#934: The Stuff of Literature

May 30th, 2018 § permalink

Picture two men who still see themselves in their 20s, but who aren’t.

See their greying temples, the early cobwebs of laugh lines around their eyes not yet spidered across their faces. Hear their small groans and grunts as they scale the hill overlooking lake on one side, bike path on the other.

Visualize them standing in silence for a moment at a lonely spot on the grassy outlook. Then they plop to the ground and hoist out the beers. » Read the rest of this entry «

#879: The Beachcomber

January 22nd, 2018 § permalink

The ice lining the waterside edge of the beach was a perfect replica of meringue.

Hawk winds peeling off the lake had spent the winter whipping water foam into a rich lather. The until-recent deep freeze had set the flocking. Sand, muck, gunk and grime had given the edges a light browning. The beach, frankly, looked delicious.

But here the metaphor becomes too clumsy to continue. Beyond the pie-top, there was nothing. The rich white fog had erased all but a few feet of lake. It looked like the edge of the universe. It looked like God’s animation budget ran out.

As “the meringue pie at the edge of the universe” is about as mixed metaphor as you can get, attention now turns to the land, to the hazy sand muck between ice and bike path where a man slowly, resolutely scanned each inch with a metal detector. » Read the rest of this entry «

#482: Little Narnias

May 27th, 2015 § permalink

When I was a kid, I read books about hidden kingdoms.

I wanted every wardrobe to be a passage to Narnia, each twister a ticket to Oz. I was born a few decades too early for magical fractional train platforms, but I craved hidden places, longed for Secret Gardens and Terabithias (although with fewer dead children than the latter allows). » Read the rest of this entry «

#402: The Job Hunt

November 21st, 2014 § permalink

Two ticket takers on the Metra stood in the divot where the stairs lead down to the still-closed outer door. They had been talking for about 10 minutes about a co-worker who died two years before retirement.

One was older, fatter, black and patient. The other was younger, taller, wiry and white. The younger one looked around with fight in his eyes, as if every person, ticket, metal wall and announcement voice was making him angrier.

They were leaning back on the partition walls, facing each other.

“What would you do if you didn’t have to do anything?” the older one asked. » Read the rest of this entry «

#317: Bard in a Bar

May 7th, 2014 § permalink

Jaques:

O worthy fool! One that hath been a courtier,
And says, if ladies be but young and fair,
They have the gift to know it: and in his brain,
Which is as dry as the remainder biscuit
After a voyage, he hath strange places cramm’d
With observation, the which he vents
In mangled forms. O that I were a fool!
I am ambitious for a motley coat.

Duke Senior:

Oh true dat. » Read the rest of this entry «

#262: Peace to 2013

December 30th, 2013 § permalink

Peace to the old man sipping drinks at the VFW bar.

And the bagpiper on the condo roof.

Peace to the newsman, chasing stories for cartoons.

Peace to the lady who jammed in Tunisia.

And peace to the one who makes really sexy ladies’ underthings. » Read the rest of this entry «

#218: The Flutes of Aïn Draham

September 18th, 2013 § permalink

The mountains of Aïn Draham seem far away from the big table.

The big table takes up most of the space on the back deck of the top-floor apartment. It’s surrounded by potted plants, including the one that provided the sprigs of mint Allie Deaver would soon put in the heavily sugared green tea she was making with a Tunisian recipe.

The big table is on a deck at an apartment building in a pocket neighborhood in Edgewater. Aïn Draham is in the Jendouba Governorate in northwestern Tunisia. » Read the rest of this entry «

#173: Nelly Sleeps

June 5th, 2013 § permalink

The cannons fire and the crowds wave flags while, under the ground, Nelly sleeps.

The headless lamb, an ancient grave marker decapitated by time, lets us know that Nelly sleeps. No date. No last name. Just three weatherworn words embossed on white marble: “Our Nelly Sleeps.” » Read the rest of this entry «

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