Abt 6 Zawmb’yee Continues (ENTRY 80)


    I didn’t know how to couch my feelings. What had happened? Was I forgetting things — having blackouts? No, probably, I thought, just fatigue and exhaustion.
    For a while I wondered if I had actually gone to the Moose Café, but the phone rang.
    I felt panic, but reached for the phone on the end table, picked it up in trepidation. It was Chloë. She said, “Good job. Angela is pleased with our work, and we got the bank transfer, paid in full.”
    “Finally. And I went out there for nothing.”
    “No. Answering a client’s questions and concerns is always a good idea, and it helps our reputation for satisfaction … ”
    “Yeah, but I spent a lot of time — more than the project is worth.”
    “Hey. Just think of it as a down payment on a future project from a referral.”
    “I guess so. But … ”
    “Stop fretting. You did a great job and Angela said you were sick, so just relax for a few days and …”
    “You’ll never believe what … ”
    “Shush. Lie down, drink some warm milk or whatever … I’ve got another call. Gotta go. Bye.”
    I think Chloë has been a little too efficient sometimes. Words couched in concern, but cynical in execution.
    Maybe all this was language overload — trying to learn Utd’mbts and idiomatic English. I vowed to call the couch a sofa. But in any case, it was no place to rest.
    I went to Doug’s bedroom, and turned on the light to see that he looked dead in bed. I jumped on the bed. Doug opened his eyes and smiled. He said, “I was dreaming of you and here you are, gorgeous one. Can a council member give me a kiss?”
    “Yes.” I gave him a quick kiss.
    “What’s wrong?”
    “Um nothing. I finished the Moose Café project.”
    “That’s great. Finally. It was giving you a real headache. How is Angela?”
    “Oh she’s OK, but we didn’t talk much because … never mind. I need a vacation. Maybe I’ll just do my art work and take more acting lessons and … ”
    “Hey yeah: ‘You’re a class act’. I just learned that. Do you know that expression? ”
    “Thanks, yeah. I’m tired of language studies — I think I’ll just grunt … ”
    “And what a lovely grunt you have Grand… Oops sorry, I almost said ‘Grandma’. ”
    “You know, the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ story, except that I got the wrong character. You’re nothing like a wolf and … Oh sorry, I’m just rambling … ”
    “Uh well, before I forget, we have to discuss Ziohat. He’s … ”
    “What are you staring at?”
    “You’re so beautiful, so … ”
    “Not now … ”


Abt 6 Zawmb’yee Continues (ENTRY 79)

Zawmb’yee Nuje Rules! It is I, Zawmb’yee, Grand Council Member, who will write this blog:

     Today has been an odd day. This morning, Doug was so sweetly dreaming that I wanted to fondle him awake to rock me fondly before the sunrise might intrude with exigencies. But because he hadn’t slept for three days, I didn’t want to wake him at all. I fumbled around quietly, and in the bedroom got dressed in the dark. I had to go to the Moose Café. Having only to just reassure Angela about her marble table top, I thought casual nonchalance would be the best look for my accessories. I had the jewelry box on the night table, but didn’t want to turn on the light and wake Doug. The box had my bangle bracelets, rainbow-colors collection, with the blue one on top that I easily snatched. I started to push on my blue bangle, but it was hard to get over my hand. I thought I must be getting fat or my hands were hot and swollen or something. I thought, gee, I’m not going to be able to wear my favorite blue bangle anymore. I pushed hard for a while until it grudgingly slipped on. Feeling my way around, I got to my coat that was slumped on the chair in the corner, put it on, and rushed into the living room to call a cab. That was no problem, but then something odd happened. I remember getting into the cab and telling the driver the address for the Moose Café, but then I went blank. I woke up with the driver shouting at me, “Hey, Lady, we’re here.” I didn’t remember anything in-between. I was startled, but I looked up and there we were on Darling Street diagonally across from the Antique Shop, in the first parking spot past the street light, right in front of the Moose Café. I paid the driver, and marched to the entrance. I had my shoulder bag, and my Geiger counter.
     I went in. Angela was waiting. She said, “Hi, I’ll take your coat.”
     Taking my coat off, I said, “Don’t worry. We researched this: your marble counter tops are certified safe. But I brought a Geiger counter, and I’ll prove it to you.”
     Angela put my coat on the rack. She said, “Yeah, I know. I’ve calmed down since I last spoke to you … Hey, I like your purple bracelet — where did you get it?”
     “Huh? I’m wearing my favorite blue bangle.”
     “I think I know purple when I see it.”
     I looked down and saw that it was purple. “Oh,” I said, “I got dressed in the dark. I thought I put the blue one on.”
     “That’s funny. I’ve always wanted one of those. It has a very pretty design engraved in it. You can only get it in very exclusive boutiques — very expensive. I hope you got it on sale. But not everyone likes them: you have to get it an extra size bigger because it shrinks over time. So tell me the secret. Where’d you get it?”
     “Oh. I think Chloë gave it to me that night that we came back from the psychometry lecture at the Blue Attic Club. I don’t remember where Chloë got it from but Chloë has expensive tastes.”
     “Well, never mind — I could never afford it, even on sale. So, as long as you’re here, anyway, why don’t you try out your Geiger counter.”
     We walked over to a marble counter top, and I said, “Well, it’s going to click a little, but that’s just normal background radiation — see, I put the wand over the table and the meter stays in the normal range. OK?”
     “Yes, alright. I guess we’re done then.” Angela tossed her hair off her face, and ran her hand over the counter top.
     I started to feel dizzy. I said, “I don’t feel well. I have to sit down and … ” The next thing I knew, I woke up home again on the living room couch.
     — Zawmb’yee Nuje, *** Grand Council Member

Abt 6 Zawmb’yee Continues (Entry 77)

Zawmb’yee Nuje Rules! It is I, Zawmb’yee, Grand Council Member, who will write this blog:

     I think there are two good omens today; Utcoozhoo called to make it official: I’ve been appointed to the Grand Council to fill the vacancy left by Zusoiti. It’s only temporary, but I have all privileges and powers of a council member. And the other thing is that Doug has been writing his novel nonstop for three days straight. Well, that’s good, but he hasn’t gotten any sleep at all. I think I’ll wait a few more hours and tell him he’s got to stop and get some sleep. Maybe I should tell him that I’m dying to read it. If I can just take it from him and get him to lie on the bed, I’m sure he’ll fall right to sleep. Well, anyway, I have to meet Utcoozhoo now for my swearing-in ceremony and to receive my nipusindi (equipment, paraphernalia, and vestments of office). Doug should be ready for sleep by the time I get back.

     It’s been scary. I came back home after being sworn in. I didn’t realize how much power Council members are given, and how Utcoozhoo had to call in a lot of favors to get me appointed — I even heard some grumbling in the background: someone said, “She doesn’t even know Utd’mbts.” Utcoozhoo just needs another vote on the Council while Zusoiti is away to make some vital changes. He told me not to worry, and that I’d just do some ceremonial things until he needs my vote.
     Doug was still writing at his desk, drinking coffee and splashing water on his face after each page.
     I went back to organizing my closet. Utcoozhoo had seven large ancient hand carved chests, containing the nipusindi, delivered. I stuck five of them in the middle of the bedroom, heaved one, using a drawing board as a ramp, on top of the bed next to a pile of dresses, and dragged one into the closet. Before the chest arrived, I was going to dump out my old jewelry box and put all my rainbow bangle bracelets on a display rod. But there was some jewelry, ceremonial dresses, and shoes in the chest that didn’t really go with anything. So I became disorganized again.
     I carried some dresses and my old jewelry box into Doug’s bedroom. He was sitting on the bed still writing.
     He said, “More dresses? I thought you were organizing your closet?”
     “Well, I was, but I have seven new chests of stuff, most of which I haven’t even opened.”
     “Seven chests? Yeah, I wondered what all that noise was — I thought you were getting new furniture. What kind of chests?”
     “It’s nipusindi.”
     “Nipusindi? I thought that was for Grand Council members only?”
     “Guess what.”
     “I’ve been appointed to the Grand Council!”
     “Whoa. Really?”
     Doug finally put down his manuscript and smiled. I took off my shoes, stood on top of the bed, put my hands on my shoulders and then unfolded my arms in a regal gesture, palms up. Doug got up and took my hands and we jumped up and down on the bed, shouting “Hooray, hooray!”. Doug’s manuscript fell to the floor. Letting go of my hands, Doug did a seated trampoline landing.
     I said, “Leave it. You should get some sleep. Tomorrow we should talk about your friend Ziohat — his curiosity is getting to him again. You never should have teased him in the 1960’s with tales of secret caves. Just tell him it was a joke. ”
     Doug yawned, and said, “Well, OK. Um, he always wondered how I used to “disappear.” He’s always suspected their was a secret passageway from the party cave to the real one … and um, hmm, uh … I’m tired and uh …”
     I lay down next to Doug, touched his face. “Never mind about that now, ” I said.
     “Uh, well, umm, oh … Congratulations! You are uh …”
     Doug fell asleep. And somehow, yawn, so did I.
     — Zawmb’yee Nuje, *** Grand Council Member


She’s only been into books
with unicorns extinct, has
not out of books
found a derived life
inspired wild, riding
the instinct horses
of the apocalypse, has

not even hid her feelings
in a Trojan horse waiting
to gallivant between
the sleeping
harmless fools, because
she fears they’ll pop like
Jack-in-the-Boxes of childhood, has

not joined with her fellow Trojans in the
ballyhoo of victory nor has she been
to the Bali she read about, only has

exotic things in her mind that
never leave the leaves of the houseplant
engrossed in potted plots lit
by the light bulb and read
by buried tulips prettier than
two lips pursed in thoughts
as lonely as fallen nights
—Douglas Gilbert

Books by Douglas Gilbert

Drowning Memories

For you again
my river eyes:
over the banks
your memories
overflow the sob plains
my cheeks,
half-masted lids
stream thoughted,
unthroated scream
a murmur on salted lip corner

I can not stand
nor swim away.
A waterfall would
swallow me
if ever I would sleep
to see you drown
beyond entreaties

I told them
the heavens

Help her.

—Douglas Gilbert

Books by Douglas Gilbert