Stopgap

Chernicia and her loyal band of
roving youth choir administrators
saw no choice
other than to take up stopgap freelance work.

Due to a general malaise
and rapidly-growing apprehension
toward patronizing or participating in
the performing arts (the anti-exceptionalist
herd mentality showed absolutely no signs of
dissipation as professionals of all stripes
traversed the barren corporate landscape
(a hell to be wished upon no soul)), all hope
seemed lost on the fearful.

Interest in the once-alluring
middle and high school competitive circuit
had been waning steadily for a generation or so,
to the point where even the most stalwart
paper-shuffling masochists out there
had to admit they were licked.

In this devastating climate, Chernicia figured
that some places out there
must
still need to enlist the services
of highly-competent youth choir administrators.

They took an oath in front of the children,
for Christ’s sake!
They vowed, on bended knee,
to make themselves
available for freelance filing (and HR concerns)
at the drop of a hat, whenever duty may come calling.

So just like that, they picked up and left–
no matter what their guts happened to be
telling them (the group’s average duodenum
could paint you the idyllic picture
where they’d carved out a sort of haven
in this life of more uncertainty than trust).

Many tearful (and gut-wrenching) goodbyes
after they developed the steely resolve
to give up their past selves
(for the children, dammit),
the brave and intrepid band set out
on their first assignment: Gurnee, Illinois.

They never did look back.
And to this very day,
rental cars and hotel rooms
still serve as their only refuge
from the vast desert of abandoned office complexes.

Privy

The entrance to the dragon’s putty stash
still remains more elusive
than the eye can even behold,
beyond the fine sheen of the monkey cages
and dull luster of the eccentric
bayonet-wielding sailor whose ship washed
ashore fifty years ago.

We never heard from him again.
Most folks say he died forty-seven years ago–
a rumor started by a since-defamed
public soothsayer–but those once closest
to him claim he’s still there to this day,
perpetually working his way inland,
bayonet in hand,
determined to gaze upon the epic treasure trove.

Nobody knows where the fabled dragon came from
or where it developed its affinity
for putty and putty-related trinkets, but
there’s also no real confirmation
of its actual existence. As a matter of fact,
I think I overheard once that the sailor
made up the entire dragon story in order to justify
the protracted remainder of his marooned life.

I don’t know how the person I was eavesdropping on
could possibly be privy to that knowledge, but…

——

First draft posted on 12/25/11,
originally entitled #80