Breadcrumb #301


Because it is in the high 70’s and late in the day, sitting on a bench, sun facing and street side, is the only place to be.

    A young French couple on a seat nearby lets their toddler wander shirtless. The little girl has two balloons- one lavender, one cloudy pink. 

    The parents don’t seem to mind how far she gets away from them, letting her walk the curved path behind a row of carefully planted trees. When she comes back into view her face is changed by the tears on it. She is holding only one balloon.  

    To this her mother laughs, to communicate something about loss being easy perhaps. Or maybe in France, this is a game children play with their parents. 

    I look up from my book and there you are. Both hands in your pockets, gazing downward and coming closer. 

When she comes back into view her face is changed by the tears on it. She is holding only one balloon.

    “I got your message.” You say.

    “I’m impressed you found me.”

    “Your instructions were pretty clear.”

    Why, I ask myself, am I always the first one to smile?

     “What were you like as a teenager?” you ask me. We had moved to a blanket on the grass and for a moment I can’t remember if I was asleep or not.

    “As a teenager I was exactly the same.”


    “Meaning I would sit in parks with a stack of books, trying to look interesting, hoping someone would come find me.”

    “When I was a teenager I’d spend a lot of time looking for pretty girls reading in parks.” You say.

    “Too bad we weren’t friends then, you could have been part of one of my childhood fantasies.” 

    “Why do you think girls are always coming up with stories?”

    “I don’t know, because a story makes life more romantic in a way reality isn’t.  Don’t guys like being drawn into a fantasy? All you guys have your fantasies too.”

    “I’m not all guys” you say, “Have you ever heard the saying, beautiful girls are raised to be loved?”

    I hadn’t heard it.

    “What would your fantasy have been about me?” You ask, a little while later.

    “You mean, if we were still in high school and already knew each other, and it was a day like this?” You nod. “Well, first I would tell myself that I was going to your house, but you wouldn’t know that, of course. I would spend a lot of time picking out which clothes to wear. I would walk to where you live, even if it was far, listening to music, songs that I would later associate with this walk. They might even have been decided ahead of time. I would stop somewhere on the way just to wait, to build up desire and frustration. But I couldn’t take it. I’d have waited too long. So I’d run, I’d run the rest of the way. You’d see me from the window and wave. You’d come meet me at the door and offer me a glass of water. Since I’d been running, I’d ask to use your shower. You would be in your bedroom waiting, and I’d come in, wrapped in a towel. Silently you’d come toward me, or you’d just stand up not moving at all and I’d come toward you. When I got close, I’d let the towel fall, everything I was holding too, and I’d lift your shirt over your head. Then I’d press my body onto your chest, into your chest. I’d say, ‘let me make you feel so good.’ With the back of your hand you’d sweep the hair away from my shoulders and you’d kiss me and kiss me and kiss me.”

    I must have been picking at the grass while I was talking because a pile of lawn tips is in a heap on my lap. I look at your face, looking away and I cannot tell if you are afraid or very, very sad.

• • •

Breadcrumb #16

Bob RayMonda


The tallest spire was nestled in the middle of a welcoming forest. It was at the epicenter of a vast network of tree dwellings, each covered in stained glass windows of varying shapes and sizes. Wary eyes peeked out from each building at the dense underbrush, and a collective fear was felt amongst them. A menacing figure was in their midst, one unlike anything they had ever seen. A hairy, ineffectual beast that brought with it a giant weapon of motorized destruction.

     The smoke that emitted from its weapon made the tree-people’s noses scrunch up and tickled their throats. Its loud noises filled their ears with pain, and their hearts with dismay. But these weren’t even the worst of its offenses against their community. It used this weapon to shear the grass that they used to weave their clothing and stuff their pillows — collecting it for some nefarious purpose unknown to them.

     Ike, the sheriff and resident protector of the woodland community, was the first to speak out. He left the safety of his spire and yelled to the beast from its wooden drawbridge. “Who are you, interloper? And how dare you disrupt our Sunday gathering?”

     The beast lumbered on, a combination of scraggly hair and earth-stained metal tearing through their most precious resource. It obviously hadn’t heard Ike’s voice, though not for his lack of trying. He spoke louder on his second attempt: “I said, who are you, interloper?”

     The beast briefly acknowledged Ike on this attempt,  but made no move to stop his destruction of their beloved lands. Ike reentered the spire and looked at his cowering countrymen. “Brothers, sisters, I promise you, I will vanquish this interloper. Does anyone care to join me?”

     Apprehensive looks were all that met Ike’s challenge. He left the spire again and descended to the forest floor and the beast before him. Looking at its back, Ike raised his loaded slingshot, armed with the largest rock he could find. He demanded, “If you do not stop destroying our forest, interloper, I will be forced to kill you!”


Gregory was a quiet, sensitive man who preferred to keep to himself. Little brought him more pleasure on a Saturday than doing that week’s yard work. Today’s chore was mowing and edging the lawn. He donned his giant noise-canceling headphones, turned on a little bit of Fleetwood Mac, and basked in the warm afternoon sun. He used his lawn mower to create calculated lines up and down his front yard. The smell of freshly cut grass filled his nose, and he couldn’t help but smile — nothing satisfied him more than tending to overlong grass with a focused precision that no one else in his family quite understood. 

     By the time the front was finished and it was time to tend to the back, Gregory’s body was covered in sweat. In the privacy of his fenced-in yard, he tossed his shirt onto the deck and continued topless and free. He was vaguely aware of his stepson Isaac’s presence in the treehouse the boy’s father had built for him before dying, but decided to leave him be. He knew that if he gave the boy enough space, and left a small ring of overgrown grass at the tree line, the two would have no issue.

He knew that if he gave the boy enough space, and left a small ring of overgrown grass at the tree line, the two would have no issue.

     Unlike the front yard, Gregory made a perimeter around his backyard while mowing, happiest as the square shrank with each passing lap. Everything was going smoothly until the mower ran over a large stick that jammed its blades. As he turned it off, his headphones blared louder than he was ready for, and he scrambled to unplug them from the device in his pocket. In the same moment, a rock caught him on the back of the neck. He let out an exasperated yelp and turned around to find its source. When he did, he was met face to face with his young stepson. “Isaac, what the hell?”

     The boy stared at him indignantly and shouted, “I said die, interloper!”


Ike readied his slingshot for a second attack. The beast acknowledged him now, and while it didn’t entirely back down, it did briefly pause its attack on the woodland community’s precious grass. “Interloper, I banish you from these lands, cultivated by my father and his father before him. Back away now and leave with your life, but continue your destruction and face my wrath!”

     The beast grumbled angrily at Ike, but surrendered. It lumbered off to a cave in the distance, with a look of obvious defeat as it skulked away. In leaving, it abandoned its weapon of mass destruction and the grass had gathered in the time before Ike’s brave resistance. As soon as he was sure the beast was gone, Ike tore into innards of its weapon and ran his fingers through the destroyed grass. He may not have been able to save it all, but he prevented total devastation. 

     Ike stood and faced the onlookers cowering in his woodland community. He rubbed the mulch from the destroyed grass on his cheeks like a warrior’s face paint, and raised his fists high above him in a victorious salute. Their community would live to see the light of another day.

• • •