Thingin’ Thing one says to thing two, “Let me tell you a thing or two.” Thing two says, “Do tell.” Thing one tells. “Two things were thinging when the phone rang.” “Aren’t you going to answer that?” thing two asks. Thing one ignores thing two and continues telling. “Thing one picked up the phone. ‘Hello?’” “Thing,” the voice on the line said, “let me tell you a thing or two.” “‘Do tell,’ said thing one,” thing one says. The voice continued. “‘The voice continued,’ thing one said,” thing one says. “What did the voice say?” thing two asks. “I can’t say,” thing one says. The voice continued. Thing one continues. Thing two tunes out. Thing one signs off. The voice continues. “Do tell.” If Only It, to all appearances. It could be mistaken for. Warm to the touch. Just the other day. Hard to find these days. Only when nothing else. It was, she remembered. Could it be? Hard to find in these parts. She remembered, back in college. How long had it? If you touched it with the tip of your tongue, you could taste it. But that was. If only. If only. Planned Obsolescence There once was a thing that could foresee its own obsolescence. A seer, this thing, a foreseer. They say humans are the only creatures that are conscious of their own inevitable death, but what about things? And are they even correct, those who say that among all earth’s creatures, only humans are aware of their own mortality? People have consciousness, but things? I can foresee my own mortality, I guess you could say my own obsolescence. When we speak of “planned obsolescence” we’re speaking of things, not people, yet surely we can apply the term to people, wouldn’t you say? We, the people, are aware of our own planned obsolescence. As for the thing that could foresee its own obsolescence, I am that thing, writing this thing. The Book I Imagine I’m imagining a book I’d like to write. I imagine a shape. Shapes. I can almost hear the loud parts, and the quiet ones. I imagine pages, more than I’ve ever written before. Tension and release. Hot and cold. I imagine what it would be like to read the book I’m imagining, sometimes gripping, sometimes confusing. Elusive. Slippery. A laugh here and there. A sky full of unfamiliar constellations. But no plot. No characters. Those I can’t imagine. There are limits. The Blend I had forgotten how delicious this coffee was. I don’t know what compelled me to buy this particular blend again after so long. Monday used to be a sad thing, back to work. Retirement fixed that. I love Marvin, but that mischievous cur chewed up my reading glasses, and now I can’t get on with that book I was reading, Survival for Dummies. Yeah, the coffee’s great; I haven’t had this blend in years, used to be my personal custom blend, three-quarters Kenya Double-A and a quarter French Roast Mexican Altura. Delicious. We used to drink it together, she and I. I haven’t had it since she left.
Peter Cherches has published five collections of fiction and creative nonfiction since 2013, most recently Masks: Stories from a Pandemic. Called “one of the innovators of the short short story” by Publishers Weekly, he’s also a jazz singer and lyricist. He’s a native of Brooklyn, New York.