Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Harp-like Strings Inside The Piano

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man

Don’t it always seem to go
That we don’t know what we’ve got
Till it’s gone

They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot

Big Yellow Taxi
Joni Mitchell

Legend is that Joni wrote that song about the death of her father.


I haven’t written much about death. One of my unpublished [damn it!] novels is a vampire novel. In my monster story, when the hero’s girlfriend is killed, becomes a vampire and is killed again, the hero, Andy, decides that he no longer wants to live himself. He resolves simply to walk into the underground lair of the vampires and allow them to kill him. When he is there, however, confronted by the monsters, literally face-to-face with death, he finds himself fighting back, struggling against the vampires, against the death he thought he’d welcome. Friends of his—Robert, Ginger, Cheryl—follow him underground and join him as he fights.

This is the final moment of the novel:

... The thing that hit the floor made very little noise. As Andy stepped over the remains, the clothing collapsed onto disintegrating bones.

Cheryl stood over the body of the second female vampire. The piece of wood Andy had tossed to her protruded from the vampire’s chest. A complete cross hung limply in Cheryl’s hand. Her flashlight lay on the floor next to the other dead female vampire.

Andy slowly moved his light from the vampire corpses to the cross in Cheryl’s hand. She turned to look at him. The circle of light moved to her neck. Andy touched the skin of her neck. Under his fingertips, Cheryl’s skin was warm. She raised her free hand and touched the inside of Andy’s wrist. Neither said anything. They felt, they listened to, each other’s pulse.

A strobe light flashed.

White lights danced above and around them.

Andy and Cheryl looked up. Expression returned to their faces.

Ginger, with Robert steadying her, stood taking pictures through the hole in the floor. Policemen with silver crosses dangling from their necks and shotguns and flashlights circled the hole.

“Man,” Robert shouted down, fixing Andy in a flashlight beam, “you’ve got some kind of serious problem.”

The strobe light on Ginger’s camera continued to cycle and flash.

Cheryl looked down. She saw the remains of the piano on the floor. With a sweeping motion of her foot, her toe struck the harp-like strings inside the piano.

Andy shook his head at Robert. “No way,” Andy said. His voice was rough as his throat recovered from the vampire’s strangle hold.

Cheryl kicked again at the strings.

“Life,” Andy said, upward, “is for the living.”

from “Too Weird A Romance of Corruption
By Mark Warrian [that’s me]

I guess I’ve written a little bit about death.


My Mom passed away Wednesday. She died peacefully in her own home, as comfortable as possible in her own room. Her beloved cat, Fluffy, was sleeping nearby.

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