Monday, January 28, 2008

Unlikely Cast--Continued

This is a continuation from my last post. An elaboration upon the short poem 'Unlikely Cast'.

A finely-detailed, black Mercedes limousine came into view. The tires, encompassing gold-plated wheels, create spirals of dust, gathering momentarily in clouds before being whisked into the hills by a gentle country breeze. An odd sight indeed; such a lavish mode of transportation, no appointment too grand, yet finding reason to grace a dusty path. A farm road actually, forged by the wheels of crude implements, and foot traffic of hard working farmers that transform these miles of dirt into productive sheets of landscape.

The Cyrus Barker farm, which I proudly own, rarely has the privilege of such company. Certainly Ms. Riker could send one of her hired staff, but she continues to visit herself. I waste little time worrying about her strange inclinations. My primary concern is to proudly display my fruits and vegetables, enticing her to purchase as many as her blackened heart desires, then gleefully waving goodbye to her as quickly as possible. The scrutiny of her eye is unparalleled, often spending half the day selecting only the finest and largest specimens. She does pay a premium for my goods, and that small formality in itself makes bearable her likely inbred display of condescension. Without these particular customers, my livelihood would be halved at best, if not in jeopardy altogether. Suffice it to say among the snooty folks, Ms. Riker ranks dead last on my list; her particular tone seems to reverberate in my head long after she’s departed.

As the fine automobile comes to halt, I begrudgingly prepare myself for the ceremonious greeting. Her driver opens the door, revealing a long silken gown, complete with embroidered jewels adorning the hem. The flagrant flaunting of assets disgusts me thoroughly. Following at some distance behind the dress, the face of Ms. Riker emerges; her eloquence unruffled by the unusually rough ride. Her beauty flows genuinely, yet her disguise of niceties remains perilously thin.

“So sweet of you to personally greet me, Cyrus; I’d hoped to find someone else waiting for me, but I see you’re still here.”

One side of my mouth gives way to smile, then reluctantly the other. “I’ve been anxiously awaiting your arrival. I’ll assist you as you make your selections, if you prefer?”

Vigorously brushing dust from her gown, she gracefully places both feet on the ground and dismisses the driver with a wave of her delicate hand.

“I’m familiar with the layout, no need for you to coddle. I’m certain you have pigs to slop, cattle to herd, or some other filthy beast to tend to. I’ll be certain to call when my shopping is complete. Now run along, my grimy little farmer man.”

I turned and began slowly making my way toward the fields. A defenseless watering can bore the brunt of my hatred for Ms. Riker. There certainly are filthy beasts to tend to; but I just offered and was rudely turned away. Grabbing a hoe from the shed, with unusual ferocity I began attacking the weeds encircling my plants. One of the many responsibilities of a farmer is to ensure the culling of unproductive nutrient-robbers from the fruit-bearers. Perhaps this philosophy should extend past gardening.

Grabbing a bale, I break it up into flakes, spreading straw over the fruit bearing vines, careful to apply a sufficient cover, wishing to save as many bales as possible to insulate my own shack from the approaching harsh northern winds. I pause to watch from a distance, the self-absorbed purchaser of fruit. While I will spend another winter shivering in a one room shack, she will dine in excess. Extravagant meals served her by loyal servants, berating them as they perform their micromanaged duties. Once sufficiently gorged, she will belch loudly before ordering the disposal of more food from one meal, than I will be allowed for a week. The mere jewels encrusted in the hem of her dress, are surely worth more than a years salary of my own. One wheel from her precious Mercedes would purchase ten of my homes. The cruel injustices life inflicts upon those such as I, boil within me. For a brief moment I consider grabbing my hoe, and ridding earth’s garden of an inferior weed.

“Oh Cyrus, where have you run off to? I believe I’m finished and ready to settle up.”

Ms. Riker’s voice snaps me from my murderous mood, and surely regrettable action. I smooth my hair and do my best to compose myself by the time I reach her. Throughout our conversation I continue to battle emotions welling inside. My fingers involuntarily tighten around the hoe on more than one occasion, but I successfully avoid the urge to strike her repeatedly, in her beautiful face.

Just as the Mercedes prepares to pull away and I believe I am finally rid of her, the rear window lowers and she signals me there.

“Cyrus, it’s painfully clear what you think of me; your worried brow holds more furrows than your fields. Your compulsion to anger easily holds you back from great things. You bitter attitude towards life consumes you, always believing you have been shortchanged. While I’m certain you assume my family was born wealthy, that isn’t the case. How do you think I developed such an eye for produce? My great-grandparents were peasant workers, laboring in the fields just like you, but they applied themselves, Cyrus. I benefit now from the struggles my ancestors overcame.

When I arrived this afternoon, stating I had been wishing for someone else to greet me, I could immediately see the fury in your eyes. Each time I come to the farm I anxiously anticipate someone else. Not because I dislike you, only hoping to find someone who works for you perhaps. Or even to find the farm no longer exists, because you’ve moved onward and upwards in your life.

Cyrus, I my only wish is to help you, but unfortunately I cannot. The insults I cast at you today were simply a test, only to measure your improvement since my last visit. Had I seen an improvement, even a slight one, I was prepared to hand you a check, made out in your name; $10,000 to help you realize your dreams, but sadly, Cyrus, there is no improvement. Until you can maintain your own discipline, how can you expect to conquer the world?”

The Mercedes quickly becomes a speck on the horizon. Briefly I consider what she said to me, but ever so briefly. “Ten-thousand dollars, that cheap conceited hag; she wouldn’t miss a hundred-thousand!” The continued slamming of my hoe acts as therapy as I imagine battering first her limousine, then striking the smugness from her filthy rich face.


Bubba said...

Well, she's got a point, doesn't she? Again, nice twist! Good job...

Jo Janoski said...

Yeah! What a twist! Amazing story with an unexpected ending. I like that. I'm glad you wrote more after your poem.

Dan said...

Thanks Bob & Jo. Wasn't completely happy with the story, but been busy with my newly installed waterfall in my dining room; pipe busted upstairs and flooded half my dining room!

Bubba said...

That's what you get for not replacing your plumbing with the great poets. :>)

Sorry to hear that, dude... isn't winter great? I had that happen to me when I lived in Granby, Colorado. I had to spend some time in the hospital in Denver, and when we got back home (Granby is in the Rocky Mountains), my heat had gone out and all my pipes froze and busted. Everything was ruined, so my heart goes out to you...

Dan said...

I suppose I can be thankful it was only half of one room. Thanks for your sympathy pains, Bob.