April 28, 2010
On the fifteenth day of the rainy season, I was in the doorframe watching the mud pool in the garden with a Malboro in my hand. I felt defiant, in a way that I knew to be ultimately small, to be a human—a goddamn human—who built the roof over his head and cheekily lit a cigarette as the rest of the world turned to mush, like pulp washing down cement rivers.
The echo of feet bounding inside found me and soon Rachel came to the doorframe with a jar and pail, her raincoat already on.
“Worms!” She shook her head like that wasn’t what she’d planned on saying. “Can I play outside?” I told her sure as long as she stayed in the yard and away from the roses. She leapt over slick flagstones and into puddles like it was the first and last day of her life and, throwing the butt into the rain, I tried to remember the last time I felt like that.
April 25, 2010
Shattered glass and whips of coffee swung through the café while tires dragged tablecloths under treads, slinging sweethearts and servers to the doors. A crack of steel against the bar table and the hissing of an engine signaled the proprietor to open his eyes and catch sight of a silver ‘92 Sudan, crumpled with stools through its windows, pinning him in a corner lined with sweeteners and creams. Suddenly the silver door kicked open and the owner’s eyes grew round like golf balls. Under the door stepped a pair of ribboned shoes, followed by the flushed face of a six-year-old through the window frame, her cheeks red like watermelon wedges.
April 22, 2010
Hutch started his day the way he always did. He downed a glass of orange juice, brushed his teeth, stretched outside, and stabbed someone for money.
Stacy started on the Danton’s house as usual. She burnished the gold fixtures, ran a soft cloth over the kitchen’s long planes of marble, and checked on the soil behind the shed, adding lime when the smell was noticeable.
The constable searched an alleged man’s bedside table, investigating outside of his authority. In it he found a Nintendo DS, Lucky Strike cigarettes, a picture of his son, and a journal with individual sins jotted in small lettering, crowding the white pages from cover to cover.
April 19, 2010
The gym floorboards rattled under the electrical exuberance of feet in the bleachers. High school boys jogged onto the court in predestined triumph, their jerseys streaming in line like a solid, red flag. In the tornado of noise, hands clapped synchronous thunder and beautifully discordant voices drowned the celebratory music. Enthusiasm savagely slung from one side of the bleachers to the other as names blared from the loudspeaker. Deep in the heart of the energy, I pounded my chest in furious pride and stretched my mouth in cheer until I felt my father tug on my shirt. He was clutching his arm. He was crying.
April 16, 2010
Slabs of heat rose from the BBQ across the yard. Pentor had always liked staring at columns of tangled warmth and smoke, warping the trees behind it like funhouse mirrors, and he didn’t mind sacrificing conversation with Betty to look. There wasn’t much to lose anyhow.
Betty bit her ice cream with her teeth, trying hard not to give the wrong impression. “I don’t think we’re a very good match,” she said. “Oh, you don’t think so?” he chuckled with a playful grin. She smiled. “But how about seeing a movie with me and forgetting about it?”
April 13, 2010
Henry Burton chucked the whiskey bottle out the farmhouse door as he came in, aiming loosely for the glass bin, and plodded into the kitchen for another. Briskly, he patted the cigarette smoke from his jacket, snatched a bottle off the cheap end of the rack, and staggered upstairs to check on the baby, who slept with one eye open.
April 10, 2010
Your dog is biting my yellow tie, mister. Did you see her by any chance? Just mister? Down there I’m mister Polly. While I wait until she runs around this lake again, do you by any chance have a cracker? I’m insatiable. That’s why I’m no good in the desert. At least as a companion. I mean, if I were out there with an unlimited supply of food and water, yeah, I could do it. But it’s not going to happen in the near future. That’s the technology of the sci-fi novels. Now there’s and idea: a novel idea it is. And it will be unconventional like all art with twisty buttons and swooping trails of color, trails of tears, stories of those losers of history with ruins now crumbling through time like the pyramids.