The Eye

I remember it well because it was the last thing worth remembering and, of all days, it happened on a Tuesday. The sky was impeccably blue, and it was finally cool enough to go outside without being wrung out like a gym towel. I saved my breaks for the second half of the day so as to make the day go faster, and I used those breaks to go to the designated smoking area to make all of this go a little faster. I had a few left of my third Last Pack of the year and I was torn between savoring them or burning through them. I went to the corner of the little fenced in area where smoking was permitted and in no way would any of this bad smoke trickle through the many gaps in the aluminum fence and pollute the FitBit types who used their breaks for walking or even jogging. I was on my phone catching up on everyone. The usual; someone is pregnant, someone is engaged, someone isn’t engaged, someone hasn’t died, someone did. I didn’t or haven’t interacted with any of these people in years. I just flip through them occasionally like a bathroom book. I don’t need to really focus, I just need the gist.

What snaps me out of it usually is the time, ever present at the top of my phone. And I am sure to milk every last second until, under seemingly no control of my own, I find myself back at my desk with earphones in. This time it was a scream, the kind of scream that matches your body’s frequency and melts through to your core. No one screams at work. It’s an activity reserved for home. By the time I found the screamer all the blood in her body pooled to her shoes and she was crashing to the ground, several people rushing to break her fall. The whole time, the woman’s eyes were fixated to the sky. I followed her line of vision to the sky, when I saw the sky blink. Above us, all of us, I could have only presumed, was a planetary eye. It matched the color of the sky, though when I tried to get the story straight later on some people claimed it was brown, green, and even pitch black. Some people remember it eclipsing the sun, casting Earth into darkness. Some people didn’t see it at all, but wanted to latch their claim to the event early on so they would have something to talk about. To me the eye was blue. My eyes are blue. It had a pupil that dwarved the moon. There were shimmering, squiggly bands that seemed to encompass the pupil and everything blue in the eye seemed to gravitate toward it. It stared at me, at all of us. It was overbearing. It didn’t move and yet it felt like it was crushing me. I almost couldn’t look at it. I tried to comprehend a body to go with the eye. It was a sensation that paralyzed me to the bench I had been sitting on.

“Cut it out.”

The voice rang across the Earth, coming on a strong wind, shaking trees and bones alike.

And just like that, the eye was gone, disappeared, and who knows when it would come back again.

I took the afternoon off work. Most people did, I think, for the loss of productivity ended up being newsworthy. The unthinkably large eye dominated news outlets for a few days before it was certain that there would be no why, that sometimes these things happen and we’re left asking more questions than getting answers. It happened, and then it wasn’t. Was it God? Was it a mass hallucination? Was it the collective unconscious? I don’t know, but a lot of us are very worried about the whole thing, and we’re hoping that whoever needed to cut it out, has.

But if it thinks I’m cutting smoking, well…

The Last Day

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down/Darkness be over me, my rest a stone/Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee” Nearer, My God, to Thee – Sarah Flower Adams


They stopped taking garbage about two weeks ago. There was still a Public Works Department in the sense that the building they house the garbage trucks is still standing, and if you really wanted your garbage collected you could probably figure out how to get the truck started and if you were really lucky enough, no one had thought to siphon the gasoline from the trucks, so you just might make it to your house and back provided you didn’t hit a skid of garbage juice and careen the truck into someone’s home. They, the public works people, weren’t coming back. The summer kids, all fresh out of high school, were making $8.50 an hour at best and the salaried workers weren’t doing much better. And yet people had still put their garbage out, though some rebellious types neglected to put on stickers. It was the little things you missed. You didn’t realize how much you needed sanitation workers until the streets filled with garbage ooze; an olive-green liquid squeezed from spoiled meat, cat food, and baby shit. To add to the list of things you take for granted; your nose. These smells never went away, you just get used to them.

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A Cat’s Tale

Hey Jan Fans,

Sorry for not posting the last couple weeks.  Between work that pays me and the work I want to be paid for eventually, I haven’t been as attentive to the blog as I should be.  I hope to be on my regular schedule now.  So, without further ado, here’s a story about a cat.

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Jan’s First Solo Road Trip

I left Mountaintop after being eliminated from the wiffle ball playoffs; a heartbreaker of a series in which I gave up two home runs to lose game three 8-6.  Danielle brought me a hoagie, Middleswarth Barbecue chips and Turkey Hill green mango tea.  I was on the road for Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the source of the Susquehanna River which runs down the mountains toward my hometown.  An uneventful ride cutting through the Appalachians and I was at Ommegang Brewery.  I and a few thousand others.  I parked and found two lines diverged by a trash can full of empty beer bottles.  I took the road more traveled and it made all the difference, because the other line was Will Call.  The queue proceeded quickly as eager fans rushed in to get a taste of Take Forever IPA.

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A Quick Adventure To The Grand Canyon.

Yesterday Danielle and I went to Pine Creek Gorge, about 2.5 hours away from Wilkes-Barre.  It is sometimes referred to as “The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania” although it isn’t as in-your-face majestic as its desert counterpart. To get there you have to take back roads that snake along turquoise streams and rivers, freshly threshed corn fields and various spores of unpolluted towns.  We finally get there, hoping to find a road that will take us to a lookout point, only to find that we inadvertently drove to the bottom of the canyon.  We see a sign advertising CANYON VIEW with another sign juxtaposed saying Private Property: Violators will be Prosecuted, Mauled, Quartered, Halved and Wholed.

Annoyed but undeterred we reset the GPS, which is now freely giving us a roundabout way to get there.  We drive through a desolate state park where everything is called Happy Acres.  The only residents of which can be found at the shooting range down the road.  A couple rusty metal bridges later and we’re back on what appears to be a main road, slowly weaving our way up the mountainside past melting lakes and stillborn trees.  The route becomes more indirect, leading us to dirt roads that apparate before our eyes.  I wonder how anybody found anything before the invention of turn-by-turn direction.  Hilly corn fields begin overtaking the trees.  Before long all you can see is blue sky and yellow ground.  It almost feels like it’s the end boundary in a video game.  If you tried to walk toward it you’d hit a wall or a warning saying Turn Back!

We finally reach the lookout point.  It’s cool to see blueprints, fossils of the last ice age.  At least that’s how I imagine the canyon got here.  There are steps that lead down, enabling multiple perspectives of the canyon so you can get multiple pictures to eventually filter the natural out of.  At this height, the tiny specks you normally see from the ground take shape of massive hawks, gliding along a gust.  Up here, we also saw what we believe to be turkey vultures or some other kind of red-headed bird of prey/convenience.

I pose so Danielle can take a picture, me chilling on the railing in the foreground, a precarious drop and bumpy landscape in the back.  While she is doing this, I hear the sound of settling in a tree.  I turn around and, about fifty feet away, perched in a tree, is a Bald Eagle.


I’ve never seen one in the wild before.  It just sits there.  I project a smug aura onto the bird.  He’s a maverick; unbranded, untouched.  He perches in this tree for about ten to fifteen seconds and then he leaps out, stretches his wings, and takes off.  A few moments later, two vultures flock by in the opposite direction of the eagle.  They settle on a rock.  Defeated, I imagine.  Danielle and I head back to the car.