Tales of the Bearded Toad

Short stories and the occasional true tidbit devised in the life and times of the Bearded Toad

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

There's a New One

He knelt down to tie his shoe, but he stayed there. He left his hands with his fingers gently holding the loops of his right shoe, with his left foot tucked under him. Frozen, she wondered what it was that could have triggered it this time. Usually when this happened, it was because he saw something that reminded him. She looked around, trying to find it. There it was, his name in reflective white letters in a field of green.

She had hoped the trip would help him forget. They’d been planning it for two months now. Actually, she’d been planning it. He just agreed to whatever she said. Watching a show on Broadway? “Sure.” Shopping for fake purses in China Town? “If that’s what you need.”

Two weeks before they left, he’d been driving and saw what could have been his twin riding with his head out the window. He’d turned around and followed the car for two miles, where the driver pulled into a parking space in front of a windshield repair shop. When the man got out, he’d yelled out the window, “Leroy?” No response.

Leroy had a belief. Not one of those that don’t really mean anything to the holder, such as believing that too much masturbation can cause blindness. “We shouldn’t have had sex last night,” he finally said flatly to her. “I don’t know how you talk me into doing something that I know will only create another one.”

“You think that this sign is saying that there is another one now?”

“Of course. What else could it mean?”

She could sense the agitation and fear building in him again. “Leroy, I’m pretty sure that this sign and this street were here well before you were born.”

“That’s just it. It probably was…now.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Every time one is created, it seems to the rest of the world, that they had always been around. The whole of history and time is altered with its creation. I thought I’d explained that to you before. Listen, I know you still think I’m crazy, but I know that that little seed of mine is cursed.”

She didn’t always listen to him anymore when he was trying to explain his ideas. “I guess you did tell me that. So what do you want to do about it now?”

“Take down the sign. We have to take down this sign and the one on the other end of the street. Once they are down, he will disappear, along with all traces of him.”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to take down a road sign in the middle of Manhattan with all these people around. We could get arrested.”

“I don’t care. I’ve been arrested before. Just don’t let them put me in that hospital again. Jail I can handle, but I wouldn’t be able to take being put in with my others again. Plus, they’d figure out that I was lying last time just to be let out. Come on help me with this.”

He was stacking two plastic crates in front of the sign post. She knelt down and held onto it so that it wouldn’t tip over when he climbed on top. He took out the multi-tool that his father had given him for his last birthday. It had his name and date of birth inscribed in white letters along the side. When he held it up to start twisting off the first nut, the pairing of his name in white twice made him freeze again.

“What if I’m not the original? What if I’m just carrying on the multiplication of Leroy ‘somebody’ and I’m just his clone? What if every time I have an orgasm, I’m not creating another me; I’m creating another him? He could be trying to wipe me out of history.”

He stepped down and stared at her. She just stared back. He put his multi-tool back in his pocket and walked away.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Life in Transition

I’m sure, if you check in regularly, or if you look at the dates of posts, you have noticed that I have been absent from my own blog for a while. The reason for this, I’ve kept fairly secret, because there were some friends who check in who are also coworkers. We decided to move and pursue new jobs, a wrinkle which could have caused problems should it become known to my now former employer.

In November, my wife quit working for a company that was, shall we say, less than ethical. Her action became the catalyst for us looking at moving halfway across the state. I actually moved her and our three rambunctious furry companions the day after Thanksgiving and leased out our house. I then, with the fortune that I have--not monetary--was able to stay with a friend until Christmas, traveling back and forth on the weekends. Being apart from her for five day stretches was a bit trying at times, but, given the examples of some of my acquaintances who left there families behind for years in order to complete college programs and emigrate to the U.S., I don’t think it was too rough.

So, we are now settled into our new town, taking in the eccentricities that abound, and enjoying every moment of it.

To all of my friends with whom I was unable to share a proper goodbye, I’m sorry. I hope that you understand my predicament. I greatly respect everyone with whom I worked and hope that the time I spent with you will be remembered fondly.

Soon, you will begin seeing new fiction, the way it used to be. Until then, enjoy the writings of those linked to the side.