“Sorrow is concealed in gilded palaces, and there’s no escaping it.”
–The Double, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
PETE – in his late 20s, a guy who can blend into the background of any room. He’s made enough traumatic emotional messes to be guarded and measured, avoiding any big emotion.
MAYA – in her late 20s, a woman whose default setting is lively joy, but since her husband’s death she hasn’t had the energy, or even looked very hard, though she’s working on getting it back.
WENDY – in her late 20s, a sweet, thoughtful woman who’s too nervous to be completely supportive when her friend needs her.
DOCTOR – in his 60s, a warm and connected psychiatrist who still holds himself at a good, professional reserve (though this character is written as male here, the role could be played by any gender).
FRIEND (voice) – in his late 20s, affable but distant.
The crank of your wrist,
the flex-action of your tendons
pries the brakes from my Chevrolet Prizm,
rains rust on your face
and when you punch the tire
to knock it loose
I won’t take it personally.
The baby appeared on the doorstep of 12.5 Pleasant Lane at 9:37 in the morning on Friday, while Kate was watching the local news and Andy was in the shower upstairs. There was a loud rap on the front door, and she thought briefly about her roommate Hannah’s excessive online shoe purchasing habit. Kate opened the door and was about to scream but the baby was asleep and she wanted to hear the news so she decided not to.
“Forecasts are looking steadily grim for Poughkeepsie this afternoon— the heat is proving itself relentless, and there have been reports of dogs melting in the streets. To prevent your dogs from melting we advise you to keep them inside. Should you happen to see a dog unattended be sure to remind it of the dangers of 116 degree weather, as they often do not watch the news.”
The baby was in a plastic bin without a lid, one of those Rubbermaid containers from Target with the foldable handles. It was laying on a purple fleece blanket that was folded hamburger-hotdog and was wearing a cop-themed jumpsuit. “My hero wears a badge!” was embroidered in swirly letters. Continue reading
Sometimes I wake up slowly, sloughing off layers of sleep one at a time. On those days, there’s a witching moment where I float, suspended, on the crest of consciousness. My thoughts and feelings run on as normal, but no one’s in the driver’s seat.
Then, half a second behind, comes the tickle in the back of my mind—the nagging sense of unease. The sense that something is wrong. And that’s when I remember who I am, and what I fear, and the dread settles in my veins like cement.
I get up, and the dread rises with me. I go running, and imagine sweating the anxiety out. I shower, and the fear still clings, thick and oily, to my skin.
One day I’ll be dead before I know it
and then I’ll know it, I guess, only too
well but instead of looking backward I’ll
try to see has Eternity any
forward or ahead to it, somehow I
doubt it now but then I’m only alive
and just ten years old to boot and sometimes