A rare warbler sits on a branch noticed by no one. Nearby, wallowing in the dirt, is a bison.

The arriving birders, chatting, but not yet listening, may miss this particular warbler for he is far from home and unexpected. He’s singing: sweeter, sweeter, sweetest, but they don’t hear him.

They see a waterthrush near the pond. They are attentive now, watching carefully and listening to the twittering of the birds, but the warbler is no longer singing.

John sees the bison, maybe more than a ton, and he sees the unknown warbler, certainly less than an ounce. It is still on the branch, but his view is obscured. He needs to get closer.

Others warn him of the danger, but he sees only the bird.

By the time John’s body is removed, it is dark. The bird too has departed continuing its migration. Both will be missed.

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Now and Then

Then it was he who kept her awake from dreams and such. He sat at the computer and tapped at a keyboard still visible in the pale light of the screen. A light no brighter than a full moon. The tapping no louder than the beating of her heart.

Now she is the disturber. She, who once removed the batteries from a clock that tick-tocked and kept her awake.

Now when he crawls into bed, into the dark quiet night, she joins him, not in solitude but crinkling and crackling. Armed with electronic devices that spew light into the dark and unnatural sounds into the air.

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A Better Idea

You liked the idea of having a car, your car, and now you had one, a Ford. But it wasn’t what you expected, it treated you poorly. You washed it, you vacuumed it, and then when you turned the key, it sputtered and died.

When you drove it you never knew if you’d reach your destination. You figured you might have to call your dad. When you drove it to a burger joint you worried it might die in line, and the sign with the joint’s name on it, a giant clown rocking back and forth would mock you. Sometimes when your new car died you couldn’t reach anyone and had to walk.

And when you got it home it seemed to say: I love you, I love you not, I love you, I love you not.

So no one should have been surprised that day when they found you in the driveway with your car and a bucket of paint. They probably wondered why you were painting a lightbulb on the door until they saw, next to the bulb, in your finest script, a caption: “Ford’s gotta have a better idea.”

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I was driving near home when a fellow, walking his Labradoodle, signaled for me to stop. I pulled over and rolled down my window. That’s when I noticed, through an opening in the fellow’s jacket, a pair of large dark eyes staring out at me. The smashed in face was the clincher, it was a pint-sized Shih Tzu.

Seeing me looking at the Shih Tzu, he said, “Do you know this dog?

“I don’t, but my wife will, she knows all the dogs in the neighborhood.”

“Someone needs your help,” I said as I hurried through the door. “There’s a lost dog.”

She didn’t need to hear more, her eyes sparkled, and she headed outside to meet the dog. Surprisingly, she didn’t recognize him, but when the fellow said he had to get to work she offered to keep the dog until they found the owners.

“I’ll take his picture and put up some flyers,” she said.

She quickly scooped the dog into her arms, scratched his belly, oohed and aahed a bit, and took him inside. A few minutes later she started on the flyers with his picture on it.

“Lost dog or found dog?” she said.

“Well they lost it and now it’s found so either should work,” I said.

She looked at me askance and said, “I think I’ll go with “Lost Dog Found.”

She printed up the flyers and posted them in the neighborhood. When she returned she looked concerned.

“What’s up,” I asked.

“Well you know,” she said, “that dog is awfully cute, and I’ll bet some people will claim it is theirs, even if it isn’t. How will we know the real owner?

“I know,” she said, “I’ll ask them to identify the sex of the dog.”

“So only a lucky thief will get the dog since he has a 50-50 chance of guessing correctly,” I said.

She didn’t like that. I was smart and apologized immediately. We talked about it some more and finally decided that we would require a picture of the dog. Anyone owning an animal that cute would have pictures.

Having done all we could we had a wonderful afternoon with our little house guest. The pup was friendly, and a treat to have around. Since we have a Shih Tzu of our own, the little guy soon had a new best friend. He followed our dog around the house like a devoted little brother.

I wondered if the little dog’s guardians had discovered him missing yet. Did they know he was gone or had they yet to check. Were they sick with worry, were they thinking the worst, were there tears in their eyes as they searched the neighborhood. I imagined how the sinking feeling now overwhelming them would vanish once they saw the flyers.

“What,” I said.

“I think I’ll call him Jack,” she said.

“Are you sure you want to name him,” I said. “It will make it harder to say goodbye.”

“He looks like a Jack to me–yes he is most certainly a Jack.”

“I wonder what his real name is?”

“I don’t know, but if it’s not Jack, they got it wrong.”

The phone rang, “Are you the people who found our dog.”

I told him we were.

“Oh, oh,” he said and started getting all gooey on me. “Oh thank God, we’ve been so worried about our little Prada!”

“Prada?” I said.

“Yes, Prada.”

“Prada is fine.”

“Tell me how to find your home. I’ll come immediately.”

I explained that he needed to bring a picture to verify “Prada’s” identity, and he readily agreed he would.

He arrived a few moments later in a BMW. He was handsome and was wearing an expensive coat. I don’t know what I was expecting, but to see such a polished looking fellow get all blubbery over a tiny little dog wasn’t it. He had a picture of the dog, so that was settled.

We invited him in and handed over Jack, now once again Prada. We watched him as he left, his fancy coat, his perfect hair, and tucked under his arm, like a fashion accessory was Prada. An accessory that was now licking his face.

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Moldy Bread

Dear Store Manager,

I’m writing to tell you that the loaf of bread we purchased from your store today is moldy. The package says that this is Real Homemade Bread. Does this mean the bread was made in someone’s home—perhaps by a grandma wearing an apron with polka dots. I suggest we leave that question for another time.

The package states that they add NO artificial preservatives to their homemade bread.

I’ll be bringing the bread back tomorrow. I expect a full refund, or perhaps I’ll exchange it for another brand, one with a preservative. To be fair the package does suggest refrigeration of their product. A different kind of preservative I suppose, is it also artificial, I wonder.

Sincerely Yours.

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Family Night at the Movie

When we go to the movie we usually (about 90% of the time) sit in seats N2, N3, N4, and N5.  I sit in N2, she sits in N3, our oldest son sits in N4 and the other son sits in N5, though sometimes our oldest son sits in N5 and the other son sits in N4.  I sit on the aisle in N2 though you’d think the aisle seat would be N1, but it’s not it’s N2.

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The Old Man

There was a school, and there was a park, and in the park there was a bench.

On the bench was a man.  His face was wrinkled with sun, wind, and wisdom.

He sat in the same spot most days, it was like gravity had a special hold on him there.Every day the boys from the nearby high school passed by him on their way home.

“How’s it going old man,” one of the boys, Josh, said, as he walked past.
“Did you hear?” the old man said.    
The boys paused, “Hear what?”
“John Boehner cried again today.”  
Josh arrived home, his father was home, missing another day of work.
“How was school?”
Josh shrugged.
“Did you learn anything new?”
“Yeah, John Boehner cried again today.”
His father sat up, suddenly interested.”

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