Monthly Archives: August 2014

No. 572

The rain started as I turned down the comedy row at the video store. I’d already been through action and, although dramas were next, I didn’t feel like one of those. My idea was to skip directly to sci-fi if comedy didn’t work out.

But the weather fouled my plans somewhat. I’d walked from home and didn’t have an umbrella, so now I had some time to kill if I wanted to stay dry. I picked up “Martian Fighters 2: Revenge of the Red Planet”, and circled back to drama to browse.

“Hi,” she said from over in the S-section.

“Hey,” I replied, because I’m cool like that.

“What are you watching tonight?” she asked, nodding at the case in my hand.

“’Martian Fighters 2’,” I told her.

“Is that the one where the astronaut goes crazy and imagines he’s Earth’s only hope?” she asked.

I shrugged. “I don’t think so. I’ve only seen the first one, though.”

“Maybe I’m thinking about something else,” she said.

She put down the box she was holding, and walked over to me. “Do they have any more copies of that one?” She pointed at my movie.

“Lots,” I said. “New release.”

“Great!” she said, as she brushed by me on the way to sci-fi.

“Good,” I said. Because I’m cool like that.

You can see why the rain was important for me. If I hadn’t waited, I never would have talked to her.

After that, I went home. It was still raining, so I got pretty soaked.

“Martian Fighters 2” was ok. It’s certainly not as good as the first one, because I think they rushed it into theaters, but it’s alright.

I can’t wait to pick another movie. Maybe she’ll be there next time, too.

No. 571

The tracks in the snow went around the cabin, but never approached it. Dani could see them through the frosted window.

“Amy,” she called to the next room. “Come and take a look at something.”

“What?” asked Amy over the steam from her mug of hot chocolate. “Why did I have to come all the way over here?”

“Look,” said Dani.

Amy wiped the window clear and peered out. “Snow,” she concluded. “I know that already. Remember this morning when it snowed?”

“By the trees,” Dani urged.

Amy checked again. She looked for a long time. Then she left her hot chocolate on the sill and went to the window on the other side of the cabin. “They go all the way around,” she said.

“Yup,” Dani agreed.

“When did you notice them?”

“Just now. Then I called you.”

Amy swallowed hard. “Maybe we pretend they’re from a deer?”

Dani nodded quickly. “Just a deer. A big deer.”

“They don’t get too close.”

“Right. Deer are afraid of people.”

“Exactly.”

Dani picked up the mug of chocolate. “Here’s your drink,” she offered, trying to lighten the mood.

Amy pulled a blanket from the couch over her shoulders. “Not super thirsty anymore.”

“Just a deer,” Dani confirmed once more, for the record.

“Lock the door,” said Amy.

No. 570

The book dropped onto the table with a dead thump. “I finished it,” said Steve Larson.

His girlfriend, Rita, didn’t look up from her cereal. “So you hated it, then,” she observed.

“Just a little bit,” Steve confirmed. “Wasted a week. I guess that’s what I get for taking your brother’s advice.”

“You knew what you were in for when you picked it up,” Rita said with her mouth full. “You’ve seen his shelf, right?”

Steve grunted, unwilling to admit that Rita was correct. He had not opened the cover with high hopes.

“Why do you do that to yourself?” she asked.

“Dunno,” said Steve. “I think I just wanted to be nice.”

“You were trying to impress him,” she said.

Steve was silent.

“I’m right,” said Rita, slurping the last of the milk in her bowl.

No. 569

Only the crazies suggested that the sound did not originate on Earth. Everybody else tried to explain it as far-away industrial machinery radiating tones that were trapped by an inversion layer of cool air. The noise was like nothing anyone in Sharpsburg had ever heard and, against the odds, the crazies were correct.

Far away, up into the darkness, the puppeteer of the star Sirius was frantic. The strings that supported her star were rubbing together, resonating and interrupting the deep silence of space. She was concerned that the people on the blue planet would realize that their night sky was a vast and complex illusion.

No. 568

It was a dark and stormy night. Lindsay Granger was having none of it.

He jumped slightly at the sound of nearby thunder, and made the final adjustments on his masterwork.

The weather machine.