Archive for August, 2013

Aug 19 2013

A Good Day (A brief allegorical story about the pleasures of smoking)

Published by under Prose

A Good Day

by Sander Roscoe Wolff

The alarm blared painfully as the sun cut through the window shutters and sliced into my eyelids. The sun always managed to do that. I rolled over and blindly reached for my pack of Marlboros that I always leave on my night table, next to the overflowing ash tray. A warm feeling flowed through me as my hand closed around it. With my eyes still closed, I popped the flip-top, expecting the sweet scent of tobacco to waft up toward my waiting nose.


I slid my fingers inside the pack and felt around.


My heart was racing now, beating madly inside my chest. I was out of cigarettes! I felt beads of sweat pop out of my forehead as the implications of this discovery slammed into my fevered brain. No cigarettes before opening my eyes. Fresh air in my lungs first thing in the morning instead of warm smoke gently stoking my body into consciousness. Shower, breakfast, driving to work without a cigarette. My mind raced. I had a half hour to shower, dress, eat and drive to work. I could brush my teeth and use extra deodorant, skip the shower and food, stop at the 7-11 on the way to work and still have time to knock in a couple of nails before I walked through the door. I raced through my obligatory tasks and jumped into my pick-up truck, turned the key and nothing. No click. No roar of pistons.


I jumped out and ran to the back of my house, opened the garage and jumped onto my Sears Free Spirit 10 speed bike. This was ok. I took the shortcut onto Atherton and, as I was approaching the driveway into the Arco station on Bellflower, a Fiat cut me off and I went slamming into it. I had the strange sensation of time slowing down as I flew through the air. I could see the exact spot where my head would smack against the asphalt.

I lay there, bleeding and delirious, with endorphins numbing the pain when an old man leaned over me, asking if I was injured. My lips worked, trying to form the words, but no sound came out. He put his ear against my lips and I managed to gasp “Cigarette!” He smiled knowingly, pulled out a pack of Marlboro flip-tops and took one out. He lit it and held it to my lips as I inhaled deeply. I knew then that it was going to be a good day.

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Aug 19 2013

The Poet (A parable)

Published by under Prose

The Poet

by Sander Roscoe Wolff

Once upon a time there was a young woman who didn’t know what to do with herself. She tried many things to pass the time, but nothing seemed to hold her interest for very long.

She learned to dance and was quite good, but all that twirling and jumping about seemed rather silly. She found a singing teacher who helped to develop her voice, and she was wonderful. Children, old people and even animals would pause from their daily labors to listen to her sing. Singing, though, didn’t interest her because all the songs were old and talked about things she didn’t understand.

Continuing her quest to pass the time, she found a master painter who taught her all the subtleties of his craft, from pencil, pen and ink and water colors to the rich hues of the oils. She learned how to stretch canvas, build frames, even mix her own colors, but after a while she tired of painting fruit and trees, so she abandoned painting.

Then, one autumn, a poet came to her village. She couldn’t say if he was young or old because, although he had a youthful countenance, his face seemed weathered with experience. His eyes were a clear blue and they seemed to catch and reflect the light in strange ways. His light brown hair was streaked blond from the sun, and his well made clothes were just slightly worn. His voice was rich and deep, but with a soft tenderness that made all who heard it draw near. She was especially fascinated by his hands, which, while rough in appearance, were as soft as calf skin.

To further her quest, she asked the poet to teach her his craft. Laughing, he explained that poetry was an art, and like all good art, required a mastery of the basic tools before one could lay claim to the title of Poet. He agreed to teacher the things there were to learn, and she proved herself a most able student. She learned about rhyme in time, the bark and bite caught in consonants, the flowing breeze of easy words, the carefully structured selections of words that become what we know of as meter.

Mastery of these skills proved difficult for the young woman, not because of a weakness in her intellect or vocabulary, but because she had no idea what-so-ever of what she should write about. She wrote “Behold the hare with floppy ears, They’ve served him well these many years.” She knew that it was lousy! One day, during her lesson, she stood up and screamed at the poet, telling him that it was all a waste of time.

He rose, grasped her by the shoulders and gave her a kiss on the mouth. At first she resisted, but only slightly, and then something opened up inside her. It was as if she had been asleep her whole boring life and suddenly woke up! Her arms came up, her slender fingers running through his hair, pulling him closer to her. The kiss went on and on, and as her fingers caressed his face, she could feel him pulling her into him, not against him but into him, into his soul, into his heart. Finally, their lips parted. She could feel her heart pounding, could see the love in his eyes. He pulled back slightly, telling her that she had completed her lesson for the day.

As she made her way home, her heart and mind were filled with wondrous, glorious feelings. The air tasted sweet, the greens and browns of earth and leaf seemed more vibrant and the stirrings of the wind in the trees sounded like a chorus. Her step became lighter and, without warning, she broke into an effortless dance of joy. Suddenly, as her body moved to a secret music, she began to sing. Her voice and dance carried her home.

Over the next few days, her joy turned into anticipation. She thought again and again about the kiss, about the warmth of his moist lips against hers, about the light and look of his eyes, the sensation of being drawn into him. She began to paint that moment, first with small tentative strokes, then with bold ones with bold colors, not striving for realism but for passionate emotion. Days later, when it was finished, it was time for her to return to him for her next lesson.

As she walked the path to his home, she imagined what he would teach her next. She clutched her painting to her breast, picturing his expression when he unwrapped the gift. As she approached the house, she could almost smell his scent of leather and soap. Slowing her pace, her heart beating madly, she finally lay her hand on the door and pushed it open.

Inside, the room was bare. No quills, no bottles of ink, no books bound in leather, no smoking pipe by the chair. Empty. She dropped her painting and ran to the stable. His fine horse was gone too. Her hopes and dreams, her flights of fancy, all shattered.

It was then that she became a poet.

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