Friday, December 31, 2010

Stay Just As You Are

Harry B. Sanderford

It was coming clear to God that his booze-fueled midnight resolution to quit smoking, drinking, lose weight, and keep a more watchful eye on his cholesterol and sodium may have exceeded his actual resolve. He knew he wasn't getting any younger, but it was only 10:30 am and already he was chomping two packs of Trident and calculating angles that might justify his taking a wee hair of the dog. It'd been a hell of a party and he was slowly piecing together certain cloudy events that might just require his passing out apologies when he bit down hard and finally, truly, understood that verse in "Ole Dan Tucker" about Dan dying, "with a toothache in his heel." Howling oaths unblessed, the normally benevolent deity spat out a filling along with the glob of sugarless gum and when he was finally finished taking his own name in vain, he smote four out of five dentists with nary a thought and upon a moment's reflection, smote that contrary fifth one just for good measure. Later he would reconsider this reaction and think it perhaps a bit severe, but for now it felt like old times and it was good. 'Happy New Year', he thought as he sparked a blue-tip match to life with a thumbnail and set fire to his first Cohiba of the new year.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Southbound


Harry B. Sanderford

Maggie leaned her forehead against the cool glass of the Greyhound bus window. Over the river and through the woods, she thought watching the snow west of Interstate 95 melt away into skinny pines and palmettos. 
Brunswick 2, Jacksonville 70, slid by riding a green rectangle.
It had been fifteen years since she’d been south of Atlanta, twenty since she’d been home. A lifetime, she thought shifting position to stretch her legs. As a young girl her curiosity and ambition had been far too great to be contained in any small town. Maggie grabbed her diploma, loaded her Corolla and left Middleburg and everyone in it behind like shoes that no longer fit, to run barefoot out into the world.
She flipped a coin at Interstate 10 to choose between Hollywood and New York City. Heads, the Big Apple. Tails, Tinsel Town. Heads it was, so she stayed on 95 North and headed for the Empire City.
She did ok there too, better than most. A pretty girl and smarter than some, she found work right away. She modeled for catalogs at first. An agent spotted her in J.C. Penney Ready To Wear and soon a couple of local commercials, then a part in a sitcom pilot came her way.  From there, she was off and running. The good life came easy, but it did not come free.
 Big Talbot Island State Park, I-10 Baldwin, Maclenny 2
Maggie arched her back and rolled her head side to side working out a kink. She’d been to so many exciting new places and met so many new people. She’d fallen in and out of love maybe a time or two more than she cared to recall. In the end, how much of it really mattered? Her name was short for Magnolia, not Margaret like most would guess. All those winters spent with the terribly cool and sometimes the down-right cold, had taught her one thing; not every tree is meant to drop its leaves and stand stoically awaiting the arrival of spring.
Lakeside, Middleburg 3
Florida was a coin she tossed. How could it now be burning a hole in her pocket? All she knew was, the closer she got, the more she just missed home. She wondered how home might feel about her. She had not called ahead so nobody met her at the depot. It wasn’t so far now.  She picked up her suitcase to walk the last leg of her journey down the dirt road that led home. At the crossroads where her daddy’s property began, she sat down on her suitcase and lit a cigarette. Maggie had seen the foot-lights on Broadway, the bright lights of Time Square on New Year’s Eve, and surely the lights of Paris brought a tear to her eye, but it was a thousand feet of Christmas lights strung on a barbed wire fence in the middle of nowhere Florida, that finally made her break down and cry. 


Friday, December 17, 2010

Sugar's Six For Santa

Harry B. Sanderford

All Sugar wants for Christmas is coffee in bed. She'd like just one long lazy morning with the Sunday paper strewn all over tarnation and Buck there beside her reading her funny and bizarre bits of news. Buck with his own brand of commentary of course, making her laugh and telling her she's pretty. He could light the wood stove and make blueberry pancakes while she looks over the sale ads, hollering to him when she spots a bargain. Maybe they'd work the crossword together while they ate, Buck making up words, Sugar rolling her eyes. After breakfast Buck might tell her she has syrup on her chin and then leaning in, kissing it away, find more on her cheek, her neck, her knee.

Sugar's been a good girl Santa

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dr. Ramsey M.D. W.W.B.R.D

Harry B. Sanderford


Dr. Ramsey cleaned his nails with a set of dollar store clippers emblazoned with WWJD, that he picked from a peg board wall of similarly monogrammed items ranging from flashlights to forceps. He thought about his patients who gave thanks to Jesus. It seemed to bring them such comfort but for the good doctor, only doubt. He may well be the truth and the light, the good doctor smirked clicking the switch on a plastic penlight, but apparently batteries are not always included.


Ramsey finished his one dollar manicure with the notion of faith still lingering. It wasn't that he begrudged his patients their beliefs, fact was he longed for something to believe in himself. Maybe I could adopt an acronymic life philosophy for myself, he thought tossing batteries, pickles and packing tape into the cart. He continued wandering the aisles gathering kitchen and office supplies and pondering life's mystery until eventually arriving in children's toys as if led by a divine hand to the peg-hooked beacon dangling before him.


Back in his car he tossed the rest of the one dollar disguise kit into the back seat, adjusted the mirror to smooth his new mustache, yelped a giddy laugh, and punching the pedal to the floor, sped off into his new life guided by a single philosophical question: What Would Burt Reynolds Do?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tough All Over

Harry B. Sanderford

What I'm talking about are people who genuinely believe they are struggling because the antique Persian rug they do their yoga on is made of wool and therefore is too scratchy. The economy being what it is, they fear they'll take a beating trading it on the silk one that will not chafe Mistress's knees. I'm talking about people with crab quiche on their breath and cars that never had a payment book or leaked important fluids on the driveway, looking me straight in the eye and telling me about hard times.

The gentleman of the manor has an insatiable penchant for fine art and times being what they are, now regularly calls upon my services. Telling me his story about the economy is his soft effort at driving a hard bargain. I just keep looking him in the eye as I help myself to a Cuban from his humidor, light it with the silver lighter next to it, and put the lighter in my pocket.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tangerine Unforseen


by Zelda Martin & Harry B. Sanderford

Sadie was outside looking for the newspaper and cursing the cold, December wind, when she spotted a bright orange tangerine lying in the middle of the snow-covered driveway. Like a beautiful painting, the incongruent image of the citrus in the snow seized Sadie for a moment, eliciting laughter even as tears formed in her eyes and her heart swelled with what she would later decide was joy, then quickly sank with what she knew to be sorrow upon realizing that the pretty perishable was cradled not in the snow as first thought, but rather perched just above it on the frozen tips of a man's fingers. Her mind raced wildly, wondering if she should brush off the snow and see who the man was, or if she should dial 911, or just grab the tangerine and run back into the house and eat it. Sadie's deliberations were settled when she broke into a run, arms flailing, yelling, "Shoo, GO-Wan, SHOO!" at a great black crow who had swooped from the power line landing inches from the fruit; more amusing than frightening her feathery foe when she slipped on a slick spot and slid in a butt-first beeline towards the frozen man, the crow and the fruit. She hit the crow with one cheek, sending him cawing into the air, and the tangerine with the other cheek, sending it rolling down the drive, and then she ground to a halt, stuck on those cold, stiff fingers. Horrified, embarrassed, verging on hysteria and to be honest just a little turned on by the cool fella's glacial grope, Sadie whipped around to see if her indignity had been observed. Finding the crow her only witness, she watched him peck twice at the frosty fruit before abandoning it to resume his post on the wire. Then she screamed and nearly joined him there when she felt those fingers move.


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