Rock ‘n’ Roll riffs match frame with a closeup of a woman’s cherry red lips. The lipstick, freshly applied. Her teeth are perfect pearly white. It is a summer’s day, as can be seen in the blurred background of the activities of a community pool in slow motion. The woman is chewing gum, slowed grinding up and down movement of her jaw. She spits out the gum, has piano enters the score non-diagetically. Carefully wrapping her discarded lunch in its original tin foil wrapper and disposes of it in the waste bin, she grabs a stemmed maraschino cherry off an unassuming kid’s banana split sundae, and pops it in her mouth. Heads turn as if the action has loud, reverberant repercussions. And they aren’t staring because they think what she did was wrong or unjust, but they want to see her expert tongue craft a knot with the cherry stem, and dream of what else that tongue could do if put to the test. The victim of the fruit robbery however, does feel robbed however, and shouts at the girl as she walks away from him without a second glance. Her sunglasses have thick, white frames and she is still walking, walking, walking in slow motion, having chewed and swallowed the sweet, syrupy treat and now working that stem into a knot. The poolside community on the edge of their seat. The splashing has stopped. Divers have stopped short on the diving board. Lifeguards abandon their posts, looking, searching, to see if she’s done it. Suddenly she stops walking and puts her fingers to her mouth to pull out the double-knotted cherry stem. She raises it above her head, spins around 180 degrees and smiles big. The crowd cheers! Popcorn spills onto the pool walkway, sodas are knocking over, kids in the pool are dunking each other in excitement. Goggles have been fogged up.
Crumb cake at Luke’s and the smell of freshly made coffee. Every morning has the potential to be a perfect one. Sweet pastry, bakery items with the mix of that dark, deep, bitter liquid. Lorelai eats every crumb.
Boxed Entenmann’s crumb cake, holy with all its preservatives, promising freshness before the sell-by date. Gather around the dining room table. Company is coming. Put out that china dessert plates, teapot, sugar bowl, and the little pitcher of milk. Fresh napkins, music soft in the background. A new tablecloth, spread neatly underneath everything. There is also apple pie and cookies and ice cream. Company is coming and we are going to have a good time. We will leave only crumbs.
Taking the serrated bread knife on Sunday morning and cutting into a crusty loaf of the freshest French bread. The sawing sound and the movement of the knife unseats crumbs and sesame seeds. After cutting, I scoop them up and hold them in my palm before discarding them. This fresh bread – I will toast a piece or two and spread butter on it later. But while I wait, I will treat myself to the end piece of this noisy, crunch, soft loaf. So simple. So inflammatory. This moment could be heaven forever, smelling the toast, the char, the heady carb wafting through the home. Combined with the smell of coffee, eggs, and bacon, it smells like a diner. I feel footloose and fancy-free in the kitchen. Breakfast time can save your life. I can be enough to wake up early and not spend days bunkered down, afraid of the world and the potentialities of the trouble it may bring.
A mouse holds a large cake crumb over it’s head, forgotten about on the rug. It comes in the night, plotting the theft and its escape, back to it’s home, through the walls, to his other comrades. They will pool their findings and feast on the forgotten discarded crumbs.
Down in a southern swamp, where the humidity is thicker and wetter than a three-piece suit drenched in molasses, there is a gator, hundreds of years old – Or so the legend says. This elusive reptile is rarely seen, but when she is, she is cruising through the muck, her eyes above the water, or in a flash, she’s snapping at some unsuspecting prey, ripping them to shreds and diving back down into her murky deep to sleep off her surprise snack. The aquatic plant life sweats and bears witness to this unapologetic display of nature where many lives have been lost. Drunken moonshiner daredevils on the bad end of a bet, as well as various swamp creatures who live their lives in survivalist fear. This vicious gator is rumored to be a mix of both light and dark, forest green; No one knows, because no one’s seen her fully outside her swamp, if they have, she’s caked in mud to cool her scales from the punishing southern sun. She relishes in the sticky, humid air; breathes it up like its candy, almost as if she knows not everyone can appreciate this refined taste in southern summer conditions.
Days on the swamp are quiet with hum and buzz of insects, the croak of an occasional frog or toad. The big splash can catch you unawares as it is impossible to predict when that gator will come snapping out of the water, or become uncamouflaged from the mud, her massive jaw opening and closing, rows upon rows of triangular teeth, geometric death traps, come smacking and snacking down. Her tongue is large and formidable on it’s own. Swallowing down birds and rodents and anything bigger and meatier she can find. Her reptilian skin is hard, but surprisingly smooth to the touch.
Racing bikes down steep hills, the flood of adrenaline plunges through my veins is a raging river after a good rainstorm. The handbrake is right under my right fingertips, but I do not squeeze them. My heart pounding in my chest is boulder trying to shape-shift into a statue. The wind whips my face and at this catapulting speed, I feel my helmet slightly shift from my sweaty forehead. As if on cue, my palms begin to sweat; I try to flick the thought away to get them to stop, but they will not. The association has already been made, the thought already been thunk. I do not pedal, but cruise while standing up. I take my hands of the handlebars gently, slowly, and try to balance with my arms out in a T. Pink and yellow helmet strap cuts into my chin. I see an approaching car and I unquestioningly squeeze that brake and pull to the side of the street. Childhood, killing time, sour gummy candy, potato chips, and soda. Carefree summer days that seem so rare when I think back on them. I eventually got to the age where I was over Summer Camps. They were mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting. Thunderbolt, lightning bolt on the side of the helmet. My mouth is dry and thirsty garden patch in the dead heat of summer. I smell of sweat as I dismount my bike, sweat well-earned, sticky and stale. My bike chain clicks as I walk my bike over to the other side of the road. Where my friends are. Sitting, unimpressed. My daredevil antics, all for nothing.
Pure blue sky, the color and taste of the blue raspberry part of a Firecracker popsicle. A 3-dimensional re-creation of the world we live in now. Picture yourself standing in a grandiose cube, filled with this blue color, even the ceiling and floor. It’s freeing, despite it being strangely disorienting. Holding your Bob Ross palette, you begin to craft your “little happy clouds”. The move slightly as breath of wind whispers through you. They are cumulonimbus. A pillow for Baby Hercules and Baby Pegasus to lay their heads. It is sweet tasting cotton candy, a piñata filled with rain coming to quench the world and bless the streams and rivers. Softness, but maybe transparency if you’re not gentle enough. The wind whispers again, blowing softly in the ears of the Creator. You can smell crisp, untouched, unadulterated air. Like New Hampshire in the mountains in Summer, July. Air that feeds and nourishes you. Many clouds now, growing and drifting apart, separating through a mitosis-like coming-apart. Body feels cold being up in the air like this now. The simulation becoming too real. You lay down on the clear blue sky cover yourself with a blanket that has now become your magic carpet, and imagine your child is laying right next to you where you could waste the afternoon away shouting out shapes of clouds and how they looked like animals. A grief-box where Time and the Past doesn’t exist. You live in a screensaver now. The future could be so advanced, but emotions remain the same, no matter what happens.