In that town of men
there lived this boy
slim and pale
though worthy of Yale
he was nice to everyone
family though he had none
walked his dog all arvo
a black spaniel so bravo
came from a slaughterhouse
became more like a spouse
bounding eagerly through the town
bearing his name tag like a crown
such was the dog’s devotion
to the boy whose only motion
was to share his milk and cookie
in rearing though he was a rookie
knew that two packs on supermarket haul
was the secret to a life without a brawl
the talk of town they remained for long
the lovable guide dog and its blind boy
Jesse stared at her silhouette on the blank wall of her room. Through the thin glass window behind her, peeked a bleak winter sun partly shrouded in a mass of dark clouds. The first storm of winter was upon them.
Stationary, Jesse observed the figure before her. Tall and lean, the shadow had a staunch confidence she’d never felt. The cape around its shoulders seemed fitting, as if the superhero within had finally broken free.
Jesse had spent childhood days dreaming of the waking moment she’d discover her gift. She’d imagined and reimagined the training she’d receive from masters she’d only read about. The waning sun had brought out all her secret desires, laying them out barren for her to devour.
As the light faded and the shadow melded, Jesse stood in the gloom. It pressed upon her room, while she listened to the ghastly winds that raged beyond. Alas, the darkness revealed her for what she really was—a shivering teenager clothed in a blanket against the cold.
Silence rang across the room, ricocheting off the jelled heads and cloaked shoulders. As Mary scanned the room, too fast to linger on any particular eyes, a dry lump swelled in her throat.
Urgently, she gulped it down.
She knew how important her audience was, and as she struggled to make a connection with the faces looking back at her with piercing judgemental looks, she knew they were anxious to hear her speak.
Only she wasn’t ready.
She tightened the grip on her chair, stretching the sheen of skin that clothed her knuckles. Despite the wintry breeze that raged beyond, beads of perspiration lined up on her forehead.
They were all looking.
Will she stumble? Forget her lines?
Breakdown and cry?
No way. She wouldn’t cry. She was an adult now, and this wasn’t her first grade school play. This was real life.
They waited patiently. Impressive, she reminded herself, considering she’d arrived ten minutes late. Though with straight faces and pursed lips, they’d welcomed her with the respect she deserved.
And it’s only fair that she spoke. Now.
She took a deep breath and, “Let the proceedings begin,” permitted the newly-appointed High Court Judge.
Lapping with the lake
there goes a piece of my soul
At last, peace ahoy!
Photo: Autumn sunset by Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, Australia
Henry had a perfectly fine life.
In the small river town of Carr, home to no more than 200 people, he was the only person who travelled twenty minutes to work. He was the executive accountant for a law firm in the city. And no one in his town knew anything more about what he did. He didn’t mind.
Every morning, he’d catch the same 6:55 bus that dropped him off in front of his office. And at 4:30 every evening, he’d get off at the same stop outside the cafe, enjoy a good natured conversation with anyone in the vicinity, and walk home with a cup of black coffee.
It was his thing. It was his routine.
Every Friday, he’d show up at the supermarket where he’d always say hello to everyone. He’d get a bottle of wine, wave cheerily at the casher, and head back home.
That was Henry. Mysterious and nice to be around.
“It’s unfortunate he died.”
“They say it was a heart attack.”
The whole town whispered condolences at his funeral. He didn’t have any relatives that they knew of, and Henry’s employer in the city didn’t either. So the town mayor had taken it upon himself to organise the ceremony.
No one would miss Henry, of course. He was a simple, exotic young fellow who lived and then died without a fuss.
But when he didn’t show up the next few days, the swans and squirrels knew something was amiss. Henry had never missed a walk by the lake before.