It Lives

The National Weather Service
is calling for Thunderstorms.
Some may be severe.
I’m greedily holding my coffee cup
and reading each line.
‘Some of the storms today and into
early this evening may be severe.’
Damaging winds even.
I’ll continuously check their reports
hoping to see the language updated to
‘Possible large hail…and even..
that a tornado cannot be ruled out.’
I want the tornado.

I witnessed an EF-0 in Sunderland, MA.
It had just picked up a tobacco barn
and tossed it onto Route 47.
I call the tornado, ‘It’ because when I looked out
my window I saw something that was alive.
It, was furious. I could almost hear its voice.

I’ve been addicted to severe weather since our meeting.

-Matt

Note: I do not wish for any person to be injured in any storm, tornado, severe weather etc. The EF-0 tornado (roughly 2009) I witnessed was the beginning of a string of storms that ripped through Western, MA. Including the EF-3 that touched down in Springfield, MA in 2011, and traveled for 36 miles. Unfortunately this storm was lethal. I am literally addicted to severe weather and have educated myself with a tremendous appetite. If you are interested in understanding these damaging storms, and how to stay safe, I recommend starting with an interactive radar. You can find these via most news outlets under the ‘weather’ section. Study the radar during active storms. Learn where a tornado may form on your own and don’t depend on alerts.

Cheers everyone. Observe and stay safe.

I’m a terrible comment maker

Howdy! I’m awful at finding time to comment on your blog. Pretty much for all of you. I suck. I know that I do, so at least there is that.

A few days ago I was shoveling our driveway. The storm was an ice/sleet/snow mix. It was eight degrees outside and I needed to get the driveway cleared before it was too late. For my snowy friends out there, you know what happens when it’s too late. Having a driveway of solid ice isn’t exactly what I want. However, I stopped to read a blog post written by a writer who was wondering why more people weren’t commented on their posts.

I really wanted to comment, but I was literally outside shoveling. It was terribly cold and windy. Yet, I did read your post. And you write well and Please don’t think that you don’t. I wonder if it’s like this for a lot of us. I have so little time to comment, that I find I don’t. I won’t sit here and make a profound statement proclaiming to become a frequent comment creator, because that would be a lie. I like honesty. I’ll do the best I can. I read as many posts as I can. Even in snow storms while my nose is dripping and my hands are shaking. I like to read. Hence my little saying, Read on. It’s good for the brain.

I’m thankful I didn’t write, “Comment on. It’s good for the brain.” My brain would have shriveled and turned off.

For those of you who are gifted at commented, I cherish you. I have seen many of you. I don’t have that gift.

Cheers everyone.

Matt

tomorrow is a bit more greener on the other side

It’s a rainy shitty kind of day
The kind of day where it’s
easy to be mean to people
So I just ate a hot chili pepper
and cheers’d my wife to try
and turn this thing around
We ran errands today while
ignoring work, which never
is a good idea, but it’s the idea
that took hold while the rain
pounded down making for dusty
dirt to become mud and drains
to become clogged with debri
I like watching street drains, especially
when clogged, the flooding reminds
me of the future. Tomorrow
the grass will be a little greener
A little longer, and a whole lot nicer

-M. Taggart

A Two-Hearted Christmas

A Two-Hearted Christmas
Fiction written by -M. Taggart
copyright 2016

Snow was falling lightly. It was just after sunset and already dark. Nick watched as his shoes left snowy footprints on the brick walk-way. He looked skyward at the Christmas tree they had fastened into place two days prior. They placed the tree roughly fifteen feet before the large glass door entrance of the building. The tree was dressed nicely. Numerous Christmas colors were wrapped around, and around, the near thirty-foot evergreen. There, on the top of the tree, stood a Christmas star large enough to be seen from any angle. The star was lit white. The snow fell toward the star, disappeared in its light, and again you could see the snow falling a few feet below the star.

People were rushing into the store. It was cold and not many stood to observe decorations on the tree. It was as though they had seen enough just to have been near it. They didn’t know the work it took to stand upright. Or how ropes were tightened so well that the tree couldn’t possibly fall. Even if wind rushed in during a New England blizzard and one of the many tie downs did break, the tree would still stand.

That was alright though, to have them not notice. It was a Christmas tree among hundreds in town. Created to lure the shopper into the lights of the store and welcome them to spend what they could.

Once inside the entrance one was thrust into a large, bright, room. So large that you could hardly see the end of it. Silver trays and cutlery shined vibrantly. Brilliant glass cases held exquisite items from all around the world. Attractive sales women wearing slim dresses greeted him, along with all others, with a smile. ‘There’s a shipment out back. We tried to have them put the boxes inside for you, but they wouldn’t do it. It’s on the loading dock.’

He slid his time card into place and listened to the faint, yet punishing, blow the time keeper slammed into place. He was now working. His wool jacket was hung. He’d put his dinner in the fridge. First he needed to get the boxes out of the snow, down the stairs into the stockroom, and checked in. After all boxes were accounted for properly, he’d open each with his box cutter, and unwrap every item within the box onto his work tables. He’d check for cracks and breaks of any kind. He’d also check to be sure each box contained the amount of items the packing slip claimed they held. He was getting ahead of himself again. He first needed to walk through the showroom. Then he needed to enter the code on the stockroom door and move the boxes from the dock, downstairs, to the stockroom.

In the showroom shoppers were talking with sales people while snow was still on the shoulders of their jackets. Some shoppers brushed the snow off and others left it because they did not notice the snow was there. As he walked quickly through the showroom many of the salespeople nodded hello to him without the customer realizing. He would either nod back, or do nothing. A face kept clean of emotion was the best face for him to wear.

He noticed an older man viewing him as he walked. He looked away. The man now moved toward him thinking he was a salesperson. ‘Can you give me the price of this globe? There’s no sticker.’

It was a Josh Simpson globe. They came in many sizes. The old man held the largest size in his hand. The globe was very expensive and generally were locked in a glass showcase. He knew this globe was expensive because he put the price stickers on each item in the basement stockroom, where he had been headed.

‘I’m sorry. I don’t know the price. If you asked Jamie, over there,’ he pointed to a dark haired girl with blue eyes, ‘She’d be able to help you.’

‘I didn’t ask, Jamie. I asked you.’ the old man replied.

Now both stood looking at one another. The old man wanted to know why this able young man couldn’t answer a simple question. The younger man wanted to know why he was ordered not to.

‘I’m sorry. I can’t help you.’

The old man viewed the many details inside the globe and shook his head while letting go a whistle. The world within contained mountains with cliffs and rivers that emptied into an ocean. The tree tops were green with needles. The waves were white with wind. ‘This globe holds an entire world within. I hold this globe wondering if our world is anything like the giant holding it now. And I wish badly it is not. I cannot understand how this happens.’

‘I’m sorry?’ He didn’t understand the old man.

‘Nothing. I’ll walk to Jamie and giver her the globe. I’ll not buy it.’ And with a step the old man was headed toward Jamie. Jamie wore a wide smile and her eyes curved upward.

***

The door to the loading dock was open and he could see the many boxes left for him. The boxes that were left outside on the dock were covered with snow. The temperature was much cooler on the dock and he liked it. The snow storm had increased its snowfall and the wind was picking up.

He brushed snow off the tops of the boxes only to watch more snow quickly accumulate. Looking at the dark underbelly of the snow producing cloud simplified his mood. It didn’t matter if he didn’t understand the old man’s meaning. The glass globe with the artist’s creation inside wasn’t him and it wasn’t life so it did not matter.

He lifted and carried each box to the conveyor belt, next to the stairwell, and watched them travel down toward his stockroom. His tie was wet with snow and beaten by the cardboard. He wanted to take it off, but he was told to never take his tie off. He need to look appropriate when walking through the show room.

At the bottom of the stairs was a cement hallway leading to one door. The door was the entrance to the stockroom. The conveyor belt flattened at the bottom of the stairs and there was a ten foot section where boxes came to a stop and lined themselves. He walked to the stockroom door, unlocked it with his key, and came back out with a hand-truck. The boxes were not heavy. He loaded the hand-truck above his head and quickly had them all stacked near his work tables in his stockroom.

The stockroom had a cement floor and cement walls. There were no windows. In the middle of the room were metal shelving units. There was a section for overstock, broken items, cancelled products and general tools that might be needed around the showroom. Generally each shelf was kept orderly. Unless he wasn’t there and a salesperson needed to find an item that was no longer on the showroom floor. If this were the case he’d find products left on the floor and items placed on shelves that didn’t belong.

His work tables were in front of the shelving units and a alley-way of sorts was created. He would work quickly and open each box, empty them and be done with his work as soon as possible. He clicked the switch of the small radio to on. Elvis was singing, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas.’ He turned the radio off and held his breath. Images of her sleeping on his shoulder tore through his mind. His head shook as flashes of his fingers stroking her hair came to him. He always wondered if she knew that he stroked her hair when she slept. He wanted to ask her. He couldn’t now. It was done and too late. He paced the stockroom floor thinking of her face and how it looked when she was sad. That was the face he made her wear. He didn’t want to remember this. Maybe it wasn’t too late, he wondered. Maybe he could undue everything. Maybe the old man with the globe could explain what he’d meant. He didn’t want to think of the old man either, but he was. The old man said something about wishing badly it was not. Did he mean that the world would be nothing like him and what he’d done to it? Is that how he felt now about her?

The stockroom door opened in a rush. ‘Nick, we need you out at the Christmas tree right away,’ said Bill. Bill was wearing a suit and a long wool jacket. The jacket was black. Bill was one of the two owners of the silver smith company. The store with the large showroom upstairs was their creation to sell to the locals.

‘What’s going on?’ he asked.

‘There’s oil all over the walkway outside. It goes from the base of the tree to the entrance. Eric is standing near the oil asking people to not walk in it. Find something to clean it up and get up there.’ Bill looked upset and talked as though he were pushing his words. Bill turned and rushed back out the door.

Nick walked to the back of the stockroom and grabbed a bundle of cloth rags. They weren’t perfect to soak oil, but they’d do for now. He wondered how the tree had anything to do with oil.

Holding his bundle of cloth rags he ran up the stairs and opened the door to the showroom. He made his way through the happy shoppers and then outside. The tree stood so beautifully that the men standing over the oil spill looked badly out of place. Both brother’s straddled the oil spill just feet from one another. They held their hands up and pleaded with customers to stay back and to not slip on the oil. They told anyone who’d listen that the oil would be cleaned up shortly. The long wool jacket’s looked like crow’s wings while they opened and closed their arms to ward people away from the danger.

Nick still didn’t understand how oil would come to be anywhere near the tree. But, certainly he did see a trail leading from the base of the tree all the way to the entrance of the showroom door. Both Bill and Eric seemed relieved to see him with his rags.

Nick knelt down and touched the oil. He lifted his finger and smelled the oil. A few customers had stopped to watch. Nick walked to Bill and softly said, ‘This is not oil. This is water. Someone must have watered the Christmas tree.’

Bill wore a face of pure happiness. ‘That’s great!’ Eric had listened and decided he’d been straddling the mess long enough. He left them without a word and mingled with himself while walking through the showroom, no doubt to find his office.

As Nick wiped away the spilled water he couldn’t help but chuckle. Both men were rich. Both men were educated. But neither were aware enough to bend down and touch or smell the oil. How does this happen, he thought. How can two men who seemingly have everything have so little sense.

Immediately the old man’s face leapt into his mind. He knew what to do. It wasn’t too late. He would fix this. He looked at the star on top of the Christmas tree and let the snow land and melt on his face. He’d never felt snow like this before and he’d never know Christmas until now.

The End.

If you enjoyed this please also read my self published short story found via the amazon link below. Thank you, Matt.

If you would like to contact me concerning this story, or any of my writing, please email me at matt@everythingcu.com