Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

i abandon more stories than i finish

The people in uniforms, their lazy cigarettes and lack of eye contact betraying them, encouraged us not to fly over that particular corner of Sera Geral because the timber czars that had been creeping their axes into the hillsides had taken to shooting at anything in the air. They were afraid of inspectors. They’d shoot at us in the air
Jonathan Asher and I both shrugged. We had a long trip to a particular assignment with an Indian tribe in the Sera Geral highlands. We didn’t have the fuel to fly around the illegal lumberjacks. We had been shot at before – every decent Missionary got shot at once in a while, but rarely hit - and we weren’t afraid of a few axe-swingers that couldn’t hit a plane any more than they could hit a tree from ten feet.
We were wrong.

Jonathan was the pilot. My wife had never been on a plane this small before. She kept fidgeting with her seatbelts. I fell asleep almost the moment the engine’s roared. I had been up all night, sitting in a chair beside my wife’s hotel bed, watching her sleep. When the plane started, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
Then, the engine sounds stopped.
Jonathan was screaming. My wife was quiet. I looked up and turned my head to the front. She had her hands gripping the headrest of her seat. She was gripping it so hard, one of her nails cracked while I watched.
Jonathan shouted that we were going down, we were going down, and we’d been shot, we’d been shot.
I watched the jungle canopy in front of us get closer and closer and I listened to how quiet the world was while we were about to crash. I couldn’t hear the jungle birds. Jonathan stopped screaming. The air rushed past us. I think we were all holding our breath.
Jonathan got a hold of himself, stopped screaming, and started trying to be a pilot, again and get us on the ground safe.
My wife whimpered, “I love you, Chris.”
I didn’t say anything. I held my eyes open as long as I could, but then I closed them. The last thing I remember seeing was a grey wall peaking out from between the When the crash came, I was knocked unconscious.
It was dark for a long time...

***

all abandoned prose
slips out in the dark from the computer screens
when no one is watching the filing cabinets
all abandoned prose
dances in the dark to unfinished symphonies
plots revenge that never comes
because the plans are incomplete
by daylight
when the prose must return to hiding

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