Cat in the window
Meowing unheard all night
And still she persists.
Once we loved each other, he thinks. That was when there was a then, now there’s just now. And now gets pretty crowded. There used to be space for love, space for the two of us and love. Things get complicated, and sometimes there seems scarce energy for much else. Even the words seem to take up too much space. I used to be able to just open my head and they’d scatter across the page. Somewhere I’d lost, or misplaced, that skill of racing along heedless of the editor’s voice telling me to stop, or at least slow down.
I changed into my flying suit and stepped into the gondola. I’d never done anything like this before, but the Professor said there was nothing to it. “There’s nothing to it,” he said. “I believe you,” I answered, mindful of the wind out of the east. We cut loose the ballast and drifted slowly into the morning. The professor pointed out salient features in the landscape as it passed beneath us. “How do we know when we get there,” I asked him. “Ah,” he answered mysteriously, stroking his goateed chin, gazing into the rising sun, “that’s the crux, isn’t it?”
46. The Chase
I don’t remember who he was, just some third grade knucklehead. I had chased him across the school yard, across the pitted asphalt of the four-square courts, around the back and through the door into the building, neither of us breaking stride. A teacher called after us, kids cheered and laughed, and we kept running. We ended up with him on his back in the grass, me keeling on his chest, my fist poised for a punch, both of us panting. But whatever had inspired my madness now didn’t seem worth the blow. “Asshole,” I muttered, and rolled off him.
Doc Brandenburg sighted down the long barrel of his 357.
“Are you feeling lucky, punk,” he asked. Things around him had rapidly devolved. He’d gotten supper from the cafeteria and he was not accustomed to hospital food.
“What’a’ya got there…” the cashier asked, sizing up his tray.
“I was hoping you’d know,” he answered.
“Well, whatever it is,” said the cashier, “it’ll cost you four bits.”
“Who you callin’ a punk,” Doc growled around the butt of his cigar. The cashier dropped to the floor as Doc drew his weapon.
It had been a long day.
In the void, Earth cooled, and Moon began to rise, and all of the Plants sprang up fully formed and discovered their names. Millennia passed without a single sentience to notice. And then one day in the Season of Unlocking – I think it was a Wednesday – a fierce rain came and went, and then came and went again, and the first pink bud of a rose poked it’s pink nose up through the muddy mud, and stood, blinking in astonishment at what it had achieved. Then snails and snakes and people came, and the Garden was truly begun.