The Night Before

“It’s not fair. You just did what they asked you.” She holds my hand in both of hers. “Why are you the only one being punished?” “I was the only one who got caught.” Her eyes brim. “The sacrificial lamb.” “It’s only for two years. Maybe less. You know how overloaded the justice system is.” “It’s prison, Wade. […]

Rue Britannia

“The King is dead. Long live the King.”  Hoskins hoisted his nearly empty pint, looking hopefully around for somebody to notice this and offer to refill it. “The king ain’t dead, you bloody sod,” said Smith. “He’s bleeding abdicating. To marry that American tart. The divorcée.” “I seen her picture in the papers,” added Woodcock. “She’s a […]

The Devil You Know

The sea knew his secret. He had that night turned his back on God forever, given his life to the Devil. It was God who bade Gustavo to slide the body of his brother over the side, to pray for his salvation and commit him to the deep. Gustavo had tried to obey, had recited […]

Ano Domini

When Uncle Forbes came to dinner, his invariable subject was death. Death, in its infinite varieties. Death by misfortune was a favorite, as was death by misadventure, death from disease, death most foul, death expected, and death unexpected. With Uncle Forbes, the topic was inexhaustible. When other conversation would spring up about something other than death– how a certain function was […]

What Happened to Your Face?

I’d looked forward to the outdoor yoga class in the park through the entire winter, so I didn’t feel bad about taking the second donut, saying “why not?” to the dessert tray. I was at my heaviest weight, but  kept myself from usual despondency  by visualizing  a midsummer me, lithe and fit from yoga classes and sensible […]

2nd & Pike

Seattle I am sitting by the window at Pho Vîet on Pike when I see my ex wife walk past, arms swinging and happy like she used to be before the bad times. I don’t even have time to knock on the glass when my childhood best friend goes past in the other direction, riding my bike he […]

The Second Body

A bunch of us came out. Heck, practically the whole town. We didn’t have no particular business there. Just something to do. Sheriff’s men were there, along with some state troopers. They had got the whole marsh cordoned off with that crime scene tape you see on TV. By the time we got there, they […]

Airport 4 AM

Dreams in the night. Waking dreams. Now she is wandering through the small town airport dragging the suitcase behind her like a reluctant child. Her eyes scan the expanse of glittering floor, the sea of worn blue carpet. A woman in uniform smiles, asks if she may help. Another city. Days later, or years. Eternal. She […]


Max always came in around three, a folded New York Times  in his pocket. I’d have his drink ready before he sat down at the bar. Max dressed like a college professor, tweed jacket and sweater vest. He always sat on the same stool. Midway through his second drink he’d ask for the dictionary. We’d spend the afternoon working together  through the crossword puzzle. […]