Excerpt for Prose From The Girl on the Bell-tower Stairs by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Prose from The Girl on the Bell-tower Stairs

J. Elk-Baptisté

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2019

J. Elk-Baptisté

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Prose from The Girl on the Bell-tower Stairs

After they shoot you

When the party is over

They will clean out your pockets

Take everything of worth

They will scrape out memories

Your dignity


They will sharpen blades

And there’s no point crying

Where are the horses?

The horses are taken!

The horses are gone!

Blind women are shaken

Knowing they’re forsaken

But safe as they are for now

Keeping to promises

Honoring fine words

Soft spoken in darkness before dawn

After they shoot you

You won’t feel a thing.


They are here on the street

Aren’t they?

They look normal and it’s scary

Because they are

There are so many of them

And that’s the point

You cannot avoid them

They are a disease

But keep it under your hat

Under your breathe because

They are not harmless

They seem benevolent but it‘s a lie

They’ve lain dormant and now

You must know the more they smile

The more serious the intent

Harm is on their minds

But go ahead and call me

Paranoid if you feel it necessary

I won’t mind your huff and puff

Won’t hold it against you

Hard to believe anything

These days

Isn’t it?

And yes—I do get it

You’re wondering

Are you one of them?

You’ve not entertained

The possibility before now

Like me

You are suspicious by nature

But it’s very confusing

And perhaps you are some kind of loony?

Jiggerypokery … skulduggery

Is everywhere

Just remember

Maret, I am ever a friend


Should those appreciative of impasto

Feel wronged when a dealer determines

Fashion is change—change is on the way and we are moving forward to smoother times.

Periods of blue, of pink, have had their day.

Expressionism or any roughneck artsy notion involving lumps or scratches

Has had time in the sun.

Lumpy bumpy is out. The sort of thing we all knew could not hold on forever

Note to purveyors of the finer things: Retrain your clients—be jolly quick!


Mice come and they go.

They are born.

They live their little lives.

They die.

And their lives are not so little.

Not, to them.


It’s not a real road block.

It’s the neighbors,

Having fun

And so…

Make a tight left here Bennie!

And don’t catastrophise--it’s the weekend and

Some kid’s let his rabbits out or they’ve escaped.

It’s all it is

Detour across the old guy’s lawn

—is this genuine blue grass or what?

Watch out for the old lady!

Veer round the cabana and skirt by the pool

Head for the back wall

And now floor it Bennie!

We will ram that wall and in the following instant,

Will enter an alternate universe—we’ll be totally free!


Ten minutes spent in Grandma Lucy’s outhouse was all it took

For Justine to want to change her name

Move to Montana and spend her time looking at trees

If she ever got bored she would buy a new wig and learn to Rocket

It was just like her cousin Bullwinkle said

They would organize marathons and dance themselves giddy for days

And days on end

What better dream might there be?

Bull could not wait to take her by the hand.

He’d lead her out onto those boards—they’d trip the light fantastic, he said.

And she would make him proud, he said, but Justine gave him a curious look

Meaning……….what did he mean by tripping?

Or maybe, what was meant by fantastic?

They were cousins and so what was meant by any of it?

She would ask Grandma but Justine suspected the old lady would not play

Grandma Lucy would rather Rocket

She will Rocket…………….and Rocket!

She will not stop—she will

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