Cadence…A lovely sounding word meaning essentially that: the way that words sound when strung together. Think of taking a picture of clothes hanging from clothespins on line, suspended. The time of day reflects a certain kind of light off the clothes, the clothes melt and bend in the wind depending on their weight, the background and foreground must blend, and the colors of clothes must compliment the light, the setting, and each other. All these elements taken into a account creates a perfect photo. The same principle applies to sentences. They are lonely lines, bearing the weight and colors of words, the background of the paragraph and the light piece. And so this little two page doodle is an experiment in Consecution, or sound. It was an assignment for a class. This is my first draft. My job: to write with sound in mind, and to intentionally try and let each word perform 100 percent of it’s duty as a word. In other words, try and waste no sound and no words…If it was a test I would likely have failed. But it made for a fun time and a fun story. Enjoy!
He had always somehow slipped in something spontaneous. Even if it was an event previously planned, something in which thought had been put in prior, he perplexed us with surprise. Dad was mad—a vein of something insane powered his complex, interior, biological world. When I imagined the thin transparent tubes traveling through the musculature of his arms, lungs, and heart, I saw crazy straws, jammed and bubbling with blue and green liquids like the lab of mad scientist.
And dad could have passed for a white-coat nut. He had amassed on top of his head two graying waves cresting over his ears in tangled curls. Down the middle a shiny streak of fuzzy peached skin, speckled by age and freckles, slicked only when sweatied by the sun. A wise old caterpillar curled up lazily over his lip and slept there, far past its prime time for transformation. Dad wore pupil protectors made of glass and metal, plastic lined his pockets to ensure the protection from ink from his pens. The man was seven-shits sort of silly.
It was my sixteenth birthday and the coma of crazy had already carried him away. Streamers swung from doorframes throughout our house. Balloons hovered about eye level in the living room, looking at me oddly when I walked into the not so surprising surprise. A pastel piñata spun in slow circles from a string I assumed was stapled to the ceiling. I hid behind that look of embarrassment, the look that ironically ends up pointing you out in a crowd, attracting like a neon sign. I wore a gaping mouth and tears, more tears, crimson cheeks, and curse words (I can’t forget those) as I froze to the floor, forward facing and forced into paralysis before my father—and friends, who were standing by my side, witnessing my dad dressed as a clown.
I couldn’t recall if it was the rainbow hairdo, the obnoxious light spectrum spun into a silky afro, the red Rudolph nose attached noisily to his face like a bike horn, or the cufflinks—white fucking cufflinks—but I blanked and blacked out with embarrassment or was blinded by teenage bitchiness, and regurgitated the words of many of my ungrateful friends.
“I HATE YOU DAD!”
Comedy changed to Tragedy with a teardrop and a frown. The clown’s skin drained of color like a ghost—or a clown’s—done up with a white face. The lips lacked red, replaced instead by a cold blue. Fat hands grabbed at the nose, showing a pink ring ‘round the bridge and tip where rubber had suffocated the skin.
The clown floated through the balloon barricade, deflated, down the hall and disappeared into his room.
My friends fidgeted and fiddled uncomfortably. I was still staring, a bit ashamed by the sight of my dad dragging himself across the rug as a result of my reckless words. I walked over to the piñata, positioned myself in front of it, and pulled it down. It was nearly weightless and I wondered why. I shook it steadily and heard only the sound of a single something—a jingling. My heart leapt and I overturned the donkey, tearing into its womb with my hands by way of the cardboard folds hidden beneath its belly. With a triumphant arm I held the donkey high, myself buried up to my forearm in its stomach, my hidden hand a clenched fist, fast around a set of shining keys to a brand new car.
Surprise! I imagined my dad might say as spontaneity juice flowed how I pictured science does through the cylinders and looping sets of glass tubing inside his body to get samples for experiments, such as sixteenth birthday parties, just right.
Seven-sorts of silly that mad man was. Full of surprises. It was a surprise when the piñata was a childish way to say, here’s a car, you’re all grown up Allie.
I welcome your thoughts!