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A Sound Like Distant Thunder

ISSUE:  Summer 2002

I had fallen asleep on the couch with the
TV on. Every now and then I would open an eye
and see someone get stabbed or eaten by a monster.
Once, a beautiful woman was taking off her blouse.
And then the phone rang. I couldn’t tell if it
was a TV phone or my own. I sat up, half-asleep,
and reached for the phone. “Howie,” a woman’s
voice said, “Is that you? You sound like you were
asleep.” “I was,” I said. I wasn’t Howie, but
I was in the mood to talk to this woman. “Howie,
I miss you. I wish I were in bed with you right
now,” she said. “I miss you, too. I wish you
were here with me right now,” I said. I hated
not knowing her name, and I didn’t know if I could
call her “honey” or “sweetie” or any other endearment. “Why
don’t you come over right now,” I
said. “Oh you know I’m in Australia. And my
work here won’t be done for another month. It’s
just hell being away from you this long,” she said.
“I love you,” I said, and I think I meant it.
“You mean the world to me, Howie. I couldn’t get
through this without knowing you love me. I think
of you all the time. I look at your picture
every chance I get. It’s what gives me strength,
that and our brief phone calls. Now go back to
sleep and dream of me, dream of me kissing you
and holding you. I have to go now. I love you,
Howie,” she said and hung up. And though my state
may be described as a gladdened stupor, I felt
like a Howie, I really did, and I believed in my
heart that the nameless, faceless one indentured
in Australia really loved me, and that my great
love for her gave her strength. I cozied up on
the couch and fell into a sweet sleep. But then
I heard a lion roar, and I feared for both of our
lives. “Howie!” she cried. “Save me!” But I
couldn’t. I was busy elsewhere, tying my shoe.


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