future meetings in more neutral places. Coffee next week, lunch in a month or so. She twists a colorful friendship bracelet around and around her wrist and I notice that its lettered beads spell out her sister’s name.

Uncomfortable in my intrusion, I excuse myself to use the washroom. There are framed pictures all down the hall. One is of the two sisters, brunettes with matching eyes, the older one with her hand on the younger’s shoulder, her smile broad and inviting. I enter the bathroom and it smells of vanilla and patchouli, hairspray and Nair. There are bottles all over the bathroom; body spray and shampoo and body wash and essential oils – all in colourful bottles, arranged like candles on an altar.

I glance at myself in the bathroom mirror, my eyes full of tears. Catching my breath, I wash my face and go take my place again at the kitchen table, carefully, slowly, not wanting to make even a ripple in the air.

 

Dr. Paris: Therapist to the Supernatural Part 1

“Testing, testing. 1 2 3. This is Dr. Andy Paris, recording this 13th day of January, 2016. It is 8:30 on Friday morning and my first session of the day will begin as soon and my patient arrives”
“Actually, I’m already here.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry Mr. Green, it was difficult to see you in the full sunlight.”
[sound of papers shuffling] “So last week we had just begun talking about… Jane.”
“It’s like I’m invisible to her. She barely acknowledged I was in the room last week. Is that fair?”
“Are you sure she can see you? I did have some trouble when you came in.”
“She threw a pillow through my head the other night.”
“A pillow?”
“Yes! She yelled at me and threw a pillow. Went right through my head and hit the wall behind me.”
“What was happening at the time?”
“Well…” [a long pause] “Mr. Green?”
“I was in her bedroom.”
“Yes?”
“And she may have been trying to be intimate with her new husband.”
[a long sigh from Mr. Green] [papers shuffle] “I wasn’t going to visit her anymore! I had stopped for so long. Then I saw her coming out of a church, she was in this beautiful dress. I mean, it wasn’t white, so at least she wasn’t pretending I never… she got remarried! After all our time together! Even after I watched over her for…”
[sounds of sobbing] “Here, Mr. Green. Have a tissue.” [louder sobbing] “I’m so sorry, I wasn’t thinking. Of course a tissue wouldn’t help someone in your…situation.”[a pause, the sobbing lessens] “So you watched her for… [papers shuffling] three years post-mortem. Was she aware of you during that time?”
“I..I think so. She talked to me on occasion. But..”
“But?”
“I wanted her to move on! I hated to see her so sad all the time.”
“And when she did move on?”
“I didn’t know she had! I went back two weeks ago and there she was getting married! I was so angry. I thought she’d still be wallowing in her sweatpants and watching Netflix. And the worst part is this new guy…this new guy…I don’t even know him! How could she meet a brand new person and marry him!”
[a long pause] “Let’s get back to this pillow throwing incident that seems to have set you off this week.”
“Well…well…okay. You see… I started visiting her again after she got married. Mostly she was alone. I’d just sit on her couch.”
“Just sit?”
“Fine! I’d sit on her couch and look through our wedding album.”
[another pause] “…and?”
“And I’d leave it out. Open to the page of us with the word ‘Always’.”
“You seem to be having trouble getting to this pillow incident, Mr. Green.”
“It was so dark last week. The fog and the snow and the early sunsets. I felt myself slipping away. So I went to her. I wanted to see her just one last time.”
“And when you got there?”
“There were candles! There were candles everywhere and she looked so beautiful lighting them. I almost thought they were for me. Then HE came in. Silk boxers and a rose in his teeth. Bastard.”
“Sounds like they were having a very romantic evening.”
“It was romantic all right. I just…I just… I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I manifested. Appeared right in the corner and started knocking over candles. And that’s when she screamed and threw a pillow at me.”
“What happened next? Did you leave?”
“The pillow [a sob] the pillow [a sob] caught fire.”
“Oh my…wait…” [a shuffle of papers]“…is your wife named Jane Jackson now?”
“YES!” [uncontrollable sobbing] “YOU KNOW IT IS!”
“Mr Green? Mr. Green?”
[a click as the tape recorder is turned off, then back on again] “This is Dr. Andy Paris. Mr. Green has disappeared. His wife, Jane Jackson and her new husband Calvin recently perished in a house fire. Now that I have this information, I may be able to assist Mr. Green more beneficially. It is 9:45am on January 13th.”
[end of recording]

Every Chick Lit Novel

fakebook

 

In a city, in the U.S. or maybe Canada, but probably not England, because that’d take more research; a generically attractive white woman sits at a chain coffee shop. She sips her pumpkin spice latte, nibbles a scone, and taps out words on a laptop. She’s dressed for a fall day – leather boots, a long knit scarf, a pea coat.

In a few moments, a man will enter. He’s dressed in a suit, because he’s a businessman. He’s not the boss yet, still a bit young for that. He’s a half-dozen years after finishing his degree and a couple of promotions away from the job he’ll stay in for the next few decades.

Generic white attractive dude enters the coffee shop. He orders a black Americano and notices that all the tables are full. Instead of turning around and walking out, generic white attractive dude – oh, let’s call him John (even though he’s more likely a Parker or Dermott) – he sits next to Mary. Mary is generic white woman, even though she’s more likely to be Emily or Chloe. Mary looks up and John says there are no more seats. Instead of being apologetic, he’s weirdly aggressive and arrogant about it. She instantly hates him and he thinks she’s beautiful, but he’s annoyed with people who use coffee shops as offices.

This is where the story ends, these two never see each other again. But, no! These two are destined for each other, but you already knew that, didn’t you?

They’ll meet again, and again, and again. She’ll hate him, he’ll hate her until suddenly they realize that all they want to do is lick each other’s mouths, which they do.

Is this the beginning of couplehood and bliss? Are you kidding me? Of course not.

Because just after that intense first kiss, spunky redhead shows up. She’s John’s girlfriend from back in Small Town. Her name’s Tiffany or Candi or something that brings up mean girl vibes, but also a lack of brain cells. All seems lost. Mary is furious. A couple of weeks pass and Mary eats ice cream, drinks wine from a comically large glass, and wears yoga pants while sitting on her couch.

Then (probably gay) male friend of John turns up to tell her the truth: Tiffany is manipulative! He broke up with her years ago!

But John is mad and it’s going to take a big gesture to bring these two back together. Mary knows just what to do. She convinces the owners of the coffee shop to let her use it after they close, because fictional coffee shops are super accommodating. When John arrives, he finds that every table has a cardboard cut-out of Mary on her laptop. How did she make them? Who cares! It’s adorable!

Soon, John has no choice but to smile. He finds Mary in the sea of cardboard and they kiss. All is well. She makes an adorable reference to a quirk she revealed early on in their relationship and he says something about wanting it to be around forever.

 

The End.

 

Roll credits.

Movie rights are optioned within the year.

 

But wait!  There’s a sequel. They get engaged and married in it and it’s mad anti-climactic. And in the third book, they have a baby and John has an affair. Nobody likes the third book.

Fanfic Friday: Letter to a Dead Sister

September 25th, 1971

My Dear Lucy, 

I find myself writing to you on your birthday, as though I could just post this letter and you would receive it. I imagine you, a young woman now, tearing open an envelope from your big sister in America. Sharing it with your husband, your children.

And yet.

I turned thirty-six just a few weeks ago, my children are all in school and I have long moments to myself. Moments to write, to think. Moments I haven’t had in many years. Through the whirlwind of grief leading to marriage and three children in quick succession. I put you out of my mind.

And yet.

There are times when I am brushing my hair when I remember. I remember longer hair, hair that fell almost to my knees. Long velvet dresses that were so much more delicate and beautiful than anything I wear today.

And yet.

That all seems like a dream, a fairytale, really. Horseback rides and archery. The stories I read to my children with talking animals stir a part of my brain. I have lived two lifetimes. I have rejected the hands of Kings and conversed with bears and boars. That girl, she was carefree and not burdened by the grief that overwhelms me. My in-laws talk in hushed whispers about my family sometimes. To inform a new acquaintance about where I come from. “Her family – they all died in the war.”

And yet.

It was not the war that took them, no bomb that fell. No brothers in uniform. It was the Lion. How can I forgive Him? He stole you all from me. Most of all you, my beloved baby sister. No precious diamond cordial could save you. No trumpet’s song could pull you back to my world.

And yet.

I live on. The age I once was and beyond. My brothers, my sister, you all cease to be. I alone grow old. I alone raise children. Too much was my grief to name them for you. Too much was my grief to stay in the country of my birth.

And yet.

An ocean does not divide me from the memories. An ocean cannot make me forget that I was a queen.

Your loving sister forever,

Susan