Good day to you where ever in the world you are reading this. I started looking through old files on my computer for things that I could delete so I could free up space on my computer and I found this short story I wrote in 2006. I used to live in Los Angeles, next to the 110 Fwy at the Olympic exit, Pico-Union. During that time, I only had the boys on the weekends as I had no room for everyone in my studio apartment. It was all I could afford at that time, another long story…). I loved that studio, really. All 300 square feet, including the balcony. It had this really cool balcony that had this awesome view of Down Town Los Angeles and the Ritz-Carlton as it was being built. Some nights, well, most nights, I couldn’t sleep. I had been having issues with my eye sight and was in pain from my long hours of sitting and doing office work. My doctors back then thought I had MS, even though I refused to believe them. It’s funny, but with everything that is going on in the world right now, people are marveling over the empty streets of Los Angeles like they have never seen it like that before. For me and my boys, we were used to the streets of DTLA being empty and freely jaywalking all over the financial district when we would take walks to the library on the weekends. Back then, gentrification of that area was in its adolescent stage. I had moved to that apartment because it was under $900 and the landlord let me make payments for the security deposit. I had dreams of living in a loft in Little Tokoyo. Often, on our walks we would have bikers whizzing down Bunker Hill in their brightly colored bike gear. I only lived there a year and luckily in 2009, I was able to move back to Echo Park before the rents increased, it was not quite DTLA, but I could still see the DTLA skyline from my little balcony at that apartment. Anyhow, during that year I lived in the Pico-Union area, I wrote a few short stories, I had shared these in the past on different, now defunct websites. Anyhow, I never finished this short story. I have 23 pages written so far. I go back to it every year or so. Maybe, all this stuff going on will ignite my creative juices and I might be able to finish this story. This story is loosely based on an event that happened in my life in my early 30s, mainly, the encounter with the psychic. She really did tell me to “throw fire into the water” which I did one Friday a few weeks after she had instructed me to do so with a girlfriend from work. We went and had a few drinks at Baja Sharkeez in Hermosa Beach and then headed to the shoreline. We smoked a few bowls and then crumbled up some reports from work and tried to toss the lit paper balls on fire over our shoulders. You know something? It was almost impossible. Finally, after many attempts, I had success. By that time, our sides were aching from all the laughing. During that time, I was miserable and barely smiled. At that moment, it felt like a the dark cloud that had been hanging around was gone. A few weeks later, I noticed that I wasn’t as sad and things started to look up. I found a job closer to home that paid more money and things started to go in the right direction. Do I believe in psychic’s? Not sure, I do believe some people have intuition and can read others better than most. Right now, though, I wish I could get to the ocean and Throw Fire Into the Water and fend off this huge mojo that our world is experiencing. However, I will keep following the CDC for guidelines and will not be throwing my 2 cents in to also slow down the disease of misinformation.
So, here is my little attempt to help out with the boredom and giving you something to read. I will edit a few more pages and post the rest of the story. Hmmmm? Maybe YOU can help out with the direction of the story, just a thought. If you want to follow along I will hash tag it #throwingfireintothewater or if you want to collab on the story message me. Fair warning, it is cheesy, but hey if you are tired of reading those shampoo bottles while you are in your office, give it a read.
Thank you, dear reader for stopping by! Where ever you are in the world, take care and rest easy. Hugs to those needing them.
|Throwing Fire into the Water|
|by ML Keena|
|Fourteen years ago, I stood here. Fourteen years ago, I knocked on this same door. I did what she said, even though I am still not sure that it was not more than some placebo effect. She somehow knew, will she know this time? I remember it like it was yesterday. I was driving around, not sure of where I was going. I wasn’t hungry, didn’t want to go shopping, was just bored when I pulled up in front of her little hut on that day back in 2003.
Unlock the secrets of your destiny the sign read. As it happened, I was lost and looking for the meaning of life. $10 was all it took to tell me my destiny and had that exact amount in my pocket. What could it hurt? I remember getting out of my car and getting my shirt snagged on the door. Maybe this was not such a good idea. My mind told me turn and leave but I kept going and walked to the door and knocked. The door opened and I was greeted by a woman in her late 40’s. Her name was Miss Anna. She looked normal and was quite attractive. As I walked to the door of Miss Anna’s house, I had conjured up images of her in my mind, you know, the whole mole and large gold hoop earrings and long flowing skirt. I am glad to report that she didn’t fit the stereotype I had envisioned. She was normal, almost too suburban-housewife normal. She led me to an alcove that had a table and two chairs. A candle burned on this table.
“What can I do for you?” She inquired. I thought for a moment. What did I want? What did I need?
“Could you do a reading for me?” I asked.
“Yes, my dear, what type of reading? Cards? Mind? Tea leaves?” she asked.
“I don’t know, you choose.” I told her.
She then closed her eyes and said, “Give me your hand.” I did. She turned my hand, palm up and placed it on her palm. She studied my hand and again closed her eyes. When she opened them, she began to speak.
“You are troubled and lost.” She took a deep breath and I noticed that her nicely groomed brows furrowed and then she continued. “You have had much misfortune as of late. I see that you are unhappy with your job and that you are scattered. You are not doing what it is you want with your life. You run from relationships. Your face smiles but cannot hide the tears you cry behind closed doors.” She then let go of my hand. Where were my secrets that she was to unlock? All I heard was a bunch of hooey, just like she had memorized it from a script. That surely was not worth $10. Everybody has misfortune, don’t they? I don’t run from relationships, I was in one and everything was fine. Okay, I did need to lose weight and I wish I had more money in my bank account. She was wrong.
“Okay, how much do I owe you?” I asked her. Again, she closed her eyes.
“Listen closely child, there is no amount of money that you could give me to take all the evil spirits that are circling you. You need to go and throw fire into the water.” She then took a deep breath and closed her eyes again. “No amount of candle lighting and praying will help you. You must help yourself. Listen closely as I tell you how to free yourself.”
This was getting freaky. I could feel my knees start to feel weak like they do before getting on a roller coaster. Aren’t psychics supposed to try and take all my money to burn candles and pray on my behalf? Isn’t this for entertainment purposes only? I was scared.
“You must go to the ocean at sundown. Wade in the water. Just as the sun is setting. You need to face away from the sun and as a wave recedes over your feet you must throw fire over your shoulder and into the water.” She commanded me. Her voice was stern. It was hard not to laugh. I tried to hide my amusement.
“This is no joke. Without this intervention, nothing you do will ever be right in your life. Please go. I am done.” She then stood up and showed me the door.
“Okay, thank you.” I then reached into my pocket to hand her my $10. She pushed my hand down and said, “I do not want your money. Besides, you need to hold onto it. Misfortune lies ahead for you.” She then walked to the door and opened it. I then walked out, scared, but still amused. I got into my car and began my drive home. I turned on my radio and then drove away. Her words echoed in my head. Misfortune. I have had plenty and don’t think that a little more would hurt. Besides, I welcomed it.
Life went along as it always had. I saw my boyfriend a few times a week. Payday came and went as it always did. My car started and the radio worked. Life was grand. The words of the seer had not affected me. How far off she was.
Months had passed and I had almost forgotten about the words of the psychic. My job was going well. I had two months worth of pay in my savings account. My boyfriend and I had started talking about moving in together. Wedding bells chimed in my head. Life was grand. I had an appointment for annual checkup. My boyfriend had been staying at my place regularly, he kissed me goodbye in the morning and then later messaged me to tell me he couldn’t wait to see me later. It was going to be a great day. I had taken the day off from work and planned to take care of the things I usually could not get accomplished due to my schedule. It was 9 am and I was going to be late. I rushed out the door and somehow, I caught my foot on the door stop because now I was flying, hands in front of me going at 60 miles an hour, toward the floor. I crashed and burned. I slid a few feet and scraped my chin. I got up as quickly as could and tried to not think about the pain that was coming from my palms. Blood dripped onto my white shirt. I must stop wearing white! If I wear white, I was sure to stain it. I touched my chin and could feel the blood oozing from it. Tears welled up in my eyes. I walked carefully to the bathroom to survey the damage to my face. I took off my shirt and then got out the peroxide and cotton balls and clean the blood from my face. A quick change of shirts was made and I was on my way again. If I caught every green light I would make it to my appointment on time. I caught every red light there. Ten in all. When I walked into the doctor’s office the receptionist mentioned that I was late and the doctor would not see me. She had her head down the entire time and had not looked at me.
“May I reschedule? Could I wait? Please?” I begged.
Finally, she looked up at me and her mouth opened and said. “What in the hell happened to you?” Are you okay?” her gum that she was chewing almost fell out of her mouth.
“I fell. This is why I am late.” I said to her and shrugged my shoulders. “Do you think the doctor would see me?”
“Yeah, I think that…yes, oh yeah, you will be seen, would like some water or something?” she chomped away on her gum, “I will have the nurse bring you right in” She then got up and opened the door to the back office. She led me to the work-up area. There I sat down and waited for the nurse to take my blood pressure and my record my weight. Misfortune? No, not misfortune. I am a klutz. That is all.
“Come this way.” the nurse instructed. She then handed me a plastic cup to pee in. “Fill this half way and then go to room 3.” She then pointed to the bathroom. Oh joy, I get to pee in a cup. I accepted the mission and overfilled the cup. I got urine on my hands. Yuck! I looked toward the ceiling.
“What now? Bring it on okay.” I raised my hands into the air and spoke to some invisible being. “I can take it!”
I got off the toilet and went over to the sink. I twisted the lid on the cup and then proceeded to wipe it off. Washed my hands and then got another paper towel and used it to pick up the cup to take back to the exam room. So far so good. I made my way to the exam room and then sat down and waited and waited and waited. After about 45 minutes the doctor knocked on the door.
“Hello Jane, good to see you.” she said, “Oh my, what happened to you?” she said this as she lifted my chin and removed the band aid.
“I tripped walking out of my front door this morning.”
“Are you in pain? Is this what brings you here?” She questioned.
“Actually, I am here for my annual checkup. I need a pap and would like to try different birth control.”, then I gasped for breath. Trips to the doctor always made me nervous.
“Oh, okay, I see your sample over there. Why don’t you get undressed and I will exam you.” She then picked up the urine sample and walked out. The gown was already out for me so I undressed and put it on. I hated these things they were always too small and never quite closed all the way. However, this was not the worst of it. I absolutely hated the feel of the wax paper barrier that is supposed to protect me from germs felt on my bare behind.
“Are you ready?” the doctor said as she knocked and opened the door. Whether I was ready or not she just walked in.
“Yeah, I guess.” this part just never gets any easier.
“Lay back and put your feet in the stir-ups.” She then pressed the button on the wall that signaled the nurse to come in and assist. There I was, laying on the exam table, feet in the stir-ups, crisp white sheet covering me. She then sat down on her stool and rolled forward.
“Please scoot forward a bit.” I did. She Then pressed on my stomach with her left hand and she stuck her fingers in my vagina and searched around. I looked away and stared at the wall. No matter how many times I have had this type of exam, it always embarrassed me. Then took her fingers out and took the speculum and inserted that into my vagina.
“Jane, any questions or concerns?” she asked.
Hmmmm? Let me think, yes, I have a question or two.
“I have been having some weird discharge and I would like to change to shots instead of the pill.” I blurted out.
She then scraped the back of my cervix with a swab and then placed it in a glass vile and handed it to the nurse.
“How long has this been going on?” She question.
“A few weeks. I thought it was a yeast infection. I used the over the counter medication and it did not go away.”
“Well, we will know was it is in a few days. Get dressed and meet me in the office.” she then walked out and left me there lying on the table, feet still in the stir-ups. Wow, no cuddling or anything. I hurriedly got dressed and head out of the exam room to her office.
“You have a urine infection. Here is a prescription, take one pill, three times a day for 10 days. I should have your test results back in a few days. The nurse will call you.”
“Okay, thanks doc.” I got up from my chair and left prescription in hand. A few steps from the door she said, “Oh by the way, you should use condoms until you have your results back.”
Condoms? My boyfriend and I have been in a steady two-year relationship. We have only been with each other there was no need for condoms. Misfortune lies ahead for you echoed in my head.
I nodded an okay to her and then left. Could this day get any worse? My doctor, who is usually a sweet, caring person, was cold. Note to self. Look for new doctor as soon as possible. Besides, I had bigger things to worry about. Bills to pay and laundry to do and just maybe enough time to catch up on some cheesy talk shows. My goal was to make the most of this day. No fall, no psychic, no doctor could change it. My engine started, I turned up the radio and off I went. Not a care in the world.
On route back to my apartment, I decided to stop and have lunch at a place near Nick’s work hoping that I could surprise him. As luck would have it, I saw his car and he was there having lunch too. My heart skipped a beat. Lately, he had been working overtime and we only had time together on the weekends. So, I called his cell phone to let him know that I was here. His phone went straight to voice mail. Must be bad reception I thought. I checked my face in the mirror, and the band-aid did a good job at covering my scrape. As, I started for the door to the restaurant I saw him. I saw him and someone else. He was pressed up against woman and she wasn’t me and he was kissing her neck. Hot tears welled up in my eyes as I turned around and got back into my car. Sitting there in the hot sun did not help. Sweat beads formed over my brows and panic set in. What was I to do? Part of me wanted to go over to them and confront him. Part of me wanted to yank every hair out of her head. Two years we had been together. Two blissful years. Just recently, he was the one who wanted to take our relationship a step farther and move in together. As a matter of fact, I was going to look at a new condo at 3pm. I was paralyzed and watched every grope and feel that he shared with her. My heart felt as if it were being crushed. Finally, after a few minutes of their display she got into her car and he got into his and they both drove off. He followed her. Still, I was unable to drive. So, there I sat for an hour or so. Eyes swollen from tears. My phone rang and it was Nick.
“Hey babe, got your message.” He said as I answered my phone.
“How did your appointment go?” he asked.
I stayed quiet. Still numb and in shock and unable to speak.
“Are you okay? Something wrong?” Yes, something was terribly wrong. Nothing I could do or say could make this better. There no explanation needed from him. With my own eyes, I saw the end of our relationship. So, I hung up the phone, started the car and drove home. Somehow, I made it. At points in my drive, I wanted to go the wrong way on a one way street and end my misery. How could I live without him? How will I be able to breathe again? At home I crawled into bed, got under the covers and cried till I there were no more tears. He had called several times and left several messages. Around six, he walked into my room.
“What the hell is going on?” he demanded. “Why haven’t you called me?”
“You know why? Don’t be such a stupid fuck!” I screamed. This is when I faced him. I could see the look of terror in his eyes. He knew the jig was up.
“Did you fall? Were you in an accident?” he questioned. I was right. He was a complete spastic colon.
“Who is she? No! I don’t fucking care who she is. Why? Why Nick. I love you and you do this to me?” I screamed.
There was a long moment of silence. He was trapped like a deer caught in the headlights of a semi-truck. He backed away. His eyes would not look at me.
“You should have told me. I would have given you up, I didn’t need to see that. I will not fight for you… My doctor thinks I have an infection of sorts…oh my God Nick, you fucking idiot.” I then threw my book at him. “Stay the fuck away! Get the fuck out of here!” I screamed.
“Please babe give me a chance please, I was scared! Please! I love you.” He pleaded with me. I could never give him a chance. He broke me, stabbed me in the heart and I did not know how I could ever recover. Is this the misfortune that was in my future? What would tomorrow bring? I was scared and wanted to hide under the covers of my bed and never leave.
“I am sorry! Please give me a chance…she meant nothing.” He pleaded. Tears formed in the corners his eyes. My eyes were barren, not one tear would fall from them. All I could do was stare and say nothing. There was nothing to say that would make this better.
“Please, just go. I have nothing to say.” I told him.
“Janey, please I am so sorry.”
“You should have thought about that. I am sorry that I did not find out sooner. Please just go.” I told him. I rolled over onto my stomach and pulled the covers over my head.
He grabbed his keys and left slamming the door hard. My life walked out the door. Throwing fire, what could it hurt at this point? What could it help?
To be contiuned…