Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blue fairy godmother

Another writing exercise. I honestly don't know where all this blood-and-guts writing is coming from. It's so unlike me. I suppose I could blame it on the prompt sentences I'm pulling out, but I have to claim some responsibility for the direction that it takes.

Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut, p. 131

“The Blue Fairy Godmother knew something about killing.”

“Jesus Horatio Christ,” I screamed at the top of my lungs. No one heard me. I think it was about then that I passed out. I only recall the sensation of floating, something sticky, hot, then cold. Merle and his damned contraptions! He had rigged up a giant fan in the roof of the barn to try to keep the heat level down and to dissipate some of the stench from the never-ending pile of manure. Buddy, our ornery stallion, was acting up again, kicking his stall until the walls rattled. As I reached down to turn on the faucet I heard above me that wretched sound of metal-on-metal, wood splintering, and looked up and saw the fan blade—a blade big enough to power a small airplane—falling from the ceiling. I couldn’t move quickly enough to avoid it. That’s when I screamed. Apparently the blade hit me but I don’t remember the impact, only blackness. In an instant I knew everything about that village in Cameroon. I spoke the language; I looked like the others; I understood their customs, their food, their religion. I understood all the fine nuances of communicating with drums and my hands were hard from the playing. I was a woman of power, revered by some and feared by others. The mysteries of the native plants were revealed to me—the ability to heal or to harm. My people, the people I loved, looked at me with dark eyes, full of fear and hope for only I could conjure up something to protect them from the evil presence they called the Fairy Godmother. Villagers had been finding their animals dead, their throats slashed. Ancient stories had been passed through the generations of a woman who had been expelled from the tribe centuries ago. Legend was that this woman, the Fairy Godmother, had been cursed so that she would never die and would spend eternity roaming outside the village alone. She had painted herself blue and she wailed in the night and sometimes killed the village animals in revenge. And I had the burden—some would say it was a privilege—of putting an end to this evil woman. I regained consciousness in the hospital days after my encounter with the airborne fan blade. Merle was sitting by my side, saying, “Honey, please be alright, please, please, please.” Over time he explained what happened to me, how he had found me unconscious on the barn floor in a pool of blood, and how Buddy had died when the blade slashed his throat like a machete. The Blue Fairy Godmother knew something about killing.

No comments:

Post a Comment