First, the powers-to-be, as Ransom Kegler called city hall and its tight-fingered allies, the politicians and the developers, had squeezed a piece of land out of him and were going to make money on it. They had cut him out of the profits when, post-sale, they had engineered a zoning change. The profits of the change promised to be immense. He had come alert too late, but it was better to come up breathing than not breathing at all.
Now, on top of this damn thievery, he was put on the spot by, of all persons, his youngest grandson Talbot with a barrage of questions, so simple coming and so complex moving on.
The cat was fat.
It was a fat cat.
Enormous and relaxed like a giant Panda on Quaaludes.
I saw it all, from the very beginning, heard it all, too, every word rising on the air … in our first classroom, in church, everywhere it happened, you name the place and I was there. Unannounced it came. From the heavens it must have come, taking over his soul, his body, his mind for a few bare minutes of magic. Once, and once only, every five year like clockwork, it came on him, as if grabbed by the heavenly spheres or ignition itself lighting up his lungs from the inside. My pal Victor, classmate for 16 years of schooling, teammate for 8 years, inseparable companion, fifth year custodian of miracles that made him, for the nonce, an extraordinary singer without explanation, an indescribable tenor so gifted I have to place the cause on an element beyond us mere men.
V for Victor, dit dit dit dah, dit dit dit dah, dit dit dit dah.
When she was wheeled into the day room, attended by her IV drip, Jack thought she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She seemed absolutely pure, evacuated of all evil, honed to perfection. Her head was an imported melon covered by the finest filo pastry, stretched and rolled thin. Her cheeks were eggshells. Concave. The hair on her head was shredded coconut. The hair on her body was dark and fuzzy, like the mold on Gorgonzola. Her skin was the color of Dijon mustard – that wonderful brownish tinge that comes from lost vitamins and minerals. She was everything gourmet Jack had denied himself.
I met Libby through an online dating site after I graduated college. Our “In Tune” rating was exceptionally high. I tended to get nervous and tongue-tied around women, but it was different with Libby. We had so much in common we finished each other’s sentences half the time. I was so taken with Libby, I found myself growing more and more concerned about her spending time with anyone else.
The piranha grinned at Riley through the window of the thrift store. Yellow green, shiny, about six inches long, teeth projecting forward from the jaw bones, a personification of evil mounted on a simple rectangular wooden stand.
I work for the federal government.
I don’t know what that means.
Yes I do. It means pushing this broom from one end of the hall to the other ─ this end to that end ─ when it’s dark outside. Like now. I don’t like the dark, but these humming lights always work. If they don’t, I must report them to my boss. Mr. Shapiro.
Does that make me a reporter? No one likes reporters.
I hope the humming lights never burn out.