Ubiquity

There’s one in every Jersey town. More than one, probably. Named the same. Fat Tony’s. Greasy Joe’s. Vince’s.  They all look the same, with the grease-slick linoleum floor that was never new, faded posters of barely-remembered movies, maybe a Pong or Pac-Man machine, maybe out of order. The smell of cheese, of vinegar, of frying…

Maiden Voyage

Rene gripped the strap of his new sea-bag as he gazed up at the ship. It was bigger than any building he’d seen, a towering wall of riveted steel. Uncle Juní came up behind and put his hand on his shoulder. “You excited?” “Sure.” “Scared?” Rene shook his head. His uncle laughed. “You’re a better…

Last Respects

Gino walks through the dining room, smoothing tablecloths, straightening chairs, lining up silverware. He picks up a wineglass and holds it to the light. Spotless. In fact, the entire place is spotless, the staff having stayed late to make sure their restaurant will be at its best for this, its last day. Gino walks to…

At Altitude

My boots feel like they weigh ten pounds. I’m breathing hard, but it still feels like I’m suffocating. Numb fatigue soaks through me as though I am a teabag, limp and dripping. I look up and watch the column snake their way up and up. Always up. The peak is sometimes visible through the mists.…

Guys Like Him

“I wasn’t sure you’d come.” “You kidding? My curiosity is killing me.” “I just thought that after what he did. To you, I mean.” “And a whole lot of other women. Yeah, well. I’m over it. Getting over it, anyway. Maybe this will help.” “The detective told me that nobody’s been in here since he…

The Captive Freed

God shows his irony by allowing me this beautiful place and all the time in the world. I have outlived my compatriots and peers, my lovers and wives, my children, and even my enemies, but this itself is no reward. Indeed, there are mornings when the floor of my sleeping chamber is slick with frost…

Before the Storm

After the emergency broadcast, he got busy, talking the whole time. “My great-grandfather was a whaler,” he said as he slid a heavy-duty cable over the bollard, cranking the capstan to draw the hull tight against the fenders. “He wrote about rounding the horn down by the roaring forties.” He tightened down the hatch battens. …