Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Yes, the heart can break- and it can break open.

Over on my day job blog, I wrote this article, and thought those of you who read my personal blog would enjoy it. xo


Yes, the heart can break- and it can break open.

On heartbreak, small crimes, and Mother Earth.



I often say, live long enough, and life will happen.

And “life” is full of joy AND sorrow. We all know that, of course, but when LIFE is happening to us full force, and usually we become aware of the extreme details of the present moment in times of sorrow, danger and shock, we forget that THIS is a part of the gift of life, too. This hurt. This pain.  This sorrow. And that it is not happening because we were bad or didn’t hold the perfect affirmation or mantra the right way in our heads and hearts but because…

Life happens.

I got mugged once at gunpoint at a drive through ATM. I was totally broke at the time. I was driving through at about 9 PM, at a bank where the drive through ATM was maybe 100 feet from the curb. It was a Monday evening in a busy part of Studio City, CA. There were people walking by. I had about $10 in my checking account and had just given a massage and had $100 cash to put IN to my bank account. I drove up, put in my card, hit the PIN number, and then leaned over to grab the cash out my purse when-

Knock, knock…

I felt something hard against my head.

A boy, or young man, in a ski mask, stood at my driver’s side, holding a gun to my head.

Knock, knock…

Another boy, or young man, stood to the right of my car and knocked on my window to let me know HE was there, too.

My heart stopped. Time slowed. I remember that I had clear, extremely reasonable thoughts: “…if they try to get in the car, I will drive off and risk getting shot, because THEN they will probably bring me to a gang house and… the worst. If they just want money, they can have it, I will just try to get out of this as quickly as possible.” I recall that a couple walked by, not 75 feet from me, and either didn’t notice what was happening or didn’t care. I believe they didn’t notice, because eventually, someone would have dialed 911, right?

The boy at the ATM tried to get cash out but he couldn’t.

(There was no Cash to GET out! I didn’t even have $20 in there, remember?)

I was holding the Benjamin I had just earned in my hand. He took it, and asked,

“That all you got?”

I nodded.

“Gimme your phone,” he said.

His hands were shaking.

I gave him my phone.

“Get out of here,” he said. I drove off, and then my heart raced.

Later, the police were at my house, questioning me, fingerprinting the car. I heard on their walkie talkies ANOTHER robbery at another ATM, same exact format. Probably the same boys.
The cops were much angrier than I was. I found that nice, but weird. They kept telling me they were gonna “get these guys” and that the guys “would pay.” I understood that was the job of the police. I actually spent a lot of time with them and learned about them. One was a veteran of Afghanistan, from a long line of police in his family. The other needed a job and this was one.

But I felt so bad for those boys, or men, who had not only mugged me but threatened my life to get money. First of all, they were obviously either a) on drugs (they were skinny and shaky) or b) new at crime (they were skinny and therefore probably young and shaky) or c) joining a gang (probably a shortened life there) or d) just really wild and dumb kids on a crime spree. Their guns were real, although I don’t know if they were loaded, and wouldn’t have wanted to find out…. or at least their guns were VERY real looking. I am not an expert but I have gone shooting several times, grew up around guns and hunters, and (now) am romantically and life-partnered with a former Police Captain. So… it was real enough.

But these dumb boys, they were targeting some broke massage therapist slash actress (it was about two years before I started working with 12Listen,) they were at worst getting into drugs and crime and there is no future in that, or at the other worst, just a$$holes.

I prayed for them. I prayed for them, for the police officers who were probably just a few years older than the criminals who were endangering themselves to stop crime, and then, I prayed for my bank account. (I mean, I did. It’s the truth.) And I never went to an ATM after dark again unless it was right in front, on the busy street, where there were LOADS of people.

Why am I telling this story in a blog about heartbreak?

I don’t know, but it seems like the right context to share the next part of this blog.

Recently I have gone through a few heartbreaks again in life, less painful than some I’ve encountered thus far in life. Not the worst, is what I’m saying, but… it doesn’t make it any easier to go through.

Years ago, long before getting robbed, long before going to India, but not THAT long before… when my heart would break, I would turn into a dramatic mess. I would sob, and wail, and go for long walks in the woods reciting very depressing 19th century poetry, and listen to a lot of depressing music by songwriters who died young or committed suicide. (poetry by Christina Rosetti and Arthur Rimbaud, music by Jeff Buckley and Mama Cass and Elliott Smith.)

These days, I don’t deny my feelings, but I let it wash over me. I still go for my walks and I look very closely at nature. I listen to the wind in the trees. I touch the hard wood, feeling its roughness over my soft skin. I give nature my sorrow and it returns new life force to me in return. A shaman once told me that when we have emotions like sorrow or anger, we should go to the earth, give it to the earth, because the earth needs our humanity as much as it needs our carbon dioxide, that it’s part of the symbiosis of our lives as natural beings.

I give the Earth my humanity, and it gives me in return a call from the divine, from the holistic Earth-Divine-Cosmos continuum, from Brother Sun and Sister Moon:

A whisper soft and low, but that yet I can hear, nay, feel in the very core of my being, from my beating heart to the marrow of my bones:

“Yes, yes, my child, let the heart break, for it breaks open, open to the blue firmament of sky, open to the laughter of children in a distant place, open to the birds and the breeze and the orchestra of life happening all around you.”

Don’t hide from your life.

Be here, here with me, here with you. Be here with your life and let the beauty of this world, inner and outer, shape your love.

You are here. Is is…. I am…. I am…. I AM.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Fiction Fridays: My Life as a Phone Psychic, the novel, by Erin. VNYC2012 Part Two, Chapter Nine!

 
Chapter Nine
            Lily sits in the makeup chair a few days later. There is a sort of reverent silence from Emily. She looks into the mirror, sparkling clean and bright on the outside. Between Jones staying with her and the locks and the flowers and the phone calls, she is happy just to be sitting. She looks up, smiles, pops her pink watermelon gum.
            “Em?”
            Emily jumps.
            “Are you scared of me?” Lily asks as tenderly as possible.
            Emily laughs.
            “Yeah. A little.” Puppy dog eyes gaze back at Lily in the mirror.
            “Is there anything I can do to make you NOT scared of me?” Lily asks. She sets her intention for complete openness and silently ask god to speak through her.
            Please, God, if there is any help I can give to this girl, any way I can be of service to her, please speak through me.
            Silence.
            Emily clears her throat.
            “I don’t know…”
            “You can say anything to me,” Lily says.
            “Well, Lily, it’s just that… I’m a Christian…”
            “Ah,”
            “And… I mean… I’m sure you’re a nice person and everything but… I might have to leave the show… I mean… no offense, it’s just that…” she sighs.
            “I understand,” Lily says. And she does. She wishes she didn’t, and not for the reasons Emily might understand, but for Emily’s sake…
            “I’ll pray for you,” Emily whispers in her ear, kissing her on the forehead. That has left Emily feeling very brave and a little frightened. Lily suppresses a laugh borne from sadness.
            Ah, now I’m the devil, she thinks to herself, thinking of her doorknob.
            Harley comes in with a wrap-around dress in teal. It’s beautiful…
            “It’s a little sexy, isn’t it?”  Lily asks.
            “I guess the network thought you were a little too hippie in that last outfit. Although I thought it was great. They want to show off your… assets.”
            “They’re called breasts,” Lily says. Harley and Emily burst out laughing. 
            “You should be glad you have ‘em,” Harley says.
            “I thank them every day,” Lily says dryly.
            She smiles and accepts the wrap dress into her arms as the girls keep laughing.
            Suddenly, Lily wants to ask Emily if she could maybe, possibly, just TRY to see that they are not different from one another, that Lily is just a girl, just like her, that whatever it is her talents are, are just that, talents, and not subject to Satanism or Christianity or witchcraft per se, but merely an ability… and… furthermore, Lily believes fervently that her talent is something anyone can do if they want, if only others opened up to it. It is a certain kind of talent, just like she has for doing hair and makeup. And Emily is really good at it, and Lily is really good at what she does.
            That would be trying too hard, Lily tells herself.
            “You are really talented,” she says to Emily.  But Emily doesn’t coil away- she actually relaxes and smiles.
            “Thanks,” she says, shyly.
            “Lily doesn’t say anything that isn’t true, we know that!” Harley says.
            Emily blushes. Lily chooses not to read her energy. She doesn’t need to live according to anyone’s misguided or unkind opinion of her. She doesn’t need to live according to anyone’s opinion of her, period.
            “I’ll go get dressed,” she says, and slips behind her screened dressing room.
Ave Maria… Gratia plena
            Now wrapped in sexy, soft, sleek, teal silk, Lily returns to the makeup area and Emily smiles.
            “I’m really sorry about what I said earlier,” she begins.
            “You have to be you, Emily.” Lily shrugs.
            David comes in.
            He stops short when he sees her. Lily smiles at him. He smiles.
            “Hey,” he says. He walks up to her, squeezes her hand, kisses her cheek.
            Emily smiles.
            “She’s ready,” Emily says, secretly pinching Lily’s butt before leaving.
            My god, one minute I’m a witch, the next minute I’m her sister, Lily muses.
            They are alone in the dressing room now, David and Lily. They stand inches apart. David looks down, then looks up, smiling.
            He leans in. His mouth is an inch from hers. His breath enters into her mouth and their breath intermingles…
            “Cinnamon,” she whispers. His hand reaches around the small of her back. Lily falls forward.
            Let it be, she thinks, somewhere deep in her mind.
            “Cinnamon,” he says… “Tonight it’s my turn to stay with you,” he says.
             “It is?” she stops the letting, stepping back for a second.
            “Is that okay?” he steps forward.
            “Does…”
            “Jones knows. I let him know.”
            “Is that all okay?”
            Lily knows it isn’t. She knows it upset Jones. And she cares. And she doesn’t care.  And she is guilty. And she isn’t guilty.
She feels stressed at the recognition that she may start sleeping with both of them and…
            thought interrupted by being kissed
            OH MY GOD
            “David,” she whispers, as they pull out of the kiss.
From the moment I heard my first…
            David rushes Lily to stage. PAs with walkie talkies, lights, electrical lightning, flashing lights, frequencies unfiltered causing epileptic seizures in dust mites… All because Lily and David were missing for one minute too long… and who knows why? Wherefore?
Everyone.
Emily runs to Lily, makeup sponge in hand, swabbing at her lips.
            “Girl….” she nods her head. Laughs. Smiles like Charlie Brown. Lily shrugs.
            David coughs. Smiles. Emily looks at him, walking backwards.
            She nods. Smiles.
            “Okay,” she whispers. “You’re okay. Our little secret.”
            Stage door. Red light on. 
            David opens the door to
            a single shaft of light
            and a roar of applause
            and
Lily, in the light, laughing,
            David guides her to the stage, to the center.
            “Ladies and gentlemen!” David, clapping for her, too. Or is he clapping for him? He is smiling, walking backwards and sideways to the center of the stage. “LILY MOORE!”
            The audience claps even harder.
            Lily giggles.
            “Thanks, America,” she says.
            “And Canada,” adds David.
            “And Canada.”
            “And across the world, to all our online viewers in other parts of our dear Mother Earth.”
            “Yes, all of you,” Lily says.
            David laughs and the audience dies down.
            “Are there really,” Lily asks, suddenly extraordinarily comfortable on stage, knowing there are millions of people watching live. What’s the difference between a secret kiss behind closed doors and a million people watching a young woman fall into a psychic channel? She is about to find out. “I like that,” she comments to herself, smirking.
            “You like that people across the world are watching online?” he says.
            “Well if that’s true, that’s kinda cool. Really I like that you called our mother earth ‘dear’.”
            “You like that, huh?” David winks.
            “Yeah. I like environmental guys.”
            David laughs and blushes.
            “Oh my god, you’re blushing!” The audience gets into the flirtation.
            “Oooooh,” they say, following along as the stage manager runs past the front row of the audience, raising his arms in encouragement. “Oooooh!”
            “America, let’s just be glad Lily’s not going to do a psychic reading on ME right now. That’s too much for even primetime.”
            The audience laughs, hoots, hollers. The stage manager and another PA now run back and forth frenetically, raising the energy of the room to an amorously anticipatory frenzy.
            “So you’ve had quite a week,” David says. “Did you collect your money from Van Lawson?”
            “I didn’t… Because Van and I actually made a deal to donate the money to Unicef,” Lily answers.
            “That’s right. We have Van with us via Skype right now, in fact,” says David. A screen drops behind David as Van, smiling, appears on the screen.
            “Hey everybody,” Van says. The audience cheers. He smiles. “Hey, Lily!”
            “Hey, there,” Lily smiles.
            “So, Van, we here that you and Lily decided to give the money to Unicef!” David announces.
            “That’s right, Lily told me she doesn’t want the money but that she would love for me to give the money to a really important cause, like the children of the world. So in fact, I’m not giving the just the $500 that she won, but $50,000, and any of your viewers at home that would like to donate money can do the same by going to Unicef.com. They’ve set up a special page where this TV show, its producers and sponsors, the network, me, and my wife, will match all donations up to an additional FIVE MILLION DOLLARS. ”
            The audience gasps, and Lily’s mouth drops open. Then the audience goes absolutely wild with cheers and hoots and hollers.
            Lily bows her head, whispering “namaste” to herself, and to Van, if he can hear her. Then, she smiles, raises her hand to her heart, then to her lips, and then she blows a kiss to Van.
            “Thanks, Lily,” he says.
            “Thank you. Thank YOU.” she barely ekes out a whisper.
She hears a whisper in her left ear, and looks to see who it is. There is no one there…
            “I have to say something about predictions,” Lily announces, to her shock, although not so much to anyone else’s.
There is an angel speaking through her now, but she cannot say this to the United States of America. They aren’t ready for this kind of information. They will say she is a New Age Crazy Wacko, or a zealot Christian. Try to kill her, sanctify her, not let her be. She already is now an object of curiosity, after only one show. So instead of saying her experience of the truth of her experience in the moment, she says:
            “Look. The thing about psychic energy is that it is not meant to gain money but to heal. And from moment to moment, the energy of the universe is constantly shifting. Anything can change in an instant. The most important thing is love, is to be of service to your fellow man, and woman, we’re not sexist here… the most important thing is love, to love yourself, your spouse, your children, your neighbor, your enemy. I can make all the predictions in the world and many will come true and many will not. The most important thing is love.”
            Van smiles at her. Nods. There is an angel beaming through his smile, too. Lily understands, a bit more, the recognition.
            “All we need is love, duh duh duh duh duh….” David begins singing. “Whoops, not sure if we’ve got the rights to that song.” He laughs.
            Van smiles.
            “Still. Any word about the stock market? UFC Championship fight? Final four? Anything?”
            “No!” Lily laughs.
            “We’ll save that for the end of the show, I guess,” David says, “because it’s time to get started on some readings!” The audience claps again.
            “You guys clap a lot,” Lily says.
            “That’s because they’re following the producer’s lead,” Van says.
            “Are you still here?” David says, laughing.
            “Bye!” Van says, waving. And he is gone. The screen returns to the ceiling.
            “We’ll be right back!”
            And they are on a commercial break.
            Lily sighs, wondering where Jones is hiding.
            She searches her heart. She knows he is near. She feels him. Just then, she glances to her left and sees he is actually sitting in the audience, staring at her. She feels his lust and it overtakes her. She feels his jealousy, his possession, and then she remembers herself and she is afraid. She relaxes her breath, consciously re-centering her energy. She looks directly into his eyes and smiles. He softens. Smiles back.
            He mouths the words:
            “I Love You.”
…love story, I started looking…
            “And we’re back,” David says. The lights flash up and down, like on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. “And we have a special challenge for Miss Lily.”
            She smiles.
            “I’m here,” she says.
            “Are you confident?” he asks her.
            He’s really asking, actually, which feels sweet.
He feels guilty because there are things he knows that he can’t tell me about the show.
            “It’s not that I am or am not confident. I’m just here. But look how sweet you are,” she says. “You and I are friends outside of the show and there are all kinds of things you know the producers have in store for me that you cannot tell me, because it wouldn’t make this show fair. It wouldn’t make for good TV.”
            David nods.
            “It’s true,” he says, “We are friends outside of the show, but I can’t tell her any of the secrets I know about the show. We have a lot of surprises in store for her…”
            And although she doesn’t really know, at once she precisely knows exactly what surprises he is talking about.
            She has the sudden realization that her mother is watching, or at least thinking about her.
            “By the way, I wanted to say hi to my mother,” Lily says. She smiles and waves at the camera. “Love you Mom!”
            “And she does it again,” David says.
            “What?”
            “Ladies and gentlemen, Victoria Moore!”
            Lily is truly shocked as her mother walks out from backstage. They run to each other and embrace. Lily pulls back. Her mother carries no evidence of illness, stroke, sinus headache, or otherwise. Her gorgeous chestnut hair, sweeped with silver, is pulled up into an easy chignon. Her high singer’s cheekbones bring focus to her merry, laughing eyes, but behind the laugh, Lily feels the searching.
            Are you okay? Her mother is wondering.
            “I love you!” Lily exclaims, filling the gap and calming her mother’s fears.
            “I love you!” And they are hugging, an ecstasy of mother daughter friendship, a love a love a love a bond.
            “We’ve asked Mrs. Moore to come tell us a bit about Lily and her unique talent,” says David.
            The screen drops down and a video begins. A photo montage: child, mother, father.
            “And Lily used to insist that we had an old collie dog,” Victoria laughs in a pre-recorded interview, “She’d go on and on about this dog. He even had a name. Dusty. And then one day her father showed up with this old collie. He had just shown up at her father’s office and wouldn’t leave him alone, so of course he brought the dog home. Lily was thrilled. And we just started realizing that she often knew things that were going to happen before they happened.”
            Lily squeezes her mother’s hand.
            The video ends and David begins asking questions about Lily. Lily, aware of this questioning and yet not, is instead beginning to float as a soul above her body… now outside of her body, much like when she dreams and yet is awake and watching herself sleep. This time is very strange. She is hovering above her body but her eyes are open. When she sleeps, her eyes are shut, and it doesn’t feel quite as weird, as detached, as scary… So to see, now, she looks into her eyes. Something is there. Some life force, some energy. But it isn’t her… is it?
It can’t be… because I am here.
            And then she sees a few people hovering over their bodies in the audience. She floats to the others but for them, it is different. They are in torment. They are not free to travel. She floats to Jones. She hovers directly above him and he looks at her in shock.
            “Lily?” he calls out.
            Lily is shocked at his recognition, right back into her body.
            The audience claps and her mother gives her a big bear hug.
            “I’ll see you after the show, baby,” she says. And she walks to a special seat in the audience just for her. Lily wonders why on earth she did the montage, considering how against she is Lily doing the show in the first place.
            She is checking it out, Lily thinks. This is not her blessing.
            Victoria smiles at her, barely masking chagrin.
            “And we’ll be right back, so get ready, America! Lily is about to do some psychic readings just for you.”
            And black.
            A hush of darkness on the stage. Within this stillness, Lily feels her heart race and breathes into her heart just so, so as to lower and slow her heart and her consciousness.  Soundmen check her microphone and there are lighting guys and PAs and David, smiling, while Emily checks his makeup. There is the ever- changing rustle of the audience, a tsunami of imbalanced chi, of light and dark, of shadows and silt moving through the seats where people shift their legs and check their cell phones and touch their earrings, the endless thinking and thoughts and desires and fears of the people flowing so constantly most are unaware of the millions of ever shifting channels of energy…
            But then there is this other kind of existence into which Lily can sink- into the inside of is- and she can go into a space of nothingness and all time slows almost to a halt, not quite, but maybe even that, and energy moves so slowly it might as well not be moving at all, and it moves more and more slowly until it is at the point at which
            there is nothing, no sound, no movement, no David, no lights, no Lily, even
            there is only is
            only is
            only is
            and if people had thoughts from this place,
            it might think like
            my heart is happy here
            I am barely conscious of my thoughts
            except to remember this moment always
            it is a sort of joy
            a sort of bliss
            if bliss were emotionless
            but pure
            purity
            pure
is
it is is is is is is is is is
…for you, not knowing how blind that was…
            The lights are up again.
            The calls are coming in, the show is filming. It is days and weeks and years and it is still only this afternoon. Lily reads people: she is advising, is not advising. She speaks, it flows through her. All is bliss and she is in is is is. She is in the center of love, the love of the universe is flowing in and out of her and all is beautiful and gorgeous, she is aware merely of the angels speaking through her.
            Until
            The sound of waves crashing. A lost breath. She is dizzy.
            “Lily?” David, rushing toward her.
He is so dear.
            While she is here in this body on this stage in this moment she is also in the water she is being choked she can’t breathe
            “Water,” she says,
            “Get her some water!” Her mother runs to her, she is on stage, Jones is running.
            “No, there is water everywhere,” she says. She is clearly aware she is coexisting in two realities… “There is water splashing everywhere. There is a giant storm. A giant storm…”
…Lovers don’t…
            She is being shuttled through a black funnel, a worm-hole black hole
            She is dizzy and light-headed but
            Breathing
            Here on earth
            She opens her eyes and shrieks
            Awakens to her mother holding her, a doctor, smelling salts,
            David, Jones, and a camera
…finally…
            “She’s alright!” David is saying into the microphone. The audience is clapping. Her mother sits her up.
            “Do you want the cameras out of here?” she asks.
            Lily nods her head, “no.”
            She knows they want good TV. It makes everyone happy. Well, everyone but her and her mother, that is.
…meet somewhere…
            Lily can leave her body at will. She can hover around her mother’s body and then her own body and enter the dark shadow behind her. When she enters this dark shadow, she sees the real her and the seed of god in the back of her head. The ego-Lily is concerned that she is hurting herself, going crazy, making herself sick. She is concerned that no one else is concerned over what she may actually be doing to herself and her life as a phone psychic. Her ego self is angry that all of this is in the name of making a dollar, in the name of success. She wonders why she is doing this as neither of these things- success- money- were ever important to her before. She notices that Jones is interested in her and wonders if she is in love with him. She notices that he is handsome. She notices that he is twice her age and frowns.
            Her mother’s true self? Oh! Yippee, let’s go check! is in bliss at the ecstatic state of existence. Her mother’s ego self?
            Lily!! Wake up!!
            Lily, hovering, an ecstasy of wind and thought; Victoria, at the precipice of her body turning into ethers, chasing after a daughter almost lost to another world.
…They’re in each other…
            Lily is staring into the lights. The audience claps.
            “Thanks, everyone,” she says, gathering who she is, and that she just arose from fainting, and that David and her mother are supporting her on either side. “I really must go sit down now.”
            “Thanks, Lily,” David says, hugging me. “And thanks to the doctor who was in out viewing audience, Dr….”
            “Sherman,” says the man with the smelling salts.
            “Dr. Sherman! And thanks to Jones Papaducci, the man who runs the phone psychic calling center, and Mrs. Moore!”
            Lily can’t stand any more of this at this point, and neither can Jones, and neither can Victoria, and really, David barely can, too. Jones and Victoria escort Lily offstage, guided by a PA. None of them can even pretend to care about the show. Exhaustion has settled in.
            Solemnity. Victoria and Jones and Lily enter the dressing room. Victoria sits down and Lily sits down and Lily puts her head on Victoria’s shoulder and sighs.
            “Jones, why are you letting my daughter do this?”
            Lily snaps her head up. Victoria’s voice is even, and cuts straight to the marrow. Lily looks protectively at Jones
            “No, Lily, I will get to you next. But Jones is old enough to be your father and he should know better. You, Lily, are in the habit of making yourself sick. It’s how you’ve avoided taking responsibility for your life thus far. But as for Jones? Jones! Look at my daughter. Do you think this is normal behavior for a young woman? Have you noticed my girl isn’t doing anything a normal young woman does? She doesn’t go out with girlfriends, she doesn’t have a boyfriend… why do you think that is?”
            Jones clears his throat and looks thoughtfully at her.
            “Well…” He falls silent.
            “I know,” Victoria says, this time somewhat tenderly, maybe, almost. “You don’t realize what this is doing to my daughter because you are unaware of what it means to be a young woman in her early 30s wasting her youth and her talents and her intellect and her life. And I don’t say that you are unaware of women this age. You are certainly aware of Lily. And I don’t EVEN say that I disapprove of Lily working as a psychic. But do you see how unable to live a normal, healthy life she is? And do you see that this TV show and this job is creating a deeper black hole in her existence as a young woman? I have to help her. She is my girl. My baby. And maybe she thinks it’s fine, just fine, to faint in the middle of live tapings of national network programs after making psychic predictions to psychopaths. But I am not sure she is in her right mind and I want to giver her the chance to choose that before it’s too late.”
            Jones softens and softens and softens as she speaks. He begins to look at Lily tenderly, fatherly. Lily is beginning to look about eight years old and he feels pangs of guilt and remorse along with pangs of deep love and hope. His eyes grow softer and bluer. He begins to smile, even, a little.
            “I didn’t really realize,” he says, “that it was so toxic to her… I figured she was so smart and capable and amazing, she could make her own decisions. Until she started disappearing for hours and days at a time.”
            “What do you mean?” her mother snaps. “Disappearing?”


…all…
            Lily was eleven years old.
Her father had been missing again, for three days this time. He would sometimes be gone, unaccountable, for hours, once in a while for a day or so. Lily’s mother and father used to fight about it, but her father said that he didn’t know what was happening but he was sure it had something to do with time and the space time continuum, and he used to tell Victoria that if she would just re-open herself to her own energetic experience of truth and life as it was meant to be lived by her, if not others, she might go with him wherever he went and then they could help…
            That was always the point at which Lily stopped listening, and turned her mind to thoughts of Houdini, and great and majestic acts of magic, and of defying gravity and other natural laws of human-animal existence.
That day, she walked into the backyard, duct tape, rope, and a brick in tow. She stood over the kiddie pool, filling it with water from the old green garden hose. She would become as skilled as Houdini, she decided, while inside her mother wept and moaned and roamed the house, sleepless, dark circles under her eyes.
            The breeze rushed by. A cool stillness filled her.
            She tied the rope around the brick and then around her calves. She duct taped her legs together and then put a piece of duct tape that could cover her nose and mouth over half, but not sealed all the way. She picked up the brick and looked at the pool. It didn’t really make sense, she realized suddenly, to try and escape a kiddie pool, but it was practice, and she was going to go ahead with all of this, anyway. She wrapped her wrists in duct tape, but now it was hard to wrap herself up. She used her shoulder to press the duct tape completely over her mouth and nose and sank beneath the water. She began to attempt to undo the tape but realized she had forgotten to take a big breath before coming under the water. Shit. Well. She would do this anyway. She calmed her senses to almost nothing, to only the focus of undoing the tape around her arms and wrists.
            “Lily!” echoed the voice of her father, as a broad gentle hand glided through the water.
            He sat her up straight, shaking his head. He removed the tape from her mouth, which, honestly, wasn’t staying put.
            “Are you committing suicide? Because if so, no dinner for you tonight.”
            Lily rushed water to hug him, hands tied with duct tape, getting him all wet. She looked up at him. He was so handsome. Black hair, flashing eyes. Toothy grin. Glasses. Like a handsome Where’s Waldo, kind of.
            “Dad, where do you go when you go away?”
            Her father smiled. He looked very tired…
            “I don’t know, Lily.”
            Her mother rushed out, shrieking.
            “Oh!” She ran into his arms, kissed his face over and over and over.
            “You have to stop this!” she said. “It’s killing me! Promise me! Promise me you will find a way!”
            “Victoria… I don’t think I can control it…”
…along…
            “Lily!”
            She has been day-dreaming, lost in reminiscence.
            “Honey,” Victoria squeezes her hand. “Did you hear what Jones just said?”
            Lily looks at Jones. His legs are crossed and she likes the way it looks.
            “No,” she answers. No use lying.
            “He said that as far as he was concerned, you should quit this show if it’s dangerous to you.”
            “That’s not exactly what I said,” Jones said, looking deeply into her eyes. “I said that I support you one hundred percent no matter what, even if that meant quitting the show.”
Victoria sniffs and sighs deeply.
            “No,” Lily says. “I’m not quitting.”
            Victoria squeezes her hand harder as Jones reaches his hand out and takes Lily’s other hand.
            “Really, it’s okay, whatever you want,” he says.
            “I want to find out where I go when I go away, just like my father,” she says. Her mother looks down. Sighs the sigh of mothers of ages. A strange, low groan comes from somewhere rarely heard in her.
            “And I want to help people,” Lily says. “And maybe this is a way I can do it. And…”
            She does not continue. She was about to tell them about her vision of drowning… and how she knows she is living on borrowed time… but she keeps it to herself.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Fiction Fridays: My Life as a Phone Psychic, the novel, V. NYC2012 : Part Two, Chapter 8!

Hello, my friends, fans and family! (And perhaps a few foes.)

A few of you have written asking why I've been remiss on posting the continuing saga of LILY, the star of "My Life as a Phone Psychic." I'm so sorry! I have actually been focusing on being LESS BUSY and MORE RELAXED (hardee har har) as I have, in the last month, completed a pilot with a writing partner for a one hour drama with music, AND completed draft four of my super exciting, super especial DIGITAL SPY SIT COM, to be shot starring me and Carlo!

More about each of those projects as information comes up. But for now, enjoy

MY LIFE AS A PHONE PSYCHIC
the NOVEL
PART TWO
CHAPTER EIGHT!

(Brief reminder: this novel was originally written as a play in 2004, then converted into a screenplay in 2007, then a novel in 2012... looking for its home! And since I am moving on to the new novel, which I am halfway through writing (based on a musical I wrote in 2012 as well) and busy with my new writing projects, I want to honor this baby by putting her up here. Who knows! If I'm ever famous, some publisher might look around and say, "What else ya got?" 

As a writer: Coming in 2016: My web series. Coming 2017: My TV drama, and a new Magic Realism novel. Coming 2018: the fun novel version of "The One," my one woman show from 2010-2011! Too much? Tell me about it. I wrote a song about that! 

And speaking of songs, both my web series and my TV show feature them...

And to remind you, as an actress and singer and performer, coming own the pipeline: I will be in Francis Ford Coppola's new project, filming this summer; I will be in Piero Sanna's new film project as well as singing the theme in the autumn of this year 2016 in Sardinia! I hope to book a concert in Los Angeles or Minneapolis or both soon, but it will be pending my filming schedule. 

Thanks for letting me share!)

And now for reals, without any further ado...


Chapter 8
            “It wasn’t a coincidence,” Lily says, shoveling fennel coleslaw from the Kosher Fish Taco Stand on the Pacific Coast Highway into her mouth. “But I can’t really do lottery numbers or point spreads on command. It’s a moment in time. It’s a way to get people to believe, to listen.”
            “Because you’ll have something important for people to say?” Jones asks.
            “Because if people believe then they are more likely to be healed.”
            “Faith healing?” David says. Lily feels his habit to become skeptical melt away. “No,” he says, his expression a mixture of pride and fear. “Really?”
            Jones is not touching his tacos. This is one of his favorite places to eat in Southern California. He wanted to bring Lily here without David to check in on her but...
Instead, he sits between them at this Kosher Fish Taco Stand on the Pacific Coast Highway, watching the trucks and bikes and motorcycles, while across the street is the sea rolling in…
He knows they have been together. Maybe they haven’t had sex, but he knows David wants her, and that she probably would go there. He’s not sure if he should let this happen or not. He likes to let things unfold on their own. If she wants him, Jones thinks, she’ll come for him. And this David fellow is only going to stay around for the show. And then, well, then they’ll see.
            Lily is ravenous. She wonders if she ate the last few days she was missing.
Missing from myself. Who was I while I was gone?
She takes a bite and then another thought terrifies her.
What if this is the dream and I am missing from my real life right now?
Her heart races at the thought of it. In a way, she is scared, but then, letting that thought sink in, she feels a certain peace, that the pain of this reality isn’t real.
            “We have to do something about this,” Jones says, as if he is reading her mind as he watches her eat. “Where do you go when you go away?”
            “I wish I knew,” Lily says. Now, filtered through food and the feeling of safety, she wants to distract herself with her sexual and romantic longings for both of these men…
            “Lily.” Jones has a stern tone. He. Is. Not. Fooling.  Around. Lily puts down her taco.
            “Look, Jones,” she says,  “I wish I knew. After all, I have no idea what happens to me. I could be living a double life and never even know it. But what am I supposed to do?”
            David clears his throat.
            “You will come live with me.”
            He smiles like Charlie Brown. He is surprised he said that, even Jones can tell, although he has been thinking it for a while.
            “I don’t know…” Jones says. “I mean, she knows me. I know her. You’re a great guy, but… she trusts me.”
            “She trusts me too,” David says.
            “Calm down, alpha dogs,” Lily interferes by making a joke… Jones and David grimace. They are not amused. Jones sighs heavily. “Seriously, guys, I want to be at my own place.”
            “Then we’ll take turns staying with you,” David says.
            “No,” Lily says. “I like my space. No offense. But this is not a problem.”
            David and Jones look at each other. They are surprised to find themselves feeling some sort of connection, some energy between the two men that is just outside their normal realm of man-to-man communication.
            David is not sure he knows what Jones is thinking and yet he is sure they are having the same thought. He cocks his head to the right in question. Jones nods.
            “Nope,” Jones says, “We’re gonna take turns staying with you or we’re going to stay outside your door. This is for your safety, Lily. It might get weird.”
            Lily puts her taco down. She’s no longer hungry.
            “So, who stays with you first?” asks David. He looks back and forth between Lily and Jones.
            “Well…” Jones shoves his hands in his pockets, looks at Lily. David stops looking at both of them and focuses on Lily.
            “I don’t know. I’m not good at making decisions like this,” she says softly, looking out over the sea. She looks back at them and smiles, sadly. “One of the reasons I’m a phone psychic is because I don’t like taking control of my life, only to be proven wrong,” she continues. “I never really have… when I was a girl, what I wanted to do with myself never matched what was going to happen for me. If I wanted a dog, we got the dog and the dog died. If I wanted my Dad to… If I wanted a birthday party, my mother was touring Italy and we were going to be in Venice… and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful or anything. My mother and father certainly let me know that not every little girl got to spend her birthday looking at Venetian masks, having her mother sing just to her. Most girls were stuck with a boring old birthday party with pin the tail on the donkey or piƱatas or something… But, I learned early on that it was a waste of time, desire. I stopped wanting anything to be a certain way. I stopped hoping for things to turn out any kind of way. That way I would never be disappointed.”
            She didn’t mean to sound like she was wallowing, but hearing herself speak, she hears the misery. She sees Jones open his mouth to speak and she jumps in to save herself.
            “Now… It’s not a bad thing. It’s a gift. But I have to be so careful with desire.”
            She looks away. She cannot look at Jones. And she cannot look at David.
            She feels the heaviness of her unique gifts. She is well aware that all gifts are also a curse. Hers happens to be particularly special. Potent. And painful.
            And then… there’s Jones again. He is always there for her. Psychic or not, she doesn’t know what it would take or what he needs but… part of her… needs him. Truly, really, needs him, like she is sure she will die without him.
            He is her only friend.
            And then… there’s David.
            And who is David? she wonders. She looks up at him. He’s looking at her, thoughtfully.
            The corners of her mouth turn up ever so slightly and she blushes.
            “Alright, well, look, we obviously both want to stay with you,” David begins. His eyes pour energy into her soul, as Lily allows herself to be vulnerable before him. “and you don’t want to decide and so I’ll just say, Jones man, you stay first.”
            Now that David has told Jones what to do, Jones is less interested in staying. Lily feels a shock of sexual energy run through her. She is nervous. 
            Stupid, stupid men. Stupid, stupid Lily.
            “Great,” she says.
Who’s Gonna Drive You Home
            Jones and Lily are driving back to Lily’s apartment in his Prius. He is playing Radiohead on his iPod. “Weird Fishes.” A track from some album in recent times. Who knows?
She watches the beach roll by, filtered by a UV protected window. He looks over, smiles. He strokes his hand with his, takes it, brings it to his chest. She is moved by this gesture and the tears spring again.
            “Now, now. None of that. I’m just glad you’re safe,” he says.
            He nods along with the music, so Lily does too. She finds herself relaxed, her nervous system unfolding from fight or flight response.
            He notices. Smiles.
            “Song is fucking killer,” he says.
            “Jones, for a man in his 50s, you sure don’t seem like it.”
            He laughs.
            “Is it okay I say that?” she asks.
            “What does that mean? I don’t seem like I’m in my 50s?” he asks, vulnerable, and fishing.
            “I always forget your older than I am and that you think we’re the same age,” she says.
            He nods.
            “You’re kind of ageless,” he says.
            She shrugs.
            “So are you.”
            He smiles at her and touches her cheek.
            “Lily, are you sure this is okay?”
            “I don’t know. I don’t really even know what difference it will make or not since I have no idea what happens to me when I lose time.” She shrugs again.
            “No,” Jones says, “I meant more the show. Doing the show.”
            They’re on the freeway now. A car honks at them. She glances over. Someone is waving. She looks back at Jones.
            “You’re driving us to your place,” she says, suddenly realizing they are not headed on the 10 to her place, but on the 405… toward his place.
            “I think… it’s a good idea…” he says.
            “Why?”
            “Lily, you kind of made a big impression on your first show. Live. With celebrities. And creepy ex boyfriends. And… you looked so pretty. And the baseball game. I mean…. and then being gone for a day, and everybody looking for you…”
            Jones is circumlocuting his real reason. Lily has a vision of her apartment in a shambles.
            “What’s up with my apartment?”
            “You have your keys?”
            “Yeah. Of course. Jones?” Lily focuses on him with a laser like intensity.
            “I think I should go in, get your stuff, bring it to my place, just in case.”
            “Just in case what?”
            He squeezes Lily’s hand.
            “Jones. Why.” Her voice is tiny and powerful. “No one knows where I live.”
            Jones nods.
            “You didn’t answer my question,” she says.
            “Alright. Yeah. Someone, at least one someone, knows where you live and broke in.”
            “I want to go there,” Lily says.
            “Have it your way.” And he takes the next exit and heads in the direction of her apartment, in Hollywood.
Riding in Cars With
            They pull up to her friendly little neighborhoody-LA block; Stanley and Rosewood.
            Everything is not normal. First, Lily senses Jones’s fear. But something else, too.
            “Can I go first?” he asks, parking.
            “Okay…” Lily is nervous, now, too.
            She feels hands around her throat and turns quickly to see who it is but there is no one.
            “What?” Jones asks.
            “Nothing.” she smiles, determined. He looks at her.
“Can’t fool me, girl.”
Lily strokes the upholstery. She notices his car deodorizer in the shape of a tree, hanging from the rear view widow. “New car smell.”
He nods. Opens the door.
            They walk to the front door of her apartment. It’s on the first floor. There is a big bouquet of lilies in front. And the doorknob has been fiddled with. She can see that it is placed in its hole now, but that it had been removed from her door.
            “Lillies!” she says. Jones grabs the card before she can.
            He opens it. Reads it.
            “Okay,” he says, handing her the card.
            They are from Phil Cutler. The card reads, “You were great! All good things- Phil.”
            “Who broke in?” she asks, “And how did they do it?” She pulls the knob out and they shove the door open.
            They walk in and Jones walks quickly through, pulling her through. He locks the deadbolt.
            “This was apparently not locked, when… whoever it was… broke in,” he says. “When I came here to check in on you…” Jones stands her in the middle of the living room. “I left the deadbolt undone just in case…I just want to check the place out, okay?”
            Lily nods, but she knows.
            “Jones. Nothing is wrong anymore. Here, I mean. No one is here.”
            She walks boldly into the kitchen and puts a teakettle on to boil while he checks out the apartment. She searches the apartment to see if she can find anything missing.
“Everything seems to be here,” she says. She looks through her desk drawers. “Passport, money. It’s all here,” she says.
She goes back into her kitchen and climbs onto her counter top and reaches above the shelves for the right vase for the flowers. She trims the ends of the lilies, put them in a vase. She looks into the cupboards again.
“That’s strange,” she calls to Jones, “I’m missing a loaf of bread and some peanut butter.”
“Sure you didn’t eat it and just forget?” Jones asks, coming around the corner into the kitchen.
“Maybe,” Lily frowns. She looks in the fridge. “Jam is gone too.” She closes the door. “I only notice because I had just bought a loaf of bread and it was from my favorite bakery.”
“So someone broke into your apartment because they were hungry?” Jones touches the flowers. “Pretty,” he says.
            “They must have just delivered these flowers,” she says.
            “All here, otherwise, though?” Jones frowns. “Just the food is gone?”
            “I know. It’s weird. Who was it and what did they want?” she asks.
            Jones gets up and walks into the living room where her laptop computer is sitting on the coffee table.
            “Come in here,” he says.
            She walks in, carrying the lilies.
            “Look,” he says. He has brought up CNN’s home page. And there is a photo of Lily and a link to the story of her predictions.
            “CNN?” she says. “This is ridiculous. Slow news day?”
            “Just a note,” Jones says. “But you were also talked about in the LA Times, all the networks. Call volume is up, too,” he says. “I wish I had more girls that sounded like you, ‘cause I’d like to add a phone line strictly for Lily, but you’re too busy with the show. It would be great if you could train some people…”
            She shakes her head.
            “Really, Jones, business? Now?” she stares at the image of herself on the screen. “Just give me a minute to chill out, okay?”
            Jones smiles sadly.
            “Sorry…” he says.
            “It’s okay. You don’t have to say anything,” she says. She bends her head into the crook of his arm. “Just let’s take a little nap.”
            “We probably shouldn’t stay here,” he says.
            “Just for a nap,” she says.
            Jones nods. She closes her eyes, inhaling the scent of him… spicy musk, a little patchouli, some man sweat. He smells really good.
            “I’ll have the door fixed tomorrow,” he says. “And we’ll stay here for tonight. You’re safe now. I’m here.” he squeezes her against him as they drift off into the hazy land of nod.