A Maple Tree, Chapter 7

“So, would you like to hear of what wonderful amazement I’ve been up to today?� the Straight Haired Woman asks the Long Haired Man, squirming in her seat, fidgeting her fingers inside of her pockets so intently as to make a baker kneading dough pull out a pencil to take notes.

“Well, as I do sit around and waste away my days dreaming of what it is my beautiful wife is up to, I suppose that I most certainly would.� Chimes outside of the window play a rickety tune as Annie sits, enthralled, trapped inside of a talking head, hearing him from the inside, quite literally, his thoughts as well as the earthly sound vibrations batting about the room.

“Okay, well, first go and get some wine,� she playfully flicks her wrist as a master might do to a slave. The man cocks his head back slightly, pretending disbelief at her audacity, and marches into the kitchen. Annie feels for a moment as though she’s still in the chair, but quickly yo-yos back into his space. “Hurry,� the woman yells, “this is news you don’t want to keep waiting!�

Back in the kitchen, he opens a cupboard door, where in the familiar house she used to know would sit several matching glasses, and from a large rack of wine bottles taps his fingers across their tops—“Last year’s Christmas present good news?�

“Sounds grand, just quickly, oh—“she begins to get up as though making her way into the kitchen as well, “I’ll just come in…�

“I’ve got it,� he appears in the doorway, two glasses, quite full and one of them spilling over a bit onto his jeans and the thick carpet, burnt orange and shag under the splashing droplets.

“Okay, sit down,� he hands her glass to her and slides across the couch to meet her at the hip. “I went to the art museum today, I just stormed right in, with my paintings and all and demanded a showing!� The sarcasm was thick in her voice, enough to push up past her first swallow of wine and dance all down his throat and into his heartstrings.

“You got a showing?� he made a motion with his glass as though to set it on some invisible table, but as is the result of using those sort of non-existent furnishings, the glass merely fell to the floor and gave the good people at Crayola a run for their money, mixing wine’s plenary purple blood crimson with the carpet’s orange, borrowed most likely from the tip of a lit cigarette.

No one cared. They were now conjoined at every possible location, lips tasting lips, legs locked around hips like belts holding up the felicity that, if not contained between the two, might run the risk of exploding out the room and into the world, setting the karmic balance off two-fold and causing all death and destruction to come to a halt. This, they knew, would be incredibly bad for business, and not wanting to be the single source of reason for the downfall of modern man, decided to hold the feeling all in to themselves.

“So when is it? Let’s get ready!� The Long Haired Man made a quick glance out of his left eye towards the spilled wine, then plucked his beautiful wife’s glass from her hand and began participating in the most elegant act of sharing.

“Well, it isn’t for a few months, so I’ve got time…to sort out the ones I want to show and all.�

“Good, then we’ll celebrate straight for a week, if you’ve got time,� he reached under the couch and in what can only be imagined to be the way an infant Houdini would magic out his baby-burps, produced a small glass pipe, made of colored glass and packed taut with a leafy green substance.

Moments later their tastebuds were realizing what life was like on a cotton field and the air was no doubt upset for having to share space with the potent wafting smoke of marijuana. Annie, who in her own body at her own time, was not unaware of the effects of the good drug, which she often assumed was just another sort of food or drink, as it sprung not just from the ground, but from ground in lands that were near-fable to her. Balmy, tropical worlds that saw only two seasons, continual heat sparsely mixed with relentless rainstorms. Extreme sun and extreme rain, the cycle doesn’t get much more poignant than that, she assumed. Here, inside of the Long Haired Man’s head, though, she was left sober and simultaneously able to see how it was truly affecting him: eyelids growing heavy, head bouncing like a tennis ball back and forth and his thought erupting into too many conversations to relate to the only other set of ears in the room. And nothing he ended up saying was at all in resemblance to what originally sparked in his thoughts. She began laughing profusely, inside of that great covered dome mounting his face and neck, and he proceeded to follow her cue.

Within the minute the entire room was giggling and the two lovers began to roll around on the ground, through spilled wine and crushing the glass beneath them. “Ow!� squeaked the Straight Haired Woman, but the pain was less notable than the pleasure of current existence, so they both ignored it and went on laughing and talking.

“Well, now you know what this means,� she said, “no more need for anything even closely related to work.� He rolled over on his back. “No more of this retail blah blah blah talking to women all day about how they might do better off with a size 6 shoe instead of crushing their toes in a 4. And after we get the money, you can start working on your little dream, right?�

“Ah…perhaps, I’m not ready yet, but we have awhile to go.� He turned his head to the side, so that his nose came bumping up perfectly against hers. “Now, I’m certain you’ll be a smash at the show, but I think I’ll keep doing the part time thing until we actually see old Cherry Tree George’s wooden-toothed grin come filling up the couch cushions, okay?�

“Suit yourself,� she hopped up and fashioned her back to the seat of the couch, motioning for him to join her, “but as for me, it’s all holidays from here on out.� He jumped from the floor to the couch and landed on her in a manner so accurately deceiving as to be fit for professional wrestling, and began tickling her profusely, right up until she kicked him off of the couch. He yelled, a startling yell, inappropriate for the playful way, and Annie felt a sudden biting, stinging, driving headache of a sensation shoot through his brain. Then, all black.

What Annie could only assume were merely moments later she opened her eyes. She was clearly back in control now and those giant mottled hazel orbs she had almost forgotten how to work on her own were staring straight up into a beautiful blue sky, cut into sections by the big Maple in her backyard and her mother’s downward gaze as she kneeled over her daughter’s fallen person. Annie noticed none of these objects as details however, simply as her backyard. Her familiar backyard, the way she had grown accustomed to it.

Up Next: Flies, Fruit and the Wave of a Hand