Fiction

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 »

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 »

Impending Storm

Oct 5, 2016

There’s a grey indecisiveness to the mood of the sky today, above the ocean, her anger slowly building, past my perspective, beyond the curved horizon, there’s a new storm at brew, the tickling of a rage not held by the ticking of any invention so lame as time. On the sand, near the rocks of the inlet, with my pole, not expecting any fish—they’re as nervous about the impending storm as I, and while they’ve not got the knowledge of location, timing, intensity, millennia of evolution has taught them all the same—danger lurks, tumult and terror and drama.

I got a brief nibble a few hours ago, when the sun was still young in the new autumn day, but then nothing, for an hour, two.

Days away still, so there’s no immediate threat, and I’ve cleared my schedule, set aside time for imagining, for contemplation, for fishing, for sitting on the beach enjoying the responsibility of nothing, after a season of much. It’s been a hard summer, a self-imposed harsh summer, after an emotional spring, The long sprint... Read More »

Insurrection Reflected

Sep 26, 2016

And he looked o’er the broad sea and to the curved horizon beyond, and sought peace, but found naught. And he drank from the deepest fount, from the waters cooled of the depths of time, and sought peace, but found naught. And... Read More »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Roller Coasters

Jul 23, 2016

“You warm my fucking heart, baby,” he said. It was that full and real smile of hers that melted him. Every time. Butterflies and heat and roller coasters. All at the same... 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 »

Make love to me, Hank.

Jul 7, 2016

I typed in the search box on Facebook her name, Aimee Rogers. Thirty results. None of them her. I tried again, different variations, adding our high school, our hometown. Still no joy. I felt suddenly stricken. What if she’s dead? Or what if she blocked me because of that incident in my car, parked near the Occoquan River, as it neared eleven o’clock? One of my life’s great regrets.

She’d said, “Make love to me, Hank.”

And I’d made the mistake of looking at my watch. I took her home instead, as I’d promised her father I’d have her home... 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 »

Go Away

Jun 23, 2016

“I will go away” was the sense I got from Carol as I saw the stark madness in her reddened eyes and there was blood in her cheeks, a scarlet anger, a crimson rage, a crossing of roses in the stint of the sting of her slicing gaze. For the first time since we’d met, I was genuinely afraid. Fight or flight was my first thought but I quickly ruled out fight as I felt as much as witnessed the murder in her haunting expression.

Please do, I said to myself,... 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 »

Haunting

Apr 7, 2016

I clearly remember the moment I died. When I saw my lifeless body, beyond peaceful, inert, on my bed, I first thought I was dreaming. Then I noticed the details. The color of the hardwood floor, a shade darker than pine, a subtle sheen, random flecks of dust. The knickknacks and keepsakes on my mahogany bookshelf, on the top shelf, the beer stein from Austria, photos of Beverly and Amy, my daughters, each graduating from UVA, Beverly in '92 and Amy in '94. The rosary I'd received at my First Communion, cheap plastic black and white beads, white crucifix, unused for twenty years—I don't know why I kept it so long. The heavy black coffee mug that was a gift from Gwen, my wife of ten years, who died at thirty-two of an aneurysm, with a quote from Wordsworth: “Faith is a passionate intuition.” I'd tried to find faith after her sudden departure but my faith was as dusty and neglected as the mug.

Dreams were never so detailed, so colorful, so vibrant, so complete. This was no dream. This was a new sort of reality. A reality without blood, without breath, and somewhat surprisingly, without smell or sound.

I was surprised also that I could still feel. Not in a tactile sense, but in a “heart” sense. Obviously, I had no heart, no brain, no flowing life through me, and yet I still had thoughts, memories, feelings. What was life then, if not physical cells and chemicals and interactions and iterations?... 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 »

Clarence

May 19, 2015

I’m sitting with a man I just met.

He’s overweight, but not unattractively so. He’s smoking Marlboro Reds. Says he gave em up for the fortieth time; started back up today, a day he calls grey.

He went to church Sunday; says he sang with angels. Healed a woman with chronic arthritis. Says it without pride, just matter-of-fact.

He enjoys the quiet irony of the Batman t-shirt he’s wearing. “Never take life too damned seriously,” he counsels.

“Are you suggesting—?”

“Ain’t suggesting nothin’, son. Just observin’.”

“Observing.” I let the word echo in the still spring air, moist from the morning’s rain.

“Yup. Just observing.”

I decide to move to another topic. “What brings you to Delaware?”

“Seemed as good a place as any to stop. I caught a ride with a couple takin’ the scenic route to North Carolina. Decided I didn’t want to hear any more of their subtle bickering.”

“Subtle?”

“Yeah. You know. It’s the looks I noticed first. Suzy put three sugars in his coffee and I think he only wanted two. He watched her put in the third packet, then there’s this little shake of his head. I been riding with em since Boston. Had enough.”

“You have plans to stay?”

“I don’t never make plans, son. Not beyond a couple days out anyway.”

I wonder why he calls me son. It’s clear he’s no older than I am, or if he is, it’s no more than a couple years. I decide not to be offended. “What sort of work do you do?”

“A little of this, a little of... 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 »

Independence

Aug 10, 2014

“I simply don’t believe in the limits that you believe in.”

“I don’t even know what that means.”

“It means precisely what it says. It means that I know that this life we share is limited only to the extent that we believe it’s limited. It means that I don’t subscribe to your definition of the universe, to a definition based almost wholly on physical theories and postulates and misdirections. It means—”

“Are you saying that Newton was wrong? And Galileo? And Einstein?”

“That’s not precisely what I’m saying, no. What I’m saying is that they were right, and you are right in your agreement with them. And that is perfectly okay for all of you. But I’m also saying that their correct view and perception of the universe is not the only correct view and perception. And I’m saying I don’t subscribe to theirs, or to yours.”

“What? You’re somehow smarter than all of us? You’ve found some sort of higher formula?”

“It’s not about smarts. It’s about the precise opposite of smarts. It’s about heart, about soul, about courage and independence.”

“Independence?”

“Yes.... Read More »

A Drink

May 10, 2014

“Buy me a drink?”

She was slim, fit, wearing a bright and deep red shirt, cut low, revealing. Her smile pulled me in. I nodded. She sat on the barstool next to mine.

“What sort of music do you listen to?” I asked, wanting to start a conversation that might lead to a... Read More »

March Fourteenth

May 10, 2014

She’d cried at least once a day since March fourteenth.

Sally touched her iPhone to silence the alarm. She reached to the left side of the bed, the side nearer the bedroom door, and found it empty. Again. Ted was gone, she reminded herself. Gone. Forever.

She wiped away a single tear, quickly sliding off the bed, and lightly walked down the hall to her kitchen. She could smell the richness of fresh brewed Starbucks coffee.

It wasn’t... 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 »

Pottery

Apr 25, 2014

She was to him, the solid earth of sturdy pottery, though he had the tact to never tell her so. Life for Ben was mystery, was, though rarely tumultuous, also, rarely understood. When Stephanie looked at a sunset, she saw the beauty, but also the purpose, the inevitable orbit and rotation of earth, the predictability of light, of darkness, of each new season. Ben saw only confusion—he felt often overwhelmed in the stunning majesty of the colors, the artfulness, the perfection—too perfect, too right—like Stephanie’s eyes, like her touch, like her every perfect curve,... Read More »

In the Moment

Apr 17, 2014

“You need to learn to stay in the moment,” she said.

I rarely flip my lid, but the culmination of the day’s events made me unusually susceptible, so, yeah, I flipped my lid. “How could I not stay in the moment?” I demanded. “I’m here, aren’t I? And it’s the moment, right? So here I am. In the moment.” I took a step toward her and assumed a menacing stance. "You spend way too much time reading those damned guru books of yours. And how, may I ask, is that staying in the moment?”

She smiled the bullshit knowing smile I’ve grown to hate so much. “I hear that you’re upset, Ted, and it’s okay.”

I took a few short breaths, hoping to calm myself. In my head I told... 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 »

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 »

I Wonder

Jun 21, 2012

I wonder if you know. I wonder if you could ever know. I wonder if you could ever know the fullness. I wonder if you could ever know the fullness of what I feel for you.

Of course, I love you. That you know, have known, since that first week we shared, experienced, unexpected, welcome, known. Memphis, the town, is a blur now to me, but I remember clearly your eyes. I remember your fragrance, fresh and airy, strong and full. I remember breathing in your sweet essence, how it stretched and grew when I touched you, undressed you.

For some reason I remember the deep green drapes, but I don't remember the color of the walls. I don't remember whether the hotel room's window faced east or west. But I remember the first touch of your full and pink nipple. I remember your black lace bra, though I saw it for only and instant before I removed it. I considered for but half an instant asking, but knew I... 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 »

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 »

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 »

A Purple Eel with Green Splotches

Jan 5, 2009

On the front cover, there was a photo of an eel. It was quite long, with green splotches freckling its mostly purple skin. The caption read “Eel found in bathtub by 107 year old man.” Normally I don’t look at “rags” like the National Tattler and the Weekly World Investigator. This photo, for some reason though, caught my eye, grasped at my attention. I picked up the paper, while waiting in the longish line in my local supermarket.

The cover photo, on closer inspection, sure looked real - a purple eel with green splotches. What really caught my attention though, seemed really out of place. There was a “Juvenile Times” magazine on... 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 »

41 Fiction Posts