the quickest way in and out (flash fiction)

It pulled him in both directions.  Like taffy.  Like bad earbuds.  It was the story of his life.

If he used the backdoor, he could get a little walk.  A little exercise around the building.  And stop at the bathroom for a pee.

If he used the front, he could get in there and out quicker — then use the bathroom somewhere else (with the check in his pocket).

“Which way?” he asked.

“It’s right here,” she said, walking to the front door.

When he was twenty-two, just out of college, he had talked about going to Tunisia.  He knew where Tunisia was but didn’t know anything else about it.  Why did he want to go there?  For the adventure.  So he could say he had been.  He now realized why he wanted to make that trip.  He didn’t know anybody who had ever been.  He would have taken buses and probably seen a lot of sand and gone days without using language.  It was his big chance to tell people about a place he had been where they had not been, a place where he had been a very independent man, that nobody could match.  Of course he didn’t go — and it’s a good thing, too.  Now, he would not be able to tell anybody anyway.  It would have sounded silly, with so many back from Iraq and Afghanistan.

He stepped down the hall and knocked on the door, even though it was open.

The guy looked up as if he were wearing a mask, except for the eyes.  They were still.

“Beard,” he said.

“Winter,” said the guy.

“Long time.”

“No shit.”

“You busy?”

“No.  Yeah.”

“I finished.  You want it?”

“I don’t know,” said the guy.  “Do I?”

He shook his head and pulled the DVD out of his pocket, holding it as if it were a candle.

The guy with the beard took three steps, and then one more, and took the DVD.  He pulled out his checkbook.

“Two thousand dollars,” he said.

“Make it three,” she said.

“We had an agreement.”

“You didn’t tell me about the daughter,” he said.

The guy stopped writing and clacked his teeth against his pen.

“Is she on there?”

He nodded.

He wrote the check and handed it to her, and they left, out the hall and into the parking lot.

They held hands.  He hummed a tune. She let go of one hand and took a twirl.

Netflix instant download + Projector = awesome!

So far this year, I’ve been in vacation mode. Much needed.

I’ve continued 10k steps per day. Done yoga each day.

And, I’ve watched three movies.

The Shift
La Vie En Rose
I’ve always gone to movies and theatre on a regular basis.

Thanks to the economic downturn, I think I only went to two movies all last year.

And we canceled our Netflix membership.

And I’ve worked quite a bit.

My entertainment, along with a bit of local theatre, was basic cable — and of course all the stuff online. I’ve spent much of my free time, since that amazing Iowa primary in January of ’08 — watching political squabbles on cable.

But I got inspired the other day, listening to Here and Now on NPR while delivering Coffee News.

Ty Burr shared his list of 10 best films of the decade. I’ve seen a few of them, but there are a lot on the list I want to see. On his website, his list includes 33 of the best films of the decade.

So I rejoined Netflix and filled the queues (the DVD and instant play)

Now, with the instant play feature, it’s awesome. I hooked my laptop to my projector and speakers and voila — movies on the big screen with big sound — and the supply is unlimited.

Will I have to ignore the fascinating political squabbles in order to use that time to watch a few good films?

Not really. It only takes a car radio and few minutes of reading a day — not two hours of repetition on cable — to keep with the news.