Today It Ends

I smoke a cigarette as I walk along the Quai Saint-André, cupping it in my hand. I have always smoked this way.  Done everything this way, really. Concealment. I watch a grain barge chugging up the St. Lawrence churning brown froth as it passes. I flick the butt into the river and turn back toward […]

Donutland

Dominick pushed himself back from the table, sighing like a leaky tire. Eating was no longer the comfort it once was, the solace gone. He’d grown up lean and hungry, fifth of seven children, hand-me-downs and half-empty bowls. He had gone to war and shot at the enemy and maybe even killed them, seen friends […]

Las Vegas Airport 3AM

New York is the “city that never sleeps,” but for genuine insomnia you can’t top Las Vegas. I stroll though the airport at 3AM after eighteen hours of hell in O’Hare. The place is sprawling, with garish islands of slot machines strategically placed to shake out the nickels of passersby. It’s there I see her, […]

Kitchen Vignette

Dick and Mike sit at the kitchen table playing two-handed rummy. Dick is drinking whiskey. Mike is drinking beer. He grunts every so often when he lays down his cards, but other than that they aren’t talking. The phone rings, making all of us jump. Margaret goes to the wall and picks up the receiver. […]

The Neighbor

“Any word on the fate of 2-C?” Scroggs sipped his coffee,  shrugged. “I imagine they’ll keep it sealed.” “Bloody hard time renting it after all that. Did you see the photos in the Sun?” “Oh yeah. Shocking. Papers will run anything now, long as it’s horrible.” “That it was.” She peered at the blue door […]

Return, Return

John Dory made a song about it, how they come in iron ships, how they say they make the world free for us. How we heroes. He wrote it serious, which made it even funnier. Now they come and say we can go back to Enewetak, that it’s safe after all their experiments. They tell […]

Tres Leches

The younger children squealed when Marisol brought out the cake. “It’s a lamb!” cried Anna. “It’s just shaped like one,” said Marisol, setting it on the table. “I used a mold. The eyes are gumdrops, and the fleece is made of coconut.” “What’s inside?” asked Luiz, the only boy at the party. “Guts?” Marisol smiled. […]

The Apple, The Tree

Craig glanced sideways. As usual, his father was pacing alongside the pool as he swam, yelling what he probably thought was encouragement. As he dipped his head into the water his father’s words cut in and out like a flickering radio station. Craig Sr.  had been an NCAA contender, but never quite a champion. He’d […]

Billy’s Step Up

The office felt small as a cattle stall. Hat in hands, Billy stood peering at the framed paintings of horses and prize bulls. None bore resemblance to any living creature Billy had seen. “Mr. Groom will see you now,” said the man in the glasses. B.B. Groom sat small and hunched behind a vast wooden […]

A Film of Hell Itself

His dark eyes darted from face to face, hollows in his cheeks giving him a death’s head look. His voice was strong, and he spoke good English. “My friends, I will now to show you something not seen anywhere outside Germany. To the free world, these are only ugly rumors of unspeakable acts. Many deny […]