In O'Pinions, Off-Topic on July 16, 2014 at 11:22 pm
On July 16, 1951, J.D. Salinger published a book that just about everyone (in this country, at least) has had to read at one point or another: The Catcher in the Rye. Some people love it, and some people (maybe more people) love to hate it—but others, myself included, just shrug and say, “Yeah, it was alright.”
This is actually something of a source of contention in my house. My fiancée hates Holden Caulfield with a vigorous passion; after all, he’s whiney and spends 200+ pages doing, well, basically nothing. I, on the other hand, think the book actually has some merits (and if I ever want to lose my fiancée, all I have to do is expound upon some of those merits aloud).
So it’s at great risk to my personal life (and possibly my blog followership) that I expound upon them here, if only silently: Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on July 14, 2014 at 10:55 pm
The clouds hung low, frothed by the cold December wind. Here and there, thin patches showed the ghost of a white, unwarming sun—a corpse adrift in an inverted river. Jarvis pulled his tatters close.
“How many days to summer?” he groused. A small crowd mumbled at his passing.
“If I was homeless,” one of them remarked, “I’d go south.” Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on July 8, 2014 at 11:32 pm
Eleanor Pearl stood at the window and watched the sky grow dark. Her guests had gone and the house stood empty.
Tonight was a jumping night.
The evergreens shook their boughs and seemed to twist to face the mountain, where their brethren thinned and made room for the flat-smooth rock that rose there. Eleanor Pearl could see the climbers, first as subtle specks against the leaden stone, then stark and small against the snowy peak.
And just beside it, the moon climbed fat and full into a field of winking stars. Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on July 2, 2014 at 12:05 am
Longitude and Latitude
“When did you know you were lost?” he asked, once we’d made it some miles inland. The artillery had faded now, a distant thrumming like timpani in a stygian orchestra, accompanied by Mausers and Brownings for snares. I shook my head and felt the blood come loose from my ear.
“Have a seat, son,” the colonel said, bracing me at the shoulders and guiding me onto a crate. He produced a handkerchief and wiped the blood from my neck, turned my head from side to side and tracked the jagged movement of my eyes.
“The blast was close,” he said. “Lucky you didn’t lose an arm or a leg. Just sit a spell and get your bearings.” Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on June 24, 2014 at 9:51 pm
“Sam. I was never. The same. Your Sam. I was never.”
No matter how many times I say it, no matter how many ways, she refuses to understand me. Is it willful ignorance? Does she know the truth, at heart? I suspect so, but I also don’t blame her. Under my heavy covers, inside my shell of crackled, glassy skin, I shudder as I imagine what she feels.
The September light paints her in ethereal hues, this woman, seated at my bedside. She smiles sadly. Crow’s feet. Her eyes—what color?—not honey, exactly, not hazel. Shafts of wheat in late afternoon sun. But they are not my eyes. Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on June 17, 2014 at 11:03 pm
“He taught me how to read people’s eyes.” Michael turned from the window, made sure the detective registered his expression, and turned back. “He didn’t make mistakes and neither do I. I know what I saw.”
He busied himself and paced the room, hoping his doubt hadn’t shown. In truth, he was only partly sure what he’d read in the old man’s eyes. Not that it had been out of focus or clouded—the machines had perfectly rendered the final scene—it was just impossible to put into words.
The detective shifted in his seat.
“I don’t doubt your expertise, Dr. Royce, it’s just … I need you to help me understand. I’m trying to solve a murder. I need to know what Dr. Sattar saw before he died, and I need something more substantive than ‘an impossibility.’ Usually you forensics guys are a little more … scientific in your assessments.” Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on June 10, 2014 at 1:20 pm
Waking the Gods
We gave it everything we had, but it wasn’t enough.
It wasn’t enough because … well … because the other side gave everything they had, too, didn’t they? It all just … cancels out in a way. Matter meets antimatter. Total annihilation.
You must forgive these delirious thoughts. I have seen man’s humanity torn to tatters by faith and country. I have seen a billion men, half on each side, tear one another to shreds with machines and fire and shrapnel. I have seen heroic deeds, seen heroes fall, and watched men drown in fields turned to swamps of still-warm blood.
(The blood of heroes, as like as not, but who can tell the difference?) Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction, Travel on March 24, 2014 at 11:27 am
Crystal-cool and comfortable
Bright fish swimming
Scales tickled with light
Blue to green to inky black
Pressure and darkness
Dive Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on December 12, 2013 at 10:50 am
The mural’s colors were garish and rich—deep bronze Indians circling the bright white canopies of a wagon train. Behind, the green trees seemed fluorescent against the shade of a deep wood.
Covered in gray dust and aching from the day, Joe stopped to consider this reconstruction of his people’s history. The romanticism. The racism.
A proud, untrammeled tribe seemed to wake in his heart.
But it was an odd stirring, and as Joe looked ahead, up the boardwalk to the squat row of beige townhouses with their faded lawns and collected refuse, he suddenly bent to unlace his boots.
When he stepped through—onto the cool grass, into the caravan—they were all that he left behind. Read the rest of this entry »
In Fiction on December 9, 2013 at 1:37 pm
“Sit, Mr. Brennan. Your wound is weeping.”
When I turned, Philippe Bonté was sitting at the white marble counter, delicately stirring a coffee.
“How’d you do that?” I asked, slow to comprehend. “You weren’t there before.”
“I wasn’t?” he asked innocently. “Well, if you’re sure… You really are a magnificent detective, Mr. Brennan. Voudriez-vous un café?”
I crossed the room in three long strides and put my pistol beneath his chin.
“Non, merci,” I said, readying the hammer with a click, but Bonté didn’t so much as flinch. He wiped his mouth and waved the napkin in the air like a little white flag. Read the rest of this entry »