Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Grind

Stone Cloud Partners, how may I direct your call?

Oh, hello, Sam.

No, no, today's one of those days, you know? He's in meetings all day.

Yes, there's an extended lunch with the legal team. Then he'll be heading out to see a client, and he's taking them to dinner.

Hmm, no, I don't think he has any... oh, wait, something popped in since the last time I looked. Yes, he's booked tomorrow night too. And then on Saturday morning he has an early flight to Chicago, and he'll be coming back on the redeye, Sunday morning.

I'm afraid so, there's golf with a couple of legislators on Sunday afternoon.

Oh, well, I'm sure he'll sleep on the flight, and you know how he is, always ready for anything, right? Ha ha.

Umm, oh, I'm sorry.

Well, I didn't mean it that way. I wasn't thinking...

Let me see, I am sure he has an evening free next week. Ahhhh, yes, Thursday after six. He doesn't have anything, and I'll put a hold on it right now. What do you want it to say?

Okay, Sam, I've got it on his calendar. Yes, he will definitely see it, and I'll leave a note to remind him.

All right then, Sam. Oh, hey, let me know the next time you have one on a Saturday, okay? I usually have some free time on weekends, and I'd love to come too. Okay. Bye, now.

Calendar Entry: Thursday, May 4 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Location: Valley Park
Attendees: Samuel Benson, Sr.
           Samuel Benson, Jr.
Description: Sammy will be playing shortstop.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Vision

The sky is black, streaked with cotton-white wisps.

All around vague shapes, familiar in the way a glimpsed face calls forth the memory of an old friend, yet his attention is drawn always to the House.

Illuminated from some hidden sun, it alone glows bright, unearthly white. He knows every detail, hard and sharp even as the whole swims in a mist that he can only briefly penetrate. Each window a black gap in the slowly wavering fabric of its walls, hiding only emptiness, and yet...

He knows She is there. Not seen nor heard, only felt, always present.

Stepping through the treacly grass, feet held back by... what? No concern of his, only the need to reach Her.

Motion defied by the ever-receding facade, as in a dream. This cannot be a dream, though. He senses everything with such force, even as the picture ripples, shifts, fogs.


5:35 AM - Slapping his alarm clock, he dresses quickly, facing the wall so his glance won't fall on the empty pillow. Looking out the window as he gulps down the first coffee of the day he expects to see some half-recalled... no, nothing there.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Another Sign

"Okay, open your eyes! What do you think?"

"I think it looks... knackered."

"What's that mean? Is it good?"

"Ah, no. Worn out, old, ready for the dustbin."

"Well, it is vintage."

"Did you get it from some place that went out of business?"

"Yep! And a real bargain too."

"I think that sign is why they went out of business."

"Aww, c'mon. The name is great, SPARK!"

"I think you should install it backwards so it reads KRAPZ."


"That was not a serious suggestion! People are going 
to think we're out of business before we open."

"That's the best kind of publicity - word of mouth! Go to SPARK before they close, it could be your last chance! How much more hipster can you get?"

"You might have something there... fine, it will do for now."

"Great, I knew you'd love it! Now let me show you these awesome beanbag chairs I found..."

Friday, April 7, 2017


Unreliable moonlight couldn't penetrate the hazy air. Which cabin was hers?

A car's headlights briefly lit the snow, speeding downhill - revealing footprints that had to be Nancy's.

Her face at the door. "What are you doing, why'd you come up here?" Voice filled with anxiety, anger, desperation. Hope?

A reasonable question; she'd asked it herself.

She didn't find an answer until the words were spoken. "I came because you're here."

"Sophie, I'm sorry, I know I was wrong, I shouldn't..."

She stepped inside as another temblor rattled the windows. "It's okay, I understand now. But we have to go." A heap of belongings waited by the door.

"I can't. I tried, there's too much to leave. My pictures, all this work."

Sophie grasped her by the shoulders, found a calm she never expected. "It'll be okay. We'll have each other, we'll work together."

Nancy stared back in confusion. "We will?"

A nod. "I love you. I know that now, and I'm not afraid anymore."

By the time they'd filled the truck, its wipers could barely clear the ash from the windshield.

A cop at the evacuation area said they were the last to get off the mountain; everything behind them had been obliterated in the eruption. But everything before them was new, and that's what mattered.