Once Upon A Timely Moment
Tom Sheehan
Break
Apprehensive, she pushed open the door to take a final look, to check the Earth as far as she could see, to measure, to see if the gods she held were less than perfect. This was her world. The terror she found was in the measurement, in the time she had spent exploring dividend possibilities, the market's surge, a late movie thought more boisterous than life itself, someone's divorce, chicanery and outright theft, and a rigged election all too soon winked at. It came at her, the swift thought: our feet are caught in place: we are sucked into loam and hardpan and left for all of this rock; we are locked up tighter than the grip of stable Earth's 17-degree axis. Escape is not here, or atonement for us. She kept saying "we," kept herself aligned in that rare and human confederacy. There was assessment and agreement not known about; at that moment, in one half-held breath, hoe in hand, eyes gone to marble, a gaunt Filipino suddenly apprehends a minor shift in the Earth's crust. It is the awed way she would know a tilt at a pinball machine. Beyond him, her, momentous Krakatoa, an island yet, proves to be imaginative again at the foot of history, and is no longer breathless. And deeper yet, farther away, thought to be buried out there in the fluffed accountabilities of Time, one long horse-tailed, red-eyed, incommutable comet picks up a little bit of left-hand English... just for the hell of it.



Magnolia and Maxine Heading South
Tom Sheehan
Break
Every time the red Corvette passed a construction site, Magnolia tooted the horn and waved wildly, tossing and flipping her hair in the breeze or the draft, bouncing herself around in the Corvette seat.
"They'll think about it all day and all night, honey," she said to Maxine, "and they'll tell their buddies about it over drinks tonight, sitting up there at the bar shooting their own brand of dreams and hopes and good wishes and shit and shinola all rolled into one. Way they do things. They'll have a nice night thinking 'bout what it coulda been today we out there thumbing when that little Firebird flew on by us like some heav'nly star chariot, them two goddamn angels sittin' proud up in it like they wuz riper'n shit under a three holer. Most of them deserve it, hunks a men all at sweating up this world of ours, making it nicer right from the ground up."
When Magnolia one time caught Max looking sideways at her, she simply said, in a straightforward voice, "I'm real, girl. Real as they come," and she laughed again at another inside joke, as if life was one great big show.
Once, about to pass a huge chrome-laden Kenworth rig, baby-blue with white trim, wide as a mortgage and hauling a long-body trailer, her red hair flying like a special Triple A road standard, but one without any admonitions, she whipped her dress top down so her gorgeous breasts beamed proudly in the sunlight. She tooted the horn as she went slowly past the rig, smiling at the driver almost falling out of his side window, his face round, his arm huge.
"That'll take him from here to California and back, hon, even if he's hauling shrimp out and lettuce back. That'll take him in and out of a hundred truck stops between here and next year, hon. Guarantee, if you ever bump into him, he'll be talking about us, how we passed him on the highway, the top down and the jugs high and proper for fitting. I guaroantee it," she added, saying it like the guy in the Cajun cooking commercials a few years back.
A mile down the highway they could still hear the repeating and long moaning diesel sound of the trucker's horn, like the whistle on an old nightline freight train hauling down through the southern plantations a load of longing and missed chances around a long curve in the roadbed and out of sight forever.
Tom Sheehan’s short stories, Epic Cures, from Press 53, won a 2006 IPPY Award. A Collection of Friends, Pocol Press, was nominated for Albrend Memoir Award. This Rare Earth & Other Flights, poems, was issued 2003 from Lit Pot Press. He has nine Pushcart and two Million Writer nominations, a Silver Rose Award from ART. He served in 31st Infantry Regiment, Korea, 1951, and retired in 1990. He meets soon for a lunch/gab session with pals, the ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out - 91, 79, 78, 77). He can hardly wait. His pals will each have one martini, he’ll have three beers, and the waitress will shine on them.