Breath & Shadow
Volume 7, Issue 4
John Richard Albers
Richard felt a bit foolish for donning his costume before making his way across town. The traditional Bela Lugosi style Dracula demanded a cloak and evening wear in midnight black, and while dark colors are slimming to one as pudgy as Richard, they do not lend themselves to visibility. He was inconspicuous as a shadow, and, to the bus that almost ran him down when he’d tried to cross Main and 5th, about as solid.
I was driving home and I noticed the three smokestacks off the highway, somewhere down by the port of Providence. You know the ones I mean. As you drive over that nasty Thurber’s curve on I-95, they’re standing in a nice neat row, centered on the peaked roofs. I’ve seen them before, and never gave them a second thought, maybe because the big blue bug is so much more interesting to look at.
But today they were calling to me. There are lights on them that were blinking. Red lights, two at the top of each stack, and another on each midsection, stark against the darkening sky. And the stacks were blowing white smoke into the last rays of pink in the early evening sky. They were talking to me, communicating.
When I saw what was standing in front of me, I wasn't scared. I wasn't surprised. I guess I always knew it would come to this. Not that I would be staring down a panther a few feet from a busy highway - I mean, come on. No, I knew that at some point I would end up chewing on a pocketful of pills with no destination and nothing but what I could carry. In that situation, something bizarre and inevitably detrimental will occur. Being attacked by a panther is more preferable than collapsing of liver failure in a gutter, in my opinion.
"Twenty-Eight Years and Counting"
Marilyn Brandt Smith
My son Jay is playing a futuristic computer game. We’re in his basement apartment where I’m thumbing through business papers we store there. "Jay," I ask, amazed at his immediate response to an auditory question in his game, "How can you know so quickly that July forth, 2032 will fall on a Sunday?"
"Mom," my thirty-two-year-old son Jayson sighs, "Like I said, every twenty-eight years you’re going to have the same weekday and date patterns. So I just had to go back to 2004 which I know by heart. “If you want to know about 2008 and you don’t have a calendar, just think back to 1980….”