And I Didn’t Disappear

sharp shoeIt was reckless, but I had nothing left to lose, and if I was right, everything to gain.

As he stepped off the train, I accosted him, rudely.

“You’ve trodden on my shoe, sir.”

He stepped back, knowing well he’d done no such thing.

“I’m most sorry sir.”

As he made to pass by, I stepped in front of him.

“It was freshly polished.”

I’d moved from inconvenience to annoyance, meaning, he took notice of me as a person, not only a noise in his way. Looking down, he could tell my shoes hadn’t been polished in a very long time.

“That is difficult to believe, sir. Let me pass.”

I pushed.

“You’ll pay the tuppence to have them shined again.”

“Tuppence? If you paid a ha’penny for that shine you were diddled. I, on the other hand, will not be.”

“Pay, sir. Or shall I call a constable?”

“Step aside. Let me pass. I have business to attend to, fool.”

Of course, I didn’t step aside, and of course, he drew back his fist and hit me, hard, in the face.

I knew my grandfather’s temper. I knew my grandmother’s eventual abhorrence of it. I knew that if she saw it, from just over there where she awaited her prospective (but not anymore) husband, she would leave the station and never look back, as she’d always told me after his unmourned death.

What I didn’t know, when I shifted painfully through the ether of time from early 2019 to the date of their meeting in 1937, was whether preventing their meeting would, in fact, alter my physical existence as one of their progeny.

As I said, nothing to lose.

But now, knowing what I know, everything to gain.


No Pursuer in the Desert

9 Days Earlier

The sand rose and fell in miniature dunes as far as he could see. Unless he looked straight up into the cloudless sky, it was all sand, sand in two-foot dunes.

He turned, just his head, then his upper body, as far as he could, all the way right, all the way left.

Sand.

Jarring not to see footprints behind him. As a tracker, no trail was out of his experience.

His pack grew heavier as he listened.

The silence, too, grew heavier.

No wind. Not a flutter.

desert

He brushed his right hand on the rough canvas sleeve on his left forearm. Heard the light scratching noise.

He could hear. There just wasn’t anything to hear.

He turned again, this time his whole body, stepping a few degrees at a time in a circle.

There.

On the horizon.

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I Trust Myself

want-of-toneJust as my editor does more than make sure my sentences and paragraphs make sense, my proofreader does more than ensure spelling and punctuation. Both are writers themselves. Equally important, both are avid readers.

The first proofreading pass of That She Is Made of Truth garnered some confused commentary from my proofreader, James. Plot points unclear, connections muddled — I could tell he wondered, a bit, what I was doing.

I trust his judgment.

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Ducking the Flinch; or, Are Parachutes Necessary?

Dad in AlaskaMy father was of the impression you didn’t have to meet trouble halfway; it was more than glad to make the entire trip. Some guy recommends stepping into an icy shower every morning in order to train yourself not to flinch so life won’t be so hard. My father would have said stop jumping into icy showers and maybe your life wouldn’t be so hard.

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Seriously Overreacting to an Annoying Early Morning Noise

I’m writing some experimental fiction as part of my daily writing exercises. You’re seeing it because, though it’s not haute cuisine, it’s not egg shells and coffee grounds either. These will show up here and there, now and then.

The constant thrum vibrates my chest. Somewhere, a big engine turns, a little too fast. The pistons push the crankshaft past its limit, setting up harmonic distortions.

Over the thrum is a rhythmic oom oom oom, another layer of vibration.

The snow begins to lose coherence as its resonant frequency is touched twice in each cycle. Patches collapse flat to the ground, leaving three foot deep sinkholes in the white crystal powder.
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