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Original Short Fiction: "Cassentra’s Myth"

Original short literary fiction, including satire, remains one of the writing genres in my literary toolkit. I do enjoy creating characters!

Cassandra from Greek Mythology

Cassandra from Greek Mythology

Cassy Called Her Mother

Cassentra stood by the windmill. Observing shadows. She called her mother yesterday. Feigning a desire to bridge the gap. Cassentra waited by the windmill. Looking at birds and stuff. Home is so far when you do not want to go there.

Cassentra wanted so many things. She called her mother. Told her mother she would be home by midnight. Cassentra's mother brought the pie out of the oven. She allowed that Cassy, her baby, would like pie with her milk. No, Cassy likes cookies with her milk.

Cassentra's mother then baked four dozen cookies. Bought two gallons of milk. Cassentra arrived at midnight. Just as she had said she would do. Her mother, Clara, said, "good to see you, girl. Been hoping you'd come back."

A Green-Haired Mother

Cassentra stood staring at Clara. Cassentra could not believe that her mother had dyed her hair green. "Mother, why have you dyed your hair green?" asked Cassentra. Clara looked agape, and goes, "I did no such thing!"

But Cassentra retorted: "Then why is your hair green? Why? Why?" Cassentra stood open arms like she should be hugging this little strange green-haired mother. But could not! She could not give a loving gesture to this little creature with green hair.

"Oh, that! Goddamn it. It's not green. It's a little greenish blue, but not green. And it happens that the meds I'm taking causes it. Have you not heard about meds that cause blue-haired ladies. It’s temporary. Doc Bones is taking me off them next Thursday."

"Oh, I see, are you ok, Mom?" asks Cassy.

"I'm fine. Forget me. I want to know about you. Haven't seen you in years! What have you been doing?" asks Clara.

Painting Pictures

"Here's what I have been doing," says Cassentra. "I paint pictures. I stand by things and stare at them until I think I can reproduce them on a canvass. Then I go home and start painting them."

"Say what? Do you still work at foundry?" goes Clara.

"Shut the fuck up and just listen. You asked me and now I'm going to tell you!" Cassentra shoots back. "I take in all the details I can, I struggle with each line and curve. I agonize over every shade of light. I argue with myself about each hue of color that might be called blue, azure, cerulean, teal, and amethyst. I kick myself in the ass, in the brain, in the gut trying to get it right." Cassy was flashing red cheeks, starting to sweat.

"Are you ok, Cassy? Why don't you sit down? I've made cookies and I have milk. Let me go get them for you. Come! Come! Sit on the sofa, and we'll have some cookies and milk, and you can finish your story," goes Clara, running to kitchen to retrieve the cookies.

The Blur of Cassentra

Clara felt that old feeling she always felt when she had to listen to Cassentra for more than a few seconds. Clara takes a few deep breaths and wonders: "Oh, for Christ's sake. What is she talking about? Why did I have to ask that question?"

Then finally Clara recoups, grabs the cookies and milk, rushes back to Cassentra, who has now seated herself on the couch with her suitcase and big bag of something beside her.

"OK. Here we are. Cookies and milk," goes Clara, placing the treats on the coffee table before her daughter, who had a skeptical look on her face, like she's wondering if those things are really edible.

"Here," goes Clara, "try one. I baked a pie this morning but then remembered that you always like my cookies better than my pies. So I baked these and went and got some milk to go with them. Hope you like them."

Cassentra munched on a cookie, sipped on the milk. Mother and daughter munched on cookies and milk, trying to make small talk: "I do like these, Mom." "Oh, I'm so glad." "Is the milk cold enough?" "Yes, it's good." "Wonderful, so glad."

Oh, To Be Van Gogh!

After a long pregnant pause, Cassentra took up where she has left off. "I want so many things, Mom. But what I want most is to be a famous artist, a painter, a Van Gogh, a Rembrandt, a Monet, whatever. I want to create art that people will want to look at for years, decades, centuries."

"Oh, well, I would ask why, but then I'm afraid you would try to tell me and it would take all day. Here, have another cookie!" popped off Clara, trying to sound light-hearted.

"The goddnam why isn't important, Mother. It's just what I want," responds Cassy.

"So you kick yourself in the ass, brain, and gut, so you can paint pictures that people will want to look at way after you have left this planet?" goes Clara.

"Well, I guess that's your translation of my goals," goes Cassy.

"All I ever wanted in life was to get through it without too much pain and heartache," goes Clara.

"So how's that working out for ya, Ma?" Cassy snottily queries.

"Most of the time, pretty well. I am pretty healthy for an 97 year old, I actually worked and saved enough money to live on in my old age, and I don't owe anyone anything," goes Clara. "It may sound boring but it does work, Cass. Can you say that same? Are you still working at the foundry?"

You Called Me!

"Then why did you call me and beg me to visit you this weekend?" goes Cassentra.

"What are you talking about? You called me!" goes Clara.

"Well, sure, but you have called me lots of times before. You are usually the one who calls and begs and whines for me to visit," goes Cass.

"Don't you want to visit me? If you think my invitations are just begs and whines, why do you bother?" goes Clara.

We Cannot Communicate

"We can't communicate. We should not bother trying to communicate. I'll be going now. I need to get back to my work. You will never understand me. I am not the daughter you wish you had. This is too hard. Too impossible," goes Cassy, standing up, grabbing her stuff and bolting toward to door.

"Well, if that's how you feel, you should do what you gotta do," goes Clara. "I'd love to put a painting by you over my mantle. Right over there in that empty spot. Used to have a big picture of dogs playing chess, got tired of it, haven’t replaced it with anything. Send me one of your paintings, if you can spare it."

"I don't even know how to respond to that sarcasm, Mother," goes Cassentra.

"I'm not being sarcastic, I mean every word. I'd love to put up your paintings, now I know they mean so much to you," goes Clara.

"I can't believe this!" goes Cassentra.

"I know, Cassy. You've never believed much of anything I say. Why should you start now? You’ve never believed that I didn’t name after some Greek mythology bitch, but I named you after your aunt Cassentra. I can’t help that my sister died before you could know her. And how many times have I showed you her grave-stone with her name on it? Still you keep coming back to some story of some old Greek woman," goes Clara.

Cassentra stalks out leaving her mother to muse on the many things her daughter has accused her of, complained about, and then stalked out.

Clara sits staring at the empty space above her mantle, thinking a painting really would look good there, and wondering if Cassentra will ever send her one—or even if her daughter will ever come to visit again.

Clara then picks up the plate of the remaining cookies and the empty milk glasses, carries them to the kitchen, where she dumps out the rest of the cookies, takes out the pie, cuts a slice, begins to munch as she works on brightening the rest of the day.

© 2021 Linda Sue Grimes

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