What can YOU say in six sentences?
Some things never change.
Once again, it’s 4 AM and he considers the plinkety plink with strings in the background channel instead of the wow what a rush and oh my aren’t the walls moving channel or the where has my cheating lover gone again woe is me channel because this early in the morning when he wakes up and it’s time for them to come, he prefers not to have someone else’s words get in the way. The…Continue
She tells him he’s the stiffest man she’s ever known, and he supposes that if he had used Viagra or was still in his twenties he’d be happy with that assessment, but he hasn’t and he’s not, so he isn’t. His physical therapist concurs; tells him his lumbar spine is like concrete, but it’s crumbling.
He’s halfway through his sixth decade and it seems like whenever he goes to the park every bench is calling his name. He used to stay up for the late show and leave work early to get in a…Continue
There is neither edge nor precipice;
nor slide, nor knowable fall.
There is only bottom.
Lack makes itself known
abruptly, a gasping loss.
There is only nothing, suddenly.
There is neither flight nor flying
nor slipping away into airlessness;
there is no drag or drain, no
low warning, no looming alarm.
There is only bottom and nothing.
He notices that half of the ceiling fans at Subway are spinning clockwise and the other three are counter. He tries to note the upward or downward angle of their blades, but four are spinning too quickly; the slower fans, however, certainly appear to be working at cross purposes.
He wonders if this is intentional, wonders if anyone else ever noticed and—if the direction were reversible—if anyone would even bother. He…Continue
It seems like half the town comes in for coffee between noon and two, most of them hooded and mittened against the cold, some of them—despite their best efforts—appearing nearly frostbitten, their movement toward the café tables slow, their utterances clipped, their eyes still frozen into a sub-zero squint.
He observes them from his corner table, dispassionately but with such attention to detail that, in attending so closely to it, he almost ceases to exist. Several times, he forgets…Continue
He spends all of a whopping twenty minutes sitting with his client and her psychiatrist, evaluating the effectiveness of her laundry list of meds.
She tells him how her bones ache in the morning, is vague about her sleep patterns, and remains unable to explain her irresistible need to repeat herself and repeat herself and repeat herself.
She tells him about her upstairs…Continue
He tries to be kind to children who approach him thinking he’s Santa Claus just because he’s old and fat and has a sizeable white beard. It’s almost Christmas, he reminds himself, and they can’t help themselves because they’re children and because they’ve been brainwashed. Sometimes, just to give them a thrill, when he sees them eyeballing him in a store or at the café he waits until they’re within earshot and gives them a soft little “ho-ho-ho” as they pass by. He does this…Continue
The low angle of early December early morning light slides across the bistro table, casts long, indistinct shadows across the blank white sheets of paper there, awaiting their ink the same way that the freshly fallen snow on the sidewalk outside awaits the first few bootprints of the new day. He stares and stares at the pages, unable to cobble together even two simple images, regardless of their simplicity.
Occasionally, he lets his attention and his vision wander outside, through…Continue
At the bookstore café, they’ve installed a decorative nipple-high wall; a wall of mahogany and stained oak, the entire width of the span of the storefront windows. He wants to like it, wants to appreciate the warmth and the reddish brownness of it, wants to luxuriate in the cozy nookness it adds, but he’s an inveterate people-watcher and the wall, after all, is a wall and does what walls do.
Most of the patrons seem to like it well enough, but he notes how quickly they gravitate…Continue
He goes to the hospital, lets them look him over, look into and through him, turn him over and inside out, look and look again until, finally satisfied, the doctor gives him the thumbs-up and the nurse winks and smiles, knowing more about him than even the woman waiting for him at home knows, and he’s released—freed to return to her and make of his life what he will.
The news is good, but on the drive home he listens to the radio, hears about war in The Congo, war in The…
Because it’s lunchtime, and because he’s a writer, he takes a writer’s lunch, twisting the truth when he writes because he believes that truth, untwisted, is far less fun to read; that the straight line from fact to fact, while short and direct, is also predictable and, often, boring.
He gives the pathetic parking lot seagull eagle feathers, lets it soar awhile, then allows it to swoop down on the placid asphalt lake to pluck out a french fried salmon before catching an upward…Continue
All bills become due just as your eyes finally close, after your body gives up the ache of furniture moving the entire month of October, early snow falling on your scraped knuckles, no more sure footing anywhere in the near future.
IRS paid late, two weeks past due on the past due payment; due on the 15th without fail; second and third school loans, paying off the license used for almost a decade before giving up the ghost, due on the 28th, only a day late, only…Continue
He’d come fairly quickly to the realization that, despite the agency’s best efforts, most of his clients would remain reclusive, either reluctant or outright refusing to venture out, and often unwilling or unable to answer even the most tentative knock. One time he visited, concerned at the lack of response after three days calling, tried the door and, surprised to find it unlocked, entered.
Despite the previous night’s rain and the morning’s gusts and bluster, the apartment’s single…Continue
It’s always easier, he used to think, making the return trip; always easier driving or walking home even though the distance and the time spent en route is the same.
He reasoned that this was true because on the outbound journey one is usually filled either with eager anticipation or with dread—depending upon circumstances—and that these same feelings do not color the identical return voyage, do not provide the same elasticity to the hours and miles spent traveling.
Even though most of them have lived here most of their lives, they look out on Main Street today the same way that sailors look out over the rooftops and byways of some foreign port; as if everything within their view is simultaneously familiar yet ultimately unknowable. Any one of them, marooned here in the morning without his companions, would sip his solitary coffee to arm himself against the impending and inevitable chill, as if the brew were some exotic and medicinal elixir, newly…Continue
He decides he can’t write about fast food anymore; can’t sit in the plastic booth and watch the people who cook it, or who come in to eat it day after day as if cooking and eating fast food were just another part of everyday life. Even the air, even the sunlight streaming in through the huge windows, even the everyday chatter of the diners feels foreign to him now; even the smiles of the uniformed crew seem like zombie smiles, seem—at…Continue
It’s hard for me to imagine a perfect city.
I suppose there would be vehicles.
People have to get around.
I guess there would be stores.
Stores bum me out because commercialism pretty much sullies everything.
One thing’s for certain: there would have to be a statue of a rutabaga by the ballpark.
Weeks go by and still he does not have the strength to turn the page, to lift a pen, even though all around him everything is changing, demanding to be captured immediately, before it fades away forever. The same rain that was falling two weeks ago is still falling, but today it's a grayer, colder rain, more suitable to both the new season and his current state of mind.
He goes into the bookstore café hoping to eavesdrop on the geezers, as usual, but they’re on their way out as he…Continue