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May 26, 2005

Volume 1, Issue 14

Today's theme: a random line ripped from a random book pulled randomly from the somewhat randomly assorted books on Andy's shelves.

It is difficult to speak of things that have never materialized, of beginnings that never got beyond a "maybe" or an "almost."
Run with it, lil'chirrens, run.

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They joked for years about how corny it was, picking up her bags in the snow after they collided. Married two months later, he recalled their first house - the one with the dormer window where she would sit to read. The terrifying but wonderful birth of the twins, Steven and Gregory, and they day they won the baseball game in the state finals. Retiring to Arizona, but still holding hands at the breakfast table.

"I'm sorry. I'm married," she replied. She pulled her mitten off with her teeth to show him the rings, then she walked away into the snow.

Posted by: Tanya at May 26, 2005 5:28 AM · Permalink

Someone had left the book at the bus stop, and Jack picked it up, opening to a random page. He read the line about "maybe" and "almost". He shook his head, and tossed the book back on the bench. It was a bunch of garbage. When your life hits the skids, and most of your evenings are spent in a drunken stupor, "maybe" and "almost" become your best friends. Jack reflected on the number of "maybes" and "almosts" that he was certain would have led his life down a different path

No, "maybes" and "almosts" were easy to speak of.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at May 26, 2005 5:55 AM · Permalink

She smiled at her son, and as she reached up to hug him she thought of the happy infant he had been. His fall off his first two-wheeler, the broken arm, scribbled birthday cards to her, and Little League trophies, his face as he saw his bride approach and the excitement in his voice when he told her of his first child. He looked down at her, smiling, guessing her thoughts.

A hand was patting her awake, the machine was turned off, someone hustling out of the room carrying a silvered basin.

“All done. Thank you for choosing Planned Parenthood.”

Posted by: Darleen at May 26, 2005 6:41 AM · Permalink

Manners climbed from the pod and surveyed the landscape, struggling within the confines of the bio-suit. It looked much as they had described it should. Towering ferns, bright green fronds and huge leafy plants formed a wall around the clearing where he stood, the only man yet alive. He checked his craft carefully and found a small crack in the fuselage seeping a blue fluid onto the pale yellow elephant grass. He stood silently for a moment, and then the traveler turned and walked slowly towards the glinting pool just beyond the edge of the clearing. Soon, Manners wasn’t anymore.

Posted by: spd rdr at May 26, 2005 6:45 AM · Permalink

How could she come in here? I caught a glimpse of that hair, that funny walk. Collecting my thoughts in the kitchen. I don't think she saw me.

The last I saw of her was after graduation. Plenty of fun business classes we had together. The one time I managed to get her out we never got past the course material. Marketing. That stoner fuck, we could have presented on the healing power of microwaves and gotten an A. Especially if I let Tracy talk.

Our first conversation in 3 years, and my opening line is "Welcome to the Trattoria..."

Posted by: hayner at May 26, 2005 7:01 AM · Permalink

The reds, yellows and browns of steep spires and buttes stood out in harsh relief against a perfectly blue sky that extended from horizon to horizon. A few improbably round boulders teetered precariously here and there.

There usually wasn’t much opportunity to enjoy the scenery. His daily Sysiphian task kept his attention focused. But for a few blessed moments each day he could relax and take in the startling beauty of the desert.

But it did not last long. Inevitably, the wind stopped whistling in his ears and he made yet another coyote shaped outline into the hard rock below.

Posted by: Jim Parkinson at May 26, 2005 7:22 AM · Permalink

It is sunny day on the cental east coast of Florida as Jean watched the liftoff from the outdoor public area. It was a day much like this one the summer after man first walked on the moon that she marched into the employment office with a freshly minted degree to make her mark on the future.

She had caught fire with the speech and dedicated nine years to be a part of the next step, knowing she was to young to be a part of the first step.

The ruefull smile that crosses her lips over the stumbles since.

Posted by: Blaine at May 26, 2005 8:29 AM · Permalink

"I'm sorry Mrs. Weston, none of the embryo's survived. At this point in time I wouldn't recommend trying the procedure again. Usually after five failed attempts the chances are very rare that you'll ever become pregnant."

Every hope and dream slipped from her soul. No 1st birthday parties, no bouts of colic late at night, and most of all no small fingers wrapping around hers with a small little voice calling her Mommy.

Stiffening in her chair with a steely resolve she stated, "Then I suppose the next step is finding a surrogate mother."

Some dreams just refuse to die.

Posted by: Minet at May 26, 2005 8:38 AM · Permalink

The first time I went to the Goblin Market, I traded the memory of my first kiss for a statue of a falcon, made from purest gold, with amethyst eyes. Not the best deal I ever made, nor the worst.
The dreams and hopes of what my daughter, dead at seven, might have been, fetched me a candle that burns forever, a box full of sunsets, and a wind-up mechanical toad that catches flies.
Sometimes I wish I never found the key to Faerie's gateway. And sometimes I wonder just what I could get for that desire of my heart.

Posted by: Jeff R. at May 26, 2005 8:44 AM · Permalink

“Early returns show a sizeable lead in 44 states; we feel confident in making a prediction now: Paul Sloca will be the next President of the United States…”

“Three and two the count; they really need this one… Here’s the pitch, low and outside… Sloca nails it! Just over the left field wall – that’s the game! Yankees win the Series 4 to 3…”

“Thanks to the work of Nobel laureate Paul Sloca, researchers believe the cure for cancer is now in reach…”

Paul sighed. None of his dreams meant anything without her. He closed his eyes and squeezed the trigger.

Posted by: Keiran Halcyon at May 26, 2005 8:48 AM · Permalink


“What is it, Bones?”

“Jim, I’m worried about you. Nobody has seen you on the bridge, you don’t talk to anyone...

“It’s been a month now. You’re hurting, hell, we all are...but we have a job to do. It’s what he would have wanted.”

“I know. You’re right, you’re right. It just...shit, it still just hurts too much to talk about.

“We take all this technology for granted, don’t we? Squirting ourselves across subspace, putting everything back together at the other end. Foolproof, they said...

“Who would have thought Spock would walk into that transporter and never come out?”

Posted by: Elisson at May 26, 2005 9:20 AM · Permalink

Nevada at night, it turned out, was only slightly less interesting than the daytime version. Silence stretched long as the night wore on.

Mike stole a glance when he thought she wouldn’t be looking, caught her eyes an instant as she blushed and looked away.

She’d been his little sister’s best friend forever, and had been in love with him almost the whole time. He’d known for almost as long.

362 miles to go. It was late; they could stop for the night. An exit for one of the tiny nameless towns was just ahead…

He nudged the accelerator down.

Posted by: Keiran Halcyon at May 26, 2005 10:05 AM · Permalink

"Sheila. Call it 'Sheila' at work so no one suspects what we're talking about. We don't want Barry to steal this idea then fuck it up."

No we did not, and yes, yes he would indeed if he got his clumsy, salesman's hands on it.

"We're going to be rich."


"Imagine, a totally anonymous internet including purchases."

"And the riches."

"Yes, the riches."

"It's not like we're getting fucking diamonds and tiaras."

"Riches is more fun to say, though."

"Now to just find funding. Which should be easy. This is, after all, the year 2000. There's internet money everywhere."

Posted by: marc at May 26, 2005 10:23 AM · Permalink

They sat in silence, contemplating her decision. She was still sore, and would be for a few days. Their pain, however, would last much longer.
For years from now, when each went their separate ways, the memory of this day would haunt them.
She in the doctor’s office, hearing the description of her inability to procreate, and the pain of knowing her husband would never be satisfied that “she just wasn’t ready back then.”
And he, in the waiting room, being asked by expectant family members from others’ families, “Is this your first?”

But they really weren’t ready, were they?

Posted by: Mr.Parx at May 26, 2005 10:47 AM · Permalink

He almost loved me...

Posted by: Who cares at May 26, 2005 11:34 AM · Permalink

"Is this your first?"

"Oh yes."

"I remember my first." The technician smiled as she tugged on her gloves and dimmed the light.

"Have you been trying a long time?"

Harriet bit her lip and nodded, not quite trusting herself to speak.

"Hold still now please, OK?"

In the dim light from the screen Harriet watched the smile gently fade from the older woman's face. She had such a kind face.

"Sometimes. . .sometimes it's hard to find the heartbeat," the technican said. "It's very small when you're only twelve weeks along."

She moved the probe again, searching.

But Harriet knew.

Posted by: Carthoris of Helium at May 26, 2005 11:52 AM · Permalink

The day after the day after the world ended was a day like any other.

Except two days earlier, the world had ended.

This still did not keep the survivors from hoping.

Hoping for the real end to come this time.

The hope, however, remained unspoken. For how does one admit to their fellow survivors they wished everyone had died?

Eliot once wrote, “This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper.”

Shouldn’t they be happy they’d survived?

Or had they?

Posted by: copygodd at May 26, 2005 1:48 PM · Permalink

Varus thought things were going rather well.

The Emperor would be pleased. Another province, and all that implied. Roads, colonists, commerce.

And so the Empire expands.

Suddenly there was shouting from from the head of the column.

"What's all that commotion?" Varus said to his aide.

Posted by: Eric Blair at May 28, 2005 6:11 AM · Permalink

Check before you post!