Fiction

A Typewritten Page

Feb 9, 2019

It was a typewritten page. At first I had assumed it had been a laser printout, from a computer, or, these days, from a tablet, or even a phone. But no, it was an actual typewritten page. There were no clearly discernible errors but there was an apparent, though subtle, difference in *intensity* of some of the letters. I’d never really thought about it but laser printers produce a high level of consistency that typewriters, ubiquitous in decades past, rare today, didn’t.

There was no date.

There was no indication of authorship.

There was no title.

It was part of a larger work, as the start was not indented as subsequent paragraphs were, nor was it capitalized. The page was full, a page from an unknown manuscript, with no page number, nothing unique. It was not on good paper, just the typical white copy paper sold at Staples or Walmart with five hundred sheets per ream for a few dollars.

I inspected it more closely, standing from my desk chair, walking to the dual sliding glass doors leading to the terrace of my oceanfront unit on the fourth floor overlooking the ocean. The sun was still visible a little after eleven, a bright yellow ball of fire warming the chilled March beach below. No white out, no corrections, no strikethroughs. The page was typed by someone far more skilled at touch-typing than I am. Backspace is my most used key, sometimes as I choose to change words as I change direction in the narrative in... Read More »

The House

Aug 2, 2016

“What are you so scared of, Gilbert?”

“That place is fucking creepy.”

“Scaredy cat.”

“Am not.”

“Let’s go closer. I dare ya.” Danny grinned a grin that seemed ominous to Gilbert, though that wasn’t the word he’d have used. He’d have said of Danny’s smile that it was creepy, or weird, like the abandoned structure before them, guarded by five turkey buzzards, two on the highest branches of a dying and bare tree trunk, the other three on the peak of the unstable roof.

They had leaned their bikes on a stump about fifty yards from the quiet Saw Mill Road after a fifteen minute ride from their homes in Ellendale. The rough and sharp remains of hardwoods as old as the house were as a moat, protecting the dark castle within. “It’s fucking creepy,” Gilbert repeated. “I learned in school that buzzards have this kind of sixth sense, like they know something nearby is going to die soon.”

“Probably just a rat.”

“What if it’s got rabies?”

“Don’t be a baby, Gilbert.”

“I think we’re close enough. I don’t want to get rabies. Frankie’s cousin from Nebraska got rabies and had to get shots in his belly.”

“Need... Read More »

Go Away

Jun 23, 2016

“I will go away” was the sense I got from Carol as I saw the stark madness in her reddened eyes and there was blood in her cheeks, a scarlet anger, a crimson rage, a crossing of roses in the stint of the sting of her slicing gaze. For the first time since we’d met, I was genuinely afraid. Fight or flight was my first thought but I quickly ruled out fight as I felt as much as witnessed the murder in her haunting expression.

Please do, I said to myself,... Read More »

'76 Gremlin

Jun 3, 2016

I know it’s not cool to drive my ’76 Gremlin, but to me, it’s my identity.

I remember the day it all clicked in for me. I was fourteen. My dad had bought the Gremlin new. He was proud. It was his first new car. Working as a carpenter was good, honest, steady work, but it wasn’t exactly the sort of thing that made a man wealthy. We always had enough but never had a lot.

So he bought the Gremlin, an early Christmas present to himself and his small family, late in 1975. My first thought was horror. It was an ugly, almost scary, green. And boxy. And small, cramped. He’d traded in a ’67 Impala. A boat. Roomy. The back seat was more than spacious enough for me and my two sisters. There was even room for Max, our dog, a mix of mostly German Shepard with some sort of retriever or pointer, most likely—we never knew.

For two weeks I made excuses to stay home. I didn’t want to be seen in the car. Hank’s parents had a Lincoln and a conversion van they’d take on short camping trips. John’s dad had a Cadillac. And we had a Gremlin. The horror!

Then the moment came that would change my perspective in life, for the next thirty years, and likely far beyond. I was in English Lit class, Hank on my left and John on my right. We had been nearly inseparable since John moved in next door six years earlier.

Miss Simple... Read More »

Heaven's Dream

Apr 27, 2014

“To say that you are a dream, my dream, is my highest compliment,” said Jordan.

“I don’t think of dreams as especially valuable. Does not everyone dream? Even the serf, the commoner, the field worker? Would that you truly loved me you would devise higher compliments.” Diana was accustomed to being courted by the highest of nobles, by gentlemen scholars, by men of great prestige.

“But, dearest, if I might persuade you to consider the nature of the dream, the quiet solace of a world created wholly of the elements at our very core, of—”

“Elements? How unromantic a term! Am I as the rolling hills, a thing made of earth, or as the air, so abundant that all breathe of it ceaselessly?”

“Sweet Diana, I beg you let me continue.”

She nodded.

“When I speak of elements I refer not to earth nor air nor water nor fire, but of the ingredients of all these, and more, the essential ingredients of heaven itself.”

“So you see me as death? Is that it? For where, pray tell, is heaven? Do I see it in these trees, in the bright blue sky, in your heart or mine? No. Heaven is a place none can know until after the longest dream, the unending dream, the relentless dream that is death itself.”

“I beg... Read More »

In the Moment

Apr 17, 2014

“You need to learn to stay in the moment,” she said.

I rarely flip my lid, but the culmination of the day’s events made me unusually susceptible, so, yeah, I flipped my lid. “How could I not stay in the moment?” I demanded. “I’m here, aren’t I? And it’s the moment, right? So here I am. In the moment.” I took a step toward her and assumed a menacing stance. "You spend way too much time reading those damned guru books of yours. And how, may I ask, is that staying in the moment?”

She smiled the bullshit knowing smile I’ve grown to hate so much. “I hear that you’re upset, Ted, and it’s okay.”

I took a few short breaths, hoping to calm myself. In my head I told... Read More »

A Choice to Love

Apr 15, 2014

The first time Victoria had looked in his eyes, she knew they’d be close. There was a calming majesty in Robert’s gaze. They were, at first, off-putting, his light green eyes, a subtle green like raw peeled chestnuts, with a yellow sunshine brightness. Since then, they spoke often. They shared meals, shared confidences, shared sunsets and hugs and bottles of Merlot. They had become close as they went together to the gym for yoga, as they danced to live music on the deck of the Rudder, as they laughed and smiled and enjoyed life.

But there was something lacking, she convinced herself repeatedly these past three years. She kept him in the box marked “Friend” on her office shelf. Victoria told herself that he was kind, intelligent, footsure, and trustworthy, but there was simply no chemistry. She didn’t feel that oozing and invading fire set aflutter as she had with John, with Henry, with Ralph and François. She loved Robert but was not, and would never be, in love with him. This was what her sleepy voice told her each night as she drifted.

But was it true? Wasn’t it possible she was simply staying safe, red flags raised high in the cold March wind? It was April now, full spring, she reminded herself, and as seasons are apt to change, might how she thought of Robert change as well?

Robert was not John. John had clearly been a mistake. She’d lost most of those four years but gained... Read More »

Vampires and other strange visitors - part one

Oct 20, 2012

So last night a vampire knocks on my door. I invited her in.

I've watched enough episodes of True Blood to know that was a bad idea. I knew she couldn't come in and drain my blood and kill me if I didn't invite her in. But what can I say? I'm a man. And she was like smokin' hot. A redhead. Slim. Almost athletic. I wondered then if vampires worked out. I thought probably they didn't have to. I thought probably they stayed in exactly the same physical shape through their new eternal lives as they were when they died. Then I wondered why so many vampires were pale. I mean, if they don't age, and when they get injured, they heal, why would they grow pale? Maybe it's because most of them have been vampires for a very long time, and in centuries past, weren't most people pretty pale? I accepted this line of reasoning and dismissed the thought, focused again on her amazing body.

She was about my height, in heels, six inches, I'd estimate, which puts her real height at around 5' 4". Perfect. And like I said, she looked like she worked out. She had a body not unlike those women you see in the CrossFit competitions. She had perfect white teeth, but for the two protruding fangs. A smile to die for.

It was dark in the room but for the light over the stove. But even in that weak light,... Read More »

A spent Patron bottle

Jun 22, 2012

A spent Patron bottle.

He woke to the chill of four A.M. He'd slept in his car, convertible top down. After five minutes, the windshield cleared of its dew. He drove home.

Seven inches tall, five inches wide. Height exceeds breadth.

The oriental fan is colorful and ornate. He sees the red dragon as orange. All of his visions are orange. His hopes and dreams, melding, intermingling, crying out, for orange. A memory flashes. A rainbow over a field of soybeans. A rainbow caused by the irrigation apparatus. A "farmbow." Too many colors on a bright day.

A bag of mustard seeds. A fount of limitless faith.

Many afternoons. He remembers. Walks on the beach. Looking for heart-shaped stones. Searching for scraps of sea glass. Searching for answers. Seeking rainbows. Red orange yellow blue indigo violet. Seeking solace. And then, he woke. Act three, scene one.

Laid flat, the bag is 20% full of seeds. Held upright, 10% full. Breadth exceeds height when standing.

The first night, she'd left an earring behind. The second night, two earrings. She never returned to claim them. She's moving to Colorado.

Words... 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 »

10 Random Fiction Posts (All Fiction Posts)