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Posts tagged as “Story”

04 – The Talking Portrait

Snow sat fat and heavy on the ground outside the cottage.  Winter whispered its silent elegy for the green of spring and summer.  Trees sat barren, gray battered obelisks showing only shades of their former verdant glory.  Color had drained from the world, the sky and ground matching pallid sheaths, shadows and smoke and ice and clouds.  A crow announced himself to no one.  A pale man trudged through the snow drifts, face down, beard covered in ice formed by the freezing of steam from his nose, a swirling vortex surrounding his head with every breath.

He pushed the door to the cottage open and stepped inside.  In the fireplace, the struggling flames danced and jumped at the influx of air from the outside but quickly resumed their lingering death as the room settled.  He pulled off his coat and brushed out his beard and wrapped a dry blanket around himself.  He touched the coffee cup on the table to feel for warmth.  Cold.  He would have to make more.  Dissatisfying.  He threw a new log onto the fire and collapsed into his ragged upholstered reclining chair.  

03 – Philip is Hung Over

The alarm clock blared from across the room and Philip got up without opening his eyes, turned the goddamned thing off and collapsed back onto the bed.  Then he realized he was still drunk.  It was one of those pleasant post-drinking mornings where he didn’t wake up directly into a hang over, but rather that blissful middle ground where the tiredness of a late night out carousing with friends and not-friends was gone, yet the bleary minded bravado and casual sense of indestructibility remained, a calm, warm glow cast on the morning.  

02 – Darkness Wails

The cave stretched out dark and long ahead of the little band of travelers now irretrievably lost.  The light of their torch sputtered and wavered in the unearthly gusts rising from deep within the ground.  The bottom of the cave was slick with bat guano, moisture, and some slimy substance they tried not to think too much about.  Death sat heavy in the hot dark air around them, suffocating, threatening.  And then from behind them came an unnatural wail that drove itself through their heads, scraping at the fragile walls of their slipping sanity.  

“What was that?” one asked.  

“The wind?” another answered.

“It must be.”

“The wind.  It must be.”

They knew that it was not the wind.  They waited to hear if the wail would come again, but it did not.  They continued their trek through the sweltering shadows toward the perceived source of the wind.  The wind must signal a way out of this pit, they had reasoned.  Where the air moved they would find their salvation.  Where the air moved there was life.  

01 – The Biker Kills a Mexican

The motorcycle purred beneath him as he ripped across the desolate highway stretching off into forever lit only by the single light on the front of the bike.  The wind whipped his hair against the worn leather of his jacket, singing the sweet song of freedom past his ears.  His beard collected whatever unfortunate insects happened to be in his way on this still, cold Southwestern night.  The pistol in his belt felt empowering, assuring, like three and a half pounds of steel confidence.  

Hell was in his veins.

Julian & Clive


Julian pushes the supermarket brand hotdogs around the grill growing impatient at the fact that they are not yet ready to eat.  He wishes they would spit and sizzle and flare up the way they do in the hotdog commercials, but they languish on the not-nearly-hot-enough-to-cook-anything grate.  Once there was grass around his cousin Lester’s forlorn little grill, but the battle against the grease and ash from these summer cookouts has been lost, revealing the dry dirt beneath.  Julian turns a hot dog over to check if it somehow had achieved doneness while he had stopped paying it attention for a moment—it had not.  He throws the barbeque tongs on the table beside the grill and contemplates the cooler filled with beer before recalling Dawn sitting directly behind him, feeding their toddler applesauce.  She doesn’t like when he drinks and fear of her has kept Julian sober many nights he’d rather have drunk away.  

Philip Plays Hookey


The caffeine was coursing through Philip’s blood and making his heart dance in a way that made him regret having three cups of coffee and not eating anything before leaving the house.  The walk between his apartment and the 72nd and 2nd Avenue subway stop was not long, but it felt like hell in the mornings and especially so this fine day.  He had come to notice three distinct zones between his apartment and the entrance to the subway over his repeated morning treks.  The first and easily most pleasant part of his entire day was the fresh bread block.  That was the block that always smelled like fresh bread in the mornings and smelled like nothing at night, so, aptly, he named it the fresh bread block.  That is where the pleasantness stopped.  The second section was the block that passed the park which he referred to internally as Dog Shit Hell.  It wasn’t just that the block smelled like myriad piles of dog crap, but that the sheer density of dog crap that was smeared on the sidewalk left him in complete awe and disbelief that so many people refused to pack plastic bags when they took their dogs out to shit.  He ventured on more than one occasion while talking to girls and trying to look smart and funny that if someone measured the ratio of sidewalk covered in dog shit to sidewalk that you would very nearly approach one.  Sometimes he felt bad about his math jokes, but really he just could not help himself.  They never worked the way he wanted.  The third zone is the zone he referred to externally as fish guts alley.  This was, of course, a bit of a misnomer since it wasn’t technically an alley but a two block section along Second Avenue and they weren’t just fish guts but truly encompassed the guts of a large variety of creatures, fish, fowl and anything else that populated the sky, sea and land.  It did not make sense for there to be quite as much animal offal here as there was since the fish market was in the Bronx and the Upper East Side was certainly no booming culinary district sought by those who wanted to dine surrounded by the stench of their dinner’s remnants rotting around them.  It made no sort of sense that he could digest.  

The Morning After


When I woke I stepped out on the balcony and walked over some broken glass and looked over the edge to see Betty face down in the pool, bloated and pale, still wearing her party hat and I lit my cigarette and went back into the house.  Eric was still asleep at the foot of the bed.  My bathrobe smelled like smoke and had that unmistakable tangy hint of vomit.  Luckily enough, my sense of smell was so destroyed by the Columbian whirlwind last night that my house could be on fire and I’d never smell it.  I carefully stepped over Eric who, upon closer inspection, might not have been breathing, and opened the bathroom door.  I found a fresh beer in the sink with some toothpaste spit on the side which I washed off.  I opened the beer; the lukewarm flat piss lit up the pleasure sensors in my brain like flares at the scene of a horrible rainy accident.  I shut off the light to the bathroom as I exited, forgetting why I went in there to begin with.  

Sal’s Diner


Sal, convinced that everyone was out to get him, sat at the counter and ordered a cup of coffee from the waitress who was shaped like an orange with another orange on top of it wearing a blue apron.  He noticed that her skin was covered in decades of black heads caused by the flaring grease fire roaring behind her since the 60s.  She brought him the coffee and it was too hot; he knew she was trying to burn his mouth with the scalding hot liquid.  He asked her for those little pre-packaged cones of half-and-half with their tips flattened.  She pointed toward the little metal pitcher of cream, but he demanded the flattened little cones.  She rolled her eyes and took her time bringing them over.  She asked him if he was going to order anything, but he wasn’t sure yet so she would just have to come back in a little while.  He just wanted to drink his coffee and be left alone.