Via 2nd Ave Extension South

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This is 2nd Ave in Seattle, Washington.

It’s more then just a street…

I find stories here all of the time.

Strange ones.

a.m.m.

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Second Avenue Before The Fire

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During The Fire

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 after the Fire

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and what lies beneath

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Photographer’s notes: “Mineral palace Great Northern Celebration July 8 1893” “Pavilion Pioneer Square. Celebration of Completion of the Great Northern Ry July 3 1893”.

I put this here because my Grandfather told me that a man was buried under those steps alive (of course) in vault after he was caught cheating in a game of cards that didn’t involve money.

 Grandpa told me he was sure the man could probably hear the construction going on above him but that no one could hear him screaming-

so my Grandfather claims.

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 In 1903 The Ringling Brothers Circus came to Seattle and elephants walked down  2nd Ave.

That’s another story I grew up on because some of my family members were there that day and they saw those elephants and the Circus Performers walking down the middle of the street that I now cross every day to catch my bus.

100 years almost to the day I hear a story from who woman sees the Ringling Brothers train come through Seattle.

 The train is pulling empty animal cages and travel cars and Big Top rigging on flat beds. She remembers lace curtains in the private cars and the faded circus logo painted on anything that could hold paint.

She says she still doesn’t know how to explain the feeling she got when she realized she didn’t see one person moving around in the passenger cars or in the engine car or getting on or off the train the entire time it was stopped right off her loading dock.

Not a Soul.

True story.

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( Luna Park )

The Luna Park Fire– if my Grandfather or Aunt told me a good ghost or murder story they always tied it to the Luna Park Fire and DIRECTLY to the Famous Looff  Carousel.

After years of being scared out of my mind by those stories I was glad ( in a very malcious way ) when they came to the part when the Park burned down- but the part that always haunted me was the part about how the Carousel gets away.

        Specifically, how it always seems to get away.

The Carousel’s Weird Story starts when the famous Carousel craftsman Charles Looff built it in 1906. The Carousel was supposed to be sent to an amusement park in San Francisco- but it was re-routed to Seattle because of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.

(Escaped was the word my Grandfather used) 

It was installed in Luna Park in 1907 and it was the only thing to survive the Luna Park Fire in 1911.

(Escaped was the word my Aunt used and she insisted they moved it at dark)

 It was purchased by a private collector in the 1970’s and put in storage in New Mexico- Roswell, New Mexico and I am NOT making that up.

That Carousel is still around- it’s in San Francisco and I wouldn’t go near it for neither love or money.

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So there’s my 2nd Avenue in Seattle-

some of these places I’ve told you about are on it

or under it or just a few blocks down

from it.

That Street

 haunted me and inspired me for my entire life and I guess that should make sense because

 I was born in Seattle

and I know she has

strange and weird ways

 of speaking to you

and

of claiming you

and of making you her own.

Which is not a bad thing at all.

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Saturnina Hits The Deck

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Back in 1947  when I was a kid, I saw that thing they pulled out from under The Bridge.

You know- that thing they wrote about in all the papers.

They pulled it up from the Creek late at night, when they thought no one would be out there- and if anyone was passing by they wouldn’t catch much because back then there were no lights as opposed to the three street lights they have there now that burn out every other month.

So anyway, I’m standing there with my Grandmother who shot the thing with her rifle and with her Sister who was the reason we had ‘ that problem with the thing under the bridge’ to begin with.

” The problem with you ” my Grandmother hollered –  she had to yell because all you could hear was screeching and swearing coming from below-  ” Is your drinking !”

I could see Tia Saturnina smirking, ” What? I can’t hear you! ” She yelled back over screams and people shouting, ” it burns, it burns!”

” And your gambling. So which is this time? Both? How did you end up with that? ” my Grandmother jabbed her finger down towards the dry creek bed below.

” Things went a little sideways for me in a card game and so what? it happens to the best you know.”

My Grandmother’s jaw dropped and then her eyes got all narrow and squinty and before I knew it  my Grandmother shoved her Sister over the railing.

Saturnina went overhead first and the only reason she didn’t wind up down in the gully with a broken neck was that my Grandmother had her by the waistband on her jeans.

” That thing down there? Where did it come from? ”

” How the Hell am I suppose to know? What do I look like to you? God Damned Howard Koch? Let me up you crazy old bi-”

My Grandmother yanked and Tia popped back up. When she stood upright on her own Tia Saturnina’s eyes rolled up into her head and then she spun around and got sick over the railing.

When she was done a few minutes later, she said as she was still hanging over the railing, ” Wow, there was three of them? ”

” There were seven but guess who ran into the other four out on Old Creek Road? ”

” Uh-oh.”

” Get them back into the truck, get them out of here and then do something about that mess they made under the bridge. It’s making people sick.”

” Oh, and what about me? It’s not going to make me sick?”

My Grandmother handed me her gun and she put her nose right up to Tia’s and she said ” Now Saturnina…move it now.”

“Fine. Whatever you say. Now. Is that right? Now not later?”

“That’s right.”

 My Aunt started to walk away and then she stopped and walked back to us. When they were toe-to-toe again she gave my Grandmother a long and grim look and then she took my Grandmother’s gun from out of my hands and headed down the road.

From behind her back I saw my Grandmother pull out a small revolver and I heard her mumble over someone yelling for his Mother and Jesus ” Just stop and mouth off one more time…please…”

I don’t know if she actually heard my Grandmother because there was this long metallic screeching coming from something being dragged up the other side of the rock lined gully but Tia seemed to raise the shotgun up in reply and was almost swallowed by the dark at the end of the Bridge when it occurred to me that this time she might not come back to wherever it was she was being sent to.

I couldn’t count how many times she had climbed in through our windows in the middle of the night with her hair either cut or dyed or both and how many times she’d drop her purse or jacket and a gun would go off or a knife would open up and get stuck in the hardwood floor or make a hole in the couch.

This time it seemed that it was more possible then all of those other times that Saturnina might not come back with presents from places like South America or Egypt or those little Islands in the South Pacific where she and my Grandmother were from.

I might not get anymore shrunken heads (of course they’re fakes she’d say as she’d toss a few of them to me over the dinner table) or dolls with pointed bits of broken bone for teeth and real human hair.

And worse then not getting the presents or hearing her great stories about card games that took place in graveyards and ghost towns and morgues was the thought she could disappear right now and I’d have no idea where it was she had left for on that night they brought pulled those things up from under The Bridge.

So I ran until I caught up with her and when I did she didn’t slow down and she didn’t even pretend to care how upset I was.

” Tia, Tia,” I asked “where are you going?”

” Your Grandmother is sending me out to rid the world of one less problem- never mind this could spell the end for me because that woman thinks I’m the source of all that is evil.”

I stopped and then Tia stopped and looked down to where she thought I was standing. She looked back and boy was she disgusted. ” No-of course not.”  she snapped ” not ALL of it anyway.”

” When will you be back?” I demanded.

She sounded like she knew, but she also didn’t like the tone in my voice so she said ” Don’t know, when I’m done I guess.”

” Come on.” I said trying to sound hurt and defenseless ” please tell me I’ll be worried.”

” Brother…if we could bottle the BS this family spews we’d be the richest fertilizer company on the planet.” Tia looked up and said, ” Somebody screwed me in that game kiddo and there’s gonna be Hell to pay. When I’m done collecting I’ll be back. I promise.”

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Saturnina came back a month or so later with presents and a story about how she settled up a score over a game of cards that went sideways for her in a little town called Roswell.

 

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Based on the Soul Food Cafe

Writing Prompt

The Watsons

Snapshot

Inspired by The Soul Food Cafe Story Prompt

Walk Inside A Painting

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” Somebody will find out, won’t they? ”

” Not a chance ” he told her.

” What we did was awful, wasn’t it?” she asked.

” I’ll say.”

” We can never go back. You know that don’t you? ”

” I figured as much.”

” Are you sure, are you positive nobody will ever find them? No one will ever find out what we’ve done? ”

The man told her, ” Nobody is as sick as we are, no one will ever figure out what we did to them.”

” I can promise you that.” He said. ” I can promise you that.”

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 ” That’s a weird picture ” Livia’ s niece said as she handed the small tinted photograph to her Aunt.

They were rummaging through a box of old pictures and postcards at the Curiosity Emporium where Tia sold the antique books she collected on her travels.

It was a nice shop- it was quiet and a little messy and even though the air was dry it there was always the smell of mold and freshly turned earth coming from the backroom.

Livia took the picture from Akela and as she did their fingertips touched and Akela tried to not yank her hand away.

Tia Livia killed a man in a poker game once- it was a story that floated around at picnics and barbeques the occasional baby shower and other family events.

Akela wasn’t sure if she was hearing the same story with different variations on the theme, but it seemed like there were lots and lots of stories involving Tia Livia creating lots and lots of dead bodies.

Once Tia Livia heard her brother telling the poker story to some of his friends as they were roasting hamburgers and Tia came up from behind them and practically screamed that was a lie.

” Tell the story right Leo or don’t tell it at all ”

She had killed two men and a woman, Livia said between bites of cheeseburger ” Trust a man to underestimate the power of a woman ”

” She B.S’s all the time. ” Leo told his friends ” don’t believe her. Sure Liv. Two men AND a woman. At the same time. God, you are such a fibber.”

Tia spat a chunk of her burger out onto the ground and Leo smirked and went back to his barbaque.

Akela doubted Livia would ever hurt any of her own family but sometimes when Akela looked at Livia’s scared and slightly mashed hands she always felt a little trickle of sweat run down her shoulder blades.

Livia looked down at the faded picture and said with a laugh ” Well don’t those two look like they know where the bodies were chopped up and buried? ”

And as Livia let the picture fall from her fingers back into the box of photos the sound it made as it rustled into place almost sounded like someone whispering,

” You promised.”

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That Daughter Of Yours

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” That daughter of yours- she’s a quiet one, isn’t she? ” The 6th Grade teacher at Old Creek Elementary School said to Mr. and Mrs. Erbin at the last Parent- Teacher Conference” I don’t think I’ve heard her say more then four words in the entire time she’s been a student here. “

Mr and Mrs. Erbin looked at each other and before Mr. Erbin could open his mouth to reply Mrs. Erbin snapped, ” And whose side of the family do you think that problem came from? “

” Like I was the one responsible for wiring her brain.” Mr. Erbin pushed his face staight into his Wife’s face and they glared at each other.

” Really Mr. Erbin- nobody in this room had the sole responsibility for-” Mrs. Snodgrass wasn’t sure if she was repeating what she heard correctly so she said with a little hesitation ” for wiring Cynbel’s brain.”

Mrs. Erbin shrugged and looked up at the ceiling and smirked, and that one little gesture seemed to push Mr. Erbin straight into Angersville Population 1 where he became the Mayor upon arrival.

” We both had a hand in our daughters development Mrs. Snodgrass. We studied and observed, we took classes and tests we asked questions and attended more lectures until we were positive, confident that we could raise a healthy, intellectually superior child. And do you know what we have here?”

Mrs. Snodgrass was too polite to say what they had here.

” Cynbel eats bugs, she only takes a breath once every six hours and one of her eyes is permmantly shut. I’m sure that you’re  aware she won’t the touch the food on her plate unless it’s moving. Do you know what it’s like to have to sit next to your child and jiggle her plate so she’ll eat? “

” Go ahead and tell her who came up with that nifty little idea.” Mrs Erbin muttered.

” It worked, didn’t it? “

Mrs Snodgrass looked at both of the Erbin’s and shook her head- just a little.” Mr Erbin…we have the means to help your daughter -“

Mr. Erbin shouted, ” Our daughter is beyond help Mrs. Snodgrass because our daughter is like a science experiment gone horribly wrong. You must be able to see that.”

Mrs Erbin looked liked she was going to pick something up and hit her husband with it.” Anybody with eyes in their head can see that you insensitive fool. Go ahead and tell her whose project it was. “

 

 

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inspired by the Soul Food Cafe Writing Prompt

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