The Fleeting Suite: Dame Rocket

by Douglas Cole

read the suite from the beginning

Dame Rocket

At first it sounded like someone practicing violin. The it was just someone playing violin, a sound that rose and fell as if someone were messing around with the volume or a wind he sure couldn’t feel were taking chunks of sound away.

Not light, though! You have these moments of intense clarity, riding fast on a postage stamp magic carpet from one end of the room to the deck—and I mean profound true principles, enough to get you burned as a heretic in one of these versions. But now it couldn’t pay the rent past next Thursday.

That’s what I was trying to tell you, he said, right as the blender came to a stop. Was it coconut or jasmine that most defibrillated him back into paradise? I’ve got to get out on the lake!

Maybe no one’s going anywhere, except for Andrea who came through the wisteria vine rubbing her jaw as if she had just finished giving a rough one. Permission to come aboard, she said.

It’s your dream, too.

I’m only renting.

So am I! I could never afford this.

Low nitrogen supplements made the Daphne and the Dames Rocket sing visually and point at the places where they wanted their pots moved. Sun high overall. The idea fountain quietly flowing in its place on the wall under the eave of the bungalow.

The lord and ladyship around?


Ah! And Andrea lit up so fast it was like a magic trick. She was a miracle stepping out of her own creation smoke.

Join me? She said.

Why not.

And there are pales, again a principle, a physical law as solid as gravity, much like the one that pulled up its skirt when he drank this concoction he had taken to calling elixir. Then there’s Andrea’s mystery oil-soaked booster rockets. It was getting hard to keep track of the distortions.

Are you all watered or not? He said to the plants when his eyes fell down the well of Andrea’s million-mile stare. He thought to shake her, out of a sense of bio-fealty, but before he could shoot that message off to control center, she blinked, turned to him and said:

Don’t look at me!

He knew instantly that she was referring to the cavalcade of possible miss-steps and unintentional detours that might have occurred in the years she had been absent just standing there. He was familiar with that abyss. It rolled between him and many other narrative versions in which he for all he knew might not have survived the first bad wave.

Oh, there were a few missing pieces, naturally, a few gaps, intervals between then and now. They were walking in a golden wonderland overgrown vine street willow-choked and sweet sunken into summer daydream versions of several walks they’d had before, only now most of the homes were abandoned—take your pick!

And during the moon pause, she was saying, what you choose to do doesn’t have the same consequences. It’s a natural space for experimentation.

Everything has consequence.

Not during a moon pause.

Moon pause?

It’s like a gap. It’s like you get to be free from being you.

How do you now when there’s a moon pause?

It’s on the calendar.

Which calendar?

Any calendar that includes the phases of the moon.

It was Morse code now, midway into this conversation. Andrea always fragmented before him at some point.

…and he won’t answer his phone, she said. I think he got the guy. I just hope he doesn’t kill him.

He wouldn’t kill him, would he? He was proud he as keeping up even if he was on shaky grounds of clarity.

I don’t know. A monster like that? I can’t say I’d feel sorry for him after what he did to me.

No, no. Never.

Two days, can you believe that? Deserves a killing.


And Tom was pretty mad.

I bet he was.

He’s got him right now, I’m sure of it, she said, shaking her head and yanking down on a drifting tree limb like she was summoning a butler. Yeah, he’s probably putting cigarettes out in his eyes right now. That’s what I would do…

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