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All the Days

Miss Stapleton looked worried as she held up the fancy printed calendar for the class to see. Everyone had felt the explosion awhile before — it made the walls of the little schoolhouse quake like a fawn trying to find its legs.

Sam figured it had come from the mine. They were always using caps of dynamite to move stubborn bits of rock.

His daddy had told him all about it.

“This calendar came from a big bank in Chicago,” Miss Stapleton said. “Frank Devers brought it back with him from his recent trip. He thought you children might enjoy seeing it.”

The calendar was fascinating. Sam had never seen all the days laid out together like that, so you could see where you were going, and where you’d been.

Miss Stapleton was talking about the days ahead, how you could use a calendar to plan out what was going to happen. Sam was more interested in remembering what had come before.

The previous day, September third, his mother had made lamb stew for dinner.

And a week ago Sunday, on August twenty-fifth, Reverend Miles had talked about the rock that rolled away from Jesus’s tomb.

And way before that, on July thirteenth, their old cow, Bessie, died. Sam remembered because it was was the Saturday after the Fourth of July, and his daddy cried.

There were boots pounding in the street outside now, climbing the schoolhouse steps, and Sam wished he could climb into one of those earlier days on the calendar.

Change today, or at least forget about it for awhile.

The rear door to the school creaked open. Miss Stapleton dropped her eyes to the floor.

“I need to see Sam Jacobs,” a man’s voice said in soft tones.

It was Tuesday, September fourth, when Stanley Jacobs died.

Published inFlash Fiction

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