Miracle HoursDeshelle felt a bit dazed for a moment, forgetting why she was arguing with her mama.
She heard a man say her name and looked down the sidewalk.
"Mama, who is that man?" Deshelle said.
The man was walking away, but he paused to look back at Deshelle.
He smiled at her and walked on.
His smile was sad.
Three hours ago, Deshelle fell off her 18th floor balcony.
She screamed as she fell, screamed for God to save her.
God did not save her.
But her Angel did.
Deshelle landed in his arms as if she had simply tripped into them.
"Hello Deshelle," he said. "You have been very faithful to God!"
"Um, yes, thank you sir, I say my prayers every night," Deshelle said.
She squirmed a little.
The Angel realized she must be uncomfortable. Even though he was an Agent of God and Holy in his own right, he didn't understand children very well.
The Angel put her down.
"Are you an angel?" she asked.
There was an awkward silence as the Angel looked at Deshelle in confus
Babysitter's FableOnce upon a Wednesday night, there was a child who said she wasn't sleepy.
It was an awful lie, of course. She was super-sleepy.
But, because she said she wasn't sleepy, her Mom let her go on the walk with her big brothers.
She walked for a little while, but she was so sleepy that she started to walk too slow.
Her brothers talked to each other and kept walking, not seeing that she was walking slower and slower.
Her brothers were soon far ahead of her.
It was very dark and she tripped on something in the dark.
She fell and rolled and rolled down a hill, until she fell into something big and metal.
She yelled and cried for hours, but no one could hear her.
She went to sleep and never woke up, because she had fallen into one of those tree-branch grinders and they turned it on in the morning. She got ground up onto gooey paste, like red poop, and no one ever found her.
So don't lie to your babysitter and pretend you're not tired.
Terrible things happen to liars.
Go to sl
For Want of My OrchidThere was an orchid growing out my chest.
Right at the top of my breastbone, in that little dip between the clavicles.
The leaves were only four inches long, but the sprays of flowers curled between my breasts.
I miss it.
I understand it is hard to sympathize with dirt. It seems that it's only alive on a microscopic level, and out of sight is out of mind.
But I walk. I talk. I breathe in the CO2 they breathe out. I feed oxygen to their suffocating world. Where I sleep, I feed the abused soil with humic acid and enzymes.
I was human, but now I am the opposite of human.
When they sent me to Tokyo 31, they took my orchid. It would die in the high altitude, they said. It wasn't true, of course. I know why they took my orchid.
They did it to hurt me.
Every day, the spidery hole in my chest reminds me of the orchid roots that are gone.
Every night, the pain of loss makes me cry the pH of the Emperor's Garden just a little more into balance.
Our Most Wretched Wonderous Show "Hey, fellah," a hoarse voice said. "Hey fellah, you dead?"
I squinted one eye open. Oh god.
Hurt, hurt everywhere. I was pain in a body.
"Whu thu hell?" I slurred. I fumbled and pushed myself up. I was in a field. Tall grass waved in the sunlight.
No. I was in a cemetery. Under a tree in a cemetery.
I was under a tree in a cemetery, next to an old man with a shovel.
A bird tweeted jovially at it flitted by.
"The fuh?" I said.
"That's what I was wondering. You look like you got one heck of a story," the old man rasped. He took a canteen off his belt.
"Thirsty?" he said.
I realized my tongue felt like a roll of gauze. I grabbed the canteen and drank.
It could have been piss for all I could taste, but my tongue started to deflate immediately.
"So what's the story, young man?" he said.
There was a painful stretch of silence.
I had no idea what the story was.
The old man sighe
The Bravest Walker (55 words)I couldn't walk.
I've walked in the dark jungles, I've walked on coals.
I've walked tightropes.
I've danced on broken glass, I've leapt from bridges.
Yet, as I eased the slow suffocation from my bow tie, I couldn't walk up to her father.
He waited expectantly.
I felt her hand on my shoulder.
Watch It Burn!Sixty seconds until the destruction of the Earth. I was feeling a little sad now. All that humanity had done. All that we were. All gone in forty sec--
The countdown froze.
"I am sorry," the announcer said. "An unexpected change in the Sun's behavior has delayed the total incineration of the Earth. The delay will last between five minutes and a thousand years. Your tickets are non-refundable. Please see the information desk."
I stared at the Sun.
There it was. Not incinerating the Earth.
I looked at the ticket in my lap.
"I knew I shouldn't have paid for front row seats," I sighed.