At Altitude

My boots feel like they weigh ten pounds. I’m breathing hard, but it still feels like I’m suffocating. Numb fatigue soaks through me as though I am a teabag, limp and dripping. I look up and watch the column snake their way up and up. Always up. The peak is sometimes visible through the mists.…

Guys Like Him

“I wasn’t sure you’d come.” “You kidding? My curiosity is killing me.” “I just thought that after what he did. To you, I mean.” “And a whole lot of other women. Yeah, well. I’m over it. Getting over it, anyway. Maybe this will help.” “The detective told me that nobody’s been in here since he…

The Captive Freed

God shows his irony by allowing me this beautiful place and all the time in the world. I have outlived my compatriots and peers, my lovers and wives, my children, and even my enemies, but this itself is no reward. Indeed, there are mornings when the floor of my sleeping chamber is slick with frost…

Before the Storm

After the emergency broadcast, he got busy, talking the whole time. “My great-grandfather was a whaler,” he said as he slid a heavy-duty cable over the bollard, cranking the capstan to draw the hull tight against the fenders. “He wrote about rounding the horn down by the roaring forties.” He tightened down the hatch battens. …

Hi-Ho Hoosegow

“You sure he’s in there?” said Jeffus. He squinted at the cabin.  “Don’t see no smoke from the chimbly.” The marshal slid another cartridge into his Henry, then ran his wipe along the brass side.  “Warm night,” he said. “And appearances to the contrary, Happy Jack is nobody’s fool.” “So what you got in mind?”…

The Grim Journal

Saturday, September 26 The first of the leaves falling. It’s a month now since they took Molly to the hospital.  I often catch myself unconsciously weeping.   Wednesday, November 4 Frost came early this year. When the electricity is on I try to warm myself. There’s the gas range, but the ration box is late…

Hunkering

I says to him, heck Bill, why not stay right here?  I mean it ain’t like you can open regular, not with these national guards and all. And we can’t go home. He says, where do we all sleep? That ain’t a problem, I says. I got about nine thousand square feet of foam panels…

The Better Alternative

She started skipping her meetings, staying home with her face glued to Fox News. Normally she don’t watch the news except Hannity. Mostly it’s reality TV, game shows, and the occasional 90s comedy. I started paying attention, using  my laptop to double-check the sources. As the days ticked by and things started closing down, I…