That blond stepping on the elevator, she just smiled at the other guy.
She won’t smile at me, won’t even look my way. All she sees is black.
Keep it cool, under control. Don’t let her see your insides. If she did look, she’d just see an animal.
Look away. Listen to your tunes. Leave the bitch alone.
The chicks in here are crazy. That girl just grabbed my ass.
If only you weren’t married. She sways on her spikes, pretending to be drunk. I know she’s holding her first drink. She’s young, too young. But she doesn’t care.
Now she’s shimmying to the beat. Her short skirt floats up, her shirt plunges low. Dance with me.
Keep your eyes straight ahead, your beer in your hand. Tell her you don’t dance. Go home. Never come back.
Wham! The trap of the sink over my head nearly splits my skull. I pull myself out from under the cabinet.
She’s in the doorway, her teddy bear p.j.’s covered with juice.
Take a deep breath. She’s only two. Keep a lid on it.
Remind yourself that you wanted this.
I got the big job! she announces. She’s almost jumping up and down.
I’m happy for her. I really am.
That’s wonderful! I say as soon as I’m sure she won’t hear my fear. I smile. Let’s go out and celebrate.
Pick up your keys. Don’t look ahead, conjure trouble. Just love her. Maybe she’ll stay.
Category Archives: Kim Hutchinson
A half-truth is a whole lie. Yiddish proverb
Just Another Word For
So, I saw a car just like yours, she says, parked behind that nurse’s house. On the corner.
Must be a coincidence, he says, turning away. The car just looked like mine.
Rage and danger bubble under his words.
So did the license plate, she thinks, but she dare not say.
She dare not.
An Everyday Story
A boy rounds a corner on his way to work and stands waiting for a light. Across the street, he sees a pretty girl.
Later that day, she’s in the elevator. He says hello. She smiles.
A few years later, now a harried married man, he leaves for work every day at 8:14.
Today, he leaves at 8:05.
He stops for coffee at the same place as always. He bumps into an old girlfriend; he hasn’t seen her in years. They chat, and he finds out that she’s divorced and lonely.
A decade later, he’s a middle-aged man. His youngest daughter, ten years from her sisters, the apple of his eye, brings home a new friend, a little boy.
He knows the friend’s mother. We dated in high school, he tells the boy.
But he’s startled. The boy looks a lot like he did at that age.
What a coincidence, says his wife, avoiding his eye.
The bankers and businessmen appeared on television wearing thousand-dollar haircuts and sackcloth. Their faces were grim.
The money’s gone, some proclaimed. It won’t be coming back said others.
The money’s gone! cried the people. What shall we do? Citizens began to wring their hands and point fingers at one another.
A few people asked Where did it go? These voices were drowned out by weeping and wailing and by shrieks of fear.
We have to replace it, the politicians announced.
Where will the new money come from? asked many. We must mortgage the future, replied the bankers and businessmen. It’s the only way.
Confused, the people agreed. The losses piled up: credit, livelihoods, homes, families, communities, societies, hope.
Debt spread like a virus, bringing the ills of poverty. The sickened people paid and paid until there was nothing left to sell but their freedom.
In the beginning, there is a word, a word of power.
The first appearance is by inspiration; it arises like magic in the mind of one with an open heart. The inspired one, the keeper of the word, passes it to a few who follow. The followers pass the word to a few more, and they pass it on, and on it goes.
The word represents an idea that changes everything: societies, languages, customs, individual lives. It spreads like a virus, morphing from language to language, growing in strength and followers.
A simple word creates a revolution.
Finally, the keeper, the one who first thought and spoke the word, dies. Those who remain behind must try to understand and honor the word of power. As time passes, some with less open hearts begin to fear it and try to contain it through interpretation and law. Others carve it in gold and ivory and place it on display, then bow to it without understanding.
Dark hearts misconstrue it, to harness the power for their own purposes.
Generations later, the word is laden with analysis and decoration, but almost devoid of meaning. Its message grows weak. The word’s power becomes hidden behind clouds of confusion and cooptation.
But like the sun, the word of power is always there, strong and shining, behind the clouds, waiting for us to hear it, to know it, waiting for another open heart to appear.
The word waits to begin again.
If Wishes Were Horses
The train was late; it gave her more time to fight the tears.
Towns passed the window. People. Families. Homes. She’d left hers behind again.
Tomorrow, she would be a professional, forcing her smile to rise above her heavy heart.
She closed her eyes and wished it were the last time.
“This is why I came here,” says the man from Montreal. He points to a Facebook photo of a woman from Missouri. “We thought the border could be our place, but…
His eyes are red. He falls asleep as soon as the train starts to move. His fingers caress the keyboard.
The thing about a border town is, it’s all about trade. Markets and positions. Proximity. Rules. How to comply. How to avoid them.
I don’t dance because I’m kinky or anything. I’m saving up for school. I’ll start next year, maybe. I’ve got the grades. An MBA should be a breeze.
With my experience, I can teach those academic types who live over near the bridge about the market. I live down by the tunnel with two other dancers. Same street. During the day, we entertain company from the other side. Some days it’s downtown boyz and others it’s Bloomfield Hills types. You know, prep schools and shit.
When I start school, I won’t do day parties anymore. I’ll make less, but I’ll be okay. The rent’s cheap, and the tips for dancing are good. It’s all good. Nothing but sunshine ahead. Next year, everything changes. Time to get serious, stop playing around. It makes me tired, anyway. Like I’m a little tired right now, when I need to sparkle tonight. Got to shi-ine! The customers like it when you shine, and they tip big when you give them what they want.
Pass that pipe, will you?
Fat, lazy snowflakes drifted down, dusting the street like icing sugar. One store window projected a warm glow onto the grey street. Over the window, the sign read Joffrey Russ, Fur Designer. Another read Retirement Sale.
It was a small concession, thought Russ as he looked out. He wasn’t retiring, just giving in. Forty-five earlier, downtown had been full of furriers and upscale shops. Now, his neighbors were a bohemian coffee shop and an Ethiopian restaurant.
Things had changed. In the game of social politics known as fashion, people no longer wore animal skins that were artistically shaped and colored. Instead, they dyed and pierced their own skin.
That was the difference between a man and a fox, he thought while fluffing the display. A fox is always a fox, from one scrounging, sniffing moment to the next. He changes when forced by lack of food, water or habitat. Man often changes because of boredom or because he’s following a notion of progress. A professional woman walked by wearing shoes reminiscent of a child’s patent leather dress-ups and a faux fur coat.
He’d ridden the fickle wave to success and a good life. He would not be bitter about the end of the season. He’d always marveled at the endless variety and characteristics of the skins he worked with, and he now felt the same admiration for his fellow humans.
Today, he thought, would be a good day to order Ethiopian food for lunch.