Wednesday Write-in #27 @ CAKE.shortandsweet
Prompts: oedipal :: intervention :: core :: pepper :: rouge
RED ROUGE KALEIDOSCOPE
Blake liked to make quick work of a bottle or a bag and then do the same to motel rooms. He called them installments. He liked 50’s era motels for his work because he felt that the retro styling fit his motif. “It’s the American dream and the interstate system and voices from the periphery,” he sometimes said. So his brother Troy was hardly surprised when he got a call from the folks at the Sandy Shores Motel requesting that he come down.
Blake had completed another project.
Troy couldn’t miss the motel–it had one of those large signs where “Sandy Shores” runs horizontally in yellow, uneven patchwork lettering and “Motel” runs vertically in blue block letters on a solid white background. It was midday and the heat was dry and the air was dead. There were no police cars. The manager was understanding–he didn’t want trouble. Only compensation.
“It happens from time to time,” said the manager on the phone. “Weird scenes in the rooms. But he needs medical attention, I think.”
The manager showed Troy to Room 521. The door was ajar and Blake was sitting on the corner of the bed wrapped in the floral patterns of the bed comforter. He was still.
“Original wallpaper?” asked Troy. The manager nodded grimly. Carpet and drapes too, he thought.
White desert sunlight was spilling in through the window and throwing the room into relief. It had red all over. Red bell peppers were smashed and strewn about in one corner, others sliced neatly and on a plate at the desk where Blake must have dreamed it all up on whatever strange night this all started. There were cores from half-eaten red apples here and there and another half-dozen uneaten and stacked in the far corner, perhaps strategically placed as part of the piece, perhaps coincidental byproducts of the need for sustenance during the kind of razor blade benders that Blake liked to go on (“installments!” he would insist the next week, still bedridden).
“Blake. Hey, Blake,” said Troy with a gentle hand on his brother’s shoulder. “It’s me.” Blake looked up at his brother as if he had just been stirred from a deep sleep, his eyes empty and searching.
“Get them to take pictures with a Diana, Troy. A cascade of my crowning achievement. My crowning crown that cost me a thou.” He chuckled and turned to the manager. “How about a crown and coke old sport? I’ll give you a thousand dollars.”
“Okay,” said Troy evenly. He turned to the motel manager. “Let’s call the paramedics.”
On the walls Blake had written the word “oedipal” over and over again in red rouge, sometimes in cursive writing, other times in totalitarian block lettering. The discarded plastic lipstick casings were distributed about the room at the various composition points, some standing on edge, some on their sides.
“A kaleidoscope effect,” Troy said to Blake before the stomach pump. “The lipstick casings are perfect.”
“Exactly,” he responded with a wry smile. “Exactly what I was going for.”