Fiction

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 »

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 »

Father's Directive

Jul 20, 2016

Jason had never spoken to her. Seeing her as merely a play toy, an object to satisfy his amusement and lust—and Father’s directive—he communicated with pokes, prods, and, occasionally, gesticulating motions, as if she were a German Shepherd. Sit. Stay. Quiet.

The basement was damp and dreary this time of year, the rainy season, late April, but Jason didn’t mind. Most of his days he spent at work, and his nights he slept in his comfortable bed. Still though, this prize hadn’t brought him the joy of the... 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 »

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 »

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 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 »

10 Random Fiction Posts (All Fiction Posts)