Bloody Hell

Corporal Cobbs rode into the camp, his mare lathered by the hard going. Sergeant Collinsworth stood to unlatch the gate. He nodded as Cobbs led in the long column of prisoners, the other men of the platoon riding alongside the ragged group like drovers, calling out to keep them moving. Cobbs dismounted and limped over. […]

Still More Utopia

The arboretum was his gift to her, a sanctuary from the life-crushing city beneath. “You deserve Utopia,” knowing full well she had not read, in fact would never read, the book for which such impossible places are named. So it was not surprising she took it for granted, as she had the fox cubs, the […]


The night of Solstice, when the sky comes down to the ground and turns the world to snow, the old man gathers his grandchildren around the coal stove as the wind whistles and moans outside. “The branches around us are hung with ghosts,” he croaks, the shadow of his hands sliding over the stone walls […]

The New Economy

We’d bought the Caravan two years before Clark was supposed to retire. “We’ll finally get to see this great country of ours,” we told each other. Three months before the big day, Clark was summoned to an office where sat his new supervisor, a Harvard MBA who’d been part of the team that had come […]


We had what they called a hook stop like you don’t see these days. That’s where a freight slows down just enough  so the brakeman can toss out a mail sack, then  lean way out to hook the outgoing sack off a  pole. Sometimes it’d be weeks before we had enough mail to justify an […]

The Adversary

The Lord said to the Adversary, “Where have you been?” The Adversary answered the Lord, “I have been roaming all over the earth.” -Job 1:7 Sol got up from his desk and walked to the chessboard in the corner of his cluttered office. He enjoyed playing chess by mail, having the time to consider all […]

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 […]