Race the Date #2

 

26 Hours | 300 Words | 1 Globetrotting Prompt

 

RTDbadge

Please welcome our judge: athlete, Whovian, writer, and eeebbbilll editor (among other things), Rafe Brox.

Rafe

 

About Race the Date:

  • The challenge runs for 26 hours, from 0500 EST on Monday until 0700 EST on Tuesday.

  • Prompts are inspired by the different time zones.

  • Minimum word count is 100 words, maximum is 300 words.

  • Include your word count (mandatory) and Twitter handle (recommended).

  • Generally speaking, a winners blog will be posted by Wednesday evening (EST).

  • Race the Date awards an overall Winner and up to three Honorable Mentions.

 

 

Why 26 hours? Barring daylights savings time tomfoolery, the challenge is set to begin when UTC+14 (the first time zone to roll into any given day) begins a new day and ends when the last time zone, UTC-12, begins that same date.

This week’s globetrotting prompt comes from UTC+13:

In Antarctica, the South Pole and McMurdo Station are located in UTC+13 and are the first places in the world to see the sun at New Year as the sun is still up at midnight.

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The Prompt: Midnight sun

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Post your story in the comments below. The clock is ticking. Good writing and good luck!

49 thoughts on “Race the Date #2

          1. And here I had no choice but to go there. Can’t have the judge throwing the gauntlet down and me not pick it up and run away with it. 😀

  1. Midnight Sun

    The sun set long ago and the mysterious green and yellow fog lingers over the hills in the distance. Cannons fire, along with guns echoing in my ears. In Kitchener’s Wood we creep, the 10th Battalion of the 2nd Canadian Brigade, our handkerchiefs over our faces; the foul stench of urine, protecting us from the gas fog that comes our way. Eyes burning, we travel past comrades felled, trenches full of bodies, the ground covered in corpses, friend and foe. A yellow cloud burning bright as a midnight sun comes for us, but still we muster on. It forms a wall. What is this new weapon that fells men left and right?

    My eyes swell, and my mouth fills with a metallic taste and smell of chlorine, but still in my sights the enemy I fell. Still that strange green cloud of death is unfurled from canisters held by enemy, who mysteriously fall, breasts all around heaving, breath extinguished, nausea in their hours of torment. We watch those around us die some deserting in the agony and horror, yet still we muster on. Around me I watch as we clear the former oak plantation of Germans, and yet now we must retire as the battle rages on. My lungs have long since ceased to rattle for I am one of the fallen. Will you remember me when all of this is done? Will you remember me in years gone by? Will you remember my sacrifice for peace?

    250 words with title
    @SweetSheil

  2. @dodgefiction “For Darkness.” 298 words:

    “It’s what?” Andrew asked.

    “A drink,” I said. “Called the Midnight Sun. They serve it one day a year. Today.” We stood at the bar, backpacks lying at our feet. The tavern was dank and lit with a single candle. Two other men sipped their drinks in the shadows. Outside, the wind ripped at ice crusted snow, and through it, the sun burned through the night.

    “I’ll try it.” Andrew shivered, blowing in his hands. “It can’t suck worse than the trail. How far away is the hostel?”

    “Ten minutes – tops. You can’t backpack all the way here and not try the Midnight Sun. It’s a tradition among us Norwegians.”

    The bartender emerged from the back, a gaunt scarecrow of a man with cavernous cheeks. “Get you?” he mumbled in his native tongue. I ordered for both of us.

    Andrew peered out the frosted window at the sun glittering on dimpled snow. “I can’t believe the sun stays out all night!” he said with amazement. “How does anyone sleep?”

    I smiled. “We drink, go to sleep, and the next day the sun goes down, like it should. But the Midnight Sun has to be drunk, or else the real sun will never set.”

    “Heavy. Make mine a double.”

    The bartender reappeared. One glass, half full of vodka sat in front of Andrew. Nothing in front of me.

    “Where’s yours?” Andrew asked, leaning over his drink. The bartender raised his other hand and brought a hammer-claw down on his skull with a wet smack.

    The sound of dribbling blood accompanied the howling wind. I filled the glass full and red and handed it to the bartender. He raised it to the window, took the first sip. The men lined up to share the drink, and we waited for dusk.

  3. PK’s First Contact
    294 words
    @CharlesWShort

    Fullerton rose from bed disoriented. He went to the room darkening curtains and poked his head out. The sun dipped low to the horizon. The golden rays woke him up the rest of the way.

    “Oh man, I did it again.”

    He had arrived a couple of months before and still had not adjusted to the sleep schedule. The midnight sun was not helping.

    The oil coming from the wells around him would keep his country alive. These stations became necessary when Iran became a nuclear power, launched an attack on Israel, and started World War 3. Now the majority of the world’s oil was lost in a radioactive wasteland. These stations were hotly contested.

    He read his Bible until the 06:00. Lack of sleep made for hard days.

    The duty roster had him on the roof. Settling into his gun turret for a six hour watch, he began scanning. Visually and electronically he tracked for movement.

    About two hours into the routine his computer flashed a warning. A proximity alarm had been tripped six miles to the South. He reported it and two soldiers scrambled to the ground turrets.

    Attackers would be in all white and almost impossible to see, but thermal signatures are harder to hide. Just out of range a small flicker of thermal yellow appeared, followed by several more. Yellow the lightest color made him think the enemy was very good at what they did. He reported the contact.

    “Snipers will try to take out the roof gunner first.” Sweat started under his collar and ran down his back. They methodically made their way closer. Finally, his computer delivered a firing resolution for the group of tiny heat signatures.

    That was how Fullerton earned the nickname PK or Penguin Killer.

  4. In terms of impossible things, a huge scowling Centaur ranked right up there with Santa Claus and midnight sunshine. Unfortunately for Stephen, the last two didn’t stand around eight feet tall with hands the size of platters ready to kick his ass.

    “Yeah, I got that already.” Stephen reached for Bethany but never looked away from the—man? Horseman? Whatever.

    The Centaur turned his gaze on Bethany as she clambered to her feet, brushing herself off. “Mare Bethany, what is the meaning of this?” He gestured at Stephen.

    Bethany raised her chin and stared the Centaur down. “What is the meaning of this?” She pointed at the stockade. “I was your guest.”

    “And as my guest, you must abide by my rules.”

    “What rules have I broken?”

    “You’ve endangered the Centaurs by bringing more humans here to our world.”

    “I’ve done nothing of the sort, General.” She crossed her arms over her chest, pushing up her breasts and Stephen admired both the view and her tenacity. “Major Stephen McMacken came in a rescue attempt to get me home, thereby reducing the number of humans in your midst. However, before we could continue our negotiations, we were treated like common criminals without due process.”

    Bethany’s words made the General’s glower deepen.

    “Under the military code of justice in the Herds, we deserve a hearing.”

    Stephen gaped. Did she just tell a bad-ass Centaur General he hadn’t followed his own rules of military conduct? Damn, this woman’s got balls.

    The General didn’t move, but his guards shifted their weight and swished their tails in agitation. Stephen got the feeling women didn’t talk back much in their society.

    “Very well, Mare Bethany. You shall have your hearing.”

    “And a bath.”

    “What?”

    “Don’t push your luck, Ms. Stanton.”

    294 #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

  5. Rural highways tend to look the same. Especially after a breakneck run through the woods left me all directionally catawampus. We burst onto the blistering hot tarmac. I spun a 360, trying to get my bearings.

    “Watch out!”

    Jason yanked me back before a Southeastern Freight semi turned me into road pizza. The trucker laid on the horn, drowning out a whole lot of yelling from Jason.

    “Good reflexes,” I gasped when I could hear again.

    “Lucky for you.” His hold on me tightened before he let out a shaky breath and turned me loose. “Who needs a pack of werewolves to kill us when you’ll just play in traffic?”

    I smacked his shoulder.

    “Shit. Where the hell are we?” I didn’t see a road sign or mile marker in either direction. Which way was closer to help? “Where does this highway run?”

    “Into the midnight sun.”

    “Seriously?” Hand to my forehead to shield my eyes from the perfectly ordinary noonday sun, I scowled at him. “We’re in the middle of BFE and you’re gonna add insult to injury with Journey lyrics?”

    “No.” He choked on a laugh. “Definitely, no. Midnight Sun is a bar.”

    “A bar?” A cold beer sounded like the best idea ever.

    “Run by Elvis fans. Under the Midnight Sun? January 28, 1973? He gave a midnight performance in Vegas?”

    I squinted at him. “Why do you know that?”

    Jason shot me a sideways look. “You don’t like Elvis?”

    “Like, yes.” I started hiking along the shoulder. “I can even sing along. But do I know shows that happened before I was born? Not so much.”

    “This way.” He caught my hand and turned me around. “Don’t get lost.”

    “It’s a road, asshole.”

    He slung an arm around my waist. I glared at him.

    “Safety first.”

    @caramichaels
    300 WIP words

  6. Pity Those Left Behind
    299 words
    @jujitsuelf

    It was time to sleep, the day’s work was done. Despite the sun shining resolutely in the sky, most of the village had already sought their beds. Giggles made their way from Gunna and Oleif’s hut. Obviously they did not intend to let the continued sunlight stand in the way of their usual night-time activities.

    Hallerna pulled her shawl tighter around her shoulders. The year was passing quickly, as years are wont to do. Already there was more of a chill in the evening air. Soon the sun would no longer keep them awake, but would vanish below the horizon, leaving them stranded in perpetual twilight until the wheel of the seasons turned once more and allowed it to return.

    She gazed out over the sea, her clothes no obstacle to the cold fingers of grief which pawed at her skin. Varin had loved to stand on the highest cliffs and watch the waves pound the rocks below. But Varin was gone. Gone, dead and never to return. Hallerna stood a little straighter. She would be strong. It was their way, Vikings entertained no fear of death. Varin had died well and joined his brothers in Valhalla, she was certain of it.

    But all the same, his loss tormented her, even three seasons later. Sometimes, with the sun low in the sky but refusing to sink beneath the horizon, sleep evaded Hallerna. The walls of her hut seemed too close, too solid, crushing her, sucking her into a pit of despair from which she would never escape. On those nights she’d seek out Varin’s favourite hiding places and let his memory soothe her scorched soul.

    “Rest well, my love,” she whispered into the light-sodden air. “Carouse and be merry for I promise, I will see you again.”

  7. The Gypsy’s Curse
    299 words (not including title)
    @mishmhem

    None of it had been my fault; just one of those wrong place, wrong time sort of deals, but that didn’t stop her from cursing me along with everyone else.

    I had been on vacation, somewhat of an oddity for me, since I work at a research station at the South Pole and getting transportation out isn’t always the easiest thing, getting back is even harder.

    I had gone to Paris, to see the sights and get some sun. That had been the plan, but I had gotten lost and stopped to consult my phone/gps. I stopped and the man behind me bumped into me, pushing me forward into the next person. It was like watching a set of dominoes teetering. The only problem was the last domino in the chain was a young Gypsy lad of 23.

    Without meaning to, the crowd surged and pushed him into the intersection and by then there was nothing any of us could have done to save him.

    That was when fate stepped in. As near as I could tell Madame Bolivar was the lad’s grandmother, and I don’t begrudge her her grief but she swore each and every one of us would not survive the new year.

    I didn’t think much of it at the time; I was too shaken up by what had happened. I went back to work and didn’t think much of it until the death reports started coming in.

    “For your part in this, you shall die as the sun sets on New Year’s Day” Madame Bolivar’s curse still echoed in my mind. Only thing is, the sun doesn’t set here until March 23rd.

    Does this mean I’ll die then, or live forever?

    As near as I can tell, I have 82 days until I find out.

  8. Somewhere, the sun was shining. Somewhere, she hoped he was huddled under warm blankets. She refused to think him dead. It was a stretch, perhaps, to think he was still alive. He’d been missing five years.

    She stood on the beach in the middle of the night, wondering where the ocean could take her. Perhaps she’d get to Alaska, see the midnight sun. Perhaps she’d float south to Hawaii. The ocean was vast, it could take her anywhere.

    She looked out over the dark water, black waves lit by a full moon. It was pretty any other time. Tonight, she pined for her son, wondering where he was. She hoped he was alive and well cared for. Maybe, he’d fallen in love. She remembered when he told her he was gay. She’d struggled with that for a long time. She never got to show him how much she loved him. Never got to show him that she didn’t care if he was gay.

    She stepped forward, her feet sinking in wet sand. It was warm, despite being winter. The waves lapped at her ankles. Staring into her son’s beloved ocean, she knelt down, the water soaking her nightgown. Perhaps tonight, the ocean would take her. Her hands left prints in the sand. Someone hugged her from behind.

    “Come home.”

    She stood, safe in her husband’s arms. Another night that the ocean didn’t take her.

    @Aightball
    234 words

  9. There’s A Cold Wind Blowing (Through The Land Of Ice And Shadows)

    299 words

    When Julie had first seen the job opening for a researcher in Antarctica she’d expected the cold. What she hadn’t predicted was the call that seemed to seep through the layers of ice, directly into her bones. She’d worn coats and gloves, so much clothes that she found herself sweating even when she was outside but she couldn’t keep out the cold that wrapped itself around her heart, clenching tighter with each beat.

    It whispered to her at night, begging her to come closer, to traverse across the snow because it was waiting. She didn’t know what it was and that terrified her.

    As the days ticked by the call became louder and louder, blotting out everything around her until there was nothing but a siren’s song of want beckoning from across the ice and this time she followed.

    The snow crunched beneath her boots while the lights from the institute faded in the distance but still she walked with nothing but the tick of her watch to keep her company.

    The beeping of her watch broke through her trance and she glanced at it. It was New Year’s Day and as a shadow eclipsed the midnight sun Julie knew that she’d found the source of her fear.

    The cold rushed up to greet her like a tidal wave and she gasped as the shadow solidified into something that she couldn’t comprehend. Like a supernova wrapped in mortal skin, the creature peered at her before reaching out, skeletal fingers wrapping around her wrist.

    It didn’t have to ask because Julie knew what it wanted; she could feel its need bleeding through her skin. It covered her lips in a grotesque parody of a kiss and Julie laughed as the winds rose like a tempest.

    At least now she was warm.

  10. CHASING MY TAIL

    Ever have one of those days when you wake up with the aftertaste of yesterday thick as a fungus on your tongue? Can’t scrape it off with your teeth or toothbrush. Coffee dulls it for a while but it don’t taste right going down the hatch, does it?

    When Amorak selected me as his research assistant, I wasted no time in crowing to the rest of the candidates that I was the chosen one. I should have read the fine print. Instead I trusted a pair of hazel eyes.

    The research wasn’t bad. Pretty enjoyable, actually. Okay, damn enjoyable. But the case management, that came as a surprise. There’s long term and there’s lifetime. And this morning, after a long night of drinking in a dive called The Rising Tide, I had to suck it up and admit I was a lifer. Not by force, no. Though not quite by choice either.

    Sometimes Mother Nature is a bitch. Other times, she’s a complete mystery, blank pages in a history book, missing pages in birth records. So, here I am, raising a litter of pups, some with hazel eyes and some with amber just like mine.

    Now that I think about it, this funky morning breath probably has more to do with the viscosity of seal blubber rather than my distaste for this extraordinary life under the Midnight Sun.

    – – – – –
    228 words / @bullishink

  11. Toby stared up at the pitch black sky, the circle of light flickered. He let out a slow breath, eyes gleaming in the low light. He felt the hunger within. He didn’t want to give in to it. He was supposed to be okay. He was supposed to be NORMAL again.

    “If you take the steps forward, you’re not going to come back.”

    He stiffened up and glanced back at the woman. She seemed to think she knew him.

    “I wish you would go away. I don’t know who you are. And you don’t understand anything. You don’t know what I’m going through.”

    “You used to be a godly man. I believed in you.”

    “God is a joke. Don’t follow me anymore. My old life is over and I’m stuck following the midnight sun to avoid the bright of the day.”

    She was silent. “My mouth is dry and I cannot speak, I’ve lost all faith in you.”

    He gave a bark of laughter. “You and me both, lady.”

    “I’m not lady, I’m your grandmother. There is a way to cure the madness that courses through your blood but you need to believe.”

    He turned to face her, his teeth aching and his skin rippling as bones ached to shift. “I have nothing to believe in anymore.”

    217 words
    @solimond

  12. Midnight Journey

    The world was a buffet of adventure from which Zach and Anna supped frequently. As they stood on the edge of the world, watching the sun dip toward the horizon, Anna took inventory of their conquests.

    Champagne on the summit of Everest.
    Riddles in the shadow of the Sphinx.
    A solo marathon along the Great Wall of China.
    Vows witnessed by the of Moai of Easter Island.

    They had sampled generously, savoring the flavor of every experience their blue planet had to offer until only stale leftovers remained.

    Months prior, while on a birthday safari, Anna had confided in one of her fellows travelers her growing boredom. The traveler produced a stone from his satchel and pressed it into Anna’s hand. It thrummed, emitting a shallow, aubergine glow as the man mouthed unearthly wisdom into Anna’s eager ear.

    Anna squeezed Zach’s hand as her watch signaled the arrival of the witching hour. She rested the stone on a mossy carpet, bathing it in the golden rays of a midnight sun. The stone erupted into kaleidoscope of sound and light. Galaxies swirled in a cyclone of unfathomable beauty.

    The possibilities were infinite.

    Hand in hand, Anna and Zach stepped into the vortex; their bodies burst into a spray of ecstatic particles and were carried away by a dazzling current of light.

    220 words
    @LadyHazmat

  13. Resolution

    I breathe deeply into my hands and rub them together to fend off the biting wind. My wife reaches into her purse and hands me a pair of gloves. I pull them on quickly, “Why did you wait so long to give me these?”

    She smiles, “I wanted you to learn your lesson.”

    “Ok fine, new years resolution number 1, I’ll try to be better prepared.” I think that was my resolution last year too. We huddle together and she whispers gently, “Thanks for coming to the city, I know you hate the crowds. I just love the excitement of New Years, it’s like the whole world starts again.”

    I check my watch, only two more minutes. I can hear a band warming up, getting ready to blast us with Auld Land Syne. An errant firework shoots into the sky, filling it with colour. There’s always someone that just can’t help themselves.

    A ripple goes through the crowd as we reach the minute mark. Someone starts a countdown way too early. I wait until it gets to ten before contributing. We lean over and kiss as it reaches zero and the crowd erupts into cheers.

    The sky fills with light and sound, a thousand fireworks paint the darkness. It takes me a moment to realise something’s wrong, the fireworks are too bright, too loud. The cheers turn to screams. The cold turns to heat, so much heat. There’s just long enough to glimpse the distinctive mushroom cloud reaching for the heavens before a wave of fire engulfs the crowd. It only hurts for the briefest of moments. We never even had time to wonder why.

    It was the start of a new year.

    It was the start of a new war.

    @todayschapter
    291 words

  14. Return Address
    @GordonBWhite
    300 Words

    Dale woke as engines outside his trailer shook him like a rock in a tin can. Even wrapped beneath the blankets, the throbbing air and brilliant lights – brighter than a midnight sun – bludgeoned him.

    They were back.

    Eventually, finally, the aural and visual cacophony dissipated. It was up and away and then gone.

    It was almost silent.

    Outside, Judith sat on the dark ground, legs splayed. In half-steps, Dale walked out towards her, his eyes darting around the empty expanse of desert land.

    She still wore the same bathrobe she’d had on a week ago. She looked like a soft, pink ghost, maybe, frayed at the hem.

    Dale took Judith by the elbow and she let him pull her up and steer her in, moving as though on autopilot.

    Inside, Dale parked her at the fold-out table and stirred up a mug of instant coffee. Holding the cup in both hands, she raised and lowered it in mechanical repetition. Dale broke the pattern and took the cup away, however, when he realized that it was empty and that for the last five minutes he’d been listening to the porcelain clicking against her teeth as she kept going through the hollow motions.

    “Do you remember anything?” He put his hand on her shoulder, but felt her constrict beneath.

    “Just that there was a big bright light above me, like the sun but at night.”

    He bit his lip.

    “And that’s it?”

    “That’s it.”

    Dale withdrew, turning back to the kitchenette counter and letting his chin sink to his chest. Behind him, Judith’s chair slid against the floor.

    “That,” Judith’s warm breath pressed against Dales’s neck, “and the knives.”

    His back heaved as he lost his grip, gave up, and sobbed.

    “That, and that you told them to take me.”

  15. The Commander tried to make as little noise as possible as he sat down, he had been told time and again that the ship was entirely sound-proof, but the urge to work on silent running had yet to leave him. Submarines were much easier to work in than these invisible, floating death platforms.

    “Nearing target.” The operations station called across the darkness. “Weapons hot.”

    “Understood.” He checked his watch, they were a little early and waiting around was not a pastime he enjoyed. “Slow to one quarter.”

    “Confirmed,” Ops called back and the tiny screen attached to his chair showed an update of their arrival time, they were now due to arrive at exactly midnight.

    “Switch central view to target location.”

    “Target to central, aye.” The view expanded to show what appeared on the surface to be a few tents, a couple of vehicles showing faint heat signatures and nothing more.

    “Switch to ODIN.” The screen switched, showing a blueprint view of the underground facility, only the tiny figures moving around inside showed that what he was seeing was a live feed. A low pitched thrum told him they had arrived. He checked the time, 11:59. “Request confirmation of kill order?”

    “Confirmed.” Ops called back.

    “Night sun in position,” The screen went white as the weapon powered up. “Commence firing.” If there had been any witnesses within 200 miles they would have seen the dawn, the sun would hover above the earth for exactly 9.3 seconds and then disappear.

    “Kill confirmed.” The viewer pulled back, recording the changes in topography and automatically amending all database records to adjust for the 30 mile wide crater, all records that there had ever been a facility here were now erased.

    The Commander noted the update in his log. “Next target?”

  16. The Snow Beast of Antarctica
    by A J Walker

    Under the midnight sun the ghost of the snow beast of Antarctica returned to the south pole every year. On the longest day in the land of winds and snow the beast would spend the day scouring the white emptiness of Antarctica for life. It had been a killing machine like no other the earth had ever seen and Antarctica once thriving with life had been thrice decimated by its kind until there was nothing left for it to hunt, to kill, to feed on.

    Of course the beast lamented being so efficient. It just couldn’t help it, it was its nature.

    One day though. One day life would return to Antarctica and so would the snow beast.

    The scientists at McMurdo Sound spent all their time looking down, through shafts of ice and of rock. Through time.

    One year under the midnight sun the snow beast would find the life it sought.

    (152 words) @zevonesque

  17. The Colors of Memories
    @vbholmes
    296 words

    My day begins as a blank canvas pulled taut over four stretchers, graphed into squares waiting to be filled with the colors of memories.

    The temperature is in the twenties. I leave the ground bare as my landscape is covered in snow that’s been lightly beiged by life in the city. I add the skeletal bushes and leafless trees of midwinter, the scuffed surface of a stone path abused by daily commuter traffic through an urban park.

    An architect-designed jungle gym, with concentric circles in place of traditional monkey bars, takes shape to the left of center. It is void of children. A doggie dump, sans canines, is partially obscured by a low picket fence in the background. I fill the lower right-hand corner with an angled concrete bench. Ugly in conception and creation, it contaminates the cache of the other upscale components.

    I relieve the dissonance by adding the reclining figure of a young woman, neatly arranged on her back, her legs together, toes of her shoes pointing skyward, arms crossed on her chest, one hand on top of the other, her coat collar open revealing a lovely neck with a thin bruise running side to side.

    I have included all the remembered elements but the scene lacks mood. I darken the sky to night, add the bottom eighth of a large cadmium yellow circle to the top of the painting to provide a light source. Then I mute my colors to shadow my auxiliary objects. I leave the grotesque bench and its recumbent occupant highlighted by the glow of the heavenly orb.

    I title the work, “Midnight Sun”.

    I just wish I had stabbed rather than strangled the girl so I could add a red accent. I do have a preference for bright colors.

  18. Race the Date is now closed. Thank you all for writing and making week two a success. Stay tuned for the winners post and I’ll hope to see you all next week!

  19. Ezra was tall and black as midnight, and with a little baby oil he glowed like the sun. Or he did in my imagination, anyway, where he was also busily massaging my not-as-flabby-as-they-look-at-first-glance shoulders. Also, we’re at the beach and I’m in a size 8 bathing suit, a real one—not a bikini; those are disgusting—but a sophisticated one without the gigantic old lady Hawaiian flowers and a skirt.

    Of course, in the real world I’m the gigantic old lady, and Ezra smiles a lot more than should be legal for one of his tender age and distracting physique. He makes a lot of crashing sounds as he moves the chains and levers this way and that, all so I can lean back in a highly inappropriate position and push small but heavy platforms away with my feet. It reminds me of a game I played with my babies fifty years ago, for free.

    “This will build your glutes and quads, Mrs. Mason,” he says confidently.

    Ezra knows I have been coming to the Forever Young Fitness & Aquatics Center for six months and still don’t know what a glute is or where for heaven’s sake I’m supposed to buy one. But he apparently believes saying “glutes and quads” often—and loudly (even though I am only partly deaf, and only in one ear)—will enable me to figure it out. It’s an organic process, he says, winking at me in a shocking way that causes me to both forgive and forget everything he’s just said.

    I smile faintly at him and do what he says, though, as I would hate for my glutes, whenever I get some, to make him sad. This is our time, his and mine. My powerball win. My round-the-world-cruise. My very own midnight sun.

    300 belated words
    by a fashionably (I wish) late @postupak

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