Now Is My Why

Our last fight was incongruously serene. Of course, we were dining in an upscale restaurant, so neither of us so much as raised our voices.  The immensity of our marital catastrophe kept us polite despite our mutual aches of emptiness and pain, our laundry lists of wrongs and resentments.  Why bother? was the mantra. “You […]

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Tom stepped onto the Hoboken Pier weak-kneed and sick, the ten-day trip from LeHavre stretched to fourteen by the unrelenting Atlantic weather. Two years before on this same jetty, his life had been full. He’d had patriotism and the backing of his family, a home to return to, a just cause to fight and maybe […]

His Excellency

Yulia came down the stairs, silent as a cat. Imani looked up from the sewing table and saw the tears streaking her young face. “Oh child,” she said softly. “Don’t blame yourself. He’s always like this during the Navidád.” “He screamed at me,” the girl said, voice choking. “Called me the aborted spawn of a […]

Eye of the Beholder

“You know that scene in Papillon where Steve McQueen is locked in a pit for five years?” he said once. “I’d be fine with that.” She’d smiled at what she thought was a joke. Years later, when the kids had fled to families of their own and they both retired, they’d sold the house and […]

They’re All Just Boys

McRoy rapped the bedstead with his cosh. “Rouse up, Jens. New lot’s arrived.” Jens, never a sprightly waker, emerged from his sleep like a man wading ashore. He rubbed his eyes. “What o’clock?” McRoy tugged out his watch and flipped it open. “Half six. Royal Navy starts early.” They walked to the quay where a […]

Actiones Secundum Fidei

The mirror again. A necessary evil, though it ceased being kind years ago. Jens once had had the gall to call her vain, a case of the pot and the kettle if ever there was one. Jens, the preening peacock, crucified between his hairline and his waistline. She leaned in, concentrated on drawing a tight […]

Grandmother’s Country

The Bull was taking his time, speaking a few words and then staring across the fire in long silence. The smoke was terrible, but the old man did not seem to mind it. His granite countenance gave nothing away. Some of soldiers said it was Sitting Bull himself who killed Custer, but Maclester chalked that […]

Ho Chi Minh City

Summer and it’s time for the Great American Trust Fund Indochina Tour. Baggy cargo shorts and sandals, backpacks, and Macbooks. My gramps said that in ’66 it was the same, except instead of cellphones and laptops it was cameras and transistor radios. “Always, though, they don’t want to walk, Americans hate walking. That’s why you […]