Fiction

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 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 »

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 »

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 »

The Wisdom of Creamed Corn

Jun 27, 2009

Ken Rider, a new-age guru and self-proclaimed student of creamed corn, has led a charmed life, in more ways than one. His rise to greatness began when he devised a microwave pouch for creamed corn. He patented the idea before licensing it to all the major members of the canned food oligopoly. The single serving size moved him even higher; his entrepreneurial exploits are legendary and are used as case studies at all the major business schools worldwide. He, more than any other person, was responsible for the worldwide end to hunger, to a return to fitness, to the awakening of bliss that has been a worldwide phenomenon.

But that was just the beginning of the story...

Ken's vast wealth and karmic capital has allowed him to truly choose his destiny. He constructed three homes, one in Aspen, Colorado, one on an obscure island about halfway between Australia and New Zealand, and a third in Tibet. He spent two years with the Dalai Lama, learning much about enlightenment and finding the nirvana of the loving nowness and oneness of all. When he'd learned all the Dalai Lama had to teach, he turned to the creamed corn.

In his home, small, but ample, built entirely of creamed corn, he set his focus and intent on his new master. Creamed corn was his home, his only food, his constant thought, his day, his night, his love, his teacher, his student. He was enmeshed and enshrined and entranced in the perfection of creamed corn.

For three months,... Read More »

10 Random Fiction Posts (All Fiction Posts)