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Oleander Tea

Oleander Tea



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Published by wordweaver
The first chapter of the new book, A MEAL WITHOUT POTATOES IS JUST A SNACK! Please read and comment. You may regquest permission to review the entire book at http://www.bosackerbooks.com
The first chapter of the new book, A MEAL WITHOUT POTATOES IS JUST A SNACK! Please read and comment. You may regquest permission to review the entire book at http://www.bosackerbooks.com

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Published by: wordweaver on Jun 28, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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2160 words
Curly beat the sun awake, rejecting early-rising since theonset of winter's coldness. He felt emptiness in the pit ofhis stomach but would ignore his hunger until the early morningrush at the nearby McDonald¶s ended and the left-over breakfastofferings were discarded and available to the street people. Thepang Curly felt was not hunger but a growing angst, worse thanhunger or cold, that twisted deep in his stomach. This wasdifferent and ominous. Something was terribly wrong.Yellow fire from the highway¶s sodium arcs filtered throughthe dense cover of fast-growing fragrant Oleander shrubberyoften holding California¶s steeper roadway banks, gratuitouslylighting Curly¶s cardboard hovel. Though poisonous, the colorfulOleander was not dangerous to passing traffic. What driver wouldbe curious enough to stop and sample the foliage. Oleander grewlush here by the LAX exit from the San Diego Freeway. The amberluminosity gilded the shabby interior of his makeshift home withlight all night, and Curly could see through his makeshiftbread-wrapper window anyone approaching. The rising Californiasun, when it shone, was unobstructed and a welcome visitorwarmly replacing the night times sodium lights.Curly groped in the peak of his corrugated cardboard lean-to for the bent staple, left in the wood framing where hung henightly hung his glasses and his hand found nothing. The sourceof his angst was identified! His most valued possession andlast remnant of his lost prosperity had fallen from its perch.Fearful of crushing his glasses, Curly dared not move. His oldArmani frames were already frail and only taped into a useableform. Curly groped warily with his right hand on the uphillside, but found nothing near the pockets in his two jackets orhis outer pair of pants. Still not moving, but concentrating hissense of touch, he could feel a suspicious lump under the smallof his back, that could be his Armanis.Each night, Curly ritualistically leveled the plant mulchon the highway embankment, for maximum comfort on the piece ofplastic bubble packing that served as his mattress. This lumpwas new, and this lump signaled the grave of his glasses.An unpleasant memory returned to Curly¶s mind. Only a yearago Curly had been confronted with a perplexing memory block ofa client¶s name and had removed his glasses, rubbing his eyes tostimulate memory. The name came back, but not his glasses.Curly knew that he had placed them carefully on the mahoganycredenza abutting his hand-carved desk, but could not see orfeel them. Blind without his glasses, Curly bitterly rememberedthe ignominy of having to call his secretary for help.Stella came in, while Curly vainly groped on his extra
plush carpet feeling foolish and helpless, aware that hisSecretary would embellish the situation for her new boyfriend,Clarence Yarrow. Clarence, not only ambitious was deviouslydisloyal, and de was using Stella to undermine Curly. Curly,then Charles Edmund the third, Senior Vice President of MediaArts, knew Yarrow was disloyal, but felt so secure in his jobthat he found Clarence¶s chicanery amusing. Clarence never didinherit his job nor his secretary, but that justice was littlesolace.Curly quickly arched his back as if speedy action wouldundo the damage, and quickly snatched for the mangled frameswith his left hand, springing upright with as much urgency ashis cramped quarters would allow. The risk of disassembly ofthe various corrugated cardboard sheets forming a lean-toagainst the concrete abutment forced Curly to kneel, simulatingprayer. Prayer. Curly had abandoned prayer, along with his job,family and fancy home in the suburbs..A year ago, in his thickly carpeted office at Ajaxagencies, the falling glasses had not made a sound to signaltheir drop, nor were they damaged. Then, he could afford andshould have stocked a spare pair in his desk. Now, he could notafford replacement nor dare an opticians censure. By feelalone, he found both lens, but realized that those once chic andexpensive frames were not fixable, and he was too near-sightedto try.Curly had his assets memorized and counting the two onedollar bills stuffed in the frame of his shopping cart, he hadsixteen cents less than three dollars, and he was now hungry..Two partially filled containers of salvaged french fries hadbeen his supper last night, meager and ironic fare for the manwho coined the slogan ³A meal without potatoes is just a snack´.That slogan, created by Curley for the Idaho Potato GrowersAssociation when he first joined Ajax Advertising, was stillbeing run on television, but wasn¶t quite applicable to Curly¶sfrench fries salvaged from a garbage dumpster.When still an executive in good standing, with animpressive success record, he had been often challenged byinsurmountable obstacles, and had solved them all Each dilemma,Curly approached by free will concentration of all possiblesolutions with mental triage, assessing each gain against eachdownside risk.Charles Edmund the third made risk choices verywell untilhe grossly overestimated his company¶s dependency on him, anddared the board to find a replacement. After that fiasco, allof his decisions had been disastrous. His wife had reactedadversely when he refused marriage counseling, his network offriends had deserted him when he sued his employer and lost a
poorly prosecuted case of age discrimination. Even his childrendeserted him when he turned to booze in what must have been aplan of slow suicide. Eventually, he decided suicide had to bespontaneous and irrevocable. Curly quit drinking, but all hehad valued was gone, and he was a citizen of the streets.Six days ago, when the police accident investigation teamblundered onto his shack and ordered him to tear it down andmove on, he seriously pondered all of his alternatives. Curlychose to gather some of the poisonous leaves from his shelteringwhite Oleanders, and mix a sun brewed tea in an old grape jamjar salvaged from the roadside rubbish. Curly sampled what heguessed was a non-lethal dosage, and found it not too badtasting nor violently distressing other than leaving a lightheadache which did not last through the night. Curly preparedto drink the whole pint when the police came back to assure hisevacuation. They never came, so the tea remained still capped,yet the tea remained and that option was now, quite logical.Curly tightly closed his eyes, then relaxed them until awarm pink glow shone through the lids. He tensed all of hismuscles, then let them slowly relax. He thought of all ofsources of hope, salvation or shelter. Remote, impossiblesolutions came to mind but most requiring access to resourcesmore unattainable than spectacles. He thought of all thepossible sources of glasses, from the ridiculous to the sublime.The most plausible solution, holding a lens in front of hiseyes with his fingers, monocle style, seemed best until heremembered the Lion¶s Club and its ³Donate your old glasses´program. Within a short day's walking distance, there must be aLions Club. He had a coat hanger wire in his cart, and couldfish out pairs of glasses through the drop-off slot until hefound a useable set. The considered lapse in his personalethical code, was Curly¶s first, since hitting the streets.Unlike his peers, Curly had not ³snatched´ a single wheel coverfor selling to Hubcap Harry¶s La Cienega shoppe since he hadbeen on the streets. Many of his trash bin breakfast-clubcompanions had flaunted their earnings from filched hub capsthey claimed to have found loose along the roadway. Curly hadhimself found a new chrome fancy full wheel moon disc and hadpropped it up against the nearby stop sign on Airline Road atCentury Boulevard, displaying it there for three days, expectingthe driver with the matching three traveled on CenturyBoulevard and would claim it.The neighborhood¶s hub cap thieves ignored the valuabledisc because Curly decreed it off-limits. Curly, who joked thathe was not bald but was too tall for his hair was three inchespast six feet, and well muscled though living on streets hadshed his expense-account-living pot belly. Even shabbily

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