Her House

The entrance hall hasn’t been used since Doug was killed in Vietnam, the boxes that crowd the narrow space crammed with paper and old clothes and God knows what else. In the kitchen, four refrigerators, two so overstuffed that the doors are bungeed closed, cereal boxes, rotten fruit, stale Walmart muffins in the 30-pack, gallons of milk […]

Interview With the Chief

Our township has the lowest crime rate in the Newark area. I’m not saying that I am directly responsible, but it’s worth noting that the rate went down the year after I became Chief of Police and has stayed down ever since.  American Lawman did a story that included a sidebar interview I gave when we […]

Keep His Name Out of the Papers

I didn’t participate in the interrogations. My role was to observe. Under no circumstances was I to interfere. Never a large man,  he became smaller. Fragile. And in the end, broken. When I first saw him, some of his former power still clung to him. He made demands, threats. Commanded a certain respect, even there. Of course, all  property had […]

Bluebirds Over

“You know what Jamey said about you?” “Your brother? He’s never even met me.” “About all you Yanks, actually. He said you’re overpaid, oversexed  and over here.” “Not original, but true enough for now. Doesn’t change how I feel about you.” She pushed away a wisp of hair, fire-red in the rare sunlight. “So it’s not just […]

101 Words: The Bereaved

Her expression is wrong. And her hair. For the first time, he is glad she is dead. This would have upset her. He goes to the bathroom to wash his hands. They smell like the funeral director’s oily aftershave– flowers and death. He washes them twice, sniffs his fingers. The smell won’t go away. He […]

In The Wings

The old man was as greedy with his bottle as he was lazy with his seniority. Still, he was company. And such stories! Geoffrey took his own bottle from his pocket, raised it. “Cheers.” “Bumpers,” said the old man. He drained his pint in a long swallow, holding the empty bottle at length to be sure […]

Paris in November

Richaud picked his way down the stairs. Breakfast was included in the pension, and despite her many failings, Madame Flir made acceptable coffee. The stairwell stank of cabbage. Richaud lit a Gauloises  to negate this everyday irritation. He settled into the chair as Madame Flir set down the bowl of coffee and pitcher of hot milk. […]

They Just Don’t Know Him

By the time he turned eighty-five, the old man was done with marking the day and would have none of it. His granddaughter called herself a “party person” and tried to organize some kind of surprise celebration in spite of his wishes. When he got wind of it,  he called the local paper and told them he had died, disguising his voice on the […]

They Never Really Went Away

“The petroglyphs told the story of an unusual event.” He paused, staring out at the lecture hall through thick lenses, hands clasped behind his back. In his pinstripe cutaway and bow tie he resembled a vulture, the effect highlighted by gleam of the hall lights on his bald skull. “Anyone care to guess?” A tense […]

Why Is It Here?

“My land! Such a heat!” His mother fanned her face with the map. “You’re the one who wanted to see the goddamned thing.” Heat made his father irritable, as did long car trips. “You’re getting sweat on the map.” “Language,” she said, eyes darting toward the back seat. “Little pitchers, Howard.” Howard glanced at Howie in the back […]