Monday, December 26, 2011

one hundred word story #61: Winning

The arena's full. Fireworks ejaculate off baskets as the players emerge one by one, unsnapping pants at the knees. We pay these men to play. We hope these games have meaning. When they score, we shout. When they foul, we squirm. When their opponents huddle, sweat beading their brows, we beat our chests, yell Give up--go home. If only we could sweat out our problems on some grand stage. If only we could slam dunk our tiny victories, paid bills and good health. If only our labor strikes were half as fruitful. When we win, they’ll buy our words.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

one hundred word story #60: Unfurling

The butterflies hang still like discarded paper bags. But then the wind shifts. The bags open and out pop a thousand orange wings. They are out of reach. When you get home, back where tule fog lingers, where the only ocean is the tousle of dried corn, you want to recreate that moment. You drape scarves from your rooftop. Wait for the perfect unfurling. You look up for hours. Your neck is sore. Your scarves are thick with fog. And then: a single butterfly, orange and translucent, perches on your windowsill. No pops, no pizzazz; wings brush glass. You unfurl.

Friday, December 16, 2011

one hundred word story #59: From the desk of...

Dear diary, today we made a small nation smaller. Then we had lunch: pastrami on rye. We were out of money so we nixed elementary school arts programs. Lord knows we don't need any more fourth graders with recorders. After that we played handball with some entrepreneurs—and won. It was Happy Hour before we realized we’d bought a half million homes on credit. Not again! Luckily, we were ready to hire 100,000 new builders. Only problem? They’ll have to telecommute—from India. Hey, this is globalism in action, right? That’s what we’re doing, right, diary? Yeah, I thought so.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

one hundred word story #58: Turkey drop

There are turkeys on my car. The first one seems friendly; his gobbles falsetto. But then James drops the trail mix. They peck at the windshield. They scratch the doors. They shit on my sunroof. I can see their turds settling. The flock—the gaggle—the monsters attack us with holiday cheer. Start the car! James yells. But turkeys blockade my wheels. I turn the ignition. The big one jumps on the hood, levels his face to mine. I can’t, I say. You should, says James. The turkey shits on the windshield. We lurch forward. That night, we eat turkey.

inspired by a recent This American Life story about rogue turkeys

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

one hundred word story #57: Ways to fall in love

He bought me glucose tablets. He held my hand while we biked. He took me to see the seals in the snow. He left a birthday gift outside my parents’ gate, close to midnight on a day I thought he’d forgotten. These are all the ways I’ve fallen in love. But this one unrolled the country and we hiked right across it. He vacuums. He lets me drive his ATV. This one woke me that night I'd fallen off the bed, wet and shaking, and didn't mind that I'd broken his glasses. This one is afraid of the right things.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

one hundred word story #56: Take care

After the cicadas stop humming, after the moon flushes the sky clean of stars, we hear it. A thrashing, a clanging, a hurtling, is whirling towards us from below the campground. You pace on the pulsing soil. Don’t worry, you call. I’ll take care of it. The earth is loud. Insects gather at my feet. Then I notice it: the ground has seams. Stick your finger in and up it rips, soil and roots and worms, concrete foundations, wooden beams, gravestones. Don’t! You say. But my fingers are hungry. I pull back the earth beneath your feet. I take care.