15 February 2007


“What am I going to do for the next 26 minutes?” she unintentionally thought aloud. Stevie and his little friend had just settled down for another installment of Dora the Explorer, and Joan needed nothing more than a few minutes of solitude as far away from that animated little bilingual cunt as possible.

Four years away from the corporate sphere and Joan was still regretting her decision to leave behind the two martini lunch for the three martini play date. She speared another pimento-filled olive and haphazardly dropped it into her glass. Swapping Post-Poller reports for Pull-Ups would be a godsend. Data analysis and micromanaging would sure beat picking up scattered toys and microwaving another bowl of Spaghetti O’s for Stevie’s lunch.

Joan knew it was time to go back to work. She was ready. She was over-prepared. Of course there would be challenges along the way; obstacles set her four years out of the race. Her husband would be a hard sell. He had invested wholeheartedly in the idolatry of Republican Family Values. She could hear his laments now—it was his plan to have her out of work until Stevie started school. Even then, he would only afford her the luxury of a part-time gig. Please! What sort of marketing exec ever works part time? But, if anyone knew how to plead a case and close a deal—it was Joan.

She could not fail.

14 February 2007

Miss Valentine

Her candy apple ass lay exposed on the bed. Ray let out a sad sigh. He could recognize her from this angle, even though their relationship was strictly professional. No one could mistake those Valentine hips.

Still, seeing her lifeless body—naked and discarded—was a shock to Ray. He knew she had had a rough life, and from the looks of the abrasions and bruises that marked her dead body, she had struggled in the end, too. Elise was a call girl. It could’ve been a John who got too rough. But her ties to the Holman case were too strong. There was no way this could possibly be an accident.

Ray picked up her purse and took out her little black book. He recognized the bag. It the same one she had carried years ago when they first met. At the time, he was a lowlife PI—snapping photos of secret rendezvous, exposing countless marital affairs for mere peanuts. Later he’d call a few of her clients to see if he could find any leads. He’d call a few of her better customers to let them know she was gone.

She was gone. That was the harsh reality of it all. Ray took another solemn exhale. Today, he had lost one of his best informants. Today he lost his best friend.

12 February 2007

The Migration

Chuck considered the migration pattern of birds. He looked up toward the empty sky, perched between the months that had past since the autumnal departure and the weeks that remained before spring’s return. After careful deliberation, Chuck concluded that birds, on the whole, must accomplish a great deal more than he on any given day.

He looked up through the brown brick facades and steely twists of winter branches, anticipating the day when his winged friends made their return. “Will I see the terns this year?” Chuck wondered as he waited at the bus stop. “If not the terns, at least let me notice the geese.”

Lulled to his standard tempo of complacency by the din of the morning traffic, Chuck reviewed his list of accomplishments for the day, meanwhile dismissing the lint from his pocket. The list mostly consisted of his oral hygiene routine, but he was happy to concede that he did in fact let the dog out before leaving for work. It was a short list, so he included “de-linted pockets” as an addendum.

He looked up the road, catching sight of the bus that was due to arrive three minutes prior. Stepping on the bus, he began his own daily migration, amid his own flock of stationary birds.