Thursday, August 27, 2015

No Big Deal

"Look," I say apologetically, "if you tell me you're not coming in, like if I know you're not coming in ahead of time, I can't let you take a sick day. People will get suspicious."

"Yeah, I understand," he says in his usual deadpan fashion. "It's no big deal."

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Does This Pillow Smell Like Chloroform to You?

"So how did you do going to sleep to the dog videos last night?" I ask Katie.

"It was perfect," she says.

"Like someone tapping you on the temple with a tiny silver hammer," I say, laughing.

"More like chloroform: nice and slow."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


A couple sits perched on the stone wall by the old Reformed Church, talking intensely, and the dog seems to want to pause and check them out, but I steer her away, as I don't want to intrude.

"I don't see why you have to make this about you," the woman says, her voice flat and uninflected. "I'm trying to get better."

I pass through the edge of the gravity well of their despair, and slingshot away, down the sidewalk and into the night.

Monday, August 24, 2015

That's What I Meant

I'm sitting on the stone steps leading up to side door of the church, on the phone with my mom. The moon floats in and out of clouds, hazed and fuzzy in the humidity.

"I'm just really glad we're okay, these days," I say.

"Well, I thought we've been okay for a few years," she replies.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


"Same color, same face, same tail," says the unexpectedly friendly stranger as we're walking down the street to the dog's favorite pee spot. "But your dog seems a little... short."

"She's a shiba inu," I say, as if that explains anything.

"Damnedest thing I ever saw," he says, shaking his head in disbelief.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


The guy behind the counter is about five feet two inches, with a marked hunch and a comb-over that hides nothing on his narrow pink skull. His nails look like little half-circles on square, blunt fingers, and his hands shake as he caps and recaps his yellow highlighter pen.

"So here's the emergency roadside assistance number," he says slowly, highlighting a phone number on the van rental contract before capping, then un-capping the pen yet again, to highlight another number, "and here's the mileage."

I'm trying not to be impatient with him, so I keep my face carefully composed as I nod and say, "Uh-huh."

Friday, August 21, 2015

And Not Fictional

She seems to be hanging around the bin of kitty litter at the pet store, waiting for someone to talk to, or maybe I just have one of those faces that make people feel like opening up.

"So he's a dwarf," she says, showing me a picture of an enormous, resigned-looking tabby with stubby legs in a Santa Claus costume, "which means that he can't clean himself."

She tabs through the pictures on her phone, continuing, "He really looks like Garfield, only handsomer, don't you think?"