Between Two WorldsBefore the last bit of darkness slinks behind the edge of the earth, before the night birds go to sleep and the morning birds start to sing, before the sun creeps over the mountains to begin baking the frozen soil, before the newspaper boy flings his parcel against our garage door, before the fishermen have brought home their pungent treasure, before the street lights exhaust themselves and fade into death, before a single human sound drowns out the audible silence of Earths living breath, I hang between two worlds, where I slide through thick and murky dreams on the way to waking life, where I discuss Nietzsche with Jesus and Hurston with Hitler, where I battle sulfur demons from Hell and run from monstrous angels, where I have a hundred ears but not a single tongue, where I need to run but havent the muscles, where nothing tastes like chicken and chicken tastes like chocolate truffle, where I am the man who hides a girl inside his chest instead of the girl who hides a man
A Good ManPastor Dobbs was not a bad man. Every morning, before the sun rose, he crept out of bed and began his day in devotion and prayer, silently reading the Word of God and whispering thanks for every miniscule blessing in his rather quiet, ordinary life. Every afternoon, he sat at his mahogany office desk and wrote the notes for his next sermon in small, meticulous print on pristine, white sheets of paper. Every evening, he joined his wife June and his daughter Mary at the dinner table and led them in an earnest, exhaustive prayer of thanks before their meal. He always made it a point to praise Junes cooking when her meatloaf or casserole was particularly tasty, and he never forgot to ask Mary how she was doing in school. Pastor Dobbs was not a bad man.
ControlThe poison Janie gave me was white, soft, and floury. She told me if I mixed it into a glass of water, I wouldnt even be able to taste it. Id just swallow, close my eyes, and drift off to death like she probably already has. The rest of the guys in the office arent as lucky to have a girl like Janiea girl who sees these things coming, who has the second sight. She said she got it from her grandmother, who got it from her grandmother, who got it from her grandmother, and so on and so on. No one ever really believed her about it, but I did. She could predict car crashes, illnesses, deathall sorts of things, and now this. These poor guys dont even know whats coming. In a couple of hours, the terrorists are going to make their attack. There are going to be bombs, plagues, severed limbs, and people bleeding all over the place.
The Beauty InsideI've been diligently peeling some onions for the past five minutes or so, and I just noticed how ugly the skin on the back of my hands has become. Strange, how much age can surprise a person at forty-nine years old. It doesn't creep up on you like they say. I swear to God, the signs appear out of nowhere, completely at random. This is just like that morning I woke up and realized the lines around my mouth weren't sleep-marks imprinted by the pillowcase. The skin on the back of my hands looks baggy—all wrinkled and loose. I can pinch it between my forefinger and thumb, tug it upwards, and it takes an agonizing one and a half seconds for the skin to spread itself back down along the flesh. There are age marks, too—one large, dark brown circle on my right hand and two smaller ones on my left. I almost can't stand looking at them anymore, but I've got to finish peeling these onions.
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