Author Archive

Snowed Under

January 23, 2011

It seemed like a brilliant idea.  The more she thought about it, the more convinced she became that this was, truly, the best plan she had ever conceived of.  It would be totally plausible.  No one would suspect anything other than a tragic accident.  The only possible suspicion might concern her two dogs.  Would anyone wonder why she brought them over her sister’s?  Not likely.  Her sister disapproved of her living arrangements, and was smugly compassionate at the story she left–the storm would make her building lose power, and her two rescued chihuahuas would be cold.  Besides, her nieces loved dressing them up and cuddling them like ugly, fanged babies.  She actually was doing her sister a favor by bringing them over.

She waited until the flakes were so thick in the air it was hard to see the neighboring buildings.  Just walking to the bodega, she repeated as she slipped into white pants, a white t-shirt and sneakers.  She conceded to a  pair of gloves–she wanted to die, not get frostbite.  When the road was indistinguishable from the curb, she went out.  The snow was the heavy, packing kind, perfect for her plan.  She would hate to shovel this.  The plows came through fast with this type of snow, to better throw it far up onto the walks.  She glanced up when she crossed under the streetlight, enjoying the illusion of snowflakes appearing right before her.  Tiny raindrops sparkled her cheeks along with the gentle touch of flakes, many, many flakes.  The conditions were perfect.  She took up a position on the far side of a telephone pole and waited.

She heard the plow as soon as a growling dissonance that gradually drowned out all other sounds except her pounding heart.  Not too close to the pole, it would protect her.  Don’t step out too soon, he’d see her and possibly swerve.  She’d met a few plow drivers; they took their jobs seriously, and were rarely reckless.  Above all, she had to make this look like an accident.

When she thought the plow was too close to avoid her, she stepped out, hunched her back, and gasped as the weight of the snow plume slammed into her.  She was thrown forward, face first into a pile of garbage cans that were also knocked over.  She had figured to be knocked unconscious if not killed instantly; hypothermia was a peaceful way to die.  The pile slid beneath her as her weight disturbed the cans.  Covers shifted, came off, and with them, her.  As she struggled for stillness, they instead bore her away from the road, down the hill from the curb to the back of the apartment building.

She careened faster past the lot, barely missing the corner of the building, a light pole, and a pick-up truck’s open tailgate.  That would have been nasty; she shuddered.  The aluminum lids were slick from the rain that had frozen on them; her slalom course took her through the block in record time, to the park.

As a park it was a dismal excuse for refuge in a dank, dying city, but the snow turned it into a secret pocket of wonder.  The snowflakes glistened across the expanse of open field, transformed from its typical mud and garbage-strewn appearance.  The water in the tiny pond had frozen over, and she could see where children had been skating or sliding across it.  The benches, the bushes, the rocks, all had become shadow-shapes of white.  As she slid to a stop near a walkway, she took inventory of herself.  No bumps, bruises, nothing painful as if broken.  Her heart pounded between her ribs, dancing with adrenaline and fear.  And thrill.  And joy.

She picked up the garbage can lid, wiped the snow off her pants, left the grin on her face.  She climbed back up the hill, so she could slide back down it again.

Well, whaddaya know?

October 9, 2009

It started with just the one box.  Really.  “Click only the people you know.”  Well, I’m in business.  I know a lot of people.  There’s Jenny, who lives down the street; Mel, the guy I get gas from; Stacey who runs the florist department at the grocery; and on, and on.

After ten minutes the list took up three pages.  I started to think about the word KNOW, about what it was really looking for from me.  All I wanted to do was send out some damn holiday cards, not even about Christmas, just a sentiment about the season and good will.  But I know so many people.  This was going to take all day.

The people had people they knew, and so there was a peripheral knowing creeping into the list.  Jenny’s husband Frank knew Steve the fireman, who coached the little league team my son was on.  So I knew him, too.

When the list reached a thousand I started to panic.  Even at ten cents a card this was getting out of hand.  I started to qualify this Knowing.  Hat size?  Shoe size?  Nice and simple.   If I didn’t know that about someone, I cut them from the list.

Taking people off was even better than putting them on.  Randomly I hacked away half of my town in under five minutes.  Joy!  A few well-timed cards, sent entirely by computer, and I’d ensure my business for the next year.

I paused on my mother’s name.  She didn’t wear a hat.  I have no idea what her shoe size is.  Off she went, followed by my aunt, my brother in LA, my sister in Oregon.

The last name on the list was mine.  With a shock I realized I had forgotten my shoe size.  Should I check?  That would be cheating.  But I was the last name on the list, other than the golf pro whose name I couldn’t remember.  But I knew he wore tens because I always stared at his feet when I had lessons, and the heels were emblazoned with the number like cheap bowling shoes.  You think the pro would have gotten better quality.

I looked at the clock, then back at the screen.  I probably saved a hundred trees by not ordering cards for all these people.  I don’t really know any of them.


September 20, 2009

Slowly they roll along sandy-strewn walks,

urban burros laden with packs of street finds:

hulking bags filled with aluminum,

plastic, and glass.  Their gold transmuted to nickels,

each one a find and a fortune;

successful prospector.  The

gait of a cowboy, the steed an old cart.

The dreams are the same as the seekers of old.

An Apple a Day

September 8, 2009

On the way to school they grabbed his lunch and threw it in the road, then stood back to watch.  A truck flattened the bag, steam-rolled the baloney sandwich flat as paper, but the apple escaped and rolled across the lane.  A car coming the other way clipped it with the edge of its tire.  The apple flew into the air, impacted the windshield of the vehicle behind the truck, and the driver jerked the wheel instinctively.

The car hopped the curb, crawled over the hydrant, and landed on the pack of lunch thieving bullies.

The little boy’s tears mingled with hydrant rain.  He pulled the apple off the windshield, brushed off the sparkles of glass flecks, and ate it on the way to school.

In the Beginning

August 29, 2009

Coming hard off the heels of the 100 Days Project and finding no new writing prospects in view, this space is created for all those stories which had no home… until now.

Be it a poem, a picture, a perspective, or a phantasm of neuronal extracurricular activity,  enjoy works from myself and others here.

All creators welcomed; contact cymem for entry.