What can YOU say in six sentences?
Orson rises from the black leather Eames chair in his office to refill his mug from the department’s communal Mr. Coffee and rubs his eyes.
He has been reading articles in physics journals that were written by the chairman of the tenure committee as a means of preparing himself for his interview, just one week away.
The man's work is clumsily written, the proofs are scattershot and the…Continue
Five learned and opinionated professors sit on the Department of Science/Physics Tenure Committe at the university where Orson teaches, and he is carefully researching their dislikes and vanities.
Member Number One, a traditionalist, is suspicious of anything too newfangled in the field of physics.
Member Number Two cares nothing about Orson's competence because his only…Continue
He must have had a real name, but the kids just called him Pinky. His nervous, red-rimmed eyes regarded the world through thick-lensed glasses, and his hair and skin were so pale that Teeny bet me a quarter that Pinky couldn’t bleed.
One day, the school nurse came to our class to explain "albinism" and how there was no “melanin” anywhere in his body. I could tell that the nasty boys weren’t listening because they didn’t want to let science get in the way of…
The Grim Reaper lay back on Charlene Shiner's massage table in a cozy room with piped-in, repetitive New Age music while Charlene peered through her lighted 20x magnifying lens at Grimmy's blackheads and catcher's mitt-like skin.
"Your forehead looks like those tar sands in Alberta," Char said, applying a deep-cleansing masque with light fingertip…Continue
Sometimes I read in hopes of learning how to write better, but, 300,000 books later, I am admitting that it doesn't work -- at least not for me.
If it did, I would hope to write a novel as good as Balzac's Eugenie Grandet. I would hope to write a short story with an authentic sense of place, like Ellen Gilchrist did with "The Famous Poll at Jody's Bar" in her collection, In the Land of Dreamy Dreams.
If reading could teach writing, I would be able to voice a…Continue
Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, I was single and actively dating.
Eventually, I decided that I wanted to share life with one person, providing the right one was out there.
I sent my purchase order to the universe (which, by the way, has a back log of three to four months), careful to make the list clear and complete so that there would be no screwups because -- trust me --…Continue
The chatter in my head ebbs and swells in volume depending on the information load du jour, but it is always there.
Recent broadcasts included the fact that there is a real town called Chunky, Mississippi; that Zoroaster has been misinterpreted by Westerners as being an astrologer; that Whitney Houston's ex-husband, Bobby Brown, couldn't be bothered flushing the toilet, and, when she complained, he told her, "Drop it on the poo."
My internal signal doesn't shut off at…Continue
The cuttlefish has blue-green blood, the color of the Caribbean on a sunny day, it is thought to be the most intelligent of invertebrates ( having the largest brain-to-body-size ratio of those animals), and subservient males “crossdress” to get close to females under the watchful eye of dominant males, thereupon quickly mating before the large males can stop them .
Orson put down the encyclopedia and unwrapped a nice specimen of cuttlefish from its white…
He dismissed giving her a Cartier watch or South Seas pearls.
Likewise furs or overhyped wines with 'old souls.'
She was too precious and rare for the nonsense that any man
could give to any woman on any day.
He searched for something deserving of the word “bestowed,”
something so rare as to horrify the…
Orson walks beneath cool, granite arches along a prescribed route to a campus classroom with unsatisfactory fluorescent lights. He stows his briefcase and watches the students file in, their faces closed to him. He will never understand their expressions, never read the nuances in their gestures, never catch the subtle tones of hope, desire or admiration in their inflections.
Like the stone arches, he lives life above…
A sign on the wall above my I.V. pump asked, "How bad is your pain?"
To help us patients decide, the poster offered 10 faces, from smiley to freaky, and I decided that my pain was a seven.
I pressed the call button for Nurse Tyula -- she of the impossibly tight ponytail and purple scrubs-- to request some ibuprofen. She informed me that my choice was Dilaudid or Dilaudid, and I agreed on Dilaudid.
Fifteen seconds after she injected the morphine into my I.V.…Continue
The man down the hall from me screams long, guttering, spinal tap screams.
I press the call button until Nurse Candace answers with a chilly, "Yes?"
"The man in 627 seems to be in pain," I say, sure that Patient X wears a paper gown like mine that flaps open in the back, in a room like mine, in the same town, in a state that shows little mercy, in a nation that isn’t known for fine health care.
"Just ignore him," she says before breaking the connection.
In the days when wagon trains rumbled westward, wheel axles would break and horses would tire. So families, to lighten the weight, would unload their heaviest pieces of furniture and leave them behind on the plains.
Imagine coming upon a piano, abandoned and dust-drenched, years later, the wind playing over its hammers and strings. Or picture a great mahogany chest of drawers, hand carved and carried by ship to the New World,…Continue