“A Day in the Life of Melanie Graves” By Leyla Ulku

Melanie Graves woke up to a cat purring on her lap. Another one sat on a lampshade, while yet another crawled up the curtains. Two were trying to bite each other’s faces off. There were 6 more unaccounted for, but at least half were probably dead, knowing the caretaking capabilities of their owner. Once upon a time, she was happily in love and married to a nice young man. They both grew old and weathered together. When that nice young man died, she became happily in love with her cats, which she collected like baseball cards. She also talked to the cats as if they were her long dead husband, which was probably a major reason for why she might never have any guests. There were many animal abuse service letters that papered the walls in the hallway, as she never could find a better place for them.

Melanie got up and stretched, then put on a flower-print dress and a red wooly sweater. She ran a comb through her quickly thinning white hair and put a cat on her shoulder. She also grabbed another cat by the leg and put it on top of her head to let it nest in her hair. Her hair was quite thin, so the cats compensated for it, and they were always warm, which was a plus.

“Now, my beautiful kitties, we are going out for a walk!” Melanie cooed to her cats, which yowled angrily in return.  She started down the stairs to the main level of the complex.  “I know, I know you love me, kitties-” Then she started to walk across the street. The cats yowled and started to fight, much to Melanie’s dismay. “You two will stop it right now and-” Splat. Melanie Graves was no more. She died doing what she loved most; talking to her cats.

An old man groaned in disgust. The deceased’s bodily fluids (namely, blood and liquefied guts) had become a projectile, and they splattered quite neatly onto the old man’s blue tracksuit. In one hand, he clutched a ruined sandwich, and in the other, a pair of old-lady-and-cat-guts coated expensive wraparound sunglasses.

“She had the GALL to RUIN my appetite AND my sunglasses?” The old man handed the sandwich off to his left-hand-bird. “Go home, Frank, and feed your family.” The pigeon cocked its head meaningfully, and then took off with the partially eaten sandwich. He handed the sunglasses off to the right-hand-bird, which flapped away with much trouble. It eventually fell into a gutter.

“Now, my name is Marshall Dent. I am the old man whose appetite was ruined. I know everything.

“Okay, okay, I know, I know. “It’s impossible to know EVERYTHING,” you say. That may be true for YOU and YOUR intellectual capabilities, but I’ve seen a few things. Everything, in fact, since 456 B.C. “But how did nobody notice?” you ask. My question to YOU is how do you never notice politicians doing stupid things and then get OUTRAGED by them later on when you’re notified by that stupid, hippie-run Huffington Post?”

Marshall sighed and shook his head. “Let us move on to Central Park, where nobody notices people talking to themselves.” Marshall then proceeded to get hit by 6 taxis while crossing the busy street VERY slowly. Angry yelling came after him, but Marshall just waved off the abuse. “Been threatened before, with worse.”

Marshall arrived in Central Park, and sat down on an available bench. “I could spoil the years ahead of you, y ’know. Freddie Mercury dies in a few days, and David Bowie in a few years. No flying cars or hover boards in 2015. Donald Trump becomes President of the US in

2017. I could go on, and you might just think that I could be making things up, but in a few years, you’ll see.” He grabbed a pigeon from the ground and placed it on his head, where it proceeded to try to peck out Marshall’s eyes. One bench over, there was an aging woman, who looked confused as to why she was dressed up in a formal dress and hat. A young male approached her, and Marshall made a small sign to a pigeon, which in turn, pecked at the young man’s foot at an exhausting rate.

“Get OFF of me, you little-” The man’s words were obscured by the flock of pigeons all attacking him at the same time. He flapped his arms in agony, further ruffling the feathers-pun intended- of his assailants. The aging woman looked gratefully in Marshall’s direction, but he had disappeared.

“Now do you believe me? That guy was about to mug that innocent woman.” Marshall whispered from behind a tree. “Come over here. I need to run my errands. You can come with me.” He pushed an invisible button within the tree, and the tree’s bark peeled off grudgingly, revealing a rickety elevator. Marshall climbed in, and cut the rope that was suspending the elevator.

The doors opened up slowly, revealing a rainforest themed room. Birds chirped, and trees loomed over the old man’s head. A leopard pounced from the lush undergrowth, but Marshall just dodged it with a step.

“Always happens. Very predictable,” Marshall explained. “Over time, we’ve become good pals, even if the pigeons don’t like ‘I’m very much. He’s not very smart, either.” He stepped over a ditch hidden under turf. The leopard made a running leap and crossed the ditch effortlessly, just get caught in a bear trap. It growled, and pawed the trap. “Always forgets it’s there.”

At the other end of the room was an iron door. Marshall put both of his hands on it, and it unlatched to reveal a marketplace. Marshall motioned for an invisible person to come in.

The market place was wonderful. There was the scent of rich and exotic spices wafting through the air. The wails of lost children and pets pierced the air, and the wails of lost parents joined them. The number of people seemed to double by the second. Near the entrance was a mermaid floating lazily in a pool. She looked like a piece of melted cheese, and her rubbery complexion and yellow-tinted skin (and scales) just added to the overall effect.

“Hey! You ovah theyah! Yeah, thah pigeon one!” they called out. Definitely not a she.  Marshall shrugged and trotted over with his pigeons. “D’yah got anything tah trade?” Marshall shook his head suspiciously. “Well, ah mean, yah look like a man who needs a little mo’ death in his life, yah know what ah mean?” A pigeon landed in his/her tank, accidentally. It died immediately.

Marshall just pulled his pigeons close and walked away, looking back briefly to watch him/her light up a cigarette and cough like there was no tomorrow. He grimaced and walked through the market of oddities, occasionally waving to the owners of the booths he frequented. At last, Marshall and the pigeons reached their destination. The End.

Not the end of anything in particular. It was just what everyone called the last stall, and for good reason.

See, at this stall, one of the rarest elements of the magical world was sold. Something so rare that people were known to pay arms and legs for the vial. See, this priceless element was known to cause immortality- or to cure it.

Marshall made daily visits to The End. A dark and suspicious character with a long, mysterious backstory owned the stall.

“The ssssame thing assss alwaysss, Marssshhhall?” The vendor asked in a deep, grating voice. It wore a dark turban covering its head in its hideous entirety, save for the eyes, which had a malicious glint in them. It also wore a long, baggy robe, and thick gloves. It uncorked a dark vial, and poured it into a basin.

“Yes, yes. They’re almost done dying. My time is also coming to an end soon, I’m afraid.” Marshall sighed. “Might as well get on with it, they’re getting quite impatient. How is your wife?” The elderly man motioned for the pigeons to hop into the ever darkening tub, which they did. He stroked the heads of both his right and left hand birds, as they laid dying, for not only did the mineral cure immortality, but when added to water, it was fatal. Soon the pigeons were dead. Marshall held out the payment for the treatment, then left the market altogether.

He went up to his bench in Central Park, just in time to watch the sunrise (granted, the pollution was terrible even then, so it was a bit hard to watch).

His pigeons were dead and up in pigeon heaven.

And him?

Well, he was still among the living.

His time would come soon enough.

 

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