Monday, December 31, 2012

694. Make like a tree and get outta here

If you are the type of person who survives to a certain age, you likely have two homes.
One home is the place where you live - in an active sense.
The other is the home of your childhood - where you keep youthful memories and your college textbooks.
For him, the flight from one to the other was an act of comparison - judging the many distances between them.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

693. Back to square one

He lost again.
His opponents, all children, were laughing.
He couldn't seem to decipher the rules.
A little girl, still laughing, said something he couldn't understand and pointed back to the first position.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

692. Six of one, half dozen of the other

There were six turtles.
Across from them were half a dozen hamsters.
It was absurd.
Then the fight started.

Friday, December 28, 2012

691. Liar liar pants on fire

The ropes were tight.
A tiny river of blood dripped down his wrists.
He was going to have to tell them what they wanted.
He was going to have to tell them something.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

690. Don't count your chickens before they've hatched

The shopkeeper's sweater was frayed at the cuffs.
His eyes followed the woman with interest as she entered the stacks.
He saw her again, weaving in and out of the shelves carrying a stack of books.
His eyes followed her with sadness as she deposited the books on a stray pile and left the store.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

689. Don't take any wooden nickels

All the trees were dead by 2599.
The last one to go was an old sequoia.
In the 28th century, wood was the rarest of currencies.
It was rare enough to kill for.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

688. Better safe than sorry

She touched her fingers to her thumb.
They were damp with sweat.
She wiped them against her pant leg.
She put her head against the cool metal and listened to the tumblers move.

Monday, December 24, 2012

687. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

There was a deep moaning coming from the pantry.
The kids were beside themselves.
They were worried something bad had happened to Santa.
It was Uncle Randy, face covered in cupcake frosting, looking for Pepto-Bismol.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

686. A stitch in time saves nine

Patrick was a time tailor.
He literally stitched holes in the fabric of time.
Those holes could tear the universe apart if left unattended.
Yesterday he saved nine people - a bus full of nuns from 1964.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

685. Sleeps with the fishes

She was having the most incredible dream.
She could breathe underwater and speak to fish.
It was all a grand adventure.
As she woke up, she realized her keys had punctured her waterbed.

Friday, December 21, 2012

684. Birds of a feather flock together

Ted's father thought he was a ptarmigan.
Ted didn't mind that so much.
It was fun to watch his father stand on the table and peck at seed.
Ted did however, experience brief moments of shame when his father and his fellow ptarmigans would wait with him for the bus, scratching at the dirt driveway.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

683. A watched pot never boils

She picked up the teapot she had inherited from her grandmother.
It was a simple, heavy thing.
She spun, swinging the teapot - water and all.
She set the pot back on the burner and waited for the police to retrieve the senseless intruder.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

682. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

The children sat cross legged in a horseshoe.
A few of them were crying.
Both of the magician's doves had passed on.
The big finish had flopped.

Monday, December 17, 2012

681. Silhouette of doom

A grim shadow crept over the lip of the valley, obscuring everything.
It was like nothing the plain folks who lived their had eve seen before.
The shadow belonged to a runaway zeppelin.
It had broken free from its moorings in New York or Chicago or some such fanciful place.

680. Stealing Christmas

With all of his neighbours at his or her job, he walked down his street looking to rob.
He wasn't just looking for a big screen tv, but holiday cards in mailboxes, you see.
It was cards from grandma that filled him with gall, so he crept down the street and lifted them all.
As neighbours drove Subarus back into their yards, he sat in the dark and thumbed through their cards.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

679. Aims and goals

He passed every test with flying colours - except one.
He was first in his class at henchmen school.
His first job was hanging out the car window shooting at heroes.
His eyesight was terrible.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

678. Syllables

All proper heroes have good, solid names - one, two syllables.
Jack, Steve, et cetera - these are hero names.
These are the names you can count on.
But that's only in the movies.

Friday, December 14, 2012

677. Swing

There's an empty swing in the park.
It's moving on its own.
No children play here anymore.
It's just the wind.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

676. Ace, Queen, Four, Four, Seven

Someone - two someones, actually - knocked over a private game.
They shot Jimmy and beat The Rat's face all to hell.
All told, they took north of two hundred thousand bucks.
For the last three nights, a man had been walking the street and turning over rocks looking for names.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

675. Wrath of God

The wind blew like Christ's own judgement on the last day.
Here and there, tiny tornadoes destroyed in miniature.
She watched on the porch for as long as she could.
The wind grabbed her scarf flung it into the air, red and flailing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

674. The beer the monks make

There is a monastery deep in the mountains.
The monks there have brewed beer, deep and rich, for nearly a thousand years.
They do this to honour God.
In that beer is the history of the world.

Monday, December 10, 2012

673. There's no such thing as Scotchtoberfest

The apartment was covered with empty bottles - expensive ones.
His eyelids had the approximate consistency of sandpaper and his back was in full rebellion from his night on the couch.
The evening had been epic.
Heading upstairs for a shower, he discovered a total stranger passed out in his bathtub.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

672. The wintery apocalypse of Burl Ives

At dawn on Christmas Day families all over the neighbourhood were opening their gifts.
In the street, the snowmen were moving.
They were mobilizing; organizing.
With weapons of pure ice they marched through the neighbourhood.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

671. Apothecary

The store was off the beaten path.
Its atmosphere fell somewhere between quaint and terrifying.
A shopkeeper lurked here and there but the store was otherwise empty.
Inside the hundreds of jars lining the shelves, things were moving.

Friday, December 7, 2012

670. Memory lapse

The Duke of Wellington bathes every third Thursday.
No wait, wild men wear leather sandals in the rain.
This was infuriating.
The thing to remember the thing she was trying to remember was harder to remember than the thing she was trying to remember.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

669. Seasonal meals

It was the first great snowstorm of the year.
There was at least thirty centimetres on the ground and more on the way.
With the cable and the Internet both out, there wasn't much to do besides watch the snow come down.
They looked to the park across the street where they saw a woman in a t-shirt eating an ice cream.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

668. Silverware

All the cutlery was scuffed and worn nearly to the nub.
It wouldn't be much use for Sunday dinners.
Only the pilot and the traveling salesman survived the crash and the avalanche.
They were digging their way out.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

667. Whatever you say, honey

With a look at the bill, he dug deep in his pocket.
He dropped some change and crumpled bills on the cracked linoleum.
His waitress examined the sheet of paper and the assembled currency.
She picked up his half-finished Coke and dumped it over his head.

Monday, December 3, 2012

666. One giant leap

The rough hair on his face scraped under their boots.
It was deafening to them, but he did not stir.
Their mission was almost complete.
They were trekking toward treasure - across the face of a giant.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

665. Man of the land

Ted Thurman was a farmer.
His people had been farmers, but their children and grandchildren sold off their acres and moved to the city.
Not Ted.
He still left his trailer each morning in a tattered bathrobe to check his field, waving cheerfully to his neighbours in the new condo complex.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

664. Animation

A tree with vaguely human features lumbered through the living room.
Meanwhile, a pitched battle was being fought between miniature soldiers and pint-sized dinosaurs.
In the middle of it all was a small boy - the son of an inventor.
His father had created a machine that could grant life to inanimate things.