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“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” ~ Stephen King

This week I did an interesting and useful assignment for my fiction writing course. You take a character from your story idea, and use the following formula: if a character was a car, she/he would be_______. Then substitute “car” with “food,” “drink,” “movie,” etc. After that, write a description of your character using these metaphors (can be a sentence for each category, or an entire scene.) So I applied this to Cassie, a main character in the story that I recently started.

  1. if Cassie was a car, she would be a Beetle
  2. if Cassie was a food she would be a pomegranate
  3. if Cassie was a drink, she would be Silk (organic soy beverage)
  4. if Cassie was a movie, she would be Amelie
  5. if Cassie was an item of clothing, she would be a silk scarf
  6. if Cassie was a style of music she would be classical impressionism (Debussy, Clair de Lune )
  7. if Cassie was a musical instrument she would be a flute
  8. if Cassie was a flower, she would be a cherry blossom
  9. if Cassie was a tree, she would be a birch
  10. if Cassie was a style of dance, she would be ballet
  11. if Cassie was an animal, she would be a humming bird

The first six categories were given by the instructor, and I added five of my own. Then I wrote descriptions, based on the above statements. Here is one of them:

With the innocence and delicacy of a cherry blossom, Cassie would wrap herself around you like a silk scarf, light as a feather, hardly even there, smooth to the touch, yet firmly in place.

And one more:

He often pictured people as musical instruments or musical pieces. When he met Cassie, he instantly decided she was a flute, and the airy aura about her made him think of silvery moonlight reflected on water and Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy. (now you know what inspired my previous post :-))

I enjoyed doing this exercise (while listening to Debussy, of course) and I think it’s a great way to flesh out my characters and bring them to life.

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image by reflectionsinapuddle

Humans are curious creatures. It beats me how they walk on two legs without falling on their noses. And because they have no luxurious fur coats like us dogs, they have to wear extra skins to keep them warm. Every night, Mama and Papa shed their extra skins and put them in a big brown basket. On a laundry day, Mama takes it down the stairs into a small and narrow room crowded with two big white boxes. Although they look like a big white box in the kitchen where Mama hides all the food, upon a close sniff-around, I concluded that they harbored nothing edible. The boxes are pretty boring and sleep most of the time, just like Mimi the cat, but on a laundry day, they wake up and start shaking and grumbling and growling like hungry beasts. But if you think I am afraid of them, you are wrong. I am no stupid dog and I can put two and two together. These angry boxes sound like cars. When I was a puppy, I thought cars were big animals that growl, roar, and pass nasty smelling farts. It turned out you could get inside a car and have a nice ride to a dog park. So, I reckon these white boxes in the basement are cars for the extra skins, so they can go for a nice ride. Imagine hanging in a dark closet and then sleeping in a laundry basket all day long. Everyone needs a break once in a while, even those extra skins, pathetic though they are.

———–

This was part of my weekly assignment for the GWW fiction writing course, the Point of View topic. I am not posting the first part where I was to observe a personal area in my home or office and write a few paragraphs describing my activity in my area from a third-person point of view. I struggled with this part of the assignment, and it came out boring and listless.

The second part was to put someone completely opposite from me (gender, age, education, culture, etc.) in that room of mine, and write from that character’s point of view in the first-person.  So I wrote the above piece from my dog’s POV. He is a complete opposite of me: a male, young enough to be my baby, home-schooled with no manners to speak of. The only deviation from my assignment is that he is not a person per se. 🙂

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I’ve been so busy with “stuff,” I almost forgot to post about the beginning of a new course that I am enrolled in. It’s Fiction Writing through Gotham Writing Workshop, led by the same instructor as my previous Creative Writing 101, Chip Livingston. It’s week two, in which we learn about CHARACTER. This week’s assignment is to list five personality flaws I see in myself, pick a flaw, then give this flaw to a fictional character, who may or may not be similar to myself and show the flaw in action in under 500 words. I don’t like the word “flaws.” I rather prefer “idiosyncrasies.” So, I picked one of my idiosyncrasies and gave it to one of the main characters in a story that I started last week. I exaggerated and tweaked it, of course, since it’s fiction writing. I would greatly appreciate if you, upon reading the scene, could tell me if I succeeded in showing the unnamed idiosyncrasy(ies). What do you think my character is struggling with?

Her phone rang. “Yes?.. At the toy store… No, I am not done yet… I don’t know. The freaking store is full of ’em and I’ve no idea what to buy… Why don’t you join me and we’ll be done and over with… Of course, you can’t! How could I forget: You never have time for such mundane things…Gotta go. Bye.” Grimacing as if she swallowed an entire lemon, Alys returned her cell phone in the pocket of her jacket and resumed her quest for the perfect toy. Toys, actually. Her sister, Lisa, had triplets: three adorable baby girls, three cute objects for doting by their parents, relatives and friends alike. What do you get for the babies who want for nothing?

She heaved a sigh and continued along the endless isles filled with dolls, transformers, Lego sets, small soldiers, cubes, stackers, puzzles, toy cars, toy trucks, ducks, teddy bears, winny the poohs, piglets, tigers, lions, kittens, musical boxes, books with pictures… With all the bright colours screaming at her and making her head spin, Alys slowed down in the baby section and froze at the sight of an enigmatic blue monster reminiscent of an octopus with a crazy eye attached to each of its eight tentacles and complete with an eerie toothless grin. Are you kidding me? Is this horror meant for babies? She grabbed the toy and squeezed it lightly.

The monster squealed.

Alys winced, threw the toy back on the shelf and spun on her heels. Maybe instead of trying to pick the most attractive toy… She smacked herself on the forehead. How could she possibly know what toys babies find most attractive? She kicked at the bottom shelf in frustration and glanced around surreptitiously: to her relief, toys were the only witnesses of her outburst.

Chewing on her lip, she pulled out her cell phone to check the time. Oh, crap! She had already spent two hours inside the store and was still empty-handed! Lisa would kill her if she were late tonight for the triplets’ birthday party. A hot wave of anger, anxiety and frustration washed over her. She tore her jacket off and was about to throw it angrily on the floor, then thought better of it, took several deep breaths and raised her face toward the top shelf so as tears welling in her eyes didn’t spill and ruin her makeup.

A middle-aged woman with a look of deep concentration on her face stepped into the narrow isle.

“Excuse me,” Alys said quickly, swallowing her tears and forcing the friendliest smile she could muster. “Do you happen to know what kind of toys are liked by babies?”

The woman broke off her concentration and smiled back at Alys. “How old is the baby?”

“One…I need three. Toys, I mean. They are triplets, my nieces. Today’s their birthday,” she said all in one breath.

“Oh! That’s a doozy!” the lady exclaimed shaking her head. She eyed Alys noting her dishevelled appearance. “But I am sure it can be helped.”

There was nothing special about the nice lady, but Alys could have sworn that for a brief moment she caught a glimpse of a halo above the lady’s head and heard angels sing.

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photo by Ed Yourdon

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon (Creative Commons)

My GWW creative writing 101 is on the home stretch and will soon approach the finish line. I’ve submitted my last assignment for peer feedback — not without heart palpitations and butterflies launching attacks on my stomach. A couple of good comments from my classmates assuaged my anxiety, but I wasn’t as lucky as some other students who received a “whopping” number of comments – three! (Peer feedback was something I’d really missed in this class.) After the instructor provides his comments on our stories, the course is officially over.

Usually when a course ends, I feel proud that I’ve made it that far and accomplished something worthwhile along the way, but this always comes with an immense sense of relief: pressure’s off, no more poring over textbooks, no more burning midnight oil, trying to get things done by a looming deadline, or at least not until I decide I really need to take some other course. In that sense, CW101 is a refreshing change — I just don’t want the course to end! At the beginning of it, I was enthusiastic, yet dubious about my ability to write a single sentence that could remotely qualify as creative. And despite my misgivings, I fell in love with fiction writing. I am still unsure whether the love is reciprocal. Will I ever be?

So, what’s next on the horizon? GWW offers an online fiction course that spans 10 weeks (with CW101 it was only six), which I will likely take with the same instructor, Chip Livingston, who’s been very supportive and responsive and provided really good feedback (in a sense that his feedback was constructive and helpful.) But that’s almost a month away. Meanwhile, I’d like to go through the CW101 lectures and do some of the suggested exercises that I didn’t have the time to complete during the course, and – fingers crossed – I’ll have enough time and motivation to keep writing.

All in all it was a great course, well worth money, time and effort spent, with a lot of useful tips and inspiration.

Six most important lessons learned:

  1. Treat writing like a job: show up (preferably every day), write on schedule and toward a goal (word count is a good place to start)
  2. Read and learn (any piece of writing, good or bad, can teach something, but good literature is the best source of learning)
  3. Keep your eyes, ears and mind open to new experiences and ideas
  4. Assume that the first draft is never good enough – write and re-write, then edit more
  5. Make it a goal not to be good, but to get better, draft by draft, piece by piece
  6. As with any creative pursuit, have fun!

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vortex of colour

Image by reflectionsinapuddle

She floated in darkness, tranquil, like an autumn leaf on a puddle, when, from an ocean of nothingness, a tiny speck of light the size of an ant’s eye blinked shyly and lodged at the base of her soul. As she focused on the light, it began to swirl and shimmer, vibrating and expanding, until it burst into a myriad of shards, carving an opening in her heart. Through it she fell into a wormhole filled with incessant chirping of legions of invisible crickets. The wormhole twisted and turned, its raging waterless rapids battering her like a leaky raft. She was falling… whether eons had passed or a second, she couldn’t tell. At some point, it came to her — she was falling upward.

As her endurance began to wane, the wormhole suddenly collapsed, and she was in the dark again. But this time there was a change. She felt tingling in her palms. Weak at first, the tingling grew more intense with every breath she took, spreading through her body like a forest fire. When it reached her face, her lids fluttered, and she opened her eyes.

She found herself curled up in what seemed like a cave with its porous walls lit up with faint green light; she sniffed at the wall, then licked its surface – it was rock solid and tasted of sand and fire. Following an ancient instinct, she began to crawl clumsily in search of an exit, twisting her sinuous body and clawing at the rock under her feet. After coming across the same crevice the third time, she realized she was going in circles and… there was something else. As she looked in disbelief at her sharp talons and a long powerful tail covered with scales and spikes dragging along, her mouth opened wide, as if on its own, and a blood chilling shriek rolled out of her throat, an echo bouncing off the walls like thunder.

***

“Jake, Jake, wake up! You have to look at this… Now, quick, come to the window!”
“Go back to sleep, Sam…”
“Look, look, Jake, the moon is cracking! Just like an egg!”

Jake yawned, rubbed his eyes, and got out of the bed. If that again had to do with the elusive monsters hiding in the closet, his younger brother was in big trouble. Jake didn’t bother with the slippers, just headed straight for the window, and stopped dead in his tracks: outside, a huge glowing orb of the moon was suspended in the black sky. The orb cracked open, like an egg, and spit out a creature that looked part like a bird and part like a snake. The beast regarded the two gaping boys with its emerald eyes, unfolded a pair of magnificent wings, and soared toward the stars, its serpentine tail waving. Farewell.

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Chip Livingston

Chip Livingston

Chip Livingston  is the author of the poetry collection Museum of False Starts. His fiction and non-fiction are also widely published, in journals including Ploughshares, Cincinnati Review, Potomac Review, Court Green, Subtropics, and Crazyhorse. He holds a BS in Journalism and a BA in English from the University of Florida, an MA in Fiction Writing from the University of Colorado, and an MFA in Poetry Writing from Brooklyn College. He teaches creative writing, poetry and fiction at Gotham Writers’ Workshop, where I am currently taking creative writing 101. I asked Chip if he could do a short interview for my blog, and he kindly agreed. Some of you submitted questions for Chip; they are included in the interview. I appreciate your participation very much. I would also like to thank Chip for his insightful responses.

Natalie (reflectionsinapuddle): Do you write for a specific audience? If so, how would you describe your ideal reader?

Chip Livingston: Usually I don’t write with a specific audience in mind. With poetry, I keep in mind that not all my readers are poets or even poetry readers. I don’t want to deny anyone access to my work, so I hope I am making myself as clear as possible.

There are times when I’ll see a call for submissions from a literary magazine I admire having a special themed issue, and sometimes this will spur me to come up with something appropriate to the theme, but that’s not a common inspiration. Usually I just try to write what I think will translate to the page.

N: What are you working on right now?

ChL: Right now I’m proofing the layout of my new book of poetry, “CROW-BLUE, CROW-BLACK,” which will be published May 1, 2012 by New York Quarterly Books. I’m writing new poems for the eventual third poetry collection. And I’m trying to revise an old novel manuscript to see if it’s salvageable. And constantly working on short fiction. I’ve always got a couple of stories in process.

N: Could you tell us more about CROW-BLUE, CROW-BLACK?

ChL: CROW-BLUE, CROW-BLACK is a project I’m really proud of. It’s poetry, and the book is divided in two sections, Crow-Blue, which covers the southerner’s experience in New York City, and Crow-Black, which covers the experience of the North American in South America. The first section is strongly influenced by the New York School of poetics, whereas the second section is more influenced by Native American and South American literature.

Catherine: What are  your suggestions on getting published. In your experience, what was the best route to take? What were some of the challenges you faced?

ChL: Catherine, the best way for an unknown writer to publish a book is by getting it in the hands of someone who would seriously consider it. In poetry, the typical route is through “first book contests” run by small, independent or university presses.

Usually, the manuscripts that win these contests contain poems that have already been published in literary magazines, and especially when sending a manuscript to a press for publication consideration in a non-contest scenario, being able to mention that you’ve previously published some of the contents of the manuscript individually can help you get your work a more serious look. The best way to get individual poems and stories published is to read and submit to literary journals. There are many hundreds, if not thousands, of literary journals in print and online that accept submissions from writers, and these are usually the first places beginning poets and prose writers “emerge.”

Catherine: How do you feel about self publishing now that companies like Amazon and Apple make it possible to do?

ChL: Another good question. I think electronic books and the ability to distribute them through Amazon, Apple and other outlets allow for a lot more writers to have access to sharing their words/works, and there are several well-known examples of these self-published titles getting such a record of sales and recommendations that they catch on to big presses and get the book put into ‘print.’

The drawback [of self-publishing] is advertising and distribution. If a writer self-publishes, how does he/she let the world know that the book exists. Traditional press publishing comes with some plan of media promotion and the press has contacts at bookstores across the country or world as well as access to online and electronic sales.

If you want your book to change the world, you need an agent or publisher with a network of connections to get your book to the world.

Malena: My question is about the roles of writer and author. When is it that one can say he/she is an author?

ChL: Malena, the way I think it’s generally accepted is that an “author” is a writer who has published a book. I think of the ways authors and writers are written about in bios in literary magazines and blurbs, and if they have published books, the bio will generally refer to the writer as “The author of __.”  Or “Jane Doe has authored five books of poetry.”

N: You travel a lot. Do you find your inspiration in discovering new places?

ChL: I absolutely attribute much of my inspiration to new places and new things in new places, new perspectives. And learning and speaking Spanish has also given me a lot to think about in terms of sentence structure and the ways words can combine to modify each other.

N: Have you ever experienced being “chased” by a poem or a creative idea?

ChL: Yes, there have been times, even with the writing of “Yesterday my father was dying,” where the words themselves rattled in my head over and over until I had them on paper, though the initial impulse was witnessing the ants carry the cricket like pall bearers carrying a coffin.

And I had the experience of having the ghost of a poet follow me around and whisper poems to me. It was a once in a lifetime occasion. A professor loaned me a poetry collection by Tim Dlugos because she said she saw something similar in my recent work to his poetry. I became obsessed with the poet, felt like his presence was literally following me around, and I asked the poet Kenward Elmslie, who was the owner of the building I lived in, if he knew anything about Dlugos, and he told me that Dlugos had lived in my apartment twenty years earlier.

N: Sounds like a great idea for a novel! Speaking of which, your first novel is unpublished, but won numerous awards. Can you tell us more about it?

ChL: Yes, it’s the project I’m thinking of returning to. It won a contest from University of Arizona Press, but the press had a very similar manuscript under contract (two gay Creek Indian novels) and they worried the two titles would compete with each other. My agent at the time didn’t want me to sell it to a university press, so we agreed not to publish it with Univ. of Arizona. It won another contest as a short story collection, because much of the novel had been published as short stories, but the contest press said they thought it was a novel and not a story collection, so they withdrew it from consideration. I took a lot of the material and turned them into poems that went into my first poetry book, and lent its title, MUSEUM OF FALSE STARTS. But I worked so hard taking it apart that when Univ. of Oklahoma asked me if they could read and consider it a few years ago, I felt it was unpresentable. Now I have it in mind to see if I can put it back together again. Wish me luck.

N: Good luck with your novel! I would really like to read it some time.

N: We often hear that a writer has to “show-up” to do his or her work. But what about talent? Do you think it can be taught?

ChL: I think talent can be taught. Ideas can be nurtured and texts can be studied as examples. I don’t think any writer starts out great. It takes practice and practice and practice and practice, and then editing and editing and editing and editing. I don’t think it takes any special gene or gift to make something artful, but it’s not easy. It takes showing up for the work and the prewriting (of reading) and postwriting (of editing). I absolutely believe that everything I know about writing has been either taught to me by my mentors and professors or has been taught to me by the authors of the books I read.

N: What was the best piece of advice you received from your mentors? And what is the best piece of advice you can give to your students and aspiring writers?

ChL: The best piece of writing advice I received was from poet/novelist/memoirist Linda Hogan, who remains my all-time favorite writer in any genre. She told us in a fiction workshop to always try and “write two pages past what you think is the end of the story.” I particularly had the tendency to end the story right before the punchline, so it was good advice for me.

My advice to aspiring writers: Read good literature and study it. Don’t give up.

N: Once again, thank you very much for the interview! Maybe you could share with our readers one of your favourite poems by Chip Livingston?

ChL: My favorite poem so far is from my first book. It was first published in Ploughshares literary magazine.

Burn
poem by Chip Livingston

That owl was an omen
Driving home from the airport
Not once but twice
It rose in my headlights
From rain black asphalt
Great white wings nearly touching
Windshield wipers    that low flying escort
Stretching sixty miles toward Alabama
The owl was always right
Something died and something else
Was just about to
I checked my daughter’s red-eye slumber
In the rearview mirror
No need to worry her with divination
An hour drive delayed by rain
And now this trepidation on the slick black road
Certain as miscarried fortune
Her coming home to Mama in an autumn storm
And no such thing as California
Just a red clay creekbed down the road
From the house I birthed her in
Filling up to bathe away a sorrow
Blinking lights behind us
Before I hear the sirens
Firetruck passes on the narrow bridge
Then Crabtree Church in flames beyond the graveyard
My daughter wakes and guesses lightning
But I never heard the thunder crack
And only saw the lightning white of dreaded wings
I pull in   step out   open an umbrella
Stand with the firemen    watch the frame fall down
The Marshall asks if we saw anything
Like kids driving away in a four-wheeler
They found tracks in the mud
Whiskey and beer bottles    a gas can
Burn!  All those years of homecoming
Annual dinners on the grounds
Hymns around a weather-warped piano
Burn!  My granddad’s Indian education
Walls that heard a thousand lessons
A thousand prayers in high soprano
Burn!  Fifty paper funeral parlor fans
Cokesbury hymnals and sixteen pews
Reduced to flakey carbon tamped with rain
The death of wood and glass
And half a baby’s ashes in my daughter’s pocketbook
All the little names we’ll never sing
I aim to find that messenger again and scare him off
Litter the road with his insolent feathers

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I wrote this short story for my creative writing class. The rule was to use an opening line suggested by the instructor. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. 🙂

———————————————————————————————

Chris began to question the wisdom of this trip. First, nothing went to plan. Second, his plane crashed.

It all came back to him now: the smell of burning rubber in the cabin, shrieks of a woman two rows behind him, cries for help, a deafening BANG! and an endless gut-wrenching scream above the din.

He jolted in his seat and gasped. Someone was tapping him on his shoulder. Chris opened his eyes. A young flight-attendant`s face was hovering above him.

“Are you Okay, sir? Would you like some water?”

Chris nodded, his heart still in his throat. The flight-attendant rushed to get him water.

“A bad dream, hon?” A soft voice asked.

He turned his head: a benevolent-looking elderly woman was peering at him from above her reading glasses. He recognized her at once. She was the old woman with the cat, and she was responsible for this mess. When they boarded the first time, the stupid cat ran off and hid in the cockpit among some stupid wires where no one could get at it for several hours. And when they boarded the second time, Chris was seated next to the woman, with her stupid pet tucked in a cat carrier under the front seat.

“I get them sometimes. Nightmares,” The old woman continued, ignoring Chris’s resentful stare. “I even scream in my dreams.”

The woman gave him a reassuring smile. Her teeth were white, in stark contrast with her saggy wizened skin covered with brown age spots. Dentures, no doubt. She looked like she could be 80 or 100. Her eyes though…

“Your water, sir,” the pretty flight attendant was back with a glass.

Chris swallowed water in one gulp and felt almost himself. He glanced furtively in the old woman’s direction. There was something vaguely familiar about her, but he couldn’t place it. He decided, she looked like a really aged Mary Poppins from the old musical. Besides, she had this really odd looking bag, and sticking out of the bag was today`s paper with the front page headline  “HUNDREDS DIE IN A HORRIFIC PLANE CRASH…”

“Excuse me, sir?” The flight-attendant was back.

Chris turned toward her. Why did she have to be such a nuisance?

“Would you like some lunch, sir? We have chicken and vegetarian lasagna.”

“Chicken, please.”

Now everyone was busy eating lunch. Chris searched for the bag with the newspaper, but the woman must have put it away. He ate his lunch, stealing glances at his neighbour, while she was daintily picking at her vegetarian lasagna, smiling to herself, as if it were a funny joke, her cat getting into the cockpit and causing all the commotion and delays. There were a lot of angry and tired people, who had missed their connecting flights and had been late for their meetings and conferences — all courtesy of the stupid feline. Maybe after this incident, they will ban cats, or any pets, in the cabin.

As if she’d heard his thoughts, the old woman dabbed her lips with a napkin, and said,“You are not a cat person, are you?”

“No, not particularly.”

“Are you a dog person then?”

“Uh… don’t know, never had a dog.”

“Would you like to meet Casper?”

Before Chris knew what was going on, the old woman looked around to make sure no one was watching, then reached under the front seat and pulled out the cat carrier.

“Casper – Chris. Chris – Casper.”

The carrier inhabitant was snow-white and fluffy. He gave Chris a cursory glance, squinting his bright-blue feline eyes, and yawned wide showing all his sharp teeth and a pink tongue. Then he rearranged himself inside the carrier, so Chris could only see his rear end with a bushy tail, which meant the audience was over.

“He is a special kitty,” the old woman said, putting the cat carrier back under the front seat.

“Oh yeah? What’s his specialty?”

“Oh…” The old woman suddenly looked hesitant. “He can perform… tricks.”

“Like the one he pulled off just several hours ago? How many hijacked planes does he have under his furry belt? And how do you know my name? I don’t think I’ve introduced myself.”

Oddly, the woman seemed relieved with the new turn in conversation. She produced a business card that read “Chris LaLonde, Business Development.” It was his business card.

“I must have dropped it,” Chris took his card and put it back in his pocket. He already regretted his angry outburst. Besides, the old lady and her fluffy, if a bit snooty, friend, radiated such peace and tranquility that his anger melted away.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude. It’s been a long day and I feel exhausted,” he said.

“No worries, hon. No worries.” The old lady purred.

Chris closed his eyes. Although he was quite spent, he didn’t want to fall asleep, lest he had the same horrible dream and screamed again. The dream seemed so vivid though, almost real, and the acrid taste of burnt rubber was still flickering on his tongue. Deep in his reverie, he missed the point when his thoughts turned from his nightmare to the old lady. Why was she traveling alone? Why would she bring her cat along? Wouldn’t it be better for everyone, including the cat, if it had been left at home? Cats can do that; they are not as attached to their owners as dogs are. Maybe the woman was moving in with her children, or grand children, and couldn’t leave her beloved cat behind. Something about her was still tugging at Chris. It must have been her eyes, so blue, so clear, so young, so out of place on her wizened face.

***

By the gate, waiting for him was Irene, young and pretty, beaming with joy, her lovely blue eyes deep with love and affection. She kissed him passionately and hugged as if they haven’t seen each other for an eternity.

“Let’s go home. I’ve a surprise for you.”

When they got to their little cozy apartment on a quiet street, Irene opened the door with her key, and asked Chris to cover his eyes. He heard rustling in the kitchen; then Irene moved to the living room and called out softly; then she was back and instructed him to open his eyes. He did. Staring at him were two blue buttons on a tiny ball of white fur. The furball yawned wide showing his pink tongue and tiny sharp teeth.

“Casper – Chris. Chris – Casper,” Irene announced and kissed the cute little creature on its face. “I found him on the doorstep last night. He is a very special kitten.”

***

Later that evening, when things quieted down a bit, and Irene was in the kitchen, doling out treats to Casper-the kitten, Chris searched the Internet for the news of today’s plane crash, the one he saw in the old lady’s paper. There was no mention of any plane crash on the Internet though. The only big news today was that of a cat wreaking havoc with the air traffic in early morning and delaying hundreds of passengers. One news website featured a photo of a white cat. It was Casper all right. And although the media said the cat was “scared and miserable,” he looked quite satisfied, almost smug.

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