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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Deus ex Machina. By John von Daler

                "I just want to help you gain some kind of credibility," he said, and pushed open the door to the little health food cafe. Trying not to strife his outstretched right arm across her bare back, she stepped in front of him and turned around in midstep to look at him over her shoulder. Then she moved out onto the first of three steps that led down to the sidewalk.



                "But this is fantasy. You always say, Use your imagination! Anything is possible. Ummm... The sky is not the limit! Be weird if you want to! She did an excellent imitation of his effervescent lecturing manner while negotiating the two other steps, her head still cocked back toward him.
                He skipped down the steps after her. Her imitation of him had been too good.
                "You can write anything you want. But somehow you have to make the reader believe it. For me a deus ex machina - like the mother who comes into the bedroom to do her cleaning right at the moment the girl is about to give herself up to her teacher - seems too unlikely. Or are you trying to convey that the girl knew the mother might come in and therefore could have her cake and eat it too, excuse my metaphor, knowing that she could never go through with a sexual encounter at home, in the morning, her mother being there and all?"
                The young woman walked to the right down the sidewalk as the older man took two quick strides to get up to her and then fell in step. She shook her head, throwing back the hair that had fallen from her brow across her eyes.
                He thought, Wonder why women don't do their hair so that they can see without having to toss it back? while she was thinking, I did it at home that morning all right, but he was not my teacher. Mother just walked past the door, two or three times as I lay there groaning. I would have killed her if she had come in.
              Then she looked up at him. "I think I'm trying to convey that opposites happen, contrasts co-exist easily, shit happens or whatever."
                He looked back wondering what sounds she might make in ecstasy, mother or no mother. A magpie cawed and flew up from a garbage bin beside a bench.
                They walked in silence a while.
                "I don't think I am explaining this very well. You could come up and have a cup of coffee," he looked at his watch, "I have another appointment at one p.m., but I would be happy to work through this with you until, say, ten to one."
                "Work through", she thought. They reached some scaffolding half-covered with plastic that was being set up in front of a large apartment building from the turn of the century. She thought, Oh what the hell. I bet he lives here. Maybe that's why we had lunch so close by. Ok. Why not.
             Just as she looked up at him to answer, a large metal railing from the scaffolding fell from the second floor and hit him. She could not see where it hit or how, but suddenly he lay in front of her on the sidewalk, moaning. The piece of steel lay on the sidewalk beside him. Workmen scrambled down from the scaffold.
                She called an ambulance and drove with him to the hospital, waiting there until his wife showed up. Afterwards, she went by bus to her room on the other side of town. She paced around for a while in the little, combined bedroom, kitchen, study, and living quarters. Then she went over to her computer and moved her story from its file to the virtual garbage bin and pushed empty trash.

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