The House of Flushing

toiletmary

The first fish in our story was named Five. Five died trying to live out of water because Claymore insisted, as a goldfish, he could do it. Five believed and leapt from the water. Goldie tried to stop him, but Five wanted to believe so badly, nothing Goldie said could dissuade the ambitions of the follower. Five flopped for a bit on the tank stand after his leap of faith. After a several minutes Five expired and began bloating.

This all took place in and around a small aquarium, in a small apartment in a large building in a big noisy city. The walls of the apartment, where the fish could see, were dingy gray except in the bathroom where the walls were a soothing green-gray. The toilet sparkled cleanly from where the sunlight streamed in from a small window that wasn’t visible from the tank.

The remaining fish in the aquarium were: Claymore, a beautiful maroon Betta fish, Goldie who shone like the sun, Flipper who had black fins, and Tipper who had a black tipped tail.

Claymore was an intelligently charismatic Betta fish. He loved to coax the unintelligent goldfish that lived with him in the aquarium to believe in silly things. His nemesis, Goldie, a voice of reason, couldn’t be convinced of the nonsense. Goldie never believed anything Claymore said because Claymore was always wrong.

When Five died, Claymore held a meeting.

“Tonight, when the human comes home, we’re going to watch as Five is carried away in holiness. He will be released into the water where he will become baptized as a new fish, then sent to a better place. Behold, the holy fountain filled with rejuvenating water!” Claymore gestured with his fin towards the porcelain stool visible in the bathroom. Hanging above the toilet was a beautiful wall hanging with a human woman wearing a blue robe and pointing to a rose encircled heart on her breast

“I can see it. I believe it. Oh, Claymore, you’re so smart. Will I be sent to the fountain when I become like Five?” inquired Flipper. “I do hope so.”

“Of course, Sister Flipper.” Replied Claymore with false wisdom. “If you follow me, I’ll make sure you get there. The Mother of the Holy Fountain will guide your way if you only believe.”

Tipper, the follower, decided that if Flipper was going to do it, so would he. He wasn’t very good at coming up with ideas of his own anyway. He depended on his friends to show him what was right. If he ever felt like he had an idea, he’d just talk to Claymore or Flipper and they’d set him straight.

But Tipper knew that if he went to Goldie, all that fish would tell him is, “Think for yourself. Don’t be a follower.” Goldie made it impossible to get anything accomplished.

That evening, their human returned to find Five bloated and quite ripe next to the aquarium. Claymore called Tipper and Flipper to the worship service.

“Just as I predicted, our human has discovered the failure of Five to survive his leap of faith.” Stated Claymore in a stage whisper which caused Goldie to burble angrily.

The female human set down her belongings with a frown on her face. She disappeared into one of the rooms that couldn’t be seen, returning with a pair of long slender tongs.

“See how the human won’t taint the body with her flippers? She is using tools…”
“What are tools?” inquired Tipper.

Without allowing the interruption, Claymore continued, “As she carefully lifts Five, watch as she transports him to the holy fountain. Pray with me.” He intoned as the human dropped Five’s body into the commode. “Dear Mother of the Holy Fountain, accept the body of our brother Five. Rejuvenate him into a whole and living flesh.”

The human pushed the holy fountain’s silver button, a whoosh of swirling sound, and Five’s body was carried down the tubes.

“And now, my dear brethren, we wait. In three days, a new living Five will return to us.”

If goldfish could blink, Tipper and Flipper would have been in rapturous prayer. As it was, Tipper blubbed a bit, imitating Flipper. The wait began.

During the period of waiting, Goldie spent a lot of time swimming around, thinking deep thoughts. Like Claymore, Goldie taught himself to read by observing anything the human set near the tank. He could even proudly recite his address, understood there was more than just the aquarium they lived in, and despised Claymore for toying with the others of his kind.

As predicted a new fish showed up on the third day, a fancy-tailed goldfish with white tipped fins and tail. Tipper and Flipper rushed to greet the new Five.

“My name isn’t Five. I’m Gardita,” flounced the newcomer. “Why do you keep calling me that?”

“Because! You returned to us, just like Claymore told us you would, Five.”

“I told you. My name is Gardita, not Five.”

Gardita hid in the plastic plants near the bottom, avoiding contact with the two lunatics. She and Goldie watched as Flipper and Tipper followed Claymore around the aquarium as if he were a God. She watched as two of the others gave up extra shares of food. Claymore grew larger.

The two leaders of the aquarium approached the new fish at the same time.

“My name is Claymore, welcome to our place of holy pilgrimage.” Articulated the Betta-fish. Tipper and Flipper swayed behind him with pure faith seeping from their scales. “I apologize for the ardent fervor which my disciples are enraptured by, but they just saw you resurrect as the new Five.”

“Don’t pay attention to him. Welcome, Gardita.” Interrupted Goldie. “I’m the only sane one around here, it would seem.”

“Why do they keep calling me Five?” probed the pretty new fish. “No matter how many times I tell them.”

“That,” said Claymore as he slapped his flipper over Goldie’s mouth, “is because I showed the way to holiness to my swimming friends.”

Goldie bit Claymore’s fin.

“No, that’s because he lied to them. He told the last fish here, whose name WAS Five, that he could live outside the bowl. He convinced him to jump to his death.”

“No, I showed him the path to righteousness.” Countered Claymore.

“You killed him just because he believed you.”

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” Disrupted Gardita while swimming between the fighting fish. “Claymore, you killed Five?”

Tipper and Flipper swam in front of the large Betta-fish. “Not at all. He showed Five how to become holy by taking a leap of faith.” Chorused the submissive fish. Claymore merely watched as his two faithful followers described the rousing tale of Five’s glorious death and subsequent resurrection into Gardita.

“But, I’m not Five. I’m Gardita. I was hatched in a giant store among many other fish. I was chosen because I was the prettiest one of all of them as you can tell,” the pretty fish fluttered every so prettily. “I am a girl, not a boy.”

“They can’t hear you. They believe anything that idiot tells them,” urged Goldie. “You’d be best to avoid them.”

“I think you’re right.” Agreed Gardita.

But her promise didn’t last long with Claymore constantly whispering in her ear. She fought valiantly against Tipper and Flipper reassuring her of Claymore’s holy message. Gardita couldn’t take it anymore. She committed to Claymore’s message. She became Five.

Five died trying to live out of water because Claymore insisted, as a goldfish, she could do it. Five believed and leapt from the water. Goldie tried to stop her, but Five wanted to believe so badly, nothing Goldie said could dissuade the ambitions of the follower.

Five flopped for a bit on the tank stand after her leap of faith. After a several minutes Five expired and began bloating. The cycle continued.

 

The young man and “The Pensive Woman”

The Pensive Woman, 1932 by a German Artist (I can't find the name of the artist)

The Pensive Woman, 1932 by a German Artist (I can’t find the name of the artist)

I rounded the corner from bronze dipped metal spoons that didn’t stir my soul

to observe a lost lamb separated by his emotions from the flock of chittering as a whole.

He stood slouched, small dreads pointing to the sky, bandana tied artfully at his temple

staring at the sculpture trying to understand something I couldn’t see; Sentimental?

I greeted him with gentle voice, encouraging interaction. I explained without pause

“I was in the other room observing several that didn’t move me because

The spirit requires recognition of matching vibrancy to vibrate frequently

Why this one? What drew you to her?” I asked the young man evenly.

He thought quick, deeply, spoke with certainty, “She’s so sad.”

“When art speaks to me, it speaks in bright colors because I’m, as a rule, glad.

Do you understand her sadness, too? She was created by a German in 1932.”

He wavered momentarily as his emotions washed his face quickly, efficiently.

For a moment, I thought I’d lost him as I waited patiently.

“She reminds me of how I felt when I learned my father had passed away.

I locked myself in my room, curled in a ball and cried to myself all day.

That he was gone was hard enough, it went against my every plan,

but I remember wondering, “Who’s going to teach me to be a man?”

His eyes looked at me just like hers. I gave him “Always Beautiful” as I abided

“You are not alone.” I comforted in synonymous tone as he’d confided.

He smiled while hefting the weight of a million gallons of un-cried tears

that will ebb and flow

wax and wane

light and darken his years.

I loved him deeply, truly

in all his pensive human beauty

as much as I admired that German artist of 1932

accidentally gifting me that one on one in bronzed blues.

Notes to myself

Here are some things I jot down so I don’t forget them:

  • May 10, 2014: I overheard the phrase clever flaws. It brought to mind an odd coagulation of things perceived as character flaws that somehow work together to make an interesting human. I have one such friend that is as fiery as can be, extremely capable of defending herself both verbally, intellectually, and physically. She’s beautiful, wicked smart, compassionate, strong, and brilliantly alive. Cleverly flawed and perfectly human.
  • May 7, 2014: She’s put a rock on that relationship. It means to put a gravestone on a bad relationship of any sort and put it to rest. It no longer serves a purpose in one’s life. It’s kapoots, over, finished, never again.
  • May 7, 2014: “My once fire colored hair has turned to smoke and ash.” My 19 year old son was pondering what he will look like when he’s old. I found it extremely vivid in the imagery.
  • May 6, 2014: Two Haiku’s I wrote for a friend of mine:

Haiku Number One

The worst thing she’s done

Stabbed fiery into her life

Creating Success

Haiku Number Two

Exclamation point!

Set free without a whisper

an explosion, loved

  • April 24, 2014: Crystal Beeler was getting ready for work while I sat on the edge of her tub watching her straighten her hair. We were talking about things that were happening in her life, things she wanted to do. Somehow she opened her mouth and rainbows and unicorns started dancing. That’s a lie. What isn’t a lie is that she said, “The problem with people is that we’re looking at everyone’s front door from our bone filled closets.”
  • March 11, 2014: Want to make your own body wash? 5 cups of water, 3 bars of any soap finely grated, melt together in a pot until the soap is dissolved, allow to cool a bit, put in jars and use at will. My sister-in-heart Shannon Looney gave me this recipe and I love it.
  • February 9, 2014: “Indigo Children are those who have seen and remember the face of God.” I’m not sure where I heard that or maybe read that, but I am an Indigo Child, so I found it interesting. I haven’t decided whether or not this applies to me in the way it’s worded which is why I saved it so I could simmer the thought on my back burner where I put many of my deep questions I like to think about as well as the not so deep.
  • January 20, 2014: “Some days my hands look so old that I have to imagine youth weaving power back between and around my fingers like warm mittens and wedding rings.”
  • January 20, 2014: There is an incredible woman named Lady Astarte that lives in Knoxville, TN. Whenever I get to be around her, which has become quite a bit less frequent than I’d like, we always experience whales of laughter and hurricanes of words that build up incredible energy. She’s one of my favorite people.
  • November 3, 2013: An idea I had for a country song: Barbeque buddies and back-door neighbors
  • October 12, 2013: For some reason I have the definition of vulgar. “vul-gar Pronunciation: VUHL-gur\ Function: adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Latin vulgaris of the mob, vulgar, from volgus, vulgus mob, common people Date: 14th century 1a: generally used, applied, or accepted b: understood in or having the ordinary sense (they reject the vulgar conception of miracle — W.R. Inge) of or relating to the common people: plebeian b: generally current: public (the vulgar opinion of that time) c: of the usual or typical, or ordinary kind 4a: lacking in cultivation, perception, or taste : coarse b: morally crude, undeveloped, or unregenerate: gross c: ostentatious or excessive in expenditure or display: pretentious 5a: offensive in language: earthy b: lewdly or profanely indecent Synonyms: Common or Coarse
  • October 6, 2013: “Uniqueness is inherent beauty.” From the television show “Bones” Do not underestimate the power of your experiences that alter and/or enhance this uniqueness. Spirit and body combine to create a fantastic array of lovely, valid, worthy persona. “We seldom think of what we have but always what we lack.”
  • October 3, 2013: You can live under my willow tree. There’s always room for you; always a vacancy.
  • September 24, 2013: You know da po-po when you po’ po’. They keep the bros and hos from go’in loco in da hood when they up to no good, shut ’em down.
  • September 20, 2013: Kiss me until I’m stupid
  • September 11, 2013: Phrases, phases, pens and pages
  • June 28, 2013: Country song idea for chorus: written in Nashville, TN with Lyle Hoskin while watching people enter The Grand Ol’ Opry for the evening show:

Cowboy boots and the itty-bitty skirts,

tight blue jeans and the red plaid shirts,

we’re red-necks

drinkin’ long necks

raisin’ hell like your mama warned you about

Scream, “YEEHAW!”

We’re from the South ya’ll

Raise ’em up! And drink ’em down.

  • June 6, 2013: “You feel and find the significance of life.”
  • April 21, 2013: Turquoise, pumpkin, lemon <– three of my favorite colors
  • March 30, 2013: “I heard a bird sing every word within her repertoire, Many verses that she sang for she had traveled far.

If you keep notes, share a couple in the comments. I’m interested in your thoughts.