This article is taken from Stand 226, 18(2) June - August 2020.

Michael Cadnum Two Short Stories
Promise, Wet as Sharks

The rain wouldn’t stop except to come back even worse. Persistent ground-dwelling creatures—crayfish and eels—impregnated the lawns. Not even winter, and the coffer dams up in the forest canyons would be spilling-over.

The town was eager for trouble, let me put it that way. You could not have festivals or holidays without something bleeding. So we felt we had outgrown the woodland of mossy corrals and Saturday night brawls, as we made arrangements.

We rented a trailer and hitched it to the four-cylinder with the one-hundred-and-ten-thousand odometer and we made it all way to the desert without a problem. There was the new office, with a residence in the back. A cactus with big round green arms that were spiked all over. Did we miss the wet, the Spanish moss, the way books stuck together, patches of empty space when you sat down to read? I got pregnant.  

Yellow weeds. White gravel. Dry-lip grins. Scorpions angry, shivering-mad hooks in the closet. And, hiding in the patent high-heels, baby rattlers. Well, one, and that was enough. In the garage among bargain cartons of forty-weight—tarantulas. Welcome home.

This was a world of no dimensions at all.  No death. Nothing to reach for. Now and now and now = daylight. And at night I made my living naming what had no names, the underside. The echo. The to-be-determined. I played stocks, buying wind, making omelets.

I was called upon to spreadsheet the future. I thrived. Crows raided the eggs ...
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