Las Vegas Airport 3AM

New York is the “city that never sleeps,” but for genuine insomnia you can’t top Las Vegas. I stroll though the airport at 3AM after eighteen hours of hell in O’Hare. The place is sprawling, with garish islands of slot machines strategically placed to shake out the nickels of passersby. It’s there I see her,…

Kitchen Vignette

Dick and Mike sit at the kitchen table playing two-handed rummy. Dick is drinking whiskey. Mike is drinking beer. He grunts every so often when he lays down his cards, but other than that they aren’t talking. The phone rings, making all of us jump. Margaret goes to the wall and picks up the receiver.…

The Knowledge

It was Royger’s fourth attempt at The Knowledge. He knew he might come a cropper when he saw that his examiner was Stoneface Cavendish, the dean of London cabbies. “Streatham A-2 to Stour Road, if you please,” said Cavendish. Royger took a deep breath and fixed his eyes to a spot on the table. “I…

Tres Leches

The younger children squealed when Marisol brought out the cake. “It’s a lamb!” cried Anna. “It’s just shaped like one,” said Marisol, setting it on the table. “I used a mold. The eyes are gumdrops, and the fleece is made of coconut.” “What’s inside?” asked Luiz, the only boy at the party. “Guts?” Marisol smiled.…

The Apple, The Tree

Craig glanced sideways. As usual, his father was pacing alongside the pool as he swam, yelling what he probably thought was encouragement. As he dipped his head into the water his father’s words cut in and out like a flickering radio station. Craig Sr.  had been an NCAA contender, but never quite a champion. He’d…

Billy’s Step Up

The office felt small as a cattle stall. Hat in hands, Billy stood peering at the framed paintings of horses and prize bulls. None bore resemblance to any living creature Billy had seen. “Mr. Groom will see you now,” said the man in the glasses. B.B. Groom sat small and hunched behind a vast wooden…

After Gomorrah

We have no name for the people who came before us. Some call them “The Builders;”  others, “The Destroyers.” Stories told in ceremony and song, but no definitive history. There were many, many of them, and everywhere they went they marked the land with roads and bridges. Many of the elders ponder how they did…

La Sangre De Los Reyes

“Where are you going, Tupac?” Marisól asked. “Out,” he said. “With whom?”  She stepped in to block him from the door. The combination of her bulk and moral authority were impenetrable. He sighed. “With Carlitos and Nando.” “Always those boys with their spray paint and skateboards and slang.” “They’re good guys, Mamá. Carlitos is at…