I work in a sewer.
It was cold enough to freeze your balls off; he wanted nothing more than to be back at home, sitting in his big green recliner and sipping a hot cup of cocoa with little marshmallows floating in it. But no, the little bastards needed their toys. That was bad; worse was that those toys had gotten more complicated (and more expensive to make) over the years. Once upon a time, a little red truck or a simple rag doll would have been enough. Hell, even the days of the Etch A Sketch and Easy-Bake Ovens hadn’t been so bad. A few brats burned themselves with those ovens, but was that his fault? No, siree; they’d asked for ‘em, and they’d gotten ‘em.
It’s nighttime, so we all wear sunglasses.
I know it sounds absurd. Only a week earlier, we all would have agreed. Why do you need shades when there’s no sun?
I once got lost in the Badlands of North Dakota. I was working the wheat harvest as a hauler with a crew that ran fourteen combines and we were working our way up to Regina from Topeka, Kansas. One of the drivers, Mitchie Vanderbush, dared me to go camping there after he saw I slept in a tent. The rest of the crew stayed in cheap motels but I was trying to save money to buy a Linhof 4×5. He told me the place was haunted and said most people that go in don’t come out. “You stay in there three nights,” he said, “and I’ll split my bonus with you.” Most of the crew thought it was funny, but the foreman had some choice words when I informed him I was leaving early. He said I could just haul my ass up to Canada at the end of the season if I wanted my pay.
Dr. Simmons studies the results of our daughter’s blood tests. “Mr. and Mrs. Jacobsen, I’ll get right to it.” Glenna leans forward. I try to squint away the words I don’t want to hear. “Your daughter has Byrd’s Syndrome.”
The weight of his diagnosis lands on my chest. My wife gasps.
A wall of angry clouds threatened the morning light. William Watson hoisted the last suitcase and slammed the trunk.
“Hurry! It’s almost here!” he hollered. “We need to stay ahead of it!”
He adjusted the rearview mirror, smiled confidently at the kids, and wheeled the sedan off the apron of the driveway.
“Here we go!”
Welcome. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’d ask how you came to be here, but I know you can’t tell me. Do you know where we are? No? Well I suppose that is to be expected, so don’t be troubled. You were somewhere else, and now you’re here. That’s all.