Billy Hamilton

November 1, 2012

The day Billy Hamilton drowned at the New Highland Public Swimming Pool, it was hot. It had been hot for weeks, even for West Texas in June. The weather was a tick on a tired dog, heavy and bloated. Afternoon tornadoes square-danced across the dusty horizon like fierce lovers; thunderstorms crackled in at sunset and setup to stay the night. By morning, the storms were long gone, leaving a few downed power lines and wind-shorn trees, but never a drop of rain. It was hot.

That’s why Billy was at the pool. Of course—every kid in New Highland was there that day, except for the losers like Keith Mackenbrook, sentenced to summer school for failing math and art. Who flunks art class? Or Scooter Jones and the rest of the football jocks—busy tackling colorful burlap dummies, and running sweaty laps round the dirt patch the town called an athletic field.

Read the rest at Foundling Review:

Leaving the Keys

September 10, 2012

Tired and dirty, Jimbo sat in the center of an empty kitchen, determined to drink until he felt normal again. Empty cans of Miller Lite surrounded the legs of the folding chair on which he was perched, a chair more accustomed to the vagaries of family gatherings and picnics at the lake than hard ceramic tile.

Wrapped around him was the cold blanket of plaster, wood, and tile where he’d spent most of his forties and fifties. The floor creaked and the doors squeaked; the roof leaked when it rained. The furnace belched out occasional but alarming gouts of foul- smelling smoke. And yet, one-hundred and thirty-seven payments more and it would have been his. His and Melissa’s.

Read the rest at Eunoia Review:

“C’mon, Johnny, run. Get up here, douchebag.”

Johnny sprinted after the westbound Union Pacific, stumbling over the small rocks and blackened scree bordering the tracks. The engine was a distant rumble ahead, rising in pitch, and Johnny knew he would soon be left behind; worse, he would be prone to terrific ridicule from his twin brother later that night. He tripped and nearly fell, but with a final gasping effort reached out to catch his brother’s hand. Charlie swung him up to the rail, clapping him on the back once his grip was secure. Together, they climbed to the top of the car.

Despite the heat of the Arizona sun overhead, the air blowing past was chill, and the boys sprawled out upon the roof of the container, glad for its metallic warmth and enjoying the delicious feel of the air streaming over their bodies. On the horizon, a monstrous serpent crept across the desert landscape – Interstate 10, stretching from Jacksonville, Florida to nearby LA. And there in the middle loomed the tunnel, a black, yawning hole bored through and under the long spine of desert rock on which the freeway ran.

Read the rest at A Twist of Noir

Until the Road Ends

September 9, 2011

When I was eighteen, I bought a 67’ Chevelle for five hundred bucks from a guy at work who was looking for some quick cash to score a pound of bitching Columbian.

My buddy Paul and I towed the car back to the apartment building and worked on it every weekend, tearing it down into a greasy mountain of parts and hopeful that we could put it all back together again, but better, faster – bolting on a wicked intake manifold and roaring headers and lifters that went tick-tick-tick, a thirsty 4-barrel and a screaming cam, and fat sticky tires wrapped around mag wheels that glittered in the summer sun.

Read the rest at Six Sentences


July 24, 2011

I enter this airport, this city where nobody lives, suburb of nothing, a specious, spacious, cynical gateway with walls of steel and glass, a pass-through place pulsing with fragile, firefly lives and echoes of the droning voices of salesmen and consultants, bankers and real-estate experts and seminar-attendees who carry complex solutions to nothing.

A highly-paid, arm-waving, finger-pointing businessman cuts before me, failing to notice anyone with skin darker than his as he gesticulates his carefully rehearsed bullet points and negotiates his fifth big deal of the month via Bluetooth headset, until much later tonight he’ll call his family from a hotel room in Orlando or LA or Philly for their previously scheduled Skype videoconference.

Read the rest at Clockwise Cat:

The Last Carol

July 7, 2011

My brother is a real baby sometimes. I can understand the kid’s only nine, but…okay, it’s like this. It was two days before Christmas. He’d been bugging me since breakfast, saying it was Christmas Eve-Eve. And that night, we were sitting around the tree: arranging the presents, hanging tinsel, stringing the lights. Mom and Dad and Kyle and me. Of course, Dad had come home late – another executive advertising meeting, he claimed – so Mom was a little bitchy. He told her if she didn’t like it, she could always get a job of her own. She shut up after that.

But there we were, and it was okay for a while. Listening to Christmas carols. Drinking hot apple cider with those little cinnamon sticks. Dad was slurping away at some eggnog. Normally I don’t go in for all this family stuff. I would rather have been in my room listening to some of my own music. Reading Harry Potter, playing Call of Duty, whatever. But I admit it was sort of festive. And then the whole deal with Kyle started.

Read the rest at Full of Crow

Wedding Dance

June 7, 2011

Despite the freshly waxed dance floor,
the floral centerpieces and crooked boutonnieres,
the air is redolent with memories of catered buffets,
ancient spilled beer and stale cigarettes,
and the lingering sour smell of sweaty guests
dancing in uncomfortable formal wear,
the ghosts of weddings past. I stand
at this cheap wood-grained podium
the father of the bride, delivering
his obligatory speech. I stare out
at in-laws and cousins, friends of family,
uncles and aunts and withered grandparents,
a bored sea of shiny faces, half of which are unfamiliar
and will hopefully remain so.

Read the rest at The Camel Saloon

Riding the Coaster

June 6, 2011

My Mom is always cleaning my brother’s bedroom. She changes the sheets, washes the windows, dusts the dresser, the nightstand, even the fucking headboard. It’s like she’s trying to get rid of a bad smell, one that only she can detect.

Ray hasn’t slept in there for months.

Then last weekend the vacuum cleaner broke down. I was pissed that she made such a big deal out of it. I was sitting at the kitchen table doing my homework when I heard this whining sound, like the dog wanted out to pee. And that’s when I found Mom, keeled over on Ray’s bedroom floor.

Read the rest at Bartleby Snopes

Margaret’s Daughter

May 26, 2011

The first storm of the summer rolled in as Karen walked home from her day job, waiting tables at the corner bar for two bucks an hour plus tips. From her right hand dangled a plastic grocery bag containing a jar of peanut butter, a partially smashed loaf of bread, two packs of smokes, and a pint of Jack Daniels. She was still two blocks from her door when the rain started in earnest.

With her dress clinging to her wet skin like an unwanted lover, she splashed down the sidewalk. She jammed the key into the lock and stepped into the tiny apartment where she lived alone, with her son. The smell of stale cigarettes and tired dust greeted her at the door. Slipping off her shoes, she kicked them across the kitchen and proceeded to pour two fingers of Jack into a dirty glass. She stared out the window at the rain slanting across the parking lot, and poured two more.

Read the rest at Every Day Fiction:

HIroshima’s Children

March 23, 2011

Albert Einstein woke from a dream of dogs ripping at his flesh. With the moon’s ghostly photons streaming through the blinds, he sat in his bed and rubbed his legs. He looked at the faded picture of Roosevelt on the nightstand, his Nobel Peace Prize, and thought about the children of Hiroshima: in the late summer heat, with the sound of the aircraft droning overhead, did they look to their kimonoed mothers and ask why? He told himself Bohr would have signed the letter to Roosevelt anyway. But still, he wondered if it hurt, in that last moment before they burned.

Posted at 101 Words Thinking about a rewrite

Page 3 of 5«12345»