The rumbling started yesterday afternoon, just a little while after I arrived. Within the space of a few minutes the house got dark, but Grandma didn’t seem to notice anything until she saw the clouds in my eyes. Continue reading Thunder in the Distance
Over the chicken wire, under the fence post, across the field towards the huddle of trees in the distance. My heart flutters as I follow, because I’m following her. There is a still hum to the field as bugs hang in the air. The grass is as high as my waist, and when I see her almost to the trees I rush too much and fall. My hand is scraped and little beads of blood sprout at the base of the palm. I stop for a moment in the lee of the grass where it is cool and even quieter.
When I get up she is gone. I resume my run, ashamed and cautious and heart fluttering heavier than before. Continue reading The Path
We entered the sandy arena three abreast and stopped in the center. We raised our trumpets, flags adorning the extra-long bells, and began to play. I have always gotten a thrill from the bright sound of tightly harmonized trumpets, especially when I have helped produce it. Halfway through, the two trumpeters on the outside turned to face opposite sides of the arena as we built to a climax.
When we were done, we marched out of the arena, through a hall and up some stairs to a small unadorned room, a closet really, where our instrument cases were kept and where we spent most of our time. We listened to the muffled noise from the arena as the knights were trotted out and attempts were made to whip the audience into a frenzy, waiting for our next cue. Continue reading With Fanfare, and Without
A tiny cafe decorated in primary colors and a few items of well-placed kitch. On the left is a window and a glass door leading to the street. On the right is a counter and glass case displaying drinks. On the back wall is a sign saying “Have a Nice Life.” Continue reading Wednesday Afternoon at the Burger Cafe
“I have good news and bad news, dear,” grandma says with a sly smile. “Bad news first: we’ve run out of jam for your muffin.”
I must look comically bereft. I’ve been visiting for a week and every morning I’ve had a pile of blueberry jam on an English muffin for breakfast. Grandma has offered pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon; but I have stuck with the muffins and the jam.
“The good news is there’s more in the cellar. Just go down the stairs and on the left there’s some shelves. There’s pickled tomatoes and pickled cucumbers and peaches and blueberry jam. You can’t miss the jam because it’s dark blue.” The pours herself some coffee and sits down with a soft “oy” at the kitchen table. “Go on now.” Continue reading Spinners
I awaken in the dark on my back, a crushing pain in my head. I try to move my arm, but there is resistence, something holding it in place. But I overcome the resistance and the arm rises, accompanied by the soft dripping of some sticky, viscous liquid. Continue reading Stuck
Every day Jerry started writing a new novel in the hope that the next day he would find his efforts worthy enough to continue. This never happened. Yesterday’s writing was always Yesterday’s Writing, old and dull and foreign from the new day’s line of thinking. He had been a salesman for thirty-five years, and he knew from experience that when one prospect appeared the least bit flat it was better to look in a new direction than try to import a mountain. So every day Jerry turned and indeed didn’t have to look far before he found something new to get his typing fingers moving. Writing was easy.
After a few months, however, it struck him that he had so many beginnings of novels collected in a stack by the side of his typewriter that he may as well explore the market for beginnings. Why not? Perhaps someone had assembled a similar collection of endings, or a whole lot of middles, and were actually in need of beginnings. Granted, his beginnings were not first-rate, but they were in sufficient quantity to give a prospective client an appetizing variety to choose from. So attractive was this marketing idea, and so tired was he of writing beginnings, and so in the mood was he for frivolous travel, that he straight-away packed up his beginnings in a black leather briefcase and went out to put them before the public eye. Continue reading The Briefcase