Fiction

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 »

Frank's Grandfather

Aug 17, 2016

He looked like his grandfather, only strangely older. He wasn’t of course. That would be impossible. Chronologically.

But in other ways, many ways, Frank acted and seemed as old as the Appalachians. Maybe his mother’s side of the family had cursed him with bad genes but it seems just as likely that Frank’s mindset and belief were the cause of his premature aging. At forty-two, he looked seventy-two, on a good day. He was constantly complaining, about the weather, about politics, about bullies and the rise of terrorism and the new strains of killer biological weapons. When he wasn’t complaining, he... 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 »

Carousel

Sep 27, 2015

It's not all that hard, not really.

What's that? Life.

Bullshit! What's hard about it?

The usual. Money. Job. Relationships. Bullies. Bastards. Bitches.

Other people make your life hard?

Well, yeah. Of course.

Why's that?

Do you really think I know?

I do.

Well, I don't. I mean, I don't think I know. If I knew, I'd change it, wouldn't I?

Would you?

Why the hell wouldn't I?

What's the payoff to not changing?

The payoff? There's no payoff! Unless you count grief, discomfort, disappointment, loneliness.

Maybe you like feeling that way.

Why would I like feeling that way?

You tell me.

This is a useless conversation. It's just a circle.

Yes. A circle. You got it.

I got it?

Yes.

Got what?

It's a circle. You're running around in circles. You must enjoy it. Or find it comforting.

Comforting?!

Yup.

Do not.

Regressing to six-year-old responses won't help you.

Will too!

As you wish.

As I--damnit. So what you're saying is that I like to feel bad so I invite these people who make... 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 »

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 »

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 »

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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