Spot 027: By Halves


A Brown Day’s Conversation
by Sandra Davies

‘You don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it …’
Safety net lyrics – but these days I bounce and drop again, to the memory of a conversation in Amsterdam, a conversation which, due in part to being out of place, out of time, had been unusually frank.
She’d wanted lunch, I knew a place to go, and we sat on tall stools in the window of a stepped, dusty-wooden floored café near the Rijksmuseum, one used by locals, the food cheap and unpretentious, the day’s menu chalked palimpsest on a ragged-edged blackboard, barely discernible amongst the clutter of dull and long-drained bottles.
A virtual stranger, ballsy and hard lacquered, face in shadow, angle-poised fingers stubbing out a cigarette, mouth an acid sine wave. I listened, and saw without seeing the staccato traffic-light control of the scurrying, lunchtime pedestrians, the sparkler-wheeled bicycles and the stop-go cars as, à propos of nothing at all, she said ‘If I’d known then how hard it would be I’d never have done it, never have left him.’
Another song: ‘If I’d known then’, and I wondered how often are our lives dictated by the lyrics of our adolescence? But then I thought of Neil Sedaka’s ‘dum dooby doo dum dum’ and knew that was one that would never stop me.

See Authors page for Sandra’s bio.



By Halves
by Amy Hale Auker

The poor man stood as if turned to stone, with wide eyes, open mouth, and the empty halves of his flip phone in his hand. After a moment, he slapped it shut.
He’d been the puppeteer and he’d been the puppet. He’d been the songwriter and he’d been the song. He’d been the horse and he’d been the rider. He’d been the balloon and he’d been the helium. He’d been the highway and he’d been the sunset. He’d been the whiskey and he’d been the bitten lips that sipped from the highball glass. On the rocks.
He had stood in the wings and listened to the dedicated love song thinking, “How sweet.” Earlier he had heard the singer say, “She’s free. If she ever comes to me and says she’d be better off with you, I tell her to go with my blessing.”
He missed the next song the singer sang, the one about friendship and some roads, mainly because he was thinking that now the ball was in her court. He wanted to jump up and down and scream, “I’m open, I’m open!” Wave his arms wildly to get her attention.
But she was sitting in front of the stage, smiling at the show.
So, he’d waited, made his call later, explained what her lover had said. Repeated it to her again, “You are free. He said so. Said you could come to me with his blessing.”
And she’d laughed.
He never did anything by halves, even act the fool.

See Authors page for Amy’s bio.



Some People
by Bill Lapham

The world is divided.

Some people have walked on the surface of the moon while others have merely been shot into space to gaze weightlessly on the face of infinity. Still others, of course, have never escaped the limitations that bind us to earth.

Some people have driven submarines, some have circumnavigated the globe while remaining submerged the whole way round; others, sadly, have never left their home ocean, the one called Atlantic, the Pond between North America and Europe. Some have never been to sea, poor sots.

Some people have seen war, some have died of mortal wounds, or disease, or starvation, and some have suffered the horrible damage of body and mind; others, thankfully, have known only relative peace. Maybe they are the one percent.

Some people have gone to college to learn which questions to ask; others have intuited them their whole lives with little help from school.

Some people have been incarcerated as convicted criminals while others simply haven’t been caught, and still others stand falsely accused.

Some people are some of us and some people are Others. Some are fellow citizens and some foreign aliens. Some look like us, but most don’t.

Some people fly and some people swim, I take the train on a traveling whim. Some people rhyme and some people just can’t.

Lots of people are in the one percent, and some are the ninety-nine. Some people go back and forth.

The world is divided; but not in equal halves.

See Authors page for Bill’s bio.



The Other Half
by Michael D. Brown

“Sally, my boy, you don’t do anything by halves, do you? I never finish my projects to more than eighty percent. Why do you think that is?”
“‘Cause you’re a fuck-up.”
“Never one to mince words either. Thank you for that.”
“Well, you want me to be honest, don’t you?”
“I always thought honesty was over-rated.”
“Oh, please. Don’t be trite as well as tardy.”
“No, you’re right. You’re a shit for saying it, but you’re right.”
“Wanna go to the movies? The Quad is having a Whitney double bill, The Bodyguard and The Preacher’s Wife.”
“As attractive as that sounds, I really have to finish this essay on Class Management and Planning.”
“And you don’t wanna put that off.”
“Well, I’ve got it half done. I need another 1500 words, but, really, I can’t think of anything at the moment. I guess I could use a break.”
“Just call me devil’s advocate.”
“I can think of a few more things I’d like to call you, but I don’t want to endanger our friendship.”
“No chance of that, Jules. Who else could I so easily persuade with my brilliant banter? I wanna dance with somebody. I wanna feel the heat…
“All right, I’ll go to the movies with you; only, please stop singing.”
“Listen, you come and watch Whitney with me. Then, we’ll grab a bite to eat, and I’ll help you with the essay when we get back.”
“Thanks. That’s the kind of thing I’ve learned to count on.”

See Authors page for Michael’s bio.



All halftones for Spot 027 supplied by Michael D. Brown.



4 Comments to “Spot 027: By Halves”

  1. Loved the poetry of Amy’s piece, thought-provokingness of Bill’s and the dialogue of yours Michael (and didn’t realise that #28 would appear together – I’ll try and do something ASAP)
    Thanks for this.

  2. Sheeesh! I am walking with tall company here! So glad I took the time to contribute, Michael. I love spending time in the mud-pots of mudspots. (Has anyone else ever been to Yellowstone and stood among the sputtering mudpots? I love that place.)

  3. Sandra: Loved- A virtual stranger, ballsy and hard lacquered, face in shadow, angle-poised fingers stubbing out a cigarette, mouth an acid sine wave.

    Amy: Loved- He’d been the whiskey and he’d been the bitten lips that sipped from the highball glass.

    Bill: Loved- The world is divided; but not in equal halves.
    Mike: Loved- “I can think of a few more things I’d like to call you, but I don’t want to endanger our friendship.”

  4. God, it sounds cheap and lazy to say it, given all the colons in others’ comments, but I love ALL these. Well done, guys and gals.

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