“Hunting the Snake” a short story

Hunting the Snake. A Beginning of a Short Story. By Pilialoha Nathaniel

It is really a symphony of sounds and smells. The scream of electrified metal clashing against metal melds with the melodious canned voices that fail to rise above the static of the obsolete sound system. The din of millions of footsteps trying to get somewhere, or away from somewhere churns up the aroma that belongs to this place alone.

Caught up in the sounds and smells that is the music of the New York City Subway, I almost missed her. The sewer Rat scurries by me in a rainbow of ratty florescent green curls and a faded torn I “Heart” NY shirt she probably bought from one of those knock off stores in Chinatown. She grabs the pole and swings back around. The metallic doors close and she peers out the window as the train begins to move. She sways. Her shorts are stained with finger swipes of spray paint over a pair ripped purple tights. The earbuds that keep her ass moving in small undulating waves are studded with shiny green rhinestones.

Her satchel is a mess. Dirty tees and jeans poke out of every available hole. Shit had been stuffed into that hand sewn piece of rag. This girl must have been in a rush to get somewhere.

Or … away from someone.

A book slips out of her bag, bounces off her boots and drops on to the black rubber floor below. It flips open in front of me. A detailed pencil sketch of a Lion stares up at me.

Interesting.

Still not noticing me, she scoops it up in a flash of punk pink painted nails and stuffs it back into her rag of a bag. She gnaws on her pinky nail. Most of the paint looks to have been bitten away. As she works on the rest of the toxic pink paint, she stares out the window of this A train that we have both found ourselves on.

I look back down. She is definitely not a sewer Rat. Her boots give her away. She could have stole them, true, but these babies fit her like they were tailored. These were made from the finest skins I’d ever seen. This ratty mess was no more sewer Rat than I was. I can’t imagine why or what would make this lovely girl pretend to be other than she is.

And she is special. A Snake. My special Snake.

The train slows as it approaches 14th Street. She backs up, visibly disturbed. The train stops and her head snaps down and she is absolutely still.

I glance up as the doors open. Two cops stand right outside. One cop looks in and straight at me. With all the shit that’s been going down, I’m not surprised they are on high alert.

I arch my brow and smile invitingly. The cop looks deep into my multifaceted eyes and turns beet red. He bows his head in acknowledgement. Unless necessary, Law-enforcement types rarely seek to tangle with my kind. He backs out of the train as the doors close.

With a lurch we begin our forward momentum once again.

I look up at my target. She has finally noticed me. Does she know who I am? Her now unpainted pinky is back in her mouth and her malachite green eyes are piercing.

No, she doesn’t know who I am. Maybe it is better this way.

Or…

I smile my inviting smile and she looks away, startled and terrified. She looks to the humans on the train. They are all oblivious to her. She backs up against the train car exit doors. She reaches for the handle as if to pull it open to exit to the next car.

I give my head the slightest shake and she obeys immediately. Tears stream down her face.

Good girl. Now she knows who I am. What I am. There is no escape for her.

And now I know who she is. I’ve been searching for her and after all these fruitless years she happens to stumble onto the same train car.

God, I love this city.

…to be continued…

 

FEAR of WRITING

Fear.

I am afraid to write. Call me a coward. Call me stupid. Tell me to ‘just do it’. But there it is. I am afraid.

I started this blog (monkeymonsterthoughts) back in 2007, about the same time I started work on my manuscript. I had moved from theatre drenched NYC to make it large in LA. Not so much art happening when you’re bartending in Hollywood, doing background work in Studio City and scraping for auditions for bit roles in the latest Showtime lesbian drama or going to look-sees for K-Mart apparel. So I decided to create my own worlds. I returned to my first love, writing. This blob (blog… I meant) was supposed to be my grand entrance. (I kept blob because my finger slipped and hit ‘b’ instead of ‘g’. It seemed fitting. Blob. This blob sat here, hollow, for five years.

This manuscript I am speaking of shall henceforth be known as ‘The Change’. Not like the change the small crinkly old man with the beautiful smile asks you for in the subway. Not the shift change that happens when a fresh team of bartenders take over for the poor saps that had to work the slow dayshift. This Change happens when you need guidance the most. This Change happens when you are ugly with pimples and braces and your classmates are meaner than rabid Winny-the-poo on a sunny day chained to a rainbow unicorn on a bad acid trip.

The Change is about the humanity of demi-gods, gods, kinolau, changelings, animal spirits, were-animals. It is all the legends and stories be it Greek or Roman, Hawaiian or Native American, of Animals that you have ever heard of explained in one simple fact: They are real. The Animals live amongst us. The Animal Kingdom rules us.

At least that’s the blurry, low-def, sweeping panoramic view of this world.

I know I haven’t given much away and I probably wont give you much else except to say that 54,000 words later I am scared of this book. Like a scraggly gangly thirteen year-old it needs to be fed and nurtured into a less scraggly still-gangly almost fourteen year-old. I look at my words and they swim in front of me. Where to start? Where to begin? So I close my computer and I find a corner to hide in. I pull up iBooks and read the polished works of published authors and I get myself lost in their world… instead of my own.

So I was thinking that maybe if I just sat down at this blob of a blog that I started five years ago but never used, I could gain the confidence I needed to sit down and finish the third draft of The Change. A draft that I may have the oloz (ask someone from Hawaii what that means if you don’t automatically get it)… Where was I? Oh yeah… my oloz. I might have the confidence to give the first three chapters to people I trust to tear into it with red pens and smiling faces. Well maybe not tear into but hopefully it’ll be good enough to garner their time and a smile.

(originally posted on www.monkeymonsterthoughts@blogspot.com on 10/25/12)