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Archive for the ‘story’ Category

Nothing

 

The sun beat down unforgiving on the frozen landscape. Nothing moved nothing breathed it was as if the world was holding its breath, waiting for something spectacular. Small Brown Eyes opened on this world of ice and silence, they opened and blinked, and then they closed. The Small Brown Eyes closed on the world and the world returned itself to void, to nothingness. It was a silent, gentle transition, no cataclysm just…

 

Nothing

 

Two children played in a sandbox building worlds of imagination and sand they had wars and adventures; they brought empires too their knees; turned knaves into heroes and always won the girls. Two ordinary boys on an ordinary day doing ordinary boy things. Two Brown Eyes blinked, Two Brown Eyes closed and Two Ordinary Boys disappeared into… well,

 

Nothing

 

Two people, one bed. The sex was loud messy and every teenagers wet dream. She was gorgeous passionate, he was masculine strong; both virile. She arched her back and cried out in her release her long black hair falling picture perfect about her shoulders and breasts. Wide Brown Eyes watched. Wide Brown Eyes blinked and reluctantly closed and The Two Lovers dimmed and turned to mist to…

 

Nothing

 

Two Brown Eyes looked out on a world that was normal, predictable, boring and real. Two Brown Eyes closed and the world disappeared, and reappeared extraordinary and unbelievable. The world unrolled, folded itself, rearranged and remade itself. Two Brown Eyes watched and orchestrated. Two Brown Eyes, blinked and closed and returned to the ordinary, the boring. The World unrolled, rearranged, remade and disappeared into…

 

Nothing

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Here is a desert, desolate and bright, empty of sound of wind of anything but dirt, dust and this conversation:

“Whew. Hot Day.” He remarked as he wiped the dust from his brow.

Morgan took the pipe from his mouth, “Ayuh. Just like the last day and the day before that and day before that one. This whole damn time’s been one long hot day.” And with that pronouncement he lit his pipe and said no more.

They continued to work in silence, nothing but the sound of their shovels biting into the ground. Behind them lay the finished product of their work, acres of it, miles of it. The whole damn planet pocked with their holes.

The same desert, some time later:

“Not far now, I can see the coast today. Couldn’t see that yesterday.” He said, taking a short break, leaning on his shovel; wiping his face with a kerchief.

“Ayuh, you can smell the salt in the air.” Morgan lit a match on the seat of his pants. “Not much farther now. What do you suppose the Power-That-Be will have for us after this?” Morgan asked as he busily puffed away.

“Dunno. What did we do before this? Seems we’ve been here for centuries, digging. Was there anything before this?” He asked, sinking his shovel in the ground throwing a spadeful of dirt next to his 3’X7’X77” hole.

Morgan shrugged his shoulders, “There must have been something before this but it’s been so damn long I’ve forgotten.”

The coast, some time latter:

“We’re nearly there.” He remarked, “I’d say about 5 more graves till we hit the beach”

“Ayuh. Judging from where the others stop I’d say that’s about right.”

“How many times do you think we’ve seen this beach? It’s obvious we’ve been here before. How many times?” He whispered, wiping his face with his dirty hands.

Morgan tapped his pipe against a rock then began to refill it. “Hard to say, it’s been so long I barely remember the other shore.” He said, hooking a thumb over his shoulder.

“Five to go and then what?” He asked, gazing at the sea.

“Dunno. I’m sure the Powers will have something lined up.” Morgan answered, looking back at the landscape of their handy-work.

The same coast, sometime later:

“How long’s it been?” He asked after swimming ashore, “Days? Weeks? Years? Do you think They’ve forgotten us?”

Morgan sat down on the beach to consider before answering. “Hard to tell. There’s no no night here, the sun never moves. We only lie in our graves, we never sleep. As for them, dunno”

Sometime later:

“What do you suppose we should do now?” He asked, his voice sleepy after laying on the beach for so long.

“Well I’ve been thinking about that for a while now. Seems to me there’s not much we can do. We’ve got no one to bury; the Powers have forgotten us. We can’t bury ourselves or each other. We can’t lay around on the beach the whole while, there’s no sense in it. So, that leaves us with only one choice.”

He had been thinking about it himself and had come to the same conclusion, “Fill in the graves.” He said, reaching for a spade.

Morgan smiled and picked up his pipe, chuckled as he scratched a match to life.

“Ayuh.” He said.

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Another airport bar, just after Christmas. A place of random open conversations; people you will never see again from places you’ve never heard of.
“Yeah? You know what I got for Christmas!? Zanex!”
The holidays always see such a rush of people. People who otherwise would not be flying. People who rarely leave their comfortable suburbanite dream.
Here is the real melting pot of our nation; the myriad of stops between “Here” and “There”, between comfortable home and, to some, a once-a-year destination. Across the bar someone laments a year they weren’t “There”, a year they missed,
“I wasn’t there… I don’t know what happened… They all hate me over there now.”
Still, there is something about these places, these never empty yet shortly lived in bar stools, these polished counter tops and harried bartenders. For as new and spotless as these places look there is a sense of use, of purpose.
“…I’ll have a Tubalow.”
“I guess they don’t want our business…”
“What can I get you?”
Well used and seldom unoccupied these places during the holidays. Everyone has their someplace to go, their someplace their from, their somebody waiting for them, their somebody to see; their something to say.
A faintly alluring feminine voice calls me, “Calling all passengers for Delta flight 95, services to LA and Hawaii, your plane is now boarding.”
I sigh, pay my tab and thank the cute bartender.
“Have a nice flight”, the ubiquitous phrase on everyone’s lips here.
I smile my appreciation, gather my things and head down the causeway. I too have my someplace to go. “Someplace”, no real home, no “from” just a destination; no one waiting for me, just a lot of people to see.
“Have a nice flight” indeed; I hate the hollidays.

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Old men gathered around a pipe, pointing and arguing as though it were a piece of art. As though their lives were tied to it; that small piece of pipe.
Which, being metal mongers, men of steal and heat, I suppose they are tied to it.

Across the bay the battleship sits quiet; low and heavy in the water. Her guns point east and west towards the falling and rising sun. Helicopters and jets pass overhead. The wind shifts. I adjust my shotgun and sigh, I’ll be wet with the rain soon.

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In a small and smokey place, full to the walls with eager ears, eager to hear the tale of the old drunk. Every week he did this, predictably, after his pay was cut. Every week we would come to hear his fantastic tales, tales of far-off and of down-‘neath and up-‘bove of near and dear and over the hill… Over the mountain;

“… Cats that talk
Dogs that walk
Hand in paw with their neighbors.
Birds that sing
As they wing
Of the hour when they were favored.

Streets of blue
and cracked cobble-stone
Children who have wondered far from home.

They gasp and gaze
At wondrous sights
They are gobbled up
by each and every new delight.

The city heaves and sighs
And grumbles and bursts
And in the end it spits up the little twerps.

New made men and women
Of cracked and blackened stone
Clockwork monstrosities for whom
The city is their home.

And the cats and the dogs
And the birds and the pets
All make room for these newest little pests.

In the city over the hill
(It’s lying in a rill.)
On the other side of the mountain
In the town by the river
(It’s only getting bigger.)
In the place that is forgotten.”

The bar is quiet. Many remember others misfortunes, remember Mary or Marta’s missing children, remember their own. The atmosphere becomes cold, silent but for one voice, the voice that stilled and chilled us all,
“Bring me another whisky.”

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Dust Town

Towels flapping on the line in my Dry Dust Town.
Seen from the air a criss-cross of 6 roads. Perfectly spaced squares.

Porch sitting, my favorite activity here in my Dust Town. I can watch the towels flapping, lazily beating each other and themselves; can see the direction of the wind. The dog lays and pants at my feet, thirsty. The only thing cold in this Hot Dust Town is my beer, my last beer. The store shut down today. Tod, the owner, died. Latest victim of our unique disease, our Dust Disease. The mine gave us all the day off because of it; raise my glass in memory of Tod, silent thanks for the day off; Good soul. Dog grunts and rolls over, still thirsty.
Sitting from my porch, as I do, I can see the distant mountains. The highest, Skyline Ridge and her sisters make up the Razor Back Range. The only place in the world where Dust is mined. I can see those too, the mines. Lights are blinking there, at the foothills, sunset will be soon.
The wind shifts my towels. I sigh, stand up. I can see it all ready, Dark Dust cloud headed for our little Dust Town. Tell the dog it’s time to head in. She rolls to her feet and wuffles; look of reproach from sleep-red eyes. Sorry girl, I mutter. Time to bring the wash in, don’t want to wash it again, don’t have the water anyway. Close the shutters and vent, only protection from the Damn Dust; makes it hot as hell. Tell the dog its time for bed, gotta get up early, have a whole day to make up for. She grunts herself down on her spot at the end of the bed. Roll into mine, sigh; third day in a row I’ve missed the Sunset.

Maybe tomorrow?

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The ends of stories are the very worst parts. You can forgive the author all his transgressions before this point (“Why did he kill her?”), all the little gripes and complaints you may have had are forgotten when you get to this point, the saddest part of the book: the end.

Especially if was a good story, and it must have been for you to feel this way, a story that took you in, took you away from the “real” world; a story with places and characters that just get into your skin. People who are real to you; people, characters, you love, you hate, you know; you are intimately involved with their lives, you know their hearts, their minds. And so the story takes you in, rushes you headlong towards the brick wall of that last chapter, those fateful, famous last words: “The End”.

And with that last page, those final parting shots, that last period, the curtain closes and all the house lights come up. You bid fare-thee-well to those, your loved ones; you have been with them all this time, seeming months or years, their constant companion; but now their plight is resolved and their future(dark to you)bright and open before them. It is the proverbial sunset and these your erstwhile companions and loved ones are walking off into it.

And you, you return from your harmless eavesdropping to the real solid fact of your existence. Your own life with its own struggles and desires, loves and losses. Your own future, a story yet unwritten, rolls out before you.
A crushing disappointment after all that you’ve just witnessed right?

To be sure your life will never be as fantastical, as rich, as full of danger or intrigue. Will your loves be as sudden or passionate? Will you ever have to fight for your life, or those of innocents, against an as-yet-unknown evil? Your enemies are the noisy neighbor, the surly waitress- your boss, whom you believe to be supremely evil; maybe even your mother-in-law. But you will probably never have the sort of adventures that, those, your literary heroes have. The nail-biting, life or death, edge-of-your-seat situations they always seem to end up in.

But you do. Every time you dip politely into a different world and hitch a ride on a strangers shoulders. You ride with them through their little bit of life, their own short play. You are taken into that world, you know it, you see it… and you live it; if only for a few hundred pages.

Which is why, after all, a good book seems to go by so quickly yet lasts in your mind so much longer. You didn’t just read that story my friend, you lived it.

You where there when Frodo cast his ring into the forge from which it was set; you sat in that cold, gloomy cabin and listened with horrified fascination to the story of a man who called himself Frankenstein. You have seen the resting place of Lord Dracula and witnessed the re-awakening of Cthulhu; you were there, watching the news, when the Man From Mars escaped the government, and you were part of the mob that witnessed, and participated in, his martyrdom. You know all the ghosts of Christmas and have walked the jungles with Bagheera and his man-cub.

You may just be the greatest traveler and explorer of far off lands that the world has ever known. For you have seen far more than the ordinary day-to-day man, who orders a cup of coffee every morning over his stock quotes and sports pages, spilling the crumbs of his danish on all the portions he deems unfit for reading.

And yes the end is sad, and though you may be melancholy and dejected when you bid your final farewell to those whom you have so recently loved, when you close those last few pages and set the book aside, you are no poorer for it. In fact you life may have just taken an interesting turn. The book set aside, the characters taking their final bow in your mind, the house lights come up and you look ahead; your own story continuing or starting, you are authoring it and the end, as far as you know, may never come.

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