Cora-Sue

Saturday Oct. 16 1946 Batesville Arkansas The river sparkled like a bucket full of costume jewelry. Along both banks the trees were full of gold, greens, and red. Leading the procession a slow churning barge gleamed with the brass of a high school band. In rows on the wooden deck, the players fidgeted in white chairs. The second river barge chugged along behind. It had a bulky wooden throne, painted gold, standing tall in the middle.
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Jack-o'-lantern

The neighborhood was a crumbling bastion of homes whose architecture remembered a different sort of Los Angeles. Streetcars once clanged along there, kids strolled barefoot and watermelon slices were the snack of choice. There were ferris-wheel nights on the Avenue, and sunday matinee starlets – soft-focused visions with butterfly shadows. It must have once seemed the endless summer of youth had been captured on celluloid as only Hollywood could, a projection to be played over and over again forever.
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Dan The Man

Almost in a glass sphere (set apart from the hectic life) cottonwood fuzz drifts light as air in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. There, stands a quiet place. The house is rustic—a solitary affair with a wraparound porch both airy and deep. A knee high picket fence partitions off a weedy little herb and flower garden. Half under the eves stands an apricot tree shivering loose white blossoms.
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Night Train

A distant clang and click reverberates down the corridor and through the bars – an idiotic reminder for the sleepless. Overhead the catwalk metal pings under the weight of a slowly pacing prison guard. This one toys endlessly with the safety catch of his rifle. Over the tips of his teeth whistling thin as a tea kettle on low flame the lullaby is My Darlin’ Clementine. The guard turns and passes overhead again.
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The Rule Breaker

It was a Saturday morning. “The coffee maker is not ready yet,” said one of the old men. Like the present company, his body was swollen with mismatched layers of cold weather wear. It was a white room with a dozen men, three couches, and a large screen television flickering with the morning news. On the sink counter, under locked and labeled cabinets, was one of those tall stainless steel tanks – good for brewing thirty cups of coffee at a time.
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Like The Spirit

The dash radio crackled as chain-lightning danced low on the horizon. In the next moment the truck cab jangled again with the biscuits and gravy of country-western music. A solitary gust of wind buffeted Jake’s progress down the road and large drops of water splattered on the windshield. This was the big country under the influence of rolling weather. Though the tremendous line of thunderheads was ten miles distant their effect on Jake’s sense of things was to reduce the two-lane county road to a thin cleft shot through a leafy sea of green — deep with maize — unbroken to the drooping fringe of blue.
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Never Say Goodbye

Approaching midnight on a smooth stretch of remote county road, the air was crisp, the stars shining hard and bright. Jake’s truck lumbered and loped through a restless idle. Parked on the center line he owned the abandoned road. His dash lights glowed warmly. Jake stashed a pint bottle under the seat, pressed his mouth to his shirt sleeve, and touched the radio volume up. The cab jangled with the biscuits and gravy, the deathless sweet Clementine, of country-western song.
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Drunk Dialing

Itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the water spout… In the next room Grace sung softly to herself. The bathroom sink counter was littered over with crumpled squeeze tubes and scented bottles — all in hygienic disarray. Among this congestion was a fishbowl. Down came the rain and washed the spider out… The fish bowl had a gravel bottom of pink and blue. Standing askew in the middle was planted a red phonebooth in miniature.
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The Big Deal

Dan was not heroic in any sense of the word nor was he morally minded. In the same situation any stranger might have come as much to the rescue. When the store shelving crashed to the floor in the deli department of the super grocery Dan was soon to understand he might as well have been the only stranger in town. Two things his friend advised him before visiting the town of Questa in the valley.
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Acuppa-Cuppa

Inside Acuppa-Cuppa, on the corner of Camino Carlos Rey and Rodeo, the cafe glass front looks on a sidewalk patio, the parking lot, and a small dirt island (the home of three aspiring evergreens). Light traffic rolls by and the sky is the flavor blue. Winter has only flirted with Santa Fe and the day is almost balmy. By the door two overstuffed lounge chairs bookend a small table set with a vibrant chrysanthemum.
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