Slipstream Dreams: Part One

My name is Tim. I am a fairly simple guy, I don’t need much, and have never really been one for real fancy things. I work as a reporter and editorialist for our local paper, the “River North Gazette.”

My longest companion is Zoe, my black lab. I got her as a puppy nine years ago, and we keep each other company. She is an outside dog, except of the really extreme days, but we don’t have too many of those, living on River North.

The seasons are at that point of the best of both Summer and Fall. It smells of wood-burning stoves and pecans in the crisp cool morning air, but the days have not gotten so short that it seems that the day ends halfway through the afternoon, yet. The leaves are about to turn into their full Autumnal glory, but not yet.

Tonight we are going to have our first cookout, bonfire, and guitar pickin’ get together of the season. My friends and I, we used to live for these shindigs, a chance to gather in the woods, off away from our hard (or boring) lives the rest of the week, a chance to get up next to that girl we’d been thinking about talking to, and a time to relax. Now that we’re older, we still have them, and my friends have been bringing their kids, too.

I’m being set up this time with a new girl in town, although my friends are all pretty much done getting hitched, I have not yet found the right girl. That’s not exactly right, I had the right girl. When we were in college together we had the best life planned. Together, we were going to be the world’s best team, but she died from viral encephalitis that she got from a mosquito bite on a summer mission project in Panama City Beach. Although I have tried looking, I have not had much success in relationships, because she was the one for me. It is coming on ten years since she died, and though the sharpness of her death has worn off, she is still in my mind frequently.

Got to run home now to get Zoe and my boots on. Tonight I’ve got fire duty, and I’ve got to get there early, to set everything up right. There is a real art in building a fire, one that gives off enough heat, but not too much smoke, one that will light the evening, but burn down, to get real good coals for the end of the evening, ready for s’mores.

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