Gable Smiled (work in progress)

A different take on A Horse and His Boy

[[Note: This content is edited from the public version. There’s a five question quiz at the end.]]

Valen patted Gable’s muscular neck as they trotted into Lensterville. They’d been ten days out, mostly soldiering Sipio’s vast Northern Plain, and this time of year that meant heat with a capital “H”. Valen could feel his own sweat trickling through the hairs on his chest and back, and every time his Ranger issue travel cords relaxed around him, his scent rose like steam washing his face.

Not pleasant.

Not so Gable’s smell. Gable was a Callisto class ModEquid, part horse part…something. Valen was never sure what and Gable liked to keep him guessing. Mostly horse on the outside, Gable’s sweat was the sweet musk of heavy horse, working horse, a gentle giant unless riled and it took a lot to rile him. There was a tang of trail dirt and rich plains tallgrasses and lathering neck and flanks that Valen thought wonderful, comforting, reassuring, and it made him proud that Gable had taken so to him.

“Let me know when,” he said to the horse.

Gable smiled back, Any time you’re ready.

Valen performed an emergency dismount, Gable still trotting so that Valen landed running beside him on the horse’s left, reins in Valen’s right hand. He knew Gable liked to run side-by-side, the two of them together, and the horse always smiled laughter at the man’s two-legged gait.

No speed, Two-Legs, he would smile at Valen.

“Yeah, well…speed when I need it,” Valen said back.

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What if Today is The Day You Make Oceans?

Make oceans form.

 
A favorite anecdote of mine is this:

A friend’s daughter is a concert oboist. No one else in the family ever demonstrated any penchant for music. One day he asked her what caused her to pursue music with such determination.

She said that when she was a child – she thought maybe three or four years old – the family went on a trip and met a friend of her father’s in a restaurant. She remembers that she was fidgeting because her mother kept telling her to sit still while her father and his friend talked.

This friend asked the waitress for an extra straw. He took out a pocketknife and made a few cuts in it, then put it to his lips and started playing music with it like it was a flute.

Real music. Tunes you could recognize.

He then gave her the straw and said, “Here you go. Play me some music so I can go to sleep when I get back to my hotel.”

She said she didn’t remember who the friend was but did remember that his ability to take a common soda straw and turn it into a musical instrument was magic to her. True magic and she never forgot it.

It’s also what caused her to pursue music the way she did, because she wanted to give others that kind of magic.

That friend was me. I’d been making musical instruments out of straws since I was a bored kid in a restaurant and had to ask my dad to borrow his pocketknife.

But what her story taught me is that we can never know how much the slightest act of kindness – or cruelty – will affect another’s life.

Continue reading “What if Today is The Day You Make Oceans?”

Owen and Jessica

Enjoy your meal, my darling

Owen’s gaze went from the morning sun outside the kitchen window to his laptop screen. He closed the lid so Jessica couldn’t read what he’d written.

Besides, it was time to make breakfast.

He went to the drawer with all the butcher knives in it. There was one he never used. It was Jessica’s and she kept it sharp. God knows why, she rarely cooked. It was a game with her; she’d come home, pull out her knife and hold it up towards him. “You used my knife today, didn’t you? It’s not as shiny as it was this morning.”

He checked the whet of the knife, forgetting his father’s warning: “Scrape, don’t slice.” Blood gathered in the whorls of his thumb. He stared at it and chuckled before licking it clean.

He would kill Jessica today.

The sunlight came through the window exactly how Owen told God it had to come through if God wanted Owen to kill Jessica, and it came through exactly how Owen told God to make it come through so that was it, there was no argument about it, God approved and gave Owen the sign he’d asked for so it was okay to do it and today was the day he would kill Jessica because God sent the sunlight through the window just as they’d agreed.

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Rachel, Above the Clouds…but we’re not sure if she’s Flying

To be embraced by passion, as if set on fire by the sun

I recently had a short story, Rachel, Above the Clouds, published by an online, Across the Margins. The original title was “Rachel, Above the Clouds, While Flying” and was written for a writing class I took in the early 1990s. I updated the technology in the story some, not much. Below is the version I submitted and you can use the link above to read the published version.
I’d appreciate your thoughts on which is the better story, and why.


Joseph Carrabis' 'Rachel, Above the Clouds' on Across the Margin

 
“SolarMax Ten to Houston.”

“This is Houston. Go ahead, SolarMax.”

“Ted, you feeling okay today? You sound awful froggy.”

“Guess again, Rachel.”

“Benny? Is that you?”

“Hi, Raech. Long time no hear.”

“What are you doing riding bridesmaid, Benny? I heard you’d gone civ.”

“I have, I have. Mission Control said the last few days had been rough and thought you’d like to hear a familiar voice on your last morning up.”

“How sweet of them. I’m kind of surprised to hear your voice, though.”

“Well, you know. Mission Control wanted to do something special on your last day up and they brought in me.”

“Thank them for me.”

“Will do.”

“Anybody else down there waiting for me?”

“Well…of course, Rachel. There are lots of people.”

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Ritchie&Phyl (A Celebration of Life) Chapter 8 – Montana-Mexican

Remember me now?

“You got dinner plans?”

“No, not really.”

“Good. Follow me. There’s a great Montana-Mex place about twenty miles down I95.”

“El Nina’s?”

“The exact place.”

Half an hour later Cortazar had a margarita the size of a small aquarium in front of her. She caught Phyl looking at the bowl-sized glass. “Don’t worry. This’ll take me all night.”

“Okay.” Phyl sipped from her beer bottle.

“You joined the force. How’d that happen?”

“You happened.”

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