From short fiction

Office Cauldrons

The man extends his hand. “We’ll be in touch.” And they were— Jeremy gets the job. The first morning, the alarm goes off at 6 a.m., he’s out of bed on the first shrill call to arms, into the shower, out of the cascade, quick-drying food washed away with coffee, suit laid out the night…

I Know I Won’t Be Here Tomorrow

I live alone in a very small town in Portugal. I have always enjoyed the anonymity of big cities, so I often go to Lisbon and wander around. I look at the passers-by. They all have a destination in mind. There are many families walking together or having lunch in the outdoor cafes. I envy…

The Professor

Barrel-chested, keg-bellied and (from his drinking-capacity) seemingly hollow-legged, he had cut his usual affable swathe through the lively Friday-night pubs of the old university town, and now was striding merrily homewards with a capacious bladderful of beer and an agile, unexhausted brainful of bon mots and eloquent repartee. Although a full professor, he was not…

Bus

The oversized rearview mirror had become unavoidable, an insistent, relentless draw that Craig could not go thirty-seconds without checking. Each time the boy appeared younger, somehow smaller and more innocent, but the bus driver knew this was a trick of the mind, a mental adjustment to help his conscience. The boy stayed quiet, with no…

Battle Rhythm

The call to morning prayer coincided with the convoy brief. They called the speakers mounted on the mosque minaret electronic ayatollahs. The house of worship was several kilometers from the convoy staging area, but the wind and direction allowed the sound to travel much further than a map would have suggested. The sound was a…

Silence Between

He’s the one they want. His name attracts talent and interest. He’ll show up with that guitar, hardly say two words, listen to the track, skim the chart. Then he’ll plug in, adjust levels and play the absolute correct thing. First time through: perfect. But then he’ll go back and find some way to make…

The Truth Teller

He was telling his wife how much he loved her, when his dog suddenly said, “Bullshit.” This wasn’t the first time Scott’s dog, Max, had expressed this sentiment. There was the time they were leaving the pet store, after Max had just been groomed. Max greeted his owner happily, tail wagging, full of kisses. “I…

On The Cusp

Sometimes, when penning chatty love-notes to his girl, he would adopt witty little aliases: Dustin de Wynde, for example, or DeForest Primeval; something sufficiently far-fetched that she would know that it was really him, yet conferring a gratifying degree of obscurity against third-parties. He suspected (for books had made him shrewd) that small towns and…

When the Crows Spoke Only Once

They had been fighting for months. Little spats, grown from nothing. An inane comment. An undesirable gesture. And then silence for an hour … or two … or the rest of the day. They had to escape. They needed a vacation to recapture the happiness of earlier times. They would go to a small village…

My Girl

He was looking for a girl in green. Actually, he was looking for a woman in green. A “girl” made her sound like a twelve-year-old, and Sam would be twenty-three in a week. But Jake called her “my girl” all the time, like The Temptations song. And he sang that song to her, too, whenever…