With my windows down, AM radio playing country tunes, a full tank of Mexican Nova gas I purchased in Juarez earlier in the day, and a full stomach from the dinner my girlfriend served me, I embarked on my first trip to the only part of my sales assignment outside the El Paso metropolitan area. I planned to spend two nights and two days calling on established customers and prospects in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
The road to Carlsbad is US highway 62/180 also known as Montana Avenue as it runs through El Paso. I drove east on Montana in my…
Colleen lay on the couch clothed in the same dress and pearl choker she wore the day she called Thomas’ office two weeks earlier. His terse letter of reply and its torn envelope intermingled with the discarded wrappers, plastic containers, boxes and cans, and food encrusted, moldy plates and utensils that surrounded Colleen like so much fallout from a litter bomb. She had quit wifing all together and ceased living, save for eating and watching television.
She flipped from channel to channel, unable to find the Donna Reed Show, which she…
Colleen didn’t contest the divorce because she never accepted the reality of it. Thomas still came by to see her. They had dinner together once or twice a week, and occasionally he would stay the night. His generous alimony allowed her to abstain from outside employment and continue her wifely duties around the house. Colleen felt she was being courted a second time by Thomas.
Late one morning while taking a walk, Colleen passed a park bench on which sat two women watching a child play in a nearby sandbox. It struck Colleen that…
Colleen sprayed her dyed honey blonde hair into place each morning and wore full makeup, smart street dresses, and a cultured pearl choker as she cooked and kept the house Thomas had purchased for them the day after the cruise ship docked. The two-story Cape Cod with its dormer windows and prominent staircase descending to the entrance way reminded Colleen of the house on the Donna Reed Show. It was perfect.
Thomas referred to Colleen as his perfect wife, and she strove to be even more perfect, detail after detail, year after year, perfecting, always perfecting. None…
Colleen aimed the remote, punched the channel up button, and stared as the images flickered on the glowing tube across the room. Although she hadn’t checked a clock, she was sure it was time for the Donna Reed Show. An L.A. station ran the old late fifties-early sixties family shows in the afternoon. Colleen never bothered to note the station’s channel number, she just searched until the familiar, ageless black and white characters showed up.
The Donna Reed Show had become the high point of Colleen’s day and the focus of her life ever since she found out, two weeks…
After our third was born, I decided to do it. Well, actually, Cindy helped me decide. She said no more pokes until I got myself fixed. She got tired of having kids was what it amounted to. She said she’d gone through the morning sickness and the pain and the gettin’ skinny afterwards enough for one life, and if she could do all that and feed and clothe and clean up after three little ones, then the least I could do was go to the clinic and have myself interrupted.
I’m a big man and I’m tough, played nose guard…
I run with the pack through the underbrush and over rotting logs, the smell of prey locked in my nostrils. The lead wolf takes us down the wooded hillside to the edge of a meadow, to a small herd of deer.
I watch the lead wolf for the cue to attack. We wait in the cold, early morning stillness for a young deer to range too far from its family and observe the females for signs of disease. The leader will pick one out for the kill, but I pick one out, too. I practice the leader’s role. …
It comes to me in darkness,
for that is how I have thought of it,
a solitary figure
searching me out
with eyes hidden by great tinted goggles,
a head supported by nothing more than a curved S of bone,
a fused spine
that resembles the graceful lines of a seahorse.
All flesh has burned away.
The jawbone is missing.
The upper teeth gnaw at me
but cannot consume.
There is no stomach,
no digestive tract.
The exposed brain has turned to stone,
hardened by the elements
and centuries of compulsive thought.
It has come through the hellfire of my…
My feet rest on solid ground. I look up at a slice of cold, pure blue sky. It is suffocating here. I must escape, break free. I unfurl my feathered wings and flap, flap, flap.
The wings thump against the air, thump, thump, thump. I pour all of my energy into the flapping and all of my spirit into the desire for flight.
With incredible effort, the miracle happens; I break free from gravity’s grip. I catch a thermal and soar high into the clean, sweet air. Everything below becomes miniature and insignificant. I view entire cities at a glance.
The holiday season is in full swing, and many people are already dealing with disappointment after celebrating Thanksgiving in the absence of family and friends. Christmas and New Year’s will be no different. Has the pandemic ruined the holidays?
Disappointment over unmet expectations for the holidays is not limited to the pandemic. I know; it used to happen to me every year. The holiday season represented my salvation. Three long weekends within five weeks promised time to do those things that fulfilled me: write, read, and watch my favorite movies and lots of football.
Anticipation of Thanksgiving began the week…