Homework beckoned, but Janie strolled up the dusty road beside rows of corn that towered over her like adults in a queue. She climbed a split rail fence and gazed across fields resembling swells on a mottled green sea. Flapping her arms, she soared past the Gates’ barn, toward a dark line of woods. Crows cawed from a treetop. Swooping down, she emitted the piercing scream that came out at odd times, as if the sound were an unfulfilled wish struggling to escape its imprisonment. Birds scattered in a blizzard of feathers.
A green car speeding along a road reminded her of the painted turtle she found by a pond in the woods. She would follow it over the lawn. The creature never stopped trying to escape, no matter how many times she brought it back to the concrete patio. She loved the dark eyes, the yellow underside, and the slender neck stretching to see the world. But one summer day she took her pet to the pond and let it go.
The road’s black line seemed to go on, jogging every once in a while, forever. A smile crept across her face as she recognized Miss Rockwell’s face in the windshield. All day she would stare at the teacher’s teardrop glasses so that her eyes wouldn’t wander to the wall clock. Janie dropped to the treetops and picked a handful of acorns. Using the calculator in her head—the only part of her mind that didn’t turn to mush in school–she estimated the car’s speed and dropped an acorn. There was a metallic thump. She opened her fist and fled amidst a gratifying clatter.
If Janie flew far enough, perhaps she would find the nursery where clouds grew up or the place—which must be very nice indeed—they were in such a rush to reach. She rose until her fingers touched the clouds’ cool wetness. They coalesced into gray walls and a computer monitor with arcane words. Corn tassels became dots on her cubicle’s carpet.
A spectacled engineer stood in her doorway, three pens and the spiral wire of a notepad protruding from the breast pocket of his rumpled shirt. “Jane, is there a way to import constraints from modules into a top level design?”
“Go three rows past the cloud. Sorry, I think I need to bring my brain in for a tune-up. When you save, use import changes only. If you overwrite, you would lose existing constraints…”
Thus Jane’s day went on like any other, except for that brief flight among the clouds.
Ron Morita studied neurophysiology at UCLA’s Brain Research Institute because so much of what we consider ourselves to be is in the brain. Finding himself unsuited to academia, he earned a Masters in biomedical engineering from Case Western and became an electrical engineer.His fiction appeared in Cigale Literary Magazine and Penduline Literary Magazine and has been accepted by The Chamber Four Literary Magazine, Star 82 Review and Empty Sink Publishing. Ron has four unpublished novels. His website is www.facebook.com/RonMoritaStories