(Prose Poetry & Paintings)

© 2010, 2011, 2013 Steve Shear All Rights Reserved

Synopsis – The Fountain of Youth 

        Youth Fountain Senior Living Facility or merely ‘the Fountain’ is experienced through the eyes and journal of Glickman, who in his mid-seventies is plagued with the memories of dementia, his mother’s and grandmother’s. He is sure he’ll be next and moves into the Fountain where he devises a strategy to avoid it. 
        Glickman, a retired neurosurgeon, lives in an apartment on the main floor, independent living, and every Sunday he carries out the same ritual; sometime during the day he retrieves a six-grade quiz book he hid somewhere in the facility the Sunday before and gives himself a quiz hoping he can answer at least fifteen questions out of twenty. Assuming he finds the book in the first place and answers the questions satisfactorily, he hides it once again until the next week. He also carries a key around his neck and hides a lockbox in his apartment. If and when it becomes necessary, Glickman intends to open the box and swallow the pill within it. 
        Until he does, if he does (which may or may not be the case), he becomes embroiled in the lives of many other Fountain Residents including his sister Essie who also has an apartment on the Fountain’s main floor. The two siblings share a love-hate relationship, in part because Essie suffers from a narcissistic personality and in part because Glickman doesn’t. And then there is Ruth Wilson, the front desk clerk, her brother Rufus, the front door guard, and their little sister Hester, a server in the dining room. Ruth divulges to Glickman a family secret that astonishes his sensibilities, a secret that caused Hester to stop speaking. She suffers from progressive mutism. 
        Shortly after learning about the Wilson family secret, Glickman’s next door neighbor, Brownsher, insists he meet a recent newcomer to the Fountain, Christina Abernathy, a truly beautiful woman who he instantly falls in love with. However, Brownsher has already captured her heart or so Glickman believes. Tina is a psychotherapist who Glickman imagines might be able to help Hester with her mutism. She agrees to try and after a number of therapy sessions, Hester seems to be making strides in her ability to speak simple sentences, that is, until something terrible happens. 
        While most everyone in the Fountain is Jewish including Glickman, one of his best friends there, Boyle, is gentile, or so most of the residents believe because he speaks with a slight German accent and because he doesn’t use Yiddish when he curses. Indeed there are some residents who believe that Boyle is secretly a Nazi. Is he or isn’t he? For sure he has a colorful past. Through Boyle, Glickman becomes friendly with Stanley, Boyle’s eighteen year old grandson who comes to visit his grandfather often and who goes by the name ‘Santini’ in the outside world. During their games of eight-ball in the Billiard room, Glickman learns that Santini is heavily involved in the dark side of the local community but is trying his best to break free. That’s when the FBI enters.
        Glickman’s interest in Christina Abernathy, Hester’s mutism, Santini’s confrontation with the FBI, the discovery about Boyle's true past, and Essie make for happy and sad commentaries in Glickman’s journal as he marches into old age knowing he has his finger on the way he plans to depart. 

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The Chess Queen by Steve Shear on Vango
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