Chasing Away the Blues

Jane is sad. She looks down at her homework. She sniffles. Then she looks suspicious. Her hand snaps out. She grabs the air.

“Martin!” she shouts. “I’ve caught a blue!”

He shouts back something incomprehensible from his room.

Jane thinks about this. “‘I’m working!'” she says, imitating Martin’s intonation. “‘Put on your blues goggles and don’t bug me.'”

She nods to herself. “Yeah, that!”

Something squirms in her hand. She reaches around with her other hand and finds her blues goggles. (They’re like ordinary goggles, but bluesier.) She puts them on.

“Aha!” she says.

The blue in her hand is little and globular. It has five limbs, like a starfish or a giraffe. It is wearing camo that makes it look like a blue-green, but Jane isn’t fooled.

“You’re a blue! And blues cause all sorts of trouble.”

The blue hangs its head.

“Do you know how many people have written bad poetry because of you? Or killed themselves? Or stayed alive, but not really living any more, just some kind of shambling shell that doesn’t even know how to hope or care?”

The blue’s eyes shimmer with what looks like repentance—but it isn’t! It’s actually sullen resentment that it’s been caught.

“I’m sorry,” says Jane, and she smiles. There is a moment of terrible light.

Jane stands up. She dusts off her hand. She goes to the door. She takes her coat off the door. She calls, “I’m going out, okay?”

Martin shouts something incomprehensible.

Jane hypothesizes, “‘Discard leftover broccoli—for great justice!'”

Martin issues a short, sharp rejoinder, followed by an interrogative.

“I’m going to chase away the blues,” Jane explains.

There is a mumble. Jane nods firmly, goes to the foyer, puts on her boots, and goes outside. She smiles.

They are everywhere. The blues are in the sky. In the air. In the trees. Caught in the light of that smile, they burn. They are flushed from their foxholes, from their nests, from the earth and the sky.

They die screaming.

It is a terrible sound, but not a sound that the ear can hear.

She walks around the house, and the yard, and comes back in.

“You missed a tragedy,” she calls, hanging her coat back up.

Martin emerges from his room. He dusts off his hands.

“Wait, what?” he asks.

5 thoughts on “Chasing Away the Blues

  1. Yeah, this story was good for today. It helped me catch my blue and add its screams to the symphony. I’ll show you Due Process you stupid starfish wannabe.

  2. This is still, I think, my absolute all-time favorite legend.

    EDIT: I think this was the first Jane-and-Martin entry I read. At the time, I got the impression they were a couple, childless, probably married, with Jane being in her mid to late 20s and Martin perhaps 40. “Careful Attention to Calendars” didn’t dispel that impression, either, so I underwent an interesting cognitive adjustment when I learned their actual age and relationship.

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