(white, cup-shaped flowers materialize as the howling stops)
The Laurel Tree
Resting below the branches of a lush English Laurel, as a gentleman does after a great victory, Ivory Pantechnicon resembles the faded drama of a cast off Belgian theatrical costume circa 1650. Oh, what a great year for theatricals it was!
Sunshine breaks through the scrim of the laurel’s shiny, oblong leaves creating small spotlights, accentuating Ivory’s left eye, his right patent leather thigh, and a pale section of skin along his exposed forearm. Segments of a person, in the manner of individuals popping out in a crowd, are easier to know than the whole. And, with all sincerity, one won’t get a clearer picture of Mr. Ivory Pantechnicon than this.
His family came into possession of their surname when his great-grandfather became known in the wider world for his hefting penchant. He liked to carry extremely large loads. Furniture, livestock, barrels of wine, or bothersome old statuary, Pantechnicon haul it on his shoulder. And, of course, his neighbors talked about it. Often.
Not only did this ability garner a satisfying family name, it gained him piles and piles of that precious metal known by commoners as … money. However, for the great Mr. Pantechnicon, it was mostly about the pleasure of doing. Of action and sweat. For him, at the end of the day, the payoff was legitimate tiredness, which brought him genuine sleep.
The kind of full, dream-powered restful sleep our Mr. Ivory Pantechnicon, now lounging at mid stage under the English Laurel, never knew he didn’t know. However, he does feel the consequences of his unrestful, unearned rest: the ongoing daylight weariness perplexes him. He sleeps often, though it does little good. The soft places pull at his backside, calling him home to a little nap, to a little daydream.
People of the town and countryside start to think him lazy. Give him the eye of judgement. The head shake of dismissal. Ivory, to the contrary, sees himself through his mind’s embodiment: Ivory is a diligent explorer, only resting on the outside. His inside manner, as he often explains to friends, is much the active jack. In reality, he does little.
Navigator of Far Off Hill and Field magazine featured Ivory, saying he is a “man about the bed, the bush, and the lakeside.” Their entire article on him consisted of thirteen words.
And so, we return to Ivory’s languid position under the English Laurel. And so we end with his beginning, as a sleepy breeze carries us out and away from sloth.
By K. Shawn Edgar 2013