March 29, 2010

Telica’s shirt peeled off of the taxi seat as she sat up, leaving a ring of perspiration behind.  As she dropped the change into the driver’s palm, she sneakily ran her sleeve over the sweat.  Stepping out, she threw her suit jacket on to hide the wet columns that streaked down the back of her shirt, despite feeling lightheaded.

Platform four was congested with people.  Body odors and the smell of gum-jeweled asphalt filled the outdoor strip like fog.  A man in a cheap suit and glasses caught her eye from a neighboring queue.  “Interview?” he asked with certainty.  Telica nodded.  As if explaining the answer to a bar-trick, he added, “I can’t keep my hands still before them either.  I don’t know why I don’t feel right with them at my sides.”  She noticed her fingers pressing against her thumb like she was squeezing the life out of an ant.  He smiled.  Self-conscious, she stuffed her hands into her jacket pockets.  “Ain’t it a kick in the head?  This economy, I mean.  We’re all scrambling for jobs, but it seems like everything screams by us between blinks.”  The warning melody sounded and the train rolled next to the platform with rail clacking underneath it.  “The best luck to you,” he called over the crowd’s murmurings and the sound of air pressure releasing from the engine’s brakes.  Telica gave a perfunctory smile and boarded the fifth car.

The wild backyard

March 26, 2010

The morning grass was cold, wedged between Michael’s small toes, but he continued running though his backyard, his kingdom.  Leaping onto logs felt dangerous, which made it all the more important to do.  Climbing without socks or shoes, trees slipped handfuls of splinters into his feet, but they weren’t that bad.  In the warmer afternoon, Michael forded Quixahol creek (which he called the Great Wall of China), but his feet stumbled on thin blankets of slime.  He slipped before he reached the bank and struck his temple against rock.  Too far from home to call for help, he rolled onto the shore to rest.  But resting wasn’t restful.  The rocks pressed against his back in funny ways and the seaweed smelled like garbage.  Dizzy and mildly rested, he picked up again at sunset and decided to walk around the river, because he certainly did not want to slip again.  The path wound along the river without a crossing in sight, but the boy did not want to go back.  He had come so far.  The river looked deeper and faster.  It felt colder as the sun ducked behind the horizon.  And he sat, not knowing what to do next, just knowing that something was to be done or should have been done before dark.

A nice idea.

March 23, 2010

Patrick Tish sat under a cherry tree at night.  He rubbed the stem of a wine glass in his fingers and noticed pale light pool on the surface of the merlot.  He sat, strangely transfixed, feeling somehow profoundly affected by the gliding light’s simplicity, but thinking of nothing in particular.  Gloria put a hand on his knee and jolted him back to reality.  He felt guilty for neglecting her

—the silence seemed forced now—

and straightened his posture.  Their glasses clinked and Patrick was glad she was there, though not sure why.

Down the road…

March 20, 2010

Thorton walked down marshmallow lane in his pajamas.  Great, white puffs of sugar lined the road like tree stumps and rainbow gumdrops the size of buttons curved across their sides.  The afternoon sun stretched behind Thorton so he could laugh with his shadow, which made shadow-puppets and mimed nibbling at the side of the road.  In the distance, a bell chimed.  The shadow-puppet faded back into a fist and swung furiously up and down as Thorton began to sprint.  “I’m late!” he yelped, already panting, and zoomed back to the honeyed town like a hummingbird.

She shrugged

March 17, 2010

The defendant’s daughter stood up, her laced blouse silently exclaiming femininity, her stern face demanding close attention, and shouted, “He’s a moose in a man’s clothing!”

The crowd gasped.  The plaintiff clapped his hooves to the desk in protest.

A man who believed there was no mind stood and asked, “By what faculties can you judge such a thing?”

A man who believed there was no reality asked, “How can we know moose exist at all?”

A woman who distrusted logic asked, “How can you be sure if all proof is foundationless?”

A woman who held no principles asked, “Why should we bind ourselves to this meaningless categorization?

A man who acknowledged no rights asked, “Why shouldn’t a man or moose for that matter stand to be judged?”

A man with no morality asked, “What’s moral about this court of law anyway?”

A woman who long believed in no absolutes asked, “What difference does it make if the plaintiff is a man or a moose?”

A woman, certain that it was impossible to know more than nothing, asked, “What?”

Ayn Rand did not pursue her accusation; she had already released the courtroom doors and let them clatter behind her.