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 »

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 »

The House

Aug 2, 2016

“What are you so scared of, Gilbert?”

“That place is fucking creepy.”

“Scaredy cat.”

“Am not.”

“Let’s go closer. I dare ya.” Danny grinned a grin that seemed ominous to Gilbert, though that wasn’t the word he’d have used. He’d have said of Danny’s smile that it was creepy, or weird, like the abandoned structure before them, guarded by five turkey buzzards, two on the highest branches of a dying and bare tree trunk, the other three on the peak of the unstable roof.

They had leaned their bikes on a stump about fifty yards from the quiet Saw Mill Road after a fifteen minute ride from their homes in Ellendale. The rough and sharp remains of hardwoods as old as the house were as a moat, protecting the dark castle within. “It’s fucking creepy,” Gilbert repeated. “I learned in school that buzzards have this kind of sixth sense, like they know something nearby is going to die soon.”

“Probably just a rat.”

“What if it’s got rabies?”

“Don’t be a baby, Gilbert.”

“I think we’re close enough. I don’t want to get rabies. Frankie’s cousin from Nebraska got rabies and had to get shots in his belly.”

“Need... Read More »

Discipline

Jul 2, 2016

“Palms on the coffee table,” he said.

She complied.

He lifted her sheer dress, slid down her sheer panties, admired the slim roundness.

“What are you going to do to me?” she said. There was mischief in her tone.

“Do you think this a joke?”

“No,... 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 »

Barcelona

Jun 29, 2012

His memory of the gym was blurred. It had been four months since John had worked out. After the accident, he’d been hospitalized for two weeks, the first of which he’d been in a coma.

Sally, his physical therapist from hell, had decided he was ready for this day, for his return to the gym, to join the masses on one of several dozen treadmills or ellipticals. John wasn’t nearly as confident as Sally seemed to be that he was ready for more than his to-this-point private sessions with Sally in the basement of his three story brownstone.

He searched his memory for images of the gym, before the incident, his daily reprieve from the tedium of stock trading. In his head he counted six rows, the first three a mixture of ellipticals and stepping machines, the latter one of two versions of treadmills.

The yellow cab was still fresh in John’s memory. Both the memories and the pain shrouded and clouded the emergence of his thoughts. He’d not cursed so much since he’d been a teen. His new favorite words, both four letters in length, began with c and f.

At first he’d tried not to think of the accident. But by the fourth session with Dr. Alija, John had allowed himself to be convinced of the value of “confronting the trauma” as his well meaning but evil psychologist called it.

He glanced at the digital readout on the treadmill. .25 miles. John remembered easily completing five miles or more in his previous life.... 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 »

Jason

Mar 29, 2008

The black changed slowly to blue as the sleeping fox woke from a night of deep rest. Jason moved his hind legs under himself and rolled onto his belly. He knew it was time to begin again his long walk through the foothills. Still feeling a little full from the three birds his good fortune led him to last night, Jason yawned sluggishly and found the rising sun. He would follow the sun for four or five more days, he thought, before finding the river that grew narrower and more violent closer to the peak. The peak – how he longed to find his destiny there; how he longed to be home.

As the colors of the new day faded, as the light grew, the path became easier to follow. Others had walked the path before him. Many had turned back; some had continued. Jason was determined to continue to walk this day. The fears that plagued... 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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