Friday, September 3, 2010

...Here are three pieces that were published in "6S Volume 3," edited by the legendary Lydia Davis ("6S" stand for six sentences, meaning each story had to be six sentences or shorter.)

Moving Day

The box smells musty but after I shift some contents, it doesn’t. Maybe twenty-five years have passed since I’ve seen this; brittle now but still bearing the faintest sweet scent, still blushing berry hues in the bed of its pedals.
I carry it down the steps like a trophy, a gift, a caught butterfly, and I imagine time as things were when you held one side of your gowned chest to me, so clear-skinned and optimistic you were then, me pimpled and nervous that I’d stab you with the corsage pin.
I reenact it all, right down to the part where I hear your insistent voice say, “If we don’t get going pretty soon, we’ll never make it.”


We trade blows for awhile until I’m blinded by blood and sweat and he knows he has me defeated. He calls me denigrating names and kicks me in the ribs as I tumble.
There is no crowd. Years later there will be. He beats me now, this old man, but I will have my just desserts in time. People will pay.


Sometimes it happens this way, with him driving 1-90 to work, seeing a plane floating low over Union Bay, toggling between buildings and it’ll catch him unaware and he’ll remember stopping at Starbucks that September morning, the newscaster’s baritone tremulous and uncertain, him and everyone thinking hoax, thinking Orson Wells, and then later that night, thinking Armageddon and Satan.
Many days afterward there was a Robert Deniro documentary and he thought this could be a teaching moment for Hailey, his young daughter, with whom he had custody on weekends.
He made cocoa with mini marshmallows and once they became soupy Lilly pads Hailey plucked their white guts with her little girl fingers and drew letters across his cheeks.
On the television the buildings simmered and smoldered, sirens shrieked, people leapt and bodies thumped. They’d left none of the horror or death out, and while he knew he should have switched the channel, he couldn’t, riveted as he was.
When the program finished, his daughter turned to him with a yawn and asked if he could read her a story.

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