The Motionless Moose – A Short Story

The Motionless Moose
Written by -M. Taggart
Fiction. 4/14/19

The Motionless Moose

 

The lake reflected the moon in shimmering splinters as the wind pushed waves inland and finally to his feet. The wind drove directly at the camp from the Northwest. He couldn’t smell the campfire, although he could hear the flickering of the flames just after one of the men shuffled the burning logs around. They were constantly doing this while complaining about how no one could keep a fire going.

That’s the thing about being at camp, he thought. We are in the middle of no where and the owner insisted that we use the metal fire bin with wildlife depicted on the side. They don’t work. The airflow is stifled toward the bottom. He had mentioned that they should drill holes at the bottom of the fire bin for better airflow and was scoffed at. It was always like this. Or, they would talk around him. He left the fire, and them, and brought a chair to the foot of the lake to watch the wind push the white caps around.

Only two men sat at the fire now. The rest had gone to their bunks. It was late but he didn’t want to be in the bunkhouse. They toss and turn and snore while he lays quietly and doesn’t sleep. No. He’d rather sit here and let a moose walk up to him. The wind felt nice on his face. It wasn’t cold. It felt like a comfortably blanket that moves. The waves licking at the shore landed with a calming rhythm. If he could talk with the lake he would have enough company to last the night. Sometimes he could catch a few words of the conversation at the camp fire, but he didn’t want to know what they were talking about so he tried not to listen. He could see the outline of the mountain range on the far side of the lake. He thought about the Indians who knew those mountains and traversed them hundreds of years ago. They truly knew the mountains and lakes and the game. They were not there to own it, but to be with it. He wanted to talk with them and sit at their camp fires even if he didn’t understand a word they said.

He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply bringing in all of the musty smells of the lake. He wondered if he’d be able to smell a moose or a bear if it were close enough. While his eyes were closed and the wind brushed passed his cheeks he heard a clopping sound coming from the shoreline just north of him. He opened his eyes to see a darkened image of a large moose feeding. The moose raised its long legs out of the water and dropped them back into the lake without taking its head out of the water. Just then he heard the harsh hissing sound of steam as the men were done with their night and putting the failed fire out for good. He didn’t bother calling to them. He liked seeing the moose alone. He liked that he could have this and they will know nothing about it. Even if he did tell them they wouldn’t believe him. They’d say a moose wouldn’t come this close to camp with a fire going. They’d tell him moose don’t feed at this time of night. Then they’d tell their stories about how they have seen moose and about how close they’ve gotten to them and him having seen a moose would have dissapeared all together.

The large head of the moose slowly rose from the water, tested the air, and stood motionless for a moment then again started to feed. He closed his eyes and replayed the motionless moose. He had what he needed and what he came for.

The End.

-M. Taggart

 

 

 

 

Short – Last Night is Today?

I like life. I had beers while moving all of the storage unit items from the garage to the basement and bonus room above the garage. I’ve never had a garage. Not one of my own. It’s going to snow tomorrow and I think my truck wants to be inside. I’m not positive because the truck doesn’t actually speak, or think, but I do think it’s possible it would rather be inside.

I enjoyed standing in our garage while listening to the plow truck last night. I think he was drinking beer too. Now though, this very moment, I’m sitting in my office looking out of the window at a very grey-dusty looking morning sky. The storm has yet to start. I still don’t know what the plow truck was plowing.

My coffee is hot and smells exactly how I had hoped it would. All I will do now is finish typing these last few words and settle into the rest of something.

I hope your day treats you well,

-Matt

The Oak Leaf – A Short Story

The Oak Leaf
A Short Story – Fiction
Written by -M. Taggart

The Oak Leaf

The wind rushing through campus was strongest near the library. A pure wind tunnel powered by an unseen bottleneck. The October air was just turning crisp and the sun was out making the leaves look brilliant and full of life just before dropping for the winter season.

The UMASS campus was packed with energy as students walked to and from classes ranging from one end of campus to the other. Some students took buses, if the timing worked. Others chose to walk even if it made them a few minutes late. Besides an ugly look from a professor, what would it really matter. Nick wanted to write. He wanted to not go to class at all, but instead to drive through Sunderland and park under Mount Sugarloaf in South Deerfield, and walk up the steep trail with the views overlooking the Connecticut River, the Sunderland church steeple, and the UMASS campus. He wanted to write about students walking to class near the wind tunnel while sitting hundreds of feet above it all. He wanted to remember what the wind felt like on his face and do the best he could to write it as if he were still there with everyone.

Nick turned and started walking to his car. Class will be there in two more days, like it always is. Maybe then he’ll want to sit and listen and learn and not want to sit on the mountain and write. Hemingway was in his hand. The Sun Also Rises. He’d read it in High School and again after on his own. And now again in his literature course. He felt as though he not only knew the book well, but that he was somehow attached to the writing. It lived somewhere in him now and he liked knowing that to be true even if he couldn’t explain it. Nick walked quickly, nervous he might lose the feeling to write before he was able to. Then again, he thought, even if he did lose the feeling to write he’d need only to read a few pages of the book and it would come flooding back. It was always that way when he read Hemingway. As though Hemingway’s sentence structure soothed him into a different state of mind where everything flows properly when thinking about even a simple thing. Such as a leaf falling from an oak and taken by the wind to a place it had never been until it finally lands.

“Nick! Hey, you’re going the wrong way.”

Nick lost all train of thought. Her smile took everything.

“It’s this way to class and I want you to sit next to me. And if you go that way, you can’t sit next to me.”

Nick sat next to Emma in an auditorium filled with four-hundred students. Their professor was shifting papers getting ready to start the lecture centered on The Sun Also Rises. 

Some fifty feet above the grassy landing on top of Mount Sugarloaf waited a leaf on the branch of an oak tree. The leaf was securely fastened and not yet ready to drop. Soon though, it would be. Soon the tree would need resources to be used differently within its shell of life and the leaf would become more brittle, and less full of vibrant colors, yet ready to experience somewhere it had never been.

*****

The End.

Unless someone wants more. In that case it’ll be not the end.

 

Please, check out some of my published work:
https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/my-book/

And feel free to contact me:
https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/contact/

Cheers!

photo (75)

 

 

 

Odd Walking Thoughts

Clean writing feels like sleep. Eventually a reason to wake happens and we’re still thinking of the dream which hated us, or loved and still smell on our lips; not all dreams end when we’re awake as we pull them with us without permission into the daytime life we live, and around the mouths we currently know. Maybe it’s best to find the full moon and not sleep. Maybe it’s best to stand in the cold stream skipping rocks and counting, alone, guided by nothing but ringlets which all drift away from their center. Or, maybe it’s best to wake and write the best we can without hesitation.

-M. Taggart
copyright 2018

Paranoia’s Self Doubt is Truth – Short Story

Written by –M. Taggart
Paranoia’s Self Doubt is Truth
A short story: Fiction
12/19/18

 

“You don’t need to sit in here, you know. You can move the game outside.” Sandy said. “There’s that little table just on the other side of the window.”

The beer looked like it always did. She slid it to him on the bar. A light streak of whitish foam trailed the bottom of the pint glass.

“Do you want us to move outside?”

“I’m just saying you don’t need to stay in here.”

“I think I’m fine.”

A few of the men sitting at the bar were listening. They didn’t look at him directly, but he knew they were. He turned from the bar and walked to the chess game. Sunny was waiting for him. Ed sat at the end of the table acting as a referee of sorts. “He hasn’t moved a thing. I made sure of it.”

“I wouldn’t move a thing even if you weren’t here. You know I wouldn’t. I’m not a cheater. Are you saying I’m a cheat?” Sunny’s brow made sure Ed understood.

“I didn’t say that. I said you didn’t move a thing. Calm down.”

“I am calm. Maybe keep your nose out of this game.”

As Andi sat he thought he caught two men at the bar watching him. The men leaned in close to one another and shared a secret then glanced in their direction. “Go ahead and move.”

Sunny moved his knight into position to take his rook. “Think you’ll care about that being gone?”

“I’m not sure. Give me a minute and we’ll see. Do you know the two guys sitting at the right of the bar?”

“I know one of them.” Said Ed. “Comes in once and a while. Knows that guy you said you helped strip his roof.”

Andi squinted while looking down at the chess board. Knowing his next move, he waited, purposefully while the memory of the roof project streamed. It hadn’t gone well and ended badly.

“You gonna move?”

“Do you know him too?” Andi asked Sunny.

“Yea, I know him. You gonna move?”

Andi moved his queen into position to take Sunny’s knight if Sunny decided to take his rook.

“Why you worried about him? He’s not doing anything to you.”

“I didn’t say I was worried about him. Why’d you bother with that? I asked if you knew him.” The bar seemed to pull its walls closer to him. He looked at Sandy, she was looking directly at him. There was no missing it. She had been waiting for him to look. She nodded slightly toward the door. The two men had been watching Sandy and now turned to look at Andi and the chess game. One of the men slapped the bar and let out a cackle of laughter, “who fucking plays chess at a bar?”

“Your move.” Andi told Sunny. “You hear what one of them just said?”

“Hear what? A man laugh. So what. You think that’s something odd, Ed?”

“Nope. I don’t. I don’t see much in that at all.”

Sunny moved to take the rook. Andi immediately moved his queen to take the knight. “Your move.”

“I see that. Don’t you think I see that?”

“Maybe I don’t care.” Andi’s face was flat.

“What the hells a matter with you?”

“You know that job didn’t go well.”

“Well, he ain’t here, is he?”

“I disagree.”

“You’re paranoid.”

“Paranoia’s self doubt is truth.”

“What the fuck does that mean.” Sunny pushed the chess board at Andi, a few of the pieces fell over.” The men at the bar turned in their bar stools. One of them stood.

“You’re a bunch of fucking assholes.” Andi stood and flung his beer into Sunny’s face as the men rushed him.

********************************************

Contact: https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/contact/

Published Work: https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/my-book/

 

A Short Story – Hiding In Time

Hiding In Time
A Short Story
Written by  -M. Taggart
11/24/18

 

Hiding In Time

 

“Who’s this?” He tapped his pointer finger on the photograph.

I knew who it was, but didn’t answer. I studied his large, red, bulbous nose. It was crooked. I wondered how long it took to create a nose like that.

He slid another image over the metal table. The photograph was of a 1968 Mustang Fastback GT. I scanned the description. It had an S-Code 390, just like mine. “You know, I once rode in one of those. That was a long time ago and you probably don’t even know what it is. A Heavy beast. With more torque than you could handle.”

I felt the same dull sensation I always feel when a man talking to me tells me about what I know rather than asks. “Does the sun rise differently for you than me?” I replied. The man shook his head. “There’s no need of that. Really.” He then placed another clipping on top of the photo of the Mustang. “Do you know who this is?”

“Neil Armstrong.”

“Right. I remember watching him step onto the moon. I wasn’t sure if what I was seeing was real. I’m still not sure if it was. You can’t believe anything is real unless you can touch it and you certainly can’t believe what another man says is real unless you’re with him and can justify his accuracy.”

“Do you believe he was in space?”

“I do.”

The old man dug through more clippings and placed another on top of Neil. “Were you alive when this happened?”

“I was. We watched it on TV in our classroom. We all saw it blow up just after it lifted. Our teacher cried and shut the TV off. I remember it was an old TV and they wheeled it in on a metal cart.”

“It was a shame to me that she never got to walk on the moon. I think everyone was watching because of her. It’s funny to me how close we can be to having everything we want and then it can be taken away. Either by our own choice, or by another way.”

What he said made sense to me. Much like knowing when something bad is about to happen and for some reason you didn’t change direction and then the bad thing happens and you know it could have been avoided.

“This, everyone knows what this is. I’ve been there and I can tell you when I stood on the edge I realized just how small I was. That canyon wasn’t a simple thing for me to understand, it changed me. Much like being here changes a person. It can be for the better, or worse. I guess it’s up to the individual.”

The mixed accents came back, along with the setting down of food trays and the slow shuffling of feet.

“See,” the old man leaned in and lowered his voice, “The thing is to not think of it by thinking of other things.”

 

**

-M. Taggart
Copyright 2018

Published Work: https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/my-book/

Contact:  https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/contact/

 

Men, We’ve Been Deceived

-M. Taggart
Micro Non-Fiction
Written 10/11/18

 

Men, We’ve Been deceived.

 

I was severely ill and shook in front of an electric heater while wearing only briefs. I remember turning the heater dial to high. She came home and stepped over me.

I was in college at the time. It was her idea to get our apartment before we were ready. Just as it was her idea to have sex before I was ready. She pushed wanting sex with leverage of breaking up until I relented.

When she stepped over me the second time, to leave, I had realized what I needed to do.

My fever was so high that I was seeing things that weren’t there.

I knew Megan was the right one when she drove, from two states away, to bring to me a family remedy to help alleviate a massive canker sore located on my tongue. I had only just mentioned I had one. And she was there.

-M. Taggart
Copyright 2018

 

Slippers

“Come on bud, it’s time for your nap.”
I trudged toward the stairway, he followed.
I kicked my L.L. Bean slippers off .
“Take your slippers off. You don’t need them.”
Gavin took his slippers off and placed them in mine. Left in left. Right in right. The baseball watched it happen.

After I rocked Gavin to sleep I walked back down the stairs. I felt as though I was dreaming. I have a son who wanted his slippers inside my own who had just fallen asleep on my chest listening to my heartbeat after I had sung him to sleep.

The baseball was still there. My memories were too. Coaching baseball saved my life. And now I have another life far more important than mine to care for. I’m not going anywhere and I can’t wait for tomorrow and the next day. And the day after that.

 

-M. Taggart

slippers
truth

 

It’s only a matter of time

The most difficult piece of writing I’ve completed sits safely in a digital file. One literary agent replied to me, “I can’t touch this.”

In my opinion, in time, I’ll be contacted by either a publisher, or an agent, wanting to see what words sit within that file. And it won’t be me chasing them.

When that happens, I’ll happily champion their strength.

Cheers everyone.

Matt

-And who knows. Maybe the publisher who just published my short story ‘Screaming Hills’ will be the first to ask about it.

 

And Honest Rapport –

I write what I know. I’ve learned that I enjoy people who don’t tell about what they don’t know. So, it turn, I write what I know while avoiding what little I know not about. Somewhere in there lives a story. Not long ago I watched a man run over a blank spot in the snow which happened to be the artesian well. The electrical cord was cut cleanly enough. The man told me, “I don’t know a thing about how to fix this. But, I know a man who does.” He and I then shared a whiskey on his bar. The bar happened to reside in the house I grew up in and the man happens to be my mother’s husband. How little we know is not the measure of us. Not any of us. It’s the little we know that we are honest about that will be remembered.