Hanging around in the cloud…

Afterlife sketches 1.2

Arly suggested clearing the house of unused appliances, gadgets, and electronic devices to make room for everyone over the winter.

Arly was very strong for her size, and fearless.  She brought the dolly in from the garage, slid it under the empty refrigerator, and wheeled it out the open sliding door onto the deck, and then headed down the slight incline towards the garage.  Her one year old, still top heavy and tipsy toddled behind.

“No, you stay in the house!” Arly snapped in her odd, gravely voice.  The child ignored her young mother and happily broke into a trot.  Her arms, covered almost completely in tattoos looked black and blue from a distance, and contrasted starkly with the alabaster white chubby hands reaching askance to be picked up.  Arly picked the baby up and swung him up astride her hip, kissing his golden brown curls and admiring the ridiculously long curly eyelashes framing huge green eyes.  The little booger had a face adults couldn’t stay mad at very long, even when he shed his soiled diapers and left them on the couch.

Little Shylock did not like shoes or clothes, seeing no point in them as he developed this preference over the summer.   Arly had no idea how she would find shoes for the kid anyway, and hoped that someone saw her post at the Fire Station about getting some at the next Barter Gathering.  Jeanne had made him clothes, and Grandpa Brian had crocheted booties, but Shylock not only refused to keep them on, but outgrew them quickly.

Jeanne could run the sewing machine with the battery and inverter, so everyone’s clothes got mended, or replaced with new ones, often sewn from strange, inappropriate fabric.   Jeanne had collected fabric for years, and before everything changed wondered what the hell she’d do with all of it.  Everyone was glad she had.

Arly carried Shylock as she wheeled the fridge down the slight hill to the shop, but had to put him down to maneuver the thing with both hands through the doorway and into the big, but cluttered garage.  Marshall’s twin sports cars still sat side by side, taking up most of the shop’s space.  He was adamantly stubborn about moving them out, and they had all given up arguing the sense of housing useless cars in precious interior space.  It was his place, his garage, and his decision, even though Jeanne rolled her eyes and flipped him the bird behind his back as soon as he walked off in a huff after each and every attempt to reason with him.

Shylock ambled towards the barbed wire fence, causing Arly to chase him down.  The kid was drawn to danger like a magnet.  She held his hand as they walked back up to the house, and he blabbered in a fizzy, nasal voice that promised to be as strange as his mother’s, given time.  Clothes hung on the clothesline, parachute cord suspended between big Ponderosas alongside the south end of the house.  Jeans, flannel shirts, and raggedy tidy whities flapped in a rising wind from the southwest.  Arly had spent most of the morning washing laundry, an endless task because the washer and dryer now sat behind the garage under a tarp, totally useless like the refrigerator.

Someday, Arly thought, the power will just come back on.


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