December 30th, 2010 -- "Galaxies from Kitchen Spice"

"Galaxies from Kitchen Spice"

Belinda held her magnificent hands in the bright, soft light over the dish, her large bands and bangles jangling half-dull, heavy with gold as she worked, sparkling with all manner of earthly jewel, clinking rich with music as if to accompany, seeming forever timeless in the air in the night with the precious, imbued quality of old jewelry.

The children watched as the old woman they had known for years as the quiet, curious merchant in the corner apartment; as the old, kind, storied woman seemed to take hold of the dusty swirl of colorful, glowing, desert spices with invisible strings, things drawing impossible, fragile power from her fingertips and connecting to the edges of the matter in the bowl.

She paused for a moment in the light of the dish and the candles, as if to steady or remind herself - all of this warm, mind you, all of this calm and serene and nearly melodic under the full moon beaming bright, cool blue through the window, the stuff on the plate spinning idly in cosmic circles, every so often a bit of it flaring up with the light sound of a burning leaf and grouping together in a spitball of bright, tiny light, the feathers of fire reaching thin from the tips of candles in the corner glowing orange on the surfaces of rich emeralds, the entire room a soft, vital red.

She spread her fingers wide and lifted the thing with magic unknown to the children. Like a small tent, the tiny dunes of kitchen flavoring rose high above the plate into a new dimension. Now, what had previously been an incredibly flat pool of dry magic took life as the fired dust expanded and broke free in its small form from the thin strings to build out into a small, living galaxy.



December 24th, 2010 -- "Walter's Dapper Holiday"

Tinsel. Silver tinsel and egg-shaped bulbs. Bright, metallic garlands run with tinsel draped over blinking glass. Shimmering, spidery rivers of plastic ornaments in bounding rows. Hooping arrangements of colorful, ornate globes. The mysterious, glowing caverns found in the warm gaps near the trunk of the thing. Thin strings of stale, blooming popcorn. The clear smell of candy canes and evergreen. His suit, neat and mauve. The grandfather clock in the shady corner by the window facing out to a holiday parade on main street floors below, 4pm.



December 22nd, 2010 -- "Nathan Tyler, Ocarina of Time"

"Nathan Tyler, Ocarina of Time"

In an interview, Nathan Tyler once remarked that the quality of everything old-seeming to feel as if it had a fine layer of chalk, not dust or death, he said, but chalk, forms a fine example in the winter months, the months where the coldly bright and the awful wind draws everything out and thin, where the objective of most men is to appreciate the wet dark wood of the dead season from the dry inside, to keep the murk and the dreariness for the air of the wilds and to keep everything on the inside of things arid and hot with fire, there accentuating and perpetuating - or, rather, he went on to elaborate, continuing, preserving the effect of dry, clean, chalky, old, as he would have it, effects - old books, clean pages, dry socks, cool sheets that skiff above mattresses with the most complete of airy sounds.

He talked of days by the window, the days he would sit by the electric, breathy film of cool atmosphere near the dusty panes and wonder about the sheer amounts of sunlight bringing a cold, halved illumination to the boxy room. He would remark about the absurd glow of a world so frozen, the strangely alive light, he explained, that remains and pours outward when the world goes to sleep for months. All the while wondering this, he would, as he said, close in on the glass, real close, and keep his nose in the airy cold for long enough of a moment to feel the moisture bounce from the tip of his face to the window pane as frosty dew, small snowflakes that never make it. Tiny circles of human fog, he stated quite plainly, as if the thought had been with him for a while, would hug the outside through clear plate for some seconds before giving up and vanishing completely.

Once done with the interview, Nathan adjusted the left lapel of his wool coat and continued with his coffee.



December 20th, 2010

"The First of Ten Trillion"

With a fleshy, ozone burp, the small point of light in the center of the room spilled out of itself into a watery sphere of tight, light, liquid fire. Miles away, the windows of the seventy-second floor pulsed a strange, dull green, subdued by the UV screens of the laboratory's solar shields. By dawn, the planet would be no more than a small stream of molten solids in a huge, new sun, and the history of the two doctors' brief experiment with formula A would remain only in the scratchy, desperate radio transmissions sent last-minute and ahead of the initial, explosive pop and growl of the newly-formed star.

"....-hnson! Th-...-an't control th-.....slipping out of the d-sh! LOOK! LOO--..."



December 16th, 2010

"visions of 2025"

A cell phone rumbles on a wood desk in the close dark of a side bedroom, the air of it dry and hot. Stiff warmth from a small, clanking radiator vibrates off dusty paintmetal to make stuffy, invisible odors, air that hangs in the room like a quiet, tasteless soup. The dark is mixed by climbing, slanted, salty light that slides up, over, and through distant trees set far back behind sleeping houses, light in through dusty panes, flimsy like clear paper, cold and stuck in wood, a twinkling sunlight that doesn't bend or gather in pools on the plaster white of the far wall, far off blinks that code the morning in hot yellow on the cold black green of waving trees. The winter is the future.



December 9th, 2010

"10:34pm, on the 130th Floor of the Faucet Street Apartment Tower in Downtown Riverbank, HAN-ter01; October 28th, 2034"

On the night of the 28th - a Tuesday - it was cold, wet. Mona stood chilled in the modest back bedroom of her cube apartment and filled a brown suitcase as best she could with clothes. With each armful, she allowed the pile to dip down an inch and spring back up with a light, careless toss that seemed nearly pleasant, while Mona scrambled back to gather up shirts and paper and clothes hangers in a frantic, balled fist.

Outside, time was ticking bright in the clouds over the skyline of buildings blackened into silhouettes.

The other cities were quicker, she thought - went quicker. She had heard from her sister in 03. There was never any real warnings beyond rumors. It was said there was a light light, a tight shriek, a breath inward, a small, arterial pop, and you were gone, just like that, everyone gone. This idea did not sit well, and her ears popped lightly. She began to weep. More clothes.

The crowd in the square was much larger now, and the large displays showed maps and evacuation routes out of the city, the screens beaming bright, hot, purple slants of shifting glow through a sprayed mist on the surge of people too stupid or too stubborn to run. One woman flipped the screens the bird and shouted something awful, another looked skyward at a distinct kind of mindless nothing and wept, many others just watched - millions of glassy eyes in watery awe, a horde of the dead before dying in their city, their shouts and worries mixed together perfectly into a monotone song that, at a distance, could be mistaken for an ocean.

Mona's fingers hurt, were sliced and banged up in places where she wasn't careful. Her hands shook as she snapped the lid shut and grabbed the case. She hefted it with a certain amount of strength and, all at once, all of the lights in her apartment flicked off. Everything was, momentarily, very quiet and far off.

In the distance, the long sounds of losing power danced along down the street as, one by one, the impossibly large, steel brothers of the city switched off with huge, solid, thumping sounds. BUMPF! BUMPF! BUMPF! BUMPF!

Mona stood in her apartment at last, suitcase in hand, the effacement of accommodating light complete, the only light in her life now being that which hung in a shroud above the world, a choking smoke the color of pneumonia. The electric yellow light of weapons flashed distant and little on the horizon. The light, bumping sounds of explosions played a small symphony of lights in the sky.

She looked out the large plate of her front window and noted the crowd now darkened in the absence of power. So far down and confused, the sea rolled away in streams of running, some scared, some just very simply in a hurry.

The suitcase was heavy in her left hand. Her right hand lay still over her mouth, covering the inaudible expression of shock.




December 8th, 2010


Gray and small.
Brown with wet-looking spots of spiked, dry, and oily animal hair.
A small face with a small laugh.
Pearl teeth that grin past a small, simple, pitch-black smile.
A coat in the heat.
Two small, round ears the color of young coal.
Straight patches of long, white hairs that grow out of the head like thin sawgrass, trembling in fragile strands of body hair when it's time to run.
Small feet.
Padded bits of chocolate kisses that make tiny dashes in orange piles of earth.
Hot blood, glassy and red on the dog.



December 3rd, 4th, 5th, & 6th, 2010

"dreaming as the last bastion of good hope"

The thing was dead.

The brain of the thing, the silent thing, the metal, boxy, quiet figure of hot gold, sat clean and vibrating in wiry aluminum grips in the inside dark of the thing's head, hung firmly in place by tight, bright, dangling supports of thin metal. Accompanied within by a peculiarly sweet smell, like oranges, citrus, the brain of the thing on the inside of that thing's head twinkled with the microscopic and slow flashes of liquid, living glows, soft, mixed lights running in slow rivers as it dreamed warmly.

Better would be to say that the thing was not alive - animated, but not officially among the living; thinking, careful, aware of the world around it through synthetic endings of electric touch, but not of spontaneous life, not from the loins of humankind, but from instead its tables, from the categories of science that smash together to produce wildly imaginative ideas that end up thinking on their own.

Warm dreams. Dreams of flashing air and pumped stuff. The pleasant and screeching sounds from within a mind within a head within a box that produce heated light behind the things eyes. Animals. Bright, neon creatures - or, better, animations that dance in exotic leaps by fires in the dark. Wide open spaces and illusory landscapes that blow out time like a candle, leaving the thing alone in that world as a thing present. Spaces that stretch out and never stop expanding. A figure that twinkles in the lights of the dreams and observes.

A flicker, a twitch, the slow-rolling and tiny roars of enclosed motors brought to whirs, and the thing comes to life, giving rise to gold body and colored wire that lurches forward and up and out with a punch. Directives stream in ticker tapes that line the special kind of invisible in the air in front of it. Unknown servos make the arms and legs to move in fluid, jerky movements that betray the grace of the followed dream. Thick steams gush from vents with the sound of choking or puking, and the thing is gone in the violent display of hurried, directed action, the calm, singular voice of the dream swept for a time into the insignificant floats of nothing behind the something.


"9:32pm, McDonald's, Boston"

The large man stands in line in a sport jacket smelling strongly like after shave, his jacket frayed in random places to suggest some amount of calm time. He jiggles a wallet out of the back pocket of his worn, loose slacks and thumbs it open with a soft clap. He parts the middle and whispers out a few bills. All ones. Counting them twice, carefully, he stops for a breath of a moment that most would miss to do the worried math.

Is there enough?


"Sun and Lake"

All that is offered by the sun is left to spread in the early hour of the evening like milk across ripples of water.



The dust of the day rose up in puffs of vapor sand as the new river bolted from the gapped recesses where dynamite punched through mountainside. The clear cold of the west river pushed the sand into piles of slick mud and tore away layers of sediment to reveal the gleaming yellow of everything Rupert had bet his life and family on. He reached down, grabbed at the rusted buckle of his screening pan, and dismounted with tears in his eyes.



December 2nd, 2010

"Flight Simulation, 1998"

Larry stopped along the way to scratching the tip of his nose to tighten the sleeve loosely rolled one half of an inch above his left elbow. He reached over and grabbed at the cotton blue of the shirt, his aviator's watch catching white, glassy sunlight in a flat dial and sending it in an upward beam toward the cabin's padded, upholstered ceiling in a perfect circle. He grouped the handful of shirt into itself firmly, making a small, neat roll like a small, hallway runner, folded the unbuttoned cuff in toward his arm, and went on to scratch his nose as the small aircraft's engine breathed small, precise amounts of fire in a steady hum behind the cockpit's dash.

The divorce had been finalized last week. On the eve of his new life, Larry sat in a hotel room in Bangor, Maine with a TV Guide open in his lap. A warming cup of soda sat in a wet ring on wood by the desk lamp creating a dark, slick circle next to a pile of crappy, cork coasters.

He stared from bed at the soft, off-set, dark gray of the pulp newsprint pages in his lap as a phone pressed between his left ear and shoulder grew hot. The slanted, bright, yellow light from the hotel 60-watt in the lamp next to him lit the room up to his elbow and made everything else seem that much more dark. Every couple of minutes, Larry flashed the phone to keep it from blaring inactive in his ear as he waited to never make a call. Across from him and the bed, the large television set sat square and quiet in the entertainment center - off.

The plane bucked playfully as Larry brought it about thirty degrees to the east. The horizon glided in a tilt to the sky without any real weight, and light from the sun poured at angles that would seem strange in a room from the ground, with licks of soft, healthy light fingering their way in from the small, bullet windows to form pleasant bangles on objects throughout the cabin. The world shifted effortlessly beyond the glass, the sounds of it drowned out by the constant song of small-body flight.


November 30th & December 1st, 2010

"2:13PM in a Parking Lot in New England in the Winter"

The cold, bumpy iron of the dark gray handrail seemed to glow backwards in the shade of the roof's overhang as the bright snow behind it created a blanketing wet so complete, taking the place of everything dry. The air, thin, denied the fat and the warm of the world, fading the dark, black treeline across the lot into a velvet.

In bursts of time over the course of the afternoon, cars mumble to life under packed snow and let it all slide off like sweat.


"November Men"