Road Kill

It’s war. The crew stood there with their shovels and rakes and the big guy walked up to the foreman and the foreman spoke first. “What’s up?” “That,” said the big guy. He pointed to a dead deer on the side of the road they were building, on the other side of a concrete barrier to keep them from being killed while they worked on the road from passing motorists who tended not to slow down or give much of a good goddamn about road construction crews unless warned and threatened with massive fines or the presence of a state trooper in a marked car with flashing lights and lots of radios and radar. “What about it?” asked the foreman. The big guy looked at him. The big guy had a wife and three kids and he needed this job. He could do the work of two or three, but […]

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Found Objects

You might look around and see things that make you remember. It made him stop short. He saw it in the garage on a shelf where he kept his important tools and things he intended to use again or thought likely he would need and there he saw it, the small yellow container with a black lid screwed on. He’d kept it for decades, used it once decades ago, a container of black carborundum grinding compound, industrial abrasive made into paste for Hardened Steel Seats or Cast Blocks the faded writing said on the back of the yellow container, still smudged with residue of the one and only original job and the black tin lid rusty from years of neglect and storage. He remembered. He remembered it all the night he used it, the night he used it back on the farm in Iowa in the rude shed after he […]

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ANCESTORY

I come from good people. “Who are these people?” “I don’t know. The one on the right is my Grandpa Jack, my father’s Dad. He’s wearing a dark suit. He always looked good in a suit and he’s carrying a hat and I don’t know the other two people. On the back of the photograph is written George and Mary so I assume they’re brother and sister to my grandfather.” God, I’m low. I wish I could feel better. They’re standing in front of a car. It’s not my grandfather’s car. It looks like a Pontiac or a Buick from the late 1940’s, but there’s not much showing to tell. The house is on Washington Island, Wisconsin I feel sure, because the road to one side isn’t paved. It’s a plain house, but they’re dressed for travel or church or visiting family the way people used to do. The men […]

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The Tool Box

All tools tell a story.   The tools lay before her, a hodgepodge to any other eye, but to hers and in her hands, a series of instruments worthy of any surgeon. A set of files, venerable and well used, a clamp so old it belonged in a museum, a wooden handle to fit the files, a series of drill bits, a router bit, a couple screw drivers, a chuck key and an Allen wrench, all the necessary accoutrements to build herself a man, for that is what she intended. She intended to build herself a man. She’d been working on him a long time. These tolls would complete the job. She’d have herself a man to her own specifications. The stature would be about six feet tall, maybe a little taller. That would compliment her height. She wanted to be able to look him in the eye. He’d be […]

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Gates of Heaven

The wrought iron hung on two hinges between two posts without a fence, just a gate set at the entrance of a garden to which he had come as a stranger in need of comfort, any comfort, but a glass of water would do, with or without the glass. “May I help you?” she asked. “Excuse me,” he said. “Could I trouble you for a drink of water?” He looked nice enough, tall and slender and sad about the eyes. What kind of a man asks a woman in a sheer cotton dress for water in the cool of the shade beneath the branches of her trees in the middle of the day? “I could just take a drink from the garden hose,” he ventured. “Go ahead,” she said and he turned on the hose, held the spout to his lips and drank deeply. When he had done he did […]

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Tango

“I find in life we get what we need most when we need it most.” Julie – The Tango Room   1 It proved difficult to find. Three times I passed on foot before the door appeared set back surrounded by an ivy covered wall. Entering, I beheld an angel. 2 “We try to decorate,” she said. “Saturday nights we have a social gathering. We dress. It really is a family.” Yet, if every wall were barren, every color drab, the atmosphere, the expectancy of ecstasy in motion would be here. The room, this empty room exuded promise. “Last weekend,” she said, “we had eighty people.” 3 “Not the legs. Not the arms,” he said. “With your body. So. Is this clear?” Then he began. Always with the understated elegance of a gentleman, un gentilhombre one might say. “You see, just so.” Teaching with a fine internal line of rhythm, […]

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What If

“I wonder what it would be if you wrote it this week?” she wrote in her journal, the words hot and fast from last week’s escapade a few pages back now, safely buried in the streaming elements of the new week, new faces, old ideas, new intentions, after work meditations and milieu from a dozen lives she might have led if this one hadn’t captured her like the dragon held her royal highness the princess in he castle of her fondest hopes. “I wore shorts outside today.” What a moral decision. Should such a pair of winter white flesh posts be subjected to the world or more succinctly, should the world be subjected to a sunless damsel, a woman who had kept herself so covered and retired from the world the word white barely described the pale luminescence of her flesh? Yet she did it and found the challenge utterly […]

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Reverie

There are many realities. Dreams are one of them. Fantasies are another. I sit here looking at an empty bed and I wonder. “Will she and I ever occupy this space together? Will all the combinations of great locks upon time and space and other lives give way and open for this time and this space and our lives?” I sit here in confidence, because I believe the answer is yes. I don’t think it’s a matter of doubt or fear or realization of other people’s reaction should they learn of what we’ve done. It is not their world or their right to know and if anyone asks, it will not be them who pull us out of this quiet sanctuary, but we who pull them in, not we who are lost in their intrusions, but they who are lost in our intimacy. It’s a subtle distinction, but it has […]

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Beauty and the Beast

“It’s taken,” she said. “What is?” he asked. “The title,” she said. “It’s been taken.” “I don’t care,” he said. “What do you think?” “I think you better ask yourself if that’s the smartest idea you ever had before you go asking me.” She stood at the bar, a very over the hill woman with all the equipment she used to get up the far side rather sad now with puffy cheeks from crying and a red mark about where her thigh started to get tender above the knee where he hit her, not the man she talked with now, the man she left who stormed out but not before he hit her, called her a name and told her not to tease if she didn’t mean to please. She cried a while in the Ladies room, then came out to finish her beer and that’s when she got into the conversation with […]

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The DDD

DDD originally meant Dead Dead Dead. I dwelt on defeat, depression and despair. Those made me sick. I determined DDD must stand for any three better words beginning with the same letter in any order. It’s my choice.   Dignified   At the senior prom I took wine, a red rose and two stemmed glasses from my parents’ china cabinet in the dining room. I also took a red and white checked tablecloth, a white linen napkin to place over my arm like a waiter, an etched decanter for the wine before I poured, a crystal bud vase for the rose, a tapered candle with a sterling silver candlestick from the same cabinet in the dining room of my parents’ house where I lived with them and all I took secretly with great care and forethought. I planned to return it all before they knew anything had been taken. They tended […]

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