We were sitting outside in the cold. It was December and the hood of the car was still warm. We stared up at the sky and tried to figure out where all the stars were supposed to be. Cassiopeia.. yes, it's right there. I could see her breath in the porch light, it hung in the air like a spiderweb. I wanted to watch her watch the stars, wondered what it would be like to go on a space shuttle mission with her, exploring the world outside our world, trying to make sense of things. She noticed I was staring and asked me

"What are you looking at?" I told him I was just trying to figure out which kind of cigarettes to buy. Which was a lie of course. I was checking him out and he knew it. I shifted from foot to foot and scrunched up my nose, which was supposed to indicate embarrassed interest, but I think he missed it cause he went back to staring at the black and white security cameras that were spanning the parking lot, looking for looters or gangmembers or quiet conspiracy. "I'm ready.."I said (meaning the cigarettes and the Mountain Dew, of course) He laughed and smiled, "Totally," he joked, "Even I can tell that" So I blushed and looked down and the floor and that's when I noticed he was

coming down the road with a gun. He didn't seem to be in a hurry, but appeared focused, clear in his purpose. I did not recognize him, but it was doubtful he did not know who I was. This was his creek and I was trespassing, so it was sort of my job to do the explaining, not his. "I was trying to find a place to fish," I yelled, jestering toward the bridge, "I walked down from the main road" He kept walking, slowly, but in a deliberate way. When he got closer, he put the gun to his side. He didn't aim to shoot me I'm thinking, he would have already taken a shot, at least a warning shot by now. "You 'haint from 'round here are ya?" He asked. I restrained my nervous laughter and just shook my head, slow. "Well, let me tell you something.. he said this land belong to my family for years.. Do you know what years means?

"Yes," I said, "probably billions of years."
We sat quiet for a while, letting the cold air wrap around us. I was hoping it would bring her to me, and it did gradually. She leaned, cautiously. "Do you think there's life out there? You know real life ?" I just glanced at her.

and did not say what i was thinking which was:

Not as real as this.

Tan*gen"tial (?), a. Geom.

Of or pertaining to a tangent; in the direction of a tangent.

Tangential force Mech., a force which acts on a moving body in the direction of a tangent to the path of the body, its effect being to increase or diminish the velocity; -- distinguished from a normal force, which acts at right angles to the tangent and changes the direction of the motion without changing the velocity. -- Tangential stress. Engin. See Shear, n., 3.


© Webster 1913.

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