Fiction

Lifespan of Loss

Apr 29, 2021

There once was a man and that man lost fifty coins in a business deal and was understandably disappointed. In a few days, he forgave himself, both the loss of coin and of his mind, and got back to the business of life, earning his keep. A few weeks later, he lost two hundred coins, and was understandably disappointed. As before, he forgave himself and got back to business and life. He knew it was not good to dwell on past losses. Again, a few weeks later, he had a loss, this time ten coins. He was understandably disappointed.

The man called on the wise sage, posing the question of why his feelings seemed the same with regard to all three losses, fifty, two hundred, and... Read More »

No Pixie Dust

Feb 12, 2017

“There’s no magic,” he said, with spewing vitriol. “Why do you insist on this silliness?”

“It’s not silly. And you’d know that if you let your guard down.”

“I tried that. Over and over. I was raised in the fucking church and I’ve got the T-shirt. Maybe it works for some people. But not for me.”

“I’m sorry you feel—”

“I don’t want your fucking pity, Sarah. And I don’t want your advice.”

“So there’s nothing left to say…”

“Nothing at all. I need someone who’s grounded in reality, not some Pollyanna. Your pixie dust won’t buy groceries. Or pay the back taxes.”

“Is that what this is about? Money?”

“No. It’s about reality. It’s about living in the real world. It’s about having the courage to stand up and face life as it smacks you in the face and getting back up after it knocks you on the ass.”

“You’re right then.”

“I’m right?”

“I mean you’re right that there’s nothing left to say. My life isn’t only about the physical. Don’t you see? There’s so much more to—”

“I see what you mean. We’re... Read More »

Frank's Grandfather

Aug 17, 2016

He looked like his grandfather, only strangely older. He wasn’t of course. That would be impossible. Chronologically.

But in other ways, many ways, Frank acted and seemed as old as the Appalachians. Maybe his mother’s side of the family had cursed him with bad genes but it seems just as likely that Frank’s mindset and belief were the cause of his premature aging. At forty-two, he looked seventy-two, on a good day. He was constantly complaining, about the weather, about politics, about bullies and the rise of terrorism and the new strains of killer biological weapons. When he wasn’t complaining, he... Read More »

Make love to me, Hank.

Jul 7, 2016

I typed in the search box on Facebook her name, Aimee Rogers. Thirty results. None of them her. I tried again, different variations, adding our high school, our hometown. Still no joy. I felt suddenly stricken. What if she’s dead? Or what if she blocked me because of that incident in my car, parked near the Occoquan River, as it neared eleven o’clock? One of my life’s great regrets.

She’d said, “Make love to me, Hank.”

And I’d made the mistake of looking at my watch. I took her home instead, as I’d promised her father I’d have her home... Read More »

Carousel

Sep 27, 2015

It's not all that hard, not really.

What's that? Life.

Bullshit! What's hard about it?

The usual. Money. Job. Relationships. Bullies. Bastards. Bitches.

Other people make your life hard?

Well, yeah. Of course.

Why's that?

Do you really think I know?

I do.

Well, I don't. I mean, I don't think I know. If I knew, I'd change it, wouldn't I?

Would you?

Why the hell wouldn't I?

What's the payoff to not changing?

The payoff? There's no payoff! Unless you count grief, discomfort, disappointment, loneliness.

Maybe you like feeling that way.

Why would I like feeling that way?

You tell me.

This is a useless conversation. It's just a circle.

Yes. A circle. You got it.

I got it?

Yes.

Got what?

It's a circle. You're running around in circles. You must enjoy it. Or find it comforting.

Comforting?!

Yup.

Do not.

Regressing to six-year-old responses won't help you.

Will too!

As you wish.

As I--damnit. So what you're saying is that I like to feel bad so I invite these people who make... Read More »

Ruth

Jan 4, 2015

It’s true. Women in their fifties are easier.

At least that’s been my experience.

I don’t mean to suggest they are loose. Or promiscuous. Most women in their fifties have less sex than their younger counterparts. But what they are, by and large, is unpretentious. They don’t play games. They know who they are; they know what they want; they don’t pretend otherwise.

It’s refreshing.

And it’s a little jarring sometimes.

My last experience was with Ruth. Ruth was a redhead. She was the cliched redhead. Adventurous. Headstrong. Vocal. Ruth was fifty-four, two years my junior. I didn’t ask her age—I’ve learned that’s never a safe question—she volunteered it, just after our drinks were delivered. Jack and Coke for me and a tall glass of Merlot for Ruth. That’s how she’d ordered it. “A tall glass of Merlot.” Then she’d told me she was fifty-four and she was looking for company.

See? No pretense.

We had the requisite three drinks before she invited me to follow her home.

She lived in a second floor apartment in a four story apartment complex. An unassuming home, but comfortable. After warming up to her Pomeranian, Snapper, an apt name, she served us two more drinks. She didn’t have any Coke so I told her I was fine with straight whiskey.

Ruth was attractive, not svelte, but not overweight either. She wore her curves well. She had long hair, with good body. Color likely from a bottle, or a hairstylist—I never had the chance to learn which.

I’ve found that women in their fifties... Read More »

March Fourteenth

May 10, 2014

She’d cried at least once a day since March fourteenth.

Sally touched her iPhone to silence the alarm. She reached to the left side of the bed, the side nearer the bedroom door, and found it empty. Again. Ted was gone, she reminded herself. Gone. Forever.

She wiped away a single tear, quickly sliding off the bed, and lightly walked down the hall to her kitchen. She could smell the richness of fresh brewed Starbucks coffee.

It wasn’t... Read More »

Blue and White Love

Mar 6, 2012

“I taste the essence of your sensual heart. I feel the drips of your morning song. I merge with the colors of your unbinding soul. Today, destiny smiles.” Jeremy remembered the words he had posted on Facebook two months earlier. Olivia had responded. It felt great to be connected. It felt real. Olivia awoke the poet in him. The cynic had urged caution. But Jeremy despised caution. Caution was for the weak.

She was taller than he'd expected. Only an inch shorter than his five foot, ten. She'd be taller than him in the killer pumps she told him she loved. But now, in the hotel bed, they were the same height. They were equal.

Jeremy glanced over at the digital clock on the nightstand. 3:30 AM. They'd met in person for the first time four hours ago in the well-lit parking lot of a convenience store. Her smile had been genuine. Her eyes were lighter than he'd expected. Less blue, more gray than the image in his memories, the image from the photos on her Facebook page. He'd stared at each photo for what seemed like hours, memorizing the details, wondering.

And now he knew his Olivia was real. He looked again into her eyes, felt the curve of her hip. He thought again that she might indeed be “the one.”

He smiled. “Again?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said with her blue-gray eyes.

*****

Jeremy felt a flash of anger rise as he woke to the half-empty bed. He looked around the hotel room, still dark.... Read More »

Limitless Dreams

Oct 4, 2009

He contemplated the questions before him as he sat in bed with his writing pad. It was Sunday morning and Abe decided he didn't need to be anywhere for a few hours that morning so he set his mind to contemplating the next chapter. His life had been unfolding nicely for these past few years since recovering from the untimely loss of his wife and daughter in the crash.

He turned his mind from the past and looked at the words he'd written a few moments ago. “What would you dream if your dreams had no limits? What would you live if your dreams were your life?”

Abe was still contemplating these questions as he arrived in church. He felt annoyed, as he often had, that the service had begun a few minutes before the hour. He caught himself and realized that judgment was not a source for peace in his thinking – judgment was not a loving act. He remembered again that the others in church were, like him, still human. He closed the door to judgment and opened the door to God.

He asked his God the same questions he'd asked himself earlier. “What would I dream if my dreams had no limits? What life would I lead if I lived the life of my dreams?” The answers came. In inspired thoughts; in words from the preacher; in words from the Bible – the answers came. He... Read More »

Jason

Mar 29, 2008

The black changed slowly to blue as the sleeping fox woke from a night of deep rest. Jason moved his hind legs under himself and rolled onto his belly. He knew it was time to begin again his long walk through the foothills. Still feeling a little full from the three birds his good fortune led him to last night, Jason yawned sluggishly and found the rising sun. He would follow the sun for four or five more days, he thought, before finding the river that grew narrower and more violent closer to the peak. The peak – how he longed to find his destiny there; how he longed to be home.

As the colors of the new day faded, as the light grew, the path became easier to follow. Others had walked the path before him. Many had turned back; some had continued. Jason was determined to continue to walk this day. The fears that plagued... Read More »

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