Is this PolySci 204? Are you Professor Adams? Can I sit anywhere? Is the textbook online? What’s the WiFi password? Where can I plug in my mini Himalayan salt lamp? Do you grade on a curve? Do you want to pet my Emotional Support Animal? Are you allergic? Can I eat in class? Can I vape? Is texting my term paper okay? Can I save seats for my sorority sisters? When are your office hours? Can my mom audit this class? Why is the syllabus three pages long? Can I leave early? When is the last day to drop?
“Technically it’s a cobra—a comfort cobra,” said the intense gentleman. “Have you not seen the latest data?” In exasperation, he shoved an official-looking scientific document into the steward’s face.
“He’ll stay in his pouch on my lap.” The steward peered around nervously, reread in his mind the revised guidelines based on recent controversial incidents, then quickly ushered the man to the back of the plane in an empty row.
This might work, thought the steward. Until he heard some ruckus up front. Then he noticed the woman with the mongoose.
When the fog rolled in, she shrieked. The road in front was narrow and surreptitious. The jungle was thick on both sides. The air was heavy and gray. She waited in the car for an hour, listened to banal tunes that should have inspired but just rolled on. When the first rock smashed onto the chassis, she cursed herself and the innocent black bird that had sought refuge on the thin bough to the right. Then she ran up to the mountainside, crawled into a narrow crevice.
It was in that darkness that the lost box of golden dust sparkled.
When Alex saw his mother’s face in a cloud formation three days after her funeral, he assumed his eyes were playing tricks. “No way,” he whispered. But then the breeze transformed her lips into the half-smile that always meant she had a wonderful secret she just could not keep to herself.
What is it? he wondered. He followed her celestial gaze to a cloud that looked exactly like a leaping dog. It was Dexter, his childhood companion.
Message received, Mom. Alex took a long hard look at his life. Time to grow up, make changes, secure his future. Because…heaven.
Dropping my kids off this new school year meant getting used to a new routine, commitments and time management. I had tears, joy, and one hour before work. A quiet realization: Bring on the bra shopping….. alone. I tried on everything. Sometimes twice. My trash can full of old bras were slowly killing me. My two smarties started a new journey, so did I. Mine was comfort and curves. I indulged in numerous perfect over-the-shoulder boulder holders. Pure decadence. I picked up my babies a happier mama, happier wife, happier woman!
Neighbors protested the opening of this place with its non vertical wood gentrification fence. Doctor’s orders.: he needed coffee before he became unstable. He stumbled there in sweat pants, which he knew to be his pajamas. The place had been a toy store for 30 years, now it had minimalist fascist light fixtures and white on white décor. He ordered $7 coffee with a Groupon. He sat outside to drink it and steady himself, observing the shabby, rich hipsters. He admired and envied them, that they could have this most days, and then realized that they were all homeless people.
“Fifty yards,” he utters. The street is narrow and smooth, like a watery ribbon. “We are almost there.”
She stares ahead, and then to the right, the signpost not yet visible. Then she listens to the sound of crickets and blackbirds imposed upon the backdrop of the silently departed thunderstorm. She thinks of a warm bed, and of a hot bath. He reflects inward for a closure to a long tumultuous journey tied with her with outer-world’s inclemency.
The pebble had rolled in quietly. The fall then lasted for a minute. Silently, they held their hands together to the end.
When Emily saw the posters for the spelling bee, she resolved to work hard and win first prize. A shiny trophy might get her invited to sleepovers and birthday parties! She kept her crazy dream to herself and spent weeks preparing for the big day.
When she entered the auditorium, her stomach knotted sharply, killing all her nervous butterflies. What have I done? she thought as her eyes welled with tears. She ran to the playground and opened her pencil case.
“I’m so very sorry, Ignatius,” Emily whispered. “I misunderstood.”
“No apology necessary,” buzzed the portly bumblebee. “Let us absquatulate! A-B-S-Q-U-A-T-U-L-A-T-E”
After Phil and Sally had kissed under lampposts in a bunch of different weather, Phil got this tremendous hope. He invited over Sally and some neighborhood two-year-olds for a puppet show. “Remember, puppets may speak only in falsehoods,” Phil instructed the children, winking at Sally. “Wait! Spotto doesn’t know the alphabet!” cried a child with a finger giraffe. “My luck, too,” Sally said, putting on Mr. Blue Ears.
He stepped back from the door of death half alive, his fingers trembling, his gaze affixed to a horizon tucked in elsewhere inside his mind. He ate, spat out, sipped water fearully, and lay quietly on the bed until the summer breeze muted into thicker icy covers that wrapped around clarity. The trees outside looked bare, and under the snow, creatures voluntarily slipped into seasonal forgetfulness. Inside the forest of his nerves, sparks looked out for forgotten islands, reached out to complete scattered phrases. That room looked familiar. The newborn giggled, and beckoned him to the land of provocative belonging.
He was of questionable character. That was a widely acknowledged fact. Yet, many would never have suspected that he would pilfer pallets in the darkest hours of the night, from the backs of drugstores, grocery stores, liquor stores being by far his favorite. It was a crime and he was a criminal. But in the dark, he felt free. He was invisible and that gave him a power he never before considered. Continue reading The Pallet Thief by Pat Becker