Friday, August 18, 2017
Monday, July 24, 2017
Thursday, June 1, 2017
From the moment we are born, we are like an arrow launched into the sky. We move through each day, speeding onward in unstoppable flight, traversing our single arc. And like an arrow, we do not know when or where the moment will come when we shall strike home.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
The feeling of liquid running over his teeth, around his tongue, and down his throat brought Les back to consciousness. His mouth grew warm and began to tingle, touched by a certain sweetness, something like honey, but deeper, richer. The way whipped cream is deeper and richer than air, he thought, still very groggy. A feeling of warmth trailed in the liquid’s wake, moving down his throat and into his stomach. Once there, the tingling fire began spreading through his body. His heart responded with a quickening, strengthening beat.
There had been pain in his head, though he had only been dimly aware of it till just then. Now it was lifting, dissolved by some effortless power. Relief flooded through him, sweeping away all the pain and discomfort like so much floating debris. The effect was so powerful that he thought he was going to melt, and slide off the table into a grateful puddle on the floor.
When the surge finally receded, it left him empty and cavernous and hollow inside. The sensation was brief, reminding him of that hanging moment he always felt just before an elevator would stop. It was supplanted by a growing sense of renewed energy and strength. Expanding rapidly, his entire body was soon alive with fresh vitality and a raw, wild sensation of power. He reacted by jumping up from the table on which he lay, even before he opened his eyes. Only a hand restrained him. A very large hand.
“Do not try to stand quite yet,” a reassuring voice said. “Allow the initial effects to run their course. It won’t be long.”
Les blinked, trying to focus. The giant was standing beside him. His name was Polydeuces, Les remembered with a clarity that surprised him. Pol, he had said. Something was different, though. His overwhelming fear of the man was missing. “Where am I?”
“The Portalhouse, young master.” Pol replied, smiling down at him.
Les blinked and stretched his eyes until the room around him came into dazzling focus. It was large and open, and lined with a dozen long, gleaming silver tables, arranged like a dining hall with a wide aisle down the center. The walls were made of seamless panels, silvery-steel, laden with beautifully inscribed patterns. A large landscape picture hung on the opposite side, the green of its meadows, and the blue of its sky ridiculously bright against the metal wall. To his right, a high counter ran the breadth of the room. Behind the counter, extending all the way to the softly glowing ceiling, were shelves crowded with bottles, jars, and bowls of various sizes and shapes. At the opposite end of the room stood a pair of very solid-looking metal doors.
“Young master,” Pol said, “I would like to introduce you to ’Dora. It is she who prepared the elixir which restored you to health.” Les looked around in confusion. He didn’t see anyone else in the room.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Les finally reached the gate near the end of the terminal. The waiting area was already crowded. After searching briefly, he was able to find a single empty seat overlooking the tarmac through a high window wall. With a sigh of relief, he slumped into the chair. His stomach was aching badly, and his legs were still a little weak. He wiped a film of sweat from his face with a corner of his shirt. Navigating through the airport had turned out to be an even worse experience than he imagined.
It started off well enough. The lady at the check-in counter had been kind. When she saw that he was traveling by himself, she gave him a map of the airport, circling in red both the security checkpoint and the gate. As she did so, she instructed him to tell the gate attendants that he was something called an ‘unaccompanied minor,’ which should allow him to board the plane early. She even offered to have someone escort him from the security checkpoint to the gate. Les politely refused, thinking it would look pretty stupid to be walking around with an airline employee like he was a lost child. Still, he appreciated her concern, even as he resented himself. He was pretty sure she had only been so considerate because she saw how nervous he was.
Getting through security was a very different matter. First, there was the line. When Les saw it, snaking back and forth through a cordoned maze of black straps and chrome posts, he immediately began to worry. With a groan, he traced the line backwards, and took his place at the end. The people were bunched so tightly that Les couldn’t even be sure how many times the line folded back on itself. All he could do was wait, watching for the periodic spurts of movement, each of which traveled down the line like a slow-moving millipede. When the ripple reached him, Les shuffled forward a few feet, then stopped. This is going to take forever, he moaned to himself. I’m gonna miss my flight.
At each turn in the line, Les would try to look ahead, and see how far he was from the checkpoint. It was during one of these moments that he happened to lock eyes with one of the security agents. Les’ heart spiked, and he quickly looked away. After that, he couldn’t shake the feeling that the man was tracking him, though he was very careful not to look directly at him again. Stop being so nervous, Les told himself savagely. They might think I’m a terrorist or something. You don’t want to end up in a very small room with a very large man wearing latex gloves, do you?
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
"If it were my decision Pat Tillman would have been a 1st ballot Hall Of Famer."
It was a gracious thing to say, a gesture of remembrance and respect.
|Peter King: It's my football, and |
don't you forget it.
He then went on, apparently forgetting that brevity is the soul of wit, (not to mention the soul of Twitter):
"IMO: Silly to confuse patriotism with athletic greatness. Some will disagree with me. That’s fine. It’s a free country."
Predictably, his open invitation to disagree with him ignited a Twitter brush fire that he then spent the remainder of the day trying to fight, basically by saying the same thing over and over:
"Football players should be judged for the Hall of Fame based on their football credentials. Nothing else."
"My feelings about this, as a voter for the Hall, is players should be judged for football only. Nothing else."
Saturday, April 23, 2016
“No,” Les replied. His leg stilled.
“So, how was it staying at nana’s and tata’s? How’s
La Jolla?” she
Les shrugged. “Okay.”
“Did nana make her green chile?” Les didn’t respond. Lisa gave him a prolonged glance. “Talkative today, aren’t we?” she said archly.
Les said nothing, just stared straight out the windshield as they raced along the freeway.
As she drove, Lisa’s eyes flitted between the road and her brother. “You’re nervous about flying by yourself, aren’t you?”
“No I’m not,” he answered curtly. In fact, Les was nervous about the flight to Seattle, and growing more so by the minute. But he knew better than to admit it to his older sister. Years of bitter experience had taught him that.
“So what’s bothering you?”
“I’m fine, Lisa. Just drop it.”
Lisa was silent for a few moments. “Les, it’s okay,” she said, her voice assuming a softer, lulling quality that Les knew all too well. Here it comes. The heartfelt invitation to spill my guts. How many times have I fallen for that one? It was her one of her most effective tactics, and it always began the same way: she would ply him relentlessly with sincere, sisterly overtures to confidence. He could tell her anything, she would say. She would listen to him without judging, no matter what it was. Mom and dad would never find out. And she sounded so authentic, so convincing, that, even though he knew she was lying, she would still somehow persuade him into believing her. He would reveal whatever dark, horrible secret he was hiding, or the embarrassing incident at school, or the lamest, most stupid little thing; it didn’t seem to matter how big or small it was. It only mattered that she could get it out of him. Well, not this time, sister.
Les leaned back, looked sideways out the door window. The city of
Diego sparkled in the bright blue sunshine, the towers
and skyscrapers stark and straight and proper against the ocean. Behind them, the
graceful curve of the rose and dipped. Coronado
“So, how’dja do in your games?” she asked after a time.
Oh, like I don’t know this one, Les thought. Change subjects, get me to lower my guard, and then come back in for the kill. You’re being way too obvious, Leese. Hardly one semester away from home, and you’re losing your touch. “We went one-and-two,” he said finally, in answer to her question.
“Oh,” she said. “Not so good, huh? What happened?”
Les shrugged as if it wasn’t important.
“So what team are you on this year? JV?”
Les nodded once. If she was set on dragging something out of him, he was going to make her work as hard he could.
“Well, that’s good,” Lisa replied, undeterred. “I mean, at least you’re not on that freshman team you hated so much last year.”
Les stared down at the floorboards. “Yeah, well, that really wasn’t an option, since I’m a sophomore now,” he said acidly.
“I know that. I just meant, well, I mean, you made the cut, right? Plus, now you get to be on the same team with your bestie, so life’s a beach, no?”
Les turned from the window, leveled his eyes coldly at his sister. “Yeah, it’s a real beach.”
She looked at him, perplexed, until she had deciphered his response. “What, Omar made Varsity?”
“Of course he did,” Les said, “because that’s how things always work for me.” He paused, and then groaned loudly. “No, that’s not fair,” he said. “I mean, he totally deserves it. He led JV in scoring last year. Offensive rebounds. Steals. He was their best player, hands down. ‘Course it didn’t hurt that he grew five inches in the last twelve months.”
“Really?” Lisa said, evidently surprised. “So what is he now?”
“Six-one-and-a-half,” Les said. “He said his doctor told him he probably had four or five more inches left to grow.”
“Omar?” Lisa said, surprised. “In eighth grade, you two were the almost the same height.”
“Thanks for the reminder,” Les said icily. Then, sensing an opportunity to take a shot of his own, added, “Besides, you haven’t been around in forever. If you had, you would’ve seen him.”