Monday, April 30, 2012

449. Strike 'em out, throw 'em out

The pitch was a fastball.
It took less than a second to reach the catcher's mitt.
It didn't stay there for very long.
Before the runner could reach his destination, the second baseman was there with ball in hand, waiting.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

448. Benny Goodman in North Africa

Their instruments were begged, bartered or "borrowed" from passengers on passing trains.
They played in a circle in the station lobby.
Their set list was always the same - songs they gleaned from the gramophone in the station's bar.
They played for tips from the American servicemen on their way to the front.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

447. States of grace

She drew a thick black line through Arkansas.
Her quest had led her to 37 states so far.
She finished her ice cream, careful not to drip on the map.
She tucked it carefully into an inner pocket of her coat and climbed back on her motorcycle.

Friday, April 27, 2012

446. Maximum occupancy

If such a thing as a maximum occupancy exists (it does), they had clearly exceeded it.
Sweating and straining, they felt every bump, every turn.
Thank goodness the doors were locked.
They reached their destination and the inhabitants tumbled out of the Neon onto the sidewalk.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

445. Career advice

Sellout.
That's what the entitled little fuckers called him.
They'd see.
Someday they'd hate work too.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

444. The war against Sweden

It was the First Lady's idea.
She thought it would make them more appealing to the 99% crowd in the next election.
Now, embarrassed and furious, he ordered the Joint Chiefs to ready for combat operations.
Each bomb had dozens of those cheap Allen keys welded to its surface.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

443. Art appreciation

"We have four-dollar beer," the bartender offered.
Sold.
She perched on a worn barstool and worked the frosted mug around in her hands.
Taking a sip, she stared through the glass bottom at the artwork on the wall.

Monday, April 23, 2012

442. If you can teach a bird to speak

The parrot was the sum of his inheritance from his grandfather.
It was bought in North Africa sometime around the end of World War II.
As a boy, he'd been fascinated by the bird's ability to curse in dozens of languages.
It sat on its perch next to grandfather's ashes, muttering in salty Arabic.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

441. Sunrise on a dessert island

The sun crept over the water until it reached the beach.
Squinting against the light, he looked in every direction for relief.
There were ice cream sundaes as far as he could see.
It might have made no sense, but it was delicious.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

440. Laundry, warm and clean

The weekend ritual was complete.
The laundry was clean, folded and ready for another week.
Only now, the cat was in the laundry, sucking up its warmth.
Another five days covered in fur at the office.

Friday, April 20, 2012

439. Sunrise on a desert island

The sun crept over the water until it reached the beach.
Squinting against the light, he looked in every direction.
There were no ships on the horizon.
It might have been Tuesday.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

438. Global aspirations

He had dreamt of being a Harlem Globetrotter since he was five.
Those guys were amazing.
But such dreams pass.
He was six now.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

437. No Communists or Vegans

His grandfather put up a sign at the restaurant in the fifties: No Communists.
He recently added 'or Vegans' just to be safe.
They don't even eat cheese.
There is a terrible paranoia among many people who are perfectly safe.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

436. Kill the Fuhrer

That's the first thing everyone says.
Seven teams have traveled back and failed.
You are the eighth.
Good luck.

Monday, April 16, 2012

435. Mouth wash

He assumed it was an idle threat.
His mother had been saying it for years.
The 'f' word, it would seem, was his bridge too far, his Rubicon, his Waterloo.
The suds that filled his mouth provided a much-needed change in his outlook.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

434. Man in suit

Tokyo was in shambles.
Terrified people fled in every direction.
The radioactive beast could not be stopped.
The director yelled cut and the actor pulled off the rubber mask and lit a cigarette.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

433. The man who hired a detective

He needed someone with a background in sleuthing; digging through trash and dirt.
He found the man through a series of connections.
The payment was in cash.
He needed to know what his best friend and his wife were up to.

Friday, April 13, 2012

432. The man who saved Stan Lee

Like a classic origin story, he stepped in front of a speeding car to save someone.
He hit the hood and bounced to the sidewalk.
He picked himself up and limped over to help the old man to his feet, only to discover it was him, the man.
Three weeks later they were smiling and posing with superhero props for a photo shoot.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

431. Lost dog

After six or eight whiskey sours, the room was all bass music and bar smells.
Overwhelmed by heat and drink, he stumbled into the street in search of fresh air.
He bought a hot dog from a vendor which he promptly dumped onto the sidewalk.
He wandered, looking for a cab and chewing on bun and ketchup.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

430. The sharp edge of the blade

The blade shone when it caught the light.
Pressed against his neck, he could feel its cool bite.
He felt the old tingle of danger.
He dragged it against his skin, felling hair like timber.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

429. Abundance is the curse of the drowning man

Dr. Gupta developed it in secret in a backcountry laboratory.
Scientists in the West took almost no notice when he published his results in a minor journal.
Then the first model came off the assembly line.
The balance was shifting.

Monday, April 9, 2012

428. Blink

It was time for some heroics.
There were two outs and three runners on base.
It was the ninth inning.
Then the television went stone cold dead.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

427. Furious opposition

Paris in the Springtime.
A city of magic.
A city of magic where it had rained every day and everyone seemed to hate him.
The French probably had an expression for that.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

426. Chasing shadows

I'm learning to run.
Yesterday, I decided to chase my shadow, for motivation.
I chased that son of a bitch for an hour with no success, but it turns out he's as lazy as me.
Lazy bastard gave up when he got back to my place.

Friday, April 6, 2012

425. Revenge of the Easter Bunny

Susan's mother didn't allow her chocolate growing up.
She was a strict believer in the removal of dietary temptation from children.
Now a freshman at college, Susan gave in to an orgy of discounted Easter candy.
Her stomach proved complicit in her mother's revenge.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

424. The Statue of Liberty of Topeka Kansas

Alan Allen did adequate business during tourist season.
Sixteen years ago he quit his job driving a bus and moved to a farm outside the city.
He transformed the farm into the type of lesser tourist attraction made popular by niche travel websites.
His replicas of major world landmarks bore little resemblance to their more famous counterparts.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

423. The bird, the scales and the key

An envelope containing a single sheet of paper was found next to the elderly corpse.
The page was a note from the deceased.
It read: To solve my murder you'll need three clues: the bird, the scales and the key.
Solving the murder was the only way to recover the statue.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

422. Special delivery

It arrived at midnight.
The new parents couldn't be prouder.
Their baby boy had the requisite ten fingers and toes; a picture of health.
Perfect health, that is besides his bright green skin.

Monday, April 2, 2012

421. Family business

They looked smart in their uniforms.
Each was different, but similar.
Together the boarded transportation to the front lines.
The entire family worked at the mall.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

420. Icebergs

Their problems were icebergs.
Their words were tiny knives.
Their children were mortified by their public behaviour.
Their divorce was finalized on Thursday.