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 […]

Isle of Dogs

Most disagreements boil down to simple differences of opinion or taste. Perhaps manners. When it’s over, you will remain friends. With Ky, arguments always went too far. It was life-and-death with him, everything a struggle. Being his friend was a trying experience. As is so often the case, this weakness was also his greatest strength. Unquestioning loyalty to  friends, tenacity […]

This Passes for Wisdom

“What do you want?” His eyes crinkled above the grizzled beard. “Another of them beers, for starters.” I pulled a can from the six-pack and handed it to him. He sipped, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, set the beer on the tarp. He peered into the sky. “Looks like we’re just […]

Black Water

Bob was seven years sober when he drifted out onto the lake, thought about turning his boat over. Seemed like a good idea and he didn’t feel like waiting for a better one. I drift now over his  same lake, once a river canyon now dammed by industry and the needs of leisure. My skiff […]

Things Ain’t What They Used To Be

“This was it?” “Yes. The fourth floor. You cannot count the times your grandmother would carry the bags up those stairs. Hundreds. Thousands.” The girl looked up the block. A group of Puerto Rican teenagers sat on a stoop, boys and girls both wearing the same white t-shirts and baggy khaki pants. A boom box thundered […]

Down and Down and Down

We went down the steel stairs, down and down. “With these levers, you can control the whole hospital.” He burst out with a braying laugh. “I’m  kidding. I have no idea what they do. In here, now.” He opened a door leading off the corridor. The room was dark and clean-smelling. “Can we turn on the […]

Out With the Old

“Well, I sure ain’t sorry to see it go.” The old man sipped his beer, wiped his mouth on his jacket sleeve. “Even if they just put up something worse. Which they will.”   Jessup moved his knight. “Ha! Bet you didn’t see that.”   He ignored the board. “That goddamned mural always reminded me […]

Last Night’s Tornado

Shards of glass and ribs of jagged metal, splintered two-by-fours, sheets of galvanized roofing from a barn twenty miles away. Wreckage as far as you could see in any direction. “Look at the trees,” she said, sweeping the vista of twisted stumps and branches with her hand. “Yet the McDonald’s is unscathed,” I said. “Wonderful.” […]

During the Storm and After

The windmill howled like a man being boiled alive, blades turning fast as an airplane propeller, dry  gears gnashing as the  fan-tail whipped  against the fresh black gale. A moan of the tornado sirens in town started up, fought the wind to drift across the fields to my porch where I sat in my cane-back chair […]

Survivors Can Be This Way

He noticed as soon as he came into the room. “My bottles. What have you done?” “Now, Papi, don’t work yourself up. She’s only trying to make it nice. Such a good granddaughter she is for you!” He grunted, limped from the room. “I saw them in a box,” the girl said. “I thought they’d […]