ONE PER DAY: April 30th, 2010 -- "Twenty Questions, with the answer being 'The United States'"

"Nah, forget it. Don't tell me."

His questions ranged. He started by asking about physical properties - size, shape, density, that kind of thing. Next was color, followed by smell and weight. Does it smell bad? Could it be considered heavy? He then went on to ask if he would even get it in the twenty questions allowed to him. He questioned if it was well-liked, if it was something everyone could use, if it was a permanent thing. He asked, in unacceptable question format, what the hell it could be.

"I can't answer that," the other said. "'Yes' or 'No' questions, remember."

"Man, whatever the hell it is, it isn't easy to figure out in twenty questions..."

Chris gave up, wrapped his arms around his shoulders and rested his head on his knees, his back exposed and burning in the sun.



April 29th, 2010 -- "The Dust Drinker"

In the close air in the side room of the small house on the thin street by the gray bay lies a tiny thinker, a dark man and heavy drinker. On a pillow by the wall near the door, he sips. Out the window in the street tin cars play. He sips on time and on plans and money in the dusk. The dust in his cup, like rust.

He waits.



April 28th, 2010 -- "A Distinguished Gentleman and His Lake Dreams"

On a cool evening in August, the bright pleasure cruiser comes to a slow, churning stop in the middle of the pond with the moon to the West.

This is it, he thinks. This is the spot. This is the spot and there could be anything down there in the murk. There could be anything and it could grab me, or it could be everything I've ever hoped for to comfort me. I can imagine it as anything in this place, because this is a place for dreaming. It could be a long-lost pirate ship stuck down there in the bubbling yuck of the green bottom. There could be money and gumption and promise in boxes. My future. My past. Something is down there.

With a million thoughts swirling in his head, the gentleman laid anchor down in the green gush of the lake's bed and retired to his cabin.

While he slept, his dreams danced in between the rays of moonlight caught in the debris of the lakewater. The morning would bring answers.



April 27th, 2010 -- "Mitch's Good Drive"

Cruising along at night on the highway, Mitch holds the wheel soft in his hands, the leathery rubber cover of it spongy and warm from use. His feet, formerly tired and a bit red from too much standing, and his legs, also previously tired, sit in the dark under the dash and tap along on the pebbly auto carpet. He is comfortable.

He clicks on the radio from the silence and scans the stations. He finds one that he likes and returns to the wheel.

He begins to sing, making up his words as he rolls along the interstate.

"Ooooo, baby, yeah baby, you I ain't tired toniiiiight, oooo baaaby, always just ready to fiiiiight, uhm...mmmm...mm.mm..mm.mmmJust the speed baaby--things always on tiiiiiiiiime, yeaaaaaah..."

Summer is near, and he likes that.



April 26th, 2010 -- "The Abrupt Death of Mason McBride, Corporate Accountant Extraordinaire"

From the top floor of the southeast building in the complex, Mason McBride - the lead accountant in Carbon Lift, Inc.'s controller division entered the hot air of the city night with a surprised look on his face and a tingling, nervous jump in his cheeks and hands. He was falling. His loose, ironed slacks were being forced to cling to his thighs and ride up his ankles; and, in being made to do so, exposed the moderately expensive black and glossy Italian leather shoes on his dangling and kicking feet. The wind was fast, but warm and thick and expensively terrible. His reasonably-priced cotton day shirt was quickly lapping up the sweat from his face and chest with rhythmic, concussive thwacks as his tie tried desperately to fly away and off of his neck into the moonlight.

Weeks ago, he had been at the company barbecue in Maui. With the backdrop of the nearest volcano - a hump of rocky slides covered lush, green trees and brown, ancient ash, he and his friends had discussed topics ranging from work, to school days, to basic science and popular culture. He had a beer sweating in his hand in a plastic cup and a burger dripping mustard on his lap on a plate. He took in the day in the shade of the pool house as a plume of cigar smoke folded itself neatly into his nostrils.

Now, though, he was in the air and moving. He was as far from that day in Maui as he could ever be and there was a kind of calm in that fact. He wasn't in the world, but a man moving through it, through the air in the night towards the ground and the cars and the dumpsters. He was weightless.

He took off his watch and threw it into the night.

His life was over.



April 25th, 2010 -- "April 25th, 2010"




April 24th, 2010 -- "The Gift of Telekinesis"

In the heart of the choking volcano by the village, The Old One sits in a forced pocket in the molten rock. Her face, forever willed into resembling solid gold - perhaps even being solid gold, reflects the dull red glow of the flow around it with a menacing blue, red flicker. A load of earthen smoke burps up through the hot slide and pushes quickly over and through itself to escape the pressure of the cavern. Exhausted, obsidian boulders begin to tremble and resign from their purchases in the wall. The choreographed streams of bright orange ash and liquid stone flying around her hair start to waver and dissipate. Her ancient focus is needed elsewhere.

"Tonight," she thinks. "Tonight is the night for many."

She calls on her strength and begins.



April 23rd, 2010 -- "Skyfaller"

"At an altitude of 35,000 feet," Hunter thought to himself, "life is clearer."

From afar, the chaos of his plummet seemed quiet and delicate, not unlike a spider descending slowly on a silken thread.

The ground wanted him back.



April 21st, 2010 -- "The Sinkhole"

In the breezy noontime of May 14th, 2098, Stan passed the tiniest of holes in the dirt, in the center, a pool of surprisingly blue and cool gel - out of that, reaching outward, the tiniest, little arms.

"Come here!"

Stan did.



April 20th, 2010 -- "Repairs"

Some nebulous sprites float frantically in the hydrogen-thick summer wind of Jupiter. Garlabb looks at them through his organo-code suit of DNA and thinks to them about how he feels about the house repairs. It took some time, but they got done. If not for the accident and the rays, it would've been as smooth as one could ask for.

"Yes," he thinks, "you were correct. This fardblat strip is perfect. Nothing is getting through, practically. In ten years, if we haven't moved on, we can replace it."

The sprites change their color from white to a brilliant azure.

They are pleased. They are all pleased.



April 19th, 2010 -- "BAN JUVI"

Six tour bus flat tires. Four hundred pages of loose leaf notebook paper with potential song lyrics on them. Many cities. Many nights. Many shows. Rock & Roll.

Ban Juvi's time is now.



April 18th, 2010 -- "The Signal"

At the corner of North and East, the two seemed to glow in the mild darkness of the fogged air. What then seemed to the man like weeks previous, the intersection was of quick fire and shame, of old, lethal arguments, of bodies in the heat of expensive suits - on the ground by their hot guns and their gold shells and their own puddles, each a form frozen by their own meaning, by their own definitions dead and lifted off from safety to bitter violence and then slipped under a silent causeway, a dark and calm, velvet curtain.

Now, the corner seems without time. Like the unremarkable blank white of a photograph's plain paper backing, there seemed to be a quiet nothing, now, behind the bizarrely faded world around the two of them. Everything seemed simple and archaic and without any real process.

A backdrop, he thought.

"There anybody else? Are we it? Is there anybody else?"

Before him, the figure paused for a moment before raising his hand without hesitation.

Yes, that was it - a signal, the man thought.

They were it.



April 17th, 2010 -- "7:13 pm on a Tuesday in Kentucky in the Summer of Stress"

Todd wrapped his half-eaten lunch in some wax paper and balled up the remains in his canvas food bag. Work for the day was hard going, and he deserved the break. God, did he deserve it. If Caleb gave him any more hell about the back vats, he'd have a conniption for certain. They'd both have conniptions. What the hell is a conniption, anyways?

Yeah, he deserved the break.

He cleaned some peanut butter off his gritty fingertips with the handkerchief in his back pocket and stumbled a bit getting up off the table bench. He regained his balance on his heels and belched as he made his way to the rubbish by the door with a picture of Ms. September draped and tattered scotch taped to the back of it.

"Todd! Todd!"

Caleb came tripping through the door, knocking over the trash and tearing his shoelaces off in his own step.

"Todd, th....To-.....oh, m.........."

"What, Caleb, what?"

Todd flicked some pickle from beneath his eye with his thumb.

Caleb's face was white and remarkable - a certain kind of strange and blank remarkable, having now, Todd thought, seemingly nothing at all to do with vats or lunch or timeclocks or efficiency or the ol' U-S-of-A even. Strange.

"Todd, you have GOT to SEE THIS..."

Nothing was ever the same, after that.



April 16th, 2010 -- "The Burger Prince"

Looking up at the slatted menu, The Burger Prince smiles wide enough to lift his puffy cheeks to his set, beady eyes. His gums make the disquieting sounds of moving saliva. His pupils seem to dilate in the fluorescent glow of the restaurant.

"My god," he thinks. "I have so much to choose from."

"God bless freedom. God bless choice. I'll have one of everything."



April 15th, 2010 -- "Ozone"

Thirteen minutes into his routine, Felix's amazement is total. All of the days sweating in the baking heat and scorched blacktop have paid off. The threadbare joints of his clothing have been justified. His dance is working.



April 14th, 2010 -- "The Sun's Sunny Midnight"

The opposite side of the world, the sun thinks quietly. That's where I am. The other side. I'm bright here, but it's dark there. I'll leave here and give it all back to the moon. The sky will change. People will sleep. Time is not a factor. you know what I mean.

As the sun passes by, light is refracted in the misty curves of nearby clouds. Years continue to pass.



April 13th, 2010 -- "Two Drivers"

"Want to drive this time?"

"Nah, not really."



April 12th, 2010 -- "The Wing Plan"

In a small, suburban park, Bobby Thompson waits in the long grass for the perfect moment to show the world his wings. It's 12:30. He has time.



April 11th, 2010 -- "The Baron and His Complex"

About to rob the bank of it's rubies, standing next to the blacked out vault manager, The Baron's head spins, almost bird-like, to stare accusingly at the complimenting crony.




April 10th, 2010 -- "1:12 pm: the moment that Ms. Appleyard was incorrect"

1:11 pm.

"Listen, now, kids - hey, listen! I want all of you in your seats. Act civilized, you goons!"

The middle school teacher, with her horned-rimmed glasses resting glossily on the bridge of her nose nose, a flag pin stuck to her suit's lapel, with three rings gripping loosely to her bony, porcelain fingers, with a few minutes before the end of the day, clapped a couple of erasers together to get some smokey crowd control going for the ravenous rabble of preteen weirdos. A couple of brats in the front coughed superficially, as she laid the chalky pads to rest on the edge of the board's tray. A pencil whizzed by her head and clunked against the chalky black of the slateboard. She seemed to freeze her frame as she spun wildly in her fury on one heel.

"Now, you listen to me! You're all out of control! This is completely unacceptable behavior! If I need to keep you here until 7 o'clock, I'll march down to the phones and call your parents myself! I have all the time to do that! I will do that! I have all the time in the wor -- ..."


REMEMBER! Switch over to the new home for my One Per day project (although, I'll likely update this one in tandem for some time)



April 9th, 2010 -- "Nadine"

Nadine sits across from Barry as he retells his favorite anecdote dealing with The Blue Bear and Saul Bank. A conical lampshade shapes the white glow of the natural bulb in the hood above the party. She remembers the summers in Nebraska and sighs quietly. Glasses clink around on the coffee table in front of them as someone refits a stray coaster under their ceramic cup. A soft, summer breeze pushes the curtains away from the window slightly as the sun begins to set over the trees in the west by the hills. They are glad the winter has ended.



April 8th, 2010 -- "Diver"

Is it a dream and all that junk?



April 7th, 2010 -- "2089"

Paul tosses his roll of tools and it descends gracefully in a slow spin into the dusty murk of the thin, lunar, surface gas. It comes into the velvet, gray dirt with a clothy slide. He looks at his handiwork and frowns.

"I told Bill that I was bad with these converting canisters! One more like this and we'll never terraform this damn place!"

Off on the horizon, a shattered Earth reflects a dim sun's light off its craggy, volcanic landscape with a quiet and delicate, bronze glow.



April 6th, 2010 -- "Babies"

The offspring of man have a quiet moment together while the future waits patiently for them.



April 5th, 2010 -- "The Girl and The Sun"

Not quite ready for summer, still with some tax paperwork to fill out, counting lightly the days until each spring month ends, the young girl ends up savoring each good, sunny day as it comes. The blanching and fading of winter won't tan itself, she thinks.



April 4th, 2010 -- "A Holiday Shirt in New England in 2010"

A striped number,
fresh in the sun,
pulled to the back of a belt to keep the front clean and sharp,
slightly wrinkled at the arms from being tossed on the corner of a couch,
smelling lightly of fresh air and clean sweat,
ambiguous in style,
held firm in pants by a tight, worn, dark, leather belt,
a vehicle for celebrating,
a good frame for better spirits,
a happy holiday,
a real gift for friends and family.



April 2nd, 2010 -- "Planman, Landman"

Planman planned well enough for the mist; but, how far can a person really plan as a landman without a body to call his own, man?



March 31st & April 1st, 2010 -- "Heat and Air"

April 1st, 2010:

Dr. Taugan Filebringer flips the heat switch and watches the fusion in real time.

"This is what victory looks like," he thinks.


March 31st, 2010:

"The rainbow dance worked!"