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She was different.

She was different. She was illogical, and maybe that’s what attracted him to her. She was completely random. A cliché ‘free spirit’. Only he knew it was just an act. She behaved that way so people would make snap judgments about her, and never get to know who she really was, because they thought they knew her already.

But he loved her anyway. The way she moved, the way she talked. All these things communicated to him, spoke to him in ways that he thought were only possible in fairy tales. She was something to be adored, something to be respected, something to be cherished and loved. He didn’t want to possess her, he wanted her to possess him. He was ready to give his life, his love, his heart to her, if she just said the word and accepted.

But she didn’t. She only saw him as a ‘friend’. The eternal curse of being a ‘nice guy’. There was nothing remarkable about him, except his love for her. And she thought there was something wrong with him for loving her the way he did. She couldn’t accept the love he offered. It should have been for someone more deserving. But you are deserving, he said. You of all people know what this love means and how important it is. What you know, what you can sense, the fact that you understand all of this. That’s what makes you deserving. Not what you’ve done in the past, not what you’re going to do after all of this. You can see the preciousness of everything. The value in love itself. Through your wounds, your eyesight has been honed to a burning sharpness. You can see love as if it was a tangible thing. Your past is what makes your sight so good. And because you can see so clearly, you deserve to have love given to you. Not because of who you were then, or even yesterday, but because of who you are NOW.

He didn’t know if she understood what he was saying. It was hard to read her sometimes. She seemed to be able to hear him, and then sometimes her ears would fall off and he would have to spend all night trying to find them. He’d crawl along the floor amongst the used cigarette butts and beer bottle caps that cut into his hands if he wasn’t careful. When he found them he was all ecstatic and carried them back to her. But by then she was on the dance floor and didn’t want them anyway. Even after he spent all that time looking for them. And that hurt worst of all. The way she rejected the gift, dismissed it as if it was nothing. As if he was nothing. He didn’t know if she really felt that way, or was it all part of the game.

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So what do you want to do?

“So what do you want to do?” she asked.

He didn’t know how to answer her. It wasn’t like they were all that close. He never thought he’d second-guess a chance to get laid.

But she was damaged goods. On some level, he knew her voracious sexual appetite was only a cover for deeper wounds where her real motivations lay. She wielded her sexuality as a child toyed with a loaded gun. But each impact was self-inflicted, driving into her and tearing wounds even greater.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he stalled

“Come on. I’m so horny, we can go right here in the bushes!” the night sky shadowed the beautifully manicured shrubbery which seemed to recoil in horror of the offense. It was hard to believe that she came from such an affluent suburb given her depravities.

“Nah, I’m just going to head home.” he let go of her hand.

“Awe, come on! What are you, chicken?” she stepped in close, trying to rub her body against his.

He stepped back quickly and she stumbled. He reached out to catch her and she grabbed his hand, pulling herself up against him. Her hand found his crotch and it revealed the truth.

“Awe, come on. No one will ever know. Don’t you want to kiss me?”

“Yeah, but I don’t think a kiss is what you really need.”

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“When did you fall in love with him?”

“When did you fall in love with him?” Sarah wanted to know. She needed to know. Especially on this day of her father’s funeral.

“I don’t know” her mother said. “And I don’t think you can call it ‘love’ exactly. More like a mutual respect of each other. Sexually.”

Her mother didn’t have to add that last part, but she always wanted to get under Sarah’s skin, in matters of the heart. Like an evil step-mother, her jealousy of Sarah’s attractiveness sometimes took a stinging form.

“When were you going to tell me?” Sarah screeched. “Why did I have to hear it from HIS MOTHER. She had every right to scream at you. This is disgusting, what you’re doing. You need to spend time with men your own age. Stop trying to steal my BOYFRIENDS!”

She was singing again

She was singing again. She always did that when she played with her toys. It was a tuneless song, flat and droning, but that was counterbalanced by the fact that it was so damn cute! Her songs were precious odes to her toys. The lyrical magic woven by her monotone vocalizations was repetitive and quite literal, relating specifically to the game at hand. She deftly combined singing with boisterous talking as to make one feel present to a unique opera. The engagement of the toys was both dynamic and explosive, with the ever threat of devolving into violence. Somehow she was able to master it all and save the realm from total annihilation.

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The tree branch fell

IMG_0803_b_CCWith a crack like a gun, the tree branch finally crashed to the ground, the bass tone of its impact rattling the windows in the house. The dry leaves followed it down in decisive fashion.

“That’s one for the record books, ain’t it kid?” the older gentleman crowed.

“Yeah, Dad. We got a good one.”

The father called up “Why don’t you come on down now and we’ll go see what your mom has by way of a snack?”

The son climbed higher up into the tree.

“I’m not that hungry. I’m going to try to take out these branches up here.”

The father watched him climb up, every second moving further and further out of reach.

“I heard you were looking at more colleges this week,” said the father. “I thought you already went and visited them all.”

“What?” the boy shouted down.

“I said I thought you had already seen all the colleges,” he yelled back up.

“I only looked at the ones in the state. There’s a couple in Michigan I’m looking at.”

The son was almost completely obscured by the leaves.

“Watch out dad, here it comes!”

Another tree branch impacted the earth as the father looked up, not seeing his son at all.

Once upon a time there was a star.

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Once upon a time there was a star. This star lived right next to the moon.

The star looked at the big round moon and felt small. His light wasn’t as bright as the moon, or as big. He felt that compared to the moon, his light was meaningless and useless. He thought, “There’s no point in shining, it doesn’t make any difference with the bright moon in the sky.” So he stopped shining. A dark spot appeared in the sky where he used to be, but it seemed like no one even noticed.

Then, one night, a little girl came to see him.

“Star,” she said “why did you stop shining?”

“Because I’ll never be as bright and big as the moon,” said the star. “So there doesn’t seem to be any point to shine at all”

“But the moon leaves us sometimes,” she said. “He gets smaller and smaller until he fades away, making it too dark. I’m afraid of the dark, and you help keep me from getting scared when the moon is away.”

The star looked across the sky and sure enough, the moon was smaller than the night before and didn’t shine as bright.

“You make me feel safe,” she said.

The star didn’t think anyone noticed that he had stopped shining. He thought about it for a few moments, and then turned on his light.

The little girl clapped her hands with delight.

“Thank you for telling me that you liked my light,” said the star.

“You’re welcome,” said the girl.

It was all lies.

it was all lies

It was all lies. She knew it was even before she spoke it. The truth would ruin her, and the company. But that was the problem, wasn’t it? In sweeping these things under the rug, they come in to contact with other nasty events causing an accumulation that was on the verge of breaking out of its containment. One more scandal and it would blow up, taking her with it. And THEN what would happen to the value of the stock.

The most important thing was to keep the stockholders happy. All things bowed to that one directive. Keep the stock value as high as possible with a cannibalistic balance sheet that resulted in eliminating anything that didn’t show a high return on investment.

She cleared her throat again, and tapped the papers on the podium to give the signal that she was ready to speak. She was hoping that they wouldn’t be too vicious today, not like they had been in the past. Yes, there were serious issues, but there was nothing she could do about it now. They just had to keep moving forward and let the media frenzy pass, as it always did.

“Good morning everyone,” she began. The scrum quieted down and a couple cameras clicked. “I’m here to make a clear statement and I won’t be answering any questions.” She pushed the firmness into her voice, but she knew they would badger her anyway. She just gave herself the excuse to walk rudely away from their questions.

“The allegations against Mr. Stevenson are completely false. Terry Pratchet was employed by this company, but Mr. Stevenson never had sexual relations with her,” Her gaze flickered slightly, as he truth tried to escape. She held onto it firmly. “nor was he involved in any way with her death. This is the only public statement that will be made regarding this issue. Please direct any further questions to our lawyers. Good day.” She pushed away from the podium without looking at anyone. She heard the cameras click and the shouted questions but she refused to turn around. Only when she was safe inside the building did she realize her hands had been shaking the entire time.

When it was time to go, she hesitated.

when it was time to go

When it was time to go, she hesitated. The party was winding down, and the guests had dwindled down to only 4 remaining. All were engaged with the host and hostess, transforming the event from a boisterous ‘shin-dig’ to an intimate affair. It was time to go, but there was lingering desire in the air.

She stood on the exterior of the group and waited for a break in the conversation. After a few moments, it became clear that though they knew she was there, waiting, they didn’t acknowledge her at all. She waited a little longer, hoping that social politeness would kick in and someone would at least let her say goodnight. No one turned. Finally there was a pause and she found her moment.

“Hey Greg, I just wanted to say goodnight…” she trailed off. He turned his shoulders toward her, not breaking his contact from the group.

“Oh, you’re leaving?” he said with patronizing concern. “Well, thanks for coming.” He opened his arms to hug her. She knew it was more patronizing, more of a gesture of making fun of her unreciprocated emotional attachment to him, but she was so desperate for his affection that she took it anyway. A small victory for her endless pining.

She hugged him, very carefully and specifically matching his pressure and duration. She was desperate, but she didn’t want to lay herself too bare and give them reason to ridicule her even more.

Oh, but the elation at this moment of embrace! The feel of his body next to hers, the soft pressure of his arms around her, the smell of clean that cut through everything. His head turned far away, exposing the caramel skin of his shoulder and neck like prey exposed to a vampires kiss. She noted a small freckle on the nape of his neck and had to summon every single once of her strength not to kiss it. How horrible that would be! To have his disdain and disinterest materialized into a moment of clear rejection. It would close the door of possibility completely.

It was a waiting game. Her patience was fueled by the ocean of her desire. He was a boulder a top of thin column of sandstone, as gentle wave after wave, slowly eroded his aloof rejection. Eventually, the moving water always wins. Sometimes the column was made of stronger stuff, sometimes it only took one drink to make it crumble, but she always had the patience to wait. And in the waiting, the gentle lick of her waves against the stone wore away more and more. Until finally, in one glorious moment, the boulder would fall into her. A huge, heavy, thunderous beast, pushing aside all that she was, before becoming completely engulfed by her. Once he fell, he belonged to her always.

So she waited.

She didn’t like the look of him,

She didn_t like the look of him

She didn’t like the look of him, but what was she supposed to say? He was going to buy her a drink, and she really needed a drink after what Tony put her through. So, she disregarded her intuition (which was right for once), and let him buy her a drink. It didn’t mean that she had to put out or anything. Besides, at 65 most people wanted her to put it back in.

“Thanks for the drink,” she said. He just stared. She took a large sip of her gin and tonic. “This really hits the spot.”

He was transfixed.

“Yeah,” she went on, “My old man, Tony, he was busting my chops tonight, saying that I couldn’t go out without making him some dinner. But I told him his dinner was already in the oven, and he had forgot on account of him having a problem with his memory.”

The stranger never moved.

“So I tells him where he can find it, and then I grabbed the baseball bat and knocked him around the head a bit, just to make sure what I’d said got through to him this time. I’m not going to risk him getting back up again to sweet talk me into sleeping with him.” Her eyes went a little crossed. “I says, hey, I’m a married woman and you know what he said? I have no idea because I wasn’t listening anymore. I was down the street for the pub even before he thought to mention the d-word. Truth is, I don’t want to get a divorce. There ain’t no one in the world that’ll put up with me the way Tony does. Don’t get me wrong, he ain’t no angel. You have no idea what kind of shit him and his gang are into these days. I keep telling him if he doesn’t watch it, he’s going to turn out deader than all the creepy stuffed animals in his office. He knows a guy that does taxidermy and this guy regularly needs friends in the highway patrol, so now and then they ‘trade’ services. Particularly when this guy is up for review by the state parole board. He always wants Tony to be doing favors for him. But what does Tony get in return? A couple stuffed woodchucks and a deer made out of sticks and rabbit skin. Tony calls it ‘art’ but it doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen. I’m more into the classics myself, the kind you see at a regular museum. Stuff with Elvis and Jesus and shit. But to each his own, I guess. I never did think that Tony was all that bright to begin with. But he thinks he’s all that. Typical male ego. You can domesticate the lot, but they’ll always end up throwing it all away in a pissing contest. Right now, he’s in a contest with his younger brother. Tony won’t admit it, but he’s loosing the argument.”

She stopped to take a hit off her drink and that’s when the stranger finally spoke.

“It sounds like you’ve had a hard time of it,” he said smooth as silk.

“Hard time of what?” She was wondering why they kept turning up the TV. Wasn’t it loud enough already? Besides, who watches that crap anymore?

“Well, with this Tony fellow,” he continued. “It sounds like he doesn’t appreciate all the things you do for him, how much you need him.”

“Ain’t that the truth!” She tilted her head back and finished of her drink. Damn that TV was loud, and her mouth felt soft and swollen.

“What you need is a vacation,” she heard him say and nodded in agreement, except once she started, she couldn’t seem to stop nodding. After a moment she laughed at herself. A sloppy, drunk laugh. Which was odd because she’d only had the one drink. Must be good stuff.

“Vacation!” she yelled and the bartender shot her a disinterested frown. The stranger put some bills on the bar and then put his arm around her to help her off the stool.

“Let’s take a vacation, right now!” He said with almost unconstrained excitement, as he lead her out of the bar into the dark night.

They found her two days later, wandering on the railroad tracks, naked as a jay bird and mumbling something about a vacation.