Where’d You Get Those Eyes?

The “Geepers-Creepers-Where’d-You-Get-Those-Peepers” Most Beautiful Eyes Contest was about to start. Ocular-obsessed contestants gathered at the fairground’s grandstand. A panel of judges in white and red striped suit coats waltzed out of the bunny barn, clipboards in hand.
“Line up!” A judge with the heavy horned rimmed glasses shouted, “Shoulder to shoulder so we can see eye to eye!” The contestants tittered as they filed awkwardly and stood at attention.
One by one the judges shuffled, stopped, and peered into the exquisite eyes of the vision vain. Judge Number Three actually employed the services of a magnified glass to make his careful assessments.
Every blue-eyed, brown-eyed, green-eyed contender knew how to battle for the banner of binocular beauty. Some raised eyebrows, some batted lashes, some looked surprised in effort be the stand-out star. Contestant Garth strategically took his place the end of the line knowing his iridescent irises would blow the judges away if could expose his eyeballs periodically to unobstructed solar rays. When the first judge side stepped before him, Garth lifted his chin while he bared his globes widely until he felt the familiar warming of his irises. He by the way Judge Number One coughed into his clipboard that he had achieved the startling of turquoise that led him to victory at other country fairs.
Judge Number Two locked eyes with Garth’s speckled jewels and raised his own eyebrows revealing slightly bloodshot and yellowed corneas. A blaze of crimson flushed his cheeks before he hastily joined Judge Number One, who was also visibly shaken.
Judge Number Three was more stable. He leaned in closely with his magnifying glass when he came to Garth. He scrutinized the sides of Garth’s nearly glowing discs to make sure there it wasn’t a trick of colored contacts. He shrugged his shoulders and met the other judges.
The men didn’t even have to consult their clipboards. Garth was the obvious winner. Never in all of their years of judging had they ever witnessed such unusual irises. Turquoise for Pete’s sake!
Still shaking their heads, judges presented Garth with the customary jar of bread and butter pickles and a pair of Foster Grants. Press cameras snapped though they’d never capture the man’s Caribbean coasters in black and white. Finally after the crowds thinned, Judge Number Two watched as Garth strolled from the grandstand in the direction of the midway. He stared as the man cut his way to the front at the flying saucer ride. Garth climbed in, shut the metallic door, and in less than three seconds blasted straight up into the sky. At the height of the Ferris wheel, the craft shot across the horizon leaving a faint turquoise trail.

Shepherdess

“There, there little one,” Marianne skidded her strong, calloused hand down the back of the bristly kid at her feet. “It’ll be OK.”

It was Marianne who was fretting and needed the soothing, not the goat nor the rest of her herd as she kept watch on the hillside that night.  She imagined her poor husband David back at their tent in the village trying to stifle that incessant cough of his that could keep the whole tribe awake.  She hoped the poultice of medicinal herbs she had fixed for him would lessen his symptoms and allow him and the rest of the community some much needed rest.  Rather than have David run himself even more ragged in the cold night air, Mary Ann volunteered to fulfill his duty of watching the village’s flock until he was well.

The night was still and cold.  Marianne drew her tan wool shawl around her shoulders and gazed at her fellow herdsmen.  Malcom was stretched out on top of a rock.  What a slacker, Marianne thought.  It was no secret that Malcom had fallen asleep on his watch on many occasions. Those who pulled the night shift with him often grumbled amongst themselves.  No one pressed the issue though, because Malcom had political connections with the census takers.  Somehow Malcom managed to keep half of the community’s head count off the tax rolls.  Nico, son of the village elder who lead them in prayers, was kicking at a decaying log.  A young and restless one.  His betrothed had been sent over to Nazareth to help care for her ailing aunt and poor Nico didn’t’ know what to do with himself.  His father thought that having Nico guard the sheep and goats would help to pass the lonely, nocturnal hours.

Marianne really didn’t mind taking David’s shifts.  It gave her time to think.  She wondered about the meaning of her life as she sat feeling very small under the night sky.  What is it all about? All of her life she had listened to the prophets in the market square.  A Savior was coming, they’d say with such conviction.  Sometimes she was inspired and shared in their excitement.  Other times she felt flat.

Marianne yawned and stretched.  I must stay awake, she shook herself.  She was responsible for the village’s dozen goats that needed their heather and sweet clover on this particular hill.  It would make the richest, creamiest milk for Marianne’s communal task of making her wonderful cheese. She proudly used her grandmother’s methods and spices.  The cheese was a coveted commodity at the market in Damascus.

All at once, a blast of light flooded the hillside as if it were day!  Marianne gasped and rose to her feet.  What in the name of Heaven?! She scanned quickly to her left and to her right.  Both Malcom and Nico stood facing the beam, shading their eyes.  They followed the star moving steadily over the hill towards nearby Bethlehem.

“What was that?” Nico blurted as they converged at the foot of the hill. Malcom shrugged. Marianne was the one who suggested they follow it. “It looks brightest just over there,” she pointed to the glow beyond the hill.

“Let’s go,” Nico agreed.  Malcom opted to stay behind.  “Let me know what you find, I’ll, I’ll stay with the herd.”

Marianne and Nico began running up the path. They breathed hard as they climbed to the summit.  At the crest, they looked down directly to where it shone.  A humble stable was illuminated beneath as though it were on fire.  “Oh!” Marianne gasped and reached for Nico’s tunic.  She felt him shaking, or was it she who was shaking? In her peripheral, Marianne noticed several other shepherds were gathered around them now.  They stood in awe as a halo of shimmering colors pulsated around the structure.

Marianne, Nico and the others were frozen in their tracks as an angel in white and golden robes appeared before them floating in midair.  Marianne clutched her chest and felt her heart beating wildly. Is this the end? She looked quickly to Nico whose eyes were bulging, his mouth agape.  Am I to die here with my neighbor?

It was as though the angel read her thoughts. “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

Marianne was greatly assured by the angel’s proclamation but was startled anew as a multitude of the heavenly host burst forth praising God saying,“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the Marianne said to Nico, “Let us go see this!.”

They quickly descended the rocky path and sprinted across the field toward the radiant stable.  Quietly they stood shoulder to shoulder in the shadows as not to disturb a very young, beatific mother and the tear-stained, but sturdy father, who knelt in the hay beside the new born Child.  A warm, golden glow emanated from His small, cloth-wrapped body.

The mother invited them to draw near. Marianne and her companions, overwhelmed in Presence of absolute love, fell to their knees.  A holiness she had never known suddenly filled her with great peace.  So profound and so powerful, Marianne stayed in that Place for the rest of the night.

It was nearly daybreak when Marianne rushed into her tent.  “David! Oh, David! Wake up! Wake up!”  She knelt at his pallet and shook him.  Her mere touch infused him with such vigor that he sprang from his pallet.  “I feel great!” he laughed.

“Oh, David! We must hurry and bring some goat’s milk and some of our best cheeses to them!” Marianne scurried with the earthen bowls.

“Bring cheeses to whom?” David asked, fastening his sandals.

Marianne stopped for a second and looked directly into her husband’s eyes. “The One!” her whole being seemed to smile.  “He is here!”

Swinging Singers

“O.K.  I’ll go first!” My friend Barbara pumped hard backward and then extended her long, lean legs to the front as she slidoff the canvas seat.

“Sunday, Monday, Happy Days,” she sang in mid-air.  She landed gracefully in the sand and immediately struck a singers pose with an invisible microphone in hand.  On cue, Lisa launched and chimed, “Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days.”  Her long, dark hair rippling behind her.

I pushed the iron chains behind me as my swing reached its zenith. “Thursday, Friday, Happy Days,” I landed with a thump, but quickly recovered in the rock star position.

Barb nodded hard and we all blasted, “Saturday, what a day, dancin’ all week with you.”

We were ten year old products of mid-seventies television.  The sitcom Happy Days was in its first run and looking back now, the jumping off the swings on each phrase was brilliant choreography on Barb’s part.

After we had exhausted our act, Lisa decided we should sing “Half-breed” a song made popular by Cher. We had probably seen her perform this sultry tune on a recent Sonny and Cher variety hour. Cher was undoubtedly swaying in an impossibly low-cut fringed, buckskin outfit balancing an enormous feather headdress.

After a brief discussion, we figured it probably wouldn’t work well as a swing song, so we began marching shoulder to shoulder around the perimeter of the playground, belting the lyrics.

“My father married a pure Cherokee; my mother’s people were ashamed of me.  Indian’s said I was white by law white men always called me “Indian Squaw.” Half-breed! That’s all I ever heard, half breed how I learned to hate that word.  Half breed, she’s no good they warned, both sides were against me from the day I was born!”

Lisa, with her long black hair, shook her head like the Cher and even licked her lips between lyrics.  We attracted other kids to our throng as we crooned by clusters of kickballers, hopscotchers and see-sawers.   We sang more and more passionately and linked arms, seven mostly-soprano-singers wide.

We were deep in the second verse and starting another chorus when the recess monitor blew the first warning whistle to stop and “freeze.”  The second whistle would release us and we would head back to our respective class lines and file back into the school.  Well, we were so enraptured by our singing that we didn’t hear the first whistle and started on the third verse of Half Breed.

Full of giddiness and grandeur, I shouted in Barb’s ear.  “Everyone stopped playing and is watching us!” to us.”  Barb stopped in her tracks and our chain of kids buckled.  In unison, we looked back at her.  “It’s the recess-is-over whistle!” she whispered frantically.

We froze and waited to for the second whistle to release us.  The trill signaled a massive sprint to our class lines where we waited in silence and then filed in.  Later, during art class, Mr. Scarpa, our super-cool art teacher who wore blue jeans made of denim squares and had shoulder length, wavy Bee Gees hair and mustache said, “You girls were pretty good singing out there today!  I heard you from the teacher’s lounge!”

Spider

She waits until he is just below and calls down seductively, “Well, hello there. Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?” She grins at that old Mae West line she’d heard on the TCM channel from youth. Even then, she knew she had to bust out. She’d be claustrophobic and besides, the hosts were immaculate housekeepers. She would have starved if she had stayed.

The real reason she ventured out is that she craves action. There is plenty of it if you knew where to spin. Here is some right at her feet. Literally. “Come on up,” she beacons with one of her siren-like spokes. “Have a drink with me.”

There is mead thanks to the large number of honey bees that had flown into her web the last few days. With meticulous wrapping, she’d left their feet sticking out so she could suck off the golden residue and spit it into the tiny sac she had spun. The liquid should be fermented by now. If it wasn’t, she could tell by the look on this horny bug that it wouldn’t take much to make him lose control.

She sees the beetle consider her offer. The spider had tea with his wife and she knows that he is probably tired of playing second fiddle as the wife tends to their new brood. The spider is not surprised that the beetle’s testosterone wins over, and thinks this is almost too easy. His shell seems rather enlarged now. His wings barely conceal his enthusiasm.

“Come up, I will make you feel like a man,” she says, deep in her throat.

The beguiled beetle’s bug-eyes never leave her lascivious limbs as he climbs the tight-rope to her lair. When he meets her in the middle, she hands him the pouch. “Let’s get to know each other over a cocktail,” she whispers hotly. As he takes a long swig from the honey sack, she teasingly touches one of her tentacles to his triangle. He almost chokes, but recovers and hands her the nectar.

After a moment the web starts to sway. Is it a breeze, or is it the mead? In a haze of pent up lust and inebriation, the two roll across the web in a fit of passion. The spider keeps the beetle cradled in her many arms so his back does not stick to the silk…not yet.

Suddenly, she free falls into the sweet-aching abyss. Yet, she denies herself stay in this rapturous state and forces herself back to self-control. She sees the beetle is on the precipice of release, a Nano-second from launch.

Now, she slides her many arms free. The confused, pained look of the bug on the brink pleases her. She spews yards of cord from her mead-tinged mouth and coils him tightly.

Bearded Lady

Generations and generations of we Uski women have suffered with an over-active hormonal condition. My grandmothers before me had to shave each morning with the blade and strop, some standing beside her husband at the basin and mirror.  You might think a man would shrink from a woman whose five o’clock shadow rivals his own, but Mother Nature compensates with other pleasing attributes for a couple.  My feminine ancestors were blessed with such lovely figures and could bring a man to his knees begging for bedroom favors, that many a husband or lover gladly overlooked the stubble on the countenance of his woman by dawn’s early light.

My grandmothers and mother would live in ordinary bliss with the rest of the villagers, raising families, cooking meals, and satisfying their husbands. As for me, I did not wish to be confined to one man, one house, or one village.  I wanted to venture out and see the world.  Joining the circus was a natural choice for me.  I decided to grow my girl-beard and let it be my magic carpet. In my 16th year, I threw aside my blade and let it grow to a substantial length. I was careful to keep in tucked in my bosom and then wore a loose-fitting scarf when I went into town.  I did not want to over expose my amber and beaded oddity, but would unveil it the day the circus.

My parents approved of my plans.  My mother was a bit envious; after many years she had grown wary of my father’s constant randy-ness. The day the circus rolled into town, I kissed mother and father good-bye and made my way to the village square.

The shrewd ringmaster called me into his personal trailer and asked me to remove my shawl and my scarf. He was impressed at my beard’s length and spun-gold texture. Unbraided, unfurled, it reached down the front of my young breasts and curled under my arms. After I signed a contract, two gruff looking men dragged my modest foot locker down a row of dorm tents and let it dropped it with a bang outside a faded white and red striped canvas shelter.

“Who is it?” a gruff woman demanded from within.  I took a breath and ventured forth. My eyes adjusted to the dimness. Finally, I made out a figure of a woman sitting a cot. What looked like green-brown rope was wound her arms and wove behind her neck.
“Who are you?” The woman hissed.
“I am Kari,” I couldn’t keep my eyes off the cords pulsating on her thick arms. I jumped when the small diamond shaped head appeared from under her arm pit.

“I, I am to share living quarters,” I said, still watching the snake.

“Oh? I’m Shivrah.  This is Baby,” she crooned and lifted the massive coils from her arm. Shivrah grinned at me, offering her snake.

“Uh, I think I’ll unpack first,” I said, mustering my courage. I popped back out into the sunshine and dragged my trunk inside.

“What’s your shtick?” Shivrah asked. “You got a lizard or something in that trunk? You tell fortunes?”

“Oh, No.” I said, quickly removing my scarf.  “Here,” I pulled out my own coils I had repositioned down the front of my blouse.  Still warm, I held tendril to Shivrah keeping my distance from Baby’s flashing tongue.

“Wow! It’s really attached?” Shivrah gave a quick, hard yank.

“Of course it is!” I jumped back and rubbed my chin.  I swallowed hard.

“I’m goin’ out for a smoke. Maybe a snort. You wanna come?”

Eager to explore, I pushed my trunk under my cot and followed Shivrah out through the flaps.

The Great Flying Swings by Tanja Buzzi,1975

Tanja at ten. My fifth grade teacher, Lance Hall encouraged our class to write stories. He would then read them to the class. Though my home life was very stressful at this time, school was a haven to me. Before puberty and peer pressure set in, I was creative and comfortable with myself—and recognized as a writer!

One fine Saturday, I went down to the carnival.  I bought two rolls of tickets.  First I decided to go on the Ferris Wheel. It was high up, but I didn’t care.  I saw the whole carnival.  Then I went over the concession stand to get some cotton candy and a soda.  After that I went on the Round Up but that was pretty short.  Then I went on the Moon walk and stayed on two tickets long.  Then I was tired.

So I hopped on the Scrambler.  Then I noticed the Flying Swings.  I got off and went on one of the outside swings.  The motor started and I was going around and around.  For some reason, I felt the bottom of the swing, something that felt like a knob.  I pushed it. All of a sudden the chain unhooked and I started to go up, just as if I was a balloon and someone let go of my string.  Well any way, I went up about 10 feet.  Everyone stared at me even the guys that ran the rides were looking up at me. I went up a little higher so I was even with the Ferris Wheel.  I said, “Stop!” and the swing stopped.

I heard a fat lady say, “What shall we do, should we call the telephone company?” That really helps matters, doesn’t it?  Everyone was worried all except me.  I was having a ball!  I could see almost all of Higganum! The people of the Middletown Press and the Hartford Courant came to take pictures and to write articles on me.

The Eye Witness news team came down and did a report on me.  Then a special telegram went to the President of the United StatesMr. Ford came by helicopter.  He landed on the Higganum Green.  Then he saw me and said to me, “How on earth did you get up there?”  I started to explain but everybody started shaking hands and asking him for autographs.

So I pushed the bottom and said, “Take me back home.”  So I went back home.  “Don’t believe me then.”  That’s what I said when I told my family.  Then my sister said, “What do you have to prove it?”  Then I went to my room and got the swing then told it to glide down the stairs and go straight to the family room.  It did.  My family was astonished.  “It was all run by a machine, see the knob and wires?” I said.  I looked around at the swing’s bottom seat.  On it was a mark that said, “Hollywood California, filming.”  It must have been in a place where they had made movies. I wrote to The Middletown Press and to the Courant to get things cleared up.    The end.

Do you remember when you were ten? What were you like? What did you do for fun?  Write yourself a letter from your ten year old self to your present day self.  What would he or she say to you? Advise you to do?