In celebration (anticipation?) of NaNoWriMo 2013, I thought it would be fun to post the intros of my previous victories and attempts. I mean, thus far, my scribbles have not really seen the light of day. So why not?
Photo Credit: Lucky Scarf
Things she left behind: the wedding album (retro), the honeymoon album (Paris), the fuzzy orange slippers from last mother’s day, the pots and pans, dishes and all the cookware, the red dress she wore to their engagement party, the leftover decorations from last year’s new years eve party, one black heel, her peach scented shampoo and conditioner, her disposable razors, hairbrushes, nail polishes, her favourite flannel bed sheets, her celebrity gossip and house decorating magazines, the scented candles, the espresso machine, the world’s best mom coffee mug, the throw pillows they had argued over (he lost), the painting he had bought her in apology for being sore about losing, the couches, curtains, carpets and tables she had picked out, cream coloured tablecloths, glass art pieces collecting dust, wicker baskets, potted plants, half a tub of her favourite ice cream (heavenly hash), two children, and 3 million dollars.
Things she took: closet full of clothes and shoes, all of her luggage, her jewelry (wedding ring included), mother’s day cards from the kids, her plethora of cosmetic products (he saw the bathroom counter for the first time in nearly 9 years), her silk robes, lingerie, one photo album of the young ones as babies, her curlers, her favourite set of pastel towels, her favourite throw blanket from the living room, sunscreen, sunglasses, 3 million (and then some) dollars, the divorce papers.
He had been over all of it, exactly fourty seven times now and he had finally figured out what had really been the beginning of the end. It was all so simple: the agent of the breakdown was the lawn flamingos.
He had liked them, in their own kitschy, neon candy spray painted glory. How they watched him leave for work each and every morning, and how they were always there, a stoic, but strangely hilarious welcoming party when he got home. He liked the way they all were stranded in the middle of the green paradise of the front lawn island in a staggered line, a bunch of disorganized, loafing lawn ornaments with no purpose in life.
The birds didn’t worry, the birds were just birds. They were simple. He imagined the lawn flamingos would watch the front window of the house as though it was their television, and his family was their absolutely favourite program. Each day, they could peer inside to see the daily happenings with the cast of the show. The man, the lady, and their two sons, one who was five years old, and the other having recently turned don’t-treat-me-like-a-kid-anymore-and-stay-out-of-my-room. As this cast of characters moved about in the home, the flamingos watched with poker faced interest.
They saw everything. They saw the family watch television together and argue about which show ought to be watched. They witnessed them hurry about their fire drill mornings, preparing them for the rest of the day. They saw them have dinner guests and screaming matches and even the living room get redone at the behest of the wife character, who had wanted something more “classy and put together,” which really meant a new coat of paint, and more pillows. Too many pillows.
If you couldn’t guess, the flamingos did not much care for the set change: they themselves were not too concerned with being classy. (You may be surprised to know, but plastic lawn birds have low standards when it comes to decorating.) They had watched the woman gently and carefully rock their blanket swathed baby, pacing by the lonely midnight lamp of the living room, trying to soothe it. Years later, they watched the baby, now known as the five year old, having turned turned into a little boy, teeter down the front steps holding his brother’s hand, on his first day of school. They saw it all.
One day, they saw the man jump out of his car, the lap of his pants soaking wet with cold coffee, and run faster than he ever had into the house waving a yellow piece of paper, screaming for dear life in a tongue they were not fluent in. They watched the man and woman embrace, and jump up and down, now both screaming. The woman began to cry. They embraced. The flamingos did not blush when the man and woman began to kiss passionately, but they were horribly embarrassed when stay-out-my-room came home to find his parents on the couch, making out like they were totally in love and oh god was it ever gross.
Cheap. The flamingos were cheap and they could afford better now. After 9 years of marriage, it had to have been what had made her crazy, and it was that yellow paper that had made her see it.
He had thought they were funny and quirky, with their painted on plastic beady eyes, their single coat hanger limb where knobby legs should have been. All the lawn flamingos had to do was stand still, occasionally be kicked over by punk teenagers and watch their reality program on the inside of the house with the eyeball on the side of their head closest to the action. (He would always sadly upright them.)
She, on the other wing, had hated them. From the moment she had returned from her vacation in Mexico with her girlfriend to find them on the lawn, from the moment he had played the “let them stay if you love me” card, from the moment she had been furious one night after a gloriously vivid screaming match and snapped the head off one with her bare hands. He had come to realize it was the eyesore of these tacky neon birds which had caused his divorce.
That was it, most definitely it. She had been driven crazy over the flamingoes and had served him the divorce papers. The winning lottery ticket had nothing to do with it, no, it was everything to do with the flamingoes.
This revelation came, as most delayed realizations do, in the middle of the night. He was laying in his now single bed, but literally king sized bed, staring into the void of the ceiling when it dawned on him. In a moment, he leapt out from between the sheets, hurrying into the hall, a man with a determined step in his walk.
He marched down the stairs, nearly killed himself on a compact blue hot wheels sports car and marched out onto the front lawn into the night.
It was summer—hot. He loomed over them in nothing but his boxer shorts, sweating. How had he gotten here? Divorced, on the lawn, on the edge of sanity? The flamingos had not seen this twist coming.
He stared. They all stared back, at something of a loss for words. By the time the flamingos had thought of a kind word to say, it was too late. That was when the man wrenched the first one straight out of the ground with his bare hands, taking hold of the anchoring wire like it was a golf club or a last straw. With the fervor of a lumberjack, an axe murderer, or maybe even a recent divorcee, he swung the body of the trembling lawn flamingo into the next doomed soul in the line of it. With a loud crack, the plastic gave away, and shards of pink fell into the grass below. The sharp report disappeared into the night as quickly as it had started.
The other birds stared in silent horror as they watched this lunatic in his feverish state let out a primal scream of fury and begin beat down each and every last one of them into tiny shards of neon pink plastic, with one of their very own.
In a blind rage he would step up to one, swing hard and beat it into the ground. Plastic flew, sweat burst across his skin, and somewhere far off, a dog began to bark.
In the end, the green lawn was sprinkled with chunks of what had once been birds. They stood out in the grass, vibrant, pink triangle shapes, bits of molded feathers, tiny black pea eyeballs which lived long enough to see the madman bring his bare foot crashing down all of the pieces. It was by far going to be known as the worst plastic bird mass killing in recorded history.
The wild man screamed in pain worse than as if he had trodden upon a hundred legos in his bare feet. Stumbling back and gripping his bare foot, his ass hit the lawn and the pain brought him back to reality. Fading hysterical, the pink haze of fury in his eyes seemed to sink back inside of him,. Staring at the lawn ornament graveyard before him, he gripped one foot, pulling a piece of flamingo from it, wincing as it began to bleed. That was how he knew he wasn’t dreaming.
The madman looked around to see if any of his neighbours had been up to see his tirade, his dissolve of will, his moment of complete and utter madness. None. His shoulders slumped. He breathed a sigh of relief. It had been the flamingos all along. The anger fell away from him, and staring at his now completely dead audience, it was replaced by a sort of nostalgic sadness.
“I’m sorry,” he said to the birds, wiping blood off his foot and jamming his fingers in his mouth, “I’m sorry… I never meant for any of this to happen,” and just as though life had a real sense of dramatic effect and timing, that was when the neighbor’s sprinklers turned on, and his son, Stay-out-of-my-room came down the street, preparing to sneak back into the house. There are very few words to describe the reaction of a teenager coming home to their father, bloody, soaking wet on the front lawn amidst a veritable rosy murder show, but Stay-out-of-my-room had a few very good ones on hand for such an occasion.
“Dad? What. The. Fuck.”
“This isn’t what it looks like!”
But sadly, it was.