Fiction

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Strange Surroundings

Jun 24, 2016

He woke to strange surroundings. It was bright daylight. A slight rocking. A canopy of trees.

The hammock. In the backyard. Sunday afternoon. John had his bearings.

Was this his actual life? It was hard to fathom. John squinted at the narrow swords of sunlight, reaching through the leaves and branches above.

The thin membrane of his existence that had been his only reality for three decades was thickening, hardening. That constant sense of unfamiliarity and tenuousness was gone. The new jobs were going well; his clients were impressed and paid him well. The new house was a significant improvement over the dump he’d left, with... 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 »

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 »

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 »

Andrew

Aug 29, 2011

He woke with a start that fateful new morning. Andrew was a bit disoriented and confused after sleeping what seemed a very long time. The time on his pocket watch on the table by his bed showed a different time than his grandmother’s wall clock coming into view from the hazy stillness of sleep. Where had he been? Had he traveled again? Last night was still a blur as he slid out of bed and dropped to his knees to pray to his Creator.

As his thoughts became clearer, he gave himself more deeply to his loving and present God. The words were familiar to him; he prayed similar prayers of surrender and love and union most each new day. But just beneath the words of the prayer, so soothing and comfortable, Andrew’s sense of disunity and confusion was growing perceptibly.

He gave himself more deeply, moving back from the bed, falling onto the floor, as his tears began to stream. “Why, oh Father, Why?” he mumbled through the deepening sobs. The memories of last night’s adventures were coming into view. There was a horse, a quiver of arrows, a bronze statue with flaming red and orange painted eyes. As he took another deep pull of air, he crumbled into the floor into a deeper sleep.

...

The familiar ashen skies danced before his sleepless eyes. The dark horse galloped with great and furious speed toward him. Not an instant too soon, the horse stopped and waited for his drowsy rider. Andrew walked to... Read More »

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