The Event

Going into the event, of course Joseph would have preferred success to failure but the final verdict on something like that can change over time. The important thing was for the event to take place. There was no way things could continue the way they were. There would be violence and possibly, even likely, war. If war came the judges would no longer be able to enforce the law.

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Joseph was as prepared for the event as he would ever be, to the point that he was growing impatient, as if the longer he waited now, the longer the odds of success.

The judges had been set for a while. The weather looked clear for the foreseeable future. Nobody was getting any younger.

“Now is the time,” somebody whispered and that was all it took to start the event.

Joseph looked around in a sick panic until he saw Sara. He made a slow, determined path to her. Whatever the event was going to be, he wanted to go through it with her. “Now is the time,” he said.

“I heard,” she said.

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The judges had heard too, so had mobilized to observe, record, analyze, and pass history’s first judgment on the event.

“I’ve been living in a dream,” he said.

“We all have,” she said.

The event spread from its epicenter at rate halfway between a crow and the speed of light. It enveloped Joseph and Sara in mid-breath.

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Spraying Hope

Walking up Park Avenue the other day I made a right turn on 55th Street and headed east. There was a young couple walking in the other direction, holding hands, engaged in a serious conversation. 
As we got close to each other I saw him let go of her hand with an attitude of disgust and turn away. It was hard to gauge the degree of anger from such brief exposure but I gave them a wide berth.

It feels like anger is everywhere these days and growing more dangerous all the time. A garbage truck leaking brown water from its trough came between me and the sun.
When I got to the corner I turned and looked back to see the couple smiling and hugging and spraying hope like a busted fire hydrant.

The Morning Commute

I
We waited, some more patiently than others of course, for the yawning chasm to open up and swallow us again. The guy next to me, in reference to the presentation of a nearby woman, said, “it doesn’t leave much to the imagination.” Maybe his imagination is not as good as mine. In fact, I’d bet my life it’s not.
II
When we emerged we were surrounded. Any action other than surrender would have been equal parts foolish and futile. We marched, as those like us always have, through streets and fields and corridors, clinging in desperation to every withering scrap of decency.
III
Blank faces mock what they can’t understand.
We can supply answers to every question they ask but cannot pretend, even when they are true, that the answers are correct.
In the end there is only one direction: forward.

Seventy Seven Words

There are no comfortable positions in the bed they used to share. 
He flips at regular intervals, both the hamburger and the spatula. 
With the morning slouching toward him, he stares dimly at the spot on the wall where he knows the calendar hangs. 
There is not enough light in the sky yet to see more than shadows. 
When the shadows evaporate, when the sun rises, it will be two years to the day since she died.

Teardrop


A tear trickled down the curve of her cheek and all I could think to say way, “I hope you know that’s not what I want,” as if my desire was paramount. The truth is, even though I sincerely did not want to see her cry the sight of her tears filled my heart to overflowing with awe at the simplicity of her beauty. The movement of liquid on her skin emphasized its softness and I understood the joy a carnivore feels when its teeth rip into living flesh. I hadn’t shaved in a couple of days and was aware that the points of my stubble were sending pinpoints of pain rippling across the sweet skin of her face and neck. I tasted her tears and with them my own.

God’s Alphabet


God knew what he was doing when he made clouds. He must’ve gotten confused sometime after dogs and forests because by the time he got to humans he was seriously off the reservation. Then came killing – a mistake he admitted in his Ten Commandments. When he got to whiskey and wine he threw up his hands in disgust.

“Have at it, boys and girls. Knock yourselves out.”

Killer


The blade was inserted with such precision that even its victim had to know he was not being killed by some roughneck thug. This killer was an artist. If the last of his life’s juices weren’t spurting on the pavement the victim would have been better able to appreciate the training it took to develop the skill to take the life of an animal as large as himself with so little effort, so little violence, so little noise. The only sound he heard was the crack of his skull hitting the cement.