Posts

Exorcism (microfiction)

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Their hold on me had long since loosened. But I felt Darien’s hands days later.  I felt them across the conference room, Monday after the office party. I felt them when his eyes followed me out the door.  Something had to give. Closing my résumé, I inhaled, and dialed HR. 

How to Survive a Surprise Day of Pandemic Insanity

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Wake up rested and ready to face Tuesday. Kid #1 may be staying home with a sore throat, but Kid #2 got on the school bus successfully, lunch packed, water bottle full, and mask on, so that’s a win!  Walk the dog. Several blocks from home, answer a call on your cell. Listen to someone at your kid’s school insist that you pick up Kid #2, who isn’t sick. Listen as they explain that the school district’s COVID-19 plans, which they’d sent to parents in the form of an indecipherable flowchart, require all children in the family to stay home if one child has even a single symptom of COVID-19. Ask questions. Listen to them say that all four members of our household must either have negative COVID tests or quarantine for 10 days before the kids are allowed back. Question this directive, which differs from the guidance you recall reading, and be told to expect a call from the school principal.  Drop off the dog and drive the old-clunker car to school. While driving home, explain to a perplexed

Are Online Friends Real Friends?

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Many of us modern-day humans hang out online with people we’ve never in person. The Internet is full of communities, and members of those communities sometimes become friends. But if you’ve never met someone in real life, are they really a friend? To answer that question, you’d first have to ask, “What is a friend?” And I suspect that answer is different for everybody.  What Defines a Friend? Linguistically speaking, there are as many definitions of “friend” as there are dictionaries. The Oxford English Dictionary calls friendship “an informal relationship of mutual trust and intimacy.” The Russian Ozhegov Dictionary agrees trust is key, defining friendship as “a close relationship, based on mutual trust, affection and unity of interests.” Merriam-Webster offers several definitions, including “a favored companion.” I would say someone is a friend if you enjoy each other’s company and care about each other’s well-being. My friends are people I’ve bonded with in some way – perhaps via s

Found Objects (microfiction)

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Without its diamonds, it was a beet-hued hunk of junk, an Americana tchotchke. Stolen, never recovered, the news had said. Dialing, she held the Liberty Bell Ruby to the sunlight. “Larry,” she said, “you’re not gonna believe what I just got at a yard sale for seven bucks.” Writing Prompt:  Include the words ruby and seven  

Break Time

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The wall clock clicked over to 2:00 AM. Break time. Normally, I took my food and my biology textbook to the picnic tables behind the warehouse, where I could study by the floodlights. But tonight, rain pummeled the steel roof. I dropped into a plastic chair in the break room and removed my sandwich from its paper sack. Whoops and hollers pierced the low hum of the vending machine. Through the break room’s windows, I saw Nick, driving the forklift, and Tyler, perched on its prongs. Motor buzzing, the forklift rocketed past the door. "Yeeee-haw!" Tyler bellowed as they screeched around the corner. I exchanged looks with Shirley and Rhonda. If it was a typical night, the boys would race the forklift down every aisle of the warehouse, gaining speed on the straightaways, taking each corner as fast as they could without tipping over. Then one of them would fork-lift the other one up to the highest shelf, where he’d grab the rope they'd tied there and swing down in an ar

Hiking the Paper Trail

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Paper is obsolete now, right? We have e-books. We have Docusign. We have online newspapers, magazines, annual reports, birthday cards, and, of course, e-mail. OK, it's not obsolete yet. But even Luddites like me have embraced the digital age. My one holdout: I can’t quit paper books. And getting mail is still fun, even though nobody except my mom mails me anything anymore. The older I get, the less paper I want cluttering up my life. File folders are bulky; storing them is annoying. Bills pile up on surfaces and are easier to pay online. Even our beloved books are a burden to cart around; we did a book purge during our last move and it felt oddly freeing. Then there's the environmental impact. Hanging out at home during the pandemic has made it clearer to me than ever how many dead trees dwell in my house. So, yesterday, after receiving my umpteenth piece of snail mail from Computershare, I took myself to their website to switch to online statements. Some compan

Missives from Bizarro-Land, Day 80

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Here in Cook County, Illinois, the staying-at-home thing has gotten old. So old. Geriatric. If I have to attend one more Zoom call, I may run screaming out of the house, strip off, and run naked down the block. Jail? Why not. It would break up the monotony! I haven’t quite gained the “COVID nineteen,” but nevertheless, our homemade ice cream and bread and cocktails are making their presence felt around my midsection. The Girl Scout cookies went extinct weeks ago. Can we please take a moment to praise the heroic inventor of Spandex? Speaking of fashion, we gave up on buying disposable masks since they were sold out everywhere. So we found an internet how-to and made masks out of old socks. They look just as amazing as you’d expect an old sock across your face to look. I’m still taking all the precautions. Well, except in grocery store aisles, where it’s impossible to stay six feet apart, but you have no choice because all the home-delivery slots are booked. And on the bike