The room after life

the room after life

The caffeine delivery system wasn’t working as efficiently as normal. Here was the soothing hot water with its familiar taste warming the back of his mouth, but the morning fog wasn’t lifting. The jolt of go-get-them wasn’t jolting. It all just didn’t seem as urgent as before.

The events of the last 48 hours hardly seemed real. The visit by the mysterious stranger, the delivery of the unbelievable package, and the struggle for sanity – it all melted into one confusing ball that seemed beyond his reason to suss out.

He took another sip of the coffee, then buried his upper lip into the mug to pull in a full gulp. Come ON, brain, he commanded silently, make all this make sense. If the puzzle wasn’t solved by 10 o’clock this morning, the courier would go back without what they were demanding of him, and the game would be lost. Continue reading

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4 role models

4 role models

People I have wanted to be when I grow up:

Ray Bradbury, Paul Harvey, Kenneth Robeson (Lester Dent), e.e. cummings …

The truth? That’s pretty much the whole list.

Bradbury, for the way his words dance.

Harvey, for the voice and the storytelling.

Dent, for writing 180 novels in 180 months, give or take.

cummings, a long time ago, for being free.

There are many, many others I admire,

and many many others I would emulate if I had the chops –

but BE? Who did I want to be? Those guys.

Now that I “am” grown up, I still do.

Bradbury, Harvey and Dent showed up for work. They did what they did all the time for as long as they were able. (I never learned much about cummings and his work habits – or I’ve forgotten – but I bet he did, too.)

I want to be that guy. Those guys.

What a ride it has been.

What a ride it will be.

The monster under the bed

cat eyes dreamstime_s_84061395 crop

“I’m the monster under the bed,” the boy cried.

“That’s nice,” said Mom. “What makes you a monster?”

“Well, I – I roar and I scare little boys.”

“You ARE a little boy,” she said. “Do you scare yourself?”

He looked thoughtful. “Sometimes.”

This gave Mom pause.

“Why do you scare yourself?”

“Well – that’s what monsters do! I wouldn’t be much of a monster if I didn’t scare myself sometimes.”

“OK, how do you scare people?”

“I don’t want to scare YOU, Mom.”

“Oh, come on, I like being scared.”

“You do?”

“It can be fun.”

“Well – I eat them.”

“You eat people?”

“Yep.”

“How do you get your mouth big enough to eat someone?”

“I think that’s what scares them.”

“Oh, this I gotta see.”

“I don’t wanna.”

“Come on, son, scare me.”

“You won’t like it.”

“I promise, I’ll like it. It sounds cute.”

“Well, OK.”

Dad came home a few hours later.

“Where’s Mom?” he asked the little boy, who shrugged and crawled under the bed.

“What are you doing under the bed, son?”

“Come see.”

A call from the muse

call from the muse

On a morning when each breath draws bright icicles into the soul came a knock on the heart’s door.

“Hey! It’s me! Your inner Bradbury,” came a child’s voice like a warm breeze. “Take me for a spin with a pair of new sneakers unleashed on the meadow next door, like a rocket on the launch pad gathering fuel for one grand push against the Earth, like an old lady with a gleam in her eye who tells of mysteries no little girl or boy can fathom.

“Run across fields full of stars and buzzing sounds that come from nowhere and everywhere. Take me anywhere, but take me – send me on an adventure, share a nugget of joy in the living, in the finding, in the exploring, for it’s a good world to live, find and explore.

“Settle on a distant planet only to find the challenges of men and women don’t change so much just because the scenery is different, but yes they do because the scenery is different, and yet humans are still humans.

“Do anything with me, your inner Bradbury, but don’t neglect me, for there’s the path to old age.”

“I guess I am getting old,” I replied. “But not so old that I would purposefully neglect you, old friend.”

And I reached up for a book.

The roar down below

once-upon-a-midnight

The wind roars up from the bottom of the hill behind our house

– or is that the bay shouting out its lungs?

water crashing into white caps of fury, or

a beast roaring at the heart of the world,

bouncing off itself joyfully to scream “Life! Live! Love!”

Be angry or be alive.

Laugh or cry.

The choices present themselves every day.

Choose life.

Choose joy.

It’s lighter on the soul.