HUMOR

The only home plate I ever see is the one that’s not dishwasher safe.

Photo by Taylor Vick on Unsplash

I lived a good and decent life. I adopted a dog from a shelter, volunteered at a soup kitchen every December, and built benches for my Eagle Scout project.

My children stayed by my side in hospice care. My wife said she’d refuse to remarry because she’d never find a more perfect husband.

I paid my taxes on time, supported the arts, and bought Thin Mints every year.

So, yeah, my life was set up for a perfect reincarnation into one I always wanted, a baseball player. But instead, I came back as a dish towel.

I dreamed of being…


FICTION

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Jacob Blane gives me a handsaw and tells me it will help fill out the muscles in my arms.

I saw a piece of board in two. Then I’m told to saw those pieces in two and to keep going until I can’t divide the pieces anymore.

Jacob Blane builds doors. He looks like a young Santa Clause. His brown beard hangs past his neck. His tiny eyes carefully take in everything in his shop.

The last time I stopped to look at a door was the one that led inside my high school. I had been invited to give…


HUMOR

My friends get to view the Mona Lisa. I get to view the soaring vistas of button-up dress shirts.

Photo by Sunyu Kim on Unsplash

The Swiss Alps. The Parisian cafes. London’s Underground. Those are a few places my high school friends will visit this year. They’re stocked up on backpacks and money belts and portable Wi-Fi. They’re sleeping in hostels, on trains, and with each other. But not me. I’m here, in Ridgmar Mall, stocking shirts, shoes, and shorts. I decided to take my gap year working at the Gap.

Waking up early to walk through an empty mall is the same as having the Louvre to yourself, just like Beyoncé and Jay-Z. The stores are different rooms of art, all for my wandering…


FICTION

Photo by Nery Montenegro on Unsplash

The lemons don’t taste as tart as I remember them, but I haven’t eaten one since William Boyd pelted me with a few slices during fifth-grade lunch.

Funny how we tend to make enemies with food, that earthly element designed to help keep us alive. Some people worship food, paying high dollars to experience tastes they can only dream of. Others, like me, feel that food is a necessary evil, like government and honesty.

Lunch is usually a piece of wheat bread and water, a prison diet. I suspect prisoners have better options in their cafeterias. I think of those…


LIFE

Along with food and water, there’s one other thing we need to keep living.

Photo by Cate Bligh on Unsplash

Jones pulls the green mass of leaves from the dirt and holds them up to his nose, breathing in. The leaves are overripe, he says. They look like weeds, nothing edible. Jones is a farmer and moves over the land like a minesweeper.

I am at his farm as part of an assignment for a mid-city publication. My editor told me to learn how to survive in a post-pandemic or post-apocalyptic world and report it back to our readers. I suspect fresh air is foreign to our audience.

My only experience in farming was as a child helping my grandparents…


MUSIC

Figuring out why I’m so obsessed with the first movement of “Winter.”

Photo by Jeffrey Blum on Unsplash

There are days I’ll stay up all night listening to Vivaldi’s “L’inverno” (“Winter”). But just the first movement and nothing past it. Something about that specific section holds me like a warm shawl I never get tired of wearing, even out of season.

I’ll find myself searching for the best, interesting, and most unique versions of it available online. From classic orchestrations featuring solo violinists to experimental performances using only drums, no interpretation is off-limits for my curiosity.

Are some performances better than others? Yes. But no matter how weak they are, my love for the piece is endless. I’ve…


We were told we were crazy.

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

We stopped talking about the weather to see what would happen. We called the news channels and told them they should stop talking about it, too. The reporters thought we were crazy, and the weathermen didn’t want to lose their jobs. We wrote all the papers and the best magazines and told them about our plan. The editors thought we were crazy. Everyone thought we were crazy.

The weather was insane for about two weeks, then it started to calm down. We never talked about it. We would hear it was supposed to rain hard, but around our house, it…


FAMILY

What happens when we don’t remind our relatives that they’re never alone?

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

I smell cigarette smoke on my hand and think of my grandfather. He’s been dead for at least five years. I can see him standing at the door of his double-wide trailer, watching me pull out of the driveway. It was the last time I saw alive. He wasn’t working anymore. He wasn’t going anywhere. He stopped taking his blood pressure medicine. He was lonely.

A neighbor noticed my grandfather’s trash hadn’t been taken out, a punctual thing he performed. After knocking on the door, the neighbor found a window he could push through to get inside. …


LIFE

I did that cliché thing where I told myself I was going to change.

Photo by Will Smith on Unsplash

There’s nothing easy about waking up early in the mountains to go trout fishing. But I chose to do this, so I have to carry through with it. I took my Border Collie/Australian Shepherd dog with me, but he seems just as wary as I do with the open sky and timeless day. I get up, turn on the coffee maker to make my Awake tea. The room is cold. I start a fire in the stove in the corner. I decide not to take a shower. I look at the fishing rods by the door and imagine them as…


I tell it like it is.

Photo by LoboStudio Hamburg on Unsplash

Posted by u/BlueMoodRing — 1 day ago
AITA for slandering my brother on social media after he made fun of me my whole life?
I’ve always considered myself a sideways type of guy. That comes from being the seventh son in my family. I move fast. Your 24 hours are 17 to me. I’m a type-A personality with way-out-there thinking. People say I’m cold, that I give off an icy vibe. My sibling, the ninth son in our family, never learned my name and makes me the butt of every joke. He talks about how great he is, how all his friends…

Jason Hensel

Just your normal musician-editor-writer-curator-performer-photographer-director-[insert profession]-artist trying to make it in the world today.

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