This is the second of three short flash fiction pieces by Mitchell Grabois.Ansel
Ansel Adams awoke in a black and white room. He’d bled the world of color as effectively as a 1947 Zenith console TV. He’d fallen asleep on the couch, and when he opened his eyes, the screen was static, pulsating flecks of Yosemite.
His wife had fallen asleep on the other side of the couch wearing a white apron tied tightly around her Midwestern middle. His black and white cat rubbed against his legs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence, he said to the cat.
Outside, a city bus rumbles by, accelerating loudly to make the hill. Jesus the Messiah is on the corner, shining shoes, a modern version of washing feet. He has to get some cash to make His nut, paying taxes to corrupt conquerors. His brother is a bourbon salesman, Hecho en Mexico, rotgut, not the good stuff from Kentucky, but he keeps Jesus well supplied. He’s always been amazed that he’s the brother of the Son of God, and wants to do what he can to make Jesus’s life better, until Jesus has to run through the Stations of the Cross, and then it’s all over.
Then it’s no more brother. He’ll have to drink all the samples himself and sit in the corner of the Mercado, depressed and alone, and worry about his mother, now entirely his obligation. Mary is a sword swallower on the street. Her partner is a flamenco guitarist. When Mary gets excited by dramatic strums, her feet start to jitterbug and she cuts her esophagus and spits red blood, which disgusts and excites the members of the audience, who know she always puts on a good show.
Jesus and His brother say: Mom, you’ve got to stop this. We will support you. But She’s independent and never listens. It is as if they are speaking another language, like English. She asks the mirror every day: Why is my life so complex? Why did I have to suffer from mental illness? Not everyone suffers like this.
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over twelve-hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for numerous prizes. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. To see more of his work, google Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver.