Now and then I'll post a new bit of my short fiction.



"Now, Then"

I’m here with you right now, but I’m also fifty years ago. In 1961 I’m at a party, holding a drink and smoking a cigarette. The people around me are talking about work and movies and love affairs. How do you like our new president and his promise to have a man on the moon by decade’s end. What about this place suddenly appearing in the newspapers, this Vietnam wherever it is. Did you like West Side Story. I thought the music was quite good, but thought they should have gotten a Hispanic actress to play Maria. I finish my drink and stub out the cigarette. Someone puts a new record on the phonograph. The act strikes me as wrong, but I can’t say why.

I’m in 1961, but also here with you half a century later at the edge of a vast and darkened field. Rain has come and gone and we can smell wet grass and a hint of autumn. If the clouds clear we’ll be able to see the first of the evening stars. The wind blows cooler and dies away. A few minutes ago something unpleasant happened between us and we came out to the field because a little fresh air might be what we needed to wash the anger from our souls. I can’t tell if anything has gotten better. Maybe I’ve calmed down, but a more truthful statement to make is that I am more confused than calm. You’re here with me and the field stretches out ahead and those clouds aren’t getting any thinner and a drop of rain just hit my cheek and everything about us is dreamlike. The field is a continuation of the argument started back at the house. You hated how my mind was always somewhere else. You wanted to know why I couldn’t change that about myself.

At the edge of the field we hold our breath. We could talk. We could say a lot of words. It’s easier to be silent. I wish the peaceful moment could last a little bit longer.


You Need to Know

One subject that requires addressing is sex. Human existence can bring about many opportunities for romantic interaction, but that doesn’t mean you jump into bed with everyone who makes him/herself available. Human nature tasks us to remove a cookie from the jar, so to speak, but resist the urge to overindulge at every opportunity. Not that copulation is wrong, or wasteful, or sinful, or any other adjective that has little or no meaning to a properly maintained lifestyle. It’s just that the act has an unavoidably draining effect. Research has determined that sexual congress lowers the efficiency of mind and body by as much as three percent. This seems trifling, yes. Still, you must remember: today, right now, may be the very moment when your next breath depends on absolutely razor-sharp mind and reflexes.

It’s definitely something to keep in mind.