Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thoughts after the death of James Foley

Nada News by Pepe Medina

On television, on the Internet, from friends and family, we hear the "news." This "news"a kaleidoscope of sensation, a spectacle of heartbreakleaves us with nothing to do or say.

We turn off the TV and cry just a second for horror, but inevitably subside into helplessness. Everything in us surges and wishes for a half-moment, but we're not Mr. Obama. There is nothing to be done. A single black wave of emotion is all we can afford. A small token to a life cut short, but there it is. We're drained of emotion.

But do we move? Do we actually do something for Pete's sake and crying out loud?

No. We sit back on our heels and cry a second and then scroll down to the next thing. Baby shower, night on the town, reminiscence, old friends, photo, photo-with-cool-filter, lunch out, diamond ring, death in the family, #beautiful, global warming, the Hindenburg...all tangled and blurred into a newsfeed of life and love and pain and evanescent pleasure passes in front of our eyes in five-second soundbites. Witness our Facebook-trawling-Twitter-scrawling-Pinterest-stalling-YouTube-squalling generation as it tries with its Sesame Street attention span to comprehend worldwide devastation and the kind of grief that ends its own life.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Puddles and Tea

Regent Street Red

Slate roofs slant just right to catch the rain and send it flying down to dump on passerby below, some wise enough to bring umbrellas; the rest can't be bothered. A rain jacket suffices for you, the dripping hood restricting your vision down to the trainers slogging through puddles in the pavement, and maybe a pair of heels and hose stepping just in front.

A gust of wind sends leaves flying, and you feel the impact of tiny ice balls against your sleeve. That's the signal to dip into a tearoom. Ducking under the low lintel of a place called "Wimpole Cottage" or "Brewberry Bakery" or something equally twee, you settle down at a corner table with its lumps of sugar and enticing menu. The specials are chalked on the wall, the high prices dwarfed by words like "smothered," "traditional," and "sticky." You throw prudence to the wind and order two slices of something chocolaty from the traybakes counter, along with the obligatory pot of tea.

Sit back and lean against the foggy window to watch all the other poor saps slog through puddles in the pavement, some with umbrellas, and the rest who can't be bothered.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Coffee Talk

Porch

"I don't have a dog in this fight."

"Listen, Belinda--it's not a question of 'if,' it's 'when.' What is it gonna take for you to wake up and see reality?"

"This is my front porch you're sittin' on and that's my coffee you're drinkin'. You can either be civil or leave both right now."

"OK, OK. But I mean what I say. You've got a decision to make and it's gotta be soon."

"Just because Preistly is giving you a hard time doesn't mean I have to jump when she says jump."

Oscar ran an oil-stained hand through his thinning hair. Belinda could be the stubbornest ***** in Macon when she wanted to be. He wondered what her problem was today. Bills in the mail? Someone hit her dog? Air conditioner broke? Menopause? Whatever it was, he'd picked the wrong morning to knock on her door. "It's urgent, or I wouldn't be here at this hour. Now I'm already late for work, but you've gotta hear what I'm sayin'."

Saturday, August 31, 2013

This is Home

President Obama Ice Cream 2 by pennstatenews
President Obama Ice Cream 2, a photo by pennstatenews on Flickr.
Sitting underneath the stars, hearing the whirr of traffic just a few feet beyond the parking lot, balancing on the grey, pebbly picnic bench, I realize how much I have. 

There's a cup of ice cream in my hand, luscious folds of half-melted creamy stuff in white and deep fudge brown mingling among the peanut clusters, and I dig in with just the tip of my plastic spoon, catching a tiny 1/4 bite on my tongue, letting it melt and squish around my teeth as the sweet creaminess sinks into my tongue.

Around me are the voices of loved ones. Parents sitting side by side, each licking an ice cream cone. Dad has frozen yogurt because he's on a diet, and Mom says hers is healthy because it has cherries. Maraschino cherries. My brother and his friend ordered the usual double scoops, as much ice cream as the cone will hold without the whole thing toppling onto the warm cement. It takes them eons to lick them down to a manageable size. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sydney's Fairies

glow by theloushe

"Did my fishies go to Heaven, Mommy?"

"Umm, well, I think they probably went to a giant fishbowl in the sky, dear."

"I hope they're happy there. I don't think there could be any yucky green stuff in the water there. And maybe they'll have wings. Do you think they could fly, Mommy?"

"Maybe, honey, maybe. Now get into bed."

"I don't want to go to bed. It's still bright outside. The fairies haven't come out yet."

"Oh, they haven't? What do you think a fairy looks like?"

"I don't think, Mommy. I've seen them. They're the little lights that fly over the stream in the back garden. Haven't you seen them?"

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Murder Mystery


Are you feeling lucky, punk? by Daran Kandasamy

We stared at one another across the room, two of us in genuine shock, but one in mock horror. Somebody wasn't surprised. Somebody knew exactly what had happened.

The body of Jessica McCartney, the famous novelist, lay on the Persian rug in the room next door. One of the caterers had tripped over an arm sticking out from under the coffee table. That's how they found her.

The police hadn't arrived yet, but I already knew what they'd say. It had to be one of us. None of us had a sturdy alibi, and we all had a motive.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pie Charts and Revenge: An Office Drama

You will give me a promotion!!! by rich hinton

Her work clothes were neither stylish, nor flattering. They had come off the sale rack at JC Penney's last year, casually grabbed off the hanger and piled into a scanty cart to be hauled away to a closet predominately stocked with sweat pants and oversize t-shirts. 

Regina was not cut out to be an office worker. She tended to do foolhardy things, like daydream while editing an expense record, or make friends with a particularly savage representative of the competition. Or scream and throw things at her coworkers.

"You're nothing but an arrogant pie chart. Get out of my way!"

"I am not a pie chart. If anything, I'm a bar graph."

"You're a soulless piece of corporate garbage."

"That's rather harsh."

"Dagnabit, move!"