His Muse

There’s a road in Costa Rica that is watched by snakes and stones. The stones don’t make the best sentinels (stony-faced as they may be), mostly because they have no eyes and can only roll loosely in one direction or the next to warn of trouble ahead. The snakes, by comparison, fare a little better. Though their legless-ness proves a real crutch, they can still slide across the dirt and hiss whenever evil turns the bend.

But even snakes and stones almost missed the arrival of the Trumpet Player and his Muse. Continue reading “His Muse”

Night Flight of the Sheep

“ … and, should the symptoms of sleeplessness persist, a patient may attempt any number of psychologically soothing exercises … lulling the mind to a more restful state of being … the most popular and effective of these called ‘counting sheep,’ wherein the patient, with eyes closed, begins enumerating sheep as if the beasts were standing there in the wooly flesh … one … two … three …”

His name was Spaxtle, hers Yarpzeit, at least that’s the closest any language not woven from the sounds of light mixed with spit might come to a correct pronunciation. They’d just departed Barnard’s Galaxy after three space-time cubules – warped, of course – spent on the farthest ring of Zoupitess, (again, name simplified for the sake of primitive tongues). Though the trip had been everything you’d expect from a sunbath beneath distant stars, Spaxtle and Yarpzeit had failed to find the one thing promised to be lurking in the Zoupitess quiet: sleep. Continue reading “Night Flight of the Sheep”

Whale-Talk

Yosemite

My name is Yosemite. I’m five feet, six inches tall with a reddish tint to my hair, a long beard that I never comb and green-blue eyes that are noticeably two different sizes. I only shower on Thursdays, smoke at least five cigarettes a day and eat my cereal each morning with cinnamon whiskey instead of milk. I don’t own a computer, I’ve never read a single book or newspaper in my 33-year-long life and I listen to Frank Zappa music late at night when my world turns quiet and I can sing along uninterrupted (and off-key). I’m not exactly any kind of man you’d expect to be someone else’s hero, or someone else’s anything, but to Heraldine, I’m the greatest man in the world. 

We met six months ago on the water. I run the whale watching tours in a small town whose name nobody outside of it can pronounce, which bumbles across sixteen acres of craggy land somewhere on the southern coast of Norway. On a whim, Heraldine signed up for one of my tours. (She later told me, “I thought, ‘I’ve never seen a real, live whale in the flesh before!’”) Continue reading “Whale-Talk”

Colorado Man Says He Is ‘Deeply Troubled’ by Recent Facebook Post

By Marsha Sendar, Contributing Staff Reporter, The Colorado Bugler

On Tuesday evening around nine, Marshall Fillchardo, owner of Kipp, CO-based bakery, Bread A Leg, took out his phone, looked up into the starry sky and snapped a photo of the full moon. Though the photo was partly out of focus, it was still decent enough by Fillchardo’s non-exacting standards and without hesitation, he posted it to his Facebook profile then awaited the usual—and ardent—response. 

“My friends pretty much like whatever I post within minutes,” he said adding that between check-ins, Star Wars memes and Peloton ride screenshots, he updates his Facebook page about twelve to thirteen times each week. “I expected at least three comments and four likes by midnight, especially when I got 26 likes on my check-in at Taco Bell last Thursday.”

But in the space separating Fillchardo’s sanguine social media expectations and what came to pass grew a dark abyss of like-less nothing. Continue reading “Colorado Man Says He Is ‘Deeply Troubled’ by Recent Facebook Post”

A Date Near Downing Street

The taxi door fluttered open, a bright flap of yellow against the sluggish August wind.

One last look to the driver with graying teeth and gangly, corn-husk hair and Simon Plinkers peeled himself out of the car. (This after sitting for twenty seven minutes in downtown traffic as the taxi meter skipped along and his elbow ached from not one but two earlier brushes with bicyclists. “Screw you, mister!” Ah, home.)

He would’ve written something down about the driver—his ramshackle appearance fit exactly with that of the anti-hero protagonist from Simon’s soon-to-be-drafted historical fantasy novel, The Secret Shoemaker—but there was no time. He was late. She was waiting. Continue reading “A Date Near Downing Street”

The Figaro

Of all the details to remember, her hands were still the clearest in his mind.

Unpolished nails of otherworldly innocence, intoxication by way of ten fingers and smooth skin and a wrist circled with Rolex Sky-Dweller gold, limited edition. Back to her hands. What did he later call them, windows to her soul? They appeared in stark, shimmering contradiction to that glassy skeleton known as the Makuhari Messe, an oversized structure built on the edge of Chuba City, where the 28th Tokyo Motor show was housed.

If such a thing as young love existed, it was born for her from the 1989 air-conditioned air of the Makuhari Messe and there grew to become a nervous child of mumbled ‘hello’s and ‘what is your name’s.

“Duke Raskipper.” (Perhaps.)

“Mirabelle Quick.” Continue reading “The Figaro”

Moonlight Serenade

By Melissa Kandel

There was no way around it: Luna had lost the moon. The revelation was quick but biting and it happened last night around dusk. She had been sitting with her cat, Marama, on the hill overlooking a town fading to pale, evening blue and there assumed her usual moon-watching position: Luna tucked her legs behind her, adjusted her shoulders, craned her neck and looked up to the sky with the confidence of a professional used to this sort of thing.

Why wouldn’t she be confident? Luna had spent half her twenty-years-long life sitting on the hill, searching for a moon she was meant to watch. And on every night except the last one, she had found it. But yesterday, when Luna hunted the sky for that familiar celestial orb, she found nothing. 

Luna wouldn’t have immediately thought this meant trouble, if not for Marama placing a paw on her arm and whispering in foreboding purr, “I have it on good authority that the moon is gone.” Continue reading “Moonlight Serenade”

Annalee

Annalee was her name. I say was because she’s no longer with us but you should know she was my Aunt Annalee and she was forever saying strange things to me like, “You’ll never understand what’s sitting inside or outside the ocean, so the best you can do is try.”

“Yes, Aunt Annalee,” I’d reply, unsure if there was any other answer to give.

Every Thursday after school, my mother used to make me sit on the plastic-covered couch of Annalee—the kind with the green swirls of floral designs underneath its glossy coating—and eat Aunt Annalee’s three-day-stale sugar cookies as if I had nothing better to do. Continue reading “Annalee”

The Disappearing Act

For the third week in a row, Janet forgot to shave her legs.

The first time she forgot was on a Sunday when she was changing into her swimsuit for Joel’s pool party. Janet looked at her legs as she slipped on the pink bottom to her tankini and after noticing the small granules of dark hair, called Joel and cancelled.

“I have an appointment,” she explained plainly and with enough contriteness to make Joel believe it was true. Joel said he wished she would reconsider and was very sorry she couldn’t make it; he even bought Meyer lemons for the occasion because he knew Meyer lemonade was her favorite. Janet assured him she would visit soon. Continue reading “The Disappearing Act”

Letter to the Editor

HEREAFTER the subject of women’s underwear will not be treated in the letter-press of THE LADIES’ HOME JOURNAL. The editors have reached this conclusion for the following reasons: First, the changes in this part of a woman’s wardrobe are not either sufficient or material enough to justify extended chronicle. Second, the practical art of making undergarments is understood, in whole or in part, by every woman. Third, the treatment of the subject in print calls for minutiae of detail, which is extremely and pardonably offensive to refined and sensitive women. – Edward Bok, Ladies’ Home Journal “The Gossip of the Editors” February 1898

She wasn’t going to a party but Emilia dressed every day as if she was. This morning, feeling especially in the mood to channel Penley, a peacock she met on her summer travels to the Philadelphia Zoo, Emilia had on her long, feathery skirt that ended in a flock of feathers around the bottom trim. With a wink toward the Gardens of Versailles, she paired the skirt below a short-sleeve floral blouse and again winked to the French by topping it all off in a crocheted beret, smartly side-slanted across her blonde curls. It took two hours to set the short curls in place and another one hour to comb them just right but the elegance achieved when the project was complete couldn’t be underestimated or overlooked.
Continue reading “Letter to the Editor”