December 25, 2010

We were way behind schedule. Dancer and Prancer had started my morning off by breaking into the stores of magic corn, and had been laying down some serious reindeer games all day long; poor Rudolph was near tears. And of course, I’d told the team to go easy with the carbs on Christmas Eve, but did they listen? No. Now I was flying over suburban Minneapolis, stuck behind a team of flatulent reindeer while trying to find little Susie’s house. Good God, how much worse could it get?

In the back seat, Jingle and Jangle were starting on their forty-first rendition of Silent Night; I was ready to push them both out of the sled. I turned around to unleash a mighty can of whoop-ass on their elvish butts and accidentally flew through the jet-wash of a Minneapolis-St. Paul bound red-eye. We spun around three times, turned turtle, and by the time I got us right-side up there were toys, candy, and reindeer shit flying everywhere.

Read the rest at Every Day Fiction

A New Life

September 20, 2010

I was waiting in the beauty shop for my wife to be done with her cut and color when it hit me. Maybe it was the simpy crooning of the GooGoo Dolls coming from overhead, or the dog-eared copy of Vogue I’d by then scanned three times for lingerie ads. Or maybe it’s just that I was two days from Monday and dreading another week of the nine-to-five bullshit. It didn’t matter – sitting in that damned uncomfortable chair, my hemorrhoids burning like a son of a bitch, I finally realized what I want to do with my life.

I would become a hairdresser.

Read the rest at Every Day Fiction

Beneath the Trojans

August 14, 2010

There’s a train track runs through the place. It slices diagonally across the entrance, past the old stone arch then down around the back where the mausoleum sits brooding. Every four hours or so the Union Pacific roars on through with its loads of grain or Japanese cars or durable goods but this bothers no one; to be honest, nobody in the park really gives a shit when the U.P. comes or where it’s going. On either side of the track lie lumpy borders of snow-covered ice, frozen and melted and frozen again until the bums that prowl the grave-sites can walk high above the rails, a crunchy sidewalk to nowhere. And off the track a ways in the sprawling port-wine shaped field of dirty white with its granite markers and blowing flower stalks sits an occasional pile of dirt next to a man-sized hole, waiting patiently for someone to come fill it back up again. On really cold nights, the dirt freezes up hard enough that in the morning the tractor stalls embarrassingly and they have to pay the bums a couple bucks to help chip the dirt loose so they can cover the poor schmuck lying quietly below.

After nineteen attempts, my first piece in Bartleby Snopes. It was later nominated it for a Pushcart Prize. You gotta keep trying. Read the rest here:

Mind Games

July 15, 2010

I pulled my eyes away from the Monet on her wall – the one with the infant clinging to his mother’s bare breast – and stole a comparative glance at Brenda’s smallish tits and her long firm legs, asking myself if she’d ever nursed anyone.

In response to her endless nagging, I explained to her about my day, how I’d sat waiting outside for her since before eight, not saying anything, not looking at anyone, pretending to read a magazine for the past hour and a half just so I could come in here and lay on her goddamned uncomfortable couch in her goddamned uncomfortable room and do nothing but complain, again.

She checked her watch and asked me how I felt about that, and as I wondered if she shaved under her arms, or anywhere else for that matter, I asked her how the fuck was I supposed to feel about that, to which she replied I don’t know.

Her eyes told me I should stop looking at her as if she were a sex toy but I couldn’t help it, and I knew she knew that but accepted me for what I am anyway.

She told me that before I saw her again, I should write down ten things my mother should have done differently, upon which she smiled and took my hand, led me to the receptionist, and gently told me that last week I forgot to pay.

I’ll see you next Thursday, she said, and closed the door.


This won the Mind Games contest at Six Sentences. The book is available here I don’t get a cut.

He heard her knocking, knocking, and then finally pounding but he refused to answer, giving in only when he heard the pathetic weeping from beneath the door.

He walked through the apartment, past the rows of equipment, the empty cot, the folding chairs for family members, the vials and syringes he’d managed to keep after the lawyers and courts were done with him, and flung open the door to confront the girl who’d recognized him and then trailed him home from the sidewalk outside the grocery store.

Leave me, I cannot help you, he yelled at her, her skeletal face shrinking from his rage, her hands fluttering in defense, bat-like, her whole body beseeching, begging him to stop her pain but he would only glare until at last she dropped her eyes and murmured to the floor please, you must help me.

My time of helping is done, he said, and slamming the door on her need, went back to sit at his place by the window, staring down at the alleyway until he saw her shuffling body pulling away, yet even as she turned the corner he yelled through the broken glass, stop, I’ll help you, but it was too late, too late for them both, and closing the blind he sighed.

He sat awake far in to the night, thinking about his lost wife, his daughter, and knew the girl would come back.

At the end, they always came to him.


Included in the 6S Mysterious Dr. Ramsey

Right Before the Silence

June 23, 2010

Sometime after his third beer, a momentary fragment of pleasure crept into his troubled mind.

Gone for a minute was the dark and constant concern about his bitching boss, the worry of the mortgages, the nagging thoughts of a hungry and homeless retirement – tireless burdens which had turned his life into a gray and cheerless exercise.

For a moment, the pain in his side which he’d told his wife was surely cancer subsided, the twinge in his chest which he’d convinced himself was certainly a future heart attack was now gone, and he looked at his life as it could be; casting aside all regrets and recrimination, he told himself that it didn’t have to be as it had been, did it?

But his old, self-made reality quickly crashed back in and he tossed away the broken fragments of new found possibilities like so many shards of tired glass, stood and walked down the hall and into the kitchen, stepped over his sleeping dog and into the garage.

Unlocking his toolbox, he pulled out the black case from the third drawer down and to the right, and assembling the pistol secretly purchased months before for this very purpose he loaded a clip and with no hesitation at all put the steel of the barrel against his teeth.

And as the bullet entered his brain, he saw for the briefest millisecond his life as it really was; his now lost wife, his fatherless children, the job he would never go back to, the things he’d just now realized he should have shared with his unborn grandchildren, and in place of all this came only silence.


Published by Six Sentences

Six is the smallest perfect number.

You can reach it by adding one, two, three, like Count von Count, ah, ah, ah, when I was six years old watching Sesame Street on Saturday morning, the sixth day of the week, six years before the madness came for us, and the pastor at the church stood before us, he said that God created the earth in six days, he said that God let his own son hang on the cross for six hours, yet he couldn’t say the right words, not even one or two, to save my brother, my family.

In grade school I learned that Adolf Hitler led six-million Jews to the gas chamber, to the trenches, to the dark woods where the monsters waited, and I wondered why God sat by and watched.

One light-year is six-trillion miles, and the nearest star after our Sun is over six light-years away, and I wonder sometimes if maybe God is out there, that he’s too far away.

Six-hundred thousand died in the War Between the States, sixty-thousand never came home from Vietnam, six died last week in a winter storm, six thousand die on this planet every hour, the numbers drive me crazy and yet…six years ago there were over six-billion souls in the world, now there are more, we make six new babies every hour, we just keep on going, so maybe God has it all figured out.

I hope.


Published in the 6S Review, Issue 3, May 14, 2010

Saving Darth Vader

May 9, 2010

Doris stared into his dark alien eyes, admiring the black like a helmet on his pumpkin head. He stared back, a serene grin on his face; one which said he knew everything about her. Shaking her head, she pulled herself away, turned and walked down the aisle, and was kneeling to play with a nice little calico when she heard him growling — when the thought came unbidden into her brain, Take him home.

She pushed through the shiny double-doors, clack-clack, and approached the fat volunteer chick puddled behind the stainless-steel counter. “I’d like to adopt number twenty-nine, please.”

Later, having stopped on the way home from the shelter to purchase a catbox and a bag of Old Mother Hubbard and a fuzzy mouse-shaped toy which he ignored completely, they sat together in her small crappy apartment, she cross-legged on her Salvation Army couch and he crouched on the cracked leather ottoman, staring at one another across the two wooden crates she jokingly called her coffee table to the few friends she allowed in.

My first story at Every Day Fiction. Read the rest here:

Little Flower

April 8, 2010

It was the fat girl who started it, the blonde girl two doors down. She was nothing more than a dumb guera, yet the girl’s parents had lovingly named her Holly twenty-two years before. Flor woke to hear the guera stupidly pounding on the walls, kicking at the door, until after fifteen minutes or so vigilant Cal took notice. He came, lurching down the stairs and up the hallway and the guera screamed at him. Cal took her up the stairs, slammed the door, and moments later came the muffled sound of a gunshot. Cal was short like that sometimes.

There’d been seven of them. At night they called out to each other, when the lights went out and they lay in the dark, the only illumination that of a small nightlight. Jimmy had come up with this brainstorm after one of the girls had screamed and thrashed about so much in the dark that she’d hurt herself, and Cal had been forced to take care of her. Jimmy had also come up with the great idea to pump in music – love songs mostly, sappy stuff like Jim Croce and Neil Diamond. It played all day long until the girls went crazy from hearing it, until finally the fluorescents overhead went dim and the nightlights came on and then all was quiet again for another worried night.

My first “real” story, published by A Twist of Noir. Read the rest here:

Training Wheels

February 3, 2010

I walk down the aisle, holding the hand of this stranger next to me.

Once I held her in my arms, a tiny miracle with dark eyes and perfect face and a smile that hurt me just to see it, knowing life could so easily take it from me.

As the years passed, she grew, in joy and wonder and love, and I was her hero, her teacher, her protector, enemy, adviser, friend.

I kept her warm when she was sick, gave her comfort when she grew scared, and tried to keep the world away, to always keep her safe.

Today, I look at this woman and think about training wheels and bedtime stories, birthday parties and brave school recitals, tears and smiles and laughter.

I will miss you, my little girl, even as I place your hand into his, and kiss you goodbye.


Originally published at Six Sentences, but it’s gone now. You can order the book at

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