Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rogue Phoenix Press Presents: My Opic Observations

Title: My Opic Observations
Author: Jack Haines
Genre: Humorous Short Stories
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1

I admittedly have a different interpretation on how things work in my world. I have been told I am sanctimonious, sarcastic and irreverent. Another ex-wife said I was cruel and hypercritical. The truth is I have a large number of soft spots and whenever I see a naked Emperor, I have to scream out. I have a particular weakness for the pompous and those who fear sunlight. No, not vampires. Writing helps relieve the sting from the head slapping after I witness my fellow humans in their environment.


I looked around the room to see everyone looking even guiltier than before. Maybe because where I was seated, on the north wall, I began to see things at a different angle than the crowd, much differently, more than the ninety degrees different.
I was cautious but I didn't know why, yet. I began paying closer attention to the skinny man with the ginger hair and beard.
On with the show:
"I knew you heard about the Zabadabas, I could tell." Everyone puffed up knowing they got away with a white lie.
"Getting away with a lie makes you vulnerable to others more powerful." I once read that on a note in a fortune cookie. So did the Professor.
"I can't tell you where this place is, but it's somewhere in Latin America."
The next slide was the same shot without overlays.
"This is the way to the village of the Zabadabas."
Another photo, this time the interior of a sky blue and white wooden canoe. It was half canoe, half river or lake or maybe even swimming pool.
"You have to travel up stream on a large jungle river until you come to an undiscovered lake tucked into the jungle. At the far end of the lake is the village that I only heard whispers of for twelve years. A village so sacred to the people of the river that it had no name. They only referred to them as Los Viejos or The Ancient Ones. Twelve years of making myself more trustworthy to the river people finally got me permission to meet Los Viejos."
The next photo was of a small brown man stripped to the waist. He had two white stripes on each cheek and a sky blue stripe across his forehead. He had a Moe Howard hair cut with a small arrow through his hair. A thin leather strip over his shoulder supported a small leather pouch. He was standing in his own canoe, the canoe we were introduced to in the previous picture. At his feet was a flour sack with a string near the top keeping it closed. Maybe it was just me but shapes I could detect inside the flour sack seemed to be: a bottle of whiskey, a can of Spam and one of those large eggs that pantyhose came in. The little man was pointing with his right hand to his left. In his left hand he held a small bow.
"I had to promise to never tell the world where they lived. I had a guide take me to where a small stream fed into the big river."
This slide showed a small stream converging with a larger river. Tied to a mangrove tree was a small sky blue sign with two white letters and an arrow pointing to the right. Capital "L" above a capital "V".
Amazon Moe--not his real name--was pointing to the sign.
"It took two days of rowing our canoe to get to the far end of this long lake."
At this time the flute and drum music got louder. It wasn't spooky music, but I saw several couples clutching each other. The next slide was again the first slide. This time at the far right of the photo you could see a bare leg in an action pose as though it were running off the beach and the photograph. A woman in the back shrieked. The Professor smiled.
"My guide dropped me off and promised to return in one week. I was on my own, in the jungle with an unknown people."
I heard someone in the back say in a stage whisper, "No, he didn't die! That's him up there. Jesus, Lori! Pay attention!"
The next slide was the same beach scene with the campfire. This time next to the campfire was a small green nylon tent. Next to the tent were three more flour sacks of goods.
"I decided to camp on the beach to allow them to come to me. They would feel less threatened this way. It didn't take long for me to be discovered. On the morning of the second day on the beach, I woke up with the feeling that I wasn't alone. I peeked out of my tent to see three small brown men poking through my belongings. These men were thin, dressed only in a loin cloth and carried large war axes. These war axes appeared to be Pre-Columbian. I had only seen sketches of similar styled axes in museums. The men were startled by my head popping out of my tent. One man ran to the edge of the jungle, turned and hid behind a large fern. In a blink he was gone, swallowed by the jungle. The other two men looked at each other and then back at me. They began talking to each other. I speak seven languages and at least twelve river dialects. I had never heard a language like this one before. Their language seemed to consist of different pitched clicks, whistles and blinks. I wanted to take their picture, but my camera was outside with my supplies."
No slide change at this time.
With the crowd literally on the edge of their seat, the Professor took a dramatic pause then continued. "I began crawling out of my tent, very slowly, keeping eye contact with the remaining discovery force. They both took two steps backward and then two more steps backward when they realized how tall I was. They were silent now, watching my deliberately slow movements. Their dark eyes were as big as coconuts. One man hefted his ax slightly. It was an impulse. When I was out completely, I sat in front of my tent. I was afraid if I stood up I would scare them off. A whistle and click came from just inside the jungle. He was also dressed in a loincloth. He had pure white hair held back with a leather band. He was thin and carried a spear that he used as a walking stick to help support his frail body. Behind him two young girls tried to hide from view. He was too small to shield anyone, and they were too curious to stay out of eye shot. The girls could not have been more than sixteen and wore only a loincloth."
Wooden chair legs screeched on the marble floor after hearing this.
"Maybe, only fourteen"
That did it, everybody was paying attention now, even Miguel.

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