Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Fabian (A Tale Not Well Told) | A Kaplowitz Media. Original Work of Fiction

Fabian (A Tale Not Well Told) | A Kaplowitz Media. Original Work of Fiction

Now is not the time for vagueries. Not with so much at stake and with so little time remaining. There is a room and there is a man who is in the room. The room is in a building of a nondescript appearance, the type which makes a cold-shouldered village of families and lore and happiness and heartbreak the likes of which we shall never know. And that place is in a larger place not at all dissimilar to what I've already described. Also, there are other men involved, evil men. It's probably raining heavily. Sleet. Probably lashing at the rattling glass panes since it's more likely than not quite windy outside as well.

It was the type of year that you'll occasionally experience if you're lucky to be granted enough years, one wherein summer becomes winter by completely bypassing autumn. It was a late-blooming summer as well, come to think of it. The previous spring had overstayed its wet welcome. But when the heat came, it hit hard in waves upon waves of heatwaves unrelenting and ponderous. Unrelenting and, often literally, thunderous. The streets baked and the pedestrians baked and even the bakers baked and maybe it was even cooler by their ovens than alongside the plate glass window of a shop, its humid air slowly being brought to a boil around it. But now it was cooling fast towards cold if not already frigid and the rains (no, sleet) and the winds, as already mentioned had days ago arrived and seemed intent to stay. Snow loomed as imminently as did Christmas Day.

The day, week, and year are unimportant and our character has no name. In all honesty, he of course does, but it's of no concern with the tale at hand and as already noted--time runs ever-so thin. His shirt is white, stained with wear, and worn thin as time itself by where its jersey cotton fabric meets its neckband. He fidgets with a thing as he sits at a table under a bare bulb that hangs from above, a ceiling stained by previously leaky pipes. He stands. Sits back down. Fine, his name is Fabian and it's a silly name for this man until you understand that it's of Roman origin meaning a thing like 'bean-seller.' Fabian doesn't sell beans though. He's just not quite as fancy as his given name might well suggest.

Fabian had a wife. She was a pretty enough woman who wore her face rather high on her head. He had a child with her and then another child but then back to one child and then no wife. Finally no house either, with its grand front porch running its entire shingled span. On it sits a rocking chair painted white but flaking some. The door was painted red on the outside, and a sort of eggshell color on the inside. Further inside were dressed (not bare) bulbs and dresses in closets, well, one closet. A television was always on and sometimes a Christmas tree was in the opposite corner of that carpeted room and sometimes, gifts were placed under it with care. Those times were especially nice and the house smelled of cookies and contentment then. This, of course, is the story of Fabian's end and we begin there, almost completely disregarding what precipitated the fall.

He strikes a match and lights a cigarette, coughs a hacking cough. He doesn't smoke but felt the ambiance needed a little bit of an extra little something. Chesterfields. He walks to the window and down in the street below, Fabian sees the evil men all congregated in wait. Sits back down, Fidgets more. Now there's a bottle of liquor, whisky, he swigs straight from it and it burns going down. He's not a drinker. He doesn't smile from underneath his two-weeks stubble growing underneath his weary almost assuredly bloodshot eyes. They are the color of Caribbean waters and oddly pretty all things considered. His nose is broken, healed, broken, and healed again--all years ago.

He listens for the evil footsteps on the stairs and doesn't hear them yet. Yet. He stands up and sits back down. Then he stands back up and walks around the table with its one leg up on a Gideon Bible for the sake of balance and interjection of religion into this short moody story. He's done worrying. Done with all thinking and all thought. We catch him precisely at the moment of action. He starts to stand. Stops. Were those footsteps? No. He walks to a small flat desk with a long thin drawer over where a chair slides into it. To the right of that are three deeper drawers. He takes a legal pad and pencil from the thin one. There's no chair. He walks them over to the table. I'll try and speed this up a tick.

The pencil has no point (none at all) and he walks back to the old rickety desk, rifles through the bigger three drawers in search of a pencil sharpener. Curses aloud when he doesn't find one. The desk is painted a strange green hue and who the heck paints over a solid wood piece of furniture? It's an oil-based paint that makes it seem like the desk is almost wrapped in rubber or at least laminated. Except, of course, at the points where elbows and forearms are wont to oft rest. In the bottom drawer is an old phonograph loaded with a record and from its comedically over-sized brass horn plays the most apropos music you could ever possibly imagine. He raises the gun to his head, begins the pull, and the phone rings. It's her.

"Come home." The evil men downstairs understand the bang for precisely what it is and dissipate whilst shrugging blandly. But Fabian is a clever, clever man and shoots at the refrigerator while answering the call. The bullet probably made it through the refrigerator door, perhaps spoiled milk poured freely from a neatly pierced jug. And the porch has a rocking chair painted white but flaking some. He could already feel his body sink into its familiar embrace. The evil men would think him dead and would leave him be with his kid and his pretty enough wife who wore her face rather high on her head. And maybe the part of your mind that makes your ears work shuts down last of all and maybe the sirens of your own meat wagon sound like a phone that rang a split second too late or not at all.

Something is not right. It just doesn't work. He can't make it work. He's rewritten that last paragraph a hundred times. It's no use. Stanley will try again, maybe start another instead, as the rewrites now tend to dull with each attempt. Another abandoned bit of nothing. Time wears thinner and thinner still. He spends his nights trying to make these little stories work and none ever really do. At least not yet. Some get close. If one ever does, he'll send it off to an agent. Or maybe a publisher. He's not really sure about all that. During the day Stanley stocks shelves in a grocery store where time never ever wears thin and all the labels on the cans of beans need to face forward in a uniform fashion. Time, in fact, is abundant in its thickness there.

::: very :::