Pastor Daniel walked into his back yard to feed the dog, and in the flashlight’s tight circle he saw that Bix, in the process of burying a bone, had clearly expired and fallen into his own bone hole. The pastor averted the torch and looked back at window lights streaming from the house. How would he break the news to Ellen? The thought of fully explaining the sequence of events struck him as grotesque. So he picked up the bone and temporarily covered the dog, using foot motions that resembled a brisk cleaning of soles.
Back in, Daniel noticed too late that he still held the dog’s food bowl, as well as the dirt-crusted bone his wife had given the dog earlier that evening. She looked up from her washing of dishes, then gazed at the black square of the kitchen window. She knew all of it, he realized. How could she know so much on the basis of such simple clues?
Ellen dried her hands and reached for a jacket hanging by the door. “Where are you going?” the pastor asked.
“Out to look at the stars,” she said. “The planets. The comets. The spinning galaxies.”
“Let me put these away and I’ll come with you.”
“Oh no,” she said. “No. You need to go work on your sermon.”
has taught creative writing and literature at The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of North Texas, and the Writer’s Garret, in Dallas. He now lives in Marfa, Texas. He is the author of This Is Not the Way We Came In, a collection of flash fiction and a flash novel (Ravenna Press), Winter Investments: Stories (Trilobite Press), and Prairie Shapes: A Flash Novel (winner of the 2004 Robert J. DeMott Prose Contest). His poems, short stories, and creative nonfictions have appeared in magazines and anthologies across the country, including Blink Ink, Cutbank, Eastern Iowa Review, New Flash Fiction Review, Star 82 Review, and Third Wednesday, among others.
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