At a Distance

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At a Distance
     Krysten moved carefully among the rock outcrop and I followed her path, it being a fine one, in my
     “I don’t imagine you’ve been to Purgatory Chasm before,” she opined.
     “No,” I replied, “and I haven’t hiked since I was a kid. That was thirty years ago.”
     She moved swiftly ahead on the narrow path, challenging me in her effort and I kept up, in my best
way. She came upon a large rock, suited well to being a bench for two, and she took a seat. I did as
     “This place makes one feel small,” offered my raven-haired guide.
     “Yes,” I concurred, “I feel as small as an atom, but larger than a photon.”
     “Miss Y,” said Krysten, “is trouble.”
     “So you have told me.”
     “I have water in the back pack. Want some?”
     “I’m fine,” I said, “how far did we go?”
     “About a mile and a half.”
     “That’s all?”
     “Uneven terrain makes it seem longer.”
     After a few moments, we rose and followed an asphalt path to the entrance to the bedrock littered
Purgatory Chasm.
     “This chasm is one quarter mile long,” Krysten informed me, “ it was formed when an ice dam burst,
fourteen thousand years ago.”
     “What time of the day was it?”
     “Don’t be a wise guy. We could actually hike through the chasm, but we don’t have time for that
today. You may come back, with me, I mean.”
     “I’d like that.”
     I pulled off my headset and clicked the OFF button. Krysten did likewise. The stark, grey walls of the
conference room served as sharp contrasts to the majestic, green pines of Purgatory Chasm.
     “Good hike,” said Krysten.
    “Yes,” I told her, “almost as good as a real one, from what I remember.”
     “It was real, if you believe it was real.”
     “I heard that somewhere before.”
     “Miss Y,” said Krysten, is trouble.”
     “When will I meet her?”
     “Oh, you have already met her, you may not have recognized her, but you certainly have met her.”
     Krysten departed.
     I entered the conference room and sat across from myself. I had looked better.
     “It is dangerous for us to be here at the same time,” I said, and I nodded in agreement.
     “I was just leaving, by the by, do you think we are falling in love with Krysten?”
     “Krysten is mechanical, she cannot love. One of us has to be getting back to the nineteen seventies,
     “Let it be me, I love that Billy Joel.”
     “Yes, and I’ll stay here and keep an eye on Miss Y.”
     “And Chief X, her cohort. Why is it that only the evil ones have surnames comprised of a single
     “I leave that to the scientists. Will you be taking the Violet Line or the Ultra Violet Line?”
     “The Violet Line, it is slower, but less bumpy.”
     “I think I was in love with a woman name Violet, once, or was it Melissa?”
     I smiled at myself. “How do I know you won’t start something with Krysten the moment I leave?"
     “What do you care about what happens sixty years in the future?”
     “I ask myself that every morning.”
                                                                            THE END

About the Author: 
Biographical Notes Edward Palumbo is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island (1982). His fiction, poems, shorts, and journalism have appeared in numerous periodicals, journals, e-journals and anthologies.

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