The evening Magic Show was evacuated.
The police bellowed for order, as stricken audience members fled.
Animal Control responded, to the numerous cries of “There’s a griffin in the concert hall!”
The perpetrator, apprehended, sat tearful and dumbfounded.
Questioning anyone who could hear him, about the whereabouts of his rabbit.
He fixed me with a baleful stare as my pencil scratched.
No wings. Or flames.
Nevertheless, I still fancied myself a modern St George or Beowulf, heart hammering against my ribs, my sketchpad my sword.
Bored with his audience, he slunk away, leaving me to gloat about meeting a dragon.
The ‘pitch’ was full of holes. None of the players cared. About that or the biting cold, rain, or mud.
Time stopped for two white flags and one football.
Caroling, laughter, and merriment replaced the sounds of screaming, rifles, and mortars.
Orders be damned today.
It was Christmas, after all.
I bought him dinner. He was skinnier than I remember.
Empty clip and chamber. Only for show, he said.
We reminisced, and laughed. Really laughed. Hadn’t done that in ages. Neither had he. I could tell.
He thanked me, said I inspired him to change.
I felt the same way.
What scared me?
The loaded gun? No, not that.
That he was prepared to take my life over the green in my pocket? Strangely, no.
It wasn’t that I recognized him. High School…. Calculus, right?
Like the clearest mirror I’d ever seen. And that terrified me.
The first day.
He inhaled deeply, outside the building. Relishing this euphoria. He never asked why the position opened. No need.
His drive to succeed, drowned out the alarm bells. His head amongst the clouds, he couldn’t see the sidewalk.
Or the hastily scrubbed chalk outline under his new office.
He was a unique case, glowering hatred from the rear of his cage. He ate, he slept, and he glared. They endeavoured yet failed to coax him closer. That was, until she burst in, exhausted parents in tow. Four words from her, and the hate disappeared.
“Who’s a good boy?”
Exhaustion. An unsolved murder. Fury. Seventeen different statements. Frustration. No clear way to corroborate any of them. Fatigue. Time for a second opinion.
“Bring them all in” he says as we look through the glass at the prime suspect.
I point through the one way glass, “They are all here”.
Nobody foresaw the earthquake. Fewer still, felt it.
The communion wine rippled, a young girl skipping lost her balance. The sole casualty, the ancient quarry.
Long since harvested barren, and subsequently abandoned, fertile earth and mud flooded in. All the farmers rejoiced, as Mother Nature healed her wounds, and theirs.
Trust the warnings. Be still.
Sound or movement, that’s all they respond to. It listened intently, swaying. Don’t move. It drew close. I could smell the rotting human flesh cocooning its teeth. Detecting nothing, it decided to hunt elsewhere. I didn’t hear myself sigh in relief. But it did.
Cage weighed a ton today. Somehow, the crabs had congregated in one place. It wasn’t his to reason why, since a good catch meant a heavy pocket and a full belly. Still perplexing, nonetheless, at least until the cage opened to reveal several of them feasting on a severed hand.
His breathing stopped. His heart beat as if to escape his body. Every microsecond became a year, every second, a lifetime. His senses felt everything, the ache of his knee on the ground, the enormous weight of the tiny box in his hands. Finally, her mouth moved,
“Yes” she said.