: Boy with Cane Pole :

an excerpt by Rick DeMarinis

It was all going too fast, so fast that he wondered if he had enough time left to complete the story he'd been working on since 1959. He was eighty now, and every day moved faster than the previous day, unbelievably fast-mornings slipped into afternoons, afternoons into evenings, evenings into sleepless nights. Sleep, when it came, came in a prescription bottle. He needed sleep less and less, so it didn't matter how it came, if it came, when it came.

         It was a good story-the concept-his only story, he dismissed all his other work, decades of it, all strut and bluff, but this one was pure gold. Would there be enough time to realize it? Styles had changed a number of times since he began, but all he had was the style he'd started with, the style of the times. B follows A, C follows B, and D, after the shock of C, hangs in doubt. E is the whimper, the whipcrack, or the sigh. He kept the language spare, reined in, his intention always visible. Why discard clarity? Days, weeks, months, years flew by, freewheeling, unchecked by the back pressure of jackbrake deceleration.  No, not jackbrake. He wanted to use that metaphor badly-what a word, the sound of it, jackbrake! a wonderful word! -but the opportunities to employ it in literature were next to nil since who knew what it meant?

            Time was in free fall, he was in free fall, the world was in free fall. No brakes of any kind. The skids to hell were greased, the pitch becoming steeper daily. People, politicians, talked, argued, lied, identified problems, exposed corruption, proposed solutions, did nothing. Nothing could be done. He was frightened, anticipating the stop. He could almost see the approaching stop, or feel it. Not through a sixth sense but through the collaboration of all the senses-the full appreciation of the moment felt by troops under artillery barrage.  The stop was personal. He dreamed about the stop.