James Grinwis

Quest's End

The Iplodon trudged across the steppe as the first wisps of windblown slaw began spinning out of the ice vents to the east. Molegolusís third sun, like a crisp acorn, shot its charred light through the magnetosphere. Smokis the Proud strode beside the lathered withers of the Iplodon, whose load of quantum grass and sprigots had not gotten any lighter over the eight day trek. The distant, hazy smudge of light that was the city of Isfragham held the gaze of both beast and man. Smokis thought of the honor heíd receive, and the Iplodon, of the water and hot sac of porridge that would be brought to him. The road was starting, finally, to show signs of life: wine kiosks, farrier stations, prefab shelters. The flimsiness of everything Smokis attributed to last yearís war, but, he thought, this recent bout with the future was already a forgotten glint on the backside of every eye. The Iplodon released an awful groan, as if something inexplicable was lurking just ahead on the horizon.

Pizza Shop

In a little restaurant somewhere far up north, a young waitress in fishnets and running shoes brings a pepperoni pizza and a pitcher of Bud to Betty and Bill, a middle-aged couple at a corner table. The television anchored to the wall streams forth CNNís Headline News. We are in the opposite of an in-between, high transit kind of place. Here, the roads are usually encased in ice. There are more plows than cars, more wolves than dogs. The pizza is hot however, with an adequate level of sauce, though the waitress seems to have left for a 15 minute rendezvous in the windowless van out back. The kind of rendezvous that happens regularly up here, in between hockey and night shift. Betty gets up from the table and makes her way to the bar good naturedly to refill the empty pitcher herself, smiling as the foamy gush of beer pours in. In this world, drinking is like breathing, until the authority says no, no more drinking for you. Twenty minutes pass, forty, an hour, then Bill gets up and sees there is no van out there anymore, no waitress. We like to think that, tired of her dead end job in this ice-wracked town, she up and left for a warmer place, happy, free, full of love. We like to think the man is like Romeo, though less tragic, honorable, handsome, with a ton of potential and lots of plans. Gutsy, just like that, up and left, we like to think.


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