birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Hot, Cold and a Pancake Moon

We came out of the cool, darkish restaurant after a three-hour lunch.

The sun was warm, almost hot, on my neck. It felt good, for about one minute. Inside the car it was too hot, and the sun’s glare hurt my eyes.

We were off to shop. Ventura Boulevard was jammed with Friday afternoon freedom seekers. It’s so easy to lose the outside world when tooling through it in a closed-up, air-conditioned BMW. The ride was so smooth I forgot we were riding in a car.

The friendly chatter continued non-stop from 11am until I stepped outside again at 7pm. The air had cooled, almost to cold. The sky was a deep blue black with an inner rind of magenta and a slivery rind of silver. The moon was a plate-sized pancake of gold on the eastern horizon.

I called to let my husband know I would be home soon, as I entered the ramp to freeway 101. Cars lined every inch of road—the proverbial parking lot. Edging in behind me six headlights blared their blaze into my eyes from my rearview mirror.

“Where in hell did he get those lights?”

I slowed from the maximum 7mph to 3 or 4, hoping he’d get annoyed and squeal out from behind me. It worked! Hallelujah!

The rest of the way home was agonizingly slow—even for a Friday night heading toward downtown LA. And, at least I wasn’t blind anymore. Something huge was happening at the Rose Bowl—God knows what?! I surely didn’t.

Suddenly the Car Sea parted and the pancake moon reappeared. I felt blessed and freed.

The gas pedal moved down, and finally I was home.


Oscar and Sally