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Where’d it go?

Where’d it go?

no shadow

I was out for a walk when I felt something was wrong. I couldn’t figure out what. I was going nuts trying to come up with the source of my worry.

And then it hit me: I didn’t have a shadow. The sun was streaming down on me, but there was no shade of my body on the ground.

I turned around really fast hoping to catch the shadow, as if it had been hiding. But nope. I even lifted up my foot, and no shadow was to be found.

I looked around at other things: the tree, a telephone pole, a car, other people – they all had shadows.

I closed my eyes for a long moment, hoping it was just a trick of the eye, but when I opened my eyes, still not there.

That’s when my cell phone rang. I answered and the voice said, “It’s me, your shadow. I’m sorry I couldn’t be with you today. I became the shadow for a woman named Tricia. It’s a better fit for me. I hope you don’t mind. Anyway, I gotta go.”

I looked down at the sunlight all around me.

I looked up at the Sun and said, “Are you’re okay with this?”

The Sun said, “I don’t give a shit what you do.”

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Laying on the living room floor with the ghost of Charles Mathews

Laying on the living room floor with the ghost of Charles Mathews

Charels Mathews

I was laying on my living room floor. It’s one of my most favorite things to do. I can lay on there for hours. I’ll get up and get a drink of water if I’m thirsty, but then I’ll come right back and lay down on the floor.

The other day I was laying down on the floor when I was visited by the ghost of Charles Mathews, the comic actor who was once famous in 1800’s London.

The ghost of Charles Mathews said, “Can I lay on the floor with you?”

I said yes. We laid there for a bunch of hours. He shared wild stories from his theater days, like the time he and Charles Dickens had an orange eating contest on the Covenant Garden Theater. The ghost of Charles ate 89 oranges and Dickens ate 112.

I talked about the time I when I was five and got lost in the Grand Canyon. For three days there were 119 Grand Canyon Rangers out looking for me. The whole time I was sitting in a cave with a coyote named Fwidge Wilked. We talked about all kinds of things, like how life seems to not move forward, but moves around in place. We also went hunting for rabbits, and ate at least four. When I was found by the Rangers, I asked them to make Fwidge and honorary Ranger. They said they would. But I didn’t know if they did.

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No wishes

No wishes

I went to the wishing well with a roll of quarters and sheets of papers on which I’d listed a great many wishes.

But when I got there, I discovered the wishing well had changed occupations and was now a drinking fountain. I was upset and let the now water fountain know.

The water fountain said, “I’m sorry that I have let you down. But would you like a drink of water?”

I said, “I don’t. There are other things I would like. Actually there are 49 other things which I have listed on paper.”

The water fountain said, “I’m sorry you went to all that trouble.”

I said, “Whatever.”

The water fountain said, “Sorry.”

I said, “Could you just listen to my wishes this one time?”

The water fountain said, “No, I can’t.”

I said, “I guess I’ll have that drink of water.”

I leaned forward and drank the spouting water.

I said, “That’s pretty good water.”

The water fountain said, “Thanks.”

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The ride on my rowboat

The ride on my rowboat

I decided to take my row boat on an around the world tour. I packed up my boat with a pretty big bag filled with sandwiches, sparkling water, and figs. I wore just a bathing suit, and a sun hat. I unlatched my rowboat from the dock and began to row across the lake. Pretty soon I made it to the mouth of the river. So far, so good.

Then I rowed for what seemed like all day on the river, until I entered the sea. I was pretty tired by then. So I put down the oars and got out and ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and drank some of the sparkling water. I was replenished and began rowing again.

The sea was tumultuous. On top of this, it was night, and it was difficult to navigate. All I could see was the moonlight on the edges of surroundings waves.

I rowed through the night. At one point a bat landed on my boat. The bat asked, “Where are you going?” I said around the world. The bat said, “That’s impressive.” I said, “I know.” The bat left and I continued on.

Soon, the Sun rose and I now saw more waves. They were many varieties of shapes. Occasionally a wave would talk with me. One wave said, “What the hell are you doing?” I said I was going around the world. The wave said, “I’ve been around the world. It’s quite big. But at the same time, I always get this sense that I’ve never left.” Another wave said, “Usually I want to contribute to sinking a ship. But you seem nice, I’d like to help push you towards your destination.” I thanked that wave.

Within three days I made it to the Atlantic Ocean. It was similar to the sea, but the waves were bigger, plus the air was salty.

By now my hands began to get sore. So I put on my winter gloves. I forgot to tell you that I packed them.

I had eaten over 5 sandwiches since I left the dock. I wasn’t worried because I had quite a lot of sandwiches left.

The Ocean was a series of adventures. There were seagulls who landed in my boat. Initially it was because they saw me eating a sandwich, and wanted to eat the crusts. I gave them the crusts, and we had long conversations about many subjects. For instance, one seagull and I discussed how life is really, really, really hard if you’re not doing what you love.

I also chummed it up with sharks. They swam alongside my boat and we had a great many discussions. Sharks are literary folks. They love to tell vast stories, cajole you into byzantine mindscapedes, and extol the virtues of daily minutiae. After a while my mind wore out, and in order to get back my sense of self, I leapt off the rowboat and onto the back of a Great White. When you ride a shark, their intellect immediately falls away, and they become like simple dogs, moving quickly about, leaping in the air, and making funny sounds. When the Great White was exhausted with these endeavors, it brought me back to the boat, and I continued with the rowing.

About a month into crossing the Ocean, I came to the Norwegian Sea. I knew this because there was a sign that said, “Now entering the Norwegian Sea.” It was much colder than any other point so far of my rowing trip. I started shivering. The shivering increased to where I could no longer row. “What to do?!” But then a Great Black-backed Gull landed on my head and I began to relax and stop shaking. I think the talons of the seabird were touching the proper pressure points on my skull.

I looked up and thanked the Great Black-backed Gull, who looked down and said, “No problem. I’m here to help.” The seabird whistled to its neighboring friends. The Common Gull, Arctic and Common Tern, Black Guillemot, Razorbill, Shag, and Fulmar seabirds asked how they could help. The Great Black-backed Gull asked its friends to gather seaweed. They flew off and soon returned with the seaweed. Together, they beak stitched the seaweed into a proper winter sweater. I put it on and felt comfortably warm.

I row-passed through the Barents, Kara, and East Siberian Seas. Sometimes the sea was frozen over and I had to pick up and carry the rowboat. I was surprised that my feet didn’t get cold. It’s amazing the things you learn about yourself when you leave home for a while.

When I got back to rowing in those seas, I met some interesting seals. One of the seals was named Barwickie. Barwickie was excessively kind and giving, catching fish and throwing them into my boat to eat. I was a little tentative to eat uncooked fish because they were still alive. But one of the fish said, “You know, if you don’t eat me, something bigger is gonna eat me in the next minute or two.”

Barwickie the seal at one point got in the boat and asked if she could take over the rowing for a while. I asked if she had ever rowed before. Barwickie said, “No, but I’ve been watching you row for a while, and it looks pretty simple.” I let Barwickie row and she did quite well. I asked if she minded if I napped. She sad, “Not at all.”

I curled up in a ball and fell fast asleep. I dreamnt that I was a¬†Crustacean living at the bottom of the sea. I was feasting on some plankton I found on a rock. In the midst of my meal, I was distracted by strong currents coming from above me. I looked up towards the surface of the sea, I saw the bottom of a rowboat, with oars rapidly splashing into the water. I wondered what could be driving the boat. Were they like me in anyway? Did they have a name? Was it as wondrous as mine, Carmichael Von Brisparisonishel Dulce?”

When I woke up, I wondered if I were that Crustacean or was I me, Mister Brooks Palmer?

After passing through these seas, I came to the Bering Strait, the area between Russia and Alaska. When I squint, I can see very far. I squinted and looked over at Russia. Then I squinted and looked over at Alaska. They looked pretty much the same, except for a few buildings and some trees.

Soon I came to the Attu Island, located on the furthermost tip of Alaska. I parked my boat on the coast and got out for the first time since I left for my trip. I had a hard time walking because my leg muscles had atrophied from four months and rowing and not walking. My legs crumbled beneath me, but I landed on the sand, so I was okay. I got and walked a few more feat and then collapsed again.

This time I was greeted by a sand crab. He said, “I’m Bennie. Good to meet you.” I introduced myself. Bennie said, “How about I give you a ride on my back. I’m pretty strong. It won’t be a problem.” I said okay and hopped on. Bennie the sand crab said, “To where are we going?” I said, “The World War II Peace memorial constructed by the Japanese government honoring American and Japanese soldiers.”

Off we went. I soon saw the memorial in the distance. It looked like a star had crash landed the Earth and it’s rays froze when the star hit the soil. When we arrived, we touched the memorial. There’s something about touching things that makes them more real. I heard that the need to touch things came from millions of years ago when the entire planet was a desert. Creatures wandered the deserts, looking for food and shelter. They often saw what they thought were food and shelter, but upon arriving, discovered it was only a mirage. Thus reaching out and touching became a mirage tester.

I road Bennie the sand crab back to my rowboat, I said thanks, got in my boat and began the journey southward into the Atlantic Ocean.

Soon I came upon some whales. One of them was ornery and tried to sink my rowboat. But my rowboat was constructed from the same thing they use to make buoys, so no sinking happened. The whale said, “I apologize. I think I’m just tired.” I suggested the whale take a nap and it did.

I went south till I came to the Panama Canal. I was told it would cost me $500 to row through the canal. I didn’t have any money, so I had to continue south around the tip of Chile. Then began to head north through the South Atlantic Ocean.

I don’t know how long it took me to reach the east coast, and the dock at the lake near my home in Franklin, Virginia. I didn’t have a watch, or a smart phone. But it doesn’t matter because there’s no time when you don’t have to be anywhere at a specific moment.

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Duck!

Duck!

duck

I lay out on the riverbank and closed my eyes in order to take a nap. As I was about to fall asleep, a quacking duck startled me.

I sat up and said to the duck, “I”m sorry, but I don’t understand quacking. Could you speak in English?”

The duck said, “Yes. I wanted to know if you have some breadcrumbs. I’m awfully hungry.”

I opened up the lunch bag I had sitting next to me, got out the sandwich, and took off one of the pieces of bread.

The duck said, “Thanks, you don’t need to crumb it actually. I’ll eat it whole.”

I handed the duck the piece of bread.

After it ate the bread, the duck said, “So, you’re just hanging out, hmm?”

I said, “Yes, I’m taking a break actually. I’d like to go back to napping, if you don’t mind.”

The duck said, “I don’t mind. But I was wondering if I could nap with you? I’m feeling a little lonely.”

I said yes. I spooned the duck and we fell asleep.

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Settling something with the Sun

Settling something with the Sun

sun

I was out for a walk and felt the Sun bearing down on me. Finally I spoke up and said, “Sun, what’s the big fricken’ deal?”

The Sun said, “I’m sorry I’m raying you so much, but I’ve missed you. You’ve been staying up late and sleeping in till when I’m setting. I can’t get enough of you.”

I said, “Okay, but you know, it’s too much. I’m going back inside.”

The Sun said, “No, wait! I’ll bring it way down.”

The Sun took its rays and collected a bunch of clouds together between the Sun and me. Barely any light got through.

The Sun said, “How’s that?”

I said, “Better.” And I kept walking.