Ted had an uneasy feeling that he might not make it to the end of the night shift and when Graham showed up thrusting his three digit fist in the air and generously showered him with expletives, Ted knew his time as an INSECT technician was over. Ted’s explanation of events fell on deaf ears with Graham parading around INSECT’s temporary compound ridiculing his story that a knight showed up at midnight and with a fiery sword in hand, liquified the locks on the cages and released all the songbirds INSECT was using in their experiments. Security escorted Ted into the damp Missouri morning with not so much as a bus ticket to get him home.

The flight of the songbirds is a poet’s dreamy vision of unknown sensations and wide eyed bemusements of what a life, lived well and free, must be like when the shackles of tiny tyrannies chained to distressed lives are raised up to something resembling a heaven. Is it the soaring to grand heights or the desire of the adventure? For the pedestrian, it may be neither, just a frantic grasp for a glimpse inside another’s world…to feel the feather and live on the wing. The flight of the songbird is more about hope then depression, they will go where we can not or will not and although we resign ourselves to the terrestrial, most will not condemn them because condemnation will magnify our exposure in this sordid affair and peel back the layers of detachment from nightingales to night hawks. We have done our best to discourage these adventures with roadblocks, chemicals, particulates and interferences only human ingenuity could manage but still they fly to great heights and hidden destinations.


Little Mr. Deakins was upset! He spread his wings far apart in an effort to intimidate and he scored the gravel with his feet, sending small plumes of dust in the air, just as Feather, No. 1 and a small warbler dismounted from their horse. Little Mr. Deakins was not a fan of change, he had a small group of companions and that was enough for him. Point out the fact that just a few months ago he disliked Jackson, loathed the duck, thought the horse too slow, the translucent man too weird and now all these assertions met with a rooster’s shrug. Through some pain, Little Mr. Deakins shattered the bonds of solitude that he and Jared carefully assembled in their minute community of us versus them. With each broken bond, a vulnerability altered a state and shone a light on an entrenched place, but not necessarily a dark place. This irritated Little Mr. Deakins, but slowly he came around, grudgingly at first, accepting and then a final embrace.

Feather was not here to befriend a rooster, so she ignored the bird and walked straight toward the translucent man being soothed by Mrs. B. The presentation of the songbird as a gift, fleeting and unpossessable, hot wired the all but seized innards of the translucent man and as he considered all that this bird encompassed, he summoned up the images that linger outside of the self and decided that his mission must continue.










blog photo 215 fallsWHAT IT IS

Both Hobbson and Adnan appreciated the photos, videos and various reports concerning the geology and topography of the small piece of land they wanted in exchange for the J-Drive. Slim’s real estate holdings were vast and he salivated over the prospect of exchanging a piece of Missouri dirt for the endless possibilities the J-Drive offered. The two men were to study Slim’s documentation and arrive at his office the following morning with the drive, where land titles and ownerships were to be finalized.

Some years earlier, Frank James was holding a friendly poker game where the participants included Slim and the CEO of Bayer, along with several other influential captains of industry. The long and the short of it, was the Bayer executive put  up a devastatingly poisoned piece of acreage to cover a ten thousand dollar bet and he ended losing the land to Slim. For his part, Slim vaguely remembered winning the land, had certainly never been to the acreage and the title languished in his lawyer’s offices until Hobbson and Adnan showed up looking to acquire the property.

At nine AM on a Thursday morning Hobbson and Adnan arrived at Slim’s office and found a chaotic scene of lawyers, secretaries and delivery people bouncing off cell phones, swearing at memos and making threats to anyone who would listen. In the middle of all of this, Slim’s booming voice harangued a Missouri bureaucrat regarding the confiscation of his property.


He did not think of time as linear, a piece by piece existence divided into equal parts of 24’s, or 7’s or other such portions because his time was more like a big box from which he extracted events of importance and designated morsels of do’s and don’ts. He thought of it as a learning disability, but he trained himself to mask it sufficiently in order to fit into other people’s schedules and expectations. The march onward would happen with or without his consent, so he balled his world up into a skein of yarn and let the cats of the world untangle the strands left behind, leaving a small waterfall of strands to grace the world that enveloped him. It made him fell courageous, like his belongingness was self made and allowed some measure of swagger to shine through.

As agents go, Miller was an efficient one; thoughtful in process, purposeful in execution and letting the allowances of the job neither lead him to haste or complacency. He rolled well with the punches, and when the small gesture of securing the evening meal for the other agents fell upon him for the fifth day in a row, he gladly left the cabin and headed into town. Graham placed the order, the chosen meal was Chinese, and the thirty minute wait time was up when Miller walked through the door. The place was packed, boisterous laughter and voluminous banter careened off the walls as four baseball teams staged a coup at the restaurant…the wait would be twenty more minutes.

Miller walked outside to take in some fresh air and give his ears a break from the racket. On the restaurant’s roof, near the exhaust fan, a teddy bear and No. 1 sat watching the agent. A woman, taking a cue from No. 1, walked toward Miller.


blog photo 214 sunsetWHAT IT IS

With Samantha, Cathy and Leo crammed into the back seat, Jaclyn drove them back to their vehicle and back to where Mauls and Johnsey lay unconscious. Not only was the horse missing , but the four pales of insecticide had also vanished. Loosing daylight, Jaden ordered the triad to remain in the cruiser while she radioed an ambulance and took a look around for the missing chemicals.

Long inky black shadows from a stand of evergreens stretched across a seldom used footpath leading to a catfish swamp. As the trees whispered the stories of their day in the dying seconds of the sunset, the horse too wanted to divulge the accounts drawn up and distributed. The cool air from the shadows surrounded the horse, he had never felt better, except, perhaps…and he then thought about a time and a place where neither the time or the place could be sucked out of its natural location in the universe and deposited into the arms of warlords and other legal criminals. He tried to walk softly, even over hard stone and uneven ground because he needed his footprints to bare witness to the soldiers occupying the future, he needed them to know it was not he who was causing them their anguish and pain.

Baines Wanescott walked the same path, and when he saw and recognized the horse as Leo Barnard’s, they walked back to the road and met up with the others.


Jill Deakins was not hurt, a little shaken, more at the sight of seeing her brother Jared than any minor accident might have caused. Jared eased his sister out of the open passenger window and they both sat on the ground, awkwardly but successfully avoiding one another. They both thought of it, not daily, but at least occasionally as they muddled along their unrecognizable journey that they were told would result in a life of some sweet satisfactions, some divine possibilities, some slice of what we mere creatures are looking for. They did not dwell on a brother and sister estranged, because this did not describe their reality, as their reality was more like drifting icebergs and fading aftershocks whose time and distance just dwindled away until unreliable memories filled in the gaps and spaces. It was not about love, or lack of it or too much of it or too little off it; it was about expectation and explanation and whose cruise ship approach to life would settle on the sea of convention. Jared’s voyage was not Jill’s, and long ago accepted that fact.

The setting sun revealed the translucent man’s clock was stuck at midnight, but yet he still breathed. He was surrounded by the ones he loved and the ones that loved him, and the faint glimmer of hope in his eyes grew stronger as Feather and No. 1 appeared among the shadows and out on to the road.