Double Bind: Jimmi Campkin & Basilike Pappa

Double Bind.JPG

 

I sat down on the remains of an old dream and watched her snort a line of concrete dust. The blood ran thick and maroon from her nose, as I broke the seal on the fourth of the day with the loudest escape of air. My shoes are rotten, as are my legs, but my shoulders still have enough bone and sinew and hope to carry us through the dead plants and vicious eyes. I can smell people; as I walk through the crowds I can hear their prejudice and taste their awful choices in partners and pornography. Everything is sour, and everything leads us to numb our experiences.

The sun is hot enough to melt a bank vault and we recline across the monolith of grey in this wasteland; like a mortuary without the building, like a coroner without the science, as loved ones without the care. The stones sizzle and burn into our weak flesh, and in response we fill those gaps in the tissues and veins with sex and rust and disobedience. I can’t remember the last time I ate food, or smelled a flower, or watched a sunrise. I only remember the darkness, oozing across our shoulders and knees like an oil slick across a coral reef, as we blinded ourselves in a deep blue we will never reach.

I drag a pen over her bare thigh and write all the things I want to do to her. She laughs and grabs my wrist, crossing out the ones that will never happen.

*

I am irritable because I am hungry and I don’t know what I am hungry for. It’s not food, even though I wouldn’t mind, but something else. Maybe I am hungry for the blue of skies past or simply for raw flesh.

When I am like this, he gives me his arm to bite. I sink my teeth and suck at his skin and my own saliva. He shudders, but not from pain. I only bite to leave marks on him, to brand him as mine. He watches them fade with a smile on his face. We kiss, spit merging like rivers sweet and destructive.

In this place of cell blocks, marble gardens, police cars and strangers, we are wraiths playing with explosives, starting a thousand wars against normality.

While people are slaving away somewhere, we break into their apartments. We put on their clothes, wear their slippers, sit in their armchairs and call each other “darling” and “sweetheart.” We treat ourselves to bites of food and shots of liquor. We have some favourites we often go back to, so after fucking on their beds we make sure we leave everything as it was before we sneak out again.

In the beginning, he asked what would we do if someone returns home to find us there. I said they’d better not. I am irritable when I am hungry.

Cuddling each other in half-constructed buildings, monuments to petit-bourgeois ambition forever destined to remain naked brick and concrete, we talk about what our dream castle on a hill will be like. A castle of iridescent stone, with black ebony window frames and everlasting roses climbing its walls, overlooking our realm of flowers and sunrises. In such a place, even life may fit somewhere in our embrace.

As a moon of elf bone rises, hunger grows into a scream. We are the night searching for a meal.

*

Lighting a cigar, I let the tobacco hang in the air before planting the wet end deep inside a ruined candle. I’m wearing someone’s shirt, someone’s shoes, and none of their dreams. When we can find them we use their old bank statements as firelighters; we grind up their old family pictures and snort them up with much hacking and coughing. She tells me; this is memory rejecting against us. I’m not interested in memory anymore. Nostalgia is just an old man with terminal masturbation.

I sit down in an old wicker chair and feel the burn down the back of my throat as another gallop of Old Brandthrick trundles and fusses into my veins, obliterating anything with forward momentum. All points reset to zero, all rails set to the buffers. She walks across me, one foot taking the place of the other, and lifts her autumn dress to let in the air. I am nothing in this and yet I am everything; a flat piece of meat observing the opening of a rare flower. 

The Moon rises and cries to a symphony of two legged jackals. I have her courage and she has a knife. She drags her finger through the remains of our most recent bonfire and pushes the tip under my eyelids. With a kiss smeared down my cheeks she runs her tracks over the wet bones, the soot planting deep in my pores. I look into her eyes and she smiles and shakes her head. This is not a night for heroics; this is a night for being the night.

When I breathe out, my ribs rattle like wind-chimes in a spring breeze. My eyes search the swaying yellow grass for any unnatural movement. Behind me she swills an expensive tumbler full of cheap whiskey in a black ball-gown too big for her, hanging like a defiant flag from her shoulder blades. I know what seethes underneath but I need to concentrate now. My veins lift from tissue and bone as she sings a gentle song, rustling in tune to the dead field.

*

It’s time.

I sit on his lap, wrap my arms around his neck and look him in the eyes. Is he ready? He says yes, but not without the face this place has given him.

The eyes are the windows to the soul,” I say in all seriousness, and we both burst into a mocking laughter that could make the rising moon crack.

Why so sad?” I ask, and he looks at me as if he’s close to tears.

Don’t be mad,” I say, and he gives me a scowl worthy of an unworthy parent or a saint.

I want him to be happy, and happy he becomes, a trendy buffoon drinking his favourite soda in a commercial. And when I lift my dress, his eyes open wide in vestal innocence.

I paint his eyes with soot, burying them deep into stinking shadows. See? The windows to this soul are shut. Then I trace my blackened finger over his lips.

Bring out your dead,” I say.

We’ve been watching her ever since we saw her run over a couple of pigeons. She clapped her hands to congratulate herself, golden rings and dyed blonde hair gleaming in the sun. They had crapped on her car hood once too often – fucking flying rodents. We watched her speed down the road, leaving a mass of bloodied flesh and dirty feathers on the asphalt.

We buried the birds in the field of scorched grass, digging holes with our hands, saying a prayer for flowers to grow over their grave.

She unlocks the door to find him sprawled on the sofa.

Darling,” he says, “you’re home.”

Her hands are tied, her mouth is gagged. I can see the back of her shoulders rise and fall with her muffled sobbing. He apologises if his actions caused her any distress and messed up her makeup. In a soft, crooning voice he tells her how anger and bitterness have left tell-tale lines on her face.

Life is not as the romances promised. All these false ideas you swallowed without question led to disappointment, didn’t they? Now you take it out on those who can’t stand up to you.”

He takes a Swarovski bird miniature from a display cabinet full of refined useless objects. He holds it against the pendant lights, pretending it’s flying across the room, the colours of the rainbow flashing out of its open wings. Then he makes it land on the floor and crushes it under his foot.

Once you had another face. Do you think you can find it? Promise me you’ll try, and I’ll leave. You’ll never see me again.”

She nodds, furiously, and I expect there are more tears running down her cheeks. If I were her, I’d cry too if he told me I wouldn’t see him again.

There is a number you mustn’t call after I leave. Promise.”

More nodding, more passion into the gesture. He looks into her eyes.

I can believe many things,” he says. “But you… sweetheart, this is where I draw the line.”

But it’s me who draws the line. A perfect, straight red line across her throat.

*

Sitting in an old armchair, a new rain thick and glutinously falling through the holes in the roof, I carve slices of apple from a bloodstained razor. The sweet citrus mingles with the dark iron of oxygenated red and I cannot work out if I like this taste or not. I see her washing her hands in the trickle of a paste waterfall, the drizzle coated in dust and ash.

Bit excessive?”

She dries her hands on her already stained dress and pads over towards me. Backlit, the sun illuminates her hair like a neon Medusa and I stare and I stare because if I cannot live for the blood of others running over my own, I wish to be made of stone. She sits in my lap and flicks my nipple through my t-shirt.

We hole up in the old shack because the sound of sirens is too loud for fragile skulls soft from fetal-alcoholism and a lack of calcium. Downstairs the living room is rotting; upstairs all the walls are just faint traces on the floor and the only monuments are a lonely sink, a single rusting bedframe with the mattress now just a black stain on the floor nearby. Above, a single light fixture hangs sadly, ashamed to still be clinging on despite being powerless.

Ushering her off my lap I stand up. The sudden violence of the situation disturbed me, and now I feel high after the hit, my soul now spinning wildly like a ship caught in a whirlpool, caught up in a flashback of an event that is already in the past. Taking the ribbon out of her hair, I tie her wrists together and fasten them to the ceiling light above us. My heart thuds and echoes around the empty walls around us as I take another slice of bloody apple.

*

A line drawn, a line crossed. A first time for everything.

First time I saw him, standing in this room on the windowsill, shifting his weight back and forth. If he was a painting, he’d be called blackbird on a seesaw. I could have let him fall, because he had intruded on my solitude. I pulled him back. I didn’t save his life, I told him, and the flicker of anger in his eyes died down. I saved his death. It wasn’t a long fall down; no one would carry his broken ass to a hospital. He’d pass some very long last hours on earth, calling himself an idiot. He ought to find a taller building if he was serious about it. And make sure he was alone in there, or another lady might save the gentleman in distress.

He is eating an apple.

That same night I tied the knots for the first time, the rope once around his wrists, twice. His body passive, his eyes urging me on. They blazed like the fire burning where the sirens went, the one that cleansed that place from our presence. He had said “kill me,” but meant “fuck me.” Every time like a better first time, until we performed the ritual to perfection.

This is the first time we part with tradition. A first time may be the last time.

He is eating an apple. Not washing his eyes.

He says I must have been conceived underground; I’m bound to earth and she gives me my strength. As for him, he feels disconnected, only half aware of his surroundings most days. I shook my head the first time he told me what scenes he played behind his closed eyelids to soothe himself into existence.

He is eating an apple. Not washing his eyes. The knife in his hands.

Maybe I should have taken him at his word and killed him, or let him fall. He fed me his hunger seed after seed. It’s an irritating taste burning at the back of the throat, unable to say itself, coming out as a growl or a scream.

Another slice. The windows to this soul are shut.

I cross out the things he wants to do to me. He always writes them back. He isn’t one to forget easily, no matter how he claims he’s not interested in memory anymore. He is good at self-deception. What do you mean does he know it? Of course he does. Of course he doesn’t.

It’s getting hard to think as my wrists go numb. Perhaps it’s getting late too. Late for castles, flowers and sunrises.

I gave him what he wanted. So now what?

*

I place the tip of the blade against her breastbone, but then drive it slowly down opening the dress and revealing those familiar contours. All the violence of late has been so much empty vapour, and I struggle to breathe these days. Here in this fetid shack so rotten as to allow all our dreams to escape through the cracks. I turn my back as she flutters and dangles in the breeze like a flower with some of the petals plucked away and sit down on the floor. 

She once told me; there are none more cruel than those who believe themselves to be righteous. I’m not sure if I feel righteous but I feel cruel and I feel the force of it bleeding out of me from my shoulders down to my knees. Once I scrambled in a dark room at night, and now I find myself in a dark room with no windows and no hope of sunlight to one day illuminate everything. I need fire and nothing in this fucking place, this fucking town has the guts and the soul to burn.

Throw a few more bones under the mantelpiece; the dry crackle might just show us what we have left. I stand up, knife in hand, and stride over to her. It would be so easy to end everything now but I can’t bring myself to deprive the world of such depravity. I slice a lock of her hair and place it under my tongue before cutting the ribbon down around her wrists.

If I can’t escape the darkness, at least I’ll have the black.

*

He is drooling. Beaded strings hang from his chin, breaking, falling on his t-shirt. It’s mesmerising; a slow, fluid metamorphosis. Then the smell hits me: something metallic, something burned, like a nervous dog shooting the glands. It seeps through every pore of his body with such force it almost pushes me back. I slide a hand around his waist and pull him closer.

“You are a god now,” I whisper in his ear. “We are. We had nothing else. We’d be gods or nothing. We agreed on gods.”

I catch the beads with my tongue, lick them off his chin. His saliva is a sharp, straight aphrodisiac of apple, blood and doubt, streaming from his mouth to the rhythm of his thudding heart.

“Breathe. You were just born.”

I drink; my heart quickens. Finally, he spits that strand of hair on the floor and we kiss like rivers.

“Do you?”

“I do.”

“Fuck me.”

I don’t want to take the knife, but he makes me, squeezing my fingers around the handle. The temptation to push it in his belly is tremendous. I’d hear the sound of his skin tearing; I’d get to see what his disloyal insides are like, while he’d be waiting for me at our castle on a hill, warm and new. The idea almost makes me come.

I shake my head.

I won’t choose how this ends.” Bringing his hand to my lips, I sink my teeth in his flesh. He shudders and finds the knife in his hand again.

*

I have a handful of her behind as she straddles me, pounding down into my lap with so many gasps and creaks that I don’t know what is human, animal or just the weak floor underneath us. Her hair cracks around my face as I feel the warmth in my lap, leaking onto my thighs; moans, shrieks and ice deep in my stomach.

When I open my eyes, it is already grey around the edges. She continues to pound away bur everything is dying and I am staring at a clenched fist pressed against my own stomach with a knife somewhere inside it all. Her sex mingles with the blood now pouring out of me, but still she maintains those furious eyes on mine, daring me to pass out before she is done.

My vision fades like the ripples of a pond in reverse, contracting and drawing everything in. My hand slides away from her buttock and finally lets go of the blade hilt. With this release I suddenly feel sharp pain, as though the knife has become this destructive object in that moment. She still slams down on me but it is useless, just a pointless slap of flesh on blood. The groans turn to growls, the moans into a seething frustration as I slip away beneath her like winter mist as the sun breaks through.

We’d agreed on gods. I am no god, but neither would I ever want to be mortal. This made sense to me. My eyes narrow to a single circle of fading light; of shiny gritted teeth and piercing white eyes. She’s slapping and punching my shoulders but I can’t feel it anymore. I feel weightless but I’m not flying to the above. Our kind – my kind – we only slide down, just so much water trickling between the gaps in the floor and growing putrid where there is no light.

Time to sleep now. No gods, only monsters. And truly, for a short time, we were monstrously magnificent.

*

Photography by Jimmi Campkin

Jimmi Campkin is a writer, photographer and creator of SANCTUARY. If you’re not familiar with his work, you’re missing plenty. Go to jimmicampkin.com to read more of his writing and see his complete photography gallery.

 

 

© Jimmi Campkin & Basilike Pappa, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SD Short Story Contest Finalist: No More Than You Can Salt – Basilike Pappa

Sudden Denouement Collective

salt b & w

Show me someone who doesn’t want to make their parents proud and I’ll show you a liar. Or, worse, I’ll show you a weakling who shies from hardship. Or, even worse, a heartless, ungrateful bastard. For it is a truth secretly whispered that, when parents bring a baby into their home for the first time, and the sleepless nights start, and the crying turns to howling for hours on end, one question keeps gnawing at their minds: Why did we do this to ourselves?

Strange as it may sound, no one puts someone else before themselves without expecting something in return. And what better way to make it up to one’s parents  than to say one day: ‘Parents, your sacrifices were not for naught. I’ll make you proud.’

Such is the case with me. I can’t deny the fact that from an early age I had been burning with desire…

View original post 1,293 more words

Blush

blush

 

Rowena was hiding behind the rosebush in her garden, watching Julian through his window. He was having his morning cup of coffee. Rowena was jealous of that cup. She was jealous of anything he touched and anyone not too timid to be close to him.

Rowena had been watching Julian since the first day he came to the neighborhood, about six months ago. It was his fault; he had such magnetism it was criminal. He lived opposite her, and she had caught many precious glimpses of him doing this or that. Tableaux of Julian, she called them.

Julian didn’t know she existed, and that had to change. Speaking to him was out of the question, though. She would blush; the very thought made her feel a hot flash. She had to find a way to be seen and remain unseen at the same time. She locked herself in the house for a week, to think.

*

Julian gaped at the duchess strolling up and down his street one Monday morning, dressed in Dangerous Liaisons’ fashion. He looked around to see the rest of some film crew. He saw no one. The duchess passed by him. Behind her heavy face powder he guessed delicate features, and a petite body under her grand dress. The duchess smiled and then walked past him with an air of pride and dignity. Julian watched her disappear around the corner. Then he got in his car and drove to work. There, among files and phone calls, he never gave her a second thought.

But in the evening, when he got home, an old witch was standing outside his door. She was crooked and gray, and looked as if she was waiting for him. Julian’s hands started to tremble. ‘What do you want?’ he snapped. The witch said nothing, but kept staring. And then she smiled all black teeth. Before he could say another word, she pivoted and ran away, disappearing around the corner. That night Julian had trouble sleeping.

*

Rowena was having a great time renting costumes and watching online tutorials on theatrical makeup. She stalked Julian dressed as a pimply pirate, a gleaming ghost, a flaxen fairy, a cloaked monk. Her greatest success was when she dressed as Death. Julian really noticed her. He was adorable.

Soon Rowena couldn’t tell whether she was motivated by her attraction to Julian or by her freshly dug up talent for disguise. She thought about it when she stayed in bed for a few days; she had dressed as a harlequin on stilts and sprained her ankle. She reached no conclusion, but it didn’t really matter.

*

Julian got a new job. He paid his bills, packed his things and moved out of his house – and out of the city. As his plane to nights of peaceful sleep was taking off, he smiled happily to the passenger sitting next to him. It was a woman, a little younger than Julian, somewhere in her early twenties. She was petite, with a delicate face, and her cheeks were tinted by the rosiest blush.

 

***

BLUSH was originally published on Life & Art Magazine, 10/29/2015

 

Basilike Pappa

 

(Image: Pinterest)

Lines in the Sand (part 3): Jimmi Campkin & Basilike Pappa

Saltburn VI

 

You are my glorious disease and I have been fighting the cure ever since. I long for emptiness these days. No more cigarettes, no more drink, no more love. Just morose boredom and a meaningless fuck in dust. But still I think about wide hips and burgundy lips, thigh high stockings and your foot gently pressing on my groin like the gas pedal in a car. I remember your breath before you came in for the kill, and I remember the light dancing off the contours of your arched back. I remember wet, horrible sin.

I’ve tried to find alternatives but I only end up staring at the backwards writing on the base of the bottle. I go to a different store every day so the vendors don’t pity me. You drift into my mind like smoke under a door, and I never know whether to open it and try to escape or to stay and hope I pass out before I burn.

I walk into the bathroom and wash my face in the filthy sink, trying not to look at my own reflection and the betrayal of my dilated pupils. I tell myself I am done, that we are two cogs turning the opposite way, destroying each other.

But then I think,

one more time…

One more taste of red salt…

*

The poets of sweetness that made us cringe tell of a place where lovers live ever after in castles made of perfumed mists, saying to each other things like ‘forever’, ‘I swear’ and ‘always more’. We are too smart to swallow this, and yet here we are, all stars, fires and poetic license.

I claim to wish for your silence but, when I see you aren’t done, my heart races over the seas. You pull me back, tear me apart between lust and fear, doubt and trust, fire and ash. Controlling my sequences of movement, ordering contraction and release with the tapping of your fingertips, you make me lie in bed aching, holding on to the memory of you pinning me down with your body, with your brutal mouth, sinking so deeply inside me not even smoke can drift between us. It’s still you who drives me into the dance; memory becomes flesh as I squeeze my thighs together and think of flowing into you in gasping motions – wet, exalted.

The kill is on both of us. Pierced by the same blade we fall.

Here’s the truth: I can’t go on. I’ll bring you my tongue on a platter, my song out of tune, my sanity, my senses, all my silver jewels. I’ll even do the stupid stuff, like say ‘forever’, ‘I swear’ and ‘always more’. I’ll pass you the salt. And if we become material for the poets of shit, we’ll blame it on the weather or a collapsing bridge.

The words you wanted to hear were always there when I said bite / fuck / hard / eat / suck me, kávla – at the last one you’d say ‘what?’ and I’d say ‘guess.’ Always there when I was carnal.

Let’s take it from the start.

Say again: ‘Tell me something you’ve told no one else.’

This time I’ll say yes.

***

© Basilike Pappa & Jimmi Campkin, 2018

Photography by Jimmi Campkin

Jimmi Campkin is a “Writer, photographer, creator of SANCTUARY. 16bit child, INFP with clinical nostalgia and red wine for blood.” You can enjoy more of his work at jimmi campkin.com.

You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here

Lines in the Sand (part 2): Jimmi Campkin & Basilike Pappa

Portrait II

 

I tremble too much these days. I can barely light this cigarette without burning my fingers. Perhaps it is the drink. Perhaps it is memory, weighing on my soul like a lump of lead stretching the fibers of my arms.

I look up to the stars and the constellations spell your name, or the ripples of your laugh, or the contours and folds of your glorious sex. I am a weak man, which is simply to say I Am A Man… there is no strength emotionally, just the naked and vulgar grabs of power from that which we all fear the most. I stand on spiders because I fear them – you place a glass over spiders and release them because you fear them.

Your little black dress drove me crazy. Ever wonder what happened to it? So do I. It didn’t burn as I intended, but evaporated and, caught by an autumn breeze, drifted out of my desperate hands to be made anew elsewhere. That dress, those eyes, that smile, that mind… the endless churning of impenetrable cogs and gears, like a pocket watch.

All that I could be; carnal. All that you could be; my everything.

I still shiver, or tremble, or perhaps my body is rejecting memory, shaking it loose in self-preservation, like a wet dog. I just know I still wish to smell your early morning breath. When I go to the store I look for your footsteps. When I walk into the sea I look for your sand-ridden panties in a little pile next to the lapping tide. When I wake up, I wait for the pinch on the bridge of my nose to tell me it is time to rise.

My song is finished.

Your song is only just beginning.

*

You made me cry.

The wings that spread over seas, the wheels that turn on roads like these, have lights that can be taken for stars from a distance.

I have new dresses now. I am in them when I drink and dance and laugh at something someone said. The magazines are right about little black dresses. I can almost hear the cogs and gears behind erections, so I laugh a lot on days like these.

You speak of weakness. I’ll tell you what it is:

Weakness is a phone ringing with no one to hear it.

Mind covered in rust, shaking hands, what makes this body move among cardboard props is a mystery to this person in the mirror, eyes open wide, these walls know each other, this person inside them a stranger, attack it, heat it up, shorten its breath. Hand holds a cell phone, quasi real, at last an idea almost tangible, digits are the smallest grammatical units in this type of communication and you don’t even have to remember them because a device like this claims to have a memory better than anyone’s.

Weakness is a phone ringing ringing ringing with no one to hear it – where are you, fuck your god? You suck the air out of me and keep it in your lungs when we kiss, bring it back, bring me your voice, your skin to touch, it must be real or nothing is.

A face melting behind hands that come away wet, water on fingertips tastes like the sea. And where were you, fuck everything you’ve got, where was your voice, the smell of home, where were you laughing at something someone said?

You made me cry.

I swore you’d pay for it.

As I turned myself into a little light propelled by an engine across the sky, you were not looking at the stars. You were opening the package I’d left at your door, a gift that was terminal, reading the note that said ‘talk to this’.

I know my hands now and they are steady as I hold my glass. One cigarette dies and another is born – even cigarettes can look like stars from a distance. I have new dresses now, I drink, dance, laugh at something someone said when I’m inside them. But sometimes I dream of us deep in the orange grove, so no kiss is as terrible as yours, no body as warm as yours, and I have no song the way I had with you, singing out of tune to make you laugh.

Memory is weakness and I’ll burn it on a day like this, the way you burned the dress, just wait, you’ll see.

You did burn it, didn’t you? Unless ‘evaporated to be made anew elsewhere’ is your poetry of saying you gave it to someone else.

Take a deep breath, exhale and hate me, don’t make me cry, don’t drink and drive, eat your food. Then I may get my song back.

Could end this ‘with love’ – I’d rather sprain my hand.

 

***

© Basilike Pappa & Jimmi Campkin, 2018

Photography by Jimmi Campkin

Jimmi Campkin is a “Writer, photographer, creator of SANCTUARY. 16bit child, INFP with clinical nostalgia and red wine for blood.” You can enjoy more of his work at jimmi campkin.com.

You can read Part 1 here

Incredible Eyes

eye

It was a night like many others. It involved me and an old book of fairytales I wanted to be alone with. The book wanted to be with me too; its leather-clad spine fit perfectly in my hand. I curled with it on the sofa and soon forgot everything else in the world.

After a couple of hours, I looked up and out of the balcony. I only wanted to give my eyes some rest and to get a glimpse of the night outside. The moon looked back at me and I smiled. It was actually a streetlamp, but I liked to think of it as a full moon.

And then I saw him: a midnight-black rooster, with blood-red comb and wattles, and eyes fixed on me. He was standing still in the middle of my balcony, with something of the dandy in his stance. He obviously has a way with hens, I thought. Indeed, the more I looked at him, the more I knew that, had I been a hen, I would love to have him jump on me and peck on my neck. Our chicks would be midnight-black, with blood-red comb and wattles. But I would like them to have my eyes. I have incredible eyes.

Still, I had to wonder what a rooster was doing in the center of the city and of my balcony, where no crops grow and coops don’t come for free. Then it dawned on me that when there is no natural explanation, there must be a supernatural one. This was Mistulet, the evil rooster from the book! He was real and had come to bargain with me!

I started thinking how to play this out. I knew Mistulet could grant me a wish, on the condition that, the next time he visited me, I would be able to greet him by his name. If I failed, he would eat my heart out.

Fair enough, I thought. I’ll accept the bargain. But I’ll be provident. I’ll write his name on a large piece of paper, the larger the better, and pin it on my notice board. I won’t have it as bad as stupid Mariette. Besides, I already know his name.

Feeling confident that I could outsmart an evil spirit, I started to think what to ask for. At the same time, I was surprised by his ability to remain absolutely still for such a long time. And then I saw that his beak was hanging open; his eyes were staring somewhere beyond me, with a lack of luster that could only signify a lack of intelligence.

A prince!’ I exclaimed. ‘An enchanted prince! Who says a prince always comes as a frog? If I kiss him, he will turn human. He will marry me, and life will be all wine, roses and golf, and Olga from work will be so jealous!’

Only a balcony door stood between me and my excellent fortune. I rushed to open it. But, alas! When I did, all I found waiting for me was my black watering pot with its red spout. With spirits low, I took a vow: to see my oculist and check my astigmatism. Incredible eyes can be tricky you know.

***

© Basilike Pappa, 2018

(Image: Pinterest)