Temporary Address

Temporary Address

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Flea Market Manifesto

The Flea Market Manifesto

Esmarelda had been fired may times, but she’d never before been chased through the hallway by a machete-wielding magician. It really hadn’t been her fault, though, she thought, and she ducked as a rubber knife whizzed by her head, bounced on the ground, and sprouted feathers. Mephi the Magnificent needed to enunciate better. Sixty flower hats had sounded almost exactly like sixty floured rats.

And besides, it really had been pretty funny when all the guests jumped into the pool, and all that flour had covered the delphinium beds like gentle snow, and a few minutes later, thanks to the splashing coming from the pool, the flour had magically turned into interesting pasty drippings – like modern art, adding a touch of culture to the delphinium bed. And besides, Mrs. Mahoney had agreed to drop all the charges, so what was the big deal?

By now Esmarelda was outside on the sidewalk. “Unfair,” she sniffed and ducked as a three-foot crate hurtled past her right ear. “So very unfair.” The door slammed behind her and she sat on the crate and sobbed for a whole seven and a half minutes. Suddenly a clucking noise from the crate interrupted Ezzie’s glorious indignation and celebration of self pity. Briefly, she considered returning the crate to Mephi, but remembered his temper and thought better of it. Severance pay, she decided. Mephi owed her something for all her time and hard work. She would jolly well keep the crate.

Maybe some guy will come along and he’ll offer to carry the box, she thought, and I’ll be all “Omigosh, you’re so strong”, and we’ll fall in love. And Mephi the Magician will call me and ask me to come back and work for him, and I’ll be all “I’m married now, so go find your own rats and hats.”

It was a good thought, but no rescuer magically appeared. Esmarelda was a tiny thing – five – one and ninety-eight pounds in her stocking feet, with huge blue eyes, and shiny black hair. Small but mighty, she thought. She made her way home hugging the unwieldy box in her arms.

The box squawked as she lugged it up the two flights of stairs to her apartment. “I wish they’d fix the elevator,” she said to herself.

Inside her kitchen, she pried the crate open. Maybe there’s something inside that I could sell at the flea market she thought. The first item out of the crate was a box - a smaller box within the big box, and inside of it was a hen – with shiny brown and orange feathers, and a funny, fat face like Winston Churchill. She clucked twice and flew up to the kitchen counter apparently reveling in her sudden freedom.

About this time, Esmarelda’s mothering instincts kicked in, and she produced water and uncooked rice for the chicken to eat. And she covered as much of the counter as she could with newspaper to protect it from the various hazards of a flying chicken. She named the chicken Winnie.

After Winnie had settled down somewhat, Esmarelda’s attention turned back to crate. Inside she found seven scarves all intricately embroidered with gold thread and decorated with exotic-looking coins. The embroidery appeared to be writing, but in a language that used a foreign alphabet. Nestled inside of the scarves, she found one last box, this one wrapped carefully in bubble wrap. Probably something valuable, she thought, and pulled back the bubble-wrap and then opened box to reveal – a magic eight ball. Big whoop there, she thought in disgust. And she shook the ball. “Magic Eight Ball, should I sell you at the flea market?” she asked.

“Ask again later.”

Since she’d just lost her job, she needed a little money - just to tide her over until something came along, and she’d sold at the flea market before. She figured she’d pretend to be shopping, and maybe set up her scarves on a wire somewhere so that she didn’t have to fork over the $25 for a table. The chicken had to go too. Ezzie was developing a soft spot in her heart for Winnie, but a chicken wasn’t a good pet for an apartment dweller. Still…”Magic eight ball, how much can I get for the chicken?”

“Don’t sell the chicken.”

It took Ezzie a couple of seconds to register this. Magic eight balls usually have a more limited vocabulary. She shook it again. “Why not?”

“Ask again later.”

Bright and early on Saturday, Ezzie woke to the sounds of workers in the hallway. She stumbled out in her bathrobe ready to complain about the noise, but decided against it since the elevator was finally getting fixed. So instead she got ready to sell her new finds at the flea market. She hid the seven scarves and a strand of thick wire inside a tote bag that could pass as a very large purse. She considered popping Winnie into the bag as well, but decided against it. She'd become ridiculously fond of the chicken, especially since Winnie only pooped on weight loss ads.

At the entrance to the flea market an orange vested attendant with the name “Murray” embroidered on his shirt pocket stopped Ezzie. "What's that chicken doing with you?"

Ezzie looked around. Sure enough, Winnie had stowed away in the bag. "I don't know how she got in there." Ezzie shot him a "you're such an understanding and studly-looking man" blink. "I can't go all the way back home. Isn't there something you could do?"

"Okay, I didn't see her. And here's a string to keep her from wandering too far." Grinning like an Olympic winner, Ezzie entered the flea market with Winnie perched on her shoulder.

She stroked Winnie's soft feathers. Now for the hard part. "I wish there was an empty table somewhere here," she said. Two hours later, she was still wandering around disheartened with Winnie perched on her shoulder. That's when a voice stopped her cold.

"Twenty bucks for the chicken.”

“What did you say?" Esmarelda whirled around almost colliding with a bearded, long-haired firefighter. Finally, a piece of luck, she thought. But before he could answer, she looked at Winnie and knew she couldn't do it. "You see," she said shaking her head sadly, "Winnie's my best friend." Really, my only friend, she thought. "However, I have some great scarves you might like."

But by the time she'd pulled out her scarves, he was gone. At least it was a start, she thought. Strange, though, firefighters didn't usually grow beards. Something about getting a good seal for the masks on their air packs.

Next she tried hitting up the venders. "These scarves have been going like hot cakes." Ezzie did the you're-so-kind-studly thing. "But my aunt is really sick, and I have to go, and I'll sell you the last seven for forty dollars."

"Throw in the chicken and you've got yourself a deal."

It was always the same: "Hey, Lady, a hundred dollars for the chicken." "Two hundred for the chicken, and forget the scarves."

"What's the big deal" she asked. "You're just a chicken." And Winnie squawked, flapped her wings, and dug in her claws as if she understood. The squawking began attracting attention - the wrong kind, and Ezmarelda tucked Winnie under her arm and slunk away to the farthest corner of the flea market.

One lone vender sat behind a table there with his wares spread out in front of him - an eclectic mix of tools, kitchen appliances, gadgets as seen on TV, and a rooster in a cage with the door open. With a happy chirp, Winnie pecked through the string, and trotted into the cage, sneaking sideways glances at the rooster. He, in turn, strutted in circles around Winnie, sticking out his chest, fluffing his feathers, and in general, acting stupid, as only a rooster or a teen-age boy in love can do.

"You look tired," said the vendor. And he opened out a folding chair for Ezzie. "I'm Ernie. This is Franklin Delano Roostervelt, the world’s most chicken rooster. Sit for a bit. Maybe you'll bring me some luck. He noticed the scarves hanging over the side of her bag. Here, you can hang your scarves up on the corner of my table."

He wasn't particularly good looking, thought Ezzie taking inventory - bushy eyebrows, bright red cheeks, and a Willie Nelson nose and pony tail.

"Thanks. I'm Ezmarelda, Ezzie. My chicken’s, Winnie."

And she sank gratefully into the chair. After all the walking around, she suddenly felt very tired. “Do you smell something sweet?” she asked, and a second later, her head fell back and she was fast asleep.

The next thing she knew a hand was shaking her shoulder. “How much for the scarves? Our high school drama class is doing A Thousand and One Nights.”

“Forty dollars.” In a fog she completed the transaction, and looked around, all the while shaking her head to clear it. Something was odd, very odd indeed. For one thing, Ernie was snoring, his head propped on an electric chainsaw. And the chickens were gone. Winnie and Franklin had been poultry-napped. She shook Ernie awake.

Quickly they packed up Ernie’s wares and headed to the front gate to report the theft. “There’s something I have to tell you,” said Ernie. A fireman with a weird beard offered me forty dollars to let you use the chair. I didn’t see anything wrong with it at the time.

“Someone took Winnie and Franklin. Do something!!” by the time they got to the entrance, Ezzie was near panic.

“Call 911” said Murray.

Ernie whipped out his cell phone. I’d like to report a robbery,” he said. “A hen and a rooster.”

“Chickens!” Murray’s face turned red. “All that fuss for poultry!! Read the sign –‘Not Responsible for Lost or Stolen Items’. Go find a lobster to complain to.”

Ezzie turned to Ernie. “What did the cops say?”

“They took a report.”

And Ezzie began the slow walk back home. “At least let me drive you,” said Ernie.

"Okay." What the heck. She was still feeling groggy. They were halfway to her apartment before Ezzie realized that she didn’t know anything about Ernie, and he may have been in on the chicken-napping.

Once inside the house, Ezmarelda yelled, “I need to pee,” and she grabbed the magic eight ball and shut herself in the bathroom.

“Can I trust Ernie,” she asked.

“Ask again later.”

“Why would anyone steal Winnie?”

“Reply hazy. Try again.”

“Where is she now?”

“1214 Palos Verdi Drive. Try the roof.”

“Will I get her back?”

“How should I know? I’m only a kid’s toy.”

She flushed and ran out. “We have to go,” she said. “1214 Palos Verdi Drive. They’re up on the roof.”

“How do you know?” Ernie asked as they ran for the car.

“Ask again later,” said Ezzie.

Meanwhile, at 1214, Palos Verdi Drive, Mephi the Magnificent (Yes, he’s the one who stole the chickens.) stood in his living room examining his catch. He reached inside the cage, grabbed Winnie’s neck and said “I wish to be the most famous magician since Houdini. No, make that even greater than Houdini – the greatest magician ever.” Winnie fainted dead away. Franklin cowered in the far corner squawking and shivering. Mephi stood back waiting to feel something different. He touched his arms, his chest, his face. That seemed to trigger a sneezing fit. Then a coughing fit. He rubbed his eyes and realized that he’d made a huge mistake. He tore into the bathroom looking through his medicine chest for Claritin. Mephi was allergic to chickens. Who knew?

Unable to find Claritin, Mephi washed his hands and face and changed his clothes. But he was a messy magician. The only clean cloak he could find was battery powered with a hundred and forty multi-colored light bulbs that wrote Mephi the Magnificent across the back. Oh well, it had always been his favorite. He flipped the switch, and his cape turned on.

With the poultry cage in his hand, Mephi climbed the outside stairwell that lead up to the roof. He reached inside the cage hoping to wish for the sneezing to go away, but as he grabbed Winnie, she fainted in his hand, and Franklin, forgetting everything else, took a huge peck out of Mephi’s hand. Mephi flew into a rage, and grabbing Franklin by his scrawny legs, pulled him out of the cage, and whirled him around like a yoyo. And that’s what Ernie and Ezzie found - Winnie, in a faint inside the cage, Franklin, being dragged squwaking by his legs, and Mephi, cussing and sneezing and hopping up and down on one leg.

Ezzie was able to reach inside the cage and stroke Winnie’s feathers. “I wish Franklin were strong and brave,” she said. And with that, Franklin flew upward into the night sky. Mephi immediately, dropped the rooster. You’d think that was it, but Franklin got a strange gleam in his eye, like a bear who suddenly realized that the hunter has just used up his last bullet. He swooped down and grabbed Mephi’s cloak.

“No-o-o-o.” said Mephi, but Franklin wasn’t listening. With Mephi below him, Franklin swooped twenty feet above the roof top, only to plunge into a dive towards the street below. Ernie brought out his cell phone and took pictures.


Franklin broke out of his dive a mere two feet above the concrete, and Mephi’s toes banged against the curb as Franklin started his second ascent. Thirty feet above the ground, Franklin tossed Mephi over his head and caught him by his beard.


Holding him by his beard, Franklin swung him around in a circle. Then with a mighty crow, he looped the loop, executed three rolls, flew dead center towards 1214 and pulled out of his deadly trajectory with the smallest of margins to spare. Spinning Mephi like a top, he threw him around catching him by his shoes, his beard, and finally by his cape. With the last catch, Franklin’s claw shorted out the cables in Mephi’s cloak, and he crackled in a glorious blaze of red, white, and blue sparks, creating a grand finale, to rival the finest fourth of July fire display since

1776. And finally Franklin set Mephi gently on the rooftop and dropped to a perfect two point landing.

Ezzie had Winnie in her lap and was gently petting her feathers and smiling from the sheer beauty of the aerial display.

At that Mephi came towards her menacingly. “It’s my chicken.” He said and he glared at Ezzie. And she knew he was right. No matter how much she loved Winnie, the hen belonged to Mephi the Magnificent.

“Oh, Winnie, I wish you were just a regular chicken,” she said.


And, sneezing the whole way, he threw Ernie, Ezzie and the flock of chickens together with their cage out on the street.

The aerial acrobatics had not gone unnoticed. Several viewers who had witnessed the strange display, reported it to the police and to various tabloids. “UFO sighted over Palos Verdes Drive.” Strange occurrence witnessed in the night sky. Inquiring minds need to know.

Ezzie and Ernie superimposed the pictures from Ernie’s camera above the New York skyline. It now appeared that Mephi was sailing hundreds of feet in the air. Ezzie wrote the accompanying article:

“Enquiring minds can rest easy tonight. Mephi the Magnificent and his amazing magical powers have made the world safe for mankind. In the flight of death, he soared into the night sky and defeated an alliance of alien space ships using weapons highly classified by the CIA.

Mephi the Magician is appearing nightly at the Orange Pickle, 1244 Stratford Street in downtown New Brunshire. Two drink minimum.”

Ezzie reread the copy while strooking Winnie. I owe it to Mephi, she thought.

They sent the photos and story to "Power to the Paper", the seediest tabloid in the business, and got paid seven hundred dollars. They also got a one year subscription to "Power to the Paper". Ernie like to read it with his breakfast.

A few months later, as Ezzie was frying eggs, he was reading "Power to..." and noticed it. “Guess what? You’ve been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.” He said.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Molly Chronicles


It's Molly back again.

I'm lunching - I mean launching a massive ad campaign to sell my human's e-book, "Temporary Address."

Everywhere we go, we pass out our business cards. I want to get some flyers printed up too. So far I can't get any book signings because they usually don't allow dogs inside of book stores, especially dogs that shed a lot.