Featured Stories

Who’s in Charge?   

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I picked up the phone and answered it. It was my boss, Bob Fischer. “Hi, Jack,” he said. “Can you come down to my office.” It was not a question. I was surprised and not a little irritated. Fischer knew I was working on the quarterly report and how important it was for me to work with minimal interruptions so …

October 4, 2022 :: 0 comments

Close Encounters of the Bukowski Kind

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I’d had two run-ins with the grump & they were far from pleasant. First encounter was at the premier of Tales of Ordinary Madness at a rundown movie house in a seedy hood at Melrose and Van Ness in the early 1980s. I had the nowhere cab gig at the time. (Stuck in it for years in order to buy …

October 1, 2022 :: 0 comments

The Outbuilding

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Maggie and I were relaxing on the couch watching television. Finally, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and made a big point of clearing my throat as a prelude to what I felt I had to say. In response, she casually glanced at me. I took it as my chance. “You know, Mags,” I said, turning to face her. “I …

September 27, 2022 :: 0 comments

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A Bicycle Built for Two

by on June 4, 2022 :: 1 comment

A tandem bicycle was the last thing Liz and I bought before she left me for her personal trainer, a muscle-bound guy named Zeke. “I’m never coming back,” she told me as they drove off on his Harley. “Fine!” I yelled after her. “See if I care.” Except, I did care. I missed her a lot; for a while anyway. …

A Flock of Jays

by on January 8, 2022 :: 0 comments

“No child is born angry, say the experts, but this is hope not fact,” Dr. Daprahana maintained. “Wrath resides in everyone at birth along with emotions like love and shame. Under the right circumstances, these emotion seeds can root in our consciousness and explode into actions, some deadly, some sublime, and some both at the same time.” Having heard metaphysical …

A Party in Aspen

by on September 3, 2022 :: 0 comments

Excerpted from the novel Pharoni, by Colin Dodds A tall older woman sidled up next to me and said, mixing business with pleasure? Just being at the party entitled you to an immense benefit of the doubt, which freed people up to say things like that. I looked over my shoulder and smiled at what I saw. She was a …

A Rainy Day

by on February 5, 2022 :: 0 comments

Valeria sat down in her wooden chair and laid a woolen blanket across her lap to warm her legs. She enjoyed watching from the window of her room how the rain fell passively on the garden that she had planted, with hard work, in her yard for years. Her house and garden were among the most precious things she had …

A Shadow on the Wall

by on October 30, 2021 :: 2 comments

She had just clicked off the remote and closed her eyes. “Oh no,” she thought. “The house is settling.” She had lived in her red brick home for nearly nineteen years. She had paid a fortune for termite control, bees entering through the bathroom window, wasps on the back porch, and now there was a new noise. Unrecognizable. Could it …

A Thistle

by on April 19, 2022 :: 0 comments

The first men I fell in love were Robert Kennedy and Jesus Christ. I hope I am not blaspheming if I say that I found a prophet extremely handsome with his auburn hair and Celtic beard. I loved both JFK and his brother, but for me Robert was handsomer. I gazed upon my heroes long hours, until the Virginian (James …

Agouti Coat

by on September 13, 2022 :: 0 comments

Allen accidentally brushed his hand against his neck warmer. The oily, stinky hairs protecting that skin wicked away the rain pouring down. The animal that had once possessed that covering had tasted good, like wild fruits and nuts. It had been his fortune to find that large rat stuffing its snout with fallen bounty under a Jaboticaba (Allen had been …

Alarm clock

by on August 20, 2022 :: 0 comments

I’ve ran in circles to mend the harvest. Grain crops have wilted. God told the sun to bend its head on grain and never let up. The grain condemned me for the drought. I don’t blame God, not directly, but I told grain it ain’t on me. A few farmers in the area said to me that the climate has …

All the Animals Tell Me So

by on January 25, 2022 :: 0 comments

There was a thick smell of fresh manure while I was prowling around a native farm getting information for this article. The thought of the foul air surrendered to the aural of a mooing cow which drew me into the barn. I edged closer to the animal with its head locked between iron bars and its teats connected to a …

Any Storm in a Port

by on July 12, 2022 :: 0 comments

I’ll take siesta over fiesta. You’re my ballast and I’m your ballista. I concur, confer, and further confirm: We’ve traded demigods for demagogues. In a comedy, you die; in a tragedy, you get hitched. I spill pills on my pilose pillows; I tear my tears and tear through all tiers. We must make the impossible possible, remain sane in an …

As the World Shrinks

by on February 3, 2022 :: 0 comments

When Joe told his friend Jocelyn that he was seeing Dr. Dold, she laughed. Joe was affronted. “Is it that funny to consult a shrink, I mean… therapist?” “No. Sorry.” Then an extended after-giggle. “Sorry.” Joe went anyway. His life was so empty of stress he felt abnormal, and could bear it no longer. “My life is empty,” he told …

At the Fruit Store

by on November 3, 2021 :: 0 comments

Italy is a complicated country, and the virus multiplies the complications exponentially. The stress builds, and thoughts surface to alleviate the tension. I ordinarily lock my bicycle to a signpost before entering the fruit store. But wearing the surgeon’s mask and gloves makes it too difficult to fish the key out of my front pocket to unlock it upon return, …

At the Head Shop

by on March 15, 2022 :: 0 comments

The man behind the counter looked me over as I staggered into the shop. “Full up?” he asked. I nodded stiffly. I was afraid to move too fast. The man, George, lifted one hand. “It’s all right,” he said. “I’m glad you’ve come in. But why did you wait till now?” “I—there was just so much to deal with.” I …

Atlantic Hunting Grounds

by on December 4, 2021 :: 0 comments

Sailing the chill waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the cargo ship MS Harper is the only speck of brightness in the vast moonless night. Floodlights illuminate the shipping containers stacked on top of one another. Some scuffed, some dented, all of them with their rectangular space occupied by a brand-new Korean car. Florescent lights shine through the bridge windows, while …

Attacus Atlas

by on July 19, 2022 :: 0 comments

Attacus atlas. Southeast Asia. Attacus moths are frequently misidentified as birds owing to their large wingspan of up to twelve inches. However, sightings of the moth are uncommon. Celeste inched closer, determined. A moth of seemingly impossible proportions flitted among the trees in the tropical forest of the Malay Archipelago. She had been tracking the Attacus for several hours. The …

Betrayal

by on September 10, 2022 :: 0 comments

I knew Sam from Jerusalem, way, way back in the day when we were both new immigrants to Israel. In those days, everyone in the neighborhood had keys to each other’s houses. Some of us had phones, some had washing machines, and it was easiest to share these things with our friends by just letting them come and use them …

Big Stupid White Dog

by on August 9, 2022 :: 0 comments

“Those clouds look really cheap,” Ryan Bendix said to me. One of the big stupid white dogs had wandered into the field across the street and we were waiting for it to wander back. Our boss told us to “go get him,” but the field was a swamp that time of year, so Plan A was just standing there and …

Blue Fate

by on October 14, 2021 :: 0 comments

Amanda dreams that she is beautiful, with a body without scars and wrinkles, that she is young and that she is free from her illness and her earthly ties. Although we could say that every living being, every creature has its intrinsic beauty and thus that would be an unfair comment. Moreover, age is a relative matter, because nowadays seventy …

Bow Tie Pasta

by on March 22, 2022 :: 0 comments

The trunk lid was 20 yards away, twisted by the force of the crash into something like a giant piece of bow tie pasta. She lifted the sleeping bag from the trunk. Mine now, she said. Police sirens dopplered. She hid first among plumes of steam, then in the underbrush, until the cops left. Did they not see her or …

Candle Unmaker

by on April 2, 2022 :: 0 comments

Television imagination remains untwisted in summer while our dad says, “Stay with grandmother. It’s going to be hot again, way into the hundreds, and while she’s not quite there yet please just stay home.” As Dad shut the door, fervid outside air rushes into the house where hundreds of colorful candle statues with slick, wet-looking perfume bodies wait for fire …

Cannibal Frog Massacre

by on December 21, 2021 :: 0 comments

Billy knew he had to break it off when they entered the nature center and her face didn’t light up. Although, really, he should’ve known from the damn start. Greta was nothing like the local girls he went with. Her fingernails were painted a rich-girl red. Her clothes were sleek as machetes. Billy stared into a woodsy aquarium. The bigger …

Cruise Ship

by on October 16, 2021 :: 0 comments

You know what? What? I hate to say, but I have given it a lot of thought. The truth is, well, I don’t love you anymore. What?  Now don’t be silly. We’ve been married 15 years. I’m afraid it’s true. Oh, come on. What’s the matter? What is bothering you? Nothing is bothering me. I feel much better opening up …

Deadline

by on April 23, 2022 :: 0 comments

Harry McNabb was in a pickle. He had a poem due the next day for a project he had been roped into a month ago and he had not written anything. Deciding to take a stab at it around 2 PM, Harry tried typing the poem on his laptop. He would write one line and then delete it, write another …

Death by Wool

by on August 23, 2022 :: 0 comments

“Is this my birthday present,” Emily spat out. She tossed the lipstick on the kitchen table and watched it roll up against the scarf she was knitting. “You’re a fool, don’t you know makeup selection is woman’s work. For the love of God, you’re my husband, not a close girlfriend.” I stared at her red cheeks and narrow eyes. She …

Delete

by on January 18, 2022 :: 0 comments

I didn’t like my Fiat. It had become too old. So, I pressed the delete button on it and it was gone. Later that day I saw an advertisement in a newspaper. A girl who was pissed-off with her boyfriend had asked only a dollar in exchange for her new Toyota that she got as a gift from him. But …

Emil’s Magic

by on January 22, 2022 :: 0 comments

He was standing off to the side of the city Greenway looking at the sky when he felt a tap on his shoulder. “Hey, what are you doing?” Emil turned. It was a policeman on bicycle patrol. “I’m just looking at the clouds, officer,” he said, politely. “That one over there reminds me of a bunny rabbit.” Unimpressed, the cop …

Everywhere

by on May 3, 2022 :: 0 comments

I clean psych wards. That’s my job.  Once a week, I depill. For four separate wards in the county. I go from room to room and look for pills. They’re everywhere. The patients hide them in plants, behind the toilet, under the toilet cover, in gum stuck under the toilet rim, in every single crevice of their mattress. I’ve shaken …

Existence

by on August 30, 2022 :: 0 comments

After undergoing a series of tribulations, I promised myself a good start but calamities, the outcome of sheer coincidences, befell me as soon as I had announced my resolve to purge my life of the defeatist stance (which some would call the Fate Syndrome). I pondered over some of the coincidences that derailed my life, whose presence even in fiction …

Fear of Snakes

by on March 19, 2022 :: 0 comments

We’d been dating for about a month when Lorrie got a bull snake as a pet and brought it over to my apartment. “Here,” she said, pushing the writhing reptile toward me. “Her name is Julie. Want to hold her?” No. Not on your life. But I liked Lorrie a lot and wanted to make a good impression, so I …

Finding the Corpse

by on February 23, 2022 :: 0 comments

Can’t believe I’m not here anymore! Look, my son is looking up at me. He’s waving to the ceiling! He’s waving to me! He’s thinking, might he cut off a lock of my hair? For future cloning? He’s thinking…What!? Too much hassle! Won’t be around to see me cloned anyway! Son, are you sure bong hits are appropriate now? Gee, …

Fishing

by on September 6, 2022 :: 1 comment

It was a bright and sunny Saturday morning when Ray Dan looked out his bedroom window. He grabbed his cell and tapped Joe Willy’s name. “Ray Dan, what’s up?” “Well, it’s a beautiful morning in Middle Georgia, full of promise and adventure.” “You sound pretty sober for this time of Saturday, Ray Dan. Everything all good?” “What? I can’t give …

Fishing Buddies

by on July 5, 2022 :: 0 comments

Wes Coleman had been ducking my phone calls ever since his wife and kids left town. Everyone knew he and Carin were having problems, but when a week passed and she didn’t come home, the gossip started to spin out of control. Rumor had it, one of them was having an affair. Wes had started drinking again and was in …

From the Nowhere Newsroom on the Klu Klux Condom

by on March 5, 2022 :: 0 comments

A strange organization little studied and rarely reported on in the media has members worldwide and is often referred to as Klu Klux Condom. Men covered in leaves and beating drums will set fire on lawns large phallic symbols covered with condoms. The hatred of such a small and soft item that prevents unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases is …

Froyo Nation

by on April 9, 2022 :: 0 comments

It used to be an abandoned storefront, squeezed between a blanched pancake house and a barrel-shaped drive-thru espresso bar. Workers cleaned up the place, painting it white with a new marquee before long-haulers arrived with boxes and palettes. We expected stuff that no one wanted. The malls of America were dying. We awoke to a snow machine, brilliant crystals of …

Hemphill County in the Rearview

by on December 7, 2021 :: 0 comments

My mom had called me earlier that day to let me know that my brother Randy had called her to let her know that he was in jail down in Texas. She also told me that dad was not going to bail him out. It seemed that both him and his friend Red had been charged with possession of marijuana. …

Home Run

by on October 27, 2021 :: 0 comments

The playground at St. Mary’s was a cracked and bumpy blacktop square maybe a hundred feet long on each side and surrounded by a tall anchor fence on two sides, the school on another, and an old garage that completed the square. The garage was a really low, gray, four-car structure. I was never sure who, if anyone, used it. …

How Tea Tastes in Kovalampatti

by on October 20, 2021 :: 0 comments

I have a full blown tryst with my typewriter on a day the sky hangs upside down over Kovalampatti, shabby as the underside of a dress, seams and all exposed. I’d moved into the narrow neighborhood a fortnight ago with a mission, and have been typing by the window, twitching in despair at the mounting pile of half-finished articles. Mr. …

Howlin’ Howie Moves in Next Door

by on December 24, 2021 :: 0 comments

I was just two days into my new place, an upstairs bed with a bathroom down the hall, when I heard what sounded like a pack of wolves. It was ruining my sleep. Wolves? In a two-story walk up dump? It all made better sense after I met the “Backdoor Man.” We were taking out the trash. I introduced myself. …

In Distress

by on June 28, 2022 :: 0 comments

What is so special about grass? I ask myself. Is it their presence among our urban mess? Yet it no longer embalms a concept and many people do not believe in its aesthetic, medicinal, or magical essence in this age of malls and plastic magnificence. My dog eagerly rushes to any patch of vegetation on our concrete pavements. She lingers …

In the Wilderness

by on November 23, 2021 :: 1 comment

I am the loudest animal on the planet, and the funniest looking, Annelise thought, as she trudged through the snow wearing footgear resembling tennis rackets. Over a long white puffy coat, she carried an ugly black- camera necklace. “How do I look, Mom?” she said out loud, looking to the sky. You look noisy, she heard in response, but she …

It Gets Better

by on August 17, 2022 :: 0 comments

It’s May, 2012. I’m nineteen, barely. I’m graduating high school with zero prospects. My life is over. You see, I’m working at McDonald’s. I have coworkers in their sixties who have been working at this same corner restaurant in a dead end town for longer than I’ve been alive. You see, I had dreams of getting a scholarship to art …

It Went Down at the Ace

by on April 16, 2022 :: 0 comments

Joe Willy finished filling up his pickup at the self-serve pump and headed toward the store with a grimy twenty-dollar bill. He stopped short and whistled. “Whoa there, Ray Dan, where’d you get that shiner?” Ray Dan shuffled his feet. “Aw, I was defending my mother’s honor. Your mother’s, too.” “Howzat?” Joe Willy didn’t wait for an answer. “You didn’t …

Keep the Candle Burning

by on March 29, 2022 :: 0 comments

Silence. Matt anguished these situations when natural conversation came to an end and eyes met like magnets drawing the gaze with repellent retreat. His stomach rumbled like thunder, causing his thoughts to inflate. Filling his head with heat he didn’t need. Can she hear me thinking? Matt thought with himself. The paranoia galloping up to his ears. I think she …

Key Lime Pie for Dessert

by on March 26, 2022 :: 0 comments

Honestly, how can normal people fall for scams? I received an email from a woman we’ll call Valerie who wanted to meet me. Why? Because I run the support group New Directions, which attracts loads of people. I was to meet her at a fancy restaurant downtown. She would donate $100 to our support group and pick up the tab. …

Leading

by on March 2, 2022 :: 0 comments

It’s not a question of leading. It’s not a question of allowing the other person to be the lead. It’s just a matter of walking. And eventually the right things start to fall into place. I don’t really know how I’m doing what I’m doing. Or I can at least pretend that I don’t know how I’m doing what I’m …

Lessons Learned

by on March 9, 2022 :: 0 comments

Those closest will leave Be quick to take offense Smiles are transitory Friends even more so Hold back screams The heart always races at times like this An exploding heart doesn’t kill Dreams of safety do not materialize There are no answers You can’t disappear Over-sensitivity and hyper-vigilance must be permanent Punching a mattress is the best stress reliever Avoiding …

Listless

by on November 8, 2021 :: 0 comments

Beatnicks. Road kill. Submissives. A thinning ozone with polar slush on the side. Rape/abduction fantasies; the penitentiary; amphetamines and variety shows. The world bulldozes by, totally oblivious that I’m trying to sleep. Thoughts are as heartless as facts or feelings. You wake up; dreams are kicked into yesterday; you wake up and you think you’ve slept in; it’s 6:25 AM. …

Loose Leaves

by on July 16, 2022 :: 0 comments

“I don’t think it was the weed.” “Something environmental?’ “Doubt it. We breathe the same air.” “But her test scores are impossibly high.” “She’s not.” “Sleep hygiene?” “You kidding? She gets up every three to four hours–something to do with an irritable bladder, I think.” “Glad she’s your roommate, not mine.” “But she helps me with papers.” “You’re a design …

Mad Sisters

by on July 26, 2022 :: 0 comments

“Hey, look at this,” Alice said. “A hearse for sale. Five hundred dollars.” “Who’s selling it?” “See for yourself.” Alice tossed her husband the newspaper. “’60 Cadillac Hearse,” he replied. “Says to call Max. Hope I’m not too late.” An hour later, Herman knocked on the door of the mortuary. Max, the mortician, answered. “I called about the hearse,” Herman …

Meeting Edward Abbey in the Rain

by on July 9, 2022 :: 0 comments

we need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope Three days hiking, relentlessly setting up tiny tent in the rain, taking down in the nonstop rain. Nothing ever dries. Crawling into a damp sleeping bag, rain thrumming against the fly. Coffee never hot enough to defeat the chill. Climbing miles, and miles back down. All the scenic …

Miracles Can Take Grotesque Forms

by on May 21, 2022 :: 0 comments

They were working for Manpower in Dallas back about ‘78, around fifteen of them, unloading furniture in the sweltering August heat, carrying it into the forty rooms of a new La Quinta Inn on Central Expressway. Lisbeth was the only woman on the team. The foreman was desperate and took her on because she was six foot two. Lisbeth needed …

Missing the E on my keyboard

by on February 26, 2022 :: 0 comments

Fuck, shit, damn and all that crap! I’ll fail without it. I just know it! Faith is fallacious. My ambitions find ostracism. My skull complains for lack of joy. Satisfaction is without a doubt MIA. Damn company cursing such an affliction upon this sorry, sad soul! That much cash to fix a slab of carbon? Silly, isn’t it? Nay- ridiculous! …

Nails

by on January 29, 2022 :: 0 comments

Mom had a way with nails. One bitter Michigan winter, she pounded beef steaks to the back of the house. I didn’t see this with my own eyes. Heard it from my brother-in-law Leroy who explained that the frig hadn’t been working for the last two years. It’s possible that I was more embarrassed than he. A few years later, …

Never Trust A Drone

by on May 7, 2022 :: 0 comments

Monday Without warning, the box explodes. Birds pour out, flood the room, then settle. I prod one; it whirs, re-settles. Not birds at all, but yellow, fist-sized drones. Kathy dashes in. “What’s going on, grandpa?” Her eyes light up. “Hey, Dronedogs!” A latecomer rises from the box and lands on her head. “Dronedogs?” My ten-year-old granddaughter rolls her eyes. “Flying …

Night of 1000 Parties

by on November 20, 2021 :: 0 comments

The border between Paterson and Clifton is a double white line that runs down the middle of Crooks Ave. There was a party on Crooks Ave. one Saturday night. It was not as much fun as Ramon had anticipated. As it wound down, Ramon and a Clifton girl wandered into the cemetery on the Paterson side of the street and …

Old Spice

by on February 12, 2022 :: 0 comments

He records the weight and breadth of her censorious words every night in his notebook. He keeps a chart of his tears, another of her screams, and a few tick boxes for the scarcity of halcyon days. His face has become a topography of his ill-hidden fears of displeasing a woman who had hijacked the best of his years. He …

On Aeaea Again

by on January 15, 2022 :: 0 comments

We breakfast together on grapes and figs while lying on wild grass, take a walk around our island, fill our eyes with sea, fill our ears with bird song. I drive her to the Loose Wolf where she lunches with the women who tend to the island gardens. I sit six feet away and watch her out of the corner …

On the Droll

by on April 12, 2022 :: 0 comments

Some people experiencing homelessness are people experiencing a good gig. They could choose to experience employment, but some, like my one-time next-door neighbour Brady, feel that being on the dole works fine, and a tent in a park is pretty good shelter in a mild climate. Better than paying rent. Some tenters augment their assistance cheque by drug-dealing or shoplifting, …

Plastic

by on September 24, 2022 :: 0 comments

How much longer? Don’t know. I don’t remember it being this long last time. No, last time was over quickly, but I remember another time I waited almost three hours. We’ve been waiting almost an hour. Doesn’t matter. It’s going to be worth it. We’re getting new faces, remember? Faces of a better quality than we ever had before. Guess …

Pleasing / Raincoat

by on September 17, 2022 :: 0 comments

Pleasing Quibble is not licensed to operate a grazenda, but the crowds that come to see him are so large and appreciative that the authorities are loathe to step in and arrest him. One unlicensed grazenda operator should not be the source of a riot. Nonetheless, the authorities plot: harmless though Quibble may seem, the law is the law. Order, …

Re-entry

by on October 23, 2021 :: 0 comments

Susan Metcalf had retired 15 years ago from a job in the insurance business. She had never married and had invited her 92-year-old mother to come into her house to live. They were going to one of many doctor appointments on a dreary Monday morning in mid-January, Susan knew the routine too well. Finding a parking place close to the …

Read the Signs

by on February 19, 2022 :: 1 comment

Story of my life! I’m in my head instead of wherever my feet are planted and it’s all about me. That’s what happened last week and I’m still afraid to go back to the gym. Should I find another? Pretend nothing happened? Ask that authorities get involved? Why can’t I decide? Here’s what I did or didn’t do. It was …

RESTORED PORTMANTEAUS

by on August 27, 2022 :: 0 comments

Sara It was a fantabulous ski trip, until a snorm caused fragitation for travelers, including her.  Put up in a motel, she arrived with EarPods on, podcast pulsing, ginormous swollen portmanteau challenging her every move. That snarky pre-gate agent with the one-inch ridiculashes had doubted that the luggage latch would hold, she thought.  Hah! Ready to chillax, she plopped the suitcase down and …

Sarah’s Laughter

by on December 18, 2021 :: 0 comments

When you looked me in the eye, and, without blinking, told me it was over, I, as a friend, stopped being concerned. Even though, as a man, I worried about finagling the whole thing all these years. But, as a priest, I am alert to lies. A major part of my job description is devoted to discerning the permutations of …

Seeding His Furrow-Field    

by on July 30, 2022 :: 0 comments

Farmer’s up and down hand-seeding his under-sunned loamy-black furrow-rows fast, but not too so, up, down, down, up, ‘gainy ‘n again; half-day’s gone, good, until. Wha’? Oh—yes, came gripholdy stranglefood von gripholdy stranglefuel! Poppylock, zoot! Uck. Hey there ‘iend. Hey. What? Your down home zero sum patriotical waitstaff compels you, is what. Djinn-strangle Morrey Cooper immediately! Do what? What you …

Squirrels

by on July 2, 2022 :: 0 comments

It was a foggy Saturday morning in Middle Georgia and Ray Dan woke up mostly sober, which was a change. Through the window he saw the puddles the rain left in the front yard of his trailer, not that it bothered him. In fact, nothing much ever bothered Ray Dan. But he quickly became bored. He grabbed his cell and …

Taking Revenge

by on December 28, 2021 :: 0 comments

Dressed in a black suit and tie, Peter sat at the head of the table. “I’m glad you could make it to dinner.” He picked up a wine glass and gazed to his right. Except for a place setting, no one was there. “A salute to my beautiful wife, Paula.” In a high-pitched voice, ‘Why are we here?’ He cocked …

THE ALPHA-MALE AGENDA

by on April 5, 2022 :: 0 comments

—Have you seen this before? she said pointing to the white porcelain mug on her desk—no! She wasn’t pointing at the mug, she was referring to the chirographic design enameled around the body, which read: “Woke Mom.” —I have been a mom for fifteen years now, and guess what? It’s not any different from what you are having with Belinda …

The Chinese Restaurant in Moosonee, Ontario

by on November 11, 2021 :: 0 comments

Along the wide, empty street out of town, away from the railroad station, the red storefront gleams. It’s a welcome sight among the plate glass and faded displays of canned beans, motor oil, tools, or decades old sewing patterns, depending on the store. It is also a welcome sight beneath the infinite sky, beside the bay that is just the …

The Coffeehouse Romantic

by on February 15, 2022 :: 0 comments

The sound of jazz plays in the coffeehouse as I turn the pages of a Philip Roth novel. I look up from the book, hear a young woman’s voice, and feel my heart beat faster. I can’t stop  imagining how it would be to fall in love with her. “Have a good day,” says the barista to a man holding …

The Crying Game

by on November 26, 2021 :: 0 comments

I searched for something the least voguish. The location was an embassy though the occasion was only a job interview. London was in verdure with its tree-fringed roads. Sunrays multiplied in my eyes that beamed with joy – my first job interview since I graduated only three months ago. The interviewees hardly noticed my entrance into a very spacious room, …

The Get Together

by on October 7, 2021 :: 0 comments

“Mom are you ready?” I asked. “Yes dear, let’s go.” My mom and I are very excited. Today we are going to meet with our father after a long time. I can’t really explain how happy and excited I am. After a lot of struggle and patience we are getting to meet him. I was thinking what questions I will …

The Grandmother’s Secret

by on July 23, 2022 :: 0 comments

My grandma had a strange secret. She could turn into a butterfly. I never knew it—till the age eight. The discovery left me thrilled. My little thin granny, a secret butterfly! That moment is still vivid. It was a warm night. Hot wind blew across the small town buried in the desert that hissed. The lights were out everywhere. The …

The Greatest Conquest

by on November 16, 2021 :: 0 comments

For years Milton stood there on my shelf with the sword of St. Michael stuck between ivory pages that are dripping with demonic blood. Yesterday, I picked up the black book of Good and Evil and was resolute to read it thoroughly to better understand the military strategies described in there. I bet Milton displayed great wit. Besides, I always …

The Haint Tree

by on June 25, 2022 :: 0 comments

It was the kind of night that made you wonder what lurked in the shadows. The wind howled through the trees and leaves swayed from its bluster. The sun should have set for the evening, but a thick layer of blackening clouds extended as far as my eyes could see, making the time seem closer to midnight. The marsh smelled …

The Kiss

by on November 13, 2021 :: 0 comments

The courtly cavalier stood transfixed in a dead silence that echoed the somber stillness of my castle’s cataleptic enchantment.  How could he be the arrant inherent inerrant declarant heir apparent he him hymn nara to my nari narayana duende dawning on she her hurrah it’s my prince charming knight in shining armor amor moribund minus white steed come doyen to …

The Line

by on April 30, 2022 :: 0 comments

It was the summer of 1977. I was on strike. I worked at a soybean processing plant and though I didn’t know it then, it was on the verge of being sold because the owners had made a deal with the buyers that would benefit them both greatly. I had just been divorced and had no savings. I was staying …

The Magician

by on December 13, 2021 :: 2 comments

For years he sought to perform the ultimate illusion. An astounding feat that would captivate audiences. A magic trick like no other which would make them truly appreciate him and win their long overdue praise. The recognition he deserved. Just one fantastic stunt was all he needed. It had eluded him so far, but eventually it would come to him. …

The Mayonnaise Jar

by on January 1, 2022 :: 0 comments

Carmel reached into the mayonnaise jar, hoping to extract a tempting notion. Libi had promised her two friends that by reaching into that vessel, they’d become the immediate owners of germs for fantastic fiction. She had told them that she had stuffed that crock full of slips of paper imprinted with story kernels. All that they had to do for …

The Plant Invasion  

by on September 20, 2022 :: 0 comments

My elder brother has an impressive collection of the cacti! More than 300! This was a pleasant discovery. I hardly knew about his strange hobby. Why was the cactus his favorite? I was visiting him after long absence. In fact, I was never invited to his new posh home at Backway Reclamation, the upscale section of Mumbai. This Sunday afternoon, …

The Problem with Marvin

by on April 26, 2022 :: 0 comments

Marvin called time and temperature many times during the week. He felt he needed to hear another human voice and too often he felt the recording was a real person talking only to him. Then one beautiful Thursday morning, he dialed the number and the voice said, “Marvin, get outside. It’s a beautiful day. Just beautiful. Go to the park, …

The Scar

by on June 22, 2022 :: 0 comments

I met Mr. Pereira one foggy morning. The building where he stayed was a long walk from mine; the icy wind constantly brushed against my cheeks and chest as I walked down the dimly lit pavement. When I finally reached the building, I couldn’t see it as it had slipped behind a thick blanket of fog. I hesitated for a …

The Schoolmarm and the Referee 

by on March 12, 2022 :: 0 comments

DO NOT DISTURB hung from the outside doorknob. She was a schoolmarm who couldn’t resist a good-looking referee, tall and built. The morning after the game. Seedy motel room. The smell of stale cigarettes clinging to the walls. His striped black and white jersey and trousers lay crumpled up on the floor next to the bed. “Get up!” She slid …

The Shape of Things to Come II

by on August 13, 2022 :: 0 comments

It’s 2042 and I’m eighty years old. I was born in 1961. I’ve seen a lot in my eighty years and I’d like to talk about or tell you about how things are different now than they were back then. How things have changed since the seventies, the eighties and nineties, the two thousands up to 2022. August 8, 2022 …

The Snoop

by on June 18, 2022 :: 0 comments

Willow Heights is a lovely neighborhood where many of us know one another. During the pandemic many folks bought dogs, whose fondest desires were to trot around the block with their owners. Around 3PM, the school kids pass through my back yard. Fine with me. Do parents still wait for their children and give them milk and Oreos? I certainly …

The Source of Your Pain

by on June 7, 2022 :: 0 comments

Gary Samson slammed the door behind him. He was upset and in pain as a result of what just happened. Stepping off the sidewalk in front of the building, he hustled to his car. Flinging the door open, he turned on the radio and looked in the rear view mirror. The reflection caused tears to run down his cheeks. Never …

The Table Captain

by on January 11, 2022 :: 0 comments

1 Back in the 1950s, when Brooklyn Tech was an all-boys high school, I volunteered for the post of lunchroom table captain. Little did I know that this post would ultimately change my life. We sat in rows of five or six tables in a huge room. About thirty of us sat in each row. We would pass along our …

THE THING.

by on November 30, 2021 :: 0 comments

For dad, and his wild heart. Once when we were children, our father kidnapped us from our mother to take us across the desert. His wood-paneled station wagon roared through El Paso, New Mexico, and Arizona. I played with my prize toy, an E.T. plush, in the back of that car under a white sheet. In school I had been …

Toreador at the Door

by on June 11, 2022 :: 0 comments

(novel excerpt from EXECUTIVES OF THE WORLD) Ben, Jr. was standing beneath the arched doorway of the Cactus Room in full bullfighter regalia—a little surprised to see his older brother Will (older by a year) dressed in matching costume pouring drinks for regulars at the bar.  (Ben, Jr. had gotten wind of Will’s protest to the “Tres Amigos” stunt–and Will’s …

Tougher Than She Looked

by on August 2, 2022 :: 0 comments

She was a poet. She lived alone and often caught her muse by walking the streets of the city she called home. Her friends cautioned her. “You need to watch out, Lily. The creeps are out there. Drug dealers, pimps, and a hundred different kinds of deviants. You’re no match for any of them.” Lily understood. She was a tiny …

Wally Funk 11 Rides Again

by on January 4, 2022 :: 0 comments

I got a radio call early one morning to relieve another deputy at the site of a small plane crash in an area called Bermuda Dunes. The night shift deputy was finishing his report when I arrived on the scene. All I had to do was wait for an investigator from the National Transportation Safety Bureau to arrive from Los …

Watch Your Eyes

by on June 14, 2022 :: 0 comments

Peck, peck, peck, I wake in bed and open my eyes, Peck, peck, peck. What’s that noise? I listen, peck, peck, peck, it sounds like someone is tapping on my bedroom window. I shift upwards to my elbows, Peck, peck, peck. I clamber out of bed and stand in the middle of my dark bedroom, breathing hard. If I scream, …

Who Killed the Spud

by on May 14, 2022 :: 5 comments

The mascot for the Apopka Spuds baseball team was helping the team prepare for the season opener. The hated Zellwood Zephyr was in town. Irwin “Sport” Cotes, a twelve-year-old fan, was the mascot for the upcoming 1905 season. He functioned as the batboy, errand boy, and did whatever was asked of him. Team manager Hiram “Ducky” Dooley took roll call …

You Had To Be There

by on May 28, 2022 :: 1 comment

I will not judge. Except for One Who was not there. Crammed into wagons. Doors closed. Left in darkness until arriving at this place—not unlike the other places except this one with unpainted wood instead of concrete. Rows of us stacked upon rows barricaded inside stockades with more rows cobbled onto more rows. Outside and away from the bare wood …

“Keep the faith, baby!”

by on August 6, 2022 :: 0 comments

The geniuses had the maintenance guy, Walker, spray painting the ceiling. And they had me assist. Walker had on white coveralls, I was in my regular street clothes: flannel shirt, walking shorts. When I requested coveralls from Rodrigo, he and Walker were quick to shake their heads. “You won’t need any. Besides, we’re out.” Like I said: It’s a pathetic …

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