Book Light

She loved reading books, and not just reading them, but researching what to read next, talking about her reads with her friends and family, and prowling book stores with her book list in her hand. Non-fiction, fantasy, young adult, historic novels, mysteries…they were all on her list. She read everyday, often reading four or five books a week. Finding a new author that she enjoyed was her greatest pleasure.

Then her mother died, her mother, who’d always encouraged her to read, introducing her to The Three Detectives series and Nancy Drew Mysteries, her mother, whose idea of a day out was taking her girls to the public library, where each was allowed to check out one book.

With her mother gone, she no longer wanted to read. It was like her book light had gone out, and would not come back on.

The Nap Dream

I was reading a book when sleep ambushed me. I dreamed then that I was in a car, looking up at its pewter grey ceiling. Tucked and curved, the ceiling was made of the material sometimes called mouse fur.

The dome light hove into view. As I watched, the dome light changed into an eye. It blinked once. The iris was blue but changed into grey. The pupil enlarged. A second later, I floated up into the pupil. I awoke as I passed into its darkness.

Daily Goals

“What are your goals today?”

It was the female without an accent asking. Accents and the apparent sexes their voices displayed were the only way of identifying the daily taskmasters. Identifying was a weak expression, as they remained nameless and without form.

He scratched and swallowed. He needed to get up and drink water but also pee. Was that ironic? No, coincident.

Goals. “I want to get up and pee.” That would get him no points but they didn’t remonstrate him. Still, sharp past responses made him moderate his approach.

“Write, of course,” he said.

“You always do that,” she said.

Did he imagine that she sighed? “Still counts,” he said.

Silence answered. They weren’t pleased.

He said, “Wash, vacuum, and gas the cars.”

A male overseer said, “Good,” with boredom as thick as flies on shit.

“Yard work.”


“Finish reading a book.”

“Oh.” The female. “What book?”

“Donna Leon, The Waters of Eternal Youth”. 

“Very good.” Happiness seemed to shower him. “That’s a good goal. Good luck.”

He was released. Opening his eyes, he sat up. Of all that he’d said, what would most count was reading the book. That was his number one priority. He was hungry and needed enough points to get a decent meal. He sensed that if he failed to read the book,  they’d punish him.

Draining his bladder in the water closet, he snorted and chortled. His mind was a strange overseer.

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