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Claudine Jones-Scene4 Magazine

Claudine Jones

In Harm's Way

Since I returned from France, waiting for the music season to begin again I've done something until recently back-shelved: I've begun reading an entire novel in French, & it's working. My brain seems not to have gotten the message that English overrides all. The fact that I can click on any word & instantly receive a dictionary definition does not hurt; it soothes—even though I have to figure out what the definition means since we're still in French—it's okay, it works, & there's no anticipatory dread, no exam, no critique. The air is clean.

The great-great-great-grandson of the resident uber-decimator-squirrel has begun gnawing the deck; I can see him down there from my secret vantage point. I lightly tap once on the window with a fingernail & he stops, sits up alert. I tap again & he gives up on the wood, pivots & jumps to the iron rack where I keep my empty pots, nearly topples Jacob's 1st grade gift to me—the mother's day pot with my name nammie on the side—I silently curse since it's early & people are still asleep. Usually I bang with my fist, slam open the big sliding window at the corner of the room & yell beat it you little fucker until he runs & escapes off into the trees.

This time he thought he had me; didn't know I'd be up early, reading French, aware of my surroundings. He jumps safely from the nammie pot, off the rack & onto more pots along the deck rail, runs through dried up fragments of old alyssum, & decorative pebbles & marbles. 20170706-crNothing living. He makes the rounds of damn near everything that has dirt in it, sitting, listening, then digging, all along the deck, down the stair rail, into more pots, this time with my remaining succulents, more digging, but somewhat half-hearted—why, I can't fathom, since he & his ancestors have shown themselves to be more than fiendish; they've attacked with ferocity, leaving innocent victims uprooted, lying on their sides covered in scatters of previously life-giving earth.

That night, my oldest son bursts into the room up here, where I sit on the couch under a magnifying worklight trying to ferret out the spots in my knitting that I'd noticed were awry. Being a somewhat quiet individual who knows this house so well that he can come up the main stairs past the two landings, all the way up here without so much a squeak on the treads, I am not surprised to see him. He'll probably have a question about something even though it's late...however this is not so. It is close to midnight & he is gurgling with fury. I say hang on, hang on because I literally have my crochet hook buried in my work at a very precise point...He says unless you want me to [unintelligible]!! I throw my work aside & stand up & he meets me in the middle of the room can you fucking believe this! The president is siding with Nazis! He just said there are GOOD NAZIS!! the guy in the Whitehouse who is supposed to be responsible for decisions that affect ALL of us is siding with NAZIS. I open my arms & he falls forward across my shoulder, weeping with anger, shuddering with rage.

I've only seen him this way twice: once was about 25 years ago when his younger brother had finally gone too far, teasing him about something & rather than get into a fight, he turned to me & I hugged him while he breathed short shallow breaths & tried not to scream. I murmured in his ear don't let him get you down , he's just your brother, don't let him get you down. The second time was the Paris Accords fiasco—when was that? Couple of months ago? He came into the kitchen & kicked a chair, shrieking fucking IDIOT millions of people are going to DIE, if that moron dropped dead in the next ten minutes it would be TOO SOON!! We hugged.

So last night at my suggestion my oldest son had a cup of tumeric-cinnamon tea with me; we sat in silence after his outburst. You've got to take care of yourself; I can't tell you how important you are to me & that guy cannot win. He cannot have you, he cannot have me. Not going to happen. We've made our decisions. He will not win. We stared at each other for a minute.

He nodded.

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Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades.
She writes a monthly column and is
a Senior Writer for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2017 Claudine Jones
©2017 Publication Scene4 Magazine



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September 2017

Volume 18 Issue 4

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