Sunday, February 8, 2009

See It

It seems pretty surreal now. Truth be told, it was surreal at the time too.

From the outside my hometown looked just like any other small town I'd seen on television. It looked just like the other towns nearby too. Most of them began and ended with a liquor store or bar, and likely had one or two more "in town".

When I turned 10 I got my first job delivering The Herald. I was really proud. Mostly though I just thought being a paperboy was cool. I liked they way the paper bag slung across my body and I thought I was as cool as a cucumber riding my huffy and tossing rolled up papers at screen doors.

Funny thing how you get to know more about your town when your on the street at 5 am. I learned more about the people in my hometown as a paperboy than any other time.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Harold pressed his fork into the yolk of the sunny-side up egg, burst the yellow and repeated the process until his once perfect egg was mash. This process was more routine than anything. He had watched his mother and father eat their eggs with the same ritual. Never did they have scrambled, hard boiled, over easy or poached. Always sunny-side up and then destroyed.

He only had a triangle of toast left when Kate sat down to eat. She took her time eating, looking out the window in between bites of egg or toast. She liked to watch the birds, and morning always seemed like the best time to watch them.

She was sipping her coffee when Harold got up from his chair. “Alrighty sweetie, thanks for breakfast”, kissing her cheek and grabbing his cap from the post of his chair. “Don’t forget we’re having lunch at Jim’s”.

The screen door slapped shut behind Harold. Duke jumped up from his spot outside the door and followed Harold to the shed.

Duke jumped up and led Harold out as the screen door slapped shut behind them.

His boots were wet from the morning dew as Harold stepped into the shed. The sun sent rays of light through the paned glass windows of the shed illuminating the dusty shed and falling directly on Dukes pillow. Duke lay on the pillow after several spins and watched Harold sleepily. Harold reached into one of the coffee cans that covered the workbench and blindly threw a dog treat to Duke, which Duke caught while still laying in the sun.

“Good Boy.”

Harold plugged in the extension cord which hung from above the workbench in front of him. The fluorescent overhead light hummed and flickered on and an am radio whispered to life.

The Backpack

He was nervous. Stretched across the hotel bed, he stretched his arm out blindly underneath. His fingers reached a corner of a small square black felt box. He rolled the box along the carpet with his hand until it was no longer underneath the bed. He assessed the weight of it and when satisfied tucked it in a small pocket of the backpack.

“Shall we go?” he asked, “I thought we could walk through the park”.

He knew exactly where to go. Or he thought he did. He found the place on the internet some time ago. It was perfect for his sort of thing. They walked through the park, soaking in the morning sunshine. He couldn’t keep much of a conversation. He was…..

Together they approached Bethesda Fountain while music emanated from the band shell behind them. “Can you take me highhhher…..” a young band sang.

The Terrace and Fountain were nearly vacant. Perfect. A few boats floated by in the pond next to the fountain.

“Sit.” He said, “I’ll take your picture with those boats in the background.”

She did as he requested, although with a funny look on her face. He wasn’t normally so bossy. He stepped back leaning against the base of the fountain and quickly snapped her picture and put the camera back into the small pocket of the backpack.

“Now you sit and I’ll take your picture”, she was promptly interrupted.

“SIT”, he scowled. “These darn shoes keep coming untied. I need to tie my shoe.”

He knelt near her, fumbling to tie the shoe. Shaking. He looked up at her, sitting in the spot where he had taken her picture. She was gazing off at the fountain and the park. Oblivious to what was about to happen. She was beautiful.

He could barely whisper her name.

Slowly she looked at him beneath her and spotted the open box in his hand. She smiled and this assured him. Slightly. He gathered his thoughts and forced them past his lips. Somehow they came out, but only as a shaky whisper.

After he had finished, she leaned to him, still on his knee with a smile and a laugh, “Of course I will.”

Monday, September 29, 2008

Her Name

The backyard was an ocean of green to her. Her head bobbed above the same blades of grass that repeatedly tripped her white legs. Her body went limp as I rescued her from the thick green lawn. Her name, for now, was Phil.

Small and frail loking she weighed less than 4 lbs. The short story is she was ordered by someone from somebody else in Kentucky. She flew to Minneapolis from Kentucky on Northwest Airlines. A woman was there to pick her up from NWA. The woman, we'll call here Carulla, looked at her told the NWA employee, "That's not what I ordered", and walked off. Through a friend - coworker - sister connection we took Phil home.

We were sure that her real name wasn't Phil. No, that wasn't right.

"Ax Murderer?", said wryly.

"How about Tim?"
"No, I had a friend named Tim. Although he acted like dog sometimes it wouldn't be fair to put that kind of a burden on a dog."
"You know I once had a co-worker named Judy. She was a great nice lady. At the time I meant it as a sincere complement. You know she was cool. I said, Judy, someday I'm going to get a dog. And I'm going to name my dog Judy. I meant it as a compliment. She never spoke to me again."
"I wonder why. Its still no. How about Etta?"
"No.....Sid? Sidney? Sid Vicious?"
"Yes. Sidney."

And her name was Sid.