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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Something I Have to Tell You

May 3, 2014

“There’s something I have to tell you, Frank.”

“I have a feeling I need to sit down for this.”

“Probably best.”

“Before you tell me, can I tell you something?”

“Oh, Frank. Why must you always do that?”

“Do what?”

“Control the fucking conversation. You’re—”

“I’m what, Alice? Go ahead and say it.”

“What? You’re daring me? Fuck you, Frank. Just, fuck you.”

“That’s very mature.”

“You know. That’s the other thing I hate about you.”

“Hate? You seem a little out of your head, Alice.”

“Enough, Frank. Shut the fuck up and listen for once.”

“I always listen.”

“Bullshit. You might listen but you never hear. You’re too self-absorbed to hear. You’re too goddamned brittle to hear the truth.”

“Oh yeah? Let’s hear it. What’s the truth?”

“You asked for it, Frank. Remember that.”

“Fair enough. Go ahead.”

“Perfect. You really don’t see the irony, do you?”

“Why don’t you go ahead and tell me, Alice. Where’s the irony? What am I not seeing? What am I not hearing? I’ve been sitting here now for, what?, ten minutes?, waiting patiently for you to tell me what you just had to tell me. You had to tell me, knowing full well that I was on my way out the door. So go ahead, Alice, tell me.”

“You love the sound of your own words.”

“What does that mean, Alice? Of course I love words. Words are my life. I’ve dedicated my life to their measured and elegant use. Not that I generally meet that impossible metric. But, very much like my father, and like all the professors and poets who have shared their... 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 »

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 »

10 Random Fiction Posts (All Fiction Posts)