Fireman on the Ninety-Three

First thing the engineer did was grab my arm with his gloved hand, give it a good squeeze. “You sure you up for this, son? That stretch into Shakopee Lakes has a 13% grade, and likely to be drifted up.” “Don’t you worry.” “Just remember, I see that gauge drop I won’t be so nice.” […]

Stairway to Heaven

Midway through the second pitch I can tell someting is wrong. He’s hesitating for some reason, hanging on his ice axe longer than necessary. Maybe this was a bad idea. We’d climbed together for almost a decade, traveling summers to all the climbing meccas. Joshua Tree, Pinncales, Black Canyon. When he and his then-girlfriend moved […]

At Shorakapok

Pard was stone dead. I didn’t have time to ponder it. That red-paint injun grabbed his bloody hair and sliced off the top of his scalp with a long steel blade. I heard of this practice, but this was the first time I seen it with my own eyes. He turned and clubbed me good […]

Bleak Days

Gustav walked on, flecks of snow stinging his cheeks like spits of sand, the rhythmic crunch-crunch of his boots accompanying him like a funeral drum. Your novel, sir, is a mixture of genuine truth and private grouch, Strindberg had told him, but too much of the latter for them to consider publishing it. What now, he […]

Day One

She crouched under the bridge, cold and hungry and scared. The only bag she’d been able to find was the Pan Am carryon her real dad had brought her as a souvenier, blue and white with a globe. She looked around her bedroom and thought of what she most cared about that would still fit […]

Hubris

“You about finished writing, Major? The men is chafing to get this next stretch over with.” “Just a moment more.” Powell dipped his pen into the inkhorn and scratched away at the page. “I don’t think them Howard boys and Dunn is coming back, Major. Yesterday scared out their Jesus.” “Yes. Can’t be helped. Some […]

The Note

Daughter You will have questions I cannot answer except to say that reality is but an illusion, a projection of our expectations.  We are taught to make our eyes glide over the world, to create symbols and labels so that we can more easily dismiss them. We are trained to turn our awareness inward, towards […]

S-21

How long am I here? An eternity. There is no time but now, and now lasts forever. There must be hundreds in this place, though I never see anyone. I know from the screams that come through the walls. I see only the guards when they come for me.  Sometimes I am hooded and led to […]