Weekend Showcase: Garrett Ashe (Writer)

12 Jul

Spotlight

Every Friday, 1 artist/painter/poet/writer, letting their work speak for itself.

 

Garrett Ashe

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Miracle Painter

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“I’ve heard stories of an artist out here who paints miracles”

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“Like, feed the hungry type miracles?”

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“I guess.”

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“Are you hungry? You know I can feed you, Gary.”

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“I’m mostly just lonely.”

>>>>>
The two sat across the small room from each other, their bodies not quite facing, their arms moving in tight, awkward gestures as they spoke.

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“Well you’re here now,” said Cindy through a faltering half-smile. “What’s mine is yours.” She motioned.

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Gary shuffled restlessly in his red accent chair. It was a little too comfortable for his liking. And far too stylish.

>>>>>
Gary lightly touched the microfiber fabric on his seat. “Nice place you have here. Sorry to surprise you like this. We’re old friends, I just figured—”

>>>>>
Gary’s words trailed off into empty space.

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“—Sorry.”

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Cindy averted her eyes. “Make yourself at home. I have a dinner thing in a bit, but make yourself at home.”

>>>>>
Gary bit his lip and looked around the room. It was trendy almost to a fault– a small condo that had been overstuffed with elegance and was choking on its own panache. Gary wanted to find something to say. Silence was all that came out.

>>>>>
Outside, the clacking of some yard birds caught the duos’ attention. Cindy was visibly happy about the break in tension.

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“The birds again.” She smiled, turning her head. “So, are you hungry?”

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“I’m starving.”

>>>>>
“Come into the kitchen; let me find you something to eat. You don’t need a miracle painter to feed you, Gary.” Cindy got up and walked over to the kitchen pantry.

>>>>>
Gary followed and sat down in a wooden chair at the table. “Well, I don’t want to ruin my appetite for, you know, the dinner thing.”
Cindy pushed food at Gary, pretending not to hear.

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“Just help yourself to whatever you need.”

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She swiftly headed towards the back of the condo, but looked back before she got to her room. “Pardon my brusqueness. I’m late for a dinner meeting.”

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Gary played with the containers and plastic wrappers in front of him. He took out a slice of bread, and inspected it. He turned it in his hands for a long while, bending it and mashing it. He spoke sadly and wistfully, almost to himself. “To have the power,” he said as he handled the bread, “to bend the world to the desires of your imagination.”

>>>>>
It was moments later when Cindy stepped back out of her room, a jet black halter dress hugging every arch and bend of her body, her long brown hair flowing down over her exposed shoulders. Dinner attire.

>>>>>>
“Did you say something, Gary?”

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Gary looked at her longingly. “Gucci.”

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“Yes,” she said plainly. “Did you say something before?” She was putting in her earrings now.

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Gary nodded in recognition.

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“I was just thinking about the power of artists.”

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“Oh right, the painter,” she said.

>>>>>
“I think all artists, maybe.”

>>>>>
Gary looked for awhile longer at Cindy. A twisted halter neck, glowing green eyes, a pencil-cut skirt. He sighed. “I want that power.”
Cindy looked down at the mushed bread in Gary’s hand. She changed the topic.

>>>>>
“You haven’t eaten anything. I thought you were starving?”

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Gary put the bread down on his plate. The muscles in his face were twitching a bit now, as if he couldn’t quite make them do what he wanted.
“I’ll stay with you after your dinner meeting, Cindy. And we can eat ice cream together.”

>>>>>
Cindy had her hands on her hips. She groaned lightly in exasperation “Stop it Gary.”

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Gary wasn’t sure where to put his eyes. They rested uneasily on his plate.

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Cindy noticed. “I didn’t mean it like that,” she said regretfully. “I like you, you know that. I just wish you would call before you came, is all. I mean, you can’t just expect to show up out of the blue and—” Now it was Cindy’s sentence that trailed off.

>>>>>
“Phooey,” said Gary. “I’ve made a mistake coming here.”

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“What were you thinking?”

>>>>
The birds were clacking outside again and, with the billowy white drapes pulled aside, their strange, jumpy figures were clearly visible through the panels of the window pane.

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Cindy went over and put her face near the glass, her hands were cupped to shield her vision from her hair. “They’re rare– Light Footed Clapper Rails. It’s unusual for them to be found this far from the water, but there they are, on my tiny patch of a lawn, every morning. Sometimes I feel like they come here just for me. A shifting picture in my window frame… like a moving easel.”

>>>>>
Gary watched intensely as the odd, brown creatures flitted around on the lawn. He furled his brow. “They look like miniature dodo birds”

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“They’re endangered. It’s unheard of for them to travel this far into town.”

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“And you assume they come just for you?” Garry scoffed and shook his head.

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“You’re really something else Cindy.

>>>>>
“They must be looking for something.”

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Gary went back to inspecting his bread. “They look like stretched-out chickens.”

>>>>

Gary had managed to bring the mashed bread to his mouth over a dozen times without ever seeming to have taken a bite. A stack of fancy invitations in the corner had managed to catch his eye, and bring them away from the Clapper Rails. On top was an invite to something ritzy in Malibu; he couldn’t quite make out what. He decided not to try. Gary’s gaze drifted over at the kitchen counter-top  a bit of glassware; a microwave; a beautiful clean stove— probably unused, he thought.

>>>>
There had been a long silence. Gary dropped his bread.

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“Am I pathetic?”

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“Oh my, what have you done to that poor bread?”

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“Am I pathetic, Cindy?”

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“I don’t know what you want from me.”

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Gary’s eyes were beginning to wet. His palms were turned upward and his hands were open as if he were begging for something. “I have nothing to hide, Cindy. Even when I try. I’m starting to believe I’m one of those sad men who gives away everything to anyone and nobody wants them because they’re so damn easy to get.”

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Cindy forced a very uneven smile.

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“I’m not sure where this is going, Gary.” She lightened her voice. “Why don’t you tell me more about that miracle painter?”

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“It’s not something you would believe in any more.”

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“That’s probably true. This is all a little deeper than I Iike to go these days. Tell me anyway.”

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“They say her work can heal the soul. She works out of a house here on the coast.”

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“How exciting! Is it near Santa Monica? Oh, I just love Santa Monica! I once dated a man from there. Exquisite, so well mannered. They do breed them well there.”

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“I suppose.”

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“Oh they do!” Cindy giggled. “Gary, be a peach and grab me a man while you’re out there as well.” Cindy winked as she headed back to room for last touches.

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Gary lowered his head.

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“Sure.”

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He rubbed the back of his neck. “But I think the painter’s here in Venice.”

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Cindy called back, having not heard, not listened, or not cared. “And if you see a nice handbag while you’re there, do grab me one. Santa Monica has the best designer handbags!”

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Gary finished his bread, having left the meat and the cheese untouched on the table. He rose from the sleek, wooden chair. “Do you really need a handbag? I had saved a bit of money for the trip. I could grab you one from Santa Monica while I’m out.”

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“Oh Gary! That would be fabulous!”

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Cindy returned from her room in black heels. She walked right up to Gary. Her sweet fragrance enveloped him.

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“Do me a favor and fasten me up?” Cindy turned around, throwing her brown hair, and grazing Gary’s chin. Gary fastened the bamboo and silver clasp on the back of her dress.

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“Alright gotta run! Help yourself to anything while I’m gone.” A soft, half-smile.

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“What’s mine is yours.”

>>>>
Gary opened himself for a hug. She got on her tip-toes and kissed him on the forehead instead.

>>>>>
“Take care of yourself Gary. I imagine you won’t be here when I get back.”

>>>>>
“Cindy. Do you want company?”

>>>>>
Cindy laughed. “It’s not your kind of scene. Go find your painter, Gary.”
_____________________

>>>>
Gary entered the bedroom in the back of the Condo. He could still smell her scent; he could still see her glowing green eyes. Garry sat down on the bottom of a small double bed. The mattress was soft and the covers were smooth. This room was not like the rest of the house. It was much cozier. It was comfortable with itself.

>>>>
Gary thought to himself as he scanned the room. If the rest of the house was trying, he thought, this room simply WAS.

>>>>
Gary ran his fingers along the bed sheets and over to a record player sitting just beside the bed. John Lennon was on the turntable. Gary played the record and glided through the room to a black cherry dresser. His gaze rested on a red jewellery box. He opened it slowly, to the sounds of Imagine.

>>>>
Gary held up the old necklace, so that the silver plates glistened in the light. On the bottom of the necklace there was a photo charm– black, white, and faded. A young couple smiled at the photographer, looking out of the picture and into their future. Gary put the necklace away quickly. He closed the red box and moved to the closet.

>>>>
He opened up the drawers, one by one. The bottom drawer was undergarments. Gary couldn’t help but notice how colorful they were. He couldn’t help but wonder who got to see colors like that. He closed his eyes, then he opened them and closed the drawer.

>>>

The window was last, because there shouldn’t have been anything there. An old, dry paintbrush didn’t care. It rested quietly on the windowsill. Gary held it. He brought it close to his eyes. He brought it down to the bed and sat with it on his lap. And smiled.

>>>>
Gary felt the dry, black bristles graze against his chin. He noticed a tiny tear droplet fall from his eye onto the brush. He wiped his eyes and placed the brush on the bed. He stopped Imagine. Gary left the room and left the house, without noticing the red blotch that the wetted tip left stained on the bed sheets.

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Writer’s Biography:

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My name is Garrett Ashe, and I live just outside the gridlock of Washington D.C. I have been focused on pursuing a passion in writing for some time now, all the while weathering the obligations of surviving. With a background in Psychology and English, I’ve always had an affinity for creative thought and expression. I am also a novice blogger, with a newly established website called MyLivingFiction.com. I enjoy creating fiction and I have a fervent passion for honest expression. But I do not write simply because I want to write; I write because I must. I have found that the very same fire that impels me to write, singes my mind and scorches my soul if I do not. I write to stop the burning.

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You can also follow Garrett on Twitter:
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