Friday, January 22, 2010


The archaic lettering called me. It haunted me. Every afternoon, I passed by "Madame Toltasz's Moroccan Parlor". This hovel bore all the gaudiness of a porcelain Rama with a digital clock in its belly. This place exuded mystery. Nestled between a Kosher Deli and an abandoned pawn shop, it seemed eerily out of place.

She was standing near the window, hidden beside the placard of the "all-seeing eye". Toltasz was a gypsy, a seer. To some, she was a real witch.
Her eyes moved along with me, making me feel as if she were directing my steps.

"She's going to make me late again", I said as I stopped in my tracks and turned for the door of the shop.

"Velcomen." she greeted in her thick Hungarian accent, "Tarot today?"

Hands nestled in my pockets, I nodded toward her corner table. Her crystal ball adorned the center of the table scarf. Tapestries and abundant strings of garlic gave her little bizarre bazaar its appeal. And its aroma.

With a grand sweeping gesture, Madame Toltasz pointed at the empty seat before her.

I sat in drawn anticipation as she shuffled her deck. She drew each card from the pile, and as she did, she made a little noise. Each squeak, or Oooh, or Aha! was laced with her dialect. As she lay the pattern upon the tabletop, I felt optimistic.

She laid my last tarot card on the table. I smiled. It looked like a pretty good one. But when I glanced up to meet her cloudy blue eyes, she frowned.

"Shit, this is bad," she said in her best Brooklynese, her accent now gone. "Very friggin' bad."

I saw the panic in her eyes as she raised from the table in abject fear. The last thing I remembered was glancing over my left shoulder just as the Metro Bus came careening through the plate glass store front.

THREE WORD SALAD - Radish, Gold and Chilly

The reception Caleb received was chilly at best. Eyes were drawn to him from the moment he entered the gates of the border town of Byrd. His appearance was no different from the town folk. But since the fallout, they knew their own, and a stranger stood out like a rancid potato. Wearing the last bit of covering he owned and carrying his small bundle of wealth, Caleb approached the man in front of the General Store.

"Help ya?" the storekeep queried.

"Don' right know" came Caleb's reply. "Y'all got anything left worth a bite?"

"I reckon we can rustle up a can 'o somthin', if ya don' mind surprises" the proprietor smiled wryly.

He reached to the shelf for an unmarked and dented can. The dust clouded the small area they shared as he blew the top of the can towards Caleb.

"What I owe ya?" Caleb asked.

The store keeper eyed Caleb up and down, noticing the two small parcels cinched to Caleb's belt.

"What ya got there?" the merchant wondered aloud.

"This here's all my gold. The other'n is radishes" Caleb confessed.

"Gold is worthless around these parts. But them radishes may as well be gold." the owner prodded.

Caleb reluctantly passed the bag of radishes toward the storeman, as the blank can came toward himself.

"Got an opener?" Caleb asked.

Brandishing the rusted utensil the store owner's face became stern and devious.

"What else you got?" he sneered.

"You Bastard!" Caleb shouted, reaching for the cinch around his waist.

Caleb departed Byrd with his mystery tin in one hand and his opener in the other. His gold remained tied to his waist. Caleb knew he looked silly in his under drawers, but damn it, who needed pants when his stomach did the talking for him. He was plain hungry.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


They said there will be a sign.
A mark upon the ground.
This will be the spot where
He will return.

"The Book" said, "By his mark, you will know him!"

The Warrior stood off in the distance.
He saw its fall and the mighty power it possessed.
He felt its heat and destruction, all in a tremendous flash of light.
As the smoke raised skyward, where heaven had once been rumored to exist, the Warrior secured his belt and unsheathed his weapon.

The lighting had made its indentation amidst the clearing. Everything was charred and smoldering. The impact point was very defined. A cross. The mark was in the shape of a cross.

That was the sign. He would appear soon wielding the wrath of Him who had sent Him, and nothing more. The battle had commenced.

The Warrior knew.

Armageddon was at hand. Hell be damned.