A TALE OF FIVE MINUTES

man-at-window

(For Kate. Good for the goose, good for the gander.)

Since Mr. Ballard had been on Ativan for a while, not to mention Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil and Wellbutrin, everyone felt uneasy about letting him know that his wife Brenda had been in a disastrous car accident.

It was Chip, Mr. Ballard’s younger brother, who finally texted about it: “Shit. Bro. Sorry 2 tell U, but Brenda was in an accident. Flipped the Explorer off US 1. Fucking American cars! Try not 2 lose Ur shit over this, ok? She’s DOA. Be strong.”

Other men might have taken a while to process this, might have felt disbelief, might have left their gaze drift about in confused aimlessness. Not Mr. Ballard. He understood at once, and pictured the car as a burning hulk by the side of the highway, and Brenda twisted somewhere in that flaming vehicular prison, and the hopeless ambulance ride as the EMTs gave up on the corpse. Mr. Ballard sobbed with sudden, wild abandonment, like he had sobbed at the beginning of Pixar’s “Up,” or at the end of Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” or throughout most of Pixar’s “Toy Story 3.”

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CRAVINGS

CRAVINGS

CUCUMBERS

Nancy said to Frank, “Sweetie, I feel like ice cream. Oooh, mint ice cream! Want to share with me?”

Frank kissed Nancy’s belly bump and said: “Aaaah, I see the cravings are starting. Mint ice cream? Sounds like a trip to the fridge.”

He jumped out of bed, nearly stepping on Pom Pom. The little orange Pomeranian ran busily between Frank’s loafers, intent on making him trip on the way to the kitchen. Frank opened the refrigerator’s door, peered in, frowned. “I don’t see it. We don’t have that.”

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THE GOOD NEWS

THE GOOD NEWS

Viviana sat on the rocking chair in the living room, holding a Vogue from 1978, Farrah Fawcett beaming aggressively angelical blondness from the cover. That had been the year of Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy and the Vampire of Sacramento, but also there had been “Dallas” and “Grease” and “The Love Boat,” so Viviana though of 1978 fondly. Later, she planned to think of 1985 fondly, and 1982 and 1973 and 1996. There were lots and lots of Vogues blossoming around the rocking chair, a whole garden of Vogues.

But then there were a series of loud knocks at the door so Viviana leapt out of the chair excitedly and dropped the Vogue to the floor. She had some idea who it would be. He’d been gone so long, she could hardly wait for him to come back.

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JAKE COSANAVO’S PANTY-MELTING TIPS FOR A BANGIN’ FIRST DATE

JAKE COSANAVO’S PANTY-MELTING TIPS FOR A BANGIN’ FIRST DATE

Love is a crazy naked little guy with a bow and arrow. Let me tell you about this date I just had. Her name was Silvia: Syllables worthy of a Muse! A proper woman in a world of petulant bimbos! Although we had previously collided socially, (her, benevolent and friendly; me, smitten but hesitant) it wasn’t until tonight that we met at a restaurant to decide whether romance or friendship or a civil parting handshake awaited us.

Half an hour before the date and there I was at the bathroom mirror with the nervous anticipation of a kid first discovering Drakkar Noir. “You’re rusty! Buck up!” I admonished my shaking reflection. “You can do this! Just let her know that the tender bloom of adoration is upon your heart, and she’ll be all yours!”

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Eternity Square

Eternity Square

We’re all still at the party dancing toward midnight. We think of champagne, how it feels the need to explode in bubbles. We don’t like champagne. What a show off.

We think of our resolutions. More time at the gym. Giving that yoga class another chance. Looking up a soup kitchen in town. No more drinking or, realistically, less drinking. It’s only alcoholics who don’t drink. We’re just going to take it slow. After tonight, of course. Tonight is New Year’s Eve and Gerald is the host. He slides those thin champagne flutes into our hands and says:

“T-minus 5! Everyone! Everyone! Find someone to kiss!”

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WINDOW DRESSING

WINDOW DRESSING

The room was hers and no one else’s, an easily owned room. She could understand its quartet of blue walls, and the blister of a light bulb dangling from the ceiling, and the rainbow-aping clothes prettily scattered all over the floor. The room was comprehensive, and comprehensible.

The window was a whole other animal, (like a small glass cat that had curled up on the far wall, circular and contented.) It had appeared out of nowhere; an ambiguous, unconquerable geometrical territory between the given and the uncertain, between the certain and the endlessly questionable, between

THE IN (she was fine with THE IN)

And

THE OUT.

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THE RECOVERERS in: THE ADVENTURE OF THE UNREQUITED LOVER

THE RECOVERERS in: THE ADVENTURE OF THE UNREQUITED LOVER

Badboy Badger caressed his martial black coat with some satisfaction, as he surveyed the fauna gathered below him in the greenly grassed hillside. “My dear colleagues!” He boomed. “My fellow Recoverers! Word has come down from Headquarters about a new, most important, most thrilling mission, so I need critters three, to brave death with me! Be bold and be free: I need critters three!”

Rat and hare and bat and hen, goose and hedgehog shouted then:

“Me! Me! Me! I’ll Recover!”

But Lousey Mousey and Wacko Mole and Nobull Frog had already scampered and tunneled and hopped up the hill. Badboy Badger greeted the volunteers, and the rest of the Army of Recoverers knew to retreat back to warrens and burrows, to dens and to ponds. As they departed, Badboy Badger fare-welled them:

“You’ll be called upon too! Wait your turn. The sun waits its turn, and so does the moon; if your chance won’t come now, then it’s going to come soon. For the world always needs something Rescued, something Borrowed, or something Saved.”

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