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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


On the phone he says he’s a friend of Sheryl’s. For a minute I have no idea who Sheryl might be, but as he talks on and he says “Seattle” and “The Two Bells Tavern” Sheryl gets a face. She’s a musician I met her at a conference and we fell in like before I moved to L.A. He says he’s her friend, she said call, he does something with computers, and his last name, as I hear it sounds like “Glen.” Like the astronaut, I think. Okay. A buzz-cut head above a space suit. Okay, sure, we’ll meet and talk about Sheryl. I am sitting at my desk at work, and I take quick notes in pencil. “Glen. Computers??”

He tells me the make of his car so I’ll recognize it when he pulls up, but that’s assuming I could connect any name but VW bug to a car. I say I’ll wear something green.

I am standing outside the imposing entrance of the building where I work in my shamrock green jacket when the car rolls up, low-slung and heavy, one huge door on my side, a purplish shade of maroon that may have been shiny once but isn’t now. It looks like it had been left in the driveway for a long series of snowy winters and then driven West to sit out in the sun, rusted and sun bleached at the same time. I wonder if this is the astronaut. As I’m puzzling, he powers down the window and says my name. I pull open the door and there he is, pale in the car’s deep dark. At first all I can see is his arm extended from a bright turquoise shirt that’s short-sleeved and square like a little boy’s, running-stitched with maroon. And then I lean in and there he is. Blue eyes bright as the shirt, enormous. Long nose, lightly crooked smile. Appears to be tall. Much cleaner than the car.

“Whoa. Got lucky,” I think. A lot comes next, but that’s what I know at first sight.

Hay Bailer with a Hug

So Tall