By Kenneth Pobo
a flashlight right behind this steppe in my head. I’m looking for me. Years ago, as a barred owl, my sad song was like the last drunk in the taproom. I grew forests between my wings. I couldn’t be an owl forever so I decided to be an upstanding businessman who made financially successful deals while singing “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.”
After enough rain I became a school marm. You should have seen my cameo appearance on Little House on the Prairie. Michael Landon wouldn’t rehire me.
My latest self emerges from heaps of discarded selves. Even if I shine the light directly on my new self, I may not see it. The obvious never seems clear.
WANDAWOOWOO WINS WINS WINS
Standing in the check-out line at Pfunct & Tooplip’s Very Fast Machine store, she’s here to buy a plane, on the cheap, that can take her to a tony neighborhood on the far southern side of Pluto.
Most of Pluto is a rag bin of settlers who would rather move back to various asteroids, but they bought when prices were good. Now they sit with frozen iced tea remembering Mayberry and 1313 Mockingbird Lane, places that moved and improved with cancellation. She wins a million dollars for being the millionth customer.
“You’ve destroyed me!” she says, running out onto the street, fearing no truck, hostile mosquitoes of money flying after her.
MR & MRS. VINYL
When Harvey Vinyl met Bamalama Scoophead, they fell in love. Immediately. Like turning on the tap. Only instead of water, they got eternal devotion. It seemed good at the time, but Harvey, after a few years, decided that he could easily slide under the comforter of a computer screen and never be seen again. Bamalama didn’t notice, too busy raising her candles to grow into cathedrals. Which they did, one by one, leaving home, and never returning.
Harvey and Bamalama died within days of each other. It was sad, like when a chimney cracks and tired sheep drop onto the roof.
EB’S SECRET LIFE
The Green Acres writers wouldn’t touch it, but the show’s real story wasn’t a rich guy who wanted to farm married to a humorous Hungarian—it was the bamboozling super-rarified love of Eb and Mr. Haney. A generation gap? Yes, but what’s one more Grand Canyon to cross? Oh, the things that went on in that barn! Shakespearean actors sang show tunes to Andre Breton who, while dead, sang along. Death bleached out his homophobia.
Eb and Mr. Haney lived happily ever after. Sadly ever after. They didn’t live at all. A gang of heavenly angels roughed them up—but gave them a decent cloud. Eternity drops in sometimes for peanutbutter and Pfizer sandwiches.
Oak tree tips talk to each other but only before dawn. When the day starts they get quiet, even mournful—the sun demands much pleasing.
They talk about worms, how boring they are despite being great dancers. They talk about Mr. Bipley who sells appliances at Sears, how he slams the car door when he gets home, smokes impassioned cigarettes that make him see Rembrandt falling asleep in toast crumbs.
The tips do not discuss autumn. It isn’t worth talking about. It’s like a rumor and some rumors have a little truth. But some are big lies and maybe autumn is one of those. As days plunk by, the tips sense something in the air, something fabulous—and horrible.