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 »

Hopeful Fog

Dec 23, 2016

She likes dismal as I like blood. We’re the exes who became best friends, only we’ve never been together. She’s the best friend I never really knew, and that’s likewise just as true in reverse.

Driving through the fog, slowly, carefully, in a rental four-door Ford sedan, all the world is a blur. But the fog lights show just enough of the road ahead, and we continue traveling, westward, while a Brahms CD fills the... Read More »

Insurrection Reflected

Sep 26, 2016

And he looked o’er the broad sea and to the curved horizon beyond, and sought peace, but found naught. And he drank from the deepest fount, from the waters cooled of the depths of time, and sought peace, but found naught. And... Read More »

The Baker

Sep 26, 2016

But my fate was chosen before I grew wise, and my fate was to cook, to heat, and to give sustenance to the many. The pain I avoided a great many times, with prudence and alertness, I kept my fingers from the fire, but not every time, alas, so I knew the pain of perfect heat. What choice did I have but to choose to numb the pain... Read More »

Waking Dreams

Aug 10, 2016

I realized when I woke several mornings at three-thirty that I had interrupted another me, from some faded mirror reality not quite mine, in the sense of this world, this dimension, this reality, but me just the same, another version of me, a shadow seen in the smoky mirror of extra-dimensional beingness.

This explained the strange head cold in the musty heat of August, the tennis elbow, though I’d not played tennis in decades, at least, not here.

Wednesday morning was the strangest. There were four small, sore, irritated reddish pink spots just up the arm from my right wrist. When I looked, still... Read More »

Roller Coasters

Jul 23, 2016

“You warm my fucking heart, baby,” he said. It was that full and real smile of hers that melted him. Every time. Butterflies and heat and roller coasters. All at the same... Read More »

Haunting

Apr 7, 2016

I clearly remember the moment I died. When I saw my lifeless body, beyond peaceful, inert, on my bed, I first thought I was dreaming. Then I noticed the details. The color of the hardwood floor, a shade darker than pine, a subtle sheen, random flecks of dust. The knickknacks and keepsakes on my mahogany bookshelf, on the top shelf, the beer stein from Austria, photos of Beverly and Amy, my daughters, each graduating from UVA, Beverly in '92 and Amy in '94. The rosary I'd received at my First Communion, cheap plastic black and white beads, white crucifix, unused for twenty years—I don't know why I kept it so long. The heavy black coffee mug that was a gift from Gwen, my wife of ten years, who died at thirty-two of an aneurysm, with a quote from Wordsworth: “Faith is a passionate intuition.” I'd tried to find faith after her sudden departure but my faith was as dusty and neglected as the mug.

Dreams were never so detailed, so colorful, so vibrant, so complete. This was no dream. This was a new sort of reality. A reality without blood, without breath, and somewhat surprisingly, without smell or sound.

I was surprised also that I could still feel. Not in a tactile sense, but in a “heart” sense. Obviously, I had no heart, no brain, no flowing life through me, and yet I still had thoughts, memories, feelings. What was life then, if not physical cells and chemicals and interactions and iterations?... Read More »

Clarence

May 19, 2015

I’m sitting with a man I just met.

He’s overweight, but not unattractively so. He’s smoking Marlboro Reds. Says he gave em up for the fortieth time; started back up today, a day he calls grey.

He went to church Sunday; says he sang with angels. Healed a woman with chronic arthritis. Says it without pride, just matter-of-fact.

He enjoys the quiet irony of the Batman t-shirt he’s wearing. “Never take life too damned seriously,” he counsels.

“Are you suggesting—?”

“Ain’t suggesting nothin’, son. Just observin’.”

“Observing.” I let the word echo in the still spring air, moist from the morning’s rain.

“Yup. Just observing.”

I decide to move to another topic. “What brings you to Delaware?”

“Seemed as good a place as any to stop. I caught a ride with a couple takin’ the scenic route to North Carolina. Decided I didn’t want to hear any more of their subtle bickering.”

“Subtle?”

“Yeah. You know. It’s the looks I noticed first. Suzy put three sugars in his coffee and I think he only wanted two. He watched her put in the third packet, then there’s this little shake of his head. I been riding with em since Boston. Had enough.”

“You have plans to stay?”

“I don’t never make plans, son. Not beyond a couple days out anyway.”

I wonder why he calls me son. It’s clear he’s no older than I am, or if he is, it’s no more than a couple years. I decide not to be offended. “What sort of work do you do?”

“A little of this, a little of... Read More »

A Purple Eel with Green Splotches

Jan 5, 2009

On the front cover, there was a photo of an eel. It was quite long, with green splotches freckling its mostly purple skin. The caption read “Eel found in bathtub by 107 year old man.” Normally I don’t look at “rags” like the National Tattler and the Weekly World Investigator. This photo, for some reason though, caught my eye, grasped at my attention. I picked up the paper, while waiting in the longish line in my local supermarket.

The cover photo, on closer inspection, sure looked real - a purple eel with green splotches. What really caught my attention though, seemed really out of place. There was a “Juvenile Times” magazine on... Read More »

Can you hear it?

Sep 30, 2005

He reached up and tugged on Daddy's shirt.

"Can you hear it?"

Dan looked fondly at his son. He always saw a bit of Helen in his eyes; and a bit of... Read More »

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