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. […]

A Quiet Conversation

“What’s it like?” “You don’t remember? It’s only been a year.” “No. I really can’t remember. Except that it used to hurt all the time.” “I don’t hurt.” “You don’t always feel the burning of the air in your lungs? Your heart banging away inside your chest and never getting rest? All the acid churning in […]

It’s Never Really Over

I was stop-lossed twice, so I did four tours. The first time it wasn’t so bad coming home, since I knew it was temporary. Midway through my second tour we started calling the enemy insurgents instead of soldiers. They changed the game, making bombs out of TNT and old 105 shells. IEDs could look like a […]

The Thing That Broke Him

It looked odd, using the big gutting knife to clean  his nails. I guess he did it to put a scare into the man, scare him without threatening outright. Speers is smart like that, doing just enough that you get your imagination working against you. He told me that a man is always his own worst enemy, […]

Not Our War

Pa insisted I come along with him to see Pake off. I didn’t want him to go at all. Jefferson doesn’t have a proper bus terminal like a real town, so we stood out in the parking lot like shoppers. “Just  always do what your sergeants tell you to do, but remember you’re a Barnes and don’t take shit […]

Maybe I Always Knew

He’s not coming out. Not tonight, anyway. I must have known. I think I did, anyway. It’s such a cliché. Late nights. Straight to voicemail. I haven’t told anyone. Not my sister, not my mom. What would they say? Tell me that they saw it right away, that they saw what kind of man I […]

Big Enough For Flying

Every year the prize-winning hog just gets bigger. At last year’s State Fair, he weighed over 1900 pounds. It is always the same hog, Junior. Lying next to him is Queenie, younger and a few hundred pounds smaller. Waiting in the wings, you might say, since one day Junior will die and it will be Queenie’s turn. I squeeze […]

Every City Is The Same

” “No, I don’t feel like it. You guys go on without me.” She picked up the remote and accidentally unmuted the TV. The sound was sudden, deafening. “HEMORRHOID REMEDIES, THEN YOU …” She fumbled the phone while she thumbed the remote. “Sorry. No, just the TV. Hotel TVs are always so loud.” She nodded […]