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the changeling

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If she is pretty, she is never lonely because she is wanted and loved. This much is truth, no? Beauty works a miracle in the eyes of a dull man without imagination and of a cruel man without tears. Oscar Wilde, who always had something to say about beauty, affirmed that it’s better to be beautiful than to be good because beauty captures your attention. So, if you are bereft of beauty, then you must work very hard to get people to know who you are. Beauty is indeed a joy for all seasons, rain or shine, and is also a privilege to be loved first before loving.

Judy always must be in love with someone who didn’t even know of her existence because the feeling of love would transform her from a plain Jane to a sultry Cleopatra as if a pixie had cast a glamour spell on her, pitying her denied sense of pleasure and detachment from a constellation of lovers. Judy, despite some flattering feedback on her appearance from onlookers, was always discontent with what she saw in the mirror that seemed to reflect her what she didn’t want or couldn’t see in her true self. She felt that her features were in want of spectacular beauty that would make herself loved, and her solitary disposition dipped in an exclusive flavor of selectiveness doubled the inaccessibility of the worldly sensuousness that even not so pretty or homely women were allowed as their feminine rights.

Judy was sitting like a pillar of melancholy at the dinner table embarrassed by the ordinariness of her appearance in the presence of handsome Fred who made Judy feel like an awkward wallflower that nobody would pay attention to. You would say she obviously lacked self-confidence, but self-confidence is also built upon the kind of feedback you get from others. Judy was a firm believer of existentialism which says that experience exceeds essence and of Robert Cooley’s sociological theory of “Looking Glassed Self” that you become the way how others treat you. Or you might say what she lacked in appearance could be compensated by her intelligence, wits, or those other “inner” qualities, all of which she did possess. But let’s be honest, my dear readers. Beauty is the power and the wisdom of women regardless of leaps of times, distances of places, and differences of races. Any man- rich or poor, bigoted or liberal, young or old- loves a pretty woman and will act on his best behavior with kindness. Likewise, Judy, who was not drop-dead gorgeous, always kept herself guarded with a stern look at the sight of a man who might be unkind or curt. However, Fred was different. He was being very affable to her with a genuine smile. This time Judy wanted to claim her right of happiness and make her existence visible to her figure of love, so she secretly wished for a glamour spell to change herself from an insignificant wallflower to a beautiful rose that would make Fred crazy about her.

 

fairy cowboy

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It is true; there’s magic in the web of all she saw at the moment even if it was just her optical illusion like a mirage of an oasis to a thirsty wayfarer or of an island to a land-searching seaman.  The tall beautiful strange man emerging from the inside was even stranger with a strangely radiant smile that was beaming from one end of his shapely formed masculine lips to the slightly slanted end of the enchantingly mischievous openings. He was wearing a blue long-sleeved shirt that matched his dancing blue eyes visible under a fluorescent light that filled the interior of the house and fashionably worn-off jeans held fast with a thick blue belt on the right side of which contained a holster to put a pistol in. It was the pair of light taupe-colored moccasins that seemed to give the man a status that fused the capricious power of an ancient pagan deity with the erotic charge of a modern movie star. The extraordinariness of the strange beauty was synonymous with witchcraft of love at first sight, the dangerous yet fantastical manifestation of her imaginations, desires, aspirations, and wishes, all the latticework of her spirit pining for the pleasures of the senses that Judy felt unjustly denied and ousted for outrageously unknown reasons.

If the word ‘gobsmacked’ doesn’t give you a proper sense of realization because of its textual limitation, then one good look at Judy’s present face would make up for the incorporeal sense of the word: her big brown eyes were transfixed to the florescent blue lamps that riveted the man’s whole face. Her pouting lips were quivering with silent excitement concealing her pounding heart in the exaltation of her senses smothered under demands of daily duties imposed by the reality of life in which she had to carry many a burden that even a mule would long to emit a cry of exhaustion. All her worries were evaporating into the chilly nightly air, giving her instant anesthesia numbing the strains of her existential life. Judy was in euphoria, like the sailors of Odyssey who after eating the leaves of lotuses lost their memories, happy or unhappy, became unanimously blissful in an unknown land. She didn’t want to leave the moment, the place, and Him. It’s oh too good to be true, but it didn’t matter to her anyway because even if it had been a dream, she wouldn’t have wanted to wake up. Even the presence of her fido friend Nena by her side was forgotten to her. She was thinking of him, looking at him, him alone and him only, and none other in the world.

Rufus, Ben, and Raphael were growing impatient about Judy’s prolonged initiation of being acquainted with the man of the house because they were all hungry and tired for hot meals and warm showers followed by good-nights of sleep to continue their always tomorrow journeys for the buried Aztec gold. So, as usual, Raphael went forward and broke the spellbound moment of enchanted silence: “Howdy, sir! We have been traveling all day long and would like to know if you have spare rooms where we could rest for the night. If there’s no such room, then we would be obliged to sleep in your stable.” Raphael couldn’t ask for hot meals which were what he and his buddies really needed with an increasing sensation of hunger that grew only stronger by a stronger rejection of the thought of food in their minds. For although Raphael was the most socially adroit of the trio, hubris was wanting in him, and a burst of momentous bravado was quelled by the resistant hunger. Raphael felt remorseful about foregoing the request for food, while his buddies were standing behind, watching the solicitation, and feeling famished.

Maybe the pitiful sight of the whole scene might have moved even the mind of this strangely beautiful man, who finally greeted them with a jovial gesture. “Yes, sure! Guys, please come in, and I will let you use the second floor for sleeping. As a matter of fact, I was having dinner by myself. What great timing! Let’s have dinner together. I have some salad, oatmeal bread with butter and fruit jams, fresh milk, juices, wines, and water enough to feed us all. By the way, my name is Fred Faun, the foreman of Las Posas Ranch. It’s getting cold out here. Come on in quickly!” The jovial invitation from this strangely beautiful foreman of the ranch amounted to a discovery of gold in a derelict mine or a backwater of an insignificant stream running behind a haunted ranch. The consorted bliss of being accepted to a feast gave the traveling band instantaneous magnanimity of loving all humans, evil and good. With an alacrity of departure from a terror of uncertain rejection, Rufus, Ben, Raphael entered the house. Judy and Nena were the last to enter while Fred Faun was holding the door for them. Now Judy was inside of the man’s house, and her heart was pounding harder as the man was coming toward her closer. It was her first time for everything happening to her.

Life goes on

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Grandparents Mary and Hans Bovine are all properly concerned about the newest alert for the Kina-13 virus that the town’s mayoral government has addressed to its citizens on T.V., radio, Twitter, Facebook, and newspapers. Now a gathering of 200 or more people is recommended to be canceled or postponed to an indefinite date, including religious services and business conferences. Never did the power of a government feel so assuredly authoritative and legally bounding as now, and it has imposed on every one of them. 

Mary: I can’t believe that it’s really happening now. When this pandemic panic arose at the beginning elsewhere, I thought that it would not come to our land. But now look at this commotion in our town. Masses are also suspended for three weeks from now following an announcement from the archdioceses of Sylvania. It’s unbelievable! 

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Hans: Yeah, can’t believe it myself, either. I went to the Pellmart right by the Chico’s this morning to get toothpaste and a roll of paper towel, and most of the shelves were empty! Besides, I had to get toilet tissues from Me-Bay online last night! What’s more, I must close my restaurant starting from tomorrow until the Mayor lifts the proscription. What a mess! Things are abnormal now. The panic reactions from the rabble remind me of the scenes from the movie “The Last Man on Earth.” 

The grandparents think that the onset of the pandemic elsewhere in the world was really the baby figure of the giant mass of things according to the butterfly effect: the small falling of a butterfly’s wings can bring a hurricane on the other side of the world. However, nothing will break their resilient spirits united in humor, a handmaid to hope and courage.”Once more unto the breach, dear friends because though it is madness, yet there is a method in it. So take heart, and be brave – with a smirk against the fear. 

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Spellbound

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When they got to a ranch below Santo Christo Mountain, the golden chariot of Apollo was about to finish its daily race in the sky hippodrome, making a way for the staging of the nocturnal goddesses in Moon and Evening Star dresses. The earth was changing its mood from vivaciousness of a pretty young starlet to sensuousness of a beautiful mature actress with sultry duskiness of impending sunset. The wild plain looked as if it were waiting for the sensual pleasure that the goddesses would bring to the rough and tough arms of the ruggedly handsome wilderness for their nightly play of love when the celestial blanket of Uranos, the god of the sky, softly covered the body of Gaia, the goddess of the earth, to ravish her divine being all night long. As a constellation of stars was starting to appear in the heavenly vault, the tribe of adventure was also starting to call it a day’s journey and hurrying their horses to the gate of the ranch. They were all hungry and tired, but the spirits were still resisting saying good night to the world. What they really wanted at that time was a sumptuous repast, consisting of fresh fruits, hot meals, and warm bread with butter and jams. Soup and drinks would complete the repast if the host would turn out to be a generous one. Raphael, who was the hungriest of all, knocked on the door and waited for a welcome response. A high hope for blissful heaven, indeed.

“I am coming!” answered the voice from the other side of the door with the playfulness of an adultescent grown man, which might sound impish to the quiet ears of those who fiercely protective of privacy. That’s how it sounded to Judy and her canine companion Nena who started barking as the footsteps from the other side were coming closer to the wandering tribe. Looking at Nena incredulously, Judy began to feel nervous about who would open the door because Judy had an acute sense of detecting any sign of supernatural and natural beings from this world and the world beyond; it was an uncanny ability that she inherited from her also unusual mother estranged from her own family for the unreasonable reason. For they had persecuted her for being a witch, condemned to eternal damnation, because it was against their Catholicism they believed in a medieval fashion, and even put her in a mental ward for being crazy. Yet Judy knew that her mother was from a long and mysterious line of ancient sibyls existent in all cultures even before the birth of Christ and believed that the reason she and her mother had been born into such scurrilous, Scythian family of hypocrites was a mysterious reason she had to figure out by herself. And she believed that this adventure with the offbeat trio was part of this mystery. What’s more, the irritably vivacious man’s voice from the inside must be a tessera that the Fates had intentionally put in an inscrutable puzzle that had challenged Judy to solve – all alone.

The wooden door was opened when Judy fell into the moments of mental vertigo, and there appeared a tall, good-looking man with blond hair and very pale blue eyes that sparkled even in darkness like the fluorescent lights on the deck of Flying Dutchman. Judy was properly aghast at the extraordinary sight of the beauty and instantly forgot all, including Rufus, Ben, and Raphael who were not as surprised as the lass by the sight the comely fella. But Nena was still barking at him more fiercely than before as if the man had been a malevolent spirit in a handsome actor’s hide. Nena was barking harder and longer as though to wake up Judy from a portent evil spell. The beautiful man, the mysterious owner of the ranch, looked at the scene in silence and smiled at them like a spectator of an amateur comedy on stage. The night was still very young.

Queen of hearts

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Boldness can take you to unpathed trails and to undreamed lands, transferring all your yesterdays into all your tomorrows in one fell swoop. For we are such stuff made on dreams, hopes, and wishes however far-fetched they may seem. You live only once, so why not roll with it as you wish? And this touch of adventurism can make your soul emboldened to do things that you wanted to but couldn’t because the grit buried under the flotsam and jetsam of your aborted dreams and discouraged expectations begins to bloom in your secret garden of the mind.

With the mysterious aura of haze vanished beyond the endless horizon, Judy suddenly felt a sense of destiny filled with adventures in the wild that set its unsullied beauty and quiet sovereignty apart from the crowded theaters of Reality where spectators and players hoot and holler for the most beautiful, powerful, and successful only she could not feel allied. And within this sanctuary of nature, this wondrous sense of go-aheaditiveness felt real but unbelievable. Rufus, Ben, Raphael, and Judy were all together in this joint adventure that was forming a kind of mental alliance among them, which was also felt but unseen. Forget Reason! For their faculty was more physical than metaphysical, less reasoning than instinctive in response to any such fantastical experience that delivers a burst of sensation to their beings spreading like a prairie fire sweeping every part of their bodies.

“Gee, I wonder what it was. I know there’s something in the air because my gut feeling never failed me,” said Raphael, the Talker. “Yeah, I felt it too. Otherwise, the dog wouldn’t have barked at the thing in the air so persistently. You know, dogs and cats have special eyes to see ghosts and things we can’t. But whatever that was, it’s gone. Let’s get on with it and leave.” With this sententious statement, Ben started climbing up the saddle that was placed a bit too high for his stocky figure on his Californian mustang. His artistic inclination made him a believer of supernatural beings, but his work experience as an itinerary musician made him a practical dreamer with a view to match in the real world. But of course, his ability to cope with existential strains of daily life paled by comparison when it was juxtaposed with Raphael’s shrewdness pleasantly blended in his avuncular charm. While Ben was struggling to make it to the top of the saddle, Rufus was being pensive about the present and the future with a dream to make it big with the Aztec gold so that he could set up his younger brother Joe with a general store in their hometown. He was secretly in agreement with Ben that they should just forget about the free magic show to continue their journey for the buried treasure. My dear reader, you should not regard Rufus as a materialistic, footless young man hell-bent on being rich because once you get to know him more, you will want to be his best friend. Must I go further to affirm his character reference?

Judy was looking and listening to this funny trio like Artemis, the goddess of hunting and the Moon, watching the comedy of the mortal from the top of Mount Olympus and thought they were indeed a curious band of wayfarers in quaintly old-fashioned attire and even more antebellum deportment and parlance, which piqued her historical curiosity feeding on her love of good old Westerns and stories of pioneers and gunslingers. To her big beautiful brown eyes, Rufus, Ben, and Raphael looked just like the characters from one of those Westerns starring Clint Eastwood, James Garner, Steve McQueen, and Lee Van Cleef. No, not John Wayne, Paul Newman, or Henry Fonda because they possessed no natural screen charisma surrounding their physical appearances as well as the mental force that could only be generated by real-life experiences and natural endowments. Judy was hooked on these characters still discussing and arguing about what to do next in front of her without regard to the pretty lass. If these men were a bunch of perverted thugs, she could have and should have known it at the first sight of them because she prided herself on her Sixth Sense inherited from her mother who was also spiritually gifted. All seemed intriguing and fascinating, thought Judy, who was on one-weeks’ vacation from her job as a secretary at a busy law firm. So, she approached the trio now all on horseback to offer herself as their scout. This gotta be fun. Judy secretly entertained the thought of being a frontier scout and thought her course had already been set for the Wild West.