by S.H. Gall


It had been a hard winter, the kind Laura Ingalls Wilder is famous for waxing prosaic about.

The epic snows - joined with our millennial salt and grit - created drifts that resist every thaw, even when the temperatures reach an unseasonably warm 82 degrees on April Fool's Day. Road grit and rock salt soak up the water, make it part and parcel. Water incorporates and vanishes.

Several long and verdant green lawns lie between the blocks surrounding our apartment. College kids flock to them in droves, mahogany blondes and pale, bulky jocks. The tanning beds catch up - the blondes turn negroid - the jocks, still freckled turn red now. Frat boys fall in between, quaffing Pabst, tossing frisbees and footballs. The grass doesn't care, gets brighter, fiercer, mocking the youth with fibrous ease.

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We were the sort of couple that hoarded books, and planted herbs and tomatoes in a sunny brick interior well. We were persistently pale, with many moles, and no desire to display our bodies on the local co-ed friendly lawns.

Our cat could not stand being held. He clawed at his protectors. The cat though — we thought this a good possibility - might feel better about the grass. He would frolic in it, nibble it to the root. His name is Max, and the grass posed no threat.

We managed - with minimal blood loss - to carry Max in a recyclable shopping bag the two blocks to the closest green. He seemed calm, finally, when we put down our blanket and let him go. He stood perfectly still. He lifted his right paw. He ventured forth, stopped, and then offered the left paw. He yawned and then he froze, in the oily light of bikini-clad co-eds.

S.H. Gall has had work published in China, Canada, and the U.S. His work has appeared in Word Riot, SmokeLong Quarterly (issues one and 27), A-Minor Magazine, Staccato Fiction, decomP Magazine, Nanoism, amphibi.us, Metazen, and Monkeybicycle. New work is forthcoming in Pure Slush. He is reviewed in Five Star Literary Stories, and unpublished work can be found on Fictionaut.