SWAMP WATER, QUICKSAND, and NINJA MOVIES

Ahh, that time in a life when creativity is challenged. Calls to My Muse are sandwiched between calls to handle life issues. The transition from legal words to lyrical words is a challenge. Thoughts of creating things are replaced by thoughts of rebuilding things. I’m spitting out all of this fetid swamp water I swallow as I’m dog-paddling to ground I can stand on. I get there and It’s only a moment’s respite. Here come the mosquitos, going for the ears first. Why does the buzzing around in my ear bother me more than getting bit?

“Just bite my ass up and be on your way!”

Swatting at them, I take a step and sink knee-deep in quicksand! Oh great! What’s the saying, “the more you struggle the faster you sink”, or something like that? Everything in my being absolutely rejects that crap. Just stand there and sink? Nah, I’m going to pray (loud and long) but I’m
turning into one Indiana Jones-acting fool also. Just trust God to make that low-hanging branch strong enough to help me pull myself out!

The temple sits shrouded in fog. Dark green and black mold covers the doors and bricks, so thick and expansive I can barely see the mortar in some spots. Sections of carvings peek out through the mold – dragons and devils and snakes and scorpions and other unpleasant creatures. I wonder… How much can I charge them to pressure wash this place?

I enter. Sections of the ceiling have fallen ages ago, scattered over the stone floor of a vast, round hall. There are what appears to be doors every few feet, their entrances shrouded in darkness. Moonlight filters in through the remaining rafters, making a pattern of lines on the floor that resemble cell bars. Cobwebs are everywhere, and where the moonlight touches them they almost seem to glow. The only other object in the hall is a circular pile of loosely placed stones, forming a seat for a thin, bald, white-bearded man. He’s wrapped in white and green cloth, and sits with his legs crossed under him. He’s resting his elbows on his knees, hands propping his chin. Across his lap lays a very long samurai sword. I’m thinking, somehow, someway, I’ve stumbled into Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Part 3.

I’m just a few steps inside the temple, wondering what to do when he points a gnarly finger at me and shouts,

“Nǐ huì fàngqì ma?”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that. Could you repeat the question, please?” (Ever polite, am I, imitating the very proper British chap)

He takes a long, sorrowful sounding sigh.

“Nǐ huì fàngqì ma?”

“Come again?”

A third time, “Nǐ huì fàngqì ma?”

Now I’m getting pissed, the improper Carolina chap. “WHAT?”

Now he’s pissed off way past my being pissed! He grabs the sword and hops off the stone. As soon as his feet hits the floor I turn around to run, and I see the door I just came though…is no longer there.

A bony hand on my shoulder spins me around, a wrinkled face is thrust into mine!

“Will you give up?”

Sounding like a four-year old kid who sees his bedroom closet door opening by itself in the middle of the night I scream, “Oh Jesus!”

“HE sent me! WILL YOU GIVE UP?”

… to be continued?

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