Friday, December 5, 2014


Quasimodo hefts himself onto the handicapped bench of the cross-town bus,
then takes the newspaper crossword puzzle out of his backpack.

"This metal object has a tongue." 4 letters.
Quasimodo smiles and squirms in his seat because he knows this.

"A set of tuned metal bells or tubes." 6 letters.
Quasimodo looks around to see if anyone has noticed his success.
No one has.

"Alexander Graham ____." 4 letters.
He doesn't know this one,
but he's arrived at his stop anyway.

At the Office For Americans With Disabilities,
Quasimodo has a desk. 
On it is a telephone which converts voice into text.

His friend Guy, at the next desk, waves at him.
Pointing to his phone, he signs "drunk asshole again."
Quasimodo's laugh is surprisingly pleasant, though of course, Guy can't hear it.

Quasimodo's phone lights up, indicating a call.
Guy has transferred the drunk dialer to him,
and can be seen hurrying off toward the break room with a bag of Doritos.

Looking at his screen, Quasimodo reads what the caller is saying:
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
                     How it swells!
                     How it dwells
                 On the Future! - how it tells
                 Of the rapture that impels
             To the swinging and the ringing
                 Of the bells, bells, bells -
      Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
                     Bells, bells, bells -
   To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

"May I have your name?" Quasimodo types in.
"Eddie," comes the reply. 

That evening, at O'Brien's Tavern, 
Quasimodo and Eddie sit mooning over a pretty Gypsy girl.
"Go say something to her!" urges Eddie,
but Quasimodo just grins and shakes his head sheepishly.

At nearly two in the morning, Quasimodo hoists Eddie onto his misshapen back
and carries him back to the apartment he had mentioned.
All the while, Eddie mumbles rapturous boozy verse about the Gyspy girl.

Catching the last bus to the group home,
Quasimodo thinks of the girl, and of Eddie's beautiful poems.
"So...lovely..." he says out loud, but no one hears, 
not even the driver perched like a raven in his high seat behind the wheel.

for Fireblossom Friday: mash-ups.  The quoted poem is, of course, by Poe.



Björn Rudberg said...

Indeed.. I think that no-one would allow Quasimodo to ring the bells.. probably a back-breaking job.. interesting character to put into a modern gritty environment.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

A wonderful tale. I can see them. I have a raven flapping around in my head this morning too. I see she took a side trip to pick up your buddy. Smiles.

Gillena Cox said...

such a delightful mash-up

much love...

Susie Clevenger said...

Quasimodo on a bus, quite an unlikely it!

Susan said...

Bells, bells, bells, bells--this one by Poe I love reading aloud. I love the driver as Raven.

Grandmother (Mary) said...

I laughed at Quasimodo at the Office for Disabilities receiving poems from Eddie but the ending is tender as Quasimodo thinks of a girl and the poems and calls them lovely. It's the spirit in the plaintive song as well. Nice combination.

Outlawyer said...

This has a great deal of plaintive sweetness in the comedy. I am glad Eddie and Quasi got together-- The crossword on the bus has a special sweetness. Thanks. k. (

Only an old blogger ID that I never used comes up here, which is fine. K.

hedgewitch said...

Deaf in a universe of bells, yet the vibrations remain to sing the message, and those gypsy girls...well, they never quit. A very original 'mash-up,' these two, but it feels totally right.

Gail said...

Different than I ever imagined but a good difference Well done

Lolamouse said...

Wow! I love your mind!

Mama Zen said...

Wow. Only you, lady.

Hannah said...

Wow...goosebumps and sigh...this is the kind of true beauty that goes on beneath the radar for so many. Shay, this is a moving piece.

Thank you, for the challenge. :)

Poet Laundry said...

Aw, poor Quasi.

"Alexander Graham ____." 4 letters.
He doesn't know this one, --ha!!

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Love, love, love this. You got me! I had to try one of my own.

Margaret said...

And that's how it's done. A mash-up. I will continue tinkering with an idea but so far it is pretty awful. Maybe it will appear in one of the "Play it Again" prompts. BTW, I LOVE Quasimodo - my oldest son, the actor, would love to play him on Broadway - and he nails all the songs too.

my heart's love songs said...

oh, i love this, SP!

i've been trying to write something to your prompt ~ can't seem to get more than a line or two. i'll keep trying even if it takes a year cuz i really like your prompt!

Sara said...

Your story poems are definitely my favorites! This was a delight and so very funny. Laughter is GOOD!!!

Good thing I went back and read the poem again. On my first reading, I read these lines incorrectly. Here's what I read:
"At the Office For Americans With Disabilities,
Quasimodo has a desk.
Or it is a telephone which converts voice into text." LOL the difference between "On" and "Or" can be major:~)