Monthly Archives: March 2014

No. 539

“By 1815, the United States had defeated the British forces at Plattsburg, Baltimore, and New Orleans,” Mr. Davis told the class, half of whom were already asleep, and half of whom were actively trying to fall asleep.

Mr. Davis sighed. Shutting his textbook, he carried on with the lesson that nobody was listening to. “This was because General Jackson built himself a giant, fighting robot suit and walked around crushing the British and shooting them with lasers.”

There was no reaction from the students.

“But the British fought back with dinosaurs and spaceships. Then they time-traveled into the future and kidnapped Elvis and brought him back to put on the biggest party ever,” he said, speaking louder than before.

Mike Perry’s head slumped to his desk with a hollow thump.

Somebody in the back corner began to snore.

Mr. Davis shrugged, checked his watch, packed his bag, and left for an early lunch.

An early lunch, with beers.

No. 538

The bar was small, but there was still enough space for Gary to sit in the corner and feel lonely. He sipped his overpriced beer, and watched the minute hand on the clock make slow circuits around the face.

A commotion erupted from the opposite corner, where a large group had been spending the evening.

Gary, who had enough of his own problems, paid no attention until an attractive woman split off from the group and sat down next to him.

“Hey,” she said. “Do you mind?”

“Hello back,” he replied. “And, no, go ahead.”

They drank in silence as the others grew rowdier. A punch was thrown, and soon the lot were asked firmly to leave.

The woman waited until the last of her former associates had gone before she spoke again.

“Glad I’m over here,” she said. “I wasn’t done yet.”

She held up her empty glass for another round.

Gary motioned for the same.

“So. What’s your story?” she asked him.

“Long,” said Gary. After a pause, he modified his earlier statement. “Actually, short. But sad.”

“I see,” said the woman. “I’m sure you can guess mine.” She nodded at the vacated section of the establishment.

Gary shrugged. “I don’t want to pry.”

The bartender delivered their new drinks, creating another break in the conversation.

She finished hers quickly. Then she got up suddenly and kissed Gary on the cheek. “I hope it gets better,” she told him before she walked toward the exit.

“You, too,” said Gary, just before she left.

“Good talk,” she called back, as the door shut behind her.

No. 537

A week of heavy rain collapsed the hillside, exposing a mysterious tunnel.

Rotted wooded support beams angled sharply out of the hole, and twisted metal that might have been railway tracks led deep into the earth.

Elizabeth Patterson’s family had owned the land for three generations, and she’d never heard of any excavations on Bench Hill.

The hole gave her the heebie-jeebies. Forgoing further exploration, she raced home on her ATV to call her grandfather, to see if he knew anything about her discovery.

He denied it, initially. After an hour on the phone, Elizabeth tried one more time to get the information she felt he was hiding.

“It was called ‘Project Sandcastle’,” he allowed. “And I’m not supposed to talk about it.”

“It must have happened long ago,” she replied.

There was a moment of silence from the other end of the line. “Not nearly as long as you think,” her grandfather said cryptically.