Contributor: H. C. Turk

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"Working down below is a pain in the wreck," my father complains. "Even though I watch my favorite show there."

We go there to see. His place of employment is a valley, where we arrive in time to eat lunch. Deep but not long, the valley runs north and south; I like the direction: we arrive from the east. Brown grass, crisp but not cutting, snaps beneath our shoes. I did not plan to walk barefoot regardless.

The furnishings for lunch are long picnic tables of good, thick wood, grey from age, a likable maturity. Dad is in fine spirits, despite his initial complaints, even after we seat ourselves at a table that proves so rickety I get seasick. This is not the pain he mentioned. Dad bends to point out the loose nail holes. Let me guess who's been hired to repair them. That acute bending does hurt a person below the skull.

Several other people are also present at this table. It's not the only one. Wind flicks the edge of the tablecloth up until someone weights it down with an ashtray. Dad chats cordially with the other folks, not strangers. Squeezed to my left is a man with straight blond hair below his ears who keeps looking suspiciously toward me because our coifs do not match, I surmise, though my critique of his criticism might not pertain to appearance.

The cut of my jib.

When the food arrives, so does the telly, brought by a woman so dull I can barely focus on her. The small TV seems to be full of water from a well-used swimming pool, green with floating debris. The latter might not be a commercial for flood insurance.

"Why are you here when you're not working?" the male lead of the TV show demands of the brownette. "Wharring again?"

"My buttles don't involve $," she insists. "You have the wrong idea."

After the break, the next scene transpires on the tablecloth.

"Are you preg again?" the male lead demands.

"I am pregnot," she insists.

Regardless of her reply, the male lead sets her on the table and spreads her legs and attains a broken baseball bat that he covers with a feminine napkin and aims at the brownette's cant, her posse.

Even before the climax of the show, the nearby blond man proves his suspiciousness with a formal review, interrupting the drama.

"You ever have a soup with just too many pieces in it? Well, there are just too many rapid changes of event and mise-en-scène whizzing by."

All the while I had been jealous of their style because the action kept coming, tensely. Now I don't know how the commercial ends.

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H. C. Turk is a self-taught writer, sound artist, and visual artist living in Florida. His novels have been published by Villard and Tor. His short fiction, sound pieces, and images have appeared on numerous web-sites.
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