I was early shift on Sunday, so I caught the call. My partner  was AWOL, so I stopped by his apartment on the way to the scene, dragged his booze-reeking carcass out of bed. A lady patrolman was putting crime scene tape across the door when we got there. “Hold on there, Darling,” said Bill. […]

Dispatch From Ypres, 1914

McCormick tilted the paper to catch the cold November light, pencil clenched in his teeth. He glanced around at the ruined cathedral, its single undamaged arch, the opening choked with rubble. He folded the dispatch into an envelope and tied it shut, then picked his way through the debris to where Corporal Collins was waiting astride his motor-bike. “Here you go,” said McCormick, […]

The Invisible Air

It is only when she doesn’t seek  him that she knows he is truly there. She feels his breath on her collar, yet will not turn to see. She believes her eyes have the power to make him disappear, perhaps forever, and this she will not do. His presence does not comfort, does not agitate. She does […]

Señor Palomino

Though he spoke nothing but Spanish, he insisted he was Italian. In all the years he worked for us I never saw him wear anything but twill workman’s coveralls and boots, the soiled black Basque beret as much a part of his head as his nose. Señor Palomino was never addressed by his first name and seldom spoke […]


I met Mom and her new husband at the Top of the Mark. We looked out on the city and drank fifteen dollar cocktails while she went over her plan. She had brought maps, guidebooks, old photographs. The husband said nothing, but I could tell from his Rolex that he was the one paying for it. “Why?” […]

Stuck In The Middle With Mother

Mother’s mediocrity was so consistently applied that it almost became a kind of excellence. She wasn’t especially bad at anything. Nor was she particularly good. In everything she did, Mother was merely adequate. The many dinners she cooked for us excited no praise, yet were always eaten without complaint. When she gave gifts, they were accepted but rarely used […]

Waitangi at the Craic

The bar at the Craic is busy most Friday evenings, but when  Waitangi Day falls on the weekend it borders on insane, twenty-four hours of partying. We haul cases of the extra glassware out from the cellar and triple the liquor order. I’d been working straight up since seven AM and was desperate to have a piss. […]

Take Out

Her hands shook as she fumbled out her keys, the pizza box wedged between her arm and the doorframe. Once inside, she set down the box, and locked the deadbolt and chain,  checked the windows. She grabbed the leftover wine she’d brought home from Saturday’s disastrous blind date and drank straight from the bottle. She opened the […]

The Necessary Permits

The waiting room was much more grand than it had been five years ago. The mayor seemed to take decorating tips from our show. We’d been waiting forty-five minutes before the secretary reappeared. “I am so sorry,” she said, her smile thin below eyes that did not smile at all. “His excellency has had an […]


“What is it supposed to be?” he asked. I could see the disappointment on his face. I felt the old fury rising. My selfish son. I struggled  to keep my voice calm. “It’s a bicycle, John.” “It looks weird. The wheels don’t turn. And what’s with the seat?” “It’s a work of art. Your aunt […]