On the surface this may seem an odd story for publishing on Christmas Day. However, here in LS Towers we like to think that we are a thoughtful bunch and you’ve already had a couple of ‘almost’ traditional Christmas Tales.
This piece blew our minds when it arrived – We have always known what makes ‘good’ writing is not comma placement and clever verbiage, what makes a good piece in our opinion, is passion. This writing is so powerful we wanted to share it, as it shows that the degree of passion in a piece can override grammatical and constructional anomalies, it can be cathartic and it can be moving and leave you feeling as if you have been slapped in the face by it.
So, why this – now?
Well, we agreed that apart from anything else this piece of writing reminds us all that at this time of the year when we are all pressured into ‘jolliness’ there are many for whom it’s a struggle to simply exist from day to day. The bloke at the table next to you, wearing a Santa hat and reading Christmas cracker jokes could be falling apart inside. Maybe not the usual Christmas message but if it makes us just a bit kinder to each other – we reckon this story is probably a gift to us all.
You can touch Shax, but only by “appointment.” First you have to establish eye contact with the old tom and at the same time make a “scratchies” gesture with your index finger. If you correctly spy permission in his imperious gold eyes, then, and only then, may you apply a “scratchie” to the surprisingly short distance between his ears. Any failure to comply with this procedure will result in a personal math system based on the number nine.
Christmas was coming. Who’d be Santa Claus had suddenly gotten sticky.
There had to be forty or so kids living in the urban cul-de-sac, all of them in squashed-in apartments in a dozen three- and four-decker buildings, the pigeons on the roof often mingling with the kids at tall hide-‘n’-seek, romances in dark budding, now and then some contraband or stolen goods getting exposed, two or three gymnasts every generation that managed and used the roof tops for exercises, dares, escapes of one sort or another. Merton Place, from various points of view, was a city in itself.
And Christmas was coming. It was around the corner.
Another of our regular contributors has chosen work to be ‘Rerun’ and it’s a beauty. L’Erin Ogle pulled The Dreampurple Light from under the floorboards and this is what she said:
Rita Sajevic lost her mind on home plate at 5:15 pm, two days after dual interviews at competing churches. She’d work the night shift cleaning 11 blocks from home. All this was in shorthand on her palm faded by cherry red ink. On her other palm was a tattoo of a fetus whose life ended tragically. After Rita relived the event, outside of confession mind you, I swore to several saints never to retell that story to anyone.
Magnificently justified, she teeters on the parapet of her limestone tower. The herd lows below, and in the autumn air all stands still except for Tom, who has spied her from a distance and now is racing to her rescue. Her foot shifts and slips a bit, sending down a pebble cascade, but her heart is strong, and she refuses to be petrified. She stares straight ahead at the hillside, where leaves fall from their trees, drifting, dropping, like children’s valentines into makeshift paper-bag mailboxes taped to her classroom wall many years before. Cards of teddy bears with hearts, Hello Kitty with hearts, blooming flowers with hearts, circus lions proclaiming, “You’re purr-fect!” Suppressing squeals, children scurry. Others’ bags fill up. In hers, not one. Eyes anchored on the hillside, all she sees is disregard. That and the teacher frowning with pity for poor Samantha San Gabriel, so shy and so odd.