ii. The New Normal
[The Back Road to Quon.]
Your presence is respectfully requested.
A Celebration Event.
In honour of the establishment, so designate “Evynlee Marren” & “Nathaniel Lennyn”,
of the Keeper, JayCee HaLLows
on the 22nd day of the sixth month, of the Right.
Part I. The End of the Beginning.
Chapter 1: The Inauguration.
The night, now summoned
to end this beginning.
A new day, a new dawn.
The premise, now told.
One view, one storey
The house, JayCee HaLLows.
The Cards of Kind.
Twenty-two days had passed since the start of the
Celebration. The Inauguration was so becoming that I
would be remiss to speak first of anything else. The Ball,
now balanced atop thin air, left many gasping for breath.
Each adornment in the room was purposefully placed.
The chandelier projected a metallic sheen onto the floor
below. The bold hues of scarlet, tarocco, and aquamarine
complemented the reflection nicely.
Suddenly, the bustle of the evening fell silent.
I heard the faint echo of a whispered reply.
An enchanted evening it was.
Nearly six fortnights had passed since the end of the
Running. That was the last time I had a moment to
collect my thoughts. So recollect I shall. This would surely
be a change that would sway the ladder of the monarchy.
They had done it. A feat that turned heads far and wide.
The scales were once tipped in favor of the opposition; a time when there
was no sign of justice amidst a fight marketed as fair.
Here, the digression is in the details.
Never had a Running shown such little mercy.
Of course, the victors escaped near certain elimination by virtue of
their Gift. Her pleas for clemency had, for the most part,
fallen by the wayside; shattered like a looking glass.
She struggled to find a reason for their treason. Each obstacle
seemed impossible, impassable, impenetrable.
He leaned over and touched her shoulder softly. His
touch was all that was needed to fix her gaze. Finally
present, she looked into his eyes and smiled. Now out of
their grasp, she slid into his. It felt easy.
It felt really crowded with a lot of people there. It was
starting to get really dark outside.
I was standing there and they didn’t really see me because I was behind the
pocket door that leads to the kitchen. I was really, really
quiet and I could see and hear him and he was tall and I liked his jacket.
They were up and running around and still getting everything ready.
They saw me standing there and then they all looked at each other
and then I had some apple juice and a few of those cookies, but only a few. Then I
got a little sleepy, but it was OK because my PJ’s have
feet on them and I like that and I was all ready for bed.
The sound of waves crashing against the break washed
away the stresses of the day like a libatous lullaby. She
was awakened by the terrors. She had been away from
the comforts of ONE far longer than expected. He pulled her close, conforming his chest
to the arched shape of her back. She looked out toward the water.
The calm now restored by tempered stillness.
The call came shortly thereafter, garnering attention from
the masses. They were huddled together when they first
saw the sea of approaching spectators. The voiced
boomed overhead, delivering with it a confident sounding commentary.
She knew little about the man that authored the voice. His words commanded such
attention. They couldn’t yet see him over the horizon, so
he called out again. Taken aback by the sense of urgency
in the voice, they scrambled to their feet.
Her boots were dusty. The worn, thinned leather gave
glimpse of her soles. The skin on her hands attested to a
day’s work. Perhaps even more than a day.
They turned to each other. No words escaped the
moment. One look delivered a message so subtle it
bordered on implication. The twenty six needed to
become one hundred. The marathon was now a sprint. A
sprint that needed no block in the back.
It burned. Every breath. Every sinew of every muscle. She
knew exactly where he was. He knew the same of her.
A single line can change everything.
And it did.
They were free.
The Day of the Inauguration.
She awoke to the quiet creak of the bedroom door. The
quiet was interrupted by the sound of a million shards of
glass hitting the wooden floorboards. A crisp breeze
carried their stifled sobs in her direction. She was still
splayed atop her bed when, in unconducted unison, they
stammered “I’m sorry, Evie”.
They tiptoed around the mess of a mosaic. She glared at them, with a grin, then nodded.
Her wide eyes insinuated that care was needed as they
serendipitously became an offering of remorse. It was an
offering initiated by Charody.
The change in motivation for the gift saddened Evynlee, but she tried not to show it
in front of the others. Instead, she bowed her head
slightly, smiled, and reached out her arms.
“Good morning Miss Evie <hiccup> we made you
breakfast in bed but the juice is gone now”,
Brynn said, lightening the mood.
Evie chuckled as she took the daisy dish in one hand and
the overflowing bowl of Cheerios in the other. The rest of
her body, now nearly healed from The Running, was
where their wiry arms ended up. Their four little bodies
were wrapped tightly around every piece of her. She
hadn’t met two of them before, but would certainly hear
their story in time. She really was home.
It never seemed to take Evynlee very long to get ready.
The house had felt calm and quiet all day. It was hanging
neatly on the front of her closet door. She carefully
removed the dress from the hanger.
Stretched satin with a jewelled fit. The soft scoop
neckline was neither sweet nor sinister. The bodice
highlighted her scarlet silhouette. Covered buttons. The
back tapered and tightened to the V. The pockets
protected her hard earned hands.
Her feet were clothed all in leather. The softness of the
Oak extended up her leg. Each piece of the pair tied just
below the knee. Many a cloudy morning had been spent
working the beads into their ornate pattern. She could
almost feel the smoothness of the thimble on her index
finger. She closed her eyes for a moment. When she
opened them, she was standing in front of the mirror.
Evynlee appeared at the top of the two interwoven spiral
staircases. She arrived at The Right only a few moments
prior. A situation at the Tower required her undivided
attention. She had wanted to arrive early enough to visit
with the guests, many of whom had travelled a
considerable distance to attend. The opportunity for
socializing would have would have to wait until after the
Her three allies were poised on either side of her, ready to
descend from their elevated position. They had been loyal
to Evie for as long as she could remember. Each of the
men exuded boldness and humility; their attire reflective
of their character. A fit to suit the man, and fit to make a
Their pace was tread in time to the Canon. A Canon that
could be heard amidst the din below. A staggered,
Evynlee peered over the railing. He was already at the
front of the hall, hands clasped behind his back, standing
tall next to His Master’s Voice. The prism dangling from
the chandelier projected a polarized rainbow, from edge
to edge. It made it seem as though he was in the
spotlight. Perhaps he was.
Chapter 2: The Gri*d.
Evie regarded herself as neither special, nor like everyone
else. That particular Tuesday started off as having similar
She was headed to a job interview and arrived back in
her old neighborhood precisely 60 minutes before the
scheduled meeting time. In her own mind, if she wasn’t
early, she was late.
The bustle of the Main Street traffic slowed for a
moment. The keeping of a slower pace could now satisfy
both her penchant for coffee and simple spontaneity. She
caught a glimpse of the cafe out of the corner of her eye.
It was the maroon colored exterior siding.
It was the chairs on the boulevard; their backs forged of
wire and woven into the shape of a heart. It was all of
that, and more than that.
She turned left at the intersection in her quest for a
parking spot. Trees lined the side street, their Y’s provided
shade and protection from the drizzle. A sun shower. The
scene, a spitting image of something she remembered
fondly from her past. The cafe was quaint. Warm and
inviting. She smiled and chuckled shyly to herself when
she saw an electric guitar sitting in the corner. She hadn’t
been back to the neighborhood for a while, but in that
instant, it was like she never left.
Wakefulness ensued a few moment later, attributable to the coffee, of course.
Brewed to perfection.
She ended up getting the job.
It was almost as if the coffee was lucky.
Chapter 3: The Isles of Licitation.
Chapter 4: Scholar, Valor, and Dae.
Chapter 5: Bound and Bridged.
Chapter 6: The Edge of Everlasting.
Where the colors kaleid.
The hand turns to the eagle,
The feather to the word,
The roar to the lion,
Life to the undying.
The force and the try
The hold it back and the cry
The making up for the lie
The answer and not knowing why.
Far from fair for the rest and the few.
Finally fair for us.
Part 2. The Cure.
Chapter 1: The Fire of Angels
Despite what happened. In spite of what happened. She was here. Four shadows, once cast by the trees, became clear
as the fog lifted. If only the same clarity would be the mark of hindsight. They had the answer.
The pieces of the puzzle were waiting to meet back at the corner.
Foresight brought with it an offer of hope, prosperity, and kindness.
Bringing harm to no one undeserving, she continued her story.
He was noble, revered
He saw through the plume
A field not envisioned,
was now in full bloom.
Hardened, not hollowed.
Love, if I can find it.
An error-prone event.
Gazing off into the distance
In pursuit of rank, relegated out of her league.
Chapter 3: Nia
The Reign of Snow Cherry
It’s when there’s an Ice Queen and sometimes she’s nice and sometimes she’s not.
Chapter 6: 84 Broad Street
When it gets loud I can say this.
Mommy. Daddy. What’s 18 times 36.
I use my inside voice and say it like a question.
Then it gets more quiet.
Part 3. ARise.
Chapter 1: Lyze.
Monday, November 28th, 2022. 7:40.
He should have been home hours ago.
Did the plane arrive on time?
Yes, ma’am. It sure did.
Was he on the plane?
I’m sorry, I can’t give out that type of information.
Across the street.
A door opens. A door slams shut.
I think I left my phone in the back seat. Would you mind checking for me?
I haven’t seen it around anywhere, but if it turns up, we’ll call you.
A call back.
They make none.
I stepped off the elevator.
Aroused, startled by classic jazz.
They’re in order.
A shout from the man down the street.
A shout from the man down the street.
Wednesday, November 30th, 2022. 3:33.
Chapter 2: Self-
A Mission Statement
They had been lying around the house for quite some time.
I bought them on sale at the end of the season.
The following year, I was so consumed with school, music, and other extracurriculars
that I didn’t sign up for summer league.
I came across the roller-hockey skates while spring cleaning.
They were sitting in the corner. I decided they needed a new home.
I had been hanging on to them for no apparent reason.
I had tried listing them for sale before, but there seemed to be little interest.
The box they came in was a little banged up.
The skates themselves had a bit of dust on the wheels, just from when I tried them on at the store.
I took a few photos, wrote up a brief description, and posted an ad on the Marketplace.
Sure enough, after a few days, I got a reply. Someone wanted to buy the skates.
We decided to meet at a public location. The lady I had been messaging brought her son along with her.
He must have been about 10 years old; the skates were for him after all.
I suggested he try them on to make sure they fit. We sat on the curb outside the meeting place.
I loosened the laces on one of the skates, and told him to kick his heel down hard while I held his foot.
Being new, the skates were still stiff; they hadn’t been broken in yet.
He got his foot into the skate with no trouble. I tightened the laces and wrapped the ends around his ankle.
Before I could finish with the other skate, he stood up and took off across the parking lot.
He finally came to rest on a grassy area not too far away. He laughed and laughed, then came rolling back.
During his escapade, his mom and I got to chatting, albeit briefly.
She noticed that this particular style of skate didn’t have a brake or stop on them – the kind she had seen on other rollerblades.
She asked how he was supposed to stop while playing roller hockey (assuming there was no grassy median nearby).
I explained what I remembered about the footwork associated with stopping one’s self while on roller-hockey skates.
I reassured her that he’d get the hang of it. His coaches would know best.
He got up, and rolled back towards us. The boy sat back down on the curb and I began to loosen the laces.
His mom asked him how the skates felt, wanting to make sure they were a good fit.
He smiled, and said they fit well. I mentioned that as a kid, to help break in new skates,
I would put them under my mattress at night time. I would go to sleep and then wake up in the morning.
I would check on them as soon as I woke up just to see how they did over night.
I suggested that putting these (pretty much brand new) skates under the mattress would be something they could try.
I began to wonder if there could be a relationship between a mattress
and accelerating (or improving) at a particular sport.
I started thinking about the role a mattress might play.
Perhaps the mattress itself was lucky and caused my (kind of) success
at sports. I never really was THAT good at any one particular sport, though.
Maybe by tucking my most prized possessions under the mattress,
the luck was somehow transferred.
Transferred to the piece of footwear,
to the book,
to the glove,
and then the luck was transferred to me the next time I used it.
Did I make the sale? Well, a transaction definitely occurred that day.
A boy got a pair of skates and I had an extra $20 bill in my wallet.
I’m saving up for a new mattress.
Moving on <with intention>.
Chapter 3: <em>
Something you can’t consciously perceive nor believe. Even after hearing it.
Something so valuable, it evades recognition.
Something that escapes the realm of the conscious yet it’s not a sub at all. Instead, a higher order.
The double blind. The control. The standard.
A muse, amuse.
Chapter 4: Yes.
Ok. Sure. If time permits.
I’ll allow it.
Chapter 5: I – A.
The P-R Segment
Names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.
She turned her head just in the nick of time. The flag read “Police Lives Matter”. Her attention was stolen as it waved from the driver’s side window.
The three vehicles were parked alongside the bridge, bringing with them a sense of uneasy, ordered chaos.
The plea from a close friend appealed to all of her senses.
He was hurt. Bad.
There wasn’t a lot of time. or their might not be, anyway.
The 22 on the dash silenced the 808.
Words ran down his face and they refused to dry quick.
Please help. Anything you can do. Please.
The parking lot was nearly empty. She tossed a few essential items into her purse. She locked the doors to her truck and started walking South.
She boarded the train, north bound, 12 more stops.
Exit. To hospitals. A few more arrows. A revolving door.
Information. The quiet of criss-crossing paths. She sat in wait.
A blessing. An offering, one that could be given without expectation.
The plate remained empty, uncirculated amongst the Masses.
There was no need for her, after all.
The trauma, handled. The tone of the machine dictated by others.
A difficult sort of complex, one now considered the norm by others.
The quest for a perfect trace, rather than an accurate one, bothered her.
But who was she. Really.
She got back on the train and headed home.
A test all along.
She didn’t want to pass.
An alternate ending.
Chapter 6: Refine.
Part 4: Transcendence.
Chapter 1: Casualty.
[ Pan. Pan. Pan. ]
The Due Date.
12 more weeks.
Chapter 2: Causality.
A cricket is not a grasshopper.
I was at my desk in grade 4 and I saw it and so did my teacher. It was on the floor by the wall and the window.
She asked and I raised my hand and I said I would do it. I got up and walked over to it and bent down and used my hands because that’s all I had.
I made them into a cup like this and picked him up off the carpet. G-E-N-T-L-Y. I was a bit scared but not that much.
My class has a door that goes to the outside and my teacher pushed it open and I went outside and I put him nicely on the ground and he jumped away.
Then I went inside and sat down and my teacher said “thank you” and I smiled. It was a grasshopper.
Chapter 3: Deliberation.
I woke up in the 622.
Down the down escalator.
No. It was an elevator.
The Millenium Mile I think it was.
The time elapsed.
The fate of Progress and Gloria.
7:00 a.m. EST
Chapter 4: The Lost and Found.
She said that “they’re not mine” so she brought them back and it’s a box in a cubby hole by the paintings.
I looked inside and I found them.
They were blue and my favorite.
I have to wear them when it’s cold out and those are my mittens.
The aftermath of disparage.
A misheard word.
There was no attribution.
Not to further the propaganda.
There are people that think like me.
Not by conceit.
Not by concede.
Part 5: The Execution
Justification is not a burden of proof.
Chapter 1: A Plea of Penetance.
Chapter 2: Governance.
Who do you know in jail?
Love, the good guys.
Chapter 3: The Medium.
They took their German Shepherd out for a walk near the smoking area.
They came back inside and sat down for breakfast.
She waved at me from the other side of the table.
What are you supposed to be wearing?
Just what I have on.
Scrambled eggs, a yogurt parfait, oatmeal.
A bagel with cream cheese. On top, like chives, and it tasted good.
I sat in my truck and listened to the radio.
I feel so alive.
I went back inside. I took the stairs up to my room. A whiteboard was tucked behind the staircase leading to 2N.
The faded message shared a sentiment similar to the one I heard from the passenger seat.
Welcome. Life is beautiful.
Part 6: Regeneration.
Wound on your heart cover your head.
Chapter 1: The Rose.
Chapter 2: The Rebel.
Chapter 3: The Relay.
Chapter 4: The Revolt.
Chapter 5: The Running.
Chapter 6: The Rest.
Gratitude. Past and forthcoming.
November 23rd, 2050.