by Jason Ehlen
I haven?t seen the sun for weeks. Months really. Maybe one day last month. And everybody talked about how beautiful the blue sky was.
Amazed at the sight of the sun. Really?
I feel like this should bother me. Like I should feel some kind of righteous indignation. Like I should feel like going home and punching someone in the face for complaining about the Environmental Protection Agency. But I don?t. Really I don?t feel anything.
Maybe that should bother me more.
I?m sitting in a square that I like. The entrance to the subway is off to my right, modern looking, stainless steel and glass. In front of me is a tall building. The first three stories are stores, restaurants, tea houses. I don?t know what?s above the third floor. I?ve never gone above the third floor. Probably apartments or offices, but I?ve never seen any lights on up there. Maybe its floors of emptiness. You see that a lot around here. Tall buildings full of darkened floors. Kind of like downtown Miami a few years ago.
Scanning the square, I run my eyes back up the building, taking in the darkened windows on every floor, following the glass up to the clouds shrouding the peak. I can barely make out the sign on top. It says ??????. Then I go back to watching the square itself. Waiting for the twenty second flash of blue.
I like this square because the building has a huge electronic screen that flashes advertisements. But it?s not the ads that I like. Hell I can?t even read half of them. It?s the color. The background of one of the ads is a deep blue, and it spills blue light across me, the cement benches, the subway entrance, even up to the pollution caused clouds covering the tops of the surrounding buildings. They call those clouds ?mist?.
I don?t like all of the ads, just the one with the blue background, and it?s the only ad like that. So it?s mostly white light, a powerful street lamp illuminating every corner of the square. Almost bright enough that I want to avert my eyes then suddenly that rich deep blue falling everywhere changing the complexion of everything. I don?t even notice the pollution then. It makes me feel like I?m in some fantasy movie. I?m half waiting for a sword wielding man in a loincloth to jump out a window while being chased by a long thin dragon. Hasn?t happened yet. Would be cool though.
It?s over quick. The blueness. Maybe twenty or thirty seconds and then back to boring, dependable, unimaginative white, and I sit here waiting for the blue to come back.
Jason Ehlen grew up in New Jersey but spent most of his adult life in Miami before living in China. Currently he is in Bogota Colombia. His fiction has recently been published by The Battered Suitcase.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.