Part Four in the 'Visitations' series by Brother Grimace


Helen had to admit it; she looked wonderful in her little peach-colored cocktail dress, matching heels, and frilly little apron. The apron was a gift from Willow (funny, she mused, mixing the gin and vermouth just as her Jake liked it, that actually is her name and not a silly counterculture tag); their lovely daughter Quinn helped her pick out the outfit, along with her charming little friends... even that strange Sandi Griffin.

I hope that whatever her mother has isn't catching... Everyone's already wondering about what's going on in Linda Griffin's bedroom, and with who... she's far too masculine in the job she has, and I've already seen the looks that Sandi's been giving my adorable Quinn. I hope that she doesn't try anything, well, you know... dirty, and strange...

As she sashayed across the living room to the kitchen, where the fragrant smell of baking chicken (I have to watch out for Jacob's health, and fried chicken is just TOO unhealthy) led her across the spotless area and over to the gleaming oven door.

Perfect, she thought. Both Jacob and Quinn should be home within minutes, and I'll have their dinner ready for them. Quinn can have some lemonade with her dinner, or maybe even some root beer - after all, it is a special night, with the Sloanes coming over, and young Thomas going to propose to her... Oh, she's so lucky, finding such a wonderful catch, so handsome, and sure of himself; he'll know exactly what Quinn should do, and keep her in a wife's place, where she'll be so happy...

"Helen! I'm home!"

Helen all but glided through her home to the front door, radiant with pride as her Jacob, immaculate and stout, laid his briefcase on a table and headed for the pitcher of martinis. "No, Jacob, that's my job", she smiled, going over to pour the drink. "I'm certain that you've had a VERY strenuous day..."

"No more so than most," he said, finishing his martini and sweeping his wife into an impassioned embrace. "I don't know which is more enticing - the smell of that dinner, or the feel of you in my arms."

Helen's gentle smile and pronounced blush disappeared as the happy fog seemed to lift from her eyes, and she found herself in the arms of a well-dressed, nondescript man. "Mrs. Morgendorffer," he said lightly, as Helen's eyes went wide. "I've been waiting so long to meet you. Please, continue to dream."


"Who the hell are you?"


"A question you should ask yourself," he replied, smiling as Helen stepped away from him in a seething anger. "Who are you? You certainly don't carry yourself as though you really know... or, do you?"


"What the hell does that mean?"


"This... all of this. You know that this is not what you want... it offends you, every single thread of fabric, every scent of healthy food, the way you move through the house... Is the opinions of all those around you really so important?"


"I don't care what people think of me!"


"Of course you don't..." The man held up a strange, multi-colored device in his hand, and pressed several buttons –


Helen was suddenly lost in memory – no, this isn't just remembering, this is... it feels all so...


Helen began to relive a moment of her life from oh, so very long ago...


I just plopped down in a seat in the front row of the Cavilion Theatre, still sweaty from the walk with Mook, Ryvre, Paige (I'd almost forgotten that we used to call her 'Serenity'), Willow and Coyote... I took the top off my large Coke with extra ice and dug out a couple of cubes, putting them on my forehead and letting my head fall back.


Forbes had tagged along, her hand permanently stuck in Paige's as they sat together at the end of the row, while Mook, Willow and Coyote were devastating that HUGE three-gallon tub of buttered popcorn that was a specialty of the theatre. I watched the movie – I had a bit of interest – after all, Apollo I had just happened the year before, the 'space race' was on, and Mook had badgered us all into writing letters to NBC for that silly space show about the 'Enterprise' something. That Leonard Nimoy was sexy as all get out, though... even Page and Forbes thought so. The movie started – that shot of the bone going up and the spaceship coming down called too much attention to itself, in my opinion, although the audience certainly appreciated it, what with all the 'oooohs' and 'aaahhhhs' that it brought out of them...


That's when I felt a good kind of warm go through me; I turned my head, and Moonflower was sliding into the seat next to me.


"Hey, Lavender."


Folks sitting and laying on the theatre floor, smoking their joints. Paige and Forbes feeding one another popcorn (Forbes called her 'Paige', so she was moving away from her 'Serenity' handle – and she'd calmed down considerably, too. Willow and Coyote making 'kissy-faces' at them.

Moonflower brushed slightly against me as she reached for my soda without asking, and everything else faded off into the distance because of the sensations threading through every inch of me...

"Buy your own!"


I have no idea how those words managed to make it out of my mouth...


Coyote started making kissy-faces at us when Moonflower said, "I'll spring for the brew and eats later," and she threw a piece of ice at him. "Oh, stop it."


I curled up in my seat, and glanced over at her. "What were you up to this afternoon?"


"Had to do some work – I don't have much time in town."


"Tight schedule?"


The sipping sound Moonflower made caused even Paige and Forbes to look over, annoyed, and a kernel of popcorn flashed past her head. "Just like school on Saturday – no class," she said lightly, making sure the sound of her next sip could be heard in the last row. "Nice friends, Lavender. I guess we'll be eating Chinese alone... oh, man, I always wanted to see this movie in a theatre..."


"What – you're going to be stuck in a classroom for that long?"




"You talk like you'd never get to come out and see it!"


"Oh – well, yeah, I never really get much chance to go to the movies much anymore. I spend all my time in classes, or the lab, or studying, or writing up reports. Boy, I'm not going to see daylight for a year after I write this one up..."


"Write what up?"


"Write what up?"


"You said that you won't see daylight for a year after you write this up. What are you talking about?"


That's when the guy in the seat just behind us spoke up and tapped Moonflower on the shoulder. "Excuse me - some of us actually came to see the show up on the screen. Would you please just kiss her and let us watch the movie in peace?"


I remember the look on that guy's face as Moonflower turned around, looked that jerk right in the eye and said: "Excuse me. You should pay attention to something else." He looked back into her eyes and then shut right up; I looked at her as she shifted back into her seat, and said, "Now, that was impressive."




"Well... yes."




"Haven't looked in a mirror lately, have you?"


I don't know why I said that.


She looked over at me and said, in that tone of wonder and awe, "You think that I'm impressive...?"


"Yes... Yes. I do."


I turned back around and started to watch the movie. I could feel those eyes burrowing into me, and something inside me begged me to not turn back... I've always wondered what would have happened if I had listened, and did what I was supposed to when something like that happens... if, for the one time in my life, what I did – it was because it was exactly what I wanted, instead of being expected to by everybody else watching...


I didn't want an audience... not with her...


Suddenly – none of that mattered to me anymore.


The images on-screen began to take on all sorts of weird colors, lights, shapes and movement; Keir Dullea's eyes blinked on for a moment, and I don't know why I remember that... The lights begin to make the audience cheer and go wild; Mook was sitting and watching the film quietly, but began to come alive in his seat as the lights and colors began to get wilder (funny, he's the same way when it comes to sex), and I felt Moonflower's hand on my cheek. I let her turn my head back to her, slowly; I was looking into those large eyes, the way her eyelashes were so long, and that little bead of sweat that just hung from one eyelash like a tiny, shining Christmas bulb - yes, please, if you really want to, with me...


... It was our own tiny moment of forever, and we were there for ourselves; they were all so into their fantasy that they never noticed ...


...And that - that was the first time I kissed Moonflower.





"Too afraid of what others thing to allow yourself to care for and live in a way that would have made you happy."


Helen stood at the bottom of the stairwell, wearing her most conspicuous 'power suit'; her eyes wide as 'the man' ran his fingers across the edge of the front door. "Too repulsed and too independent to allow your self to live the live of a dutiful, happy homemaker. Too myopic to see that you won't get what you believe you really want out of like until it's far too late to enjoy it..."


The man opened the front door, then turned back to face Helen. "And you will never change. Goodbye, Mrs. Morgendorffer. We will not meet again."


Helen fought to force speech from her lips. "Who... are you?"


"You know who I am, Helen... and you've done my work far better than I could have ever hoped. You carry out my duties every day- and you do it so efficiently..."


"But, please... I don't understand-"


"Yes, you do understand... precisely why you do my work so well. Goodbye, Helen. When your time arrives, you probably will go to Heaven... because as we speak, you are serving your time in Hell."


The door closed.



Later that day, Daria arrived at home to find her mother sitting on the stairs.


Their eyes met.


Without speaking a word, Daria sat down next to her mother.



A long time passed before they spoke.



"You saw him."


"Yes. I saw him."



It was a long time before either Morgendorffer moved from the stairwell.





26 November 2006