This story collection is an exemplar for Short-short Sighted #24, “By The Numbers: The Prose Sonnet”.

Snow. Ice. Heavy skies. All flights delayed. Morris wished he could smoke. He wished that he could go stand outside. This is what life becomes, he thought, watching ice collect on grounded wings. The career he’d expected to take him to London and Paris brought him repeatedly to Omaha or this airport in Billings. It wasn’t that he was dissatisfied, exactly, with his wife or the way the his kids had turned out, or with the split-level in Cherry Creek and the condo in Vail they hardly used. But a blizzard like this made everything smaller, as if the world had contracted around this terminal and Morris and his fellow passengers were the last people at the end of time, stuck here to consider what their lives had amounted to so far, forced in the light of that awareness to begin new lives.

In his new life, Morris would marry the girl sitting across from him chewing gum and reading a fashion magazine, dangling one shoe from her toes, although they would have nothing to talk about. In his new life, he would not care what anyone thought, what the safe investments were, or whether smoking was allowed. And under the circumstances, why shouldn’t he smoke, for the love of Pete? Why shouldn’t he take a stand right now? He felt inside his pocket. Where’s the lighter? Some lint. Coins. There.