Old Pajamas

I have a bigger tally-whacker than a Pulitzer Prize wining author.  I should know: I have his pajamas.  I didn’t steal them. I found them, last Summer at the New Orleans Radisson.

In the bureau, I find these pajamas, cotton with blue fish.  Next morning, the maid thinks they’re the previous guest’s, some poet who’d just won the Pulitzer. I say so, and what’s with these pajamas ?  She says who cares, keep them.  So I do, but believe me, I launder them first.  These days who can be too careful?

So, I take to wearing the old pajamas.  What can I say, they feel terrific.  Right waist size and inseam, except for the aforementioned fly area. I never thought myself well-endowed, but when it comes to heavy equipment, I got this guy beat. Continue reading

Posted in Stories

After Cass

She believes she believes in dreams.  She knows they’re real, but she knows they can’t come true.  Her dead husband, Mr. Cass, taught her that dreams were best forgotten, traded in for a cast iron skillet or a pound of bacon.  Now, just a month after he died, Mr. Cass seemed like maybe he was a dream, one that had picked her up like a roadside stray thirty years before.  This Tennessee farm life was not what she’d dreamt of back on the reservation. Maybe she’d forgotten her dreams, misplaced them somewhere. Maybe they were like the reflection  she saw tonight and every night in the kitchen window when she was washing dishes–an image that faded when she got too close.

After she’d eaten enough baked potpie and had wrapped the rest in foil, she filled one sink with hot suds, the other with cold rinse water.  She leaned over the chipped porcelain sink to work, her flat belly pressed against  the counter.  A dreamcatcher, a circle of hickory webbed with cat-gut, hung in her kitchen window.  Her granny had made the dreamcatcher to save good dreams and make bad ones go away.  Continue reading

Posted in Stories

Seventh Son

High above Mars in a small space station, two men met in the boardroom of Offworld Mining Corporation.  The older of the two, Stringfellow, sat in a treadchair, too weak from cancer to stand.  The younger man was a job candidate–handsome, twenty-three, fresh from Earth, and terrified.

The room was dark, with only an egg-shaped viewing window to shine light into the room. Two words pulsed on a black plasma screen, “Launch Scenario.”

Stringfellow knew the boy was afraid, could see it in the way his eyes darted to the screen.  You could do it, son, he thought, it’s your scenario, just tap the screen.

“I can’t,” the young man blurted out.  “I can’t ruin the lives of all those people.” He threw the haptic gloves used to control the plasma screen onto Stringfellow’s desk. “I’m the wrong man for this job.” Continue reading

Posted in Stories

Rubber Band Man

The guy always wears a rubber band around his wrist—to remind him of what he is.  It’s a thin brown band about the color of his skin, so it’s impossible to see unless you’re looking for it.

That’s what I do, look for it, when I show him to his favorite table in the back of the dining room, away from the crowd.  It’s a nice place, our restaurant, with thirty round tables with white tablecloths and a classy martini bar. It’s illegal to smoke inside, of course, but it’s an old place, and the terracotta walls still carry a hint of the aroma of tobacco. Been in the family five generations, and Mr. Oldham is one of best customers.

He always reserves a place in the back if there’s going to be a scene—and every indication points that way. As I seat him, he’s playing a voice message.  Not used to gadgetry, he’s left the volume too high, and I can hear the woman’s voice clear as a bell:

“Sam? Elizabeth. We need to talk. I want to meet as soon as humanly possible.” Continue reading

Posted in Inklings

Image of an Oyster

They found a pearl that weighs 34 kilos.
The world’s largest biggest.
It weighs as much as an
Olympic gymnast or a
Wheel of parmesan cheese.
More than the cursed pearl
Kino cast into the sea.

It has the beauty of neither,
This mammoth, misshapen thing,
Nor the iridescent skin of
A perfect white marble
On a string of perfect white marbles
Threaded by a strand of silver
That draws your eye to the
Alabaster nape of a lover’s neck.
Where she lifts strands of her silken hair
And waits
For you to close the clasp.

Posted in Bad Poems