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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Yaw and Nothing More


Jess had been driving for hours, long hours, and the steady hum of the asphalt beneath the tires, and the endless, unchanging Midwest landscape, and the warm, stuffy air inside his late-model car with a marginally functional A/C began to lull him towards sleep, into an unblinking hypnagogic state of highway hypnosis.

He began to dream as he drove.

He dreamt of lazy summer stars falling through hazy, crepuscular skies, of chanting pilgrims in dusty robes and worn sandals on their way towards the sacred shrine of their god on the other side of the horizon, of inoperable problems, of photographic rotations and long-distance replacement parts…

…and all this was interrupted by a rumbling vibration and dull growl as he and the car drifted over onto the shoulder of the road at 80 miles per hour.

“Shit!” he shouted as he swung the wheel back to the left.

“Yaw!” squawked the blue-black raven sitting next to him in the passenger seat.

“Shit!” he shouted again. "Am I still dreaming?”

“Yaw!” the raven said again and Jess wondered if it was a response to his question.

***

Hours later, several long hours later, Jess had grown comfortable with the strange bird sitting next to him. The bird was a comfort. The bird was someone to talk to.

“There’s this guy at work,” he heard himself saying to the raven, “a real anus, a whoreson if ever there was one.” The raven shifted back and forth on his thin, scraggy feet, but didn’t judge. Jess continued, “I hate that bastard.”

The raven twisted his head towards Jess. “Yaw.”

“Yeah.” Jess agreed. “It’s something more than workplace aggravation, or interpersonal irritation.”

“Yaw.”

Jess sighed and then said, “If he hadn’t slept with my wife, then I wouldn’t want to kill him.”

“Yaw,” said the raven, and nothing more.



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