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November 17 , 2008

Owner of the House


Autumn in New Hampshire. The air is crisp, the moonless night still. Bonnie and I tilt our chairs back against the rear deck railing and take in a brilliant celestial canopy. How can there be so many stars? Were they hung there just to remind me of my own insignificance?
A satellite hurries by overhead, scurrying like Alice’s rabbit against a grand backdrop of distant suns. Its frenzied pace seems almost comical – a Charlie Chaplin hustling among the slow moving gods and goddesses of the heavens.

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A short story by Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin (1855—1888), originally published in 1880. * * * * * * Рассказ Всеволода Михайловича Гаршина (1855—1888), впервые опубликованный в 1880 году. ?Никита заторопился, сбросил рубашку и штаны и остался совершенно нагим. Нет ничего прекраснее человеческого тела, — множество раз было говорено кем-то,…

A meteor streaks across the sky – a thin line of sparks that disappears in the blink of an eye. Bonnie says it comes from Orion’s club. Did I really see it – or only imagine I saw it?

I feel tiny, just an old man on a little back porch of a small farmhouse in a tiny town on a speck of a planet in a speck of a solar system in a speck of a galaxy remembering bits and pieces of a life of almost; almost rich, almost famous, almost brilliant – now almost done.
Some of these stories are told for the first time. Some are family heirlooms repeated over and again the way my mother did. Stories of her childhood dog, how she met my father, the terrible war – I can recite some word for word. I used to think maybe she repeated them so that they might outlive her frail body. Now I’m sure of it.
Sam said, “When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not. But I’m getting old, and soon I’ll remember only the latter.” I know the feeling, Mr. Clemens. Did it happen or was it a hope, a misunderstanding, a dream?
All of the Porch stories are as true as my memory permits them to be. I’ve changed some names, added context here and there, but each tale’s core is as accurate as I could make it.

These works are dedicated to those who’ve loved me back – and the remaining few who might love me forward.
Enjoy – Peter 9 Bowman

P.S. – If you enjoy these short stories you might try my novel Armilus: It was the best of times; it was the End of Times also available on Smashwords.

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