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 »

Hope's Survival: Art in the AM

Sep 7, 2016

You told me there was more, outside the small window in the bare wood door, more to see, to know, to feel, to explore. I was a superhero, in your eyes, in my multicolored dreams and multifaceted yearnings. Outside our small, cold, cramped home, there was more.

I don’t know, even now, why I believed you, but I did. I believed that I was bigger than our small life. I believed that one day I’d soar, find my way, dream, build, live, explore. I believed insanely in the veracity of a life beyond our worn walls.

It’s not that you were perfect—I knew that even then. You had your share of invited persecutions, of self-sabotaging delusions, of days, weeks, months of malaise, of despair, of short cold days and colder nights. Your temper was short and your wrath wasn’t spared. But you always had one thing, and there wasn’t a single day when it wasn’t evident. You had hope. And you shared that hope with me.

I watched as life passed by, through the small windows, through the cracks in the walls where the... 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 »

Swank Tacos

May 20, 2016

“Swank.” That’s what she said when she dropped the check at the table. I was drinking my fourth beer, so my mind wasn’t all there but somewhere else and the word “swank” didn’t register.

And then it hit me. In the parking lot. And I turned back toward the restaurant, thinking I’d go back in, and, you know, thank her. But then I saw her. About ten paces from the front door, nearing a lone Camaro in the lot, under... Read More »

Barstool

Sep 27, 2015

“That’s a simple question with a complicated answer.”

“Complicated doesn’t scare me.”

“Maybe it should.”

“Maybe.”

“Well, anyway. I was hoping we’d have a few more drinks; loosen up. Then—”

“Then?”

“You know.”

“I do, do I?”

“Of course you do. Don’t be coy. I saw how you singled me out. I saw how you turned on your barstool, just so.”

“Just so?”

“Why pretend?”

“Pretend?”

“Yes. Pretend. We both know that you turned on your barstool so I would see the hint of your upper thigh, the shadow on your cleavage, the mystery of your profile.”

“And?”

“And you knew you’d get my attention. Like I’m a striped bass. I couldn’t resist the shiny allure of your sparkling lure.”

“I don’t know anything about fishing.”

“And yet, you know exactly what I’m saying.”

“Do I?”

“You do. Finish your drink. I’ll order us two more. Then…”

“Then?”

“You know what’s next. You know exactly what’s next. Only question is do we take one car or two?”

“You’re pretty confident. I don’t know if—”

“Yes you do. You know you like it. You know it’s exactly what you need. Your mystery meets my need. Finish your drink.”

“You’ve got it all figured out, huh?”

“All of it? No. What fun... Read More »

Ruth

Jan 4, 2015

It’s true. Women in their fifties are easier.

At least that’s been my experience.

I don’t mean to suggest they are loose. Or promiscuous. Most women in their fifties have less sex than their younger counterparts. But what they are, by and large, is unpretentious. They don’t play games. They know who they are; they know what they want; they don’t pretend otherwise.

It’s refreshing.

And it’s a little jarring sometimes.

My last experience was with Ruth. Ruth was a redhead. She was the cliched redhead. Adventurous. Headstrong. Vocal. Ruth was fifty-four, two years my junior. I didn’t ask her age—I’ve learned that’s never a safe question—she volunteered it, just after our drinks were delivered. Jack and Coke for me and a tall glass of Merlot for Ruth. That’s how she’d ordered it. “A tall glass of Merlot.” Then she’d told me she was fifty-four and she was looking for company.

See? No pretense.

We had the requisite three drinks before she invited me to follow her home.

She lived in a second floor apartment in a four story apartment complex. An unassuming home, but comfortable. After warming up to her Pomeranian, Snapper, an apt name, she served us two more drinks. She didn’t have any Coke so I told her I was fine with straight whiskey.

Ruth was attractive, not svelte, but not overweight either. She wore her curves well. She had long hair, with good body. Color likely from a bottle, or a hairstylist—I never had the chance to learn which.

I’ve found that women in their fifties... 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 »

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)