Seven of Swords

It started as a lark: a single card, pulled from a deck in a New Age store in Camden Town. Seven of Swords. The proprietor, a vision of swishing purple scarves, took it from him, held it up with bejeweled nails. “Betrayal,” she smirked. “Somebody peaching on you, love?” He had thought nothing of it, but […]

We Knew He Was Special

It started with Chopsticks, except that he played it perfectly the first time he saw the spinet. He was eighteen months old at the time. From there he moved to Für Elise and the Moonlight Sonata. At ten he memorized all of Chopin’s nocturnes and was making a serious go at Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto. So […]

Depth Perception

The old world does not  willingly show itself  except at night, when it comes into its own.  My son and I went for ice cream. Crossing the apartment lot, he pointed at a narrow set of steps just visible between Building B and the equipment shed. “Where do those go, daddy?” What you fear, you […]

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 […]

Killing With Kindness

Carrie realized as she walked in that she was forty-five minutes early, but she knew if she went back out to her car she might not go through with it, might let things continue as they had, avoid the confrontation altogether. Her mother had always said that Carrie took politeness too far. Actually, what she said was that […]

Sibling Rivalry

“Whenever I came home, she was usually standing right here.” “Almost always.”  He sat smoking at the kitchen table. The cartons he had brought were stacked against the wall, still folded up. He had neglected to buy packing tape. “It made it hard to sneak past if I’d been in a fight at school.” “You used to […]

Evidence

Last thing I remember was being angry that Janie was late. I decided to make it a double. After that, nothing. You probably heard the stories about me. Somebody like me. The guy who gets tossed from the bar by a pair of bouncers, the guy who is 2AM drunk at 8:30. Hilarious, legendary. But for me, […]

Our Place

Impressed and unafraid, she walked right to the edge and looked over, returned to me smiling. “How long have you known about this place?” I shrugged. My brother used to take me up here, but I didn’t want to say that because the next thing she’d ask those questions: You have a brother? Are you […]

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 […]

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. […]