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Believe This!

fantasy by Blythe Ayne

“Yeah, I can believe that,” the lanky delivery guy said as he plopped a pile of cartons marked “FRAGILE” in big, red, block letters down on the floor… fragile ceramics and pottery I’d been waiting and waiting and waiting for, for weeks.

I tore my eyes away from the pile of undoubtedly shattered artifacts and looked at him.  “What?”

“Yeah,” he said, grinning.  Cute in a vapid, scruffy, self-centered way.  He put his hand to his Bluetooth to let me know he had something more important than either me or my delivery taking his attention.  “I can believe that.”

He held out his signature box for me to scribble an electronic signature.  At that moment, the top carton teetered and fell to the floor.

“Whoops!” he said.  Then chuckled. “Yeah, I can believe that.  No shit, yeah.”

Although he’d been looking at me, he hadn’t really been looking at me – it was that sort of defocused stare people have when they’re hypnotized or sleep walking.  Now he focused.

“Hey,” he said, “I think I gotta go – I’ll get back to ya.”  He shoved the box at me again. “Signature, please.”  He strained to be polite.  He had the energy of an over-sized, tail-wagging dog in Grandma’s knick-knack-filled parlor.  I wanted him gone as much as he did.

“Are you aware of having dropped valuable art objects on the floor?”  My heart pounded.  Nothing, nothing, nothing makes me more miserable than confrontation.

He shrugged.  “They’re okay.”

“I’ve called your office about this delivery six times!”

“Yeah.  I can believe that.  But I gotta have your signature – I got a lot of deliveries.  Have a heart.”

“You’re not going anywhere before I open these cartons.”  I engaged my “I mean business” voice to its limits.  I didn’t even convince myself.

I went to the back and got a box cutter.  As I returned, the sun, slanting through the window, shot through the new art glass that came in yesterday – its deep indigo blues and wild oranges cast fingers of bold light across the art gallery.  How I loved this place!  Even though I’d given up a lucrative career as a graphic designer in a big prepress firm to open my own gallery, it was worth it every second of every day.

I opened the first carton – the one that fell to the floor.  With the opening of the carton exhaled the heady fragrance of plumeria.  I pulled out a gorgeous terra cotta Pele.  Perfectly intact.  Amazing – she ought to have been shattered.

Carton after carton I drew out a stunning array of goddesses, each more beautiful and powerful than the previous.  Each carton I slit open released an exotic fragrance from places as far flung as the goddess figurines themselves – not a chip on a single one… miraculous!

Back on his phone, the delivery guy fidgeted around the gallery, prowling back and forth in the indigo and orange light, barely tolerating my careful examination of each artifact.  I despised his nervous energy thrashing among the delicate art, and longed for him to shut up and stop moving.

“Yeah, I can believe that,” he said, yet again.

What a dufus!  I came to the last carton.  Slitting the tape, pulling back the box flap, I  beheld a blue glaze Kali.  The aroma accompanying her was not sweet. It was sulfuric.  Strange to say, that scent matched my feelings.  She stood the tallest of the array of little goddesses at fourteen inches.  Her terrifying beauty in full wrathful stance, one foot on a skull, her other foot raised as if to step right out of the carton.

And, in fact, that’s what she did.  She stepped out onto the floor, the other goddesses gathering behind her.  They moved toward the delivery guy, his back to us, jabbering away on his phone.  As they moved, the beautiful indigo and orange light filtering through the art glass ran together, flowing into molten browns and grays right before my eyes – and the delivery guy’s eyes too, but his self-absorption kept him oblivious.

The goddesses flew upon him with strange and lightning speed.  He yelled inarticulately, batting at them, his Bluetooth dislodged and slammed into the wall across the room.

I stood, grounded to the spot, bewitched.

Kali wrested the signature box from his hand, jumped on his shoulder and smacked him on the head until he slumped into unconsciousness.

“Believe that!” she said in unvarnished disgust.  Aghast as I was at the violence, I experienced a weird, calm satisfaction.

The goddesses returned to where I’d first set them and resumed their ceramic state, while the indigo and orange light flowed over the lanky delivery guy, finally quiet and still.

Copyright October 2010 by Blythe Ayne

Blythe Ayne, Ph.D. , lives on ten acres of forest in the state of Washington. She  is an author, artist, book doctor, and distance writing instructor for the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.  Her short stories, poetry, nonfiction, art and photography have appeared in over one-hundred mainstream, literary, and genre publications.

[Return to the October 2010 stories]

3 Responses

  1. […] Believe This! […]

  2. “He put his hand to his Bluetooth to let me know he had something more important than either me or my delivery taking his attention.” You had me hoping for his demise from this point forward!

  3. lol, this is my kind of story. ^^

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