Afterlife

October 28, 1906 Remanded into custody, State Facility at Cedar Grove: one Johann Blück, clockmaker of Paterson, New Jersey. Johann’s mania became unbearable to his wife. He would stay in his workshop day and night, neither eating nor sleeping. When asked why he was working so hard, Johann would jabber hysterically or mutter incoherently, his […]

Blaze

I went outside and built a bonfire in the yard. We passed a bottle of bourbon around. Soon all the wood was used up. I got the chairs off the porch and threw them in. When they were gone, I grabbed anything that would burn––my daughter’s wagon, rakes and shovels, a bag of bark dust. […]

Crux

Gulder waded through the muck and swatted at the spit of flies hovering around his face. New Netherland. Such a grandiose name for this shabby place, but that was Stuyvesant all over. Pompous and self-important, quick to take insult, and––above all––immensely ambitious, Stuyvesant’s first action upon landing was to read the proclamation declaring himself Director-General […]

Pictures

When her children were young she had taken scores Instamatic snapshots. In these photographs, they seemed to have been frozen by the flesh-bleaching flashbulb, stunned faces and red glowing eyes making them look like newly spawned demons. She’d kept these photos in a box in her closet. One day she carried the box to the […]

Curtain Call

We had a full house for once, the crowd electric with recent events. I stood by the curtain as I had so many times before, my hand on the ropes. It was the seventeenth of September, 1939, almost three weeks after the Nazis had invaded Poland, and we were in the sixth night of what […]

FreedomFighterUSA_48@Home

The back door banged. He came in grinning all over his face. He poured himself a cup of coffee from the pot I’d made this morning. This was the first I’d seen him since he’d gone out to his workshop before dawn.  “You look pleased with yourself,” I said. “My best blog post yet. Really let […]

Fireman on the Ninety-Three

First thing the engineer did was grab my arm with his gloved hand, give it a good squeeze. “You sure you up for this, son? That stretch into Shakopee Lakes has a 13% grade, and likely to be drifted up.” “Don’t you worry.” “Just remember, I see that gauge drop I won’t be so nice.” […]

At Shorakapok

Pard was stone dead. I didn’t have time to ponder it. That red-paint injun grabbed his bloody hair and sliced off the top of his scalp with a long steel blade. I heard of this practice, but this was the first time I seen it with my own eyes. He turned and clubbed me good […]

Day One

She crouched under the bridge, cold and hungry and scared. The only bag she’d been able to find was the Pan Am carryon her real dad had brought her as a souvenier, blue and white with a globe. She looked around her bedroom and thought of what she most cared about that would still fit […]

Hubris

“You about finished writing, Major? The men is chafing to get this next stretch over with.” “Just a moment more.” Powell dipped his pen into the inkhorn and scratched away at the page. “I don’t think them Howard boys and Dunn is coming back, Major. Yesterday scared out their Jesus.” “Yes. Can’t be helped. Some […]