The bell above the door rings as Fran enters the small store wearing a purse over her shoulder. She approaches the counter, and Steve, who has been leaning on the counter with his chin cupped in his hand, straightens up, looking mildly surprised.
“Good morning,” says Fran.
“I’d like to buy something, please.”
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“Excuse me, sir.”
“This is going to sound strange, but what year is this?”
“Not at all, it’s 2917. October 6th.”
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“But does it work?”
Dr. Seaver leaned back in his chair and blew on his mug of instant soup. The steam fogged his glasses. “Of course not. It’s just a thought experiment.”
“Oh,” I said, picking up a doohickey on the professor’s desk. “Of course.” The doohickey, or maybe gizmo is a better word, had protruding wires and springs and blinking lights that changed pattern as I turned the thing over in my hands. Dr. Seaver watched me indulgently.
“It’s based,” he continued, “on a faulty premise: the idea of the circular spectrum.”
“The what now?” I returned the gizmo to its spot.
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“A boy adjusts the position of a box of tissues on his desk and sits cross-legged on his bed. It is a Sunday afternoon and he has nothing else to do. The door to his room is closed, and nobody will bother him before dinnertime. He has all afternoon to make the box of tissues move with his mind…”
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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