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

 

 

 

 

Odd Walking Thoughts – A New Well

The view spanned portions of three states. You could see the opposite mountain range, and the valleys in between. You could even see the river with the sun shimmering off its surface, if you wanted to. He came to this spot to find peace. Instead his head raced in circles as he looked down at his boots. “No matter where I am, this follows me.” The wind blew and with the rustling of the leaves it spoke, “Every thought is its own well. And the negative ones tend to swirl in circles on the way down. It’s time to look up and create a new well facing in a direction other than down.”

 

Every thought is its own well
And the negative ones
Tend to swirl in circles
On the way down

-M. Taggart

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

About:
https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/m-taggart/

 

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)

 

 

 

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/

 

Odd Walking Thoughts – Little Blue Boots

She wore her yellow rain jacket with her blue rain boots. She didn’t mind the rain, but her mother would yell at her if she got her clothes too wet. The brook’s banking was muddy and she liked it because she was able to leave impressions with her boots and watch as the rain disturbed her footprints. ‘Maybe I should have been a duck.’ Earlier the young girl had observed a mother duck with her ducklings and watched in awe at how the mother duck quacked and nuzzled her young. When the mother duck started toward the water the ducklings followed. She had felt a sensation brighten within her chest that she’d not felt before. Now though, it was just her and her emptiness watching rain destroy where she’d created another version of self within a few muddy prints. ‘I don’t understand why it’s my fault that I’m hit.’ She leaned against an oak tree and forced the feeling to cry back down her throat. ‘I want to like life, but I don’t know how to make her happy.’

The tree embraced the young girl and said, ‘To decipher manipulation is much like killing yourself slowly and ignoring your knowledge of it. Such is the case when we place a narcissist’s needs into a space of importance. Recently it was demanded of you, by you, to acknowledge what you know to be truth. Soon, it will be time to act, and when you do, this unjust weight will be lifted from you. In time you will have your own ducklings and you will feel your chest brighten to the depths of the heavens. There will be no pity. There will be no, “I’m sorry.” There will only be what you’ve created and you will be loved.’

-M. Taggart
copyright 2018

My Life

The rain was pounding down while I was driving back to Western, MA.
Easily a place to be considered as a non-destination within the construct
of my current mindset. I’d rather not drive in the pouring rain; to a town
I dislike to visit, to then park on the street, within feet of the very courthouse
that put me in jail twenty years ago. I’m a realist however. I was in a fist fight.
I won. He lost. He got what he deserved. I got what I deserved. End of story.

It’s simple really. I applied for an electricians helper license in the state of Maine.
One of the online questions was this, “Have you ever been convicted of anything
in any court of law.” I have. I was, and I wasn’t about to lie. Lying is the weakness
laying in the corners of every mind and only the simplest of people lean in that direction
on purpose or very often as to prove to themselves that only fake can control their outcome.

I answered, “Yes.”

Next page please. However, instead of a new set of questions,
I read a pop-up informing me that the state of Maine Electricians Board will need documentation from the court concerning the conviction. along with a letter written by
me explaining the circumstances. Oh, how I enjoyed the writing of that letter! I may have mentioned that the judge who sentenced me can be found on YouTube slapping a police officer while intoxicated in the town of Northampton, MA, and has since been removed of duty. Funny how things like that happen. Funny too, that as part of my sentence handed down by this incredible being of life, was that I was to NEVER step foot in the premises of said ‘Burger King’ again. And, funny too, that I decided to drive to this fine establishment after having visited the courthouse, documents in hand, to find that this particular Burger King has failed. The windows are boarded up and the Burger King sign is dismantled/falling down. The building is in decay. Apparently I won this one, too.

I’ve never been ashamed of my jail sentence. I believe my time there was important, and is as important to me as having put myself through college and graduating with a BA from the Isenberg School of Management, UMASS, Amherst.

My helpers license is in my wallet. Let’s see what else I can do.

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

 

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.

Once upon a time – A Short Story

Once upon a time
8/6/18

Written by -M. Taggart

 

Once upon a time

 

“Do you think it’ll be fine?” she held onto her glass of wine with two fingers. Her eyes twitched from side to side.

“I hope. There’s nothing more we can do besides wait. We know what to look for.”

Outside the restaurant people passed by on foot. Some stopped to look into shop windows. Some drove by and looked into the restaurant.

Their table had been dressed with a white cloth. The cloth smelled of harsh detergent and old food. Some of the white cloth was stained a faint yellow. She didn’t like it touching her leg.

“But do you think It will be fine? They said there wasn’t one, but what if it started now?”

“That’s the thing about not knowing. We can create all the grey area we want, expand it, and let it terrify us. Or, we can accept what we don’t know and hope it will be fine with what we do know. I don’t want to think about this. Let’s stop and think about another thing.”

They both looked at the white cloth covering the table. He held onto his glass of beer with his right hand while his left hand rest on the table in a fist. She still held her glass of wine with two fingers. Inhaling quickly she turned her head to watch the people walking on the street.

“Why does it have to be like this? It didn’t. I know it is, but it’s not fair even if fair has nothing to do with it, so don’t go and say that, you always say that.”

A family crossed the street just in front of their window. A father held the left hand of their daughter and the mother held the right. The girl danced in the middle. Her hair was long and curly and bounced.

“It’s going to be fine.” He said to his wife as he watched her tears fall. “Just as soon as it’s fine we’ll be fine again.”

 

**

The End. For now.
yea, that’s enough of that.

Cheers everyone.

-M. Taggart