Lunch, 1968

By on Mar 31, 2019 in Fiction | Comments Off

“This is important,” my buddy Walter bellowed one lunchtime across the chatter and clatter of Germantown High School’s vast cafeteria. “And I can only say it once.”  The topic that day in 1965 was color—specifically, orange, the hue of a stack of cheese crackers piled high and majestic near the cash register. I’d questioned the wisdom of paying for food we each had access to at home, albeit connected to peanut butter in the form of Lantz snacks. Why buy them when we have them in our kitchens? “These crackers,” the tall, handsome 10th grader said in stentorian tones...

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Old Clyde and Mrs. Hill

By on Mar 3, 2019 in Cuttings, Fiction | Comments Off

When I was a young man, Dad lost everything to the bank: Jet Cleaners, a marriage, our home on Glenn Road, our predictable, idyllic, suburban routine. When we moved to town, my little sister and I were decrepit, worn out after the catastrophe. Now everyone was too close together.  We staggered up the broken, treacherously icy stairs, careening like Laurel and Hardy in winter to the apartment, the sagging, exhausted house on West Gambier Street. Jo’s Chateau of Beauty was in the back, Hyle’s Typewriter Repair in the front, Kenyon and civilization five miles east, the flat, monotonous...

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By on Jan 13, 2019 in Cuttings, Fiction, Humor | Comments Off

“We can’t help you, sir.” The smartly-dressed paralegal’s smile was fixed as she rose to show the conversation was over. Kemp resignedly gathered up his files and walked out past a sign reading “Discount Divorces.  Egress for Less!!” Inside, he fretted. How difficult could it be? It was an uncontested divorce, no custody disputes. . . “And, heaven knows,” said Jillian, ever mischievous, “we won’t be fighting over the furniture.” Kemp ignored her and kept turning the matter over in his mind. Nothing hard.  Just one unusual factor. “Oh, yes. Just that...

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A Country for Old Men

By on Apr 22, 2018 in Fiction | 3 comments

Part One 1 Every great wealth creation in America has sprouted from the opening of a new frontier. Those who were the first to understand that virgin territory was beckoning just beyond the familiar borders, and who had the ability to act on that understanding, have always been rewarded to a degree that could never occur in an established economy. Sometimes this frontier has been geographic, as in the westward expansion. Sometimes it has been a technological frontier, as in the development of the Internet. In Florida, the frontier was old age. There was a time before people retired. Instead,...

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Gentlemen’s Piracy

By on Apr 15, 2018 in Fiction | Comments Off

  Cayo Hueso, Ponce de Leon’s isle of bones, dosed under the feet of thousands of March tourists. They called it Key West, not knowing any better, and thought it was the capital of the easy life. Five o’clock somewhere and all that Jimmy Buffet nonsense. Life had not been easy for the Calusa Indians, who left their dead to bleach in the sun on the tide line. It hadn’t been easy for Ponce de Leon, who took a poisoned arrow in the thigh on his way past and died in Cuba a few days later. It hadn’t been easy for the Americans in the 1830s, tryig to carve a living out...

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The World As It Could Be

By on Dec 23, 2017 in Cuttings, Fiction | Comments Off

They lay on the hood of Joe’s car, Joe and Tom, and stared at the cloudy sky.  Shapes rolled past overhead, spirals and angles of white, words written across the dawning blue.  They read what the sky had to say, content for a time just to lie still. After a while, Tom spoke up.  The dreams were troubling him again.  Joe was the only one who would even listen.  If Tom didn’t say something, he would burst; if he said something to the wrong person, they’d label him crazy. “I had more dreams, Joe.” “Why am I not surprised?  Weird ones, like...

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