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- Any Coincidence Is - 3/17 -

synchronicity to follow, to confirm her judgment on some level above human interpretation. Yet the moment of truth that had evaded her ever since childhood continued to remain conspicuous by its absence. In lieu of enlightenment, a muffled argument began to emanate from the college students next door. The plaster made it all to easy to hear, in terms of volume, but reduced everything to disconcerting roars, in terms of clarity. As far as Julia could tell, the argument, which was building to the "throwing objects to accentuate one's point" phase, and concerned the doctrine of predestination versus free will as well as whose turn it was to run the dishwasher.

"Well," she said, tossing the hulking tome next to the library's copies of "Cat's Cradle" and "Waiting for Godot", "I didn't understand much of it anyway."

6. Unidentified floating objects "Sucks to be you." -- Traditional

Old Zeke handed Justin his day's worth of mail and looked longingly at the cool shade under the porch, half hoping, half anticipating an invitation to enjoy a cool drink and a few minutes out of the sun. His state-of-the-art mail delivery vehicle, an old green Ford with busted air-conditioning, sometimes elicited sympathy from those along his route, but the ones with beer were the best. However, Justin just looked through his mail and then began watching the sky.

"You ever think about gravity?" Justin asked suddenly.

"No," admitted Old Zeke, wiping the perspiration from his forehead. Justin sighed a little.

"You ever fall off a ladder?"

"Well," considered Zeke. Damned if this wasn't a round-about way to offer a fella a drink, but maybe after all this Justin would offer him a beer instead of that watery lemonade he made. "Yeah."

"How long did it take you to fall?"

Well hell, muttered Old Zeke under his breath. Maybe all those stakes he was driving in had given Justin a touch of the sun. The thought made him consider hauling Justin back to town, although the truck might finish the job the sun had started.

"A second or two," Zeke replied. But before he could load Justin into the truck, he figured he would have to collect a few things from the house, and maybe from the fridge he'd collect a few drinks...

"That thing up there hasn't fallen a foot in ten minutes or so."

Maybe Justin had a small bottle of something tucked away under the... "What thing?"

Justin pointed.

Zeke shielding his eyes with his hands and looked up. "Oh, that weather balloon?"

Justin's expectant face seemed to droop. "That what it is?"

"Yep. Looks like it's almost out of helium, the way it's floating so low. Launched 'em myself thirty years ago in the Army."

"Oh," muttered Justin "Be seeing ya, Zeke." He turned back to the porch.

Damn, thought Zeke, plodding back to the truck, if I told him it was a flying saucer I might have got a beer after all. Coincidentally, a gust of wind took the balloon higher into the sky.

7. Fallout "This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath, May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet." -- Shakespeare

Alona ran out of the elevator, trying to hide her face in one hand and hold her overstuffed bag in the other. She kept wiping away the tears just to get through the already crowded lobby, where young gossip-mongers waiting vigilantly for fresh news.

The tears had started when Prof. Sigger had somehow sneaked passed her as she was searching in her bag for her paper. How anyone that old and lazy could have slipped out without a sound was a mystery to be considered after the wave of rejection and failure had passed -- and after she made it to her car. Wiping her face with her sleeve and pretending to look as bored as everyone else, Alona hoped that even if her roommate were around, she would be fooled long enough to prevent her from starting any more rumors. Unfortunately, Alona decided this just after her roommate spotted her across the vestibule, noted the tears and false-face anxiety, and immediately deduced out loud to several of her closest acquaintances that Prof. Sigger had made a move on the all-too-innocent waif. The rumor spread across the hall and up the elevators by the time Alona was weaving through the cars that stalked the parking lot for open stalls. It seemed nearly everyone in the building had heard a whisper by the time Alona reached her father's rusting Gremlin.

She made her way to it without getting hit by the over-anxious drivers, unlocked the driver's side door, threw her bag into the back seat and herself into the driver's. Then she let go and sobbed and sobbed, hoping that if she got a "C" in Freshman Comp that it wouldn't turn out to be the excuse her parents needed to stop paying her tuition. They wanted Alona to work in the town's newly renovated theater, an investment in which they owned a small percentage.

Alona's sobs lasted for some time, and she knew, just knew, that her water-proof mascara had run, so she opened the glove compartment to find a Kleenex. Out fell a letter.

Her sobbing stopped as she picked it up from the dusty car floor. "Alona" was written, almost scribbled, on the cover. In Kurt's handwriting. She hadn't seen him in weeks, not since he began playing regularly in the band. She couldn't help picturing him the last time he was in her car, brushing back his long hair and scratching his hand in that nervous way of his.

"You're breaking up with me?" he asked, staring vaguely at the floor-mat.

She had nodded. What else could she do? Even she had finally admitted that he was just a good-looking loser. Sure, he could play the guitar and write songs, but she wouldn't be able to face her parents once they found out his most popular ballad was titled "Love Turds".

"This sucks," he muttered. Somehow, that had helped her keep her resolve, although in the weeks that had passed, her memory of that lonely quality of his, the one that had attracted her to him in the first place, had grown to almost god-like proportions.

Alona sighed and opened the letter.

Alona, (it read, unnecessarily)

O.K. I've had time to think about us. You shouldn't have broken up with me, but you're still cool, O.K.? I mean, even if you dont let me go all the way with you, your cool. So, like what I'm asking is should we get back together?

I know you don't think your parents will like me. But I'll grow on them. I'll write them a song that they'll like. Like 'Love Turds' but with different lyrics.

Any way, that's not what I wrote about. I mean, youre cool and all and I want to get back together with you but there's something else going on.

I'm probably going to loose my dayjob at Osco. Doesn't matter. Screwm all. But I think I know what's been in those weird boxes Osco orders that end up in Denny's car! Something big is going to happen and I think that all of those freeks who picked up the white lab coats are in on it. You remember them? Anyway--

Denny let it slip that some of that stuff was going to Seltzer or Sesame, or whatever. This all adds up! I'll let you know as soon as I can find out what's in them! Then I'll see if Tom if can get off his butt long enough to come with me to search for Seltsame -- Call me tonight after eight.

(I mean if you want to call me after eight. You don't have to but I shure would like to talk to you again about us and all of this and stuff, you know?)

Love, Kurt. PS. If you arnt getting back with me, can you give me back my Ugly Kid Joe CD?

8. The most effective form of rhetorical persuasion ever devised "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, and try again. Then give up. There's no use being a damned fool about it." -- W.C. Fields

"Hello!" cried Prof. Sigger, his voice drained of masculine resonance with panic. No one seemed to be around, except the long haired kid sharing his cell. The boy was hunched in the corner, arms folded around his stomach.

"Hello!" bellowed Prof. Sigger. "I'd like to visit the American Embassy! Unless of course this is the American Embassy, in which case I'd like to visit to the Russian Embassy! Ya neeminoga gavaru parusskie!"

From beyond a shadowed corner, a small man emerged wearing a white lab coat.

"About time! About fifteen minutes ago I was--" began Sigger.

"Contemplating making romantic overtures to a female student less than half your age," said the Lab Coat Man, reading from a yellow page stacked (neatly) in a clipboard.

"Well, yes," muttered Prof. Sigger. "Is that the reason I'm here?"

"We'd like to schedule your interview. Are you free in an hour?" he

Any Coincidence Is - 3/17

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