Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Brian Michael Barbeito

Strawberry Blizzards and the Holy Ghost

The bottom of a pail is broken through.
-- Zen Saying

We walked down those streets, where it had rained for hours. The entire area had for a while afterwards been wet with a beautiful type of black that sort of glistened. People used headlights in the day, but then in the late afternoon the whole thing turned into a sun shower. A couple rainbows were painted in the sky- one to the east and one to the west. We walked right along there, heading farther south. It was said that you had to lock your doors there, because there was much crime, and this was accurate, but we were okay then, that day- as if we were protected. Our group stole oranges off some trees and ate them- and then boosted a few more and put them in our pockets for good measure. They smelled like they must have on the day the world was born, before it fell heavily from grace and goodness and solitary gladness.

We had to go visit this church, and when we walked in to where it’s offices were, it was noticeable that the place was just infused with spirit (which is actually strange for a church), and there was so much spirit there that the walls were even full with it, and there was a genuine happiness- not the happiness of this world that is only based on excitement and is not the real happiness. We had to talk there for a while, an incorruptible place, shining- and I felt and saw that light was coming from everywhere, and you could really see and know that it was in and about things, and that the regular world before was all a sort of make-believe place, a secular cop-out of sorts, full of Maya, of illusion- and that this new illumination was what the seers and sages had spoken and written about. It was a universal and non-denominational thing of course- because you can’t ultimately classify those places of experience- but living in the duality as we did and do, it must be classified anyhow, and for now.

We went on from there and down to the Dairy Queen where we bought these Strawberry Blizzards. Outside I sat down the way a bit on this bench, and observed the dusk as it settled in. This strange and kind man stopped on his bike, and then leaned on it a bit so he could rest on it. We looked in the same direction, at a bridge and its underpass in the semi-distance. Soon we spoke, with him starting first.
  • It’s a bridge were the traffic never really stops.
  • The sound is like the ocean if you just let it be what it is.
  • I have this coupon I found, for this free hamburger at a place down there. Thought I might as well go for it and go get me one.
  • Yup. Say, was this place always like this?
  • Always like this how?
  • Messy. Rundown.
  • Time was here when it wasn’t like this. In my times, it wasn’t like this. Been like this a while. About ten years. That bridge done it somehow I think. Hard to know how. But when they brought the highways through everything changed. The peoples been born and grew up this way know no different and that’s the way it just is gonna be. No sense worryin’ bout the past either way the way I sees it. But this time a day still sometimes pretty, and I can see somehow that you see that and that you know that. Good for you I say. Everybody mostly in a rush and don’t see nuthin’ no mores. I gotsa go. Give in my coupon.
  • Have a good one.
Walking along the streets after that, night was coming, and I thought that the little lizards that lived all around might be getting ready to go to some quiet and secretive dwelling place, or else that they were there still by white and pink stucco walls, around orange cars and thick green grasses, or maybe resting, slightly weary from the day, around pale green garage doors, or by anything- but that they could not be seen now. And that was how we walked those streets, wearing watches and sneakers, in t-shirts and in gladness- a long way from the beginning, from creation, but still catching some of the spirit.

© Brian Michael Barbeito 2012

Brian Michael Barbeito resides in Ontario, Canada. He is the author of Postprandial, a prose-poem novel, and of Windows without Glass, a collection of flash fiction. A Pushcart nominee, his work has appeared in or is forthcoming at Glossolalia, Mudjob, Lunatics Folly, Synchronized Chaos, Subtle Fiction, Linguistic Erosion, Crack the Spine, Otis Nebula, Bare Root, and other venues.


  1. Brian, your stuff is always so original and fresh. It's always a great pleasure to read you. I liked the use of bullets for the dialogue. Great idea, especially in flash fiction. And the two voices were, this sounds so cliche, but they were pitch perfect, man. Really, really well done.

  2. You caught me at 'beautiful type of black that sort of glistened' and I read the rest with much enjoyment, soaking up the atmosphere that you created.


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