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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Filigreed Key

The wind blew sand over my eyelids as I slept, tickling me gently and rousing me from my slumber. Before I could think twice, I opened my eyes and let a dusting of fine grains seek the crevices beneath my lids. My hands raced to my face, my voice suddenly a hoarse cry. As suddenly as it had started, the irritation was gone, slight traces of tears meandering down my cheeks through my week-old whiskers and my vision returned.

OK, I probably wasn't sleeping in THIS canyon...
The sun was still rising, a pale glimmer above the canyon wall. It was time to wake. It was time to drink from the cold stream, while the water was still fresh and before the sun withered it into dust. It was time to check the traps for a fresh hare, and to check my boots for scorpions; either would keep me alive for another day. Either would get me a step closer to the filigreed key.

The stream was chilled but full of silt. My teeth crunched through the grit when I had taken my fill and weighted my skins. My traps were empty, as were my boots. I still had a few bites of jerky to get me through the day, but then I would be on my own. I wouldn’t miss the taste of the old salted beef when I’d seen its yesterday; I definitely wouldn’t miss the way its fine strands managed to become lodged in my teeth for days at a time. I wouldn’t miss the way my mouth became dry and desert as the ground I’d slept on the night before. I would miss the cow, though.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

“Hello? You still there?” Pete pulled the phone from his ear and stared at the display. It was dead.

“No, no, no! This can’t be happening!” Pete ripped through his bag, searching for the one thing that might make everything okay, but to no avail. The charging cable wasn’t there.

“Fuck!” he cried, drawing stares from several women walking their grocery carts across the street.

“There’s got to be one around here somewhere...” he murmured as he started up the street. Taquerias, Jewelry stores, restaurants; none of them had what he needed. He had to get her back on the line. He couldn’t leave things like that, not without knowing what she’d said.

He ran. Sweat poured down his arms, lubricating his hands. His phone slipped, for just a moment, tumbling through the air towards the sewers, but he caught it, just in the nick of time.

2 Years, 3 Months and 17 Days

In space, no-one can hear your lonely cries. They used to send teams up to counter-act the solitude, but they discovered there was a cheaper way to handle it. They gave us the Internet. Inadvertently, they gave us dating sites.

She’s lovely. I type into the chat box and pressed Send.


“Hey back.”

Whoa, ‘Hey’ never works! Maybe she liked the picture of me skydiving... Maybe there’s something wrong with her.

“So... I kind of stink at this part.”

“What, chatting?”

“It’s not chatting, it’s the first chat. I never know what to say.”

Really. Never. I hate starting with some interest she mentioned because everyone does that. It never works for me. ‘Hey’ never works either, but it’s a lot less to type.

“You’re doing fine. I usually just look at the guy’s interests and find something to talk about. You work in photography?”

It must be different for women.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good

                “You really want to know?”
                “Yes. Tell me.”
                “All right, then. I was on my way to work when I saw her. She was nice enough to look at, I guess, but a bit old. Older than me, at least. She was crossing the street and had one of those little hand-carts you see people using to drag their groceries behind them, but she didn’t have any groceries.”
                “What was in the hand-cart?”
                “If you let me finish, I’ll tell you.”
                “As I was saying, she was crossing the street. She didn’t have groceries, though; she had puppies. Lots of puppies. I dare say dozens of puppies. No, that doesn’t sound right. Maybe just one dozen. Maybe a baker’s dozen. Does a baker’s dozen of puppies conjure up the wrong idea? Like ‘ten and twenty blackbirds, baker’s pie?’ I’m pretty sure these puppies were not intended for food, if that sets your mind at ease. Anyway. Puppies.