Mirror Magic

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It was only a matter of time before she broke me. That’s an occupational hazard of delivering bad news to an evil queen when you feel bound not to sugarcoat it.

I did warn her. After two unsuccessful assassination attempts, I ventured an opinion that Snow White had her own magic. Not appreciated. Evil zapped me, electric charge flowing from her fingers until the glass fought back. Magic glass does that. It exploded leaving her a bloody mess and me a disembodied spirit. Now that I’m free, I’ll find a way to dislodge the poison apple from Snow White’s throat.

Beyond the Looking Glass

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Cleaning the many mirrors in the castle was a full time job. The blind lass, hired by the queen, felt her way up and down the craggy stones of the winding staircases. Doors opened into lighter shades of gray filled with solid shadows. She found her way through every room but one. That door was always locked. The mirror inside was magical.

Dreaming, she turned a key and entered the forbidden room. Blindsight rendered the planes of the walls a darker gray. The mirror, the room’s only tangible shape, beckoned. A grayscale world of touch emerged from behind the glass.

All Romantics Meet the Same Fate

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Your mother is annoyed. She barks at the receptionist, “It’s all her fault I’m late.” Four minutes. But it was Mom who lost the address.

“If you want me, I’ll be in the car.”

Windows down in the mad heat, waiting forever for an apology that never comes. Long enough to calm down.

She gets in, ragging, “You’re too sensitive.” Like that’s a criminal offense.

Her anger never stops. It circulates, accrues interest. She banks outrage. The only solution is to withdraw.

You will say, “I’m gone.” She will cry. You will come back. You just don’t know when.

As Told by the Cheshire Cat

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Red Queen to Red Queen, “I’m finished.”

Mom calls me in tears. “She makes me move, then leaves in the middle of packing.”

Mom doesn’t know what to do. She never expected my sister to abandon her.

I say that RQ is unpredictable. That she wants convenient proximity, not emotional closeness, that it’s always been this way.

Mom’s flash bang hysterics burst into a gotcha grin. I see it through the wires. She’s pulled me into family hell.

Cheshire Catlike, I disappear to draw maps of Crazy Crisis Wonderland, hoping to find a way out. But, there is no exit.

Gnome Repairs

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When five hundred naked gnomes turned up at the Felton Auto Body Shop, the whole town was busy spraying water on their houses and trimming dead grass and trees. Everyone but Fred Hale missed the dispirited group straggling along Main Street.

He expected the little people since they’d phoned. Ready with brushes and gallons of paint, he covered over smoke damage, painting each gnome in traditional red, blue and green colors. Boots were all black. It took a few days, but Fred felt a certain pride. Especially when the freshly painted group appeared on talk shows advocating for prescribed burns.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1933- 2020

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“I don’t say women’s rights—I say the constitutional principle of the equal citizenship stature of men and women.”
― Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; …public discussion is a political duty; and… should be a fundamental principle of the American government.”
― Brandeis concurring with Holmes in Whitney vs. California, 1927

“He (Nabokov) used words to paint pictures. Even today, when I read, I notice with pleasure when an author has chosen a particular word, a particular place, for the picture it will convey to the reader.”
― Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Quotations from Goodreads in a review of Ginsburg’s book, My Own Words (2016)

https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/49756700-my-own-words

Owl Sun

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It wasn’t the first dark day, but it was the first the owls stayed out hunting until it seemed to them that they’d stayed too long. The yellow cast to the sky reminded them not of moonlight, more like cool firelight. But the silence gripping the countryside made them think again. Eerie and quiet. Cool and gliding from one tree to the next, over meadows where mice dodged into holes between stones that marked a boundary from one farm to the other. But the birds had eaten their fill. Dusky day turned to dusky night. The world turned upside down.

Make American Gruyere Again

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Convinced that the New Yorker publishes only depressing fiction, Homeland Security missed the monsters landing in Manhattan. The administration got involved when their Russian counterparts cited a credible report from The Onion. But, it was too late. Soon monsters were cavorting with city rats. If you think the aliens were big before, OMG. Hybrids the size of Teslas literally popped from the sewer grates.

Fortunately, the White House saw the situation as an opportunity. Democratic mayor plus vermin problem equals election year coup. It might have worked, except the whole thing was a set up. The rat-monsters wore MAGA hats.

Off the Grid

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My parents sent me to this stupid camp. Wooden cabins, steel spring bunks. You can’t bring phones. No internet. Nothing happening here anyway.

That’s why they did it. I live my life online. They say I’m missing out. “Swim in a lake, hike, pick up rocks and learn to skip them along the shore,” they said. “Breathe fresh air.”

It did get fresh, I’ll admit that. There’s a boy’s camp close by. My friend and I snuck out one night. We played board games in the moonlight. Who knew the counselors did bed checks? What did my parents expect?

A Widow Twice

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Shelly never could explain herself. Not as a teenager when her mother asked her where she’d been so late. Not as a young mother when her husband left her a widow. Fifty years later, a widow twice, it was her strong belief that she could get along without a man.

Dry eyes, a straight back, Shelly stood at the graveside. Her bottle black hair, a concession to old age, matched the dark raincoat wrapped around her spreading waist. Her daughters each had someone. She couldn’t explain why she envied them the happiness they had found with men who adored them.