Old Bonnie & Clyde still active!

Bank robbery has been surpassed, since most people’s bank accounts have bottomed out due to the international financial crisis. Where is the money? Well, being at Christmas threshold, it must be in the consumers’ pocket. That’s a possible string of thought for Mrs. and Mr. Brown, the old couple from Detroit that was arrested last night with the charges of committing fraud and robbery.

Kate Brown, 78, dressed in black, pretended to mourn the sudden death of her husband, Bob Brown, 82, who in his own turn played the dead on his wheel chair. This daily performance was taking place at White Street, close to Halliday’s Mall, a crowded place especially during Christmas season. The unsuspicious victims, who run to help them, caught by surprise were deceived, attacked and robbed.

The police had been watching the two partners for some time, gathering evidence, and taking photos. The case was assigned to detective MacClaine, who caught the frauds in the act. Yesterday, at 6 pm, he came out of his car, which was parked for stake out reasons opposite to the Halliday’s Mall, and handcuffed the couple, while they were trying to rob a fifteen years old girl at the dark alley nearby.

“Mr. Brown was standing on his feet alright and Mrs. Brown was the most cheerful widow I have ever seen”, stated detective McClane in his report. During the press conference, Harry Bogomill, the chief of Detroit’s police department, noted that this was the third fraud case in the last month. So, next time you meet a beggar or a stranger in distress, be careful… things are not always the way they seem to be!

Reflections

She looked around with wonder. Everything seemed brand new to her. The strange light, the shadows on the walls, the sounds, the odors… It is true that she felt a kind of discomfort in this place, where the only pleasant or should she say safe thing was the face of this woman, who was always smiling at her with endless tenderness and care. And when she first held her in her loving arms, she needed nowhere else to be, nothing else to pursue. But now she was all alone staring at these strange figures that were hanging upon her in a spinning magic dance accompanied by little sounds that made her feel sleepy regardless her desire to stay firm and investigate the surroundings. Her eyes flinched a little at the sight of a small flying creature that was approaching her with great speed only to sit on her soft cheek with a violent landing that hurt much indeed. Her eyes started immediately to blur and a sort of warm fluid poured down on her cheeks. She cried loudly in want of the woman, who was to come and relieve her from this sudden pain. The woman entered with an incomprehensible but soothing talk, took her in her arms and patted her on the back softly, a gesture that felt always good for some reason. And then, she saw something striking that drew her attention so much that stopped her crying instantly. She reached her little hand towards another person, who also stressed a hand to achieve the contact, but the distance between them was prohibitive. She stressed herself harder this time, and the loving woman, who was carrying her, turned around to see what the effort was all about, and consented to this contact by smiling and moving her a step closer. The touch was slow and cold and too weird. Who is this person and how is it possible to be carried by the same woman? She thought in extreme puzzle.

Blighted Eden

Night had already laid the dark veil of mystery and distrust upon this remote little village. Abandonment and decay were observant to the shallowest eye, while inhaling the suffocating air made dead silence smell like a real corpse. Folded into dense mist the street laments filled the atmosphere with doubt and remorse. A few passengers went by in haste, holding tightly their personal effects – a parcel, an umbrella, a walking stick – as if someone would try to take possession of them out of a sudden.

As soon as the streets got empty again, a strange man appeared on the bridge that provided a safe passing over the river which was a natural boundary between the safety of the village and the wilderness of the forest. The man gave the impression of a gentleman, with his refined black coat, his black hat, and his black leather gloves. Enveloped into this blackness he walked heavily, but decisively towards the village. He had crossed his arms before his chest in defense of the wild wind that blew incessantly against his vulnerable existence, slowing down his already slow pace. His will was too futile to persist on Nature’s intentions, thus forcing him to stand still for a moment. He was a figure almost shadowy, a strange wanderer of solitude, who under the dim lit moon formed uncommon shapes on to the stone walls of the narrow bridge. He carried nothing, but his own puzzles and agony. He had no reason to haste or a place to go. Despite his neat appearance, he cared not for stepping into the mud and paid no attention to the howling that came from the deep forest. It was not bravery, but rather indifference what kept him calm and unaffected.

His dark and skinny silhouette from a distance and within this foggy air resembled to a tree trunk, or at least this was the first impression of another fine man, who was galloping quickly closer and closer. Reaching the man, the rider ordered his horse to stop and looking down the mysterious gentleman, he said: “Pray, stranger, I truly wonder, what on earth a man is doing outside this late an hour and under these weather conditions?”

“Sir, my minute quest goes as far as to reach a stay for the night. I was betting for a warm bed in this foreign place. Maybe you could prove me right. Is there any inn to find here?” replied the man, who was now trembling from cold.

“Your luck, stranger, is short in that direction. You see, the only inn of the area is not yet available. Due to a recent fire it is under reconstruction” said the rider with a disappointing voice, and pausing for a moment to think, he added “However, if you trust your luck and a stranger’s offer, I can provide for you the bed you wish. My place is not far from here.”

Something in the man’s heart bounced with hope, but his face remained unexpressed and stiff. Maybe it was the cold that prevented his smile to be formed, maybe it was the unfamiliarity of the offer that made him feel uneasy, or maybe it was just late to have such sort of puzzles. Given the circumstances, the response came out rather impulsively “It seems to me sir that there is no other way, but to accept the offer with much gratitude for your unique kindness.” Having said that, the man got on the back of the horse with the assistance of the other and the two co-riders vanished into the deep black forest.

The night passed by better than the initial expectations. The guest was very pleased to have a rest in a cozy room and wake up in a place beyond common beauty. A new Eden was laid before his eyes and demonstrated without a doubt the finest example of man’s love towards Nature. The garden formed a unique tapestry of colors and of varieties of rare flowers, herms and plants that filled the air with a mixture of extraordinaire odors. Such a paradise-like environment irresistible to all senses was indeed the ultimate temptation for the man, who could not yet trust his consciousness, knowing well the power of dreams to blend the fancy with the real.

His desire to throw some fresh water onto his face, partly to wake up and mostly to test his senses, made him go out of the room instantly. Walking carefully among the garden he could not disregard and indeed admire the perfectness of the surroundings. Everything looked so perfectly shaped and healthy, so beautiful and colorful and intoxicating, that he could not resist mumbling about being in an earthly heaven. A few steps below, he found a well, where he happily stopped to grant his desire, but while he was raising the bucket he felt a strong hand on his shoulder. Scared to death as he was, he turned around to see his host smiling at him.

“Did I scare you that much? You turned all white and pale, as if you have just seen a ghost” said he in a playful tone to tease his victim of surprise.

“Well, yes, pretty much. I didn’t perceive that you were coming” replied the poor man, who started just then to regain his ordinary color.

“I apologize for my attitude. I should have warned you somehow. How was your night, then? Did you have a good rest?” he asked as a good host should do.

“Yes, indeed. Thank you very much.”

“Great, and how did you like my garden?” he asked again, apparently eager to hear some compliments for his outstanding achievement.

“I wouldn’t call it a garden, sir, but paradise. It’s true, we are in heaven, are we not?” replied the man with genuine sincerity and admiration.

“Ah, it is My Heaven for sure. Everything you see is the result of much personal effort, patience, design, and of course my deep knowledge upon Nature’s modes” said the creator proudly.

“An extraordinary achievement, indeed!” said the visitor who was now examining the environment more thoroughly “But what about human nature? Is there not an Eve residing at this paradise?”

“An Eve? Nice touch! Come with me”, said the other laughing at the comment of his interlocutor and taking him by the hand, they headed towards the house. There, they encountered a beautiful young lady, who was preoccupied with the domestic affairs and in the appearance of the two men she stopped to take a breath.

“This is my sister V and this is, I shall say, mister D” uttered the man and hasted to clarify the utterance that reached the ears of his guest with much of astonishment “We may have not introduced ourselves properly, but you see, here in my paradise, there is no need for proper names and rules”

Mister D, as an easily compromising man took no offense of the matter, and accepted the peculiar idiosyncrasy of his host as such with a smile. Then, he said gently “Nice to meet you. Is it V, comme la vie en rose?”

The woman shrugged “No, it is just V. I am a V in the same way you were given a D for a name.”

“And our Godfather’s initial is…” asked he with a sense of humor.

“G. I am G. Now, let us forget all these letters and make a toast on our visitor.”

Three glasses of red wine were raised in the air and just before they met each other, a thunder stroke suddenly making the interior of the room tremble for a while. Mister D was terrified by this coincidence, but the other two seemed totally unaffected by the natural phenomenon. During the discussion that followed, it was agreed that mister D would spend a few days more among his new friends. A tour in the property of mister G was then planned, and the two men left V behind to prepare dinner, while they were to ride the rest of the day.

It was a nice trip into the forest that released the human heart from any earthly concerns and fears, and filled it instead with fresh air and a sentiment of freedom. The two riders did not have much of a talk, but they seemed content from each other’s company. With dusk approaching dangerously they decided to take the way of return. The sensuality of the forest together with the dense greenery, the branches and the tree trunks took an entirely different look in the evening. The shadows and the strange noises behind the bushes and the leaves made mister D very anxious.

“It is only the wind, do not be afraid my friend” said G in an effort to console his stressed companion, but the latter could not find peace in his heart any more. “Here, take some wine to sooth your spirit” he said again offering his wooden gourd-bottle.
Sipping the wine, a feeling of numbness and dizziness conquered his tense body. Before he lost his senses, he thought he heard evil laughter and drums and thunders. The next thing he felt was moisture upon his forehead. He opened his eyes to see a young lady holding a wet towel. He was burning with fever.

“Is it you V?” he asked in anxiety “where am I?”

The woman urged him not to talk. Her loving figure and her tender caring were too familiar, but he was not sure of her identity and intentions. In a moment he fell unconscious again. She raised and got out of the room quietly, where two innocent childish eyes met her glance with worry. “Your father is quite ill, but he will be alright” said she calmly.

Eyes of Regret

My father was a proud man. He never asked for help. My mother was a dependent woman. She couldn’t do anything on her own. I guess this is the greatest bond between them, the one that kept them together for all these years. I had a brother, too. He was a few years younger than me and a mixture of both pride and dependence. He couldn’t act on his own, though never ask for help. That’s a weird combination, I say!

I was the first son, the good one, the smarter one. I was a child of great potential and as such, I had to carry on my back the burden of my parents’ great expectations. I could see it in their eyes, how much they believed in me and what a big failure I was every day to come. For, I didn’t make any effort – though I could – to be what they had dreamt of me.

However, I was still their favorite son. I guess they had expected me to eventually get into the right track. What this track really was, I would never be able to figure out. Yet, they insisted on me getting into it, neither explicitly or directly, but subconsciously, ordering me with the look of disapproval.

This look never ceased to following me, even when I was running away or I was sleeping. Two – sometimes four – eyes watching from the sky every single step I would make with disappointment and regret. Two such eyes would appear smiling ironically at my shattered dreams. A smile denoting: “I told you so”. They would stay unexpressed or superficially joyous before my success, making me think that I shouldn’t be so excited or that I shouldn’t celebrate that much for such a trifle.

For a long time I kept walking on the lonely road of intuition without paying attention to the observing eyes. For a long time I wouldn’t admit how depressed I was. For a long time I couldn’t express my feelings, my mind, my wants, my likes and dislikes, without filtering them first in order to accept a favorable gaze. For a long time I was acting, pretending to be someone else only to be supported.

I did love my family. I did try to be compliant to the rules my parents had set. I never meant to disappoint them, never to worry them, never to make them feel bad. I didn’t ever talk to them. I couldn’t do it. I felt choking when I was trying to find the right words. I couldn’t do it. They wouldn’t understand anyway.

It’s funny though, to be understood and encouraged by strangers better than your own folks. I am sorry for those, who believed in me. I am sorry for those, who tried to convince me I was worthy and talented. I am sorry for those, who made their best to help me do the next step. “I am sorry” were the very last words I left behind, written on an old supermarket receipt.

My parents often look up in the sky. Their eyes are darkened and do not smile anymore. They do not say anything, but in their dead silence they seem to agree. I sometimes wonder, can they sense my gaze upon them?

The Shine

A dim light was shining into the deep darkness. The cold was unbearable and the neighborhood seemed deserted. The only sound around came from the blowing of the wind that made the window blinds creak and the garbage in the corner jigger. A cat crossed the street quickly in search of a warm and peaceful shelter and screened itself behind the litter bins.

That was all she could see from her window, sighing with grief and disappointment. She was standing there for many hours now, waiting for him. He had told her to do so and she did. The candle – like her hopes – was almost out, when the big wall clock stroke midnight. She took a last glance of the empty road and blew unwillingly the candle out.

It was the cock-crow that woke her up early in the morning. Not that she had slept much during the night. Today, though, it was a brand new day and anything could happen. She took her shopping basket and walked towards the open market. It was a shiny day, a bit warmer than the previous ones, a fact that made the residents of this picturesque little town come out of their shell for a while. She actually talked to some of them, curtseyed gracefully to others and avoided the gazes of certain individuals, who were inclined to gossiping and vicious rumors.

In front of the fishmonger she stopped to take a look at the fish, which she found irresistibly fresh. While she was choosing a few, she felt a movement in her dress. She turned back instantly to see a little boy holding a piece of paper for her and once he handed it out, he run away hastily to join the other boys, who had found an amusement in chasing some geese. She unfolded the paper impatiently to read the note: “Meet me at the church tomorrow after the liturgy”.

And she did go to the church the following day with a burning desire to meet him, to see his loving figure, to feel his tender touch, to hear his smooth voice again. After the liturgy was over, she found a bench nearby, where she sat waiting. But an hour had passed and he hadn’t showed up. She felt her heart torn into thousand pieces. She couldn’t stand of any more expectancy of an unrequited love, yet she couldn’t set herself free from this afflictive bond.

She was about to leave, when she heard a horse galloping approaching the church yard. A smile was formed unconsciously on her face that was shining with hope; her pulses were almost ready to burst out and there he was, on a white horse like a prince out of a fairy tale. How charming he really was! How gorgeous! How… not alone! She turned pale, the smile vanished, the pulses diminished in the view of a lady sitting on the back of the horse holding him tight around his waist. He stopped before the church entrance and gently helped the lady to descent. Then, he took her by the hand and entered the holy chapel.

She stood there beside the bench still like a status, frozen like a picture, cold like ice. A few seconds were enough to lose every sign of vividness there was in her. She had no heart to feel, no mind to think, no beats to live, and yet she was still waiting as he had told her to do so.

Half an hour later, he showed up at the door looking around anxiously. Suddenly, his gaze fell upon her like an electroshock that brought her back to life. She timidly made a step to leave, but he run after her calling her name with joy. When they finally faced each other, he said: “Are you not coming in? We are waiting for you.” She blushed and stared at him speechless. “Will you marry me now?” he asked in excitement and she shone like the brightest star.

A Minute Story

Two men are sitting on the ground against a brick wall looking at the sky.

“I’d like to be a bird. Not any kind of bird, though. I’d like to be an eagle. Yeah! A big proud eagle! The king of the blue skies! I’d spread my wings and fly away.”

“Nah, you wouldn’t be happy with that. You would be lonely.”

“Is loneliness a bad thing? You have absolute freedom to do what you want. Never account for anything, neither apologize nor argue.”

“People are not made to be alone.”

“I don’t think they are made to be together, neither.”

“Well, it depends.”

“On what?”

“Whether they are mend to be together or not.”

“Mend? What is this? A kind of fate?”

“I mean, everyone has a match in life.”

“People come in pairs? What are they? Shoes?”

“I guess you could say so, metaphorically of course.”

“Oh, come on! Spare me, will you?”

“No, consider this: Men are left shoes, women right shoes or vice versa. Now, every shoe differs in size, shape, color etc. If you get the wrong match, it’s very difficult to walk, isn’t it? But if you find the appropriate one, you can walk all the way without any trouble.”

“Unless it is a pair of heels!”

“You! I’m talking seriously, here!”

“No kidding! Listen to yourself!”

“What I want to say is that we all need love and companionship. Where should we search for them is the only question.”

“Nah, I’d rather be an eagle. Look at the sky! How beautiful and peaceful it would be up there! Imagine flying and flying away…”

“You would be lonely.”

“Who cares? I would be free!”

A prison serene echoes around and the two men rise to their feet lazily.

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