“Plain Pine Desk”

He bought a plain pine desk. Actually, it was a plain pine table, but he planned to use it as a desk, so it was a desk. He admired the desk’s plain pineness. Plain coffins are made of pine too, he knew. Pine is a soft wood, so to help preserve the surface, he decided to stain it. A light stain would do, something to dye the grain but leave the heartwood intact. But the stain he chose ended up dying both the grain and heartwood several shades darker than he intended. This upset him gravely. Every time he sat at the coffin now he squinted and tried to envision the finish the way he wanted it. He tried rubbing it with rags. He tried scraping it with crumpled up obituaries. He left the window shades drawn so the sun could come in and lighten it. For two days he thought this was working. On the third day be became unsure. He was dreadfully morose whenever he looked at the thing. Instead of writing, he just thought over and over, Fool, you’ve gone and dyed the perfect pine coffin several shades too dark! Wait, did he just say coffin? Desk, he meant. He meant desk.

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About Dan Tremaglio

Dan Tremaglio teaches creative writing and literature at Bellevue College where he is assistant editor for Belletrist Magazine. Recent work is in Cease Cows, Jellyfish Review, Tammy, and Flash Frontier.