Celerity tells the tale

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Celerity Short Stories and timely Excerpts seen at ground level

Coming in from the east coast I had no clue what to expect arriving at the West coast. The California beaches and the upper-crust hills to my back. Standing in the trough of the Ventura hills and crests of the waves that expand thousands of miles to another world, I'm sunk into a world that is passed over by America and it's culture completely. Everything here is different. Buildings are more artwork than dwelling. Everywhere I walked along the sidewalk, large windows allowed unhampered view into the lives of the people behind the glass. Eating, watching television, working on a bicycle, having sex with women who looked upon the stressed and harried face of my own "out of towner" physique with disdain. I used to stop and watch, then I realised that just down the sidewalk were more people just like them opening their windows to my eyes.

I was never truly convinced it was to show off what they had, or whether their limits and definitions of privacy were altered because they to walked the streets at night and realised that only when they shut their blinds, did they differ from the openness of their neighbors. Perhaps this was also why they never talked to their neighbors - Their stories would be no different than the stories told over and over in their own heads. "I wish I had a Ferrari", "I need to work out more", "That chick was so hot .. you wouldn't believe it". All comments and diary entries that mirror one another. It must be hard not knowing if you were just talking to yourself or to another actual human being. I continued walking north looking for the pier that Mary had described.

"You'll come to a shack looking place, I think it's a boutique but it may just be an eccentric house. We used to buy sandals at shops like that in Rhode Island. But out here it could be a house. A multi million dollar home the size of refrigerator box filled with things we used to find alongside the road. Only out here, it's all ordered from expensive catalogs"

Every word from her mouth was something to remember. Very few people I've met over the years had the ability to create such vivid imagery when they spoke as she did. When we talked on the phone, I would close my eyes and her words would actually transport my body there, feeling whatever she described and walking the steps that she walked.

As I made my way across the intersecting street, I heard the rumble of some impressive engine behind me, and I turned around, continuing to walk backwards to the north. "Another Ferrari." I thought, and turned about-face to continue my walk northbound. I used to stop and stare, my mind would slip out of my body and float above not only the machine, but the idea that I can strive to have one myself. Much like the large, open windows - The constant exposure to elegance has calloused my opinions of great things. Large boats, expensive cars, million dollar apartments and hundred dollar shirts fired off fewer and fewer synapses than they did when I first arrived in this area, almost 1 year ago.

I had to stop,however, 50 or so paces up the sidewalk. It was then I realised the behind that shiny Ferrari sat a shack, on the opposite corner, filled with antiques and folk art from my native region. I had passed the pier.

Doubling back I crossed the street and scanned the pier walk for Mary. I couldn't see her anywhere. Caramel hair and blue jeans made a woman like Mary stand out in the crowd of extreme beauty, glamorous looks from both men and women that only money and extravegance could afford. People like Mary and I stuck out of these crowds as if we were on fire. And odd twist of fate, compared to times when her and I were growing up and our appearances allowed us to fade into the background of any crowd. "I used to have some really nice winter coats" I told Mary during my first night on the west coast. I miss those coats and boots that I used to wear. They meant something to me not because of the label, but because of the importance that all northerners revere their outer wear with.

I looked around and still could not see Mary. The setting sun colored the world pink, And even the passing hoods of red Ferraris reflected the limited color spectrum of the yellow and purple skies as if Enzo himself had declared that all of his creations were to be made of polished chrome for 20 minutes of every day.

The setting sun gave the appearance of being on a different world, as well as the buildings and lavish lifestyles of the native Californians. All lending toward the feeling of me being an alien in this alien world. I couldn't believe that I had troubles finding Mary's straight brown hair in a sea of teased blonde hair.

I continued my walk down the pier towards the open sea. Past the families packing up their daily vacations to return to their glass-faced homes in the hills or down the boardwalk. Families walking back home to prepare dinner and watch television and fight over making Ferrari payments, or wait for the kids to go to bed and have sex across from the higher windows.

One can't see into those higher windows, but others in the neighborhood who also had higher windows could. More and more bonding the owners and lords of their glass homes together.

"Yeah, they all have a sick caste system here," Mary once told me on the phone. "The parents get to look down on the kids in the lower floors of the other homes, and onto the second floors of their neighbors, kinda so they could share their peepshows with their neighbors". She went on to describe how they used their windows to display status, in a most humorous way; "They will buy expensive vases or pottery or artwork and if they keep it downstairs then they are showing off to people walking by. But if they keep it in their bedrooms then they are showing off to their neighbors. If they use it during sex, then they are basically spitting in their neighbor's faces. I thought I saw it all in New York when that chick at the club was being fucked with a bottle of Dom. That's level with being homeless around here". I felt it was on par with homelessness on the East coast as well.

The pier began it's steep angle upwards onto the moorings, and then began to level out in the middle. This offered me a view of more of the crowd before it got too dark, and also to see if Mary was at the end of the pier, waiting for me with her back to the land. Her back turned to the rest of the country. Whenever I saw her like that, I had to chuckle. "Finally, Mary your personality meets your physical presence" I once said to her back in November. She turned her head 10 degrees and looked past me, and returned to her worship of the setting sun.

But still she was not there. Only blonde hair that moved slightly in the wind. Her hair would pick up from her head and swirl around her ears, and fall into her mouth. Outdoors was a constant struggle for her, tugging at her bangs and wisps, occasionally choking on a strand of rogue hair trying to invade her tonsils.


I continued my walk down the pier against the flow of people evacuating the darkening planks and colder winds. People were complaining about the cold, the prices of the martinis down the street, or how they were going to display the new vase they bought at the beach boutique. The conversations may have been in another language for all I cared - The people here speak about things that are alien to me. The conversation is just as unreachable as the many riches offered by this land

Among the bustling movement of the figures walking toward me, stood a lone figure - bare legs poking from underneath a pay-per-view viewfinder set up at the pier to look out at the windsurfers and billion dollar yachts that parade up and down the coast all day. The device was swivelled 180 degrees around, and it's dual lenses appeared as eyes in a funny shaped head, perched on a funny shaped body, with three spindly legs holding up. And it was looking over my right shoulder. "This must be Mary" I thought "No one would be looking away from a beautiful sunset with a device designed to look at beautiful sunsets except for the kind of person who had looked at beauty so often, they were calloused to it". I approached the funny shape and prepared to deploy my wit to it's surprised user

"Unless you're waiting for a sunrise, you're missing one of the most fascinating sunsets we've ever seen" I faced the South, away from her

The response was strange. The response itself was characteristic, almost expected - the voice that fed me that response was completely different - It was melodic, almost resonating with my ear. Mary had spoken with a very raspy voice, from years of yelling in her 4-sibling family, to sneaking out everynight to the club, and smoking for 12 years. This voice was strikingly different, so different that I couldn't maintain my flip chapeau coolness,

"The funny thing here is," she said "Is that the people upstairs not only want to see their neighbors, but they position themselves to see into the lower bedrooms of their neighbor's teenage kids having sex. They watch that too. And the neighbors don't seem to care or notice, because they are patiently waiting for their other neighbor's daughter to sprout tits and start fucking the indian kid down the street"

The height of the pier allowed the viewer to look into the houses along the beach at a level that only being a "Second floor Elite" used to allow.

The Voice still remained in my ear, calming my nerves. Like a long string chord played in an ambient Stars of the Lid song that I had heard on my night driving through Colorado on the way to the sunset coast. All of that memory, which I normally hold to for as long as possible, disappeared as I realised the mistake I had made. This isn't Mary.

This is someone else - Someone else positively Californian. Her shorts curved around her ass in a way that only fitted shorts could. Rhode Island girls didn't care for fitted shorts, They cared more about hooded coats and pants that closed on the ankle to stop updrafts from their pantleg. This girl was definately a native. But Her behavior was most certainly not.

"I .. I uh . I guess I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else, But ... " I stuttered for something to come out. Not out of fear, or embarassment, but because I was truly interested in what this girl had to say next. Her head didn't immediately turn from the viewer, even when I had explained that I had no idea who she was, anything of her history, or even that she may have the slightest thing to say worth caring about. Were I in her place, I would at least look up from what I was doing to see who was talking to me as if they knew me their whole lives.

Her eyes only unlatched from the device when I heard the click of the shutter. The shutter told me that her quarter had run out, and it was time to either let some kids look at yachts, or feed another quarter in to continue her voyeuristic evaluation from a safe distance. Her face lifted quickly and she said "Hi!" And her hands went for her pocket, which bulged with coins. She was about to drop another coin into the device, when it appeared that I had not walked away. I recognised this look.

"Oh, I didn't mean to bother you - You see, I'm looking for someone, someone around here" I said with defiance. I wasn't there to be her puppy. Not her slave. Not there because of her.

"OH, do you want the binoculars?" she asked, her right eyebrow raising above the other.
"Bino... OH No, no thanks. She said she would be on the pier." I was now starting to sound like a moron.
"I've been waiting for awhile for someone too." I was taken back by the stunning vulnerability. I would have never expected this response. Her body swayed back and forth on her hips, and she took the first steps toward the sand, off the pier.

"Well. Uh.. I hope you find who you're looking for!" Shit, I'm sounding more and more pathetic. Childish.

She turned around, and looked me over once more, a slight smile. She turned around and swayed down the planks toward the ground level. I sat and stared.

I took a seat on the end of the pier, watching the sky go completely dark and the lights on the shore begin to illuminate the sands. Behind the shore line bungalows, across the street the lights behind the huge glass windows began to come on as if someone with a remote control were on the street picking a program to watch. Perhaps a sitcom, perhaps a drama. I turned my head back to the water and watched the last layers of the sun go down. "No matter how long I live here," I thought "This will never get old"

I turned around to begin the walk back to my basement apartment. Down the streets, once again watching the extravagant lives of the window people unfold before me. Always taking notice of the new ornaments and knick-knacks that dot their window sills. I rounded the corner to my own apartment, down the 3 concrete steps and past my broken down CRX. I turned the key just in time to hear my phone ring.

I picked up the handset. "Hello?"

"Hey Steve"
"Hey Mary, I thought we were going to meet up tonight?"
"Yeah, I know" Her response was a mystery, Mary never blew me off, or anyone since she lost her friends on the east coast. She continued "So what did you think?"
"Of what ?"
"Sarah. I kinda fixed you two up. She wanted something to do something new. I thought nothing on this coast needs to be done more than you, so it only made sense"
"Sarah?" I was totally surprised "I KNEW she had to know you. She was looking in people's windows talking about teenagers fucking each other"
Mary laughed "Yeah, I pointed that out. She never comes down to the beach to look for herself. She just walks the streets like you do. I thought you were perfect for each other when I met her"
"So what the hell was this? Like, a blind date or something?"
"I dunno. I figured you two would hit it off"
"I would have liked to" I responded
"That's funny, She said the same thing."

(all material copyright(C) Steven Earl through Æonfinity Productions 2007)
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it was a really easy read, though. i liked it.
I really wish I was the kind of person that could keep a concept going. I get up and walk away from a story, and I lose focus, and can't get back into it to continue along that path.

I envy writers that can pick up right where they leave off, and make it consistent.
It was a worthy read but it seemed like you were trying too hard.

Maybe its me and me in college and the arrogance that comes with it, but that's what I got from it.

I'm no writer though. I'm a reader.
You're prolly right. Like I said, I stop writing and take a break, and I lose it. The story actually started off as something COMPLETELY different, and it morphed into this. I can add more, if I can get back into it. And I would like to.

But even when I got home from work, I had other ideas to write down. Just no time. Tonight I took the time after punching out to help another tech answer some phones.
the biggest problem is there are clear concepts that are too concisely spoken. if you'd like to write novels, you have to 'fill' it. That's where not just descriptions and things come in, but you have to fluff it up from a 20 page concept to 300. I don't know what the end product was supposed to be, but it has short story appeal... much like those you read in a magazine. The problem I have often is the opening paragraphs, so I start with the idea of the story, then move backward a bit and try to set up the story, but it's hard to come up with the opening sentences for me. I still think it's well written, just could use some more.
Anyone want to read more of this story ? Or should I move on ?
I thought it was well written, the story seemed to stray slightly at times but I loved it, maybe because I'd be the exact same way if I was to move out west, who knows, the point is it was worth the time spent reading. Good job bro
I agree, I'd like to see what could be done with it, especially since its been so long since you wrote it, I think it make for an interesting read.
Update ? I may start living that life. I'm thinking of selling my house, but I'll "be lucky to break even". If that happens, I need to lighten my load and then I can move anywhere in the world.

I want to live somewhere ... surreal.
surreal? to me that would be Tokyo but I'm sure you have a different definition. But as they say land is one thing that never loses value, you could always wait a bit and see what happens