In the average day, the obligatory process of passing time fails to arouse any emotion beyond abject boredom. This fails to be the case in the instance of bureaucracy's famed invention: the queue. For those of you less able to either cope rationally with the tedium of the now-serving-number-34 purgatory, or simply able to drink subtly in public, occupying one's time with simple things prevents mass machete purchase/use. So, I took many helpful brochures, and covered them top to bottom with scrawl. The most legible of these are posted below.
'Lucky' Luke, perhaps not so appropriately named, gave more the impression of a passive volcano, disguised as a jacketed mendicant. Slouching and brooding on the chipped bench, he stared lazily up into the heavens, hair and beard providing the perfect triangle of graying bristle. His cigarette scowl fumed in the haze, carrying away, venting his will to burst and erupt.
His seams, worn as they were, still held. He would shift, and his tired skin creaked into its new position. An off hand ashed cigarette into a leathery front pocket, the charnel disappating to mere entropy.
Oh, how entropy had taken its toll, in leaps and boundswith each pack of reds, blues, unfiltereds and low-tars. His skin, his armour, far from fashionable, but further from unserviceable. It kept the rain from his bones, the road from his body. Rough cuts, that would score deep to scars, became glancing blows. Lucky's armor, worn and worn, was impenetrable. But entropy, the enemy, makes ash of us all.
Magic shoes, oh, Jamie's magic shoes. Mommy slipped them on, and leaned in to tell a secret: Magic shoes! Jamie bent down obligingly down to the fresh red laceless straps, and tugged. Listen to them rip- rips with no tears, just fuzzy straps that stared up. The sound pealed through the hallway, magic!
He burst out into the yard, a supercharged superhero travelling at the speed of sound. How fast you could go, how the birds would take flight and the squirrels scatter at the mere thought of the approach of the Boy With The Magic Shoes. Faster than a speeding bullet, and leaving race cars in the dust, that's what you could do. Why, Jamie could run to Timbuktu and back in time for supper.
Jamie collapsed, back to the grass, panting for air. He pointed his toes to the sky, reaching out to step on the clouds. He walked across the sky, Magic shoes treading daintily on the little cottony puffs in the deep blue, pausing to let the plane pass by. Jamie had to be delicate, of course-- to stomp down would just bring the rain down on him. It wouldn't do to wet the Magic shoes. Clomp, the shoes dropped earthwords. Still, there was magic left in the little sandles. Jamie lifted his head up from the grass, looking down at his feet.
Suddenly, he could look beyond it. The Magic shoes had turned the world on its side, and Jamie giggled, clutching the grass, expecting to fall down onto his mother's garden wall. Sidewalks became sidewalls, and mailboxes jutted out from the green mural that was all around him. Jamie goggled at one man who was calmly jogging straight up an asphault rampart. A skittish dog on a leash, paws firmly gripping to the vertical surface, was being pulled up by a waving neighbour. But the Magic shoes kept Jamie bolt-upright, staring across at the endless palisade of sky.
Mommy was calling him back in now, and the shoes pulled the ground back to its normal place. Jamie paused on the way in, only to run immediately upstairs for his sandles. Magic sandles.
The water washed down the taste of the medicine, but she still sipped it at her own pace. The new pills were just as nasty as the last, but the pain would subside, and her talons would become hands again, Glory Glory Halleleujah. Charlene, ghost of fonder times playing on cracked lips, breathed relief. The nurse accepted the glass, exchanging prefunctory smiles.
"New here, ain'tcha?" she asked the nurse, whose name tag read 'Craig Wen'. "Just lookit you. Back in my day, we didn't never have no handsome man kinda nurses. Somebody must've wised up before they dragged my ancient ass up in here. S'all the healthcare reform I'm gonna need, and you'd best believe it, glory."
Nurse Wen bowed his head, poorly covering an embarassed blush. He had heard of Charlene's inexplicable energy. With a body too frail to move without aid, it was reasonable to assume that her energy had to go somewhere.
"'Course, we didn't have many Asian folks back in my day neither. Damn fools in the guv'ment ain't never gonna learn 'less they look at how dumb they was. Puttin' Japs in camps wadn't about to do any kind a good, ain't doin' no good with the Arab folks today."
Yellow eyes, sharp and piercing, stood out from the worn and cracking alabaster.
"Oh, but Lord, what a time it was. Was one singer, worked my club, name of Blue Nightengale. And my, how she could sing. Now, I wan't no singer, but no slouch neither. You, sir," she said, lifting up quivering hands from the bed, "are looking at the softest ticklers of fine ivory that ever were. What fine music, what a fine piano. Lord, indeed, I can still feel it in my hands."
"Jazz?" asked Craig, absently, checking the obligatory gauges, dials, tubes and switches. Twenty milligrams of that, fifty milligrams of the other.
"Ain't no other what could call itself music, son. God's gift to the ears, but was the devil what made it get yo' legs a-movin', yo' arms a-wavin', and your heart stirrin' inside you fit to burst. Glory, Glory, ain't nothin' else so wicked like the jazz music, ain't nothin' so divine."
Charlene began a tremulous rise from the bed, and Craig move instinctively to move her walker into position. She shook her head- "Ain't no need. I ain't goin' nowhere". She sat there, quivering in a questionable resistance to gravity. "Ain't goin' nowhere fast," she intoned, pausing. "You a Jazz man, Nurse Wen?"
Craig frowned, at a loss- "I, uh, never really-- get jazz, I guess. It's kind of alien-- random."
Charlene chuckled, dispelling fears of admonition. "Ain't no worry. Me and Miss Nightengale, we got the jazz, got it good. Yes, Lord, how it flowed through."
She began to sway, shoulders and neck, her entire trunk moving to an inaudible beat. "Was a dancer, too, that Nightengale. Lord, how the devil made you dance." Leaning forward, she shifted her arms, and pushed her legs to dangle over the bed. "Wicked things, but Lord, you ain't never sure of your soul before it-- and after, ain't nothin' but soul that you got. Glory, glory."
Without warning, she surged forward, and was bolt upright on the floor. Nurse Wen rushedto her, ready to catch, but Charlene stood firm and true. "Lord, but they made the wickedest things the purest. My lovely Nightengale..."
All at once, her legs buckled, and Craig's hand smashed the emergency call button, immediately forgetting that he had given her the wrong medication. She stared up at him, broken into his arms, breathing hard, but smiling. "Boy, ain't nobody who gets jazz.... Only it's the jazz that gets you...."