Wednesday, August 22, 2012

a story ("the telescope")

It's funny. A terrible thing happens and I find myself twiddling my thumbs. There's so much waiting involved when someone you love dies and you are not there. We wait for conference calls to discuss autopsies and the catering of a funeral. We wait to hear from the church on whether the chosen day is taken by a wedding or a baptism. We wait to talk to an airline about whether a Christmas holiday, booked just last week, can be exchanged for a September funeral.

I wait for impact. It usually hits in the night. Days are long and guiltily empty. I read Anthony Lane's film reviews like they're breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Things strike me as inappropriately hilarious.

(The island of Kauai, my uncle tells me, does not have its own coroner. The coroner flies in on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Otherwise, there's a part-time assistant coroner. I can't stop thinking about this hapless character. I imagine a weekly television comedy based on--his? her?--bumbled adventures, a sloppy procedural interrupted by the irresistibly irritating coroner proper, swooping in on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays.)

I dig in the boxes under my bed. I find old stories.

"The Telescope" is the only story of mine that my grandma ever read (apart from the books I used to make out of stapled-together pieces of paper with marker illustrations bleeding through all the pages and stories about talking animals in bland childhood scrawl). She told me that it was strange and that she was proud.

It was originally published in 2010 in Sybil's Garage. I ran across the file this morning while looking for things to delete and I thought it might be nice to put it up. So, I did. 

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