Friday, March 30, 2012

The Mechanic

When Michael woke up, his Pontiac was gone. He had made sure to put the keys in his pocket last night before pulling the sleeping bag into the ditch. He checked his pockets. Yes, they still dangled from his Corona bottle opener. As the sun played a cruel joke of blinding him without warming the air, he wondered which way the car went. He couldn't remember how far ahead the next town was, but Custer was fifteen miles behind him. If he started now, he could be there before noon. He doubted the half bottle of tequila would last him past ten. He shook the bottle, surprised at a second glance that only a quarter remained. He sighed, and stumbled over to roll up his sleeping bag. It snagged on a nearby Yucca.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Phenology - A Love Story

by Colleen Sutherland

     When do we know we are in love? For some it is a smack in the center of their being, as instant and painful as a Neanderthal clubbing his true love and dragging her off to a cave. For some it is a growing thing, like the gradual greening of the earth. But for me, it was falling, falling, falling.....

     We met in a used bookstore on a half price day. He was roaming through non-fiction, I was in the romance aisle. The two intersected when we rounded the corners of our stacks heading for the check out with our piles of books. Our books crashed to the floor, meshing into a jumbled heap. We sat down on a nearby soft couch while we sorted through the mess. It was embarrassing how easy it was.
     His were scientific tomes about global warming. Mine were trashy novels. The covers with their half naked, long maned men and bosomy women gave them away.
     I babbled, “Research. I'm doing research for a book I'm writing.”
     “Same here,” he said.
     “Different topic.”
     “Not so different,” he said. I figured he was being polite.
     “No, really,” he said. “I'm a phenologist.”
     “Bumps on the head?”
     “No, that's phrenology. My specialty is phenology.”
     “What's the difference?”
     “I observe the changes in nature and journal them. That's science, not mumbo jumbo. Come out back and I'll show you.”

Friday, March 2, 2012

Cigarette Man Saves the Day

I often wonder how Superman would have made his way in the world if he wasn't bulletproof. What if he didn't have super strength, x-ray vision, or couldn't fly? What if all he could do is turn socks purple? Would he still fight Lex Luthor's world domination schemes, or would he seek out a smaller cause?

“Hey Vic, can I bum a cigarette?” Larry asks.

“It's my last one,” I say. “Besides, aren't you trying to quit?”

“Aw, come on man. This damn patch just ain't cutting it.”

I shrug and open my empty cigarette case, hammered bronze and worn shiny at the edges, like Humphrey Bogart's dad would carry. With a split-second's concentration, I make a cigarette appear in the case, just under the retaining clip. I could have just as easily made the cigarette appear in my hand, between my fingers, or if I were closer, Larry's shirt pocket. I sometimes pass off my pathetic super power as slight-of-hand, but there are fewer questions when I use the case.