Lilspotting's Bow Leg


This is fiction.

From the Office

The clouds drape the buildings like dirty wool. Far below, at ground level, a man reaches up to hold his umbrella steady. It is bright and floral, a ridiculous item to be sashaying about, taunting the sky with its defiant display. The man regains control of the thing and continues on, while over-head a flurry of plastic bags and paper twirl and lift along a current of wind.


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It is hot in this room. Too hot for clothes, too hot for pretenses. The shades are drawn and ice turns to water. We glisten while remaining still. Only stillness keeps the heat from further softening our will. We breath shallow, waiting for dusk. We exhale softly watching ghostly lights flicker through half closed eyelids. In the space of lifetimes you reach out your hand and place it atop mine. Our touch diffuses this savage reality and lifting finger and toe, we climb over one another until we reach the other end of this day. Until we find the rising moon and the cool air brushes against our skin.

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The brush under our feet is prickly and dry. I’m holding your hand as we walk through the field out to the tree line. It hasn’t rained for weeks and we know there isn’t any expected in the forecast. I feel splinters entering my heel, but we don’t stop. The sepia lighting of evening makes everything a still-life fire. My breath is hot and heavy hanging between the space of our steps. Your palm is weak and sweaty resting against mine. I feel the ache of thirst but it is just one amongst many aches that we ignore. The trees approach us and we ask permission to enter. The shade tracks us and our bodies fade. Behind us the field is ignited by the descent of the sun, an orb that is as round and red as the eye of indifference.

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My safety net turned out to be a mess of fishing string all knotted together and hanging loose over the rocky ledge of the canyon. I held my breath and tried to salvage what I could, but it was fruitless. I left it there, like a giant’s discarded dental floss. My knees were shaky and my stomach felt funny. Vertigo was a big problem for me. ‘Good riddance!’ I thought. I was going to strike it out on my own now, no more contingency plans, no more hesitating, no more checking to see if the line was there. Look where it got me anyway, at the edge of a precarious cliff. I walked in the opposite direction of that terrifying decent and that nightmare of obligations. Feeling rather lighthearted I stared to hum a tune.

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Old World

On the freeway in an Italian sports car. We are going fast. And the scenery is a brush stroke of blue and green. Your hands grip the steering wheel, knuckles white. This country is bleeding all around us and we are a funnel pushing aside the edges. Heading straight for the source of the wound. I keep my hands securely on the map, lines and symbols arrayed like a glowing arrow. My eyes water at the ancient beauty I can’t penetrate. Here we are in the descent of a boundless sunset, drowning in our ignorance and all we can do is go straight.

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The poacher returned that evening with a hare tied to his waist. He boiled a pot of water and placed the skinned creature inside. Rabbit stew with some onion and carrots, a celery and bay leaf. The poacher lit a lantern on the table and began cleaning his rifle. The night clung to the curtains covering his windows. He sat alone in the glow of the light. A simple life.

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Above the Road

The crosswalk sign flashes above the road. A car passes under, fast, and a haunted glow trails the forward motion. The driver is unaware of the specter following in the rear view mirror. Only the faint orange space between the backseat and the backward glance gives away the memory of the pedestrian crossing and crossing.

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The wind blew so hard the umbrellas revolted and took to the sky, desperately trying to remember a time of wings held together by muscle, sinew, bones. Instead they were forced to make due with metal and nylon, preposterous utensils for flight. The wind blew stronger and for a second a row of umbrellas inverted and flew, witch black, parallel to a telephone wire. The crows perched atop watched, their beady eyes a glint from the reflection of a shaft of silver. Their silent vigil was broken by the cry of one of their members, which disrupted the concentration of the animated umbrellas and they crashed to the ground all broken and black against the pale cement.

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The earthquake began in the middle of the night. It tore open a giant abrasion on the surface of the earth. It broke deep enough for the red hot fire coursing within to seep up and over the edges of the wound. The molten liquid spread across acres of land, burning and covering everything in its path. The earth trembled at the mercy of the aching gash leading to its core.

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The Fountain

I remember holding my dad’s hand at the edge of the fountain. The water jets skyward at different intervals, random and unpredictable. A mist, like spiderwebs at dawn, drifts in our direction. I remember letting go of my dad’s hand and scurrying down the concrete curvature of the fountain’s bowl, slowing down and inching my way towards the odd, upside down colander. Thinking, we are hanging by our feet as water rushes through the holes at the bottom while some invisible world resides on the other side. As I get nearer a burst of water erupts before me and I scream, catching my breath, spinning around, and running straight back to my dad, who is waiting with a towel in his open arms.

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