Cassandra’s Tears

Tears of joy, tears of pain, we are reflected in the salt-water pools we create. So let us build a fleet of paper boats and sail them on our ocean of indecision, laughing at the wind-whipped white-crested waves that would wash over us, drowning us in our own despair, yet somehow never vanquishing us in the end.

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Location: Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada

Friday, January 05, 2007

A story composed exclusively from great last lines.

The chicken coop stood empty now, door swinging, finally rid of those stealthy little foxes. Feathers still drifted lightly on the breeze, but the remaining hens were safe in cages on Farmer Bob’s truck, while the foxes were now just pelts hanging to dry in the barn.

Harold sat on the front porch, stroked the soft brown feathers of the hen nestled in his lap and rocked peacefully back and forth. Sylvia there was his favourite layer, and there was no way he would have let her fall prey to those nuisance foxes. On the other hand, those other birds that came and stole the grain, or left their droppings in the feed troughs, them he didn’t mind driving off, and liked to see them rise in a cloud when he clanged the dinner bell. Pesky crows and ravens. If you didn’t watch out, they would even attack the chicks who strayed too far from the main group.

The thought of straying made Harold think of his son Daniel, gone now these three years. Farming wasn’t the life for him, he had declared. He wanted to make something of himself, and had packed up grampa’s old leather satchel and walked off into the sunset. Well, he’d gone west in any case. Occasionally they got a card from him from sunny California. He was vague about what he was doing to support himself, but at least he hadn’t asked for money yet.

Harold turned as the screen door swung open behind him to see Eudora, his wife of 35 years, come out with the lunch tray. She had lovingly prepared his favourite repast: lemonade, a peeled orange, saltines with a thick slice of Velveeta cheese, and the biggest peanut butter and jam sandwich you ever saw, on Eudora’s delicious homemade whole wheat bread.

Harold carefully put Sylvia in her cage and went into the house to wash his hands. His wife remained on the porch, gazing at the chicken-filled cages on Farmer Bob’s truck. What a harrowing experience those poor birds had been through. Sylvia clucked softly to herself in her cage on the porch. From the rest of the feathered fowls came only a murmer.

“Well,” Eudora thought to herself, “there will still be lots of eggs for those orange cows Daniel used to love.” She smiled.


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