Kaffee und Kuchen… and Napalm

They bombed the city every Sunday afternoon after tea.

The first warning honked twelve minutes before the blast. A second cautionary toot, issued six minutes prior to the first explosion, reminded citizens to stash away their fragile tea things. If people ran out of time, then it would be best to collect left over kaffee und kuchen, plus anything valuable (or likely to scream in pain) and take the lot with the family to the nearest fallout shelter.

I lived in the streets, walking from place to place, surviving between flashes of lights and shadows. I scoped houses and recorded the behaviors of each occupant, in order to visualize the inside of their homes. If my mind formed a clear picture, then I allowed myself to delight in forbidden pleasures, while citizens hid in hollows and their city was shrouded in Napalm.

One minute before the first bang, I was forced to run into a building I had always avoided. Everyplace else had been shut to me. I ran through an open side door and up a wide stairwell with my eyes closed. I rushed into the first room I found, and breathed easier at the sight of a sink and a tub.

“Thank you,” I said to Fate and to the small white statue of a woman sitting on a table that faced the sink.

Wasting no time—air raids and miracles didn’t last forever—I started the water, undressed, walked out of my boots, and sat in the tub. I focused on scrubbing yesterday’s filth from under my fingernails… on avoiding the photo of the man, which sat on one edge of the tub. I had tried to remove the offending image, but the frame was part of the wall. What kind of person looks at his own picture while…?

I felt the eyes on my left shoulder, on the side of my neck, inside me… before I heard the chewing. Wanting to mask my fear and perhaps show that I had trespassed out of need, I took a few seconds before facing the door. I shouldn’t have bothered. The eyes of the man standing at the threshold, gnawing on chocolate cake, were filled with so much death and hatred that human things, like fear and empathy, would have never reached him.

Magpie Tales 260

Lee Miller in Adolf Hitler's bathtub, Munich 1945, by David E. Scherman

Lee Miller in Adolf Hitler’s bathtub, Munich 1945, by David E. Scherman

The Day Lady Liberty Ran Off to Join the Circus

On the winter Lady Liberty threw herself into the Hudson, her abandoned Torch exploded, setting a Staten Island ferry and three Asgardian skinny-dippers on fire.

The museum guide waited for everyone to finish reading the introductory slide, before she began addressing her audience. “There was nothing but talk of hot Norse skin and overheated bronze balls. The New York Harbor and most—”

“No,” said a small balding man, “that’s not what happened. I watched it live on Fox. I know brass balls when I see them.”

An old lady, who sat next to the man, told him, “You’re embarrassing people who don’t even know you, son.”

Pretending half the room wasn’t snickering, the museum guide moved to the next slide. It explained that the Torch had been approached by Fox, and that her reaction suggested that something they said offended her. “I don’t care for your French or for your dull guesstimating of obvious facts,” the Torch said to Fox.

The next morning, Fox reported that the Torch was related to a legendary Burning Bush, and that the Torch and her Bush cousin would be delighted to bless Fox and all their descendants. “It’s our given right,” the news reporter announced.

Moving to the next slide, the museum guide aimed a laser pointer at the screen. “This is one of the most memorable moments captured on that day of fire and terrible news,” she said. The photograph showed a weeping man in a black Armani suit, missing a shoe and a chunk of skull. He stood on a cracked sidewalk, aiming his fist at a group of college girls, who were taking selfies with the Wall Street Bull’s half-melted balls in their hands.

“That’s not what happened.” The small man stood up and faced the gathering, his fingers tapping the screen of a tablet. “Those were good girls who would never get their picture taken with balls made of anything other than their city’s best brass. And Lady Liberty didn’t drown herself. This woman’s saying that because she doesn’t love her, she doesn’t love you, and she doesn’t love me. Ah!” he said, turning the tablet towards the people. “See? Fox ran an exclusive with Lady Liberty. They said—”

So calmly that no one saw her coming, the old lady smacked the small man across the face with her purse, and said, “Shut up.”

The tablet flew over the man’s head.

People tried not to laugh, but failed in bursts.

The museum guide picked up the tablet, and took a look. It framed a shopping mall, which had been swallowed by a devilish clown wearing a crown made from slashes of emptiness. The caption over the image read: Lady Liberty isn’t dead. She ran off to join the circus. A Fox exclusive!

Devilish Looking Clown Entrance

This tale is the hybrid child of Magpie Tales 259 (the image above), and “Real Time with Bill Maher: Rudy Giuliani’s Fifty Shades of Black”. Afraid of clowns? Oops.