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Christopher cruised down Manchester Rd tapping the steering wheel idly. The pavement gave way to a rustic dirt road; he began spewing up clouds of dust behind as the car shook. Suddenly, the road came to an abrupt end. Christopher slammed on the breaks and did a 180 before exiting his vehicle and leaving it by the Sycamores, sporting fist-sized roses in bloom. The car would have to stay. He threw his climbing gear onto the ground in irritation, simultaneously slipping off his dress shirt and khakis and substituting them for torn jeans and an oversized black t-shirt.
Sometimes Theo liked to draw women's faces on the whiteboard in his cubicle. He payed close attention to the eyes, sketching each lash precisely where they would appear on the fold of the eyelid. The end result was always someone he didn't know staring back at him. When the phone rang, he quickly erased it, ready to speak to someone he didn't know either. Only when he finished notating the call did he enjoy the silence once again. He knew today was the anniversary of his first kiss, and the whiteboard was as blank as AOL's inbox 14 years ago.
I don't know Carl, Matthew said. She seems a little young don't you think? They sat in silence before Carl answered, although you couldn't really say it was silence with all the music. Beyond the french doors, pyrotechnics illuminated the long, red-haired woman as she danced in shades of red, and yellow-green. Carled moved his lips and leaned forward stiffly, but as usualy his voice was drowned out by the latest pop singer. Matthew cooly rolled his beaty eyes and beckoned Carl closer with two long fingers. I told you before, Matthew said, we're just focusing on you.
May dropped a dozen bottles of aspirin onto the pale linoleum, reacting to the doorbell.
Goddamnit May, can you answer that please? Clinton said from the next aisle.
We're getting a delivery at this hour? May asked rhetorically, playing into her manager's annoyance.
I thought I told them we're no longer accepting deliveries until 6am, Clinton mumbled as May headed for the fire door. She popped it open, but no one was there. Rain splattered ominously onto the fresh asphalt. The smell of fish permeated the warm air.
Clinton? May asked, not so rhetorically this time.
Ok, I'll make you a deal, Miranda said. I'll stop eating the squid if you stop wearing that hideous polo shirt.
Mark looked shocked. What? he asked, this shirt?
Miranda laughed and put her arm around his shoulder, leading him to a table in front of the lounge's panoramic window. They glimpsed down at the ocean 200 feet below as Miranda waved a fork, making a show of eating the squid, currently in the middle of a health debate.
Don't you ever watch the news? Mark asked.
Don't you ever wear anything else? She smiled, unaffected.
It's hard to tell how often a bear will come out of his den, stare down the trail and just wonder who is going on an evening hike, Miranda explained in that snotty, know-it-all tone. The most important thing to remember is staying sure-footed. Don't stop. Don't turn back. Just keep walking naturally toward the beast.
Got it, Josh said. Let's just get to the bridge in one piece, ok?
When they finally made it to the bridge, Miranda asked her friend to keep watch as she stood with her arms wide, lost in memory.
Everything was underwater last year, Joe said.
John nodded, following the path that lead out of the forest to a succession of rolling hills. Over the crest of another hill sat an empty stage, nestled up against the forest.
So, John said. What do you want me to do about it?
With that, he lied down on the coarse, empty lawn, pointing at a cloud that morphed from Smokey the Bear into a cruise ship and back again. Joe sat down next to him, thoughtful.
I'm just asking you to give a damn, Joe said nervously.
In a way, the apartment was the show piece of the property, situated beside a sign that was otherwise shrouded in darkness. Mayhew seemed to be aware of this because he approached the building carefully. A motion light illuminated him by the pines and he froze; however, the allure of the bike was too great. His shadow continued advancing toward the porch, not unlike a child's hand raching into a cookie jar. He reached his prize, but through his haze, he didn't notice the bike was secured against two end tables, which fell and facilitated his journey over the rail.
Eventually, Penny learned to focus on the rhythm rather than the labor. It took a conscious effort at first--especially the practice of inhaling through her nose and exhaling through her mouth. Today marked her 4th run since high school, so stretching was painful due to her sore muscles. The living room floor creaked steadily as she moved from stretching to a few warm-up exercises that consisted of sets of jumping jacks, running in place and toe-touching. Outside it was brisk, but warm enough to exercise in shorts and a t-shirt. Just one foot after the other.
I learned not to regret it. The pavement smelled like mineral water, competing with the allure of a wood fire across the dirt road. The cahsier from CVS was there, and it was probably the first time I'd seen him without that navy blue polo and that plastic smile. He was drinking a Budweiser and sitting ponderously by the fire. I was sweating after running for just a few minutes and I reacted the same way I had last night as I approached the counter--figuring I'd meet his glance when appropriate, I didn't look, but then I did anyway.
They're working on a solution to this problem, and you will be notified the moment one is available. I can only imagine what you're going through right now. The question you posed--How many more people will be affected by brick walls appearing before them and entire forests disappearing before their eyes?--will be dealt with in the order they are received.
Internal use only:
Your apartment is being phased out in violation of our drug dealing policy. All cloaked living arrangments will be subject to permanent eradication due to a related tenant. Thank you for your cooperation.
Razz decided to get a room in Stinking Creek, TN even though he hadn't quite made it halfway to Florida and night was still a few hours away. The skinny, awkward cashier at the threadbare pharmacy with random trophies in the window sold him on the idea of checking out 'the lake'. The place reminded him of one of his childhood hangouts, abounding in mint leaves, poison ivy and small streams. A group of young adults sat by the pond and mostly smoked weed, cigarettes and drank licquor straight from the bottle. Razz brushed cellophane from his jacket and left.
Jim knew Margaret was nothing but a hypocrite after the last business meeting. All this time, Margaret did nothing but talk to him about the value of bringing certain animals into the public eye by emphasizing their value as pets. Margaret has a poof of auburn hair and when the sun shone through it she appeared to possess the essence of enlightenment, especially when she defended the viability of skunks, possums and even raccoons as beloved family pets. It all changed at the informal gathering by the cookie jar, when Mr. Stijyo asked in his usual gruff voice, a raccOON?
The carafe was tipped down, ready to replenish Jim's brew.
He covered his chalk white cup a moment too late.
A couple drops slid out of the spout and pooled in the crevice between his second and third fingers.
They were quickly absorbed by his skin and the tiny black hairs on the top of his hand.
The waitress shook her head.
Greasy red curls moved back and forth as she offered her apologies.
"Messes up the cream to coffee ratio," Jim told his companion.
Yellow lamps appeared to go on forever outside.
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He didn't know any better.
Yes, but he was still trespassing in our village, the indian said. The next time, we may not be so kind.
The boy's father struck his chest in a gesture of forced gratitude and walked his little boy back to their village, over a few peaks and around the lake. He wondered what he would do to keep his son in check, as this was the third time he ventured from the settlement. He's a firecracker, the elder's wife said, long white hair swaying in the breeze. I'll keep an eye on him.
Xclelsior XT with a YR capacity, the salesman said. Gary wanted to ask what the difference is between YR and YW capacity but had the feeling the quick tongued man would never let him go. He wasn't in the market for one of the devices anyway. He would definitely have to reevaluate his options and decide whether or not it was necessary. If it was, he would just buy it on impulse and hurt for the next few weeks. Melinda! He exclaimed on his way out. I didn't recognize you with that new eyepiece. Can you still run with it?
It's just another day for you and me in paradise," Phil Collins's voice echoed forth from the car radio. Corey checked his reflection in the rear-view mirror multiple times, hoping to find some clue as to how he was feeling. What do all these mixed emotions, these uncertainties about life look like? Outside it truly was paradise--palmettos and bougenvillas rustled in the late afternoon sun. Hopefully Corey could take a piece of the puzzle back into work and finish off the day with a measure of cetainty. Hopefully. But you know it's just another day for you, me.
Tired, annoyed, bored, disappointed, uninspired.
Lilac bushines. Hints of purple within the new swath of green. Wondering what to do. Lilac bushines. Hints of purple within the new swath of green. Why do I keep running into roadblocks? What are my options? Lilac bushines. Hints of purple within the new swath of green. Don't feel like writing. I'm mad at the world tonight. Lilac bushines. Hints of purple within the new swath of green.
Lilac bushines. Hints of purple within the new swath of green. Lilac bushes. Hints of purple. On my way to work. Lilac bushes within.
Daisy stood stoically at the edge of the stage. Something about the last performer made her feel insecure. Especially since the boss seemed to like her so much. True, Daisy lacked just as much poise and refinement back in the day. Formerly the only child of a middle class family, she embraced her bisexuality with a bar fly, running into drugs, tattoos and perpetual hangovers. Modeling was her salvation--the glue which held the pieces of life together again. What bothered her the most? The life she left behind in suburbia or the ones spent in the bars until closing?
Where have I seen him before? Toby wondered. The man was flipping bottles of gin ten feet into the air, holstering them back into their respective places as seemlessly as Batman might use and retract a bungie cord to save a beautiful reporter from a fall into darkness. His eyes contained the same undiluted spark of personality as his younger brother's eyes, who always sat next to Toby in class because their last names both started with 'Hoo'. The apocalyptic red paint on the wall behind the bar took Toby back to teenage nights spent dreaming by the lava lamp.
Ada could barely look at her husband ever since he accepted a position on the 'support staff' at Gehring Brothers. True, their financial position had improved dramatically over the last few months, but it seems like the man she knew was gone. She wished he would quit of lose his job because struggling to put food on the table seemed much more desirable than living with the shell of a man he'd become.
She would have to make due, though, because her brother's family was coming over for dinner.
"Honey, grab me a beer when you are free."
The canyon was peaceful. The only sound available was the echo of rippling water--a softer, almost hypnotic likening to penny fountains in the mall. Granted the mall was devoid of customers so that the only movement would be the changing sunlight dropping at seemingly perfect 45 degree angles into the establishment at high noon--approaching a more perpendicular display at dusk. Unlike the mall, the canyon knows no precise measurements. Only the gentle passage of time, indifferent to mortality. Wendy picked up a handful of sand at the bottom of the lake and drizzled it into George's waiting hand.
Every so often Edwin would grunt, and Jason wondered why it always happened when the older man walked by his apartment. At first he though Edwin was using some kind of bluetooth device, but the absence of earbuds told him otherwise. Yesterday he was mumbling something about the abundance of potholes in the asphalt. Today Jason overheard Edwin say, "I wish these fuckers would get out of my life." What's the best way out of a rut? Raise hell or simply change your outlook? Looking back on ten long years, what do people feel they accomplished? What makes today brighter?
Anne Boleyn sat under the shade of an apple tree, surrounded by half a dozen maids. She shot Lade Jane a venemous look and took it one step further by basking in her perceived control of the situation. Two maids attached a spectacular diamond necklance around the neck of the queen consort and fitted her hands with a multitude of chunky, blood-red rings. Lady Jane continued to respectfully avoid the Queen's gaze.
Lady Jane, Anne said at last.
With that, the Queen stood with a poof of her dress and, with her minions, fled the subdued woman.
Rynearson Investments launched a full-scale attack against American consumers Thursday by issuing millions of bogus collection phone calls and email. Suzanne Iza, a cashier at a local home improvement store in Carrington, IL, paid a balance of $500 to the investment firm after they claimed to be her local hospital, collecting a sum that was determined uninsurable. I can't believe such a thing could happen, she said. how can they get away with it? The BBB has partnered with the FBI to continue their investigation into what has been deemed "the worst case of phishing since the dotcom revolution."
I'm using a state of the art, plastic piece of bait, Brian said. If that's not luring I don't know what is.
Maryanne overheard the exchange and straddled the divide between the two fishing boats. Her eyes were still black. Brian didn't like Maryann, so she paid close attention to him.
You have to be one with the bait, she said, snatching his reel. She gave it a quick twirl and immediately caught a red snapper. Brian wanted to swim to the nearest island, away from the three boats, and wait for someone sane to pick him up.
Corey stood by the sink and watched him lie in the sun. The neighbor had clean-cut, dark blonde hair like his own, but his chest was chiseled--indicative of a healthy amount of time spent at the gym. Suddenly, Corey forgot why he was standing at the sink, other than to gawk. Then he remembered, and grabbed the bottle of windex from under the sink. He wondered if over the years, he simply forgot to introduce himself, and imagined how awkward it would be now. So he simply whiffed away his regrets as he dutifully cleaned out his car.
Parking at the top of the structure was an indulgence not many security guards took advantage of. Two glass elevators with heavy, brass trip descended on either side of the mall, which catered to a few offices, but mainly a movie theatre. While descending, Joe reveled in the pristine layout, complete with a high oval ceiling. This quiet section of mall was his home away from home, and where he had worked for the last 14 years. He remembered the theatre before it was overshadowed by a larger one. Employees would come and go, his eyes fixed on the establishment.
Loretta Cutter turned down the proposal, shaking her long, wavy hair. It made the vice president appear precious as a doll, but was misleading to those who thought she was without power.
But Ms. Cutter, said Jase, this might be the best idea since..
Spare me the cliches, Loretta said. The world already has salt-water taffy, starburst and sprees. Why in the world would they need dissolving gum?
The time for debate is over, the vice president said, slicing into their hapless stares before acquiring a distant, analytical stare. I have something bigger planned.
Robert never had to work past 7pm at the office. The place seemed unreal when everyone was gone and only shadows were left to keep him company. A few coworkers kept a small light on, illuminating tiny struggles for balance between work and play. As much as he wanted to, Robert had no time to daydream. He needed to organize thhe blueprints of the new enviornmental consulting office under construction in Pittsburgh and prepare a short keynote introduction speech. That's when he heard a squeak and a rustle around the corner. Who's there? he asked. It was only the janitor.
The Tip Jar