The Unseen Perils of Academia

The air was suffocating, but it was salty and delicious. Even though she was drenched in sweat she was cheerful after the long day and a half of travel, the freedom of no longer being in an airplane cabin for fifteen hours. The cab from the airport had been jangly. She felt jangly. So much moving about. A deeply foreign land, a place she’d always dreamed of visiting, and was now simply stunned by the reality of actually being here in a vast, mountainous, ancient place with a heritage dating back thousands of years, down here at the bottom of the Earth, a land removed from the turmoil of the Northern hemisphere. The countryside she viewed from the car had been exquisite, rich, deep forests of evergreens, a line of mountains always to her right, inland, and the ocean, an immense swath of dark, roiling blue extending to the horizon, dotted with a few yachts, and some colorful fishing trawlers always to her left.

She arrived at the hotel which was located near the rocky edge of a promontory overlooking the blue-gray ocean. A thin porter wearing a red jacket, a man in his late fifties, she assumed, helped her with her luggage, and she entered into a large lobby with a vaulted ceiling, and a mezzanine level above the front desk. It was a dark lobby, Spanish Baroque style, frescoes along the walls and in the high ceilings above. It felt tired, she thought.

She approached the desk, her bags in tow. The hotel clerk, a tall, thin man who appeared to be gassy and annoyed, looked down at her, his long nose pointing, and his eyes staring narrowly with what appeared to be a growing suspicion.

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A Happy Ending For All

Some days, when he would awaken from a tentacle-filled nightmare to find himself in a cold sweat, her hair everywhere, sticking to him and suffocating him with its paranormally long strands, he’d wish he could do it all over again.

Okay, so rescuing her was kind of inevitable. He was a dashing prince out to establish his reputation, sow a few royal wild oats along the way if the gods were kind. She was a princess with hair the likes of which fairy tales were told, and she was trapped in a tower. Pretty standard stuff, except for the bit about the hair. Apparently, though, the hair was long and thick enough that he could use it to climb a tower that, through some enchantment, did not have any stairs or other means of access.

He’d studied up for a while, and unless he was willing to travel three months to North Umbria through dangerously cold, wintry conditions, through mountains as frozen as, well as frozen as rocky snowy high peaks could be, she was the nearest princess in need of rescue. He thought a lot about the hair. It bugged him out, but he positively despised the cold. Like a lot of princes, he was pretty-well pampered and a bit of a neat freak. Hair that long just had to have….uggh. He tried not to think about it, and he also purchased a set of otter-skin gloves before setting out to emancipate her, and all that…hair.

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Water Walking and Apple Pie

In memory of Mary Magdalene Pointdexter, Cherokee Nation

They cruised down the highway in a ’77 Dodge Charger, the big-block engine purring at eight-five miles an hour.  They were heading west and the sun was setting over the mountain range that had raggedly snaked across their horizon for the last four hours, always looming, not seeming to grow much closer.

They traveled over flat long roads that stretched for hundreds of miles, passing defunct towns, high grass and cattle ranges. They did not travel by map and had little idea where they truly were. Somewhere in East Texas still, an eerily quiet land whose inhabitants were peculiar, a culture steeped in traditions that went back several hundred years, perhaps much longer.

It was poor country, places the coastal liberals could only dream about, a type of grinding poverty that left its people in a rather difficult relationship with their creator. By and large, they were generous to a fault, more than happy to open their arms to strangers. But a deep darkness, a legacy of hate and blood-soaked soil was ever present. The Deep South would forever remain among mankind’s dimmest and most tragic of landscapes

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