This is a (minor) rework of a short story I published a few weeks ago – now the first episode of a series. The plan is to spend the summer telling this story. I hope you enjoy “Lulu and Faye Today – A Shallow Soap Opera”. OneSmallVoice 5/2013
Today Was Going to be Different
Faye didn’t have time for poetic thoughts this morning because today was going to be different. She could feel it.
While it may have been the sweet scent of spring in the morning air – hints of lilac and warm moist earth. She didn’t think so. A typical, if glorious, spring day was not what she had in mind. Not what she felt. Something different…
Lulu, her dog, took a much broader view of the spring breeze. Lilacs and mud – sure, but also traces of worms, robins, bunnies and the hated squirrels. Lulu knew the squirrels were around – she could smell them. The scent of rodent mischief was in the air. Typically an animal lover, Lulu did not much care for squirrels.
Faye took her breakfast of yogurt and fruit (blueberries and bananas) out on the patio. She briefly considered cooking an egg as a routine break, but decided on the usual. Why change the trivial when something else, big, would be happening soon?
While health food tolerant, Lulu had no interest in the yogurt or the fruit. No, she could smell bacon frying in some stranger’s kitchen a quarter mile down the road. She longed for the days before Faye’s latest health kick. An optimist by nature, Lulu felt red meats and salty treats would one day return. Faye’s resolve would pass. Lulu could wait.
Lulu had the patience of Buda in dog years.
Daydreaming of bacon, Lulu resolved to defend, even yogurt, from those damn squirrels. She began to patrol the patio perimeter. Instinct, millennia old, led her – mostly by the nose.
Faye didn’t bother with her mourning routine of writing a poem during breakfast. She had no time for poetic thoughts today. Introspection and anticipation are mutually exclusive, she thought to herself. Then realized she was having a poetic thought, so crushed it by not writing it down. There, she thought. I’ve killed an idea with inaction. Realizing she was still waxing poetic, she decided to stop thinking and get dressed for work.
Lulu continued to circle the patio – ever vigilant. The squirrel apocalypse could begin at any time. (Bacon…)
The day proceeded uneventfully for both our girls. Faye worked writing obfuscated sentences for a multinational company. Propaganda, she once quipped; knowing full well propaganda would be a step up from the jargon laced copy she cranked out.
Lulu spent her day as self appointed dog therapy dog at the local canine daycare. She had a talent for calming down high-strung herding dogs. She also had the muscle and endurance to mix-it-up with the two year old bad-boy labs – anytime they were up to it. Lulu conducted herself as a second wave feminist having never heard the term.
After work, Faye picked up Lulu. They went home and Faye practiced bass fingering for exactly one hour while Lulu munched on a frozen buffalo bone. In other words – the usual.
Faye needed to learn the bass part to an old jazz tune by the weekend. Lulu didn’t know anything about deadlines, but enjoyed the low creaky sounds Faye made with that big, odd smelling, Chunk of Wood. The low tones reminded her of father’s bark. The sound penetrated her hide and massaged her spine. Lovely. Lulu felt they could really use more low tones in their lives.
After diner (grilled portabella and mixed raw veggies) Faye had her usual glass of wine while writing in her journal. She entered three paragraphs about change and the first two lines to a poem while Lulu patrolled the backyard. (Squirrels…)
Finally at day’s end, Faye gave up on expecting big change and undressed for bed. Lulu jumped up onto the queen size mattress and waited for her mandatory pre-sleep belly rub. Sometimes Faye would recite a poem while rubbing Lulu’s belly, sometimes she would talk about her day. Lulu preferred the sing-songy poems.
Drifting off to sleep, perchance to…
That’s when the phone rang
Half asleep, Faye grabbed the phone without seeing the caller ID. And found herself talking with Brad – an ex-boyfriend, who had left (dumped) her nine months ago. WTF, he was supposed to be living Out West!
The words “Hey, babe! How ya doin” sounded from the phone. Faye had no immediate reply.
“Hey, babe, you there?”
He has such a nice voice. It’s a trap, she thought.
“Yes I’m here Brad,” she finally said, “Why are you calling so late – or at all!”
“Hey babe, I’m in town…”
“Don’t call me that,” she interrupted.
“Sorry Faye, I just got in and thought we might get together. Play a few tunes – make some music.” He didn’t sound sorry.
“What, now?” she asked – don’t fall into a trap.
“Not now Faye, later this week. I’ll call.” He actually sounded hopeful.
“Yeah, right!” Faye replied and hung up.
As Faye rolled over Lulu stared at the phone. Was that The Guy she heard? Lulu liked his low dark voice. He wrestled with her – rough, but not too rough. And most important, he smelled of meat and fed her bacon. Things were looking up!
Faye drifted off
Into the dark warm spring night
Old loves floating on the breeze
Good times mostly bad
Her last thought for the day
Maybe tomorrow will be different