A Big Blue Western

Fable No. 1

Dove was a little bit tired. Sleepy bedtime nighttime white sheets girl. Despite her pretty sleepy eyes and feeling like clean duvets, Dove was a burden and a disappointment to those she loved and couldn't stand to be this way. I'm sure she wanted to stay, but she had to go in the end. Texas and the desert. In a small blue car full of thin, thick, red, green, yellow stripes and plaid binding fuzzy sheepskin and gas smell. Yellow, white stripes coax her, ants following beads of honey and andromeda belly black whispered sweet mythological destiny. Shh. If they ask where I am, tell them I'm staying over at your house. Promise! March the cat came too. Curl up smokey gray in the passenger seat after a couple days. Pilgrimage babies Dove and March and the ants practiced speaking Spanish and choosing the right roads. Switch lanes when the next lane over is empty I guess. Shh. Dove felt a grounded sensation. She asked questions and answered them too. Big Crayola sunshine fellow sat back seat and patted her on one shoulder until silver mother moon tapped her on the other and pointed to motels. Get up in the morning, March. Desert. I guess. Go to bed, Dove has a spoonful of honey every night. Goodnight.

The moral of the story: Shush.

Fable No.3

Maven had just turned 37. Maven still had a baby face and wore flowy floral dresses and cried every day because she killed her daughter, Mary.

Fable No. 4


Fable No.5

Dove’s great migration had landed her on a great big highway somewhere in Arizona. She thought it would be appropriate if she stopped in Phoenix, but March the cat was sleeping on the map. Her Spanish wasn't going too well. Despite leaving the Big Sleep House days ago, her brain was still foggy and sluggish. It didn't matter, though. She could be as stupid as she pleased now that she was alone. In the flat desert, there were no greedy mountains to steal her air, and oxygen flowed through her body with a softness and a sweetness that could only mean she was a ghost now. Soft daytime ghost. Soft Daytime Ghost Dove. The embodiment of smooth easy cleanliness, like breathing pearls. Maybe opals. Something light and breezy and beautiful and lingering. A thing of the past too. No boy ever saw her, but many remembered her wispy whisper ghost fingertips cleansing their mean dirty boy souls. Mmm, it was perfect divine fate. That would be her myth.

Fable No. 7

Sweet Maven moved to T-T-Texas three years ago. She had been living in a small town in Spain, teaching mathematics to elementary children. However, after she killed Mary, Maven had no choice but to leave (bye bye). Everything reminded her of the dead baby. Mary haunted her in overcast weather and Atlantic breeze. Feeling she should get some practice in before the real thing, Maven picked the most hellish place she could think of as her new home (“home”). Houston Texas United States of America. So yeah, there she was. She was there. Maven was in Texas. Maven the Murderer.

Fable No. 8

Ireland saw it coming months ago. She was ready.

Fable No. 9

Dove was very far away from home. She felt quite free. Still tired, though. Hm.
Dove: March, I'm still tired. I don't understand!
Dove, in her March voice: Don't say that, Dove. You're doing very well now that you are free.
Dove: It's starting to feel like heaviness and I swore it was lightness before. It was lightness just yesterday.
Dove, in her March voice: Shh. You’re okay.

Fable No. 11

Maven was just there. Waiting, she supposed. (Gather needles, thread, and tiny red beads about the size of ladybugs. Wait for soft things.)

Fable No. 12

Ireland was going there.

Fable No. 13

Dove was still driving, only now she was very close to screaming.


Dove was not feeling soft, light, or clean. In fact, she had the sensation of unraveling. The roots that had grounded her yesterday slithered up from the ground and wrapped their grimy, dirty, infectious insect swarm hands on her body. Dove tried to imagine herself in porcelain armor with silk and pearls and opals and feathers and cotton and blue stained glass. She also had a glass sword which she swung gracefully around herself. But as the roots and bugs pushed further into her pores, she felt her heart go from beating to a high-frequency buzz that made the glass shatter all around and shred through her armor so hard and fast that her skin snapped like a rubber band and all the grimy bug swarms inside her burst out in a blaze of bedtime breath humid glory. For a second, the glass particles looked like sparkling snow.

Dove’s eyes had unfocused. Instead of seeing the road, she was staring at the windshield.

Dove, in her March voice: Dove.

Fable No. 15

Maven and Mary were in the car (honk honk). When Mary cried and wouldn't take her afternoon nap, Maven drove her around and Mary always fell asleep within an hour (fine, fine). Maven was at the wheel and Mary was fast asleep in her car seat. Maven and Mary were driving by the ocean now. Maven looked out her window and noted the melancholy sublimity of the ocean melting into the sky. There was a lot of big scary monster noises (grr!) and pointy sharp glass and unfortunately, Mary died very instantly.

Fable No. 16

Ireland had arrived.

Fable No.17

March: Dove Dove Dove Dove Dove Dove
Dove: What March
March: You're unraveling
Dove: I know
March: Stop unraveling
Dove: I can't
March: Freeze the ground before all the roots slide out
Dove: I tried!
March: Numb numb numb numb numb numb
Dove: I'm trying! Numb numb numb

March sighed.

March: This isn't working.
Dove: No, it's not working.
March: It's the ants.
Dove: It's the ants. I know. That's why I have to do it. I need the glass to get the ants out and then I'll be icy cold again and my roots won't slip out anymore
March: I don't want to die, Dove.
Dove: We won't die, March. It's just glass.

Dove screamed very loudly. With such force, the lining of her throat lifted like reptile scales and left her voice sounding ancient raspy drained empty smokey sad.

Dove: Okay, I'm fine now.

The insects inside of Dove’s body were startled by her sudden outburst but recovered quickly.

The insects scattered and swarmed with even greater force and Dove gagged.

Dove: I'm a ghost!

Dove wasn't a ghost.

Dove: Ghost ghost ghost
ghost ghost ghost ghost
ghost ghost ghost ghost
ghost ghost ghost ghost
ghost ghost ghost ghost
ghost ghost ghost ghost!

Dove was afraid of crashing the car. She knew it would get the ants out.

Dove: Dove!

Dove pushed down firmly on the brake and the car slow slow slowed to a stop.

Fable No. 19

Maven was a murderer who lived in hell. Maven cried for Mary every day. However, Maven knew there was hope! In the dream (goodnight), Maven asked Mary if she could ever forgive her. Mary had a wise look on her face. Mary replied in a raspy old woman’s voice that she could not answer Maven's questions. Mary said she could not answer Maven’s questions because Mary was a ghost. Mary took Maven’s hand in hers and smiled sweetly. When Mary lifted her hand, Maven found a small stone in her hand. Maven understood.

Fable No.20

Ireland: Have you seen my ghost?

Fable No. 21

Dove didn't know it but she had arrived. Our sleepy-eyed girl was as still as a statue in that car, breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth in a puffy dragon way that her father had always found endearing. Dove climbed into the backseat of the car. She felt like a dewy spider web, and the game was to not let any of the raindrops fall. In her head, she played some pretty floral violin music. March had always loved music, and she climbed into the back seat with Dove. That made Dove feel like the beach. March began to purr.

Dove and March were very close to not being on Earth anymore but didn't seem to notice, or at least care. The girls huddled among the bright knit blankets that itched like sand and listened to imaginary violin music and felt the insects crawling under Dove’s skin with a passive melancholy. Dove was sure she was breathing in, but only felt the sensation of breathing out. She looked down at March. March was fast asleep.  

Dove: Okay.

Dove was okay with it.

Dove closed her eyes too.

Fable No. 23

Maven heard a big scary monster howl and saw dust fly up from the dirt road like a tidal wave. (There she is!) Maven understood. She waited a couple minutes, taking big greedy breaths, and very slowly very carefully early morning shore lapped out to the car that had stopped in the middle of the intersection outside her house. Maven knocked on the window.

The window: Knock, knock, knock.
Maven: Hello?

There was a girl inside. She did not respond to Maven (Uh oh).

Maven asked the girl in her most maternal of mother voices if she was alive.

The Sleepy Eyed Girl, in a shaky, raspy, sad, terrible, ancient voice: Yes, ma’am.

Fable No. 24

Ireland saw her!

Fable No. 25

Dove: Yes, ma’am.

The ritual began.

Oil spills and wildebeest churning rivers and Ireland taking the stone out of her back pocket.

The trinity of woman (red red red red RED RED
RED, icy big snow monster, and swan neck arms wrapped around holding ribs in place, Ireland.)

At the crossroads, they danced La Primavera and sang "Goliath" in very old, ancient, sorry sad voices and David felt like a sailor but really he knew he was probably just the painter's hand. Bugs popped out from Dove's mouth and a couple even pushed and seeped out from underneath her fingernails and she cried in a shattered glass kind of way and then Mother Maven held her and Ireland said she was sorry and left in her car. Before she was gone f-f-forever, she gave David his stone and smiled sweetly big gray feelings and the ritual was over.

Fable No. 27

Maven the Mother

Fable No. 28

Ireland went back to the Big Sleep House.

Fable No. 29

Dove sat in her shattered glass and March crunched on it until it turned to fine dust that sparkled like snow. Dove smiled and they laughed and pointed at the insects as they ran in circles, drying bone barren dry under the Texas baking oven sun and sighed quietly at the insects that were still under Dove's skin. Dove had no more roots but it was okay because she had a Mother and felt like the ocean in a sad but sustainable way. Dove, dove, dove. She was okay.

Fable No.31

Maven spoke Spanish with Dove and they cried together and okay okay okay.

Fable No. 32

Dear Ireland had returned to the Big Sleep House and would never leave. Poor Ireland had done what she needed for Dove but was exhausted, to say the least. Poor dear dear poor poor poor dear poor dear dear Ireland.

Fable No. 33
(Okay, fine. Goodnight, goodbye.)

The moral of the story: Shh.

Text by Sydney McMahon and Visual by Gwen Peralta

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