He Was a Man Once

Ten in the morning I find Patsy sitting at the end of the bar. His missus left last week, gone in the night without a word. Patsy said there was a note, something about visiting her sister. She had no sister I ever heard of. Patsy was Dad’s friend. When I see him now it…

The Meaning of Everything

He spoke of tremendous mysteries buried in numbers. “Right under your nose,” he would say. He’d spend an hour on the symbolism etched into the dollar, fill a notepad with calculations of its hidden meanings. He counted everything. Once I found him in the yard counting the needles on a pine tree, convinced the numbers…

People Make a Choice

He stood there like a fool, banging the big brass knocker. No answer. He was about to leave. It was in his mind. Get in the car. Back out of the driveway. Never come back. Fuck this. But she came to the door, stood wordless for a moment before turning her back to him, walked…

It Had to Happen Sometime

She kept right on sweeping, just like it was nothing. Me, I had a harder time. I looked out over where the barn had been, at the orange surveyors’ stakes in the ground. Without meaning to, I let out a long sigh. “People got to live somewhere, Walt,” she said. “Had to happen sometime. Besides,…

The Plagues of Egypt

She watched through the window as he got out of the tractor and crossed the yard. He came into the kitchen, catching the screen door before it banged shut. “Lord, that new Deere is nice.” “You keep saying that. I just hope we can keep up the payments. You want coffee?” “Sure.” He took the cup…

What To Forgive

This beauty. Her beauty, the beauty of the night, of Barcelona in May. He ran his finger along the rim of the wine glass until it began to chime. “My father will not be moved. I am sorry.” Her eyes glistened, but he saw no tears. Another time he would have said this was because…

Shame

Shame did not come when fat Tony pressed the greasy envelope into my lap beneath the pub table. Fat Tony smiled, nodded and got up to go, winked as he left. Brisbee thumped my shoulder then. “Popped your cherry, you have. Let’s have another round.” Bris motioned for the whiskey. I suppose I drank, caught…

Tuesday, September 11th

It was Jill’s idea. She lives downstairs in our building, a city kid like me. She said she was a real Harriet the Spy.  I never read it,  so I’ll take her word. I like books about war. Last night there was a building party and all the kids went to Mrs. Massey’s on the fifth floor. Jill and I…

Protocol

Friday Fictoneers for this week is a tough one. I stood staring at the picture of the Keck Observatory for a long time. The colonel’s blotchy face turned  salt white as he watched the screen. “Jesus,” he whispered. “Are you sure this is real?” “Absolutely certain, Colonel. We wouldn’t have enacted the protocol if we weren’t. Both of…

This Isn’t Just Turbulence

Sunday Photo Fiction. “This isn’t just turbulence.” As she said this, the plane shuddered as though struck, jolted sharply upward. Her Bloody Mary shot from its plastic cup and drenched my shirt and lap. She closed her eyes and began to scream. The plane shook with sudden violence, then settled into a rattling vibration as…