Friday, July 31, 2020

A Letter Changes Everything [88]



I was so much more than a wordsmith. I was an alphabet alchemist; a metaphor magician. I had, of all things, sifted through the English language to put together the most comprehensive instructional manual our institution had ever seen. It'd taken months - nay, seasons! Spring, Summer, and Fall - to bring this piece to fruition. It wasn't so much a project as bringing a baby to term and today was its birthday.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

A Romantic Scene in an Unromantic Place [17]



"After all these years, I can't believe you've never brought me back here before today," the woman said, leaning into her husband's arms. The husband, for his part, eyed the bags of trash and chemical foam frothing in the surf and said nothing. He just held her closer. Scenery aside, the waves made for a magical, musical moment.

"We should have come back sooner, honey," the husband finally agreed. "We could have made time. We had time after our bundles of joy grew up. Hell, I could have taken a long weekend off blacksmithing - I could have trusted one of the apprentices for a few days. I'm sorry hon."

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

A Wedding Reception with Hundreds of Guests [199]


And lo, the gods and demigods, mages and learned men all gathered for the wedding of the sun and the moon. It was a great feast - a divine feast - and the ceremony was like nothing the mortal men had ever seen before. The sky had turned black as the sun and moon kissed. They gave birth to the stars in the sky. It was over too soon, however, and both were off to count down the days until they could renew their vows again.

Their parting, however, was a signal to those assembled. The cosmic event vouched for many years of good luck until the two grew too lonely. In the spirit of good luck, the god of war proposed a toast - to soldiers, of course - and the feast moved from largo to allegro, from gridlock to expressway. Drinks and merriment abounded and toast flew fast and heartfelt.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

It's a Setup! [174]



"Do you think they followed us?" Diego asked as his wild eyes checked the car windows.

"Of course they followed us," Rafael replied. "It was a setup - a trap - and we haven't escaped yet."

"We're gonna die!" Diego blurted out. Rafael hit the brakes, causing the car to jolt and Diego to slam into his seat belt. The wild-eyed man gasped to catch his breath.

"If they want to kill us, they'll have to catch us. Now, where are we headed?"

Monday, July 27, 2020

A Scientist Makes an Unexpected Discovery [22]



"What's that you've got there, Dr. Johnson?" Dr. Reeves adjusted her glasses. Dr. Johnson held the folder close to her chest.

"I know it's unlikely, but I think I found a way to subvert telomere decay during cell division and cell replacement without a parallel increase in cancer risk," she said.

"That's astounding April! The fountain of youth!"

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Business as UNusual [7]



This time it was different. This time everything would change. Robert held his head high as he walked into his boss's office. In a way, he was right. He walked out like a dog with its tail between its legs. The watchwords his friend had beat into him - "confidence is key"; "demand, don't ask"; "you're worth it" - echoed in his head as he slunk back to his desk, all while trying to ignore the stares of his colleagues.

He'd asked for a raise. His boss opted to conclude their relationship. This had been unexpected and Robert had stared at his boss as if hearing an alien who'd teleported to the office. Reality raced back to him, however, and he nearly moonwalked out of the office, dragging his feet and walking backward.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

A Lunch Date Gone Wrong [6]



Glenn's fork plunged into his salad and, like out of a Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon, an eruption of fire and smoke bellowed out of the cafe's kitchen. While the causality was a bit shaky, Glenn's date, Brad, looked across the table with his mouth agape.

"I promise I didn't have anything to do with it," Glenn said quickly, before the idea of evacuation had entered either man's mind. The idea did rush in, however, as a small series of pops and bangs rang out. Glenn made the choice to grab his salad.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Chasing the Enemy [4]



I was hot on his heels as we both crashed through the woods. If I could keep up the pace, I knew I could catch him. The man ran like a demon though, so it was on me to not tire before he escaped completely. I hoped he'd hit some obstacle like a wall or a ditch soon though.

The man, a raider from the next village over, was participating in one of the oldest traditions in our region - he'd snuck into our town hall and stolen a golden parakeet. The object, made some centuries ago, was part of a larger collection of singing birds. When water was added to the top of a great sculpture the various birds fit into, the device would create birdsong through some ingenious interaction between fluted pipes and the dripping water. Every town in the region had one bird and they were reunited at Easter in the big cathedral. The tradition of course, was to show up with two or three birds that you would then "ransom" back to the home town.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

A Story Told Through Emails [97]



My computer screeched through its dial-up routine as I raced the progress bar with slow, steady movements of my cursor. It didn't matter who won - the game was out of mind the moment the warm "Welcome - you've got mail!" played over the speakers.

Today's batch of emails was a newsletter and a message from my penpal in New York, just as I'd hoped. We had symmetrical schedules, usually checking and responding once before school, once after school, and once before bed. This one had me reading her email tucked up in a borrowed oversize hoodie with moonlight coming in the window. It was still so cold here that I had to read her section about a new swimsuit and sunglasses twice before I remembered that she made a reference to a family trip to Disney World a few emails back. I forgot that would be a big deal for here - Disney Land was a few hours south, so my family went several times a year.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

A Family Mystery Uncovered [2]



It was a Sunday morning like any other in the Poste household. Mom made breakfast while Tina, the youngest, bounced around like a possessed rubber ball. Her sister, Meg, slowly emerged from the nest of blankets and teddy bears she called bed. Dad was conspicuously absent from the table; it took the girls a full five minutes to find him to tell him breakfast was ready. He arrived on the scene with a tattered notebook in hand.