haibun
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 2

[Return to Author List, Vol 2 ]

Liz fenn

 

 

All Systems, Go!

January. The remainder of a fierce arctic storm lashed out across the whole of the Tug Hill Plateau. Fortunately, road crews had kept up with the ice, so Blanche was able to drive home from work at a slow safe pace. Still, when she arrived at her mailbox to make the turn up into the driveway, she did breathe a loud sigh of relief. But, it was one of very short duration—because, as Blanche carefully began to execute that turn, she lost control of her car. By some miracle, though, her spins and slides averted a thick stand of ice encased short pines, and her car came to a halt ten feet in off the road.

For a few minutes Blanche was very thankful for her safety and just sat there quietly, in awe and disbelief, after having murmured “oh, dear.” Then, she experienced a reality check: “Egad!” she said out loud. “The whole damn driveway up head is a solid mass of ice—shit!” Still, Blanche reasoned she couldn’t back her car out, and she knew she had to get home—to warm slippers, to her husband, to a hot meal, and to some lively schmoozing with their St. Bernard, Clown Face . . . Seconds later, then, Blanche switched off the car’s engine and lights, let herself out into the elements, and began an inch-by-inch walk the rest of the freezing way home.

But. This proved a NO WAY situation. Blanche executed only two careful little steps and down she fell. She got up, steadied herself, and tried again. Again she fell. “Forget this,” she thought out loud while hanging on to a front bumper. “Maybe I’d better just crawl.” And so, Blanche promptly got down on all fours and began trying to crawl over the ice and on up the two hundred feet left of driveway to home.

But. This didn’t work either. Blanche had no control over her slip and slide crawl, and her face kept smacking directly down ontothe numbing ice. “Damn,” she thought. “Guess I’ll just have to be a snow angel.” Immediately, then, Blanche lowered herself until she was flat on her back, spread eagle over the ice, and she tried to advance and steer by whatever slight wiggles worked. It was slow, tedious going, but eventurally she came within thirty feet of her house. Feeling somewhat successful at last and a great deal less anxious, Blanche now allowed herself a moment’s pause, to look up at the kitchen door. To her surprise, she saw her husband and Clown Face standing and jumping around against an adjacent window. From inside, her husband was waving her on as if an officer wanting traffic to speed up and roll along. Blanche laughed aloud, gave a quick short wave in response, and then continued her concise body slides. Finally, when she got within inches of the kitchen door, she heard Clown Face bark and bark between her husband’s shouts: “Way t’ go! Come on! Come on! Ya made it, babe!” But she hadn’t—yet.

The kitchen doorknob was encased in a solid brick of ice, and the entire door frame was cemented shut with ice at least two inches thick. “Oh, great,” she thought, “what now?” Then, forgetting about frostbite, Blanche removed her left leather boot and began to chip away furiously at the door’s frame while her husband pushed and pounded from the inside. Clown Face kept up his barking, louder than ever, and began jumping higher as if to cheer both of them on. Eventually, the rage of persistent activity succeeded, even though it seemed forever until something finally gave one hundred percent—

a door swings open . . .
the family dog dances
a pee out-of-doors

[Return to Author List, Vol 2 ]

 


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