Spot 046: I Know It When I See It


by Paul de Denus

Silence, the air gone from the room.
Mom, can you hear me?
Silence, the air gone from her lungs.

This is not the way I wish to remember her – this horizontal flat-line state as if she were napping, white hands folded across her chest, head propped regally on the white pillow. Dad – if he were here – wouldn’t like it either. “You’re messing up your hair,” he’d say, about the Bardot-style that was always her style.

I whisper for her to get up but this dream is too kind, too intoxicating. The others mill about quietly. Is it to counter the stillness of the scene? Move those legs and tongues and thoughts, those protected smiles! Does the activity assure us we go on? Perhaps for a while.

Mom told me about a dream she had after Dad died. She was relaxed and lucid and painfully honest. “He came to see me,” she said, “sat on my bed. We went for a walk and talked.” I sat crying and she told me through her own tears, it was all right. She said, “Oh it was so real you wouldn’t believe it. It really was.”
One imagines all sorts of truths during surreal times like this. Is it so real to believe now what I see, why I struggle to accept as the top is gently closed?

See Authors page for Paul’s bio.



by Bill Lapham

I don’t care what you call it, I call it war. War goes by other names: police actions, peace-keeping mission, border skirmishes. Lucifer is still Satan. Low intensity conflict is the name for war I like best. Tell the kid who has survived a vicious fire-fight, especially one in which he’s lost a friend, that he was engaged in a ‘low intensity conflict’ and he’s liable to low intensify your ass into the hospital. It’s like the difference between a low yield and a high-yield nuclear bomb. If you are the target of one of them, you won’t be wondering which one ruined your day for long. It just doesn’t matter. Either one will turn you into atomscatter.
The American political elite doesn’t like to refer to war as ‘war’. We learned in high school government class that the Constitution of the United States granted war making powers to the Congress. All those guys want to be President someday, so they want to keep the real ability to wage war in the Oval Office. Besides, if a war goes badly, as they are prone to do, they can all blame the guy who has either one or no elections in his or her future. Therefore, from Korea to Iraq we have called war something other than what it really is.
The kid in the Humvee turret might not be able to define war, but you can bet heavy that he knows it when he fucking sees it.

See Authors page for Bill’s bio.



by Sandra Davies

It had taken me thirty years. Had started, circa 1980, with a through-the-post catalogue in which I saw exactly what I wanted. At a time when affording it was beyond me. Not, probably, that it was ridiculously expensive, just that there was not enough money left over from the mortgage and three growing children to afford that sort of expenditure on something I would have little occasion to wear.
Thereafter, and way beyond the availability of that particular multi-coloured jacquard-patterned jacket, the idea sat at the back of my mind. Something exciting, interesting, capable of being worn with jeans to dress them up or with something better to look really good when required. Something to transform me.
All through my ‘smart’ working years, when I had both the money and occasions to wear such a thing, there was nothing that ever appealed (not that I spent my time thinking about it— far too busy, and clothes never had been of compelling interest).
And so on until, in 2010, when I had ceased earning, ceased going to anything requiring ‘dressing up’ (except on a bi-annular occasion, perchance) I saw, on a tempestuously rainy day in New Orleans, the jacket I knew I had to have (although ‘twas black and silver silk!)
Yesterday Julia (who was with me then) accompanied me to York to find a top to wear under it, for my best-loved cousin’s surprise birthday party. She had to listen to the same refrain, again.

See Authors page for Sandra’s bio.



by Michael D. Brown

“Oh, hell,” Adam snapped, “What do you know about gamesmanship?”
“I know it when I see it,” Noah said.
“Alphabetically and chronologically I come before you. I deserve the greater recognition.”
“Really? Who was evicted from paradise, and who was advised to move away from corruption? Methinks someone is overrating his own status based on conventions that didn’t even exist in your era. And let’s also not forget about original sin. You were an innovator all right.”
Saint Peter, on a break with only half an eon left before he had to return to Gate duty, interrupted their squabbling, “Hey, you two have been arguing about who shines brighter for forty generations. Give it a break, will you? Neither of you is a saint.”
“No fault of mine,” Adam said.
“Your hands were not bound when offered that apple.” Noah was angry. He never appreciated being reminded of missing out on beatification.
“And yours were during that nakedness-in-the-tent incident? C’mon, you old fart, that was perversion. You brought all the corruption with you.”
“If it wasn’t for your nasty kids, I wouldn’t have had to sail away from home.”
“I didn’t have those kids. My contribution ended with a rib I wasn’t even asked to donate.”
Peter, polishing his saint badge, said he was heading back to work early. “I’m gonna leave you two boys to your bickering. There’s no winning here. You’re both nasty pieces of work. I’d say you’re lucky either of you made it past the entrance.”

See Authors page for Michael’s bio.


Illustrations for Spot 046 derived from various sources.


2 Comments to “Spot 046: I Know It When I See It”

  1. Bill was right on target, Sandra’s shopping experience made me remember why I hate shopping for clothes and Michael, if that’s what awaits in a heaven, me thinks I’ll just saty here as fine dust.

  2. Paul, I can only say that after the first anniversary it does get better; the poignancy and truth of this was eoic. Bill’s straight to the heart of the matter too, where went honesty? Michael – astonishing take on such characters, glad I’m not going that way, I prefer silence.

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