It’s August 31st, the day of the dead.Wilma’s lying in her coffin,hands flat under breastsand wrapped in rosary beads.Husband Amos hangs about near dark, deep curtains.With any luck, they’ll swallow him.Divorced daughter pales her face […]
Sit outside cafes
let conversations drip,
settle on skin,
seep up nostrils,
chattering small storms in heads…
threads of thoughts
Harold Fribble was sitting dutifully behind his desk at the corporate headquarters of Occidental Peripherals in Snedekerville, Pennsylvania. He had just finished reviewing some irregularities involving a shipment of mobile devices to a prominent California university when he was interrupted by a man who burst suddenly into his office.
The man was breathing hard.
Over on the other side of the lake there was a huge family celebrating. They had big rose-gold balloons saying 40!, and disposable barbecues. Their smoke floated over to us on the hot breeze.
Rose led me and Hazel down towards the lake. Around us, children rushed around with an orange frisbee. Kids vaped in the shade and couples drank prosecco. Dragonflies were hooking up, green with blue, in the shallows. Ducks were leading their ducklings across the water.
What’s that saying? Hell hath no fury like a doña de fuera whose Tumblr has been deleted?
Feral is pissed off. She slouches morosely in the shade of a poorly maintained boxwood shrub. She absentmindedly stretches and contracts her claws in the dirt while she scrolls on her phone, pressing and double-tapping on the touch screen so hard that her pointer finger drums a soft, angry rhythm on the glass. She’d been preparing for this moment since Tumblr announced two weeks ago that they were banning sexual content starting December 17. There was some cruel commentary embedded in that message: dear sex workers and NSFW weirdos, on the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, you will cease to exist on our platform. So long, and thanks for all the clicks.
I had just sunk at long last into my easy chair, pipe in hand, glass of palm toddy at my side, when my door fell victim to rapid-fire tap-tap-tapping.
I fluffed and sputtered but it did no good. The tapping came again, insistent as a woodpecker. I made a severe face at my pipe. “That’ll be those squirrels again, I expect. Tut! Still fixed on the idea that their grandmother left nuts here twenty winters back.” I tamped out the pipe and set it beside the toddy as the raps rattled through the tree once more.
My first day at the company was spent moving paper. One stack, about five inches thick. From my desk, to the table in the hall, to the floor near the table in the hall, and back. Over and over. The paper was to rest in each spot for five minutes and no more than five minutes. Nothing was printed on the pages.
I had interviewed the day before by accident. Intending to apply for an admin position at a nearby accounting office, I’d gotten the addresses mixed up.
Monica sees her dead son in mirrors. He’s always standing somewhere in the room behind her, staring, silent, sullen. Sometimes in the mirror her son is younger, just five or six, playing with his trucks or trains. But most of the time he is his 10-year-old self. He watches her brush her teeth, put on makeup, straighten her clothes. He glares, resentful.
It’s three a.m. and as her child lays beside her, she writes. She writes in a notepad that isn’t a notepad. It’s the very last page in a bible that she found in the nightstand. What she writes with is no pen but an eyeliner pencil on its last legs. When she runs the tip across the paper it hardly gets the words out. But desperate are those words scrawled in cursive. And it’s desperation that muffles her sobs.