29 March 2011



Medb’s crooked fingers tremble as she reaches for the clock.  Seven minutes before midnight.  She moves her bent form across the room to her standing mirror.  She heaves her robes off her withered torso.  She stands naked.  Her shock of grey hair is barely contained by an old piece of driftwood fashioned into a hair pin.  Sunken eyes, the color of algae stare back at her.  Powdery flakes of skin fall from her with every movement.  A spider web of thin blue veins stain her arm.  Faint chimes from the town’s clock tower strike.  Marred teeth emerge from behind thin lips as she smiles widely – the hour is nigh. Her bones crack as she straightens to full height; joints pop suddenly.  The scent of mold coming from her flesh dissipates as it plumps with renewed elasticity.  Her skin tints with a creamy peach hue.  Shriveled, hanging breasts round out and lift onto her chest.  She winces with the pain of tightening flesh into soft curves.  Her eyes sting bitterly.  She shuts them tight.  Once open, they are a clear and brilliant emerald color.  Glistening white teeth replace their charred counterparts.  A graceful hand lifts to pull the driftwood from her hair.  Rich brown curls flecked with wisps of gold fall down the length of her sculpted back. 
She begins to sing.  Her lyrics fall softly upon the air.  Her throat’s constant burn caused from her screeching is gone.
Void of pain, she runs to her dressing room and throws open the doors.  Moving through the room, she brushes her fingers over the luscious fabrics from every corner of the world.  The back opens into her vault.  She wraps herself in ropes of jewels to feel them on her skin.  A black cast iron safe is anchored in the center of the room.  It is in there, locked away.  That vile pot and its cursed contents. 

Carl's Eulogy

“It was hard to get a feel for Carl before you met him.  All us girls knew him.  He used to walk the Andover Corridor where we worked late at night when he couldn’t sleep.  He was so huge that most of us thought to be scared of him.  But then he’d be whistling that pretty classical music and you didn’t know where his head was.  But a buck is a buck and when Carl asked after the shiner I was sporting one night, I didn’t have it in me to turn him away.  When he told me to follow him, I made sure some of the other girls saw me leaving with him so they could come after me, if needed.    Then we get to the park and he pulls a sandwich out of a lunch bag and hands me half.   I stared at the sandwich and he looks at me kind of funny and asks,
‘Are you hungry?’


Joanie stared out her kitchen window into her back yard.  The dog was still there, walking in circles, sniffing, constantly searching.    He lifted his massive head and looked in her direction.  She shrank back.  Miles came up beside her.
“Mom, can I please go play with him?”
“No, Miles.  I don’t want to have to keep telling you and Cathy that.”  She scrutinized the dog.  “Why is he terrorizing us?”
“Mom,” Miles said rolling his eyes.  “He’s not.  He just wants us to play with him.”
“Miles,” Joanie said facing him.  “You need to find something else to do.”
Miles walked off, grumbling.  Joanie threw a quick glance back outside.  The tent’s side bulged where the dog lay inside.
Last Saturday had proved a brief respite from the wind and wet.  She conceded to let the children erect their tent.  The tent had remained unused since its purchase last fall.  The kids played in it until the first drop hit.  They fled for the warmth of the house.  The tent was forgotten.  

Friends Always


Four girls, best of friends, roommates, confidantes, competitors.  Years ago, in a different world, some dormitory organizers randomly selected these four to share the same living space.  Four girls, four years together; inseparable, if not always by choice. 
Molly was a first generation American.  She came to college to live her parents’ hope of a better life.  A dreamer by nature, she diligently stuck to her studies and earned her marks at the expense of her spirit.  Her once gregarious nature turned serious.  She spoke as valedictorian and posed for pictures with her parents and their diploma.  They introduced her to a fine young man.  The engagement was immediate.  As the wedding neared, Molly took flight.  The guilt of her path subsided when she met Jennifer.  Her parents turned their backs, old allies remained open armed.  She has long since forgotten how to stop smiling.


Mrs. Dremond’s sobbing could be heard faintly through the ceiling.
Father Dremond cast a furtive glance at the empty cat bed.  
“Give it time, Father.”  Mrs. Pendleton said.
“I appreciate you coming to my home to work, Mrs. Pendleton.  Things have been… difficult, what with Mrs. Dremond not feeling well.  Especially since the cat…”
“It is my pleasure, Father.”
“That damned cat.”  He said under his breath.  “Oh, forgive me, Mrs. Pendleton. “
“Not necessary, Father.”  She blushed and looked back at her computer screen.   
Mrs. Dremond’s bedroom door opened.  Father Dremond and Mrs. Pendelton stood in silence until they heard the bathroom door closed.
Mrs. Pendelton cleared her throat, “What do you think?”  she asked, turning the computer monitor for Father Dremond to see.  On the screen was a mock up of the floral guild’s newsletter.  Brightly colored floral arrangements sprang from the page.  The largest photo and focal point of the spread was a withered branch with brown, limp buds threatening to fall from their host.  His brow furrowed.  He heard a giggle behind him. Father Dremond relaxed.
“It looks like a metaphor for our pledge drive.”  He said. 
Mrs. Pendleton smiled as she sorted the church’s mail.  Father Dremond’s gaze rested on her smiling face for a few moments.  She took hold of her finger.  When nervous, she used to spin her wedding band around her finger.  The band was buried but the habit remained.  Turning, she knocked a photo on the desk to the ground. 
“I am so sorry, Father!”
“I am sure I can fix it.”  Father Dremond said, picking up the picture.  It was of he and Mrs. Dremond as newlyweds.  He put the broken frame and photo in a side drawer and closed it.
Mrs. Dremond appeared in the doorway.
“Oh, hello Mrs. Pendleton.  Pardon me.  I did not know you were here.”  She said.
“Hello.”  Mrs. Pendleton with a start.
“Mildred!” Father Dremond exclaimed.  “You’re dressed.  That’s wonderful.” 
 “George?  Did you offer Mrs. Pendleton something?  Do we have coffee?”  Mrs. Dremond asked. 
“Please don’t go to any trouble.”  said Mrs. Pendelton, straightening paperwork.
 “Mildred,” Father Dremond began.  “Will you be going out today?”
 “I think not today.”
“The fresh air would do you well.”  Father Dremond continued.
Mrs. Pendleton looked from Mrs. Dremond to Father Dremond
“I shall.  Soon.   But not yet.”  Mrs. Dremond said staring at the floor.
Father Dremond followed her gaze.  A chewed cat toy lay on the floor next to him. He kicked it under the desk.  He pointed to the computer monitor.  “Look at what Mrs. Pendelton did.”  He said with a smile.
Mrs. Dremond regarded the screen. “The center one looks...”  She trailed off.
“Yes, I know.  That’s the point… It’s funny, don’t you think?”
Mrs. Dremond whispered “oh” and started upstairs. 
Father Dremond saw her nightgown spilling out from under her sweater in back.  He hadn’t noticed her slippers until now either.  Mrs. Pendleton had.
“Father,” Mrs. Pendleton began when Mrs. Dremond was in her room.  “Do you know what the New York Mets have in common with Billy Graham?”
Father Dremond looked at Mrs. Pendleton perplexed, “I have no idea.”
“They both make 10,000 people stand up in a stadium and say “OH MY GOD!”
Father Dremond laughed so hard, he had to take a seat.   Mrs. Pendleton smiled as the Father’s laughter embraced her. 
“George?  The cat needs water.”  Mrs. Dremond called out from upstairs.