Post-Vinyasa Flow Class/ BLGF: Belgrade VI

Self is ambulatory, that is all she can tell ya.

That, plus she reeks of sweat.

But, so proud of herself!  She is very good at the doggie pose and the warrior stance, two positions she had never practiced before.  Ever, ever, ever.

When she returns, The Man is in the exact same position in front of the TV as he’d been in when she left.  Now he wants to go somewhere.  But self is itching to get back to BLGF because it’s time for an assassination.  She’s on the chapter called “Belgrade VI,” and this is about a palace coup.  86 conspirators made their way to the Royal Palace, and did much stumbling about while looking for the Royal Couple.

The lights had been blown when the conspirators stormed the Palace entrance by lobbing a bomb.  It did create a big opening for them to pour through, but it also blew a fuse.  And, according to RW, the Royal Palace was full of bric-a-brac, and the men kept stumbling over such things as “marble fountains removed from old Turkish palaces . . .  tom-toms, and turkish hookahs.”  They had to send over to a nearby house for candles.  And when they finally entered the Royal Apartments, they found that the King and Queen had fled.  But not too long ago, for “the bed was still warm, and a French novel had been thrown down on the bed-table, open and face-down.”  They interrogated the King’s aide-de-camp and this man, though wounded, “weak and in pain . . . . lied glibly and sensibly to gain time.  First he persuaded them to go down and search the cellars, which they did for an hour.”  After that, they became quite mad and started poking their swords under sofas and behind curtains. They went to the house of an old General, and killed him (purely, it seems, out of spite).

Meanwhile, the King and Queen were hiding in a secret compartment just off the bedroom.  “The door to this wardrobe was covered by the same wallpaper as the bedroom walls, and it completely deceived the conspirators, perhaps because they searched by candlelight.”  When the conspirators were searching the cellars, the King had crept out of the secret compartment and called to the Palace Guard, who were standing about.  But he happened to be “leaning from a dark window,” and they didn’t know who it was calling to them, so “they stood silent and immovable.”

(At this point, The Man says we have to see a movie.  Is he serious?  No.  Self has to finish reading)

The Royal Couple hastily threw on some clothes.  That is, the Queen was able to put on “a pair of white silk stays, a petticoat, and yellow stockings.”  She leaned out the window and saw the Commander of the Royal Guard, passing just below.  She called to him for help; he then “raised his revolver and fired at her”.  The shot went wide, but this brave officer ran to the conspirators and told them he had just seen the Queen.  The faithful aide-de-camp, who was at this point dying, had just succeeded in persuading the conspirators to search another building.  Upon hearing that the Queen had been sighted at the Royal balcony, the conspirators all went charging back up to the Royal Bedroom, and this time they found the secret compartment.

What’s so sad about this whole affair is that the Queen hadn’t wanted to be Queen.  She was a widow, 10 years older than the King, and when he first started making advances, she turned him away.  But finally, he managed to break down her defenses, and she married him, but she knew the people hated her and tried to escape Belgrade.  But her own brother told the King what she planned to do, so the King had her fetched and brought back to the Royal Palace.

Every one of the conspirators fired together at the King, and he dropped.  Then they pointed their revolvers at the Queen, and she dropped.  And that was the end.  The Royal couple’s corpses were flung off the balcony. Though it seems like such a hideously brutal act, RW maintains it was merely “sound common sense,” for it let everyone know that “both King and Queen were dead and there was now no one to protect or be protected by.”

The narrative continues:

“The morning broke, and though it was June some rain fell about four o’clock.”  The bodies of the King and Queen still lay in the garden.  And there they remained until the Russian Minister (a kind of ambassador) went up to the officers “who were standing about and pointed to the corpses” and said, “For God’s sake, carry them into the palace.”

And now self has finished the chapter Belgrade VI, and she thinks that never could she have imagined such a grisly and horrible scene.  And why she had to read it directly after a class on Vinyasa Flow, she knows not.  But now she will collapse on the bed, and in a little while perhaps she’ll putter about the garden.  Next to read:  Belgrade VII, Belgrade VIII, Belgrade IX, Skoplje I and Skoplje II.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Ouch! Poor Head! And Other of Self’s Friday Foolishness

It is Friday night.  Spent it at home, as usual.  Reading.

There was a bit more excitement today than usual, since self kept at least one of her appointments (for acupuncture) and felt the delicious pain of needles in the webbed skin between her fingers.  She keeps telling the acupuncturist that she has insomnia, but the acupuncturist looks increasingly skeptical. And self can’t bring herself to say outright that shortly after the treatment begins, she just wants to maybe pass out from sheer relaxation. Starts snoring. Almost rolls over, even with needles sticking out of her shoulders and hands.

After that, it was — oh woe is me!  Does she or does she not stick to her Beginning Yoga class?

Last week was fine, but the people taking the class were definitely not beginners.  The instructor came over to talk to self, and self told her, “I don’t even know what legs are.  Seriously.”  The instructor asked self if she had ever taken yoga before, and self said, “Yes.  When my son was about five. And I haven’t had any regular exercise since then.  Unless you count gardening.” The instructor was very encouraging, but self kept protesting that she was really, really hopeless — “What? Me? Don’t be fooled by externals. I’m a wilting flower.” Just the thought of taking another class was giving her hives, practically.  So she walked into the yoga place and told the woman there that she’d do a make-up class on Saturday.  And the woman handed self a schedule of classes, and the woman said she’d recommend the Vinyasa Flow class.  Hmmm, self thought.  Vinyasa Flow sounds infinitely better than Beginning Yoga.  She told the woman yes, she’d try Vinyasa Flow.  And as soon as The Man came home and self was assured she had a listener (albeit unwilling), she tried saying Vinyasa Flow. And kept repeating it, all through the evening.  Vinyasa Flow.  Vinyasa Flow.  And was so satisfied with her pronunciation and everything.  Felt like an expert.  Vinyasa Flow.

Then she unfortunately stumbled into Crouching Tiger to order take-out, and even though there was no one else there, they told her it would be 20 minutes before her order was ready.  And Pickled, the women’s clothing boutique, is right next to Crouching Tiger.

Self picked out a couple of things from the Sale racks.  Another customer was getting extreme attention.  Self glanced at her.  Blonde.  Jeans.  Nothing great.  Cool.

Self tried on tops.  Hoooly Cow!  Looks like it wasn’t such a good idea to flake out on Yoga Class!  The muffin belly was clearly in evidence.  Honestly, it’s been almost six months since self entered a fitting room, six months, it turns out, of complete and total denial.

But — too late now!  Armed with a feeling of rebellion, self emerged and told the woman what she would really love to try on were jeans.  Quick as a wink, the woman returned with two pairs of skinny jeans.

Skinny jeans?  How could anyone look at self and think she would look good in skinny jeans?

Besides, isn’t self a tad old to be wearing skinny jeans?

Nevertheless, self was bold.  She tried on the first pair.  Ooooh, these jeans were stretchy.  Looked at herself in the mirror.  For some reason, she looked less fat.  Or was that just a result of her writerly imagination, always ready to put a positive spin on the narrative script?  This is why self should stick to speculative fiction.

Anyhoo, the skinny jeans were soooo slimming.  She felt — no, actually looked like Rod Stewart in his heyday.  Or mebbe like Jagger.  This was the era of the late 70s. Maybe early 80s.

Wearing skinny jeans almost made self feel like prancing.  Actually, prancing.

It is really, really hard to be serious when one is wearing skinny jeans.  Self, straight to disco!  Karaoke bar, hello!

And maybe that’s what self really needs:  something to take her away from the Pain!  Pain as in — after endlessly reading and re-reading The Hunger Games books (instead of plowing ahead with Divergent, which she first cracked open two weeks ago), self has decided that the best is still the first.  It’s the best because Peeta is so wonderful.  In Catching Fire, the second book, the Peeta of Book 1 is replaced by an infinitely less interesting Passive Aggressive Peeta.  And Katniss is so Not-Herself.  She’s not making any hard decisions, or even any decisions, just dithering around, feeling mostly empty and unfulfilled.

It needed a kidnapping by the Capitol to make possible yet another Peeta Transformation.  This 3rd Peeta is an improvement over the second Peeta, but still in no way close to the First Peeta, the one who got stuck with Katniss in a cave, and instead of dying became — ascendant!  Like the Phoenix!  If only he’d stayed that way instead of becoming the Wounded Bird of book 2!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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