Sunday, July 25, 2004

Vocal Garb: Summer 2003

Jasmine sat on a hard cushion, silhouetted, observing the waves dropping down along the silted beach in a frequent drifting motion as if from a slow turbine engine further out to sea.  Her pleasure grew as she witnessed this industry; it touched her sense of uniqueness and it suggested an augury of sleep.  She sat high up on a crest following down the side of the pier, on one of the seats among many that would allow passive whimsy, and a view taking in the red sandstone bay, if one was lucky enough to be facing inland for any time period.  She ceased her bag dizzily thrown at the foot of her chair, at precisely the same time a mysterious grandee from the pier entertainment committee decided to interrupt her from this merry enchantment.
              “Good day to you madam!” he ventured, as a sycophantic overture to lead into something he was not quite sure would have any import to the lady.
              Jasmine noticed his top hat was considerably lopsided and needed pulling straight immediately, lest he courted instant ridicule from the frowning children being towed along by their parents, who seemed as foreign to them as the Kaiser, determined to plod into every vertex of the pier in time with the ambient slow march permanently emanating from the corps of bona fide musicians, distracting the prom at moments of pressure during the high seasoned afternoon, such as this one first described.
              “How has your afternoon been so far, eh?  The weather has been quite admirable this afternoon”.  His opened mouth shut down immediately tightly in a show of conflict surrounding what he was about. 
              Next he shoved his hat into his open hands and stood back to allow Jasmine to raise herself, as she had already had enough – frond after frond of her large pearl white dress plummeted down lackadaisically under its own weight and then immediately after rose up skyward, a mountain with a feathered summit.    This garment was disastrously too substantial for the dingy heat in which the grandee was evidently finding hard himself to bare too quickly. 
              However, on her vaulted throat lay a cooler adornment than the sun that began to resonate freely in the midday heat, a green stone of beryl resting there on the tide of its owner’s breath, in matching colour to the floating orbs with which she could avail herself of to set eyes upon her future cares.  The gem was symmetrically placed in a golden cradle, plumed to match her dress line inlaid around in countless spirals of bindweed swirls.
              Tired of the potential conversation before it had even begun, Jasmine crossed the decking to prove she wasn’t prepared to sit demurely while this salesman tried to pitch his wares – for that is what she assumed he was his intended aim.        
              “Go away, stop following me you fool,” she commanded, “my father is just around the corner”: a rather two-dimensional response to a common irritant, she knew this very well, she had misgivings about selling him a rebuff of more flattering sophistry, due to the undignified manner with which he had plied her will in the first place. 
              The man had now started to deliberately move in her direction, finding it difficult to convene open rapid eye contact.  Her elongated dress got caught beneath her feet disastrously, as she grappled with a floral display that had overgrown onto the steps of the “Golden Ballroom”.  A long arm caught her by the shoulder to prevent her from completely sliding forwards onto her abdomen; it was quite a reflexive display of acrobatics for the man to prevent a true upset.  Both her feet, in gradual abeyance, had become entwined amongst the ground splurge of dynamic Spanish posies that had now crept up her floral wear.
              “Impudent man”, she yelled, “get off me, or I’ll call the police.”
               “I think rather, it will be me calling the police; you stole that”, he pointed at the jewel garnishing her upper person, being the only real object of his attention during this whole confrontation.
              “Its mine, its mine, its mine”, she kept rejoined increasingly loudly so that the man knew that it was time to give way under pressure.  Unfortunately, his will was unrelenting on this point of issue.
              The frenzy of activity was already interrupting the band’s rendition of a light overture, the woodwinds flicking in and out on the wind like a late song-bird; furthermore some of the cyclical movement around the pier paused to investigate these partners exchanging their words of unqualified avarice.
              “It was part of a caprice at the end of the pier, you were watched lifting it from the display; I’ll take it away now, without resort to force, and perhaps then I may be mollified”, he rasped thickly under a mouthful of air.
              Jasmine wrestled with him, high kicking his top-notch hat to the ground with some degree of knotted violence, stamping on his polished sneakers with demented pleasure and in that manner of proceeding, bowled him over by wielding her head as an intrinsic weapon to flatten his rotund figure.
              “Are you kidding!” shrieked a floating bystander, “this is like the fighting cocks at the ‘Morning Glory’, this is”.
              Another dame sidled up for a peek with a view to stir her version of the pot.
“She stole it, she stole it, it was she”, she wailed grotesquely.
              By now there was a sizable crowd jostling for a look at the lady cynosure, transforming the whole affair into some sort of spectator sport.  From within the bullring Jasmine tore out through from the circle’s cusp with her shoulders flaying in mid air – the terror was mounting and her eyes jerked open and shut upon dismay.  Somebody who reached to grab her giant dress drew in a starry momentary look of green from eyes defined by anger’s repulse; they shone, faded out, and rekindled brightly, so whoever held her tightly now was forced to look away abashed of her passionate vehemence.      
              “Give me the trinket, come on give back my prize, it was shipped to us all the way from Greece”, the new arrival voiced – he turned out to own the affronted booth that contained the pilfered item that had now come to hang from the neck of the frightened woman.  But her own determination overtook her unvarying rage
              Jasmine careered to one side jauntily, then fled from the gesticulating throng, and dangled for a slight moment over the side of the pier, her dress swishing in the air like an elongated tail and after jumped casually over the railings to join the sea; her garments, hat and all else beside.  Jasmine carried herself out to sea in a kind of floating swim and then down under the waters with only the sight of her following dress crashing over by means of a fleeting flip-flopping motion.  How far the waves had carried her, nobody would surmise, though up she came some way off, father into the misty distance with a short cavort and a wave from her hand.  Finally, yet once more, down she bobbed to head for her own territory of foreign intrigue to those gathered there on the wooden decks of the summer pier.
              Plenty stalked this mystery encounter whilst others decided to trudge back to see if the pendant had really gone from all the miscellany of items to be won by the tourist guests coursing in their fairground delight, but they found that nothing had actually been taken, everything glittering stood just as before in wraps of olive silk: Chimera masks; Olympic rings; bracelets that bore the effigy of Pegasus; golden statues of Grecian nymphets; patterned rags for tables and the beryl jewel still winking in the sunlight gracefully amongst many the same such bejewelled curiosities qualified to amuse the cantankerous public frame of mind.
              It was universally declared by all, that Jasmine had perpetrated no such crime as to rip away stolen items from all those who sought to sell tacky sorts of imitation souvenirs, designed expressly for the type of holiday goer premeditated to impress the holiday allure, although no such apology was offered or granted by the functionaries of the pier.  They kept a continued silent vigil a propos the watery actuality that at once befell the emeritus Jasmine but in spite of all, no mention was made in relation to the thieving action and as for Jasmine, she swam and swam away to her maker underneath the depths of the stirring sea.


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