- M. Sakran recently had a short story accepted for publication with Prairie Times Magazine. It is schedule for publication in the March issue.
- The thirty fifth set of photography, artwork, poetry and fiction is below. Set thirty four can be found on the Photography, Artwork, Poetry and Fiction page.
- July 8, 2018 was the four-year anniversary of the publication of M. Sakran's collection of poetry First Try.
Current photography, artwork, poetry and fiction:
What should we do?
Go to the pet store.
looks like another.
As long as we’re back,
before she gets home,
A Short Story
“So how old is she now?”
“Do you think it’s time she had a relationship? She’s dated before, but hasn’t had a real relationship. He might be expecting her to have one. He might be thinking she should get married soon.”
“Who should she have a relationship with?”
“Well, we made her a nurse. Do you think a doctor?”
“That might be a little cliché.”
“Yeah, you’re right. How about something different? Maybe an architect?”
“Oh, that sounds interesting. It would give us a lot to learn about and look in to.”
“How could she meet him?”
“He could be a patient.”
“How about he does something at the hospital? You know, like design a wing or something.”
“That could work, but might be a bit complex.”
“Maybe she could be fixed up with him? He could be a coworker’s brother or something. She could meet him at the coworker’s house or something.”
“That’s not bad. Something like that could work.”
Dear Uncle Bill,
How is everything? Is your ankle better? Keep it up and keep the wrap on it.
How do you like working in the shop? What kinds of things are you making? Please let me know.
How is everything with your time in the yard? Are you keeping safe? Please try and keep safe.
Last week, Emilie, she works in endoscopy, had a party at her house. It was for the fourth of July. She has a brother, his name is Paul. He’s really nice. He’s an architect. He asked me out on a date. We’ll see what happens.
Anyway, hopefully everything is well with you. We all miss you and love you so much.
Your loving niece,
“What did his last letter say?”
“He says he’s all right. He says his ankle is better. He talks about making tables in the shop.”
“Did he talk about being in the yard?”
“He doesn’t mention anything.”
“That probably means things aren’t good, right?”
“Did he say anything about Paul?”
“Yes. He says, 'That Paul fellow sounds nice. Hopefully you two hit it off.'”
“That’s good. He seems interested.”
“So what’s in the next letter?”
“Well, we have to talk about the cat. It’s been two weeks since that. We should also mention how the certification studying is going. Maybe we could talk about a movie that came out and say something about baseball.”
“What about the architect?”
“Well, she needs to have gone on the date. It needs to have gone well and they need to have arranged another one.”
“Where do they go on the date?”
“No. Paul is too sophisticated for that for a first date.”
“Art museum then?”
“No. Bill wouldn’t like that.”
“How about a festival?”
“Is anything going on?”
“Hold on, let’s check.
There was an Italian festival last weekend.”
“That sounds good. We could read about it and add some details. He used to like Italian food. He’ll like that.”
“What are you doing?”
“Reading a letter from my niece.”
“She writes you a couple of times a month, right?”
“Yeah, she’s sweet.”
“So what’s she doing?”
“She talks about her cat. It broke its arm. It has a little cast. See the picture.
She’s a nurse. She’s studying for some sort of certification. Something about taking care of babies. She says it’s hard.
She saw a new movie. We won’t see it for a few years. You probably heard about it. The one where those people climb a mountain after their plane crashes. She says it was good.
Also, she says she’s watching baseball. She still doesn’t understand it. She doesn’t know what an ERA is. She’s learning though.”
“She met a new guy.”
“His name is Paul. He’s an architect. He took her to an Italian festival for their first date. It was in a park. They had manicotti. There was music and they bought some souvenirs. She describes it all. It’s like being there.”
“Except we aren’t.”
“Yeah. There aren’t many souvenirs anyone would want from a place like this.”
“Tell me about it. When my time’s done, this whole place will just disappear.”
“Yeah. That sounds nice.”
“Yes Doctor Anderson.”
“Sit down Bill.”
“How are things going?”
“Enjoying your time in the shop?”
“How’s your niece?”
“She’s fine sir.”
“She’s a nurse, right?”
“She still writes regularly?”
“You still write back?”
“That’s good Bill. That communication can be good for you. It can give you a connection to the outside world. It’s a good thing.”
“So last week Bill, we talked about your fear of dark places.”
“Are there any dark places here you’re afraid of?”
“In the halls.”
“In storage rooms.”
“How do those places make you feel?”
“All right, let’s talk about that.”
It’s good to hear you and Paul are getting along well. He looks very nice from the picture you sent. You seem so grown. For some reason, in my memories, you will always be five.
It’s good the cat is better. He probably was happy to get that cast off.
Hopefully you will do well on your exam.
Thank you for writing Amy. It is always good to hear from you. Sometimes, things here, aren’t so good. Sometimes things are bad. Hearing from you is one bright spot. It helps me get through it all.
Your Uncle Bill
“You know, sometimes this feel strange.”
“All of this. The letters. The pictures. The stories. The lying.”
“Yeah, but it’s for a good cause.”
“Shouldn’t he have been told the truth all those years ago? Look at all this. It is one big lie.”
“Could you imagine how he would have felt back then? With everything that was going on it would have killed him. What good would it have done to let him know? He’ll never get out. He’ll never know the truth.”
“But she died twelve years ago. Shouldn’t he have known that? This is all a fabrication.”
“But it keeps him going. You read his letter. She is the one bright spot in his life. You think he could make it in prison without it? No, he needs this.”
“But what if he finds out the truth?”
“How could he? No one writes him but us – or us as Amy. The rest of his family doesn’t want to even know him.”
“Still, we’ve made up a person’s life. We’ve invented a whole history. We’ve had her graduate, go to college, get a job, and have a life. It’s like a house of cards.”
“Do you want to tell him the truth? Do you want to tell him that his niece Amy died twelve years ago in a car crash when she was sixteen and her friends have been writing letters in her name ever since? You know what that would do to him? You know what that would do to someone spending the rest of their life in prison? How would you feel in that, or any situation, finding out what you thought was reality was a lie?”
“But it is a lie.”
“To help a man who will die some day in prison. Think of what he’s going through. We are keeping him going. We’re one bright spot in his life.”
“Still, it all feels strange. Are we going to keep doing this as long as he lives?”
“Probably. Right now there are six of us, but as long as one of use wants to keep going it can work. Remember, we are helping someone. We’re not lying for its own sake or to steal or to hurt someone. We’re telling a story to help someone. The fictional Amy is doing good.”
“This is all strange though. Could you imagine someone doing this to us someday? Could you imagine, if someone or something was gone, and we would never find out, if someone just let us keep thinking they or it was still there?”
“Well, although it may be a strange logic, if we would never know, what would be the difference? If we would never know one way or the other, what good would it do to tell us something bad? Wouldn’t it be better to let us think everything was alright?
You remember that tree we all carved our names on in the field on the school trip when we were kids? Every time we talk about it we laugh and smile and have memories. Do you know if the tree is still there? What if it had been cut down? What if it was gone? Would it do any good to tell us? Wouldn’t it be better for us to just let us keep thinking it was there? We’ll never go back there. We’ll never know for sure. Isn’t it better for us to just have the thought and think things are all right?”
“You could justify all sorts of things with that logic though. Let’s say some famous artwork was destroyed. As long as people didn’t know, they could just replace it with a really good replica. As long as people didn’t know, they could still see it in a museum, think it was real, and appreciate it. Is that right though? Is it right to let people believe something that isn’t true?”
“But why hurt people? Why make people upset? If they wouldn’t know the difference anyway, why go the route of bad. Maybe it’s better to let people think something that makes them feel good as long as it doesn’t make a physical difference.”
“Something about it seems wrong though. Once you start to think that anything you can’t verify might be fake, it makes you question everything.”
“You know when we went to the museum? Were the things we saw real or not? If we don’t know, does it matter?”
“You know this sounds like some sort of scary revisionist history kind of thing. Why tell people the truth if they will believe a lie? Why tell people anything bad if they can’t know for sure? Just let people be happy. That sounds like some scary controlling the masses kind of thing.”
“Look, you’re making this too philosophical. Forget the broad question. Do you still want to do this to help a poor man in prison have some happiness?”
“Well … yeah. In this isolated case, given that we started all this, it in some way seems all right. We can’t stop now given all we’ve done.”
“That’s right. We’re doing something good. Let’s start the next letter. Amy is …”