George Timothy Mason

Onesies and Nonesies

I’m digging in the ground
and I find a garter snake,
just one. Never in my life
have I found a ball of snakes
mating in the round but I
read they do that in the spring.

In seventh grade science class
We were shown a rock floating
On water in the sink. I
found one after that, within
a year, floating in the
river. But never again.

When outdoors teaching P.E.
I saw a praying mantis
slay and eat a locust. Well—
eat it alive actually.
I couldn’t help but stop and
point that out to my pupils.

Just like the floating rock I
found, I saw a mantis dine
only one time and never
have I seen a ball of snakes.
However, one tiny snake
gives hope one day I might.


Settle for a pretzel?

If only he had been born
with no chance for a tumor,
he might be home today,
not in this nursing home, not
with Hospice at sixty-nine.

“Would you like a soft pretzel?”
“I would like one,” he said.
“I don’t have a soft pretzel.”
“What good are you?” he asked.
“I’m going to the market.”

“You know what you could do for me?
Take me to my home, right now.”
“What would you do there?” I asked.
“Rest,” he said. Rest in my chair.”
“Lord knows, I would if I could.”

“I don’t know how to get
you from here to your home—
and get you into your chair.”
I knew what he wanted could
not be had. My heart cried.

Therefore, I offered again.
“The best I can do for you
is bring you a soft pretzel.”
He hesitated a tick—
“I could use a soft pretzel.”



I’m in my garden digging
with my rake cultivator.
(That’s what they call it. Who knew?)
And I’m hoping I don’t dig
a garter snake, then I do.
Tiny brownish snake did I

hurt you? It’s lying still.
With one hand I pick it up
it’s okay, no nicks or cuts.
Now what do I do?
You are in my way.
Forked tongue flicks smelling the

I carry it across the Alley
place it on the ground
by a neighbor’s barn. It
crawls under leaves where I know
it’s safe and sound. I’ve done what
I can and I dig some more.

© George Timothy Mason

George Timothy Mason’s short story appears in the Writers Bloc anthology, Eastern Shore Noir. Other stories are published in previous WB anthologies. He is a regular opinion contributor to The Daily Times. He’s also been published in Instructor Magazine, the former Baltimore Sun Magazine, among others. He is a retired teacher, and longtime writer of fiction, non-fiction, and opinion. He has an M.Ed. from Salisbury University.

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