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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Elena Callahan's Very Big Day Part Eight

Yeah, I'm so going there. Here's part seven.

Cobble's Monologue

“In the beginning was the word,” Cobble began, “and the word was ‘Fuck.’”

Elena nodded. She dropped into the chair hoping her hips would stop burning.

“‘Fuck’ was the proper response. Grandma.” Cobble dropped to one knee, took Elena’s hand in his. “You didn’t know this? You didn’t notice it happening?”

She was in her chair, which was comfortable, and she was sitting beside her window. The sunlight leaked in along with a soft cool breeze which stirred the curtains and stirred the fronds of her fern and stray hairs on her head. Below her, Mrs. Guzman’s ghost stared at the half-devoured corpses of the Leibowitzs.

“I’ve spent three days,” Cobble continued, “in the Cloisters. Three days. I don’t spend three days anywhere.”

More breeze. More listening. More decaying Leibowitzs.

“James was torn apart,” Cobble said.

Elena nodded.

“He loved me, you know. He loved me.” Cobble touched his cheek to Elena’s hand and tightened his grip. “He said he loved me. And I loved him, I did, I loved him even though I didn’t say it.”

Elena nodded. Breeze moving fronds. A Guzman ghost staring at corpses, glad not to be hearing a voice, missing a daughter, a husband, a body.

“So ‘fuck’ was all anyone could say. People we loved were torn apart in front of us and there was nothing we could do about it. Death all of a sudden, and the only thing you can do is stand there, say ‘fuck’ and then run like hell because you might mourn, right, you might want that loved one to be running with you but, fuck, you just saw that loved one torn apart and there’s no chance he’s running anywhere. You’re alone. You can run to safety or you can stay and be torn apart too.”

Elena nodded. Settled into her chair. Wished she had a nice cup of coffee to drink.


“So you run. I run. I ran. I ended up in the tower of the Cloisters with a few tourists from Omaha, you know, a few guys from Washington Heights, just people, just some people who’d lost or hadn’t lost, had survived and I don’t know... I don’t know. I don’t know who any of those people were but they were there, and we survived. We held off whatever was banging against the door, whatever, whatever was trying to use the elevator. On the second day, we raided the museum.”

Elena tightened her own hand. She leaned forward in her comfortable chair and grasped her grandson’s hand with both of her own. Squeezed.

“There are a lot of things in the museum you can use,” Cobble said. “Daggers. Swords. Suits of armor. Statues. Herbs. Heavy things, sharp things, holy things, projectiles. Things. We used them and I hope to hell they’re still using them since I left because being there for a few days....”

Cobble smiled.

Elena nodded. Her hair moved in the breeze from the window. Her desire for sugared coffee increased. Mrs. Guzman stopped feeling sorry for the Leibowitzs and started hating Cobble’s nasal voice.

“The thing is,” Cobble said, “Jesus has returned.”

Elena stopped nodding.

“Returned what?” she asked.

“Himself,” Cobble answered.

“Returned himself to what?” she asked.

“The world.” Cobble clutched Elena’s hand, Elena welcomed the breeze. “Jesus is back.”

“Oh, dear. He never seems to leave.”

“No. Grandma, he’s back. Everyone’s either been chosen for the Rapture, or left behind, or slaughtered. Don’t you watch TV?”

"Haven't we been through this already?"

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