Thursday, October 29, 2015

No One Was Going to Mess with Her Kid.

Kate hated Halloween. Bad things often happened, like when her mother found a razor blade in an apple, or when Jimmy Howard set her witch’s wig on fire with his stupid sparkler, or when Frankie Gleason stole her bag of candy and shared it with his friends, or when David unexpectedly dumped her to go on a mission trip to Africa. It was also the night she planned to tell him she was pregnant with his child.

But that was the past, and Kate wasn’t going to let the bad things that happened to her spoil Halloween for her daughter. This year, like the past nine, she and Melissa would dress up and go to the Town Common where everyone gathered for games, and rides, and food, and music. Melissa chose to be Albert Einstein, a fitting costume given her recent report card. She looked so cute with her auburn hair teased out and powdered white. Kate purchased a set of doctor’s scrubs, a white coat, and a black bag at a second-hand store. It wasn’t because she had any affinity for doctors. It was because of all the rapes and robberies and shootings during the past year. The bag provided the perfect place to hide the .38 Special revolver and extra ammunition.

Ready for the evening, Kate adjusted a black strand of the wig that made her look like George Stephanopoulos, then pointed her finger at the mirror as if holding a gun, pulled the imaginary trigger, her finger recoiling just as the gun had at the range, and imagined the tiny missile racing to its target. She blew on the end of her finger and put it in a nonexistent holster.

“Let’s go, Sweetie,” Kate yelled. “We don’t want to miss the Mayor’s opening speech about being safe and having fun.”

Sunday, October 25, 2015


First published in Issue 16 of Vine Leaves Literary Journal.

We waited. Two brothers. Unrelated. He the elder.

The crash brought us together. His older brother and mine drag racing on a residential street. My mother and his parents had to be separated, faces red, fingers wagging, shouts filling the small waiting room, surging into the hallways.

He and I—I didn’t know his name, we hadn’t talked—stayed out of the way, quiet, almost like we were meditating. He laid his hand on the floor palm up. I put mine on top of his. Sweaty, nervous fingers entwined.

When the doctors came, we listened. Our parents began another verbal assault amidst their sobs. We squeezed our fingers tighter and cried. I didn’t know if my tears were because my brother lived or his didn’t.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Yet Again

 Another one sentence story from a prompt.

The hellish voice, muffled as if strained through cotton or crushed glass, spread across the barren playground at twilight, blunting the failing sunlight, chasing the moon behind clouds overburdened with tears, filling the void with the sound of a parent who lost a child to another act of senseless violence. (50 words)

Prompt words: cotton, voice, hellish, glass, playground


My attempt at a one sentence story.

Karen hesitated, the fiddle in the middle of the street, its neck broken, strings askew, a reminder of the baby stroller that once carried her daughter Chloe, the two of them laughing, gurgling, unafraid to cross the street.