Provenance: Aegean Apparitions

I looked up from my drawing into the blinding sunlight but could not see more than the silhouettes of the bodies speaking above me. Among the dark, deep voices speaking rapid Greek was a familiar woman’s voice also speaking in that strange language, all oo’s and k’s and plosive p’s. Beside me in the trench dug ten feet into this archeological earth was another member of the Brit team, a girl in her twenties named Juliet. She and I got on only civilly because she was a London type and I was a Scot she nicknamed ‘Burr’

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The Murder of Toads, 1958

On Tuesday, Henry has an algebra test that he’s going to fail so he skips class and since he’s probably going to catch it anyway, he swipes his father’s .38 from the back of the closet where his pop thinks it’s hidden. His pop’s got a box of bullets there too, and he’s never noticed before that some of the rounds are missing. His dad is drunk most of the time anyway, so he probably wouldn’t suspect Henry if Henry just flat out stole the pistol and sold it. The old man would probably just think he’d misplaced it.

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Act Two

Between takes, the beloved comedian sat in his trailer, nursing a LaCroix and streaming the Indians and Royals on a late model MacBook.

He was slouching in the orange and brown plaid upholstered dining nook. Change comes slowly to set-trailer décor. There was a largely untouched food platter by the mini-sink glistening with unaccountably tasteless melon slices and strawberries.

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To the Future

“Disgusting!” was our mother’s word for the way the other kids danced. When we told our classmates we weren’t allowed, they thought we must belong to a cult. It’s just our mother was uncomfortable with our bodies. Years later, when she caught on that we enjoyed sex, she seemed less disgusted than surprised. And when we started to bring home partners of a race other than our own, she said we were doing the right thing, that this was the future even if it made her, she said, uncomfortable.

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1 + 1 = 3

My family all loved each other, but I don’t think we understood each other.

My dad was honest about it. I just don’t understand you kids, he’d say to my sister and me.

My sister would say she understood but she didn’t. She was clueless.

My mother was hard to read. When I told her stuff, she’d say, um, hmm, the um a lower note than the hmm, which might mean she understood me, or maybe she was simply acknowledging she heard me.

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Sometime before dawn the telephone rang, shrill and startling. The man sat up abruptly, ripped from an exhausted, dreamless sleep. A click in the line, a pause. Rushing with static, his uncle’s voice came haltingly. “Theo Dimitri,” the man stated as though acknowledging a fact, with no exclamation of hearing the familiar voice an ocean away. He listened. “Katalaveno,” but he felt as though he understood nothing. The words, yes; so much the language he did not use much nowadays still allowed him. But beyond that, nothing. “Tha ertho avrio.” He would go tomorrow. The man rubbed two fingers across the grooves that furrowed his forehead in a futile effort to erase them.

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Man on the Moon

It was the day after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, but I just didn’t give a rat’s ass. What did that have to do with me? I’d just turned eighteen, sported a perpetual hardon, and cruised a canary yellow 1967 Firebird with chrome wheels. High school was in my rearview mirror and shrinking by the second. My grandfather called me a hotspur, and I thought I sensed a trace of admiration. I sure liked the sound of it: hotspur. There goes that hotspur, my grandfather would tell my mother whenever I’d peel out from our driveway.

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That night, Mad Martha slept fitfully as the wind began to blow down canyon. She listened to the yapping coyotes get closer, knowing they were telling her something. Mad felt the cougar, and even smelled it before the distinctive chirping and rough purr could be heard. At first she was afraid and pulled her covers around her. Then she slipped out of bed and pulled aside the curtain.

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