Archives For Fiction

Shiver, 43

June 20, 2012 — Leave a comment

Shiver, 43 and a terrible drunk, got his name on account of the fact that he would shiver his entire shift at the local lumberyard. Weather wasn’t a factor. Winter, spring, summer, or fall – that smiley lush would shake rattle and quiver the day long no matter the temperature.

Short timer, though. Fired for running into a little kid with a forklift the same week he miraculously stopped shivering. Must’ve been his Old Crow empties under the stairs.

Patio Joe, 55 and constantly smelling of swill, got his name because he sold and stocked patio furniture at the neighborhood Kmart. With his pockets full of dusty rags and crushed Old Golds, he’d daydream about check out girls.

But I suppose you’d have to call them check out women. Lord knows any girl still considered a girl had only used good ole Patio Joe to buy them smokes and fifths of liquor.

He’s useless for anything else.

Saul Lies, 33

June 18, 2012 — Leave a comment

Saul Lies, 33 and uneager to lift his head off of the hair grease stained pillowcase that absorbed his mental anguish most nights, stayed in bed past noon. His reluctance to face the world pre ‘Days of Our Lives’ had been ongoing ever since Burger King outlawed smoking.

Saul worked retail since sixteen. And since sixteen, no matter what product or merchandise he was asked to sell, he’d sell it. He could sell anything; Ice to an Eskimo or donuts to a guy working at a donut shop. Anything.

But while Saul wasn’t selective about selling hairnets to bald chefs or bibles to nonbelievers, he was extremely selective about his work’s proximity to the Burger King. Everyday Saul had a vegetarian Whopper with cheese and extra mayo. And that side order of half french fries/ half onion rings wasn’t allowed for just anyone-it was simply a perk of Saul’s getting in good with the lunch crew. And all that greasy goodness was accompanied by a Newport and the only soap opera he’d ever heard of, ‘Days of Our Lives.’

There was something about the taste of mayonnaise, the seeds on a Whopper bun, and onions that when mixed with menthol cigarette smoke and an hour-long dose of reality that made Saul tick. It made him feel alive.

The surgeon general’s concern for the well being of Saul and the purveyors of Burger King store 177 ruined that.




I was in Memphis on business once.

No. Not real business.

Just business.

The trip was finished and I had some time to kill at the bus depot.

Now, if you’ve ever had time to kill at a bus depot, you know that time to kill at a bus depot is a lot different than time to kill anywhere else.

I’d even say that it’s different than time to kill at a train depot but,

that’s a story for another time.

At a bus depot-

Constants are:

Belly aching babies.

Manically laughing street people with dried spittle in their beard.

Maniacally laughing street people with dried spittle in their beard taking care of (?) belly aching babies.

And you’ll almost always, always spy –

Two guys taking pulls off of the same cigarette and passing a bottle of something urine colored.

The more homeless looking one will pass the other, Rock Hudson looking fella, some pills from his sweaty palm.

They’ll then both ingest the sweaty pills with the urine

and nod off while the baby pauses his belly aching and crawl in what looks like fresh urine with the cigarette in his paw.

Out of nowhere you’ll be asked-

Take you up on your services?

You have how many parking tickets?


Of coures you’ll say no. It’s obviously not necessary.

Especially not from a jagged toothed,

androgynous teenager.

You’ll mull it over for a minute or two but in the end decide to keep

your silver.

At least that’s what I think you’ll do.

I dropped $7 on caffeine

and wiped some snot on the veneer on my way out.

Being forced to spend drug money on libations isn’t stoic.

It’s shitty.

And besides,

my conscience allows me peace of mind.

I figure,

I pay $3.50 to wake up and the other half of that

goes to upkeep.

That includes sanitization of overpriced doors and an occasional LA-Z-BOY

wipe down.

Gosh, I hope they’ve wiped it down since my last visit.





As a kid, we blew up a fish.

We shoved a bottle rocket into its respiring mouth and lit it.

When it didn’t die,


one of us flicked it back into its habitat

while we watched it slowly descend .

Later that day I set off M80s and more bottle rockets with a lit Newport,

secretly hoping I’d blow my fingers off for the fish.

But I only got grounded.

And told there must be a black cloud hanging over me.

It was the last night of summer.

The breeze danced through the screen and past the shade in my room,

It calmed the guilt in my heart.

Kids reveled, laughed, and “made time” with the neighborhood girls on that final night of freedom.

No one would talk to those girls again until next summer.

Or winter break.

They were summer girls.


I can still smell the cool night air and hear the conversations that lived vibrantly without me while the moon rose.

Taylor hated chain barber-shops.

He hated how they were always named “Super” this or “Great” that when the final product was always fifteen bucks and a tip short of super or great.

He thought the service sucked, that the shitty Phil Collins station that played at every one of them was worse than terrible, and he absolutely fucking hated how the magazines were always so picked through that the words were illegible.

“And how the fuck did this get wet?” he would always ask himself.

But he never said anything.

No matter how bad his hair turned out or how avocado shaped one of those miscreants could make his head look, he would remain silent.

He would instead listen to other pissed off patrons complain about the slow service or the terrible upbringing of one of the scissors wielding and supposed high school drop outs. But he never said a word.

He just didn’t care enough to complain or get worked up over the fact that someone that hated their job wasn’t enthusiastic about performing that job 9 hours a day.

It was that or the fact that he always wore a hat to cover the ugliness.

Or it could have been that he remembered the tragedy of Terry the diamond eyed barber.  He wrote a story about it when he was a kid.

He called it:


There’s a man on my block.

A man that cuts hair.

You could call him a barber.

Well, he cuts hair.

He cuts hair and slices jugulars.

And he slices jugulars because of the awful haircuts he gives.

Yeah, that’s right.

You can watch him cut hair. He takes his time and makes the cuts as precise as possible.

His shears in his right hand and a magnifying glass in his left-

he fucks up every time.

Small details.

Ones that you would barely notice if you were standing a short distance away but…

The magnifying glass, well, it magnifies these fuck ups and enrages the scissors wielder.

“All set. Hey, this one’s on me. Let me walk you out the back way so no one notices…”

As soon as they step outside-





He’s not a murderer.

He’s a perfectionist.

A perfectionist in need of a new chair.

You Don’t Exist.

November 30, 2011 — 2 Comments

“What’ya mean you’re gonna pass on the award? If anyone deserves it, you do. I mean, after all you’ve done for everyone and everything and the this and the that you’ve taken the time to handle with the kids and the elderly and the sick and you visited my grandmother and brought flowers to the wounded and somehow managed to donate more of your time to the this and to the that.

Seriously. C’mon!”

“Have you ever woke up and looked around your room. You know, the room that you have spent the last 5, 10, 15 or more years in. Rolled over on the same side of the bed that has been yours since you changed your habits and decided that it would be better if you had someone next to you at all times. Let go of the pillow you clench as a stand in for your childhood blanket>Teddy Bear>baseball mitt. And then realized that you have absolutely no idea who you are?

“If you’ve never felt that, I pray that you won’t ever have to. That alone might be the scariest feeling you will ever have.

“And right, that feeling can be terrifying. It’ll freak you out. Or you can decide, after a short or long deliberation, that that feeling might mean something bigger.  Maybe then you realize that there isn’t really a you. You don’t know who you are because you really don’t exist. For one reason or another, the you that did exist (if it did) doesn’t anymore and you have to do things to make other people feel important or wanted or needed or good. You exist for others.

“There’s no reward for being you.

“And if there is, I just don’t want it.

“Give it to someone that needs it.”

77 Words (11-22-11)

November 22, 2011 — Leave a comment

There’s ants on the cake.

It’s lined with wilting flowers and ants mingle in thousands upon the hardened frosting that’s struggling to hang on.

No cake this decrepit is edible.

It’s vile and would poison any mouth it came near.

There’s ants on the cake and they’ve multiplied.

That doesn’t mean that hope doesn’t rest inside.

Tight pockets of lasting moisture are shielded and infiltration seems unlikely.

There’s ants on the cake.

No one wants them there.

77 Words (11-19-11)

November 19, 2011 — Leave a comment

Expectations don’t suit me.

They’re a welcome mat that hangs out on the doorsteps of failure.

And that welcome mat has been thrashed.

And it’s been vomited on.

It’s been spit on.

And on the surface it has layer upon layer of dried tears that were cried by angels and gunslinging optimists.

You can’t burn it.

You can’t discard it or

give it to your enemies.


Those are your failures.

And mine.

They belong to us.