Monday, May 16, 2011
A minute passed and still nothing was finished. A year later some movement happened and everyone thought highly of that. They peeked over his shoulder and saw a blank slate. How disappointing, they thought.
Just give me a minute and I’ll be done.
Another minute passed and another year with it. He had concentration on his face, intensity in his eyes, and nails between his teeth. They admired how busy he looked and took a peek. The slate was still blank. This is just depressing, they agreed.
A minute – just a minute – is all I need and I'll be done.
A minute passed and a year and another year and by this time they lost track of the exact time and lost interest in him. He looked so busy, so intense, so focused, yet his slate was blank. They moved on without a word.
He finished sometime in the night, alone. Everybody was gone. He looked over his slate and liked what he saw. He set it aside and grabbed another slate. His brow furled, his jaw tightened, his teeth clenched down on nails as he began again.
Just give me a minute.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
When finally forced to relent, he often used the pithiest descriptions available. "Good dreams last night," he would say. They pressed for more. "Oh, I went to the park," he offered, "and there was a puppy and then I woke up." After using the puppy dream a time or two, they began to worry that he was in suspended adolescence, he desperately needed companionship, his loneliness was overwhelming, he was a pedophile looking for romance. He loathed amateur analysts who wanted only fodder for gross interpretations of what he found simply to be great adventures of inanity. Eventually, he told them that he had stopped dreaming years ago. This disturbed them more. He went back to the puppy briefly, then used the old trope of falling from a great height. The analysis subsided.
He found his dreams began to linger when he woke. They stayed in his mind and back pocket through the day. Upon his next sleep, they left him. Occasionally he wished he had held on to them for one more day, remembered them as they were, and found why they lingered. Instead he reminded himself that he put no stock in dreams and kept his dreams from himself.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
A pink petal fell from her fingers and drifted to the untended grass below. She eyed its descent thinking momentarily of reaching, but opting to not. She preferred peach to pink. Peter often challenged her discernment between the two, especially in petals. Those times she preferred Paul to Peter.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
His face showed flush amplified by the streak of ketchup across his cheek. She chuckled as she took a bite of the wicked weapon. He had been slapped with plenty of gloves, many belts, and the occasional haddock, but never with a french fry. She chewed defiantly in the face of his glare. The smell of the ketchup rose to his nose. He slowly wiped it away without breaking his stare. She broke first and turned to chat up some other sap. He glanced to his hand smeared red. Some tomato gave its life for this, he thought.
He looked back to her. Red permeated the air between them. Not anger, he thought, not rage; he knew those well. This dug down some deep new place. He could always slap her back with one of her own french fries, a slab of his steak, or a good handful of mustard. Insufficient options every one: he needed more.
He could drench her in sauces of all colors: reds, browns, yellows, the green stuff with the funny name. She would be sopped head to toe in savories and sweets. Her clothes stained all colors of the rainbow. Her hair dyed ten tones of gourmet accoutrements. Her eyes, her ears, her nose, her mouth all filled full with ketchup, salsa, mustard, hot sauce, syrup. He could empty the table of its complimentary condiments in the name of vengeance and leave her a sopping, sobbing mess.
He could do all that, but he wouldn't. In angry days vengeance was swift. This time, however, all he could do was look. She slapped his face with a french fry and paralyzed him. She could glow tomato red and grow potatoes from her head and he would only sit and stare. She made me useless, he thought, pointless and useless.
She looked back at him and recognized his immobility. Neither said a word. She arched her brow. He swore he saw her float for a second, just a second. She looked back to her plate of french fries and half-eaten chicken club. He took up his bill and walked to the register. He paid, left, and never ate french fries again.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Speak to me, she pleaded. Just a word is all I need.
Neither teeth nor lips parted for her. He would not budge.
Is it peanut butter? she asked. Or glue? That has done this to you.
He gave no reply. His mouth stayed firmly shut.
I'll pry you open with my crowbar, she warned him. I will go sooooo far to get you to talk to me.
He said nothing. He sat and stared.
She ran circles around him shouting, TALK TALK TALK! Till she tired and slowed to a walk.
He was mute.
Do you have nothing to say? Just give me a nod, she told him. Please, God.
He looked at her and pushed out a tight little smile. He opened his mouth the tiniest bit and pushed out, Sorry. His mouth closed again.
She stared at him for a moment and then sat next to him. They stared off together. Neither one said a word.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
He plinked out notes on an upright piano.
Play me songs, she said. Songs I can sing to. Songs I know.
He played a brief melody that she thought she knew. Just as she caught it and began to hum along, he went right back to plinking.
I knew that one, she said. Play it again.
He played a new tune that she knew she knew. She caught it quick and hummed right in. Then he changed it. He changed keys. He made it minor. He smothered it with dissonance. She lost the tune and he went right back to plinking.
That was my favorite, she said. I want to sing to something. Play me something good.
He played a tune she never heard before. She sat and listened, imagining she knew it.
I don’t know this, she said.
He kept on. He repeated phrases. He came to the hook. She hummed the bits that stuck with her.
Who is this? she asked.
He made it to the bridge and paused. He plinked for a second.
That’s not a real song, she said. Is it?
He plinked a bit more and then into the bridge. She swayed. She hummed. He hit his crescendo. He resolved. He stopped. She stared.
Play me a real song, she said.
He looked at her. He looked at the piano. He plinked a note, then another and another, plinking note after note. She sighed.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
As an adult, Richard the Ninth built a home at the bottom of a valley from the belief that landslides and earthquakes affected only those who lived atop mountains. What Richard the Ninth failed to realize was that the valley was a public park and, also, located just beneath a flood plain. Fortunately, out of habit, Richard the Ninth waterproofed everything he touched. Unfortunately, out of fear, he had never learned to swim. Richard the Ninth spent many nights atop the roof of his valley home until one night he made a crucial decision and abandoned his abode. Learning as much as he could from this life lesson, Richard the Ninth built his next home on the edge of a desert cliff many miles from civilization.