Skip to main content

Posts

an occurence at an intersection

It’s unusually warm for 6:30 in the morning, October, 12th, in what will be confirmed as the warmest year on record. A few people jogging with the hope of lowering their anxieties do so in attire more suitable for summer. They check gadgets on their wrists, run on the spot, and breathe deep to sooth knots within. A tall gangly man grey as the ash-end of his cigarette leans on a wall. He stubs out the butt on a sidewalk speckled with gold autumnal leaves, and is cynical of the beauty for he knows the humiliation of slipping on their slickness. He pushes his bright yellow mountain bike forward, hops on.

Aaron Fisher maneuvers the bike through an intersection near Harvard University. The 45-year-old law professor’s helmet exaggerates his features, makes him look older, and serious. Not expecting high temperatures, he’s wearing cotton sweat pants and a red waterproof jacket one size too small. He’s fearful of a silver station wagon navigating the intersection alongside him and allows it …
Recent posts

miss valentine

Tucker Tom walked my brother and me the mile and a half to school for according to Ma, we couldn’t be trusted, and besides, the civil unrest in Northern Ireland –what we called ‘The Troubles’– was two years old and about to enter a prolific period of murder and violence. Two years was enough for most people to be already accustomed to The Troubles, and most kids our age –me five, my brother six– didn’t have a Tucker Tom to walk them to school, no bodyguards or bullet-stoppers, but ours was more evidence of Ma’s attempts to wrap us in cotton wool away from the absurd reality that was ready to ambush us.

Although he was only a few years our senior, Tucker Tom looked much older. The sides of his face sagged, but his head was shaped like a trophy with cow-like lugs for handles that made me just want to grab one in each hand and lift his head aloft in celebration. He had innocent rose cheeks and hair that stood astonished like the bristles of a toilet brush. He came from a family of cons…

The Science of Sameness

The conversation to accompany the rich Italian food was proper chirpy, boasting of the good things in life, and while we gulped at a Chianti that worked (sometimes they don't), a sentence started by one was finished by another without feeling like interruption. It was the sort of occasion often punctuated with darted comments like "isn't life great?" which was strange, for we had just returned from a tour of cemeteries, and had been met at each solemn grave by dreary rain. Flowers were planted, and small pines (oh, how you have grown since we saw you last) resisted trimming, but the hedge clippers were mainly to blame for they were blunt and lazy. We tousled the pines instead to shake them to attention and, all the while, gardening, we sheltered beneath large bright golfing umbrellas. Content with our lot for this brief period --who would blame us for wallowing in the moment-- we sat around the table in the noisy Italian restaurant, with an open kitchen like a stage…

Crossings

The following is a written account of actual events. And just because I’m telling you this story doesn’t mean I survived. There are many ways to die, many things to crush us, empty our innards, and turn us into the hollow walking dead. It all came together as I searched for the source of a mysterious sound in the basement of my condemned house. I stopped calling it my home many months before my wife moved out to put some distance between her and a condemned marriage. Since she left, my house has been full of ghosts. They don’t scare me, but the ones that bother me most are the happy ones. Since she left, I hate happy things. I hate the ghosts that echo the cheerful events from the past, and much prefer the ones that peddle fear and melancholy. ~ I’m lying on my couch watching an English television show about a guy who travels back to 1973. It occurs to me he's a lucky bastard and if I were him, I wouldn't come back. And that's when I see her again –the happy ghost– walking …

science

O’Malley’s Reprisal

“Is this us?” she said. “Are you a guessing person?” he replied. There is not much to guess to be truthful. It is North Station, Boston, 06:51:38 PM. There are nine empty platforms and only one that entertains a train: Track 8. Some of those that are waiting have made the obvious assumption and have started to board the train already. The others, including O’Malley, stand swapping glances from the train to the departure board. Their train is top of the list, the 06:55 PM to Haverhill, but the track has yet to be announced and they remain unconvinced. It seems an obvious choice, as already suggested, but O’Malley doesn’t go for it. He did once, and that time he had the luxury of an almost empty train, half a car to himself: a risk taken, reward given, and he who does not take risks does not drink champagne. On that occasion, as he sat in the half empty train, he looked out the window to see a train arriving at the last minute and his suspicions were confirmed: the one arriving was the on…