Beneath 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…

Mania

“Another one.” “You didn’t bring it in for me?” “Why bother? There’s more coming.” She purses her lips, knowing that there is indeed another package on its way. At first, it was eBay, justified as a money-making opportunity. Many things arrived, but nothing was ever shipped. When the basement filled, he’d rented a storage container…

Just Another Monday

The newspapers lay where they’d landed, just inside the gate. The sheriff’s car was parked along the road. She rolled down her window and gave the deputy the code. He entered it and the gate swung open. “Wait here,” the other officer said, disappearing behind the house. He returned, shrugging. “Locked tight. Curtains are drawn.…

Eminent Domain

“Get Tall Charles up here. He’s a good reader.” The boy was fetched. He puzzled over the parchment. “From what I can make out of this, they gonna take all our land for what they call the greater good of New York.” Owens was indignant. “They can’t do that. We own this land. We own…

Cui Buono?

He knows the old man is waiting for him downstairs, on this, the first shameful day of his retreat. It’s not hard to guess what he will say. The recriminations, the guilt. You dreamed about Harvard since you were in third grade.  And the worst of all, What the hell happened? He thinks about this as…

She’ll Go Anyway

A porcelain vase, once shattered, will never be whole again.  Mother must have said that a hundred times. Of course  mother had other sayings, too. If there’s any doubt, there’s no doubt. Happy people never wonder if they are happy. All true, she thinks. She closes the laptop. Now she can’t see the emails. She…

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…