Author: Library Staff

Little Falls

SOUL: god interrupted By Mike Cecconi

Word: SOUL
Word Count 497

god interrupted
By Mike Cecconi

God not as a Norse-Christian hairy thunderer nor hippie-dippy New Age cosmic muffin but God, God as the ocean, God as the sea. God, vast bottomless ancient insanely powerful, powerful in a way that changes shorelines on whim, provided God has ten thousand years after that whim but also, in the moment despite its power, in a given moment just kind of there in background, as the waves lapping at the same patch of sand you saw it lapping against as a child and you will see it lapping against when you’re old. God, never changing in your lifetime because you get about as much breath as a mayfly but on a scale of eons able to change anything. God ocean, ancient and powerful and vast but not sensate in any way we comprehend, too long-lived, too many trillions of waves made, too many trillion more to make. God as something like that.

Someone takes a paper cup, scoops water from the sea, into a cup from a fast food joint and it’s such a small amount compared to the briny blue but ultimately, it’s the same stuff same water as the ocean, a little in one place separate from the rest for a while, small and differently-shaped but still the same as the sea. Inside that cup, that’s you, what you’d call your soul, self-contained and unable to shape continents but made of the exact same stuff, microform in paper cup, that’s you.

Maybe you get lucky and live to eighty and you start to think that you are the cup or that your water and the cup are something inseparably the same. Maybe you have come to think that the words on the side are your name, maybe you think that you are “burger king”, not water pulled out from sea. Someday, though, a long time later, your water will be cast back into sea and you will remember, you were always the same as the ocean. You were always made of water, you were a tiny part of that water, taken away for a little while and you realize that your name was not “Burger King” after all. You realize the real that you were always ocean waters and you will
blend back in, indistinguishable again, you will be the same thing as God again in time.

God, God as the ocean, God as the deep blue ancient ocean. The soul, your soul as a fragment of that ocean, separate and small for a little while, to learn about what it is to be separate and small
then you rejoin that endless ancient sea.

This is the God I want to believe in, this is the soul as I want it to be, that is the God I hope there is, this is the soul I’m looking for, God as the ocean god as the sea, my soul as a little cup of me,
this is how I’d want it to be. I hope.

SOUL: Perfect Harmony, Part Four: The Overture of Elodie and Leo Josh McMullen

Word: SOUL
Words – 499

Perfect Harmony, Part Four: The Overture of Elodie and Leo
Josh McMullen

Elodie had known Leo since their first days together, by sheer coincidence, at the babysitter they shared. Her name was Lacey and she sat in the background as Elodie and Leo grew up together. Even so, she could swear that the two were forever destined to be intertwined. From the moment they were set down for a nap together, she swore up and down she saw Leo smile at Elodie.

Maybe it was her bright aquamarine eyes or the fact that it was someone to pay attention to him, but Lacey knew (even before the two of them did) that their souls just fit together, like two puzzle pieces stuck together in the cosmic box.

Even as they headed to school, Elodie and Leo were inseparable. The two would play in the corner, Leo keeping Elodie entertained while she read the whole classroom library and played on the toy piano that was more like a xylophone. Elodie wound up helping Leo learn how to not only read, but read music as well, which earned him the lead in the kindergarten’s play “The Alphabet Family Goes To The Zoo.” Leo, in the starring role of “Papa L,” managed to bring down the (admittedly biased) house with his rendition of the alphabet song.

Despite that, Leo continued to find his niche in baseball. He set town records in just about every category and managed to graduate from tee-ball before he made it to first grade. No matter what, though, he always invited Elodie along with him for the post-game ice cream cone. Sure, he took some barbs from his teammates, but eventually, Elodie (despite the fact that she had no idea what was going on) was accepted as almost a member of the team.

Everything was fine, until one day after Leo’s team suffered a hard loss in the championship game. Elodie had just come from the bathroom when she overheard someone talking about her.

“Why does she have to come all the time?” one of them said. “She’s not a part of the team.”

“She doesn’t even say anything,” another said. “She just sits there. Man, she’s weird. Doesn’t he know what’ll happen if he keeps hanging out with her?” After saying that, the first kid started shuffling around like some kind of zombie.

He didn’t get much further as Leo stormed in, a flurry of fists. Before anyone knew what was happening, the bullies were rolling on the ground with him, shoving and punching each other before the adults came in to break everything up.

“It’s not my fault,” Leo said to the parent who was herding him to one corner of the room. “They were making fun of Elodie,” He kept repeating to anyone who would listen.

All Elodie could do, all the way home, was look at him and smile. Sure, she had gotten him grounded and benched for a week, but someone had defended her, and that was enough to make her heart and soul full.

CONNECTION: Perfect Harmony: The Second Movement Did That Just Happen? By Josh McMullen

Word Count 500
Perfect Harmony: The Second Movement
Did That Just Happen?
By Josh McMullen
Leo walked out the auditorium doors, the bat laying across his shoulder and his glove hanging off the barrel. Once the door closed, he stood there in immediate shock. Did that just happen? He thought, absolutely stunned. Yes, it most certainly did, a little voice said from the back of his head. I’m surprised it took you this long to figure it out.
He stood there for a while while the last five minutes sunk into his subconscious. He did feel the connection the moment her hand touched his, almost as if she held a live wire when the two hands met. Leo finally walked to baseball practice after another couple of minutes, still feeling the warmth of her hand and unable to get the picture of her aquamarine eyes out of her head.
That did not help on the baseball field, where he promptly wound up missing every single pitch thrown to him by several feet. In the field he was even worse, using his glove more as a parasol than using it to actually catch baseballs. The coach said nothing until the fifth fly ball that went over Leo’s head, when he finally called him in.
“It’s a girl, isn’t it?” The coach said, nodding his head. “Never fails. When a star player like you starts whiffing at balls in the other dugout and watching fly balls soar miles over their head, someone’s either died or a girl’s in his head.”
Leo said nothing and nodded his head uncomfortably. It was surprising Elodie had had that much of an effect on him.
“I expected as much.” The coach stood, deep in thought. “All right, you tell her that I expect her to be at every single game from now until the end of the school year. Doesn’t matter if she needs rides, tickets, whatever. She is to be at every single one of our games from now on.”
Leo stood, dumbfounded. “Coach?”
The coach smiled and patted him on the back. “You’ll see soon. Now, hit the cage.”
After much cajoling, Elodie made it to the game the next day, sitting in the bleachers down the first base line. Despite remembering very little from following Leo around in Little League, she still cheered every time he came up to bat, and every time, as if her cheering guided it, ball met bat. It was, without a doubt, the best performance he had ever had on the diamond.
Nevertheless, the game was close all the way to the bottom of the inning, with Leo coming up to bat. He looked toward the first base bleachers, where Elodie stood, clapping and smiling. The look on her face just said one thing to Leo: “I believe in you.”
He strode to the plate confidently, tapped his bat and waited for the pitcher, and imagined her aquamarine eyes once again. Then, Leo rent the air with a mighty swing of his bat.
The ball didn’t come down until Leo touched home plate.

CONNECTION: Telltale Connection B.A. Sarvey

Word Count: 500
Telltale Connection
B.A. Sarvey

Initially, Gabe didn’t make the connection. He just knew the bank teller’s face jangled something at the back of his mind. ‘Star’ her nameplate stated. Having been a weekly patron for the past three years, Gabe was certain she was new. So where had he seen her?
Back at home, her image wouldn’t leave him alone. Realization hit him like a baseball bat to the gut. It could be her. It actually could.
At fourteen, Gabe had wanted to be a police detective. A dozen years later, he taught biology. But he still had the files gathered during his period of fascination with missing persons. Specifically, children. Did they still put faces on milk cartons? Or had the internet made that obsolete? He found the poster almost immediately. “Carolann” had become an obsession of sorts, partly because they shared a birthday. He tried visualizing Carolann twelve years older, erasing the smooth innocence of her cheeks, hardening her eyes with wariness tainting the friendly hazel. Star’s hair was swept to one side, curled, dyed that purplish mahogany so popular these days. Carolann’s hung in long, straight, mousy-brown pigtails in the photograph her parents had circulated. Nothing you could do to disguise that broken nose, though, even if the broad forehead hid beneath the new hairstyle. And the lip pulling slightly to the left, forming a crooked smile, half-mocking, half-inviting.
It could be her.
Gabe wanted to dash right back to the bank and confront her. His better judgment won out. Tomorrow would be soon enough. After some investigating. Through the internet, he learned Carolann had never been found. Her father called off the search after five years. Her mother was institutionalized three years after her disappearance. According to accounts Gabe read, it was never determined whether Carolann had been kidnapped or run away, nor whether she might still be alive. She was the youngest of four children in a “happy, loving” family. Everyone assumed the worst. The story was sensational news twelve years ago, with everyone from the father to the oldest sister to the mailman implicated. As the decade moved on, concerns for Carolann diminished, until she became a half-remembered tale; just another girl from Buffalo who went missing.
Standing at Star’s window, Gabe handed over the withdrawal slip. He studied her for a moment, her attention focused on the transaction, not on making an impression, not on being the friendly teller. The wariness slipped away. When she turned her head, the mahogany curls moved enough to reveal a shooting star tattoo. The telltale strawberry mark blended in, but Gabe was looking for it. A tiny gold scorpion dangled from a chain. “Scorpio?” Gabe asked. “Me too. When’s your birthday?”
“November thirteenth,” Star replied.
“Mine, too,” Gabe whispered. “Shouldn’t you make that phone call, Carolann?”
“Star,” she blurted, her hand instinctively moving to her neck, the tattoo.
“People change all kinds of things to hide themselves, Carolann. Their name, their hair. A birthday, though…it’s the connection to who we are.”

CONNECTION: Evolution Chapter 20 – Inspiration By Sharon Collins

Word: Connection
Word Count 499

Chapter 20 – Inspiration
By Sharon Collins

In this time of cold winds and raging storms, I am ever grateful to live with Yysha and my children in her cave above the waves. Yysha knows the magic of fire and its warmth and light are generous gifts when the nights are even colder and darker than the days. The girls have done their penance and Yysha has forgiven them or maybe she has just grown used to the emptiness left by Storm’s passing. We do not speak of him or that horrible night, but I notice that Yysa always touches her lips to his clay image just before she lies down to sleep each night. She may forgive but I do not believe she will ever forget. From her earlier time, she knows the pain of being the one not welcomed.

Today, the girls and I hunt the long-ears who turn white with the cold. We each catch one. Before I can stop Frost, she eats most of hers, coating her muzzle with red warmth that steams in the sharp air. I do not reprimand her. Frost listens not. Shadow and I bring ours to Yysha hoping she would roast them over her wonderful fire. Raw meat is good but roasted fat is better we have learned.

When we return she is kneeling before the fire carefully adding her heating stones to a bowl of water and stirring in shreds of bark from the long-hair-trees. The hot smell is harsh and I feel fear. She makes this tea only when she is hurt. Sniffing again, I smell blood. Her blood. Dropping the long-ear, I hurry close. Yes, there is blood on her arm, a lot of blood. ‘How?’ I question, my mind pressing into hers. She tells me of the fall. Deep in the cave, is a warm chamber where she has been spending much time of late. I followed her once and watched as she did the strangest thing. Scraping a lump of dead-fire along the wall of the cave, she brought forth the image of Storm! Seeing the connection between the bumps and cracks in the stone, she captured the hunch of his shoulder, the hollow of his belly, and the stretch of his neck with strokes of black. In the flicker of firelight, he looks as if he might leap from the wall right into her arms.

As the time of cold lengthened, Yysha began practicing this magic often, calling forth the spirits of all creatures. Now there are long-ears, tree-climbers, forest-cats, jumping fish, gulls, and more I do not have names for. She has given Storm’s spirit many companions to play with. Today, while we hunted, she climbed upon a jumble of stones loosened when the earth shook. She reached to capture the outstretched wings of a gull along a high crack in the wall when the slippery stones shifted and she fell. Yysha finishes her tea and then takes me to see. Blood mixed with mud makes the most wonderful color.

CONNECTION: Timil Deeps By Terry Rainey

Word Count 500

Timil Deeps
By Terry Rainey
Because I lived close to OLPS, I did once a week classroom duty, washing the ancient desks and cleaning the chalkboards, full of the words of Sister Mary Xavier, SPC. While X graded papers, snorting and harrumphing, I reimagined the words on the board spelled backwards. I started flipped-over reading with Speed Limit, which seemed “Timil Deeps.” After that sign got into my head, I read lots backwards, so it became second nature. My mother said that I could converse in reverse.
Reinforcing my tendencies, SisterX loved palindromes, phrases or sentences that read identically forwards and backwards. RaceCar and ANutforaJarofTuna were two of her favorites. When she got on the palindrome kick, it could be incredibly boring, as we’d heard them many times in class, so I simply focused on her feet as she talked, imagining her right foot booting a football 45 yards, her left foot as anchor. Sister had no discernible ankles so I always felt that her feet must be incredibly strong, like a statue or a field goal kicker.
Rumor had it that X played youth football till the age of 12, when it was discovered that she was a girl in a boys-only league. She was planning on becoming a Pittsburgh Steeler, but she hid her disappointment by deciding to become a nun, where she could still line up opponents and hit them squarely.
She struck with a thimble, and she had one on her forefinger at most times, and could tap it on heads deftly, so much so that we’d developed a theory that she had five levels of thimble, from mild to wild. Sometimes she just wanted to get a point across, sometimes it was punitive.
Sister saved punitive for extreme violations, which primarily involved cursing and any references to sex. Consequently we developed the most potentially lethal combination of cursing and sex, yet disguised as something else entirely. Mosob, pronounced MooZob, was a reversal of Bosom. Its utterance guaranteed that we’d laugh uncontrollably. Martin always threatened that he’d use Mosob at the opportune instant. He knew that he possessed a nuclear weapon, one that would hit its mark dead on. With its clever execution, anyone would be rendered helpless.
As I was finishing the chalkboard, grunting with effort, X turned to me and palindromed me with her latest: Wepanicinapew! Just then, Martin, who was waiting for me, appeared at the door at the back of the room. He cupped his hands and exaggerated a silent MooZob. As expected I did lose control, chortling hysterically. Sister was a bit taken aback, but she interpreted it as my appreciation for her clever palindrome. Unexpectedly, her eyes met mine. I didn’t have time to look away. It stunned me momentarily. Was there a connection!? Imagine a connection with Sister X! I shuddered, a bit bewildered.
Sister X chuckled at her word wizardry, but I was thinking of another palindrome, one that hearkened back to Sister X’s youth, a quote we attributed to her: “Maisanun,asIam.”

CONNECTION: Serendipity By Sally Madison

Word Count 495
By Sally Madison
Eric entered the Ostrava castle museum first and purchased the two tickets for Lindsey and himself. Lindsey, with her flaxen hair pulled back, was wearing a new black jacket and long skirt set. They would be visiting historical churches and she wanted to be dressed appropriately.

The clerk and the curator stared at Lindsey as she entered the museum door. Lindsey took no notice as she began sweeping the museum with her eyes, stopping occasionally to make quick sketches in her notebook.

Eric moved ahead into the next room, as did the curator, the clerk and other visitors. They were all looking at a magnificent painting, when Lindsay entered the room and stood in the doorway, next to the painting. Everyone’s jaws dropped, looking at her. ‘What? Have I grown a third eye?’ she wondered.

The curator looked as if he had seen a ghost. He studied her every detail, his eyes flashed back and forth expecting her to vaporize at any moment. Eric followed the motion of his eyes to the painting, then to Lindsay and grasped!!

“What? What?” Lindsey was becoming anxious. Two elderly ladies, who had been staring, poked each other. One bowed, one genuflected. “What has gotten into these people?”

Lindsey stood, afraid of whatever everyone else was shocked about. When she turned to see herself in the painting of the Countess of Ostrava, Eric steadied her tenuous form.

Everyone wanted to know what was the connection between them? After catching his breath, the curator rushed up to Lindsey and asked, “Who are you? And how are you related? Are you the scion?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. What is a scion?” she replied.

Hearing as much as necessary, the clerk ran back to her desk and called the editor of the local paper. The wide-eyed editor slammed down the phone, and ran his giant girth through the typing room towards the door, pointing at his best journalist and his best photographer. Their eyes met. ‘This is big, REALLY BIG’ if the boss is going’, they thought. “What’s the scoop, boss?”

“The heir of the Countess has returned to claim her kingdom!” the editor shouted. Before he hit the door he thought, ‘Special Edition… Headline… World Press… Pulitzer Prize… “the award goes to the editor with the best scope of the year”… maybe he should buy a new suit.

The portrait showed a beautiful woman sitting, with a pair of Russian Blue cats in her lap. Her soulful eyes reflected her longing, as she gazed through the castle window. She sat with her flaxen hair pulled back, wearing a black dress accented with black pearls, and the same jewelry that Eric and Lindsey had seen in the museum in Krakow the day before. The black pearl ring was an exact match to Lindsey’s engagement ring that she had picked out last year.

Eric grabbed up his camera and shot a photo of the twins, born 300 years apart.

CONNECTION: World Wide Woof By Mike Cecconi

Word Count 497
World Wide Woof
By Mike Cecconi

Sniffing is, of course, Dog Internet and that’s why they’re as addicted to it as we are to laptops and cellular, able to get by snuffling along low to the ground when there’s no other options but, man, when they get in that car with their head out the window, that’s what dogs call a high-speed connection! So much data they’re overwhelmed, can’t believe the wonders they’re sniffing out of the heavens, that’s why they grumble and grunt so when just walking about normal, those are the sounds of their mid-nineteen nineties telephone modems.

Still, for all they get out of a wind-filtrated information hook up like that, wi-fi for short, there is nothing like the direct feed they can attain with another dog by initiating an FTP upload via the face-tail port and really just sniffing up another dog’s business. That’s like deep diving through all the photos on your friend’s Facebook in one sitting! Dog cannot really know other dogs at all without a thorough FTP session once in a while. There may be more elegant ways for us people to exchange info, like USB thumb drives, but dogs can’t use those, dogs don’t have thumbs!

Of course, face-timing another server’s back-end is not the only way for a dog to take advantage of their internet. Another web-surfing approach is to wander around declaring their domain name on light-posts, fire hydrants and curbsides by lifting a leg and doing some quality streaming. This is mostly done in the medium of HTML, hyper-tuitive marking liquid, leaving their own browser histories for all the other dogs to use their search engine noses on. Oh, the high-speed streaming.

When in the middle of a good sniffing session, you know how sometimes they’ll forcibly exhale to clear their olfactory palate? That’s just the dog internet way of hitting refresh. Walk your pup for long enough, however, and invariably they are going to have to download. You may need to clear this cache yourself, depending on whether or not your neighborhood is cool with corrupted cookies lying around all over the place or not. My tip is to bring a bag with you or at least some kind of gloves to serve as firewalls protecting your hands as you deal with the fact that your dog has just logged-off in the azaleas.

Despite all of the ways I’ve described the dog internet as different from our human world-wide web, though, I hope the main similarity between their scent-based internet and our electronically derived internet has shined through nonetheless: while both webs of knowledge are essential and useful in our respective lives, at the end of the day, most of what is on both of them is just some of the most horrendously disgusting stuff you have ever seen in your life. Just so unconscionably filthy. At the end of the day, that one simple fact unifies all internets. Oh God. Not sure which is more repellant than the other, really.

CONNECTION: The 2E Shuffle By Sam McManus

Word Count 500
The 2E Shuffle
By Sam McManus
The low neon lights glowed brighter for a moment, then the hustle and bustle of feet moving past dimmed their vivacity in starts and stops, like lightning bugs trapped in a glass jar. Feet in sneakers, and loafers, and sandals, and even a few high heels, clicked past at a frantic pace, everyone headed somewhere, and not quite fast enough.
Wheeled contrivances sputtered behind and betwixt those pairs of feet, speeding up the pace, or slowing it down, depending on perspective. The bright television screens lorded over the whole procession, announcing arrivals, departures, and minutiae related to those arrivals and departures, but hardly anyone stopped to look at those television screens. There was too much to do, too many places that needed to be filled with waiting passengers, and they couldn’t be waiting if they didn’t arrive at Gate 2A, or 2D, or 2F.
A family of five rode the horizontal escalator, but they weren’t content to let it set the pace. Frank Johnson, a balding man of fifty, led the way, his Nikes scuffed from too many pickup basketball games to remember. Behind him was his oldest daughter, his stepson, then his wife of eight years, and his youngest, Sidney. Sidney was a girl after his own heart, even though she was barely ten years old. She also wore lived-in Nikes, but she had battered hers with the hammer from his tool chest, a proud moment, even though she banged her hand in the process and let out one hell of a “Gosh!”
So even though he set a frenetic pace, he was careful not to move too quickly for fear that she wouldn’t be able to keep up. Theirs was a vacation that was coming to an end, but he was acutely aware that they would miss their connection to JFK if they didn’t hustle. He had never been to Charles de Gaulle airport before, so the change from Gate 2A to Gate 2E was a huge one, especially since none of their little group had bothered to study the boards overhead that highlighted this shift.
When they arrived at 2A they finally saw their error, and they only had five minutes to spare. Hence the three-hundred-yard dash through the terminal. Luckily none of them had any luggage as it had been transported to the new aircraft when they landed. Unluckily none of them had any of their luggage in case they had to spend an impromptu night in Paris. Frank checked his watch once more, as the lights flickered on and off in the concourse, an energy saving feature, but one that served to drive a sane man insane.
The time for their flight had come and gone by the time he eased around the final pillar, gasping and sputtering, hands on hips. His wife, several paces behind, shook her head, knowing it was no use. On the overhead monitors throughout the terminal a notice was displayed: Flight 265 to New York JFK – half an hour delay.

LUMINOUS: Like June By Sam McManus

Word Count 500
Like June
By Sam McManus
All I knew was I was never wearing a dress. It’s not like we’re in the fifties or something, when all girls had to wear were dresses, or skirts, or whatever else that let guys see up them from the bottom of a staircase. I was never going to be that girl, so thank god it’s not the fifties anymore, but this afternoon, during the assault, I felt like June Cleaver. Which, if you haven’t guessed by now, was not a compliment.
Darren and Carissa stood framed in my doorway, like they had a million times before, but the expressions on their faces gave them away.
“Chad’s gonna be here to pick you up, and you’re wearing that?” Darren said, pointing at my half shirt and capris. He had red nail polish, which was new for him, but matched the stripes in his hair.
“What’s wrong with this?” I said, twirling in front of a nonexistent mirror. I didn’t believe in them.
“Uh… it’s prom,” said Carissa. She was wearing a skintight dress that left absolutely nothing to the imagination, and I wondered if she was promming or hooking. But she was my best friend so I left it alone.
“You know I don’t give in to those stereotypes,” I replied, cool as sin. I was always cool as sin.
“I know Chad’s not going to want to go with someone who couldn’t put the time in to look nice for him,” Darren said, followed by that tsking sound he knew I hated.
“Then that’s Chad’s loss,” I said. They gave each other a look and then tumbled unceremoniously into my room. It was obviously time for some serious triage. I sighed.
“Look, girl, you might be all feminazi or whatever, but some things need to be traditional,” Carissa said, tugging down at the hem of her skirt, but it still barely covered her panties. God knew what she would do when she had to sit down.
“You mean like the guy paying for everything, and the girl being all quiet and whatever?” I responded, plopping down on my unmade bed. My bedspread was Taylor Swift. I was girly enough.
“You’re going to be, like, the only girl there without a dress on,” Darren pressed, as he rifled through my clothes like a salesgirl on crack. At the very back of my closet he found the dress I had been trying to hide. My stepmom had taken me to Dressdown, the trendy place by the airport, the week before, and even I admitted I looked luminous in that little number.
But I didn’t want to look luminous.
“Girl, why you hidin’ all this?” squealed Darren, gesturing at both me and the dress at the same time.
“I’m trying to make a statement,” I said, unmoved by the dramatic display.
No one was ever going to make me over into June Cleaver. And if Chad didn’t respect that, then he could go with Becky. I hear she has damn good hair.