Excerpt for The Yellow Sky by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


THE YELLOW SKY

by Laurentiu Parnica Chescu








All rights reserved.

This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without prior written permission of the publisher.

© 2017 Laurentiu Parnica Chescu
For permissions, contact: laurentiuparnica@yahoo.com



This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
First Edition

The bluish fish

A dreaming, city lover, great egret is flying low over its favorite part of the city, carrying its lunch in his peak. A small bluish fish, with an yellow eye and a white spot like a big tooth, under it’s mouth, is still trying to figure out where the water went. A stunning distant thunder. A short squawk and the little fish starts falling towards its destiny.

At the same time, a young man with yellow socks, is crossing the street, carefully pulling his thin shadow over his thoughts. As he reaches the sidewalk, he stops for a second and looks over to the small Hooper fountain to the right. There is something written on one side and he cannot help but wonder if it’s something he’s also seen in another place. He takes one step towards the fountain but something hits him with a strong wet splash over his face and knocks him to the ground. As he recovers, he senses something blue tickling his nose and puts his hand over it while slowly getting up.

He now looks in his hand and starts laughing. It’s just something he didn’t expect to see.

- Is this really a fish or have I sneezed my brains out? he says while looking closer.

It’s a weird blueish fish, with a big tooth attached to its mouth, gently moving its one yellow eye around. The fish seems fine. Oh, and the tooth… not really a tooth, just a white spot. The fish looks a little shocked, and several entangled question marks are stuck to it’s tale.

The young man takes a quick look at the sky but sees nothing out of the ordinary. Just a white bird waving its tale into the distance and loudly squawking like an upset parrot. He then looks at the fountain for a moment then shakes his head. It couldn’t have jumped from there. Not with that force. He then spots a small plastic white cup and picks it up. Puts a little water from the fountain in it and slowly slides the bluish fish into the cup. He then watches the small creature taking deep breathes of water and shaking its scales around like it was trying to get rid of the question marks.

Partly happy and partly wet, the young man then starts to walk towards the river. The bridge is only a few minutes walk and he could send the fish back to tell his friends what creatures live on the other side of the water.

The young man’s name is Martin. And he is on a mission. Well, actually, on several missions.

This could have been just another weekday for him. But something happened today. Not much. Just something. Something small, but important, that made him leave his daily routine. You see, he does not like to complicate things too much. His life is all right. He has a job, with his own desk and owns a small apartment. No one to bother him, no big problems to solve. He has some good hobbies and likes art. Oh, and he has one lazy, loud mouthed, always hungry, joke enthusiast, black with white stripes cat. And it’s missing.

It’s missing since this morning and it’s something that never happened. Martin has looked for it everywhere and opened the refrigerator several times. But Mojo didn’t show. And Mojo always shows up when the refrigerator is open. Sure, the window was open, but Mojo never liked the outsides. Well, at least not until now.

So, Martin had to skip going to work today. It was a hard thing to do, but maybe if he finds the cat soon and hurries back, no one will even know he was late for work. But first, he just has to take this small weird fish to the river.

Oh, and he has to try not to say anything to senator Willis. The senator is walking towards him now and Martin feels some sharp words boiling inside his teeth just like last time. You see, he knows senator Willis before Willis became a senator. Since he was a regular guy. A bad guy, but a regular one. And he knows him well. So well that he can translate every false word senator Willis produces when public is available around him.

- How are you, senator?

Martin tries to wave his left hand and then bites his tongue in the same place as two days ago.

- Just making America great again, says the senator and stretches his botched public smile from one ear to his armpit. And, as he tries to put his patriotic hand over his heart, he looses balance and falls, teeth first, to the ground. A strong earthquake shakes the ground as Martin tries to keep the water inside the cup.

- Watch out there, senator, politics is slippery, says Martin, while strongly struggling not to laugh his ass out.

- What happened, too much money on you? asks Martin as he realizes he did it again.

The senator is laying flat on the floor and is desperately trying to pull himself up from the ground. He throws a brownish “Funny” to Martin and asks him to help him up. Martin tries to grab him by the shirt collar, but it breaks and the senator falls back to the ground and several piles of cash scatter around.

Martin looks at the pile of cash. The senator looks at the pile of cash. Martin looks at the senator. The senator looks at Martin. Both their mouths are wide open. But one of them looks a little bit like “I knew it” and the other one looks a bit caught in the act. Martin decides not to say anything and tries to help the senator back up again.

A couple of passers stop and look. And, as Martin almost brings the senator up, while holding his arm, the senator slips out of his coat and falls back again, shaking the ground and pushing down the persons starring at the scene of money. Martin is left hanging with the coat in his hand and as he tries to swiftly shake it off, some jeeps fall from its pockets. Martin is stunned. The senator, flattened again on the ground, turns white.

More people gather around. Martin strongly shakes the coat of the senator. Several villas and one farmhouse drop. Some rigged auctions scatter around.

- I can explain, says the senator while trying to reach for his phone.

- Politics has been good to you, senator, says Martin, hard work is really paying up.

- Yeah, they’re really trying to make our lives better up there, says a man with a hat while the others begin to complete each other sentences and shaking senator’s clothes. Several big fat smiling bribes roll out to the ground. People are already angry.

The senator tries to jump up, but the gravity rolls him forward. As he rolls on the ground, he leaves behind stacks of foreign money and hidden offshore accounts. The entire street is blocked. People are coming from everywhere. Martin feels like this scene is not really news for him and pulls away from reality. He has more important things to do. He has to take the fish to the river.

A breath of the golden air

As Martin successfully pulls himself out of the mob surrounding senator Willis, he knocks over a young woman.

- So sorry, says Martin while helping the young woman up. I didn’t see you… he says and then stops as his eyes suddenly forget how to blink. His words jam in a second and a huge letter traffic builds up in his mouth as he tries to break away from the woman’s deep blue eyes. Sound is slowly fading away from him and her long blonde hair fills up the entire sky as the woman seems to try and communicate. And as she takes his hand, carefully, a few very soft words slide inside his ears..

- Are you alright?

- Cat… fish… barely says Martin. And then gobbles up some of the yellow air.

The woman smiles, shakes some dirt off his coat, communicates some more in a weird silent and blue language, waves good bye to him and then fades in the distance. The world pauses some more and then a short stingy splash of water brings the sound back and Martin shakes his head as he talks to the fish in the cup.

- Alright, we’re going. Let me just remember where I put myself. I know I am here somewhere, on the ground. And then you can take me to your leader.

Martin slowly gets up and, at the same time, a baseball, probably a curve ball, screams above his head and heads for the mob behind him.

He looks at the cup. The fish seems better. It swims in circles, looking for a way out.

- We’ll be there in just a few moments. Hold on, says Martin and starts walking towards the river, gently shaking his head.

A few meters ahead, he recognizes mister Norris, his retired neighbor, half eaten by his car with the hood open on the side of the road.

- Putting in a second motor? I told you it needs two to carry you… says Martin as his neighbor gets his head half way up from under the hood and laughs.

- Hi, Martin, no… just checking the oil. I’m the second motor of this baby… Where ya headin’?

- Just over to the river and back, answers Martin. I have a fishy business to finish… Say, have you seen my cat?

- No, says Norris while looking around his memory with his eyes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it. Do you have a cat?

- Very funny, mister Norris, the oil steams must have made you forget you gave me the cat…

Norris laughs and finally sticks his head out.

- Sorry Martin… You know me… But hey, I haven’t seen it. I’m sorry you lost it. Maybe it went out to chase a mouse or something… I’ll keep an eye out.

- He’s not chasing anything but a cooked meal and thanks. If you by any chance find it, just hold on to it until I get home.

- Will do.

- Bye mister Norris, say Martin and as he wants to walk away he sees something weird moving on his neighbor’s head.

- Hey, mister Norris, you’ve got something on your head… says Martin while the man quickly throws his fingers through his head and shakes nervously. A few small, hairy white creatures fall to the ground. Martin approaches and looks. It’s some kind of caterpillar with something on its head. He looks closer.

- Wow… he says. It’s a caterpillar with multiple heads! It actually has several heads one on top of another. It must have six or seven heads. It’s incredible, he says as the neighbor starts shaking off every corner of his clothes and Taylor Swift starts playing on the radio.

- That’s impossible, Norris says as he tries to look at the caterpillars from a safe distance.

- No, it’s not. I mean, it’s not impossible, because there are actually caterpillars with several heads. It’s a recently discovered specie. The impossible thing is that this type of caterpillar only lives in New Zealand and Australia… How did they get here?

- I don’t know and I don’t care. It’s not like I went there today, says Norris and sweeps the caterpillars off with a small cloth.

- Strange.. says Martin as he says good bye again to his neighbor and walks away.

Friends

Just as Martin leaves his neighbor to work at his car, another baseball, this time a fastball, flies at close distance above Martin's head, screaming into the distance, behind him. Martin swiftly shields the cup with his hand and then looks inside. The fish seems calm. Maybe too calm? So, he gently shakes the cup and the fish responds with a short backslide flip. The fish is all right. And he’s going to be completely all right in just a few moments, as the river is just a few meters ahead. Martin stops for a moment and throws some sharp looks from left to right, scanning the edge, to find the best location to approach the river. Spots a breach in the low fence to the right and takes the few steps to reach the opening. The spot looks perfect for a fish landing. The water is close and almost still. So, Martin bends closer to the water and lowers the cup. The fish senses a familiar sound and starts dancing.

- You like that, ha? Yeah, me too. Nothing like a bath in the city river in the afternoon, I always say… Just remember to shower after. City rivers… not really as clean as people say they are. Maybe find a clean pool somewhere, after? I’ve seen you can fly, so… maybe not a public fountain next time, ok?

The fish is almost jumping out, so Martin slowly turns the cup over and the bluish fish drops in the water with a short squawk and a few thin circles to mark the spot. Then the water goes back to being almost still and Martin freezes looking somewhere deep inside the water, searching for his previous thoughts.

Somehow, this thing made him remember the times when he used to wonder the hills at his grandparents countryside. Where he would climb trees just to see if he could and where he could hear the sound of growing grass and where flowers were everywhere and not hanging by a plastic pot at a distant floor in an overcrowded city, in an over concreted world. And where time was just laying in the sun all day long like a lazy cat.

Mojo!” remembers Martin. “I have to find my Mojo” he says to himself as a thin splash of water touches his face and makes him open his eyes inside the water again. It’s the bluish fish with the yellow eye staring at him!

- Fancy another fly? smiles Martin as the fish smiles back and then takes a small clown like jump and disappears under the water again.

Feeling happy, Martin gets up and turns around. Looks deep into the way home and starts walking. This thing made him think about his life here in the city and made him wonder if there is a possibility he lost his sight from the good, fun, happy road somewhere along his last few years. He just has to remember when.

But.. has no time. Someone approaches. And… he cannot turn around. It’s too late now. It’s George, old school colleague and neighbor.

- How’s it hanging bro? shouts George and throws his hand up for a high five.

- Depends on the wind, man, answers Martin while almost matching his high five.

- What’ you doin’? Shouldn’t you be at work?

- Shouldn’t you also, George? Oh, yeah, you don’t work. It’s… a… not a hobby of your particular desire.

- Yeah… you know… Some hobbies should be illegal. What you doin’ here?

- I’ve lost my cat, man. It just disappeared this morning. I’m just looking for it.

- Out here? You think it came to check out the river, man?

- No… that’s something… I had to do something here first. I’m going back to search for it again.

- Ok, Martin, my man. I’ll help you.

- No, no need to do that. I’ll be ok… I don’t want to keep you from your doings…

- Nonsense, what doings? I have absolutely nothing to do!

- What a shocker! Never heard that one before.

- Hey, Martin, what’s its name again? Your cat…

- It’s Mojo.

- Oh yeah. Hold on a moment.

George freezes with his mouth open and his eyes pointed at his legs, like he was searching something, but inside of him. And after about a couple of seconds, a large, baritone like, long and brownish burp comes out of his mouth at the same time as a shout for “Mojo”. Martin is stunned. George finishes the “Mojo” burp and then picks up a champion smile and looks to his friend.

- There’s a lot of training involved. It’s not that simple, says George while bursting into laughs.

- Man, you’re stupid, says Martin while shaking his head.

- That’s debatable, replies George. Now, if you take me to a university, lets say, and drop me inside the library, I admit I stand out.

- Yeah, like a pink sheep in a white herd, laughs Martin.

- Yeah, like that.

- Like an donkey in a group of cats.

- Yeah…

- Like a clown in a room full of ants.

- Ok, I get the point. But, if you take me to the 'hood and drop me at a corner. I would say I would be the librarian of the area.

- Yeah, right until they shoot you for talking too much.

- That may be, my friend. That may be… I have a lot to say to this world… Let me just say it again.

And George burps another long “Mojo”, scaring one kid on a bike, that was just passing by. The kid falls to the ground, but gets up quickly and nervously starts pushing his bike away.

- You scared him, George! Come on, let’s go search for my cat before you make someone fall into the river. And not by accident…

And the two young men start walking side by side towards their home, looking ahead. They’ve known themselves since almost forever. Their parents were friends and they grew up together, on the same floor. They went to the same school and even almost worked at the same place for a while, before George decided he doesn’t really needs a boss and quit. Martin, on the other hand, stayed and is still working in the same spot, with the same job description, on the same window, with the same boss. And although he doesn’t approve of George’s decisions in life, he finds him funny and, ultimately, a good person and friend. But, he still wonders, from time to time, how in the world does George have money…

Martin would want to change his awful job routine, to turn one of his hobbies into a business, but, so far, he didn't quite get the push needed to do that, from someone that would support him. He feels he shouldn't start going on this road alone. And he would also want to travel the world, to see mysterious places, like this small town from Europe he recently discovered, a charming town by the name of Sibiu, that lays right in the heart of Transylvania. He would want to go see for himself what life is in real Transylvania, but doesn't want to go alone. It's not fun to see the world alone.

Mean dog Spike

- Let’s ask Peter, at the store if he’s seen your cat, says George, while they pass by the Hooper fountain. Martin looks at the fountain and then up in the sky… You never know when a fish with an yellow eye drops and hits you in the face. But there’s nothing falling now. And he moves forward to cross the street.

They pick up the pace a little and get in front of Peter’s store. It’s a store for bike enthusiasts. Or bike fanatics, whatever you want to call them. Basically, it’s a store where you can buy parts for bicycles, and where you can ask Peter for help if you need something done to your two wheel means of transportation.

As they try and enter, they notice a small kid, kind of intimidated, standing still in front of the large opened door, looking inside. They pass him with care and enter the store.

- Hey Peter, says Martin.

- Hi, guys! I’ll be with you in just a moment, answers Peter as he looks from left to right like he was searching for something.

- Has anybody seen that dog? I don’t know where it’s hiding. I know it’s here somewhere, shouts Peter and looks at the poor kid standing in the door.

He sees the little kid forcing a tense smile and tells him with a calm voice:

-Don’t worry, it only bites kids. But you look older.

The boy carefully takes a small step back without taking his eyes from the back of the store and stretches his tense smile showing his one missing tooth. Martin and George start laughing. They know Peter doesn’t have a dog. But has a lot of sense of humor. He’s just crazy. And you can almost never talk something serious with him.

- Come on, Spike, get out, shouts Peter as he looks to the back of the store. I don’t want you biting everyone like you did last time!

The kid joins his hands and takes the other step back. Peter looks down at his feet and shouts:

- Here you are! Get out, Spike! Get out, get!

And Peter starts pushing towards the door some imaginary dog. He bends and takes the imaginary dog’s collar and simulates dragging it outside. The kid has already taken a few steps back and is looking desperately to the store floor trying to find with his own eyes the fearful Spike. But he cannot. And Peter is closing in on him. The dog should be there, but he cannot see it. Peter is already at the door, barely keeping the imaginary dog in place, as the dog apparently tries to run. Peter simulates being dragged by the dog outside.

- Stop, Spike, stop!

This is too much for the poor boy. His eyes are all over the floor, trying to find the dog, but he cannot see it. And he cannot take it anymore and suddenly turns and runs.

- No, Spike, stop! Don’t go after him! Yells Peter as he seriously looks at the kid disappearing around the corner.

Peter stands outside his door for a moment, then he suddenly turns to his friends and laughs.

- He’ll be back, don’t worry. It’s not the first time he’s been chased by Spike, says Peter as he shakes hands with Martin and George.

- Man, you’re crazy… Poor kid, what did he do? asks Martin.

- Nothing. He’s a good kid. I just like to make his life more interesting once in a while. And it’s not my fault. It’s Spike…

-Yeah, right. Has Spike seen my cat, by any chance?

- What, is it missing? Martin, has the cat finally got to its senses and left your place? laughs Peter making George laugh also.

- Yeah, too much good life will do that to a cat, replies Martin while looking at George.

- Sorry man, haven’t seen the cat around here today. But I’ll have Spike look around the area if you want, smiles Peter, again and then suddenly looks at the door where an old woman, with a big leather brown bag in her hand, slowly makes her way in.

- Did you get it already? The woman stares at Peter while slowly leaving her bag on the floor.

Peter turns and looks at the back of the store and shouts:

- Hey, John, did we get the new sewing threads?

There a short pause, as Peter awaits an answer from John. Of course, there’s no John. Or maybe, if you like, John is Spike’s owner. And John doesn’t say anything. Peters shakes his head and turns back to the old woman.

- Sorry mam, the shipment of sewing threads hasn’t arrive yet. But come back next week. I’m sure it will be here by then!

The woman lowers her eyes, disappointed, slowly picks up the leather bag while saying:

- That’s too bad. I don’t have much black thread left. But I think I can manage until next week.

And as she turns her back and starts leaving the store, she throws a “Thank you anyway” and an “I’ll be back”.

- We’ll be here… says Peter while looking at Martin and George who are just struggling not to laugh out loud.

- She just came by my store yesterday and asked for sewing threads, Peter whispers to his two smiling friends. I know it’s a bike store, but hey, who says you can’t find sewing threads at a bike store? I couldn’t tell the poor woman she had the wrong store.

- Man, you’re gonna get it someday from someone, says George before finally bursting into laughs.

- It already happened. Many times. But, hey, isn’t life suppose to be fun? Says Peter and slowly makes his way to the dark back of the store. See you guys! I really have something to do, I have a bike I have to finish in an hour… See you later!

As Peter disappears into the back of the store, Martin and George turn back and step outside, while still hanging to some portions of the previous smiles. He is crazy, no doubt about it.

- Where should we go now? asks George.

- Well, if we really want to find the cat, we should split. You take the back alley and I’ll go across the street and maybe ask people. We’ll meet here in half an hour. Ok?

- You got it man. Later, says George and starts shouting ”Mojo”, while distancing himself.

Martin shakes his head and smiles again. Funny guys. He takes a deep look across the street and spots the souvenir shop in the corner. They have pretty big windows and maybe someone has seen a cat walking by. No harm in asking. And just as he wants to start walking, a pink sheep jumps from the right and almost hits him on the legs. Martin takes a step back and watches, stunned, the pink sheep running into the distance.

Shakes his head twice, looks to the right again, then up in the sky and then finally crosses the street. Covered with small, foggy question marks, he starts walking slowly towards the corner souvenir shop.

The souvenir shop

Martin moves his eyes from left to right, while slowly making his way to the corner souvenir shop. He is slowly scanning the smallest details of his thoughts. He knows this street so well. So much has changed here, but he still gets the feeling it’s been like this since forever. There’s the small alley where he writes from time to time. Maybe it is time for another go. He hasn’t contributed for some time now. Well, he has been busy, having a job and all. But, really, it was really nice writing on the wall. And as he thinks back to a certain poetic moment of his life, he makes a sudden turn in the small alley. Takes a few steps and then looks up. It’s still there. The writing.

You see, it all started in college. He was writing a lot then and exploring arts and had this idea one day, after talking to some of his colleagues, to do some special graffiti on some of the decayed walls of the area. Well, not really graffiti. More like writing. He doesn’t really like graffiti. Graffiti, for the most part, spoils the surroundings. Sure, the area where graffiti is generally expressed is ugly anyway. But why not enrich it with something more elegant? Like poetry. He had this idea, to write lines of poetry on ugly urban walls. Just some fine, modern poetry, written with care, on ugly, decayed areas of the neighborhood. Should bring some value and interest to a dead zone, shouldn’t it? So he started with this alley.

One day, he wrote three lines:


Your warm smile lays in front of me

The perfect memories of a perfect life

I haven’t yet begun”


He wrote them with care, somewhere up, to leave room for more and took a picture. Then, after a couple of days, he went back to see if the lines were still there. Much to his surprise, the three lines of poetry became five. Some person actually read them and decided he or she had to contribute. Martin was stunned. Didn’t think there was poetry near him. So, he wrote another line himself. So, the poem got six lines. Then, after a week, he came back, and the poem was already 20 lines long. And, he could tell there were different authors, because the writing was not the same. As he could tell, there were some six or seven people who anonymously wrote poetry lines on an ugly urban wall. Amazing. He made his contribution again, and left. After another terrible week, terrible because he has really trying not to go near that area, so that more lines would accumulate, he went again. And this time, there were three poems. Three poems the city has created. The city was actually writing poems on its own book wall. Well, the people of the city were writing them, but the people make up the city, no? It was amazing for him to discover there were people around him that still had time to look for art and create art, small art, even though the modern life doesn’t really give you a chance to do that anymore.

As Martin takes a few steps inside the alley and looks around, his face lights up. There are several poems now resting all over the alley wall. Several poems with different writing and different thoughts. He stops and starts reading them, occasionally combining parts of different poems. His smile slides slowly all the way to his shadow as he thinks to a new line for the corner poem. He takes out his blue marker from his side pocket, takes two shy steps towards the wall and writes a few words at the and of the poem:


I'm sipping on some peace in the shadow of an old thought”


Then takes a step back and reads the poem from the start. Yes. It’s good. It’s a good line. Takes out his phone from his left pocket and takes a picture of the whole wall. Then, slowly slides the phone back into his right pocket. He smiles again and, as he starts walking back towards the main street, he sees a baseball, probably a change up, flying above the street, going from his right towards the corner of the street. He runs outside the alley to see it but I guess he just comes out too late. Looks for the ball in the sky but sees nothing but a big white bird flapping like a drunk parrot, looking left and right. Then, Martin lowers his look and sees the corner souvenir shop.

Mojo”, he thinks. He kind of forgot about the cat. It would be really sad if something happened to it. But he knows Mojo is a smart cat and can take care of itself.

He starts a nervous walk towards the corner shop. He never went inside. Souvenirs from his city didn’t really interested him before. And don’t interest him now. He lives here. He doesn’t need some object to remind him of that. Not that he doesn’t like the city. The city is all right. He likes his city. Likes the history, the bold people that made it and the long line of dreamers that kept it alive. The city is fine, the city life is not really perfect. Too much noise. And not the kind that roars on the streets or inside the buildings. There’s too much background noise to see the life painting. You have to see your life painting. That is, if you like to make your life a painting. Some people prefer to have a xerox copy kind of life or an industrial production line carpet kind of life. Martin feels that city people should start being their own painters for their own canvas. And to paint, you kind of need to step out of the routine of the city's industrial, concrete algorithms. You need to find life where it lays. Outside your mind and outside the city.

A foggy bell sound makes Martin stop and look ahead. He was about to be hit with the door by a loud talking couple, exiting the souvenir shop. He takes a step back and looks through the window as the door closes by itself. The store seems empty. So, it might be a good time to go inside and ask about his cat. He barely opens the door and slides in, as he hears the bell closing the room behind him. His eyes go bigger and his mouth slightly opens. The room is absolutely filled with fine objects. Small, handcrafted items, in so many colors. Not the kitschy type of items you would expect to see in a souvenir shop. No, this store is filled with a warm, arty, house welcoming type of atmosphere. There are small happy animal figurines all around, all of them telling you about some interesting part of this city. They’re all happy and funny looking. “Here is a new way of seeing your city”, Martin thinks to himself as he smiles, looking at the goofy animals on different buildings. And as he stares with his mouth slightly open, he hears a soft voice coming into the room:

- Hi, there, again...

He looks to the left and his heart suddenly starts running, taking the blinking of his eyes with it. The eyes grow even bigger as the words start dancing inside his head. It’s her. The woman with the big blue eyes. The woman he accidentally knocked over and that accidentally turned him upside down.

- It’s Catfish, isn’t it? she asks him while sitting down on a high vintage chair.

Martin is baffled. “What catfish? What could I possibly have said down there?”, he thinks and then he remembers Mojo. And as he searches with his fingers for something to sit, around him, he pulls his heart from the street, grabs the blinking by the collar and forces the blinking back on his dry eyes. Reaches for his finest public moment and slaps the words back into place.

- Right, catfish. Sorry about that. Actually, it’s Martin and I was holding a fish when we met and I was looking for my missing cat…

- Hence, the catfish, she says and shakes her head up and down with an even brighter smile.

- Right... hence the catfish, he mumbles. Sorry. I was a bit dizzy there. Please excuse me if you said your name then and I didn’t remembered it. Like I said, I was dizzy, didn’t quite hear a word...

- That’s ok, she says. It’s Ada. My name…

- Nice to meet you Ada.

- Nice to meet you, Martin.

They both smile to each other and pause. Martin finally senses a small chair behind him and sits.

- May I ask you why were you dizzy? It didn’t seem such a bad bump, Ada says to him.

- Well, it wasn’t the bump that made me dizzy, Martin answers, while being absolutely shocked of the courage he suddenly found. It was the two most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen that made me forget what I was doing, continues Martin as he takes a subtle deep breath to convince his heart not to take off into the orbit.

Ada smiles, lowers her head and quickly gets up from the chair and heads for the windows to hide the blushing in her cheeks.

Martin tries to get up from the chair, as a gentleman that he is, but senses his knees are in a terrible shape and decides not to risk a public shame.

- Thank you, says Ada with a trembling voice as she pretends to look outside. I bet you say that to all the girls, she continues with a smiling voice.

- That’s just it. I never say that. But I’m still trying to find out why my heart is racing so much right now. This is so weird.. I’m still talking like this… And I’ve never seen you before.

- I have... she says. I’ve seen you walk this way many times...

- I am, now, so sorry I am not from another city, visiting. I could have searched for a souvenir sooner.

- Is that why you came in? Ada asks, as she turns around, with the same big blushing smile on her face.

- Oh, no. No. Not that. Sorry, I forgot. I was actually looking for my cat. It’s been missing since this morning and I’m beginning to think it is lost. That is why I entered here, to ask if you have by any chance seen a cat wandering around… It’s a black cat with white stripes and has a lazy look in its walk.

- BLACK with white stripes? Ada looks at him with her eyes wide open.

- I know it sounds weird, but I’m telling you it’s a black cat with white stripes. I know it shouldn't exists, but let me assure you it is very real. And it’s a cute cat. Lazy and mouth full, sure, but has a great personality.

- You know, Ada says… I did find something unusual today.

- Like a cat?

- Like a cat.

Martin jumps out of the chair.

- A black cat with white stripes?

Ada looks at him very serious and shakes her head slightly:

- No, sorry.

Martin takes a step back and looks down.

- Too bad. That would have really been something! That would have been almost like destiny, he says while blushing slightly.

- Yeah, it would have been like destiny, Ada repeats and starts walking to the back of the room, while beginning to smile.

Martin follows her with his look, while not knowing what to do or say anymore and finds the good old reliable chair to sit on again. A few moments of eternally silence pass over him and then he hears Ada stepping back into the room.

- I didn’t find a black cat with white stripes, Ada says as she stops, holding something behind her back. Then continues:

- I was just returning to the store earlier, after having to … leave some words… in an alley close by… and I actually found at my door, sleeping, a lazy WHITE cat with black stripes, she says while barely holding back from bursting into laughs.

Martin’s ears suddenly hit the ceiling.

- Sorry, I misheard something there… Did you say you found a white cat with black stripes?

- Yes. Here it is, says Ada who cannot hold back from laughing anymore. She brings forward and lands on the floor a basket filled with a sleeping striped cat.

Martin jumps at the basket and starts petting the cat.

- It’s Mojo! Martin shouts as the cat awakens and throws him a “why did you wake me up” type of look.

- No way! It is impossible, he says as the smiles begin to burst inside the room like a waterfall.

- Yes way, Ada say as she cannot stop the joy from filling up her entire body. She also gets down, near the basket and they both start petting the obviously annoyed cat who just wanted to keep dreaming of its big fat refrigerator and who cannot understand what the fuss is all about.

And, as their hands accidentally meet, they stop and gaze into each other's eyes.

The cat senses the big chance and slowly slides away from the basket. Takes a few quiet steps towards the high chair and jumps on it. Then, it makes a few circles on the chair, like a dog, just to mark the safe zone nobody should be allowed in and settles down again, trying to remember where it left the big fat refrigerator. And as Mojo closes its eyes to dream, a warm feeling of family gently settles around it and spreads all across the room as a young man and a young woman lay, holding hands, around a vintage table, talking gently, sharing a golden smile and slowly writing the lines of their new found poem.







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(Pages 1-16 show above.)