Wildflower Man

Saturday Stories: Summer rerun

wildflower man

The man who carried himself older than his years, boulders weighing down his shoulders, adjusted his glasses and harrumphed.

“Meeting will come to order,” he said. “Here about the complaint regarding Sam Tucker’s lawn. Mr. Tucker present?”

A bearded man who should have combed his hair that morning raised his hand. “Here, your honor.” Continue reading

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The Place Holder

Saturday Stories #5

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The custodian pulled out his keys with a jangle, fiddled for the one, and opened the door.

A man was sitting on the battered leather couch, staring into a smartphone screen.

“Who are you, then?” the custodian said. “You’re not Mr. Comfort.”

“No, no, I’m not,” the man on the couch said. The custodian looked toward the other door. “She’s not here, either.”

“Well, what’s all this, then? And what are you doing in this office?” Continue reading →

The Old Man and the Press

Saturday Stories #4

sunset electronica

The devices had been useless for so long with only error messages to greet every effort to connect, so many days and week and months – was it years already? – that everyone had finally come to the realization that the web wasn’t coming back to life.

Some said it was a conspiracy, that evil men and women had fed our dependency and then cruelly took it away to make us despair. Others said we just ran out of fossil fuel to feed the power plants and we owed it to the Earth to silence the things that drained the power. Others said we didn’t pass on the knowledge of how to fix the machines and thus we lost the ability to make repairs. Continue reading →

Remember this

Saturday Stories #3

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A rainy, autumn day at Willow Rest Assisted Living and Nursing Home, late in the 20th century.

The old man looked at the clock and set down his magazine. He stood up, examined himself in the mirror, poured a shot of gin, and downed it in a slow gulp.

He shuffled to the door, took a deep breath, and placed a disinterested but confident expression on his face.

Then, pulling open the door, he stepped into the corridor and strode the 50 feet down the corridor to his destination.

The old man paused at the entrance to the common room and saw her at once – pale, frail, but just as heart-stoppingly beautiful as ever – looking out the windows at the nearby trees as if they were a thousand miles and a lifetime ago.

“She won’t remember you,” said the orderly. “She never does.” Continue reading →

Some Days You Eat The Pelican

Saturday Stories #2

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Once upon a time in a land where pelicans flew in V formation over a quiet bay, the fish were gone, as if they had gone on strike and refused to show up for work.

The pelicans were perplexed.

“This is perplexing, Poppy,” Percival, a pelican, pouted to his wife. “If we can’t find anything to eat, well, we won’t have anything for lunch.”

“Poppycock,” Poppy said. “The fish can’t all be gone.”

“All. Gone. See for yourself,” he said, and she did.

She looked and looked and looked and looked and looked. Continue reading →

Live forever!

Saturday Stories #1

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The old man stood next to the park bench making coins disappear and reappear out of thin air – air that smelled of diesel fuel and summer heat and a strange mix of chestnuts roasting amid sweat and smoke.

A battered fedora reclined on the bench, showing a yield of only a few bills and a pocketful of coins. It hadn’t been a good day so far. Occasionally a passerby would drop a dollar and glance at him, but not enough of a glance to actually catch the act.

“Ah, lonely is the life of a prestidigitator,” he said softly. He didn’t think of himself as a panhandler – he performed his tricks in exchange for donations – but he knew most of his clients walked away believing they’d done a good deed for a panhandler today.

He had switched to card tricks when he saw the boy – maybe 6 years old, blond hair, glasses – watching from across the walk with a light in his eyes. When he saw that light, his heart jumped. Well, what do you know. Continue reading →

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 →

The monster under the bed

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“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.”