Monica Dagwood always stopped to tie her shoe in front of 301 Seneca Ave during her evening jog. Even if her shoelace wasn’t untied and flapping around—aglets whipping at her ankles—she would stop at the tree stump across the street from the 301 Seneca Ave house and retie them. This stopping place was at the top of a hill and by the time she arrived here, her breaths were gasping from the ascent, and the warmth in various parts of her body began to feel uncomfortably humid. After this break, the tightened shoe stimulated the energy in her feet and she imagined flames shooting from her pink Nike’s as she continued her jog, now in the home stretch back towards her house.
Monica always stopped to tie her shoe in front of 301 Seneca Ave, but it wasn’t just because she needed the shoe-tying boost to power through the rest of her run; no, it actually had more (or everything) to do with the 301 Seneca Ave house itself: Monica was in love with it. She never spoke about it, though—Monica kept her obsession quiet and strictly within the scape of her fantasies. It seemed silly to her that she idolized a stranger’s house so religiously, but yet, it was the kind of house that demanded to be idolized.
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I was not dead: this must be understood. There is a little bit of doubt about whether I was awake or asleep though; I’m still not completely sure whether this was all a dream or reality, but the writing on the wall does not lie. The strangest thing occurred to me last night, which I will now recount to you.
It was New Year’s Eve, an hour before 2020 would dissipate and 2021 materialize, a moment as simple as a single digit changing, yet an immensely anticipated event for cynics all around the globe. 2020 was the year the COVID-19 virus launched its evil plan to take over the world, and its oppressive regime seemed to change the fate of all humanity. Multiple other tragedies compounded on top of this disaster, leading to a worldwide attitude of hatred towards the year 2020. Like many other intelligible citizens, Bryant and I were spending New Year’s Eve at home.
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Ritter was staring out her kitchen window when, in the distance, she saw a body fly into the air.
The sudden movement in her line of sight broke her trance and caused her vision to re-focus on the wooden fences, tool sheds, and tree trunks outside. The body fell—the movement only visible through a slight crevice between trees in her neighbors’ backyards—and then arms were flailing upwards yet again. She sighed, realizing it was a child on a trampoline a few houses up. The Saturday morning sunshine filtered through cider-tinged leaves and twining branches, peppering her face with bursts of brightness.
“Oh to be a child again, and experience the existential bliss of bouncing into the air,” mused her left earring.
Her right earring scoffed. “Yeah, right! Do you know how many kids break their arms on trampolines each year?”
Both earrings dangled in quite the same manner, each a silver wire-wrapped spider clutching a gem, her left earring encasing a light blue opalite crystal, her right, a black obsidian rock; however, their commentary almost always contradicted the other, which was even more confusing because independently, Ritter often agreed with them both.
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There’s not much pain in this world that can’t be soothed by a good milkshake. Well, actually, that’s the kind of quote you could expect to see on a wooden sign at a “home goods” type store, right next to the sign that says, “Cats are like potato chips—you can never have just one!” In fact, I’m sure there is a good portion of the population for whom having a milkshake would actually contribute quite much to their grief. Namely, anyone who has a lactose intolerance or practices vegan eating habits. But, these groups aside, milkshakes are actually a proven mood stimulant by leading scientists. (Please believe nothing I say here, this is all slanted truth—read: false facts!!)
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The Cheetah Who Hated the Zoo
Written in 2002
Once upon a time on a nice summer day there was a Cheetah who wished he could go to California. He hated being stuck in the zoo. People always stared at him. One day he asked his friend if she could help him get out of there. “Okay,” said Bear, as she was getting out of her cage. Then she thought if they could climb over the gate? But they already tried it when they tried to get Polar Bear in. Then they asked Lion if he would and could help. “Okay,” said Lion. “Maybe you could ask the zoo keeper.” “No way,” said Cheetah. “The zoo keeper usually screams when she hears us talk,” said Bear. “Yeah, but maybe she will understand,” said Lion. “Maybe Lion’s right,” said Bear. “Well, I guess so,” said Cheetah. Then he slowly walked to the zoo keeper. “Zoo keeper, I… I… I… want… to… um.” “You want to what,” said the zoo keeper slowly. “I want to go out of the zoo,” said Cheetah. “Well, why didn’t you say so,” said the zoo keeper. “I don’t know,” said Cheetah. And the zoo keeper let Cheetah out.
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If I’m thankful for one thing, it’s that I had the sense to believe everything my grandma ever told me when I was a young girl.
Continue reading “The Man with a Thousand Voices: A Short Story” →
Writers are writers out of spiritual necessity. Like a plant needs to be watered, writers’ musings must be written. Beyond that, some writers lavish in the limelight, while others prefer their privacy; some write rapidly and publish proudly, while others create with careful ease and seldom share stories.
It is the work of those so sensitive and raw maternal for their writing that intrigues me, personally, and so when my most endearing client, Ned Theodore Ed, presented me a copy of his travel sketches for publication, I felt more excited as a fan of his writing than as a publisher of a new business deal. His deliberate and graceful—yet never timid or dull—language is like a steady stream, fluid and fruitful. It’s as though rather than writing of the water at the water’s edge, he is one with the water himself.
Now with a tremendous honor, I would like to present to you the Travel Sketches of Ned Theodore Ed, a gentle soul who is my esteemed client and a writer whose work I absolutely admonish. This silent, poetic skeleton, ironically, is the voice of humanity’s spirit and what it means to have a soul among nature.
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