Cast your nets out wide, oh fisherman, towards the rising sun. The village is still asleep, oh fisherman, but the waters are awake, roiling and wild. Your palms are scarred and calloused, oh fisherman, and your shoulders ache.
Haul your catch ashore, meagre it may be, oh fisherman, and build the morning fire. Gut and clean the fish, spit them through with sticks, of fisherman, and lay them o’er the coals.
Rouse your sleeping children and hurry them to breakfast, oh fisherman, before the circling gulls swoop in.
Hang your nets to dry, oh fisherman, and rest your weary head.
Rook looked up from his desk, his steering wheel, the television, his dinner plate and realized he was the same age as the people running the country. Vonnegut was right, he though, this is true terror.
“Well, it must be a good thing,” his wife said. “I mean, we’re pretty smart. If they succeeded, they must be even smarter.”
“I guess you’re right,” Rook said. He went out the garage. Took him almost two hours to find his old rucksack in the rafters. Hidden behind dusty boxes of Halloween decorations, and twice used cross-country skis.
“Jesus,” Rook thought. “What happened?”
“We need more violence,” Lamb said. “We let ourselves get soft.” Her date looked up from his burger, stunned. She smiled and shovelled a handful of fries in her mouth followed by a squeeze of a ketchup packet.
He argued with her while he chewed. Said the usual things.
Doe slid in next to Lamb, two hands wrapped around the giant vanilla shake. “What’s up?” she asked, ignoring the man across the table and asking Lamb.
“He was just leaving,” Lamb said. She flicked her fingers at him. Ketchup landing on his chin. Doe shrugged and sucked on her straw.
I tried to like the things I was apparently supposed to like. The Classics. Joyce and Faulkner and Bronte and whoever else. But I didn’t get it. Them. I didn’t get them. Oh god. Little g. I sound like a freaking idiot. It’s just I don’t think things are meant to mean anything other than the words they use. Otherwise, they would have used the right words, right? Why make me guess? I guess they had their reasons. Makes them seem a little stuck-up, though. Or trying too hard. Why can’t it just be a story about the one thing?
Norman tugged the reins and the horse stopped at river’s edge. Thin and shallow from the long dry season, it walked more than ran. The shadows grew. Stretching from squat, to long, tendrils, darkening as they reached forward. Another rider halted, just behind him. Norman’s horse whinnied.
“Begone apparition. There’s naught for you here,” Norman said stroking the horse’s neck and murmuring in its ear. The other rider remained silent. Looked across the darkening plains.
Norman spurred his horse. Took off at a gallop through the river. Knew the other would catch up, but didn’t want it to be easy.
When I told you to go fly a kite, I was being polite.
I wanted to say go fuck yourself. Wanted to scream it. Nose to nose, and staring you in your eyes. But I said what I did, and you laughed it off as some odd insult from the 1950s. So I did too.
The more I thought about it, though, the more I actually felt like flying a kite. I hadn’t done it since I was a kid. Even then, I might not have ever done it, but got my memories confused with something I saw on TV.
Raccoon went home again.
“Here already?” his mother asked, drying her hands and moving from the sink to the front door. Her smile growing as she approached. “We thought you didn’t get in until tomorrow morning. You should have called.”
“Caught an earlier flight,” he said.
“Well, come in. Don’t stand in the doorway like some stranger. Go freshen up.”
Raccoon hesitated. Then he lifted his bag and started up the stairs.
“Your room’s the same place it was,” his mother called after him.
He looked out his window, and saw the empty spot where Owl’s house used to be.