It was an uneventful Sunday afternoon that found me locking my front door and stretching my legs for a brisk constitutional, one that mystically situated me around one of my three favorite public houses. Respecting the ineffable wisdom of what gods oversee us, I ducked in for a pint.
Hardly had I removed my jacket when I recognized a certain Mr. Crowder of my acquaintance; as he had likewise recognized me, I was obliged to take a seat beside him. I waved for a stout, drew a deep breath, and we began: no, the weather wasn’t behaving as it should; yes, the saber-rattling was likely only so much wind; how on earth has such-and-such politician retained his office, after the latest scandal. Having confirmed the welfare of each other’s families, lastly, we were technically free to address any topic our minds might conjure.
I signaled the bartender and stood Crowder for another round of plain, for which he was grateful. Slowly we sipped that dark milk and counted the various whiskies on the
"Oh, my God," Bailey said, "there he is." Amira looked: right behind a young, giggly couple entering the bookstore, right before the door closed behind them, a tiny little man slipped inside. He stepped out of the way of the next customers, enormous sneakers pummeling the floorboards and flying away as he brushed off his little wool trousers and straightened his little gray blazer. Amira stared at him with bald fascination; Bailey covered her mouth and blushed furiously. He trekked across the broad plain of hardwood and ducked between a woman's red pumps, disappearing into the shelves.
"You really like him, huh? You go for the short, older, mysterious types?" Amira elbowed her friend, standing a head taller than herself. "He's been coming in a few times a year for the last three years. Why haven't you introduced yourself?"
Bailey looked scandalized. "I don't like him like that," she stammered, "and I can't just start talking to him. What would I say?"
"Tell him what you're into. I
Bradford stood in silence before his tent and looked to the south. Mexico was only 90 minutes away, easy to drive but too far to see. A thought floated up to the surface of his mind: he’d never been to another country before. Well, he wouldn’t today, either.
The sky was a a panel of dark cotton batting that seemed much closer than he expected. Everything out here was wider, flatter, and bigger than back home. It amazed him, how a sky could appear larger than where he lived, and how a large sky could appear closer. The craggy, charred mountains in the distance tempted him to hike out and explore them. Bradford was told this would b