Fiction

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 »

Impending Storm

Oct 5, 2016

There’s a grey indecisiveness to the mood of the sky today, above the ocean, her anger slowly building, past my perspective, beyond the curved horizon, there’s a new storm at brew, the tickling of a rage not held by the ticking of any invention so lame as time. On the sand, near the rocks of the inlet, with my pole, not expecting any fish—they’re as nervous about the impending storm as I, and while they’ve not got the knowledge of location, timing, intensity, millennia of evolution has taught them all the same—danger lurks, tumult and terror and drama.

I got a brief nibble a few hours ago, when the sun was still young in the new autumn day, but then nothing, for an hour, two.

Days away still, so there’s no immediate threat, and I’ve cleared my schedule, set aside time for imagining, for contemplation, for fishing, for sitting on the beach enjoying the responsibility of nothing, after a season of much. It’s been a hard summer, a self-imposed harsh summer, after an emotional spring, The long sprint... 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 »

Strange Surroundings

Jun 24, 2016

He woke to strange surroundings. It was bright daylight. A slight rocking. A canopy of trees.

The hammock. In the backyard. Sunday afternoon. John had his bearings.

Was this his actual life? It was hard to fathom. John squinted at the narrow swords of sunlight, reaching through the leaves and branches above.

The thin membrane of his existence that had been his only reality for three decades was thickening, hardening. That constant sense of unfamiliarity and tenuousness was gone. The new jobs were going well; his clients were impressed and paid him well. The new house was a significant improvement over the dump he’d left, with... 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 »

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 »

Independence

Aug 10, 2014

“I simply don’t believe in the limits that you believe in.”

“I don’t even know what that means.”

“It means precisely what it says. It means that I know that this life we share is limited only to the extent that we believe it’s limited. It means that I don’t subscribe to your definition of the universe, to a definition based almost wholly on physical theories and postulates and misdirections. It means—”

“Are you saying that Newton was wrong? And Galileo? And Einstein?”

“That’s not precisely what I’m saying, no. What I’m saying is that they were right, and you are right in your agreement with them. And that is perfectly okay for all of you. But I’m also saying that their correct view and perception of the universe is not the only correct view and perception. And I’m saying I don’t subscribe to theirs, or to yours.”

“What? You’re somehow smarter than all of us? You’ve found some sort of higher formula?”

“It’s not about smarts. It’s about the precise opposite of smarts. It’s about heart, about soul, about courage and independence.”

“Independence?”

“Yes.... Read More »

A Drink

May 10, 2014

“Buy me a drink?”

She was slim, fit, wearing a bright and deep red shirt, cut low, revealing. Her smile pulled me in. I nodded. She sat on the barstool next to mine.

“What sort of music do you listen to?” I asked, wanting to start a conversation that might lead to a... 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 »

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 »

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