THE MAD MOON DANCING
By Jeff Phillips
Starry eyed dissonance sprang from his twitching, sweaty lids. The child was fast asleep for some time. Drifting into a slumber well before the stroke of , he missed the ball, the potential kiss of his neighborhood crush. Downstairs, the party still throbbed, experiencing the behavior of wild drunkards become of his parents and their pals. Such a party was not his scene, yet.
Nightmarish visions snatched apart his REM sleep. A black and white mind movie jarred a haunt. Sleeping in an old wood house, the large white/silver disk of the moon's face turned to a rabid, predatory persona and crept up the front steps and loomed on the porch. Peeping in, the moon's eyes sized him up and licked its dusty lips. Petrified, paralyzed, magnetized by a chilly bed. The front porch quickly rotted out from under the touch of the fleshy moon sand. The house crumbled like cards made from salt. The moon sand sprayed into the child's eyes, further tightening him with paralysis. With the old house down for the count, the child on the bed paled in weight to the gigantic, rabid, predatory moon which drooled high above the child. Each drip of saliva knocked the child in the face and roughed him up. Lungs drowning. Eyes stinging and cloudy, the moon pounced. Moon teeth seized the child's head, ripped it from the neck. And the child's consciousness bounced back from the surreal to a sweaty, pulse heavy reality. Relieved, shocked, the child picked himself up and traded pajamas for corduroy. He emerged from his room, recovering from the horror of having been eaten alive by the moon in some alternate, brain electric expanse.
He peered down stairs from the balcony, and witnessed his father dancing a strange, baboon-esque jig. His mother laughed and spilled bloody mary mix on the man, Mr. Handraddy's lap. The child snuck his way through the crowd of neighbors and parental friends who laughed and slapped him on the back, jesting with the boy for being up past his bed time. He snuck his way to the mud room, and fished for his boots and coat from amongst the sea of others.
Outdoors, the child found fresh air and fog. A chilly breeze rocked the trees and it looked fitting to the beat of the music blast from the house he left behind. He looked up to the sky and found the moon hidden by clouds. At first relieved by its absence, a fear crept back that it might still be watching, hunting.
The street lay silent. His thoughts went soft with the peace of it for sometime. But soon thoughts and reverberated images from the day emerged in flash form. He remembered his mother chopping carrots for the dip, in the kitchen, listening to public radio. A news cast touched upon the announcement of a man who escaped from the loony bin in their county. The quiet streets and apparent vacancy did not last in its projection of peace with the alarming bulletin that rested all evening in the back of his mind. The moon in man form escaped the tests and attempted soothing analysis behind white, sterile, padded walls to stalk the streets of this sorry city. Just the child and a loose man inhabited the outer landscape. The rest were engaged with parties and winding down New Year's celebrations. The image of loony bins reverberated a deep, scarring scratch in the child's perspective. Once his older brother told him of a time he and his pals trespassed into an abandoned nut house deep in the thick woods. A hollow, creepy building. Then sounds, footsteps rustling. When one pal felt the grip of a hand grab at his ankle they darted. Racing to the sanctuary of a car, in the overhead light they found themselves covered in bloody scratches and finger prints in the wet blood.
Overwhelmed and on the brink of wicked tears, the child was on the verge of steering back home to the party, desiring an exit to the safe watch of friends and neighbors. In the distance a figure came bounding and skipping in the spirit of his prior dream. The child was again paralyzed, as though moon sand became a vapor with the fog, and penetrated his eyes. Silent, barely breathing, the figure drifted closer and closer. As it became more visible apart from the fog, what stood a short distance away from the child was a man in the flesh wearing only a diaper.
Almost laughable, the child blurted out, "Its baby New Year!"
The fellow approached and greeted the child. One hand held something wrapped in tin foil. The other extended a hand shake to the child. "Happy New Year," he wished.
The man gazed at the child for a moment, then spoke again:
"Want some salami?"
Not interested, the child shook his head with the gesture of no.
"Want to smell it?"
The strange diapered fellow did not wait for an answer, but went forward with peeling apart the tin foil to wield a thick wedge of spiced meat. He poked it under the child's olfactory organ. The child shrunk from the encounter, deep, disappearing into heavy fog and lived on, untouched.