IV. If on the Ledge

Nearly each evening, the small smoking stars descended out of a houndstooth or downstream hat, for the glimmering stand–in sincerely fought haywires in the foot plate pier. Irrelevant divas crocheted noodle blintzes, stunning roofers who’d ordained that azimuths were never trammeled by asterisk wedgies.

iv — If on the Ledge.

          Lemaniac and his better half Coral had prepped an Etruscan finger feast and a three–hour diatribe about Thebes’ otiose descent into alien licentiousness. In vivid contrast to the insufferable permissiveness of the current regime, “there was once a time,” Coral said, “when you could fall face first into the past tense and never have to worry about doing your taxes in bed ever again.”

          Situationally aware of their auspicious vitality, yet stupefied after mead that is more dingy and nearly continuous lyres, Legion heard that Theda had qualified for the catholicon. Her proofread eternity, My Haunted Bleak Rhymeless Largo, grumpily perturbed rugrats racing through the corridors, and the choir blared tinnily until two doors fell down.

          Everyone felt rapturous after a pedicure and solo warblers, gonged steerlessly by the crass, were too disposed to layover for the ring toss to realize that before this placebo dripped astray, an argent Lydian pendant was bestowed upon the brow of Theda.

          Promptly Legion had to see a man about a horse, commenced a timidly eerie march toward the piscatorum, yawned for weeks, and begged off further easier vices at last light — he charily lunged into the nearest diligence and bounced across the Rubicon.

*        *        *

          Beneath the Mostly Color Show Tree, an array of penniless helots conferred conglomerately enough. They lurched out and altogether demanded Legion’s protection from the grotto of Landscape, praying, “what are you looking at?” This was a dizzy moment: his first scare, and he felt his merest reputation was soiled by malfunctional alarums.

          The second–story men rummaged through his odious knapsack. The plasticity of the moment was high–strung, whence from the tulgey woods, “and best hurry or they’ll steal your imagination,” a sotto voce hortolan twittered nimbly at complines, “you mental dimwit.”

          A steep refuge lay nigh, of course. Clematis streaked topographically in the foreground, and always berating the frumenty orchids, nearby Romanovs pedaled momentous theorems of irrelevance while Legion, accosted by countless actual thieves, demanded to cast a final wager.

          If attributing this to the idiosyncrasies of credulous hermits who could be estranged, they all kneeled before an echo singer. This sapient deity elbowed aside their tomahawks and decreed each ecliptic clicked and more bereft of cement than so–called thresholds arcane, adding “we’ll ring you up if you can circle around the international dateline and cough up the next day.” They left him just looking for virgins within Paris.

          Overwhelmed by his own scant fortitude, Legion’s largest bet up to that point had been a deal with Fortescue that said stalking horse led to better yet sportier designer access TV, to which the latter replied, “wouldn’t you like to know.” This dwarfed that.

         His hair crackled during the final countdown before his last ever spit in the seas of Caledonia. Those talismans on the messenger side welcome mat scrambled scrolling into the lock. Rarely spritzed powders throbbed, underlying gaseous titrates snored, and the lemon integument undid Thebes’ street theatre, blazing all the wallflowers forth into collusion with cotswolders who belabored his derivative inexpedience.

          The auguries swiftly whistled Dixie at the likes of his compunctive ilk as Legion skedaddled around the bistros, revealing control issues hitherto illuminative of erstwhile proxy puerility. A red wonderful new magic omnibus pitched in with sinister macarenas that stiffly slid into Hebraic. He germinated the mandrakes, sprouting as if from the head of Zeus, and amidst a raft of thick fichus the zygotes almost unconsciously shrugged off winter.

          Legion roved toward the back lot where, after a pause for fresh air, numerous odd wrens were out listening to desultory tremblers. Uffish twinges whined inexorably. Leaning over to warp down the coolant ratio, Legion had survived his last dive into the cauliflower patch and felt malleable to the most bizarre influence.

*        *        *

          Beyond the shadow of a doubt, Mycenean hucksters pre–empted his tedious thought.

          Legion affected to reach an unassailable conclusion. “In terms of mail–in rebates, I’m feeling good and unless the turnip truck flips over, hell yes, I’ll be thrilled to buy the farm!” Their faces lit up like Yuletide logs.

          “We’d just as soon choke on owl fewmets,” erupted a rabid last come last serve from the rearview looking glass, and everyone turned to behold Lemaniac! “You’re talking serious peanuts here, and the cookbook quotes this as a standard demolition derby reject with 73,000 versts on the dial, a has–been worn out by every roadhog in the project.”

          His poignant adroit litany undermined the fiscal courtesies. Legion winced at his savior’s willful offensiveness. A pearly vapor trail brocaded the cerulean environs while condors soared into the sky and wheeled fretfully. “We don’t want to pawn the crown jewels for pottage and have to ransom our flatware,” Lemaniac asserted.

          The sulky bailiff acted unconcerned. “Of course not, don’t be ridiculous. We have presided over a regrettable misunderstanding. In all probability,” quoth he, “the greatest journey begins with a trip to the water cooler,” where a hasty confluence resumed. He played a mea culpa conspiracy. “Fine, we’ll accept any knock-off allowed by law and you need only fish for dreadnoughts.”

          Miss Elf, an innocent third party, enrolled in the contest of wits. Pulsating with resourceful happiness, she cranked out a solid lease entitlement. Heretofore Legion could unwind, yet Lemaniac interceded, “be still my missing heart.” Anew the fateful baroque outlasted fealties. Legion decided to leap at this promise to keep in touch and noodled out into the wobbly gloaming to seethe elastically.

*        *        *

          An ominous silence held sway on the home stretch. If less than delighted at being sandblasted and alloyed with innocuous yarn beads, and close to dribbling on the thatched sunroof, the real reason for Legion’s cold testiness remained unresolved. He shorted out Ptolemaically, “if it were all the same with you, I don’t need to look for another day like this.”

          Lemaniac finally said, “dawg, you’re a new squirt. In Thebes, some of the people are going to take a page from this all of the time, and if all of the people out there aren’t going to prevent that anytime soon, then usually Noone will.”

          Exceedingly aware of his concertina grinding out, for the last time, She Shot Me Down by heart, Legion’s personal anthem, tantamount to having made his bed forever, Lemaniac biodegradably spotted a snow fort back at the ranch, where Legion was from the outset on a fresh tangent. They arranged with petite portfolios for a moonwalk, approached the spatial end of time, and only expired slyly hidden leaks forfeited what was furthermore a fine ancillary ego trip.

          Bete noirs felt insane. “When in the hell are you going to pay off that space monkey,” they expostulated one day? “We’re just fiends,” Legion said.

Circa early November 2007.

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