A Miss is as Good as a Mile

Back in the 70’s a man and woman fell in love, I don’t know where and I don’t know how. Could’ve been at a saloon, could’ve been at her sister’s wedding where the guy was the best man, standing tall in his shiny black boots. Hell, maybe it was at the dance after the rodeo, could’ve been any of those places Maybe he saw her across a room or some other damned place, and felt his heart ping and then melt. She felt a stirring inside, recognized him from some long ago place, their hearts whispered, “That’s the one.”

Could’ve gone a lot of different ways. Maybe they danced. Maybe they only saw each other across the bleachers at a football game, I don’t know how, but there were those five or six minutes. Maybe they were dancing, and her fiancé cut in. Maybe his girlfriend said, “What’re you looking at?” and commenced pouting. No way to know.

But I do know this.

It was in spring just after Parks and Wildlife stocked Homelake. He was there fishing, still tall, but big bellied under a sweat-stained cowboy hat. Come the thaw, his tackle is always in the back of his beater farm truck, a bronze and white Chevy Scottsdale. He takes a minute to load the hook and looks off at the sky, at Mt. Blanca in the fast-changing spring light, the moving clouds.

She walks by with a friend. She’s a little bent, with a mutt on a leash, half collie or something, maybe cattle dog. She looks up and sees him gazing into the distance and turns to see what he’s looking at.

“Takes my breath away,” she says.

“Don’t I know it,” he says.

“What’re you catching?”

“Rainbows.” Big grin.

“Big enough to eat?”

“Most of ’em.” He’s smiling. He looks at her.

She pauses. She’s been gone for decades, following her husband, raising kids, building a profession, but now she’s home again. She hears the home-tones in his voice, the accents of her childhood. It warms her to the core.

“Take it easy!” she says, waving and going on her way.

“You take it easy, too, darlin’,” he says.

Blessed Oblivion

The night was dark, not in the least surprising, and the leaves, shunted about by the wind, spun like small dervishes outside her window. However, since no one saw this, it never really happened. Tricia slept, dreaming of the beginnings of a migraine. “I’ll shake it off,” she thought in her sleep and because it was a dream, she did just that, and slept on. A line of red began to show across the cloud-streaked horizon, and still she slept.

—————-

As the red tinged the sky, Tom was unlocking the door to his sprawling studio apartment overlooking the park, after yet another night of debauchery and remorse. “This has to stop,” he thought, again, as he tottered into the bathroom. He turned on the cold water and splashed some on his face. “I ain’t livin’ long like this,” he thought, looking in the mirror.

—————-

There was frost on the grass in the morning and snow was still a distinct possibility, but for now it seemed spring had come in earnest. The red light of the rising sun painted the faraway snow-peaks pink. Remembering Homer, *ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς, Annie said softly as she stretched and smiled. “Summer sheets. I hope it’s not too soon,” she thought. *Rosy-fingered dawn

—————-

Don was up before light, worried about death. He’d had one small heart attack and was on meds now and taking better care of himself, but he’d also developed anxiety over his funeral. As night retreated, Don was typing furiously on the local community Facebook page, writing his rant about the Catholic church. “I need to plan my funeral,” he wrote. “The Catholic church used to be $150 to rent the basement for an event. Now it’s $250. The church is greedy.” Did he anticipate the backlash and the trolling that would ensue? Among the chain of comments, was, “The church is corrupt. What about all the child molestation the church is paying for to the tune of $2 million?” Here? In this small town? The Parish of St. Joseph the Worker? All followed by a long litany of misspelled factual information from the secretary of the parish explaining the costs of repairs and maintenance in an economy where everyone — including God — struggles to make ends meet.

—————-

When it was over, these four last moments and many others, hurled into infinity by the red flame of apocalyptic justice, sped into the interminable memory of the universe.

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‘Luv (Because I Haven’t Written a Cynical Love Story in a While)

“Where are you going?”

“I’d rather not say. I’m a free person. I can go where I want when I want.”

“Yeah, but, when will you be home?”

“None of your business.”

“Wow. What did I do to deserve this?”

“I feel like you’re smothering me. I don’t have any freedom.”

“What?”

“Seriously. Think about it. You always know where I am, what I’m doing, who I’m with.”

“You always know where I am, what I’m doing, who I’m with. It’s not like there are any big mysteries.”

“Why not? Wouldn’t some mystery make this relationship more interesting?”

“Seriously. You want mystery.”

“Well, yeah. With everything so predictable it’s not all that exciting.”

“You want excitement. Listen sweet cheeks. Mystery and excitement are not always good things. Maybe the mystery is I have another woman on the side. Maybe the excitement is that I’m leaving you for her.”

“Oh my God, I knew it!”


You Will Do Your Laundry — Dude Tells Fortunes

“C’mon. First time free.”

“No. I don’t want to know my future. I have to live it no matter what it is. Leave me alone. Go molest someone else.”

“How? I’m stuck in this middle seat. I can’t get OUT to molest anyone else. El Porko Snoro there isn’t about to wake up. I wonder what he took before the flight?”

“If you’re any kind of psychic at all you already KNOW what he took. Besides, it’s unkind to make fun of extremely obese people on drugs. Have you know social awareness at ALL?”

“I’m interested in facts, like what your palm will tell me about your future. C’mon, babe, let me read your palm.”

“BABE??? I know your type. You’re NOT a palm reader, you’re a skanky guy who’s hitting on me, and I’M trapped in a window seat. What am I going to do? Where am I going to go? With you and that curvy, sleeping gentleman between me and the aisle?”

“Lemme see your palm.”

“No. You’re just looking for an excuse to hold my hand.”

“What of it? What’s wrong with that? Maybe we’ll end up making beautiful music together.”

“That’s not going to happen. All right, here, but you’re no more fortune teller than I’m a passenger pigeon.”

“See? I told you. Here, on your life line, it says plain as DAY that you’ll go on a journey and meet a handsome stranger and look, here, you’ll live happily ever after.”

“Handsome? That lets you out. Give me back my hand.” Tricia reached up and pressed the button for the stewardess.

“Can I help you with something?”

“Yeah, hi, I’d like to switch seats. This guy is harassing me.”

“I don’t think I can switch your seat, miss. This plane is full. I’m so sorry. Sir, you need to keep your hands to yourself, and if someone says they don’t want to talk to you, you must respect that, understand? If you’d like something to read, I can bring you magazines or you can watch our in-flight movie which is starting in about fifteen minutes. Do you understand?”

“Understood.” The palm reader slunk down in his seat.

Tricia poked her earbuds into her ears, folded her arms across her chest and faced the window for the rest of the flight.

“I knew it would turn out like this,” Dude muttered under his breath. “I just knew it.”