Monday, May 21, 2007



Every moment is a re-creation.

The sky was violet when Annie met me under the trees. Delicate, blushing--the sky I mean.

"Did you get the vials?" I said.

"Yes." She rummaged in her bag and brought out two glass vials that shined in the light. I took them and tucked them carefully into my suitcase. I was leery of the virus they contained: so much power to destroy.

Annie said, "Are you ready?" She looked kind of tense, so I put my hands on her shoulders to tell her to relax. But her excitement was contagious: I could only breathe and nod.

She smiled, and the blush suffused her lips. I thought about how beautiful she was, about her teeth which were a little at odds with each other.

We were finally doing what we set out to do, finally acting on our beliefs: we were saving the earth.

People are so beautiful. It can be hard to miss sometimes; but at the end of the day the face holds all the wonder of the world. I like to look at people in the dark of night, when just a little glow from a street lamp makes their eyes light up like soul. I like to think of life with Annie.

Our priest has told us over and over again to value human life. And then he tells us: if you can do something to save this treasure, why hesitate? So whenever I think of people, I think of life, and I think of how tobacco ruins all of that. It's amazing how easily a man like me could stop a million deaths.

It can't kill them if it can't get to them.

I walked in-between lines of tobacco plants. Their green leaves glowed in the honey-soft sun. I watched the workers moving around, sweaty and lean. They didn't seem at all guilty.

Every time I passed by a clean, healthy plant I took my jack knife and made a nick in its stem. Eventually, Pablo, my one-man entourage, asked me what I was doing.

"Testing resistance to viral infection," I said; it sounded innocuous in my head but now it struck me as a spectacularly untactful thing to say. So I turned to him and said, "I'm going to do the spraying tomorrow. You can take my place doing overseeing."

His eyes widened. "Me, take your place? Muchas gracias, SeƱor."

I smiled. I looked up and caught Annie on the far side of the field. We nodded to each other. It had taken a long time for us to dig so deep into Siesta Smoke; years of planning and hard thinking.

We had a lot of money from our positions in the industry. Our priest instructed us to give it to the people--and I would--except for a little cache I'd been storing for a ring. See, after we brought down Siesta Smoke, I would ask Annie Shift for her lovely hand in marriage.

I rose early and drove toward the copter pad under a non-distinct sky. The suitcase sat beside me. Something in it rattled, which worried me, though when I checked the contents it seemed fine. I kept glancing at the sky.

I hate when clouds are the way they were on this morning; when they refuse to articulate themselves and they float about as wispy nothings. For something to be attractive it must be defined. Only an object with a firm sense of self can capture light in a beautiful way.

The copter pad was getting close. I closed my eyes for a second or two, taking a nervous breath: I felt a little sick. I rehearsed the proposition in my mind: step one, tip the virus into the growth hormones, step two, lift off...

Sirens flashed in front of me. I veered to a stop and stared dumbfounded at the copter pad. There was Annie waving me away from inside her helicopter as a bevy of policemen closed in on her. The drone of the propeller escalated and she lifted off to safety.

I made a hasty retreat to the nearby riverside and brought out my tiny TV. I turned in on in time to see the pursuit. It was ugly business. They routed her on another copter before she made it to the tobacco fields. It ended with Annie in handcuffs, defiantly disparaging her captors, under the headline, "CULT TRIES TO SABOTAGE TOBACCO INDUSTRY."

Failure left me more deflated than I could have expected. I sat down on a rock and peered in the babbling water. I covered my face with my hands and sighed. "Oh Annie." I felt like someone had cut me loose and I was lost in space.

I considered taking myself to a monastery, registering to be an oblate: I hadn't been getting my fair share of silence lately. I considered disappearing.

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the suitcase. My hands shook as I picked it up, wondering what to do with it. I tried to imagine our priest intoning, but the words ran together in my head.

I thought of Annie, and the police, and my body quaked. I threw the suitcase into the river, scattering the spawning salmon. They looked like dissipating soap bubbles in the light.

Every moment is a re-creation.

Author bio:

Kevin attends school in Seattle, where he resides in a snug molehill. His favorite book is probably Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. He says it's a gentle comfort for those times when "the going gets tough and all you want is a break from the worms and the digging." He agrees considerably with the musical and authorly tastes of Clockwise Cat.

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