My Mind

My Mind
This is my mind

Friday, February 24, 2012

Little people 2

I was out walking again last night along the same path when I heard music coming from the area of oaks.  I slipped behind one of the larger trees and looked around.  A light shone through the window of a small building over near the marsh.  A high note sounded from a small trumpet from within.   Making myself as inconspicuous as possible I edged toward the window.  Lying prone I could just see inside.  There was a low yellow light from oil lamps on the walls. Below them little people were quaffing ale and playing cards.  Others were dancing on the floor before the band which was wailing out a fast tune for the couples slipping and sliding to the beat.  Over in the far corner I recognized a face and a bandaged foot.  The one wounded in the duel was sulking over a tankard of ale sitting alone in the darkness.
A couple of weeks have passed since the infamous duel. The tiny tavern was hopping as customers entered. Smoke curled out the door when it was opened. The sound of the three piece combo mingled with the blue smoky atmosphere dwindling to a slow rhythm after the jump and jive of minutes before. He was watching the couples holding each other tightly, sliding across the dance floor in front of him. He sat looking forlornly into the pewter tankard. He winced as a sharp pain raced up his leg. There was a hole, healing painfully, through his arch. He threw back the golden brew, put the pewter mug on the table and reached for his foot. This was the first night he'd put his shoes on since that morning.
“Waiter! Another one please!” he yelled over the band.
The drink arrived. He paid and downed it quickly.
Ah, for the days when alcohol went straight to his feet. Two drinks always brought on a case of HAPPY FEET. And now?  He didn't know. What would two drinks bring?
The combo began a second soft slow number. The noise of the crowd began to mellow in tune with the music. Several couples rose to dance. They began to glide with the rhythm. Those at tables fixated upon them. The music captured everyone.
‘I could have been out there,’ he was thinking to himself. ‘I don't think I'll ever be able to dance again. I can barely walk’.
The waiter brought another tankard.  “Thank you. Here you are,” he said handing the waiter change.
“Oh, no sir. It's been taken care of.”
Looking around the room he saw a man with red shining skin. His hair was slicked back from a prominent widow's peak. His thin face bore two sharp curving horns budding on each side of that widow’s peak. A smile burgeoned above the cone of chin whiskers.  A gloved hand raised a glass in the wounded man.  Our subject looked away. The man stood up, gathering his black cape and horned tail as he stepped from his stool.
Our “hero” did a double take. Horned tail?
“Hello, my friend. How are you?”
“How do you know me?”  he asked.
“Ah, you underestimate your notoriety. Everyone has heard about the famous duel. Too bad you've lost your, uh, ability to dance.”
“It's the wages of sin.”
“Oh, let's not be so hard on yourself,” said the man with the bifurcated tail. “ You only wanted to dance, right?”
“Well, yeah.”
“Nothin' wrong with that. eh?”
“I didn’t think so."                                                                                                                                    “So, miss it do you?”                                                                                                                                           “Miss what?”
“Dancing! Lamebrain!”
“Oh. Yes. Of course I do. So what?”
“Maybe I could help.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I'm talkin' about you dancing again.” 
“Yeh? How the hell you gonna do that?”
“Ah. Yes, hell. Well, we need to talk about that,” said the red skinned man.  “How much you want to dance again?”
“Anything. I’d do anything. I just gotta dance!”
The entire club shouts in unison, “GOTTA DANCE!!”
Ooh, it was a scene from Singing in the Rain.
The entire place went quiet.                                                                                                                             Red face leans in and softly said, “I can help you. You will be able to twirl a lady around on the floor again in no time.”
“Sure, buddy. How many you had?”
“No, I'm serious.”
“Yeah, right,” said our retired dancer. He looked away his eyes fell upon the door as it opened. It was his old dance partner. She walked in with her husband, the second duelist.
“Yes!” cried our crippled dancer. “ Gotta dance!” he shouted, looking in her direction.
“GOTTA DANCE!!” everyone in the room chimed in.
“Here. All you have to do is sign this contract and you can dance like never before. I guarantee it.”  The paper floated onto the table.
He looked at his rival’s wife.                                                                                                                   “Give me that pen,” he shouted in his eagerness. “Wait!  That looks like a syringe needle.”
“Of course it is. This contract must be signed in blood.  Such a small detail.  Surely you won’t let that stop you.”
The woman he yearned for sat across the room. Not once had she looked in his direction.
“All right. All right. Here,” he stabbed himself with the nib point.  “Ouch!”  He dipped the needle in the spot of blood emerging from his thumb. “There. It's done.” He handed back the parchment.
“Now, Gotta dance!” He sprang to his feet.
“GOTTA DANCE!!!!” eched everyone in the room.
“A drink for my friend,” said Redman placing the contract into a briefcase that appeared with a puff of smoke.
The crippled man  took the drink, throwing it back He wiped his mouth and slammed the glass onto the table top. He looked around the room and there stood a lithesome beauty in a green sheath wrapped with  swaying fringe moving to the rhythm of the music. That last drink turned into HAPPYFEET and he electraglided to the woman in slinky green vibrating beside her table.
“Gotta Dance!”  he sang as he held his hand out to her .
“GOTTA DANCE!!!” Everyone sang and rose from their seats. Couples flowed to the dance floor. The music played, the couples danced. The energy of the entire bar increased as the music captivated all.
He was still standing hand outstretched. She side stepped him leading her husband onto the dance floor.
“Dammit,” said our newly enlivened dancer.
He looked around the room. Every couple was dancing. There was only one person seated at a table. She was across the room. Their eyes met.
Yes, it had to be. He walked directly across the room. He held out his hand and she took it. The dance floor was full. The music was mesmerizing. The table beckoned. He picked her up and carried her to the top of the tallest table.
And there they danced.
His partner’s husband stepped out of the men's room. He looked at his table.           Empty.                                                                                                                                  Now where could she be? Then he saw them.  They were enmeshed, the two of them undulating to the rhythm of the music...
 That’s when I dozed off.  I awoke to a crow’s voice high above in the pine above.  I looked into the window.  It wasn’t there.  The little people’s night club had become a pile of leaves clumped around a young sapling.  A trail of ants marched along beside the leaves to a small carcass crawling with them.                                                                                                     I sat up.  The entire village had been dismantled.  A fairy ring of mushrooms encircled me.  There was no proof that a village of little people was ever here.  The only movement was the boiling rhythm of the ants picking the bones clean at the end of their life line. One line marching to and a second line marching away carrying bits of protein ripped from the tiny bones.  Was this the end of the dancing fiend or of an angry husband?  Will there ever be another chance encounter of this tiny village of human foibles or was it simply a bit of cheese lying undigested?

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