Forty-Seven Minutes

Just like Ed, we've all encountered them--the unusual over- or underexpectation surprises, the un-norms. A person or place or thing that isn't quite as advertised. They happen sometimes. From time to time. Usually spread out over time. Time. One time we might find a place that isn't the sleepy little backwater, East Tree-Stump town, where nothing happens. Another time we might meet a person who isn't the average nobody. There might be a love story hiding in a paperback thriller at one time, or we get fooled by an old man that appears to be just a tourist on vacation at another. An anemic grocery store clerk with seemingly no imagination that apparently doesn't like the particular shade of green on the traffic signal. A helpless waif ignorant of life's challenges and demands. A heavyset old southern sheriff with an attitude and a bad memory for names. Sometimes we don't see it coming. Sometimes we don't have time, enough time, before we get hit by another un-norm. Just because we see and hear something doesn't mean it's true. Bank robbers are bad; cops are good. Old veterans tell good stories but are harmless. Santa isn't real. Mothers know what is best for their sons. Everything moves slower in small agricultural southern towns. Intrigue would die of boredom in Amery, Georgia, where young people have no role models or encouragement. The town is stagnant and dying. Nothing ever happens here. It will probably whither up and blow away anytime now. Just anytime. So why then are spooks and spies and business tycoons and billionaires and thugs and assassins converging on this small Southwest Georgia-wide spot in a red clay road? What is going on with all the communications? What is about to happen? And why? And when?

--a novella by Jon D. Marsh

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