Cosmic Dwellings is very proud to present the Blog Network’s crime-fighting short story serial entitled “GOLD1E” with the introduction of a very special female character in*Dedicated to the memory of Prince Rogers Nelson and his classic anthem*
Shading colors flood deep the stream,
Stirring an ocean of a musical dream.
The explosion seemed to occur during the second verse of the song – the one which conveyed a potential friendship and a great longing for something that could never be. She had been singing along with the car’s cassette player when the voice of Prince suddenly evaporated amid the turmoil of the plunge into the dark waters. She could only remember the crimson and violet shades in the sky, blending above the Manhattan skyline and the protruding glories of the World Trade Center: the natural vista of early spring.
Gradually, she realised the miracle of still being alive; unscathed from the freefalling vehicle plummeting from the ‘iron-mighty’ Brooklyn Bridge. She couldn’t comprehend how she had managed to unclip the seatbelt and escape. And all I ever wanted to do was sing –the thought adding an irrelevant flash of humor as the car began its journey one hundred feet to the riverbed – the choking pollution of the East River was surely not too healthy for one who was well-versed in vocal exercise. She should have been feeling the icy grating of the river, but the flowing anxiety within her veins kept it at bay.
The foaming waterline began to settle as sporadic clusters of bubbles popped above the vehicle’s whirlpool. She was uncertain whether the purple sheen of the water’s current was from the sky or the hazy glimmer of the car’s descending bodywork. Further realization shone its light and her mind began to race in time with her heart. She observed the shimmering ‘mirror’ around her: reflecting the early dusk which painted the silver streaks of windows and lights of Lower Manhattan. The gargantuan glistening of the World Trade Center; the antenna of the North Tower – a ‘beacon of hope’ – fading into the mauve-tinged heavens.
Another moment of realization became apparent as she knew she had to swim down into the riverbed for a purpose, but the distressed voice and the flailing splashes coming from the far right of her took precedence. She couldn’t move – a frozen moment between her thoughts and her voice rising across the current:
“Gil! Gil! Hang on! I’m comin’ to getcha!”
The helmeted figure now laying back in the water gave no indication of hearing her call. She felt helpless as she tried to swim over to the body: the helmet weighing it down and behind it the sinking handlebars of a motorcycle. She suddenly looked back in the direction of the car to try and get an angle on her bearings, and then continued toward the floating body:
“Gil! I’m here! I’m-gonna-get-you-out!” Her gurgling bellow flooded with more anxiety...
She froze once more. Then, sharply switched to her right, swirled back again, and then to her left: No body. Nothing. Her adrenalin gushed. She quickly swallowed the air and ducked under the water and channeled her inner strength – regularly honed through many hours of Karate and T’ai chi. As she opened her eyes the car was directly below her – embedded on its passenger side; she tried to focus her view but the misty river felt like needles. She thrust upwards; her torso rising to the top and the water finally cascading in every direction from the dripping dark locks – previously ‘golden’. Her vision now clearer. Still nothing. She caught her breath and dived again. Regaining her senses, the car was a considerable depth below her. Then, she became aware of the silhouette from the driver’s side of the vehicle: a blur of distress. The rush of stamina shimmied through the water as her legs pushed back and she hurriedly swam toward the car; her strength biting through her legs and arms as she soared through the numbness in the underwater ‘world’ of downtown East River.
The dusky glow across Manhattan appeared to illuminate her way onto the vehicle – a murky purple residue clearing her path of investigation. She expected to see the remnants of old trunks, tires, bikes and maybe a skeleton of some long-deceased unidentified mammal – or person! But her fleeting knowledge of the riverbed wasn’t greeted with any opposing obstacle of pollution. At the window, she could barely make out the blurred silhouette, but the shock hit her like a sharp splinter to the heart: the baby aloft in the woman’s arms as the water inside began to rise. She savagely frisked the handle – pulling, jerking, heaving as she steadied herself onto the side of the vehicle. Her breath frantically ascending to the waterline in a gargling froth. She looked in the window once more to see the woman’s pleading actions – motioning with the baby. And before she could further grasp the handle to try and get to them the sudden jolt to the back of her head forced her upward. The piercing grip against wet strands of hair; her eyes shut tight, her teeth clenching. Her body ascending and almost dancing with the waves of gargling froth. She kicked, punched, and tried to wriggle from the excruciating grasp above her…but no dice.
The recognition of the thud to her shoulder blades and then her jaw dropped open into the fresh air. The rattle of her throat – a spluttering ‘megaphone’. Soon, her mind focused as she lay on the jetty, unable to comprehend whereabouts on the East River she was now situated; the purple sheen of the early dusk had given way to the early evening darkness. Then the eyes of madness like two white lights descending from the sky, crazily reflecting down into her with an unbearable expression. She knew the face, she had seen it a thousand times before, maybe more. She also knew the force – succumbing to that overwhelming sensation of defeat. The big hand now covering her mouth, she tried to bite into its thick ‘leather’. The serene forces of her inner peace now trying to ‘speak’, caressing her thoughts against the evil ‘shroud’ upon her; the T’ai chi training was channeled, but she knew the karate training wanted to counter-attack and kill the bastard who was on top of her, forcing her to give in, forcing her…overcoming her…
Her hands persevered, then sliding free her karate instincts took the initiative: swinging upwards with her right elbow in a defensive swipe, and then the counter-attack with the lower edge of her left palm thudding into the side of the intruding jawline. The fingers of her right hand now upright – the precision penetrating the side of the cheek; the streams of darkness from the face blending with the evening shade. She attempted the same move with the outside edge of her closed fist, only to flail upwards into thin air. She tried to move her legs but they appeared weighted – she saw the eyes upon her once more, leering and boring into her from within the dark ‘streams’ of the face. The eyes: bloodshot mixed with the repulsive ‘sweat’ of determination, bitterness, and lust. She swung her left elbow in defense again and tried to follow through with her right but the two hands reached for the side of her head to grasp her hair and began to apply the unbearable pressure…her mind now more focused on the matter than ever before…calling on the techniques of her training to bode her well through the violation and then…the humming, ringing, buzzing sounds in her brain…the overwhelming piercing sound…her head shaking, trying to free herself of those hands…of that grip…of that pain… (continues below)…
…that buzzing…humming…ringing…droning…that pain of sound –
– The telephone’s cry for attention halted the sequence of the nightmare, jolting her back into a heart-thumping reality which was overwhelmed by a rising shrill that ‘jump-started’ her body. Her mind now racing for alertness. Her eyelids attempting to part as the twinge in her neck pierced her perspective. She tried again, but this time…slowly. She began to detect the presence of a dim light around her; the candle burning on the bedside table. Then, her eyes squinted on the moist fingers of her right hand: nightmares create their own sickly temperatures. She once again touched her forehead: the hairline now partially darker in contrast to the mussed-up flow of blonde draping around her shoulders of her crawling body. The telephone’s ‘song’ continued to woo the tune of her heartbeat as the duvet edged to its final drop onto the warm ‘landscape’ of purple. She suddenly stopped in mid-crawl and glanced into the double-mirrors of the closet doors side-on: the back of her firm thigh upright to the arch of her well-toned calf; the light blue nightshirt crawling back up to her waist. She grimaced and attempted to ease herself off the bed as the back of her shirt dropped and gently brushed around the tops of her thighs, and her feet clumsily padded through the bristly ‘jungle’ of fiber.
Squinting at the living room wall she was hoping to view the clock. She switched on the dimmers with yet another grimace, managing to register 19:15 with one eye closed. As she ran her hand through the muss of her hair a forlorn sigh accompanied the action. Trying to appear to be of respectable ‘invisibility’ to her caller, she finally picked up the cordless handset of ‘animated noise’ from its charger on the breakfast bar.
“Hello?” sleep still controlling as she cleared her throat into the mouthpiece, “I’m sorry…”
“Don’t apologize,” said the naturally husky-voiced female caller, “guess I woke you up?”
She focused on the voice then after a few seconds, replied:
“It’s about that time anyway…how are things?”
“Right on schedule…you got everything you need?”
More contemplations, and then the reply:
“Ready as I’ll ever be.”
Another silence on the line…then:
“I’ve just received confirmation that 22:15, I repeat 22:15 will be the approximate time for the ‘stoolie’…say it back to me…”
She momentarily cleared her throat away from the mouthpiece and then repeated into it:
“Approximately 22:15, that’s 2-2-1-5…for the ‘stoolie’.”
“Okay…all bases are covered…we’ve already been through the preliminaries…handle it the best way you know how.”
She nodded in agreement into the mouthpiece, swallowing hard and then acknowledging once more. Awakening.
“I’ll call you at O-one hundred.” The final confirmation.
“Affirmative,” she replied, half-surprised at her own use of the ‘phraseology’. Then, the hum of a dead phone line.
She replaced the handset. Almost awake now, she slowly scrunched her expression through the usual facial exercises – searching for a more clearer focus. Her consciousness didn’t have to search too far as it connected with the lurking intensity of the numbness now collecting somewhere between her heart and the pit of her stomach; her taste buds laced with a sour disapproval. 22:15, she thought and looked over at the wall clock once again; just under 3 hours. She gently rubbed her eyes, then yawned, and ran her fingers through a knot in her hair once more. Now awake; the sinking anxiety alive. She stood silent for a moment at the breakfast bar, observing the slits of streetlight reflecting through the window blind in the kitchen. From what she could view of the early evening of Lower Manhattan, she had been granted a calm night. She focused on trying to maintain a similar temperament.
The contents of the refrigerator held no source of comfort. The customary breakfast delights were on display: the eggs – usually poached and served over wheatmeal bread. The selection of fruits and almond butter and wheatgerm which are usually blended into a Berry-kale smoothie; the strawberries that are usually served on top of the heated oatmeal. She hadn’t been in any kind of mood to even contemplate shopping for food. She observed the carton of half-fat milk but was not impressed with the thought of percolating a cup of coffee. At lunchtime, she’d managed to stomach two cups plus a half-eaten ‘BLT’, and then cut short her break due to Sam’s inquisitiveness about her somewhat vacant manner. There was no fooling old Sam, he had known her long enough to know that she wasn’t experiencing her usual ‘let’s go get ’em’ type of day. She’d worked on a ‘smog’ test for a customer in the morning and attempted the administration ‘shuffling’ of invoices for the early part of the afternoon. She’d finished up around 3pm and felt the need to make her excuses to both Sam and Billy: “A spare part is required for a customer on the Upper East Side…we’re out of stock…” – not as though it was necessary to make any excuses about leaving early…she is the owner after all.
Making her way back into the living room with a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice, she reflected on how quickly she had succumbed to the regular nightmare of her slumber, so soon after her workout and shower. She had never slept at that time of day for a very long time. And now she felt like shit. The thick black diary of “1995” lay on the glass-topped coffee table, reminding her for today’s entry in her “life’s journal”, the various copies of which, over the past few years, had been stored in the safety deposit box at Bank of America – her designated home for such ‘note-taking’ possessions. She stretched out across the sofa onto her front and placed the diary on a cushion beneath her. She tried to get comfortable but was slightly annoyed at the short length of her nightshirt, but she put her irritability down to the fact that the least important matters had been taking a prominent stance against her judgment today. Then, flicking through the pages of MARCH in the diary she observed her notes of several world events which had occurred over the past month:
* Yahoo! The Internet Search Engine is launched.
* United Nations peacekeeping mission ends.
* Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov sets record for 438 days in outer space.
* Tupac Shakur – first male solo artist to reach No.1 on Billboard whilst imprisoned.
She continued to flick through to the 29th, unclipped the pen from under the spine of the cover and began to list the main elements of her nightmare while they were still fresh:
1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE…Color: ‘Plum Crazy Purple’…
The vehicle affectionately known as “Plum”. (She had purchased the car last year from a classic car company in Missouri and was in the process of engineering its restoration. She had already noted the irony of the car’s presence: always to be found driving/plunging from the Brooklyn Bridge – the route which is in contrasting ‘parallel’ to the reality of her usual route via the Manhattan Bridge, especially when travelling to and from the Auto Center across the river).
The ‘drowning man’ with the Harley-Davidson…
The handle bars sinking in the East River belonged to a certain machine – the shape appeared only too familiar: 1982 Harley-Davidson Wide Glide FXWG. (It was the motorcycle she’d inherited almost seven years ago – now her alternative form of transport and this very second waiting for her in the basement parking lot five floors below – parked next to “Plum”).
The silhouette of the woman with a baby…
The first occurrence of this image and very disturbing – both figures being trapped inside the car underwater. Symbolic.
The Demonic Eyes…
‘Beelzebub’. The violent reoccurring character…
She began to play the pen’s reflective tune on her pursed lips and then snapped the diary shut as the feelings began to stir again. Too many thoughts. She looked over her shoulder to check the time: 19:48. In doing so, she glimpsed the speck of white flesh behind her and shook her head impatiently thinking again about investing in a longer nightshirt. She replaced the pen in the spine of the diary, got up from the sofa and continued with T’ai Chi – yang style exercises. Preparation, she thought, standing in the center of the living room and stretching both arms above her head and then out to the side and down again, and rotated her neck first clockwise then anti-clockwise, shook her head and stretched her face muscles. Determination, another thought as she stretched her arms up once more, now slightly refreshed, steadied her breathing and then slowly placed her hands on her thighs. She attempted to diminish the thoughts of the night ahead, and then undertook a series of Chi Kung exercises. Meditation and Breathing. Focus, she thought.
She undid the rest of the buttons and let her shirt slither to the plush carpet as she walked back into the bedroom. She’d decided against taking another shower and that it was best to leave it until later when a deep cleansing bath would probably be the perfect solution. The closet door was ajar and she noticed her karate gi and the purple belt draped around it – the latter had been awarded to her a few weeks ago. The tough workout regime of the past year having paid off through the previous white and gold belt awards in the system of Chun Kuk Do – the kata in which she evolves. She lovingly clasped the belt and a flash of pride washed across her reflections: the discovery of the ‘Basic Stances’ including ‘Straddle’ and ‘Step-thru’. The traditional Hand Techniques of Punches which included ‘Jab’ (Back stance) and ‘Reverse Punch’. Other techniques formed the picture: Blocks, Kicks, Falls & Rolls, Basic One-Steps, Self Defense, Jumping Kicks and last but not least, the manner in which everything is combined: Attitude. The United Fighting Arts Federation’s 3rd ‘Code of Ethics’ came to mind: “I will give so much to the improvements of myself that I will have no time to criticize others.” Followed by their 6th ‘Code of Ethics’: “I shall develop myself to the maximum of my potential in all ways.” Three days a week, her gi and belt were zipped in a clothing cover and along with her sports bag were placed across the back seat of her car and taken to the Auto Center, ready for the evening’s workout directly after the day’s work. However, today, the workout apparel had stayed home; today was alien to the weekly routine…
Opening the door of the closet, she noted the black vest top and black jeans – “The camouflage of night, burglar’s delight!” she amused herself. Looking in the mirror she observed herself. Camouflage, she thought. Her eyes almost lit up with the idea that caused her to raid the closet. A few minutes later she finally found it: a torn and faded patch of the New York Giants logo was almost crawling off the front of the baseball cap. She took a firm grip of the patch and tore. Then, nodding in agreement with her handiwork, she bent forward and gathered her hair up in a bunch and placed the cap on her head. She made the necessary adjustments as she swung her head from side to side checking that the very minimum of blonde strands stuck out. She continued dressing.
Running her hands up and down the thighs and backside of the close-fitting jeans confirming manoeuvrability, she then pulled on the black knee-length boots over the jeans. The final piece of ‘clothing’ was hanging from the bedrail: the black leather holster that held the Beretta M9, its silencer and spare magazine cartridge. She pulled on the firm-fitting holster – a contraption that appeared to further highlight her voluptuousness. She took out the weapon and loaded, then reloaded twice more in succession. Then pointing the gun at herself in the closet mirror she checked her stance and the gun’s aim. She smiled, remembering all those evenings watching ‘Starsky & Hutch’, ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and re-runs of ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E’ when she was a kid. And why couldn’t I just learn to play with dollies and their dolls’ houses, she shook her head, as she thought about the license she had been handed last Fall – the reward for top marksmanship. Firmly placing the gun back in the holster, she reached inside the closet once more for the black leather jacket – the one with the minimum decoration of silver studs – ideal for nighttime… (continues below)…
With one final scan of the bedroom, she blew out the candle on the table and went back into the living room. The polished black motorcycle helmet seated on a chair in the corner of the apartment was waiting to protect her on the journey to the destination. She took off the baseball cap, folded it and tucked it inside her belt. Suddenly the blood rush of anxiety began to bubble again. She remained standing in the middle of the room. Eyes closed. Breath control. Silence. Then, opening her eyes, the clock greeted her: 20:38. Instinctively she looked over towards the storage cabinet which housed the framed ‘frozen memories’ – each displaying elements of both happiness and heartache. She tentatively walked towards them as though the mere vibration of a footstep would cause those ‘memories’ to shatter into tiny pieces all around her.
The photograph taken when she was 15 years old at the start of summer, 1983: the roadie and sound engineer of the popular band, ‘Django’s Rock’ had snapped this on the day she left the tiny village on the outskirts of Marin County, California – her birthplace. She remembers solemnly declaring to the roadie at a local gig how she had to get out of the place. She reflected on how he must have sensed a yearning within her statement. He’d asked her if she was in any kind of trouble, but she’d stated that it was simply the reason of being unable to get along with her family. The family who had adopted her when she was 4 years old, after the automobile death of her mother. Subsequently, a few days after the conversation with the roadie, he’d arranged for her to hitch a ride on the band’s tour bus as they embarked on a series of cross-country ‘one-nighters’. Along the route of which, they discovered she had a singing voice.
The photograph of her taken with Dora Lennox – an old friend she hadn’t seen for a while. Dora was the feisty music lover whom ‘Django’s Rock’ had picked up near Charleston, South Carolina en route to New York a couple of days after the gig in which she had made her one song ‘debut’. She smiled at the thought of how apt the song title had been: “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”. Sung as a fine homage to ‘The Runaways’ – the apt name of the band, and one of many bands, that she admired. She thought about the time thereafter when she and Dora set up apartment together. Dora would best be described in the music business as a ‘groupie’. But, she sure would like to see her again.
The photographs taken with ‘Bluesmeister General’ and ‘Manhattan Dreamscape’ – the two bands who had befriended her ever since arriving in New York City all those years ago. And, the next photograph taken with all-girl metal outfit, ‘Demolition Skool’. She had met them last August at the festival to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Woodstock and they had been trying to persuade her to sing with them ever since.
She looked at the next three photographs with the great love and affection that had been a prominent force in her life for just over a decade. She remembers recording the moments in the journals of an earlier time:
“Had my picture taken with Gil at the garage – me behind him on the back of his Harley…”
“Took a picture of Gil working on a ‘mauve’ colored 1971 Ford Mustang which looked like ‘Eleanor’ from ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’!”
“Gil and I had our picture taken together on the ‘Top of the World’ – the observation deck of World Trade Center 2 – just after he proposed to me! We are both on ‘top of the world’ – literally! I love him so much…”
The man who ties all these photographic memories together. The man who was almost a decade older than she. The man who instilled in her the drive and determination to be a success. The man who taught her how to handle the engine of any automobile. The man who had now been deceased almost 7 years. The man she still loved dearly.
She quickly turned to the Gibson J-200 – lovingly placed in its stand at the side of the cabinet. He had taught her how to play a few chords along with its maintenance. She had regularly polished the guitar when they settled into married life in the Upper East Side, and maintained that love and care to this very day. She remembered how he had taken her to see the film, “Purple Rain” on one of their very first dates, and how he had always loved to accompany her when she sang the title song at home. Furthermore, he had been responsible for arranging ‘Bluesmeister General’ to accompany her at a gig one time. She remembered his great sense of pride and jubilation on that night. Her thoughts then turned to the 5th ‘Code of Ethics’ of Chun Kuk Do:
“I shall continually work at developing love, happiness, and loyalty in my family and acknowledge that no other success can compensate for failure in the home.”
She observed the word “family” and thought about what it should have actually meant to her today. But that was never achieved. She gently thumbed across the fretboard of the guitar: the melancholy chime she’d heard many times before on lonely evenings. But this evening was a different kind of ‘lonely’. She felt the blood starting to rush once again: 21:04. It was now time.
Walking into the kitchen she picked up the ‘gimmick’ from the countertop: the violet Calla Lillies bunched inside the pretty cream-colored wrapping that she’d purchased earlier on the way home from work. Won’t be needing that, she thought as she stripped the covering from the flowers and threw it in the bin. She then placed the Lillies in the right-side of her jacket and pulled up the zipper. Walking into the living room she picked up her keys and leather gloves from the coffee table and then retrieved her motorcycle helmet from the chair. Opening the door that lead into the hallway, she stopped and turned around. She scanned the three certificates which acknowledged her current expertise in her chosen field of martial arts – hanging and polished with great pride of place. Above the alcove was the framed movie poster of “Purple Rain”, inside the alcove was the framed psychedelic homage to ‘Woodstock’ ’69. Below that perched the hi-fi which catered for both her CD collection and Gil’s vast collection of vinyl. She thought about her recent ‘grunge’ and hard rock purchases and how they complimented her late husband’s selections: Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, Cypress Hill, Green Day, Aerosmith, Guns N’Roses, Primal Scream and an album by a new British band called Oasis.
The final object she glimpsed before dimming the lights was the large framed photo – dominating most of the wall next to the door – featuring Thurman and Travolta doing that dance in a scene from last year’s “Pulp Fiction”. And all I ever wanted to do was sing, she thought as she suddenly became more aware of the loaded metal inside her jacket. Ready. The blood rush toward her destination had begun…
THE FINAL PART OF “A PURPLE REIGN” CAN BE ACCESSED VIA THE WATTPAD PROMO LINK BELOW…
“GOLD1E” / “A Purple Reign” characters and contents – Copyright ©2012, 2013, 2014 by Tony G. Marshall and Cosmic Dwellings. All Rights Reserved.
The Final part of
“A Purple Reign” can be viewed at the following link:
You can now listen to “FAMILY PERSUASION” a.k.a. “GOLD1E’s THEME” by
Bing Satellites which is an adapted variation of “The Persuaders!” theme at the following link: