Visitors [5]

I set the rock back on the counter and tiptoed to the door to peek through the peephole. I didn’t really want to speak to anybody after the day I’d had.
It was two guys wearing white shirts, black pants, and sappy fake smiles. Hard pass.
I tiptoed away from the door and into the kitchen. The kitchen that was somewhat lacking in groceries- especially random snack foods.
There were some half-wilted vegetables in the crisper drawer, a couple of plums that were starting to wrinkle, some strawberries that were beginning to get moldy, some onions that were starting to look kind of sad. I REALLY needed to clean it out, but right now I just didn’t have the ambition.
So I cooked up some rice with butter and some antique greens from the freezer and had a cup of hot tea with it. Then I got ambitious and made some cookies using only the ingredients still in the house, including the last of the eggs. I felt like a pioneer.
Then I ate way too many of the cookies while watching some home improvement tv and yelling at the hosts for screwing up yet another renovation bid. Armchair contracting is my go-to sport.
By the time it got dark out I was feeling almost normal. I decided to turn to the news.
There was a story about a riot at the supermarket in Salina.
A riot? It wasn’t a riot. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it wasn’t… well, I guess, technically it WAS a riot, but… And they didn’t mention the lions. At all. I was out of my mind in shock at the time, but I had DEFINITELY seen those lions. HEARD those lions. Heard them explode the windows. Peed myself over them. They were there.
I turned off the television and wondered at how my world had changed so fundamentally, so drastically, just from a trip to the grocery store.
No, actually, from the moment of the old man yelling “Hey”, and giving me the stone.
He’d said something about the trains not running? I looked it up on the computer.
Sure enough, there was some kind of reduced schedule for freight trains through Kansas in recent weeks.
There were only a couple- maybe three- trains a day going through on all of the lines, instead of the usual zillion. Normally going anywhere out here means sitting at some at-grade crossing while the lights flash, the cars rumble by [most usually seem to be empty], and the warning bells “dingdingding” at you. The sound of the trains and their weird horns [they’d changed them all a couple of years ago].
There was a siding in my little town where they’d juggle east-v-west bound trains, usually closing off two of the roads out of town for half an hour or more at a time, the warning bells sounding for the whole thing and the noise and the repeated horn honkings [three honks are required at every crossing, and there are two crossings in the town] and the smoke from the engines adding to the pollution.
The lack of all of this was not something I’d felt especially badly about. After years in the place, my normal was to tune out the sound of the trains, so the fact of their absence hadn’t really tweaked my interest much, although the silence was a blessed relief.
So okay. Old Man was right about the trains [mostly] not running. But what the hell did that have to do with a screaming toddler and an insane breakdown in the ground rules of basic civilization?
Or- more than this- giant glowy-eyed golden lions?
I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, and in doing so felt the rock zapping me again. I was cranky and this invasion of my personal energy-space pissed me off. So I took it to the fridge and put it in there.
Then I went to bed.

Published by goddesswest

I'm a painter and am writing something now. People keep asking me to put it together in an easier to access place, so here I am. Plan to get some of my artwork in here too, eventually.

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