Think

The Tip

Jenna barely heard the rough clicks of Sam’s key in the door over the gentle hiss of the water as she washed the vegetables. A quick sigh escaped from her mouth. As much as she loved her husband, after work he tended to be a bit grumpy. The fresh stack of bills that lay on the counter would only make it worse. She turned off the water and began to wipe her hands when she saw him come into their tiny apartment, turning to close the door and lock it behind him.

Jenna grinned at the sight of him. He had an unassuming cuteness about him. When she had first seen him at their church she never would have pictured them together. He had shaggy brown hair, hazel eyes, and an average frame that could easily be lost in a crowd, but he was smart enough to know that those were not his strength.

The first time Sam had approached her it was simple and quick. He introduced himself and came off as shy. Each time they spoke after that he emerged from of his shell a little more. It did not take long for Jenna to see his heart and know that it was more beautiful than any other she knew. He had a rare combination of a sweet spirit and powerful intellect. Sam could make you feel like the most wonderful person in the world or like you didn’t exist. He knew the power of words and just how to use them.

(more…)

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Tug of War

When I was seven years old my family took a trip to see one of my mom’s great aunts that she hadn’t seen since she was a little girl. It was a two thousand mile identity crisis. Unsure about her future, she made a desperate attempt to find out who she was by “getting in touch from where she came from”. The trip would have passed through my life like a specter had it not been for my father’s suggestion that we spend an afternoon at the beach.

I did not understand my father’s enthusiasm for this little adventure, but was grateful for any opportunity to escape my great-great aunt’s cat fortress. As I crested the small hill that obscured the water from where we parked I froze. In my head I had pictured a larger version of the lake we went to with our neighbors back in Nevada. This was not just bigger. It was wholly different.

The water spread out before me like a tangible twin of the sky. This body compelled my attention. I was in the presence of greatness and suddenly felt very small and wholly insignificant. I wanted so badly to touch every piece of it, but the magnificence of what lay before me cast out any doubt that I might be worthy to feel a single drop on my skin.

It took an hour before those feelings began to subside. I would not go within ten feet of the water’s edge. My family laughed and joked that I was afraid. They were right, but it was not the simple fear they assumed me to have.

When I first approached the water, I came with the awe it was worthy of. I closed my eyes and let the waves whisper to my toes. Entering deeper I learned one of the great secrets of my life. Wave after wave drifted toward the shore with the gentle rhythm of a pulse. They could be seen and felt. Anticipated. But the great waters carried another kind of wave.

The sun, the birds, and the air I took for granted were ripped from my life as the undertow grabbed me and pulled me into the darkness. Salt stabbed my eyes as I was tossed to and fro. Fear and awe swirled inside me as the tug of war between the light and the depths commenced. I was ripped free of any hold the light held on me and swallowed in the grasp of the water. Then, having proved it’s might, I was released.

Freedom became something new to me. At first, I didn’t know what to do with it. Then, as my lungs started to burn, I remembered the light. I clawed up from the deep with all my strength and when I broke the surface the air welcomed me as a mother does a lost son. I rested in that embrace, but could not shake the effect of being so completely held by the waters below.

Later, sitting on my towel and staring at where the sky kissed the water, I still felt the tug of war.

Copyright © 2012 Adam Drake

All I Wanted

I almost killed him. And I could have done it. I’ve got a hundr… sixty pounds on the little twerp. His big blue eyes were locked onto me until I couldn’t take it anymore.

“What are you looking at Thane?”

His little smile was the kind of evil that is so far from good it doesn’t even know that it’s evil.

“Mrs. Owens, your arms jiggle like the Jell-O mom makes for Halloween. I like Jell-O!”

What would the sentence be for killing a five year old? Life in prison certainly, but would they give me the chair? When I pictured the jury filled with women in their thirties I almost convinced myself I could get away with it. But then I remembered that it wasn’t him I wanted to kill. (more…)

Middle-man

Author’s Note: Each week I write for you, the reader. Forgive me, but this one is for me.

“This can’t be right…”

As Dave studied the lush landscape through the spots on his windshield he quickly concluded that he had made an error somewhere along the way.

From a young age Dave had come to acknowledge certain facts about his life. He would never be the biggest or strongest. The things that fascinated all the “cool” people held no interest for him. But Dave had two things that very few people could match, an insatiable curiosity that drove him to learn everything he could about subjects that piqued his interest and a deep hatred for being wrong.  This combination was strong enough to key to his rapid rise at Unified Solutions, the top engineering firm in the state, despite his deficiency of social skills. (more…)

You Have 48 Hours

Author’s Note: Over the past few months I have had a few requests that, although slightly different, suggested various forms of reader participation so this week I thought I would give it a try. The following is the beginning of a story. I will leave the ending up to you. You can share your thoughts and ideas for what happens next by commenting and I will take one or more of them to finish the story. Let the fun begin.

“Maybe it’s just brown. Everything seems like it’s brown nowadays…”

Zane’s eyes wandered around the interior of the coffee shop as his mind searched for the best answer. “Love” was the first thought that popped up but was immediately followed by the image of his cat Whiskers. It was a noble idea, but hardly accurate if a cat was the primary source of love in his life. He pondered the word “Boring” for a minute, but rejected it knowing it would leave him melancholy for the next few days.

The article that had sent him on this thought adventure still filled the screen of his laptop. Bold letters along the top asked “Is Life That Simple?” The author believed that if a person could find a core idea around which their life rotated, they could find happiness. It highlighted a recent poll that had asked people describe their life in a single word. “Exciting”, “Love”, and “Fun” were the top three answers. (more…)

The General

“Sir?”

“Come in Captain.”

Removing his cap, Captain Tanner Shipley pulled aside the tent flap and entered the world of green and brown that some of the men called the turtle shell. General Saunders sat behind an Army issue desk studying the latest maps. All that could be seen of hard-nosed commander was his closely cropped silver hair.

“Sir, your requisition has come to my attention.”

General Saunders looked up for the first time and adjusted his spectacles to see his visitor more clearly. He waited silently for the Captain to continue.

“There appears to be a… oversight in the request.” (more…)

The Switch

Two quick knocks were answered from behind the large oak door by a curt, “Come.” Anderson Hill took a deep breath and turned the steel knob. The sensation of walking the plank struck him as he entered and saw the Pacific Ocean stretched across the horizon just beyond the windows that filled the furthest wall. He struggled to focus on what he had practiced as he approached the enormous desk where his boss sat shuffling through a small stack of papers.

“Sir, I have the footage for the latest episode. But it is… a bit different.”

James Vandenbaugh did not enjoy unnecessary preambles. The direct approach was Anderson’s only hope of coming away from this with his job. As Mr. Vandenbaugh looked up from the document he had been reading he removed his glasses and glared at the man who had just told him the one thing he had never let happen during his tenure as Producer. His blue-grey eyes seemed to darken like the ocean with a storm on the horizon. One finger rose and lightly stroked his temple. He studied Anderson for a moment letting silence fill the space between them.

“Explain.”

Anderson held up the disc that he carried in his left hand.

“It might make more sense if I show you…” He tried to sound confident, but still it came out like a half-question. (more…)