joannebest











2010-09-30 11.14.572010-09-30 12.30.15
Cape May NJ~ The Beginning After The End
~
We huddled around the small fire trying to keep warm.
The power had gone out weeks ago.
There was nothing to do about it. Everything was at a standstill.
No power equalled no heat, no light, no anything really.
There was no way to contact anyone, no internet, no phones, land-line or cell.
No radio, no television, nothing.
No signal period.
No information, no explanations, no theories, nothing but speculation.
Even starting a car was hit-or-miss. Sometimes the battery would run and you could drive a few miles or so but the engine would sputter, the car would shudder and inevitably die.
And that’s assuming you were able to find a road that wasn’t cluttered with mostly dead cars.
Besides, it wasn’t like you could pull into a gas station and fill it up.
Most people had packed up and moved further inland but a group of us decided to stay closer to the coast, taking refuge in the abandoned bunker on Sunset Beach.
Hiding in plain sight and all that.
I had my eye on the old World War II Lookout Tower.
I’d been slipping out of the bunker alone when everyone else was sleeping.
I always got a touch of vertigo climbing the spiral stairway to the top but the view was worth it. I could see for miles from up there.
Not too long before the world fell apart they’d restored the old Fire Tower back to it’s original glory so there was all kinds of stuff to root through.
No food though.
Luckily for me, the group I’d latched onto leaned towards the safety-in-numbers theory.
I’m more of a loner myself so I knew this was gonna be my last night trading campfire stories with the small group of strangers I’d run into when I made my way down to the very tip of New Jersey.
Cape May was always considered a magical place. Ley-lines, ghosts, even the Jersey Devil was known to have made an appearance or two around these parts.
For whatever unknown reason, paranormal was becoming the norm these days.
Magic might be our only hope.
~
2010-09-30 12.24.55
Cape May NJ~ The Tower Secured
~
The only way out was down.
Problem was, I was scared of heights.
And it was a long way down.
Holing up in the old Fire Control Tower, set back a bit off the beach, seemed like a good idea at the time.
Too many people I didn’t know were living in the bunker on the beach itself.
Not that I knew too many people anymore, but still, I’d always been a loner before the end of the world and I wasn’t comfortable changing my loner-habits now.
There were too many changes already, I had to cling to something familiar even if that something familiar was nothing more than a personality-defect.
I’d just gotten back from a long walk into town where I scored some much-needed water.
It was like a ghost town and not just figuratively speaking; Cape May really was haunted.
I wasn’t worried about any ghosts though, it was the people left alive that scared me more than the people who were long-dead.
That is if you defined scared as pissed off and cranky.
But mostly I was just plain sick of running and so very very tired.
This was my tower and I intended to keep it that way.
Problem now was, somebody followed me back from town.
Whoever it was did a pretty good job of keeping themselves hidden, but I’d become more attuned to my surroundings. You never know, these days any little thing could quickly turn into a life or death situation.
The person who had followed me, and I was positive there was only one, probably wanted my water. Everything was in short supply but no way in hell would I give up my meager stash to some random asshole.
First I had to get outside so I could sneak up behind him. I’d gotten pretty good with the stealthy thing, he’d never hear me coming.
And since he’d managed to make it through the only door in the Tower, and I was up at the very top hiding those three lonely bottles of water I found, the only way out was down.
Shit.
I hate heights.
Damn vertigo.
Shit.
Guess it was time to find out if that escape-rope-thingy I made worked as good as it did when I first put it together.
My practice runs sucked but it was either climb down the rope or have a face to face confrontation with an unknown intruder.
I was grateful for the old gloves sitting in one of the display cases in one of the recreated World War II rooms. I discovered quite a little treasure of WWII artifacts in the abandoned Tower turned museum and the gloves would keep my hands blood-free. Hopefully.
The weight of the rope unrolled itself near enough to the ground to give it a go. I backed out the window and began to lower myself down.
I really hate heights.
~
2010-09-30 12.24.37

Cape May NJ ~ Meeting The Kid
~
“Hey! I know you’re in there!”
It was a male voice and by the sound of it he was still wrestling with the last remnants of puberty.
“Not anymore asshole.” I whispered to myself as I slid down my handy-dandy escape-rope.
I landed on my ass, biting my tongue to keep from hollering.
At least the sand softened my fall.
The kid was still hollering but it was getting hard to think of him as a threat when his voice kept squeaking.
Why did I have to deal with this shit now? I’d only been there a few days but it was mine and it was gonna stay that way.
This whole survival stuff was really getting on my nerves.
I didn’t want much. Hell, a cup of hot tea and I’m a happy little camper.
Instead of drinking tea I was sitting on my ass after rappelling down the backside of the old Fire Tower.
This is my home sweet home and it’s staying that way.
After slipping my leather gloves into the inside pocket of my jacket I took a quick glance up to remind myself how much I didn’t want to have to do this again.
I made a silent vow to re-enforce the warning traps I set around the perimeter of my little piece of safety if I planned on keeping it safe.I really didn’t have time for that now though, I had to take care of my unexpected company before he attracted more attention with his continued shouting.
“Hey!!! You up there! I know you have water, I saw you! Now gimme some!”
Yeah right, like I’m just going to hand over my water.
I slid against the natural curve of the Tower toward the front following his voice.
From the sound of it he was still downstairs. I had to make sure he didn’t try to go up the stairs or things could get sketchy.
I don’t mind fighting for what’s mine but the last place I wanted to fight is on a spiral staircase.
“Hey! I’m coming up!” He shouted up the stairs, his voice echoing through the tall circular tower.
I made it through the door soundlessly and saw he was on the first landing looking up into the darkness above.
“Hey! I know you’re up there! I’m comin-YOWWW!!!” His voice choose that moment to hit the highest note known to man as his shout turned into a screech.
Just out of my line of vision I heard a scuffle and my intruder tumbled down the stairs, landing in a heap at my feet.
Mal, a feral cat who followed me back from the beach one night and moved right in was now attached to the face of what looked to be a kid. He couldn’t be much more than 14 years old and he was howling louder than Mal.
“Help me! Get this thing off my face lady!”
I couldn’t help it, for the first time in recent memory, I started laughing.
2010-09-30 12.25.22
to be continued
AUTHORS NOTE: I flipped a coin and it came down on the side of Showoff, all that means is me telling you I took these photos in Cape may on a Mother/Daughter week, hence the me being a showoff because that damn phone takes some awesome photos! I’m a double showoff for bragging about my phone. Oh, and this is my end of the world story i’m working on, just sayin’…)

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use this djinn
In part, it was my own fault.
I mean I should have known the difference between a bottle of gin and a Bottle Of Djinn. I guess anyone could have made the same mistake given the circumstances, after all, how many liquor stores do you know of that have a Magic Shop in the back?
I don’t know if it was because my mind was distracted going over my mental pre-Christmas list or just my stupid luck. I’m leaning more towards the stupid luck side but it doesn’t matter how it happened, the outcome was the same.
Now I have this stupid Genie following me everywhere I go.
I’m sorry, I have a Djinn following me wherever I go.
He gets really cranky when I call him Genie.
First time I did he puffed up his chest all pompous-like,folded his arms and held his breath till his face turned blue. Sounds like a good thing right? Nope.
After his face turned blue he opened his mouth and let loose with a high-pitched screech and said some words that sounded like babble to me but the worst part was his fetid breath. Weren’t enough breath-mints in the world to disguise the breath of a 4000 year old Djinn (I learn fast) who hadn’t brushed his crazy razor-teeth in centuries.
We came to an agreement, my Djinn and I.
I wouldn’t call him Genie and he wouldn’t make my life a living Hell.
I wouldn’t use any of my wishes so he could stay out of the bottle and he wouldn’t make my life a living Hell.
Oh yeah,the bottle of gin my husband told me to get?
Hubby called Djinn “Genie” one too many times,now hubby’s in the Bottle.
Not to worry though, Djinn made sure the liquor cabinet was stocked.
~
ottlegin
It all started with a bottle of gin.
Doesn’t it always?
Only this was actually a bottle of djinn, same pronunciation, different spelling. Although sometimes the effects can be the same.
But you already knew that.
So after I messed up by picking up the djinn instead of the gin the wind up was my husband ended up in the now-always-corked bottle and the djinn became my constant companion.
It has it’s perks, having a genie around all the time, as long as I remember to never call him a genie. He gets all bent out of shape if I do so we settled on G.
When I say he gets all bent out of shape I mean that literally. G is tall to begin with but a little bit of anger has him nearly tripling in size both upward and outward.
First time it happened he went right through the ceiling, past the second floor and through the roof.
Trying to explain this to the insurance company wasn’t easy but once they came out to the house to physically inspect it, G did some djinn-magic and in less than two weeks I had a nice fat check in my hands.
I try not to take advantage of the endless possibilities G offers me, he’s a people pleaser and I’m his people of choice when it comes to the pleasing part. I figure he already did me a huge solid when he stuffed my husband inside the bottle so why get greedy?
It’s not bad inside there, G wished me into the bottle for a visit when it first happened and hubby was so wrapped up in his endless supply of booze and porn he didn’t even notice he was living in a corked bottle.
It could be worse, right?
~
djinnheart
My Djinn was putting his ornament on the Christmas tree when he asked me to explain human love.
“You’re asking the wrong person G,”I continued rummaging through endless boxes of ornaments looking for that damn stupid pickle.
“Why?”
“Why what?” I was distracted by a glittery guitar ornament I’d given my ex-husband years ago. He never did care too much about decorating the tree each year, long as it got done and he didn’t have to do it himself.
“Why are you the wrong person to ask?” G was tall enough to reach the top of the tree but he’d insisted on using a ladder.Now he was sitting on the top rung looking down at me with that childlike look on his face.
I put the guitar ornament back into the box I’d found it in and sank down onto the sofa. Figured I should at least be sitting comfortably if G wanted to talk about love because I sure wasn’t comfortable with the subject.
“Because I don’t think I even know what love is G, I thought I did but…”my voice trailed off into silence.
It was times like this that I wished I didn’t have my own personal Genie-In-A-Bottle.
Sure,I could easily wish G back into his bottle but I was getting used to him. It was kinda nice having him around to talk to even though he drove me crazy sometimes with his constant questions.
“But what?” He cocked his head to the side,a look of pure innocence on his Djinn-face and I felt a maternal-tug on my heart-strings. Ex-hubby never wanted kids,I would’ve made a damn good mother too, if given the chance.
“But it’s never too late to learn.” I handed him the tree-topper and my heart felt unusually-lighter.
“Now be careful,the angel’s on top.”
~
gindgin
“Do you have any matches G? I have to light this burner if you want pancakes for breakfast. Stupid old stove.”
I grumble almost-under my breath.
It’s stupid early,barely 5am and G had taken to what he called a ‘morning ritual to cease the cold dark with the bright beautiful breathtaking approaching dawn of a shiny happy new day.’
Yep. That really is what he said.
“Shall I start a fir-”
“NO!”I cut him off before he could finish the word. G had a habit of taking things a little too literally.
He’s a genie, not a genius.
“I mean no thanks,G,I just need a match or a lighter or…” I trailed off as he disappeared. Literally.
He has a habit of disappearing too. No puff of smoke, no nothing, one second he’s here, next second he’s not.
Maybe that’s normal for Djinn but G needed to learn some manners.
“G???Oh for the love of-” He popped back into view only he wasn’t alone.
Standing next to him was a tiny little girl dressed in what could only be called rags.
She was covered in grime and dirt and she looked like someone had dipped her in ash.
She couldn’t have been more than 8 years old but her eyes were almost scary as she stared at me without flinching.
“I got her just in time, she only had one matchstick left,” he looked so proud of himself I hated to burst his bubble.
“Uh,G…it’s…I…umm…who is this?!?”
She crouched down behind my genie and peered at me through her scraggly hair.
Poor thing looked petrified.
“This is Sera,she has a match. And I think she’s hungry too.”
He stage-whispered the last part and I sighed as I added enough pancake-mix to feed a hungry Djinn and The Little
Match Girl.
~
djinnin
“You need to get out more.”
The NJ Parkway was bumper-to-bumper traffic for miles. According to the local traffic-update squeaking out of the tinny-speaker of my otherwise-great-sounding car-stereo we weren’t going anywhere soon.
“What’s this then?”I did a quick drumroll on my stationary steering wheel while flashing G a half-grin,”I’m out now.”
He answered with an eye-roll and a dirty look which is a lot harder to pull off than it sounds.
“You need to go out and socialize.”
Shit. G was almost pissed,I could tell by the tone of his voice.
Having a Djinn pissed off at you can be a big gigantic bad. And that’s all I’m saying for now.
“Come on G, don’t be all mad at me, pleeease?”I knew he wouldn’t really be mad at me but he’s been all moody lately, somethings bothering him and he won’t tell me anything.
“Forget it. Never-mind.”
He waited a bit as if debating whether to speak to me or not then smiled his weird-genie-smile.
“There’s an article in this newspaper,”he waved the folded paper in my direction. We still hadn’t moved an inch in the damn traffic.
“You’re lonely”,G said as casually as if he just told me to take the next left.
“Um, yeah G, I mean who isn-”
“I signed you up for speed-dating.” He cut me off, words tumbling over themselves to fall out of his mouth fast as possible as he explained his reasoning as to why he felt it necessary to enroll me in some dating thing.
“But why speed-dating G? I don’t want to hop from table to table on 5 minute mini-dates with a bunch of strangers.”
It was a fight keeping my traffic-fueled-aggravation hidden.
“I can easily warp the time-”
“No!!! Um,G,I guess I’m just not ready to date yet.Ok?OK???”
His silence always worries me.
~
angelwings
“Why do humans find it necessary to squeeze each other when they leave each other’s company? You’re blocking the television. It’s the last episode of One Life To Live.”
I have a Djinn with a soap opera addiction.
“It’s a commercial and sometimes people like to hug. Why do you watch this stuff G? It’s made-up. And stupid. And possibly causes obesity.”
I had a million things to do so why was I standing in my living room, uncomfortably I might add, talking about,hugs with a fresh-out-of-the-bottle genie… and when did my genie turn into my roommate?
“Humans hug when they greet each other.”
He leaned to his right, giving me a slightly condescending look before turning back to the television.
“Your point?” I asked.
G tended to vacillate between child-like and arrogant and right now he was giving me both.
“I just find it odd. We Djinn don’t-”
“Yeah yeah, I know, you Djinn don’t feel emotion and we weak humans-”
He silenced me with a look (I hate when he does that) and I sighed. There was a method to his madness, he was obsessed with hearing about human family dynamics and I was his default case study.
Out of the corner of my eye I watched his barely controlled excitement. His color was heightened and his eyes large and bright. Focused.
“When I was a little girl every time I left the house I’d have to give my Parents a hug and tell them I loved them, G, you know this already.”
“But why?”
He wasn’t gonna leave this alone as usual.
“In case I died and never saw them again, at least they knew I loved them.”
He was quiet for a moment,thinking then said, “You’re still in my way. And can I have a hug?”
~
bluginn
“Uh Oh”
That was the last thing I needed to hear. The words “uh-oh” are rarely followed by good news. I braced myself.
“Uh Oh”
Second time he said it.The Rule Of Three guaranteed a Disaster Of Epic Proportions when there’s a Genie involved. Excuse me, a Djinn.
“What’s going on G? And don’t say uh oh again, just tell me what’s wrong.”
I have a Djinn-problem. Long story short, the Genie in a Bottle was out. Now my usually-invisible Genie was my constant companion.
After a series of events we came to terms with each other in a mutually beneficial way.
He let me call him G after a few of his temper-tantrums left me unbothered.
After I’d unknowingly freed him from his Bottle I’d introduced G to toothpaste and mouthwash . He’d been in there a few centuries and tended to screech when called Genie.
Oral hygienics and me calling him G was progress, take my word for it.
“Uh-”
“NO! Don’t say it again G! Rule Of Three!!!” I interrupted him before he got it out; saying something 3 times had Power and I had no idea what kinda trouble an uh-oh might bring.
He threw his shoulders back and crossed his arms, a sure sign of badness to follow.
But there was a weird look on G’s face, one I’d never seen before. I thought I’d seen every look in his extensive arsenal of looks. His bottom lip was trembling. His glowy eyes were getting watery. They looked like a deep pool about to overflow.
“G?” I was really starting to worry. “What’s wrong? Just tell me and please don’t say uh-oh.”
I spoke in a gentle tone,he was scaring me.
The phone rang at that exact moment and I saw the name on the caller ID.
This couldn’t be good.
“Uh Oh”, I said.
~
TO BE CONTINUED…



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