Monday, February 28, 2011

23. The absence of fireworks

The floor around her desk was littered with the carnage of a thousand failed ideas.
Each of them flared for a second and were held - desperately - until they scorched the fingers and were discarded.
Nothing was forthcoming.
She sat in the dark, waiting for fireworks.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

22. Kung fu findings

I found it at a Saturday flea market.
I'm not sure why the day matters - except that I was surly having been dragged there against my will.
Sandwiched between multiple copies of Engelbert Humperdinck’s After The Loving,was a signed Carl Douglas LP.
Best three dollars I ever spent.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

21. Trench warfare

We didn’t hate the kids across the street.
But in those deep, snow-filled winters of our youth, conflict was inevitable.
We would spend hours making frozen mortar shells and launching them across the street.
Our perpetual cold war was thawed only by dinner.

Friday, February 25, 2011

20. The idea thief

She was a thief of ideas.
You’ve seen that movie about stealing ideas?
It wasn’t like that.
She mostly slept with people.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

19. Heavy eyes

Falling asleep at the bus station is a bad idea, I’ll tell you.
When it happened to me, they took my wallet and my cheese sandwich.
I really wanted that sandwich.
I don’t know if I’ll ever have a sandwich that good again.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

18. The clock beats ever slower

The man who knows the secrets of time isn't a monk or a kung fu master or some kind of wizard.
He's just a regular man from New Jersey who can stop time.
His name is Terrance.
He uses most of his newfound time on those goddamned Sudoku puzzles. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

17. Presto chango

His secret origin was painfully pedestrian.
He was one of those people you see on television who think they're masked vigilantes.
There was a particular rightness, he thought, in donning his costume in phone booths.
On this day, he waited for more than two hours for men from the telephone company to free him.

Monday, February 21, 2011

16. The perfect cheeseburger

There’s a diner at the edge of town where they don’t take cash, but they make their own pickles.
The man who runs the kitchen has done so for forty-three years.
The spatula still flashes in his wrinkled black hands.
His days are ruled by the smell and the sound of the sizzling flattop.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

15. Secret origins

They were told they'd be heroes.
They readied themselves with every conceivable training.
Their instructions however, weren’t all that clear.
They’re probably still out there now, waiting.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

14. Here, there be titans

My grandfather saw Babe Ruth play back in nineteen hundred and twenty-seven.
He was every bit what they said: a Sultan, a King, a Colossus.
My grandfather always called him 'George' though, because he thought those nicknames were silly.
"That son of a bitch could really hit a baseball," grampy would always say.

Friday, February 18, 2011

13. The Catastrophist

He wallowed in perpetual terror of other people’s opinions.
He saw conspiracies in their conversations
Always, he guessed at the worst.
The ulcer was all the proof he needed that he'd been right all along.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

12. Marriage directions

He drove while she navigated.
After six hundred miles and one missed instruction, they were lost in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
They stopped at an all-night diner to drink weak coffee and relocate their route.
He retraced their steps while she fumed.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

11. The bruises that show

He signed up for boxing lessons.
A hobby, he decided, that would be a catharsis for his daily frustrations.
He joined one of those gritty gyms where real men sweated real sweat.
It turned out he wasn't very good, so he quit. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

10. Tiny little protest movement

They came to the college’s quad.
They came from well-to-do families.
They came to protest, well, a lot of things.
They came to feel self-righteous - and absolved.

Monday, February 14, 2011

9. A business opportunity

The old high school burnt down on a Thursday.
The whole town watched the fire department do what little they could.
Even though it had been replaced ten years earlier by a new school up on the hill, people were crying.
The man who owned the lot was picking through the smoldering mess for bricks to sell.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

8. Chance is a cold mistress

What remained of the letter had disintegrated into a soggy mess.
There was no room for it in her mailbox, stuffed with crap she couldn't stop them from delivering.
It had been important.
She’d regret never receiving it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

7. Of schedules and soap

He conducted his affairs by an unbending set of rules.
Life was well-considered, by the book.
But none of that meant a damn.
All the rules in the world didn't amount to a damn in the face of a line cook with a casual relationship with "hygiene".

Friday, February 11, 2011

6. Driving

They drove often.
Gas was cheaper then.
They weren’t looking for trouble.
That being said, you and I both know adventure and trouble often look quite the same.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

5. At the fish counter

He was good with a knife.
The circus had honed his skill like a whetstone.
There, he was a knife thrower.
This wasn’t the same.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

4. Welcome to Earth

A crack team of scientists and soldiers was sent to investigate.
Popular culture had been preparing us for years for this exact moment.
​But, there was nothing to study, nothing to test.
The alien ship was completely empty.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

3. Love lives of the mundane

He'd had four relationships in his young life.
The first lasted just the length of a school dance.
Both the second and the third were bittersweet things - college undertakings.
But the fourth, the fourth is still too raw to put into words.

Monday, February 7, 2011

2. Elvis, busted

She stopped dead in her tracks.
Her cherished bust of Elvis - bought on a pilgrimage to Graceland - was shattered. 
Theories ran rampant in her fevered brain. 
The officers' caustic questions revealed a simpler and more obvious explanation.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

1. An unexpected rain

The air was pregnant with heat.
At nine years old, Summer seemed like an eternity.
When the rain came - maybe July or August - it seemed like a miracle.
We stood outside for hours.