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Monday, June 6, 2011

From "Blue Valley" by Christine Rice

Blue Valley (The Elementals)
Sliding his tray along the rails, Will went through the motions of lunch. He had a blob of mashed potatoes, a chunk of bluish meat and a lava spill of creamed corn. Smiling in a disinterested way that was his habit, he slid his tray to the next station. He picked up the rest of his lunch, same as every other day in DC, and went to the same table.

He sat across from Ken Churchson, the only other unmarried man in the department. Churchson's confident swagger belied his thinning hair and the growing belt of flesh at the waist.

“So, looks like I’m going to California for you.” Ken stuck chips of white bread into his creamed corn, like rows of headstones in a yellow graveyard.

“That’s what I hear. When are you leaving?”

“First thing tomorrow, on a military transport.”

“Bring a bag.”

Churchson raised an eyebrow, “Of course I’m bringing a bag. I have to wear something, and the equipment.“

“An empty bag.”

“Yeah. For the samples.”

“For your puke.”

Despite the proximity of creamed corn, Will launched into the ostensibly hilarious story of his six-hour flight on a military plane from California.  

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