Archives for short story

#216 Baby, Baby Please

#216 Baby, Baby Please


Debby didn’t show up for our date again. I knew she went out with somebody else instead.  I wrote her an emotional e-mail to let her know what I thought, “Baby, please don’t lie to me. Tell me the way you want me to be, but baby, please don’t lie to me. Signify our love with honest words from your heart and not your mouth.

“Baby, please don’t use those beautiful soft lips to turn lying words into believable truth. You know when your warm sweet breath blows truth or lies into my ear, I believe any sound coming from that provocative opening will be honesty and nothing but fact.”

Disgusted for  begging like this, I threw my pen on the desk, grabbed the wine bottle by its neck and swallowed sweet fermented grapes until I had to come up for breath. I knew Debby had been lying to me. I loved her so. I wanted to beg her to be true, but when I pictured myself pleading for her affections, I saw half a man on bended knee. No, I can’t do that. What could I do to make her respect me?

I did what I always did when I had a question that needed to be answered – I went on the internet.  The first page that answered my inquiry said, “Women don’t want to be respected. They want to be taken. They love being treated like shit and they come back for it time and time again.

            I didn’t want to believe that, but the next page had an article from CBS that said, “Lose the smile. For guys eager to attract a mate, that might be a killer strategy, according to a surprising new study from the University of British Columbia.” It showed that women find swaggering, brooding bad boys a lot more attractive than nice guys.”

I always considered myself a nice guy, but after reading this scientific study, I figured maybe I should change. I showed up at Debby’s door and banged on it like I was the police on a drug raid. She answered with a questioning look on her face. “Get dressed, were going out,” I said in a commanding voice. The look of adoration that washed over her face when she heard those words showed me the report on CBS held some truth.

Debby got ready and I took her to a club where music played. I strutted in with a glare in my eyes and a scowl on my face. Women glanced at me and Debby grabbed me by the arm to show I was hers. First time she had ever done that. This bad boy stuff seemed to be working. When the drinks came, I said, “You pay.” She did and seemed happy to do so.

I walked to the bar where a couple sat. The guy looked like a dork, but his girl was a beauty.

“Let’s dance,” I said as I grabbed her arm. She smiled and said, “Sure.”

I glanced at Debby and saw the anger in her eyes. I looked at my dancing partner’s guy and saw hate emanating toward me. That was all good. I was being bad, and I liked the feeling I had. I ditched the bitch I danced with and returned to sit with Debby. “Buy me another beer,” I told her, and she did. After five or six beers, I found acting the bad boy to be exhilarating.

Debby drove home because I could hardly see straight from all I drank. I wanted to show her I could drink as much as she was willing to buy, and she never stopped buying. We stood at her door and I figured I’d top of the night with a slap to Debby’s face, just to let her know who was boss.

I raised my arm in order to give her one hard enough to rattle her brain, and as I started my forward swing she grabbed my wrist, twisted my arm behind my back, handcuffed me and said, “This is to let you know who’s in charge. Next time you show up at my door unannounced I’ll whip your ass. Understand?”

The scientific study didn’t say anything about this. What was I to do next? I had no idea and needed to go online to find out. I struggled to get free, but couldn’t. She bent over and whispered into my ear, “Baby, please don’t lie to me. Tell me the way you want me to be, but baby, please don’t lie to me. Signify our love with honest words from your heart and not your mouth, and if you ever try to hit me again, you’ll spend time in jail.”

Frustrated tears fell from my eyes and washed away any image Debby or I ever had of me being a bad boy.


#115 Joe read a book


#115 Joe read a book


Joe tried to be a man’s man. He never cried or showed emotion or pain when hurt. He’d fight if it came to that and forget about it the next day. He worked out at the gym, boxed, played handball, rode a bike and did other things men like to do.

He’d go to the Beehive bar and drink beer until he got drunk, eat pickled eggs and play pool until closing time every night. Then he’d wake up at 5 a.m. and go to work no matter how much his head hurt.

He swore that he’d never fall in love, and always said, “Because love sticks to your face, I stay away.” Then she came through the door, like music filling the room. He took in her long, lithe, shapely legs attached to the round, almost perfect hips that supported the rest of her glorious-looking self.

She picked up a pool cue. Joe was up next. He didn’t care that she ran the table. All he could think of was her legs. She’d lift one into the air as she shot the cue, and Joe got to peek up her skirt. What he saw burned an unforgettable image in his brain.

She won every game and took all his dough.

“You beat me at pool, but I’ll bet my week’s pay you can’t win at Scrabble,” Joe challenged her.

They went to his house. He lost that week’s pay.

“You’re a sap, Joe,” she said. “In case you want to know, my name is Rosemary, and I’ll give you a pity fuck because you gave me so much of your bread.”

She did. After that, whenever Joe came to the Beehive, he hung his head in shame and remorse, but he’d do it all over if he could lay with her one more time. Pussy-whipped is what he was, and no one has a cure for that.

Joe went home and wrote her a letter.

 Rosemary, love is a malady, an affliction infecting the entire human race. Love spreads like an out-of-control virus among us. Love is temporary insanity. When contaminated, pray for a cure before you find yourself unable to infect the one you’ve become insane for. Your mental state slips into confusion, despair and longing; you won’t sleep, eat, or be able to think. Love debilitates, destroys, and humiliates, but despite it all, I want you to know that I love you.

 – Joe

Rosemary appeared at the Beehive one night when she needed some cash. She knew from his letter that Joe was an easy mark, but she didn’t know he had been

researching the cure for love. He had educated himself about women and their needs.

Rosemary strode to the pool table. Her long, beautiful legs were barely covered by a skirt shorter than the one she’d worn last time. She grabbed a cue and bent over to take a practice shot. Joe almost fell off his stool.

“Come on Joe; let’s play for your week’s pay.”

“Sure, but only if you come home with me when we finish.”

“You want some more pity from me, I guess, but that’s okay, as long as I win enough.”

They played, Joe lost and they went to his house. She noticed the books Joe had been reading.

“Are you going to school?”

“Yes, I’m learning by reading, “How to Satisfy a Woman,” so let’s go to bed and see what I’ve learned.”

They did. Two hours later, they sat at the kitchen table drinking beer. Rosemary opened her purse and gave Joe what she had won that night. “I’ll pay you back what I took before if you let me come and see you every night. Whatever you do, always practice what you’ve read in that book.”

When Rosemary comes through the Beehive’s door, they no longer play pool. Joe sits and drinks his beer while she pleads to go home with him and play another game. The admiring patrons and bartender gaze at him in wonder and awe. Their eyes ask how . . .

“It’s amazing what reading a book can do for you,” Joe always says.



#114 Heart of Stone

 #114 Heart of Stone


When I traveled to the Mideast last year, I learned that Delilah had been sentenced to death by stoning for refusing to obey her father’s wishes. She was barely old enough to be married, but her father had insisted she marry a man older than him. Of course the man had great wealth, and I’d bet my life her father stood to gain from the marriage.

I dressed in an abaya, a long, loose-fitting tunic of solid black. Along with the abaya, I wore a niqāb. It concealed my entire head and face, except my eyes. Wearing this made me appreciate the freedoms we enjoyed in the States. Hell, the women here have to wear a traditional shalwar kameez,  full-length pants and long-sleeved tunics with head coverings, even on the beach. I went to where they held Delilah at a women’s jail until her execution. No one could tell I was an American by looking at my eyes.

I watched as a woman dressed in attire similar to what I wore brought her food at a particular hour. I paid some street kids to knock the tray from her hand when she got close so she’d have to return home to replace the meal. Carrying food I had prepared, I took the meal carrier’s place and visited Delilah to proposition her. I knew she’d be surprised when she heard my halting

Arabic, so I hurriedly explained why I was there. “I’ll take you to the United States to save your life, but you’ll belong to me,” I told her.

“I’d rather die than belong to anyone.”

“You’ll be free to come and go, and you won’t have to wear these crazy clothes.” I pinched a fold of my abaya.

Delilah’s eyes showed delight. “How do I know what you say is true?”

“You have to take my word, or come Friday you’ll be taken to the mosque and put to death.”

She agreed to come with me. I paid a small fortune to her father for her release and we soon travelled together under the cover of darkness. As soon as we arrived in the States and found our way to my house, she couldn’t thank me enough for saving her life. Weeks went by and Delilah blossomed like a desert flower. Wherever we went, she was the center of attention. She soon learned that in this country a woman as beautiful as she wielded plenty of power.

She soon treated me worse than she had her father. My head pounded with pain because of her. I lay awake at night thinking of the ways I wanted her to behave. She in turn only did what she wanted and leaned the opposite way of my wishes.       Girlfriends are nothing but a headache, I’d been told. Now I saw this was true.

Having one of my own and completely out of control made my head throb with pain.

If it wasn’t for me she wouldn’t be alive, but she has forgotten that. One night when we went to dinner, she excused herself from our table. I thought she went to the ladies room, but when I went to check, I spotted her in the ballroom dancing with a man.

When we got home, she undressed and went to bed.

I wrapped a heavy steel chain around a radiator, put one end of a set of handcuffs through the chain and the other over her tiny ankle.

She awoke confused. “What’re you doing?” she asked in the English she had acquired since arriving here.

“Your father was right. You should have been stoned to death for disrespect. I saw you dancing with that man tonight.”

Guilt washed over her face, but she said nothing.

I yanked on the chain to be sure it was secure. “Get up and walk around the room.”

She humbly complied. The chain had enough length for her to use the bathroom but not enough to get to the window where she could yell for help. I fed her before I went to work and again when I returned. She complained after a week that the cuff rubbed her ankle raw. I put a bandage on her ankle and loosened the cuff a bit.

I liked the idea of having a love slave chained to my bed. Sometimes my conscience said it was wrong, but I told myself she owed me her life and was better off here than where she lived before.

She swallowed all the pills in the medicine cabinet one day, but they only made her sick. Yesterday I heard glass breaking and rushed into her room. I found her sitting on the bed with a jagged piece of mirror pointed at her throat.

“I told you I’d rather be dead than belong to anyone. Now you have a choice: set me free and I promise to be good, or you’ll have one dead slave in your bed.”

“Trouble,” I thought. If she kills herself, I’d have a hard time explaining the sores on her ankle, the broken glass, and why she hadn’t been out of the house for months. Reluctantly I said, “If you promise with all your heart, I’ll release you.”

“Yes, yes, I promise. You won’t be sorry. I’ll make you happy.”

I unlocked her cuff. She showered and dressed. While she was in the shower, I hid the lock and chain in the bottom drawer. We went out to dinner and she demurely sat at our table without once leaving. We went home and went to bed.

I awoke in the morning with a cuff on my ankle and my hands tied to the headboard. She had seen where I hid the lock and chain.

A smiling Delilah with burning eyes stood at the foot of my bed.

“Now you belong to me, Fatima,” Delilah said as she came toward me with a soldering iron redder and hotter than her eyes.



#210 Andy Died and Went to Visit His Son

Andy died.


My brother Andy had a son named Andy. I always wondered if he’d be the only one to carry on my father’s name. My brother couldn’t get along with his wife and he left her and his son to go to Korea and serve his time in the Army.

He allowed his ex-wife’s new husband to adopt his son, but regretted it all his life. He never knew where his son had gone and didn’t feel he had the right to interfere.

When Andy married again, he showered his love upon his three daughters and continued to grieve the loss of his son. He showed his daughters all his love and put them above himself. They were first in his life.

I know this love poured out because of his previous loss. He passed away while his youngest was still a teen. Not long afterward, Facebook allowed Andy the son to find his long-lost family and he was surprised to know he had three half-sisters and plenty of cousins too.

I went to visit my nephew.  He and his wife told me how my brother Andy visited them after he died. One day, Andy the son heard a voice. “When are you going to tell them?” it said. He looked around and there was no one there. Another time, Andy and his wife sat in the kitchen drinking coffee when they heard a loud noise in the laundry room. Looking in there, they saw a soap container on the floor, and heard again, “When are you going to tell them?”

“Imagination,” Andy said to his wife. They returned to their coffee and heard another crash. They went to the laundry room and the soap was on the floor again. “When are you going to get in touch with them?” the voice said.

Andy the son searched Facebook and found his sisters and me. It was pleasant to see that part of my brother had survived. It was then I realized why he had a smile on his face when he came to visit me after he died.

Yes, Andy really did come to see me. I was wide-awake and know it wasn’t a dream. He sat on a cloud, floated through my window, and then sat on my couch right next to me. The apparition was so clear I could see the threads in his shirt. He didn’t say a word, just smiled. But I knew he was happy because of the shit-eating-grin on his face. He came to tell me he had finally found his son and then rode a cloud out the window and vanished into the sky.

#207 After the Poets Talk

#207 After the Poets Talk

Matilda’s voice sounded like summer rain falling after a long hot dry spell. Hearing her recite her poem in my English class relit my fire. I didn’t listen to the words that flowed from her dainty lips. All I heard were the raindrops falling on my heart. I decided then I had to have her for my own.

But she’s a poet, I told myself. To me listening to poetry is like standing under the El-tracks while a train goes around a curve and emits a loud penetrating screeching sound that goes all the way to one’s soul. But that’s not what I told her when I finally gathered the courage to speak to her. I said, “Poetry is like a melody playing in a breeze, a light in the sky that blends into a rainbow of sound, and a sweet spring rain mixed together like spumoni.”

She looked askance at me. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to speak to her in a poetic tone. I couldn’t help myself when I gazed into her eyes and continued. “When I look at you, I see beauty never before seen, spoken about, or heard of. It appears in colors of chartreuse, purple, and red.”

I wondered if I should have added another color or two to stroke the poem so it wasn’t too bright, or tone down any glaring words before I recited phrases in a language even I could understand. Or should I have spoken as a poet speaks and used some abstract anecdotes picked from a pile of throwaway words?

I could hardly believe the beauty so many people saw in poetry. It used phrases and verses not spoken in any tongue, words only poets heard, so how could I know what they meant? As hard as I tried, I couldn’t make any sense of metaphorical styles. How could I know what they connoted if I could only guess?

Her words astounded me when she said, “I give you credit for using an original pick-up line, but that’s all you’re going to get from me. I can see you’re one of those common folk who don’t see beauty in our world and only wants to take what pleases you.”

“That’s not true,” I pled, “I see the beauty surrounding you.”

She laughed. “You only see what you want to see. If you saw the real me, you’d run away.”

“That’s not true; give me a chance to prove that I’ll love you no matter what the real you is like.” 57

I was going to fall to my knees to beg when she smiled and said, “Okay, come home with me.”

I tried to think of a poem to impress her, but clunky words were practically all I knew. I followed her up the stairs and into her apartment where four more girls just like her sat at a long table with forks and long, sharp steak knives in their hands.

“Ah, I see you brought dinner,” one of them said.

I turned around to look, but there was no dinner to be seen. It was then I realized they were all looking hungrily at me. I turned and tried to run, but Matilda was stronger than me. They tied me tightly to the table and lit some candles for illumination.

“He may be a bit tough,” Matilda told the others as she passed out dinner plates, “He’s full of awful words, but if you come across one, why just spit it out.”


After the poets talk.

#206 Slaughter

#206 Slaughter

 #206 Slaughter

When I was a boy of eight, there was a shed nearby where men went to meet and hang out. I’d often peek through a crack in the walls and watch as they played cards, drank, and told dirty stories using words like pussy, fuck, and shit interspersed throughout.

I’d use every new word I learned from them and people said I had a trash mouth, but I figured it meant I was grown up because I talked like a man. I emulated the men, copying the clothes they wore and carrying what they carried.

I kept a knife in my boot and a cigarette lighter in my pocket along with a pack of smokes. I stole a pack of Trojans from the drugstore so I could carry a condom like many of them did. I didn’t know what it was for, but knew it was somehow important to have one at all times.

One cold January day, snow fell and the temperature rose, making it warm enough for me to stand out back of the shed and look through the crack. I saw a single man inside.

I watched as he hesitantly picked up a long sharp knife from the table where the men usually sat. Stumbling, he took a few steps toward the one tied and hung by her feet.  She screamed and struggled at the sight of a deranged-looking man with a knife in his hand.

“No, no, I can’t,” he cried out loud, yet continued to stumble closer with murder in his eyes, causing her to squeal in ear-piercing screams that stopped him only for an instant. He closed the gap and punctured her skin with the knife. Blood spouted from the gash. His eyes turned to pinpoints of ice. He stabbed again and again and again. Pleasure lit his face. His breath came in gasps, and I later learned that if I could have looked into his pants, I’d have seen that he came, and that those who wound their victims so many times for the thrill and pleasure of stabbing, found it was better than sex. I wasn’t old enough for sex, but I too got excited at the sight of blood.

Just then, the cops came and one decided to investigate the shed. He burst through the door.

Through the opening, I saw the man with his knife still in hand cutting pieces off her.

“What’s going on here?” the cop shouted.

“Just slaughtering my pig,” the demented-looking man said.

I thought it was wrong to kill anything, but the cop said it was okay to kill a pig like that, so it must be okay to kill anything, I thought. I started killing small things like ants and other bugs.

I moved up to the plentiful supply of mice and rats. I never got the killing thrill I saw the man experience when he buried his knife deep. I tried dogs next, and I got the dog that belonged to the man who slaughtered the pig as my first.

My conscience bothered me a bit, but the cop said it was not only legal, but also all right to kill. The years went by and I continued to slaughter cats and dogs. When I reached fourteen, I was ready for something bigger. I wanted to go on safari and hunt the biggest game, but I couldn’t do that, so I did the next best thing. I went to surrounding farms, killing and operating on cows and steers.

The newspapers claimed aliens had butchered the cattle. I figured there must be some clause in the farmers insurance saying that in case of war or alien abduction the company wouldn’t have to pay. So the authorities blamed my play on aliens and I was free to roam and kill all that I wanted.

But I just couldn’t get the thrill I sought from killing cows and sheep.

“That’s why I need you, you see,” I told the girl who hung by her heels with a plea in her eyes. “I’m going to open you up so I can watch your heart beat while you’re still alive, and after you die, I’ll cut off the top of your skull and make a brain stew.

I’ll leave clues so they’ll think the aliens slaughtered you too. I know it’ll fly, because your life insurance policy will be void under the same clause used that allows insurance companies not to pay farmers for their cows.”


That’s when I heard the voice inside my head. “Hold it right there! You’re giving us a bad name.” Two shining spider-like creatures appeared and cut down the girl. One of them quickly spun a web and stuck me to it.

“We heard what you said about brain stew and that made us hungry for some, so we’re going to suck out that part of your brain that requires you to kill

One creature stuck a sharp tube into my skull, and I could feel part of my brain liquefy as he sucked it out.

Both creatures disappeared and the web disintegrated. I no longer had the urge to kill and I even helped the girl get back home. I told her how much I regretted what I had done and would never do it again.

“So you see doctor, you should really let me out of this asylum, because I’ve lost the urge to kill. If you don’t, I’m afraid I’ll have to explore your brain to see why.”

The doctor couldn’t believe his eyes as I spun a spider web and pushed him into it. “Do you believe me now?” I pulled out a slim hollow tube sharpened at one end. “If you don’t, I’ll suck out that disbelieving part of your brain.”

“You’re free to go,” he said, stepping back. He dialed the phone. “Is this the captain of the guards?” he asked. “Joe is in my office and I want him released immediately.”

After he said that, I couldn’t help myself. I sucked his disbelief dry and saw fear light up his face as I walked out the door.






When Cindy, my sculpturing teacher at Yavapai College, instructed me how to use cement, I was repulsed by the idea of using a coarse material like concrete to make attractive sculptures. Difficult at first, concrete soon became a texture in my hands that I enjoyed shaping to my demands. I soon discovered I could perform magical feats and my imagination produced images I couldn’t wait to build.

I created an elongated woman from sand and powdered cement that even Giacometti would have been proud of.  The way she reached for the clouds with her arm so long and thin that it looked like she almost touched the sky. Her cement arm, bound to steel, pointed to darkening clouds. Flashes of electricity filled the air, seeking to strike and knock down onto the ground any who dared stand tall above others.            The arrogant woman I created dared, and when lightning came to strike her down, Benjamin Franklin’s invention saved my creation that fearlessly pointed toward from whence it came.

She was brave, so I gave her a helmet and a spear and named her Boadicea, my warrior queen. Then I built a dog to stand by her side.

It was as if cement had gotten into my blood. I filled my lawn with sculptures. I built another dog, a cat, a man, and a boy. There was an Indian Chief wearing an African mask, and a torso fashioned after a man that held my street address. I ran out of space and couldn’t add any more sculptures to my lawn, but in my mind, the ones I had came alive.

At night, I’d dream about Boadicea and her dog battling Roman troops that fell before her advance. Giacometti’s man, boy, and dog came alive and followed her into every fight. Before long, I too joined in and wore armor made from cement. The Centurions called for retreat when they saw us coming and all their troops ran.

We celebrated after our victories, and the dogs ate the dead while the man and boy along with Boadicea and I feasted on anything we wanted and drank the finest wine.

The more wine I drank, the better Boadicea looked. I wondered if I had a chance to make love to a warrior queen. I looked into her cold eyes and saw a spark there. I put my hand on her breast and it was hard. She put her hand on my chest and it was cold. Not much different than most women I knew.

Every night I couldn’t wait to go to sleep so I could be with her. Before long, all I did was sleep. When I awoke, I’d take a pill to help me sleep. She became my life, my everything, and I only lived to be with her. One night I had a dream in which Boadicea cheated on me with a Roman god called Apollo. I challenged him to a duel and he said, “I don’t fight. I’m god of brightness, music and art. If you want a fight, I’ll send Mars to battle for me. That’s what he does best.

Jesus! I had to fight the god of war, but if I wanted to keep Boadicea for myself, I didn’t have a choice. He showed up for battle carrying a spear. I carried an AK-47 and before the god of war had a chance to impale me, I put my weapon on automatic and emptied the magazine into him and killed him.

“I worshipped the one you killed,” cried Boadicea, “he gave me the power to fight.”

“Now that he’s dead, there will be no need to fight,” I said.

“Are you a fool? Do you think that by killing one god, war will stop?”

“Wasn’t he the motivator for all wars?”

“Bellona motivated more than he ever thought about. You and I are through,” Boadicea said.

Broken-hearted, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to awake and return to the real world where I lived day to day. It was in the midst of my despair that I looked to the sky and saw a winged woman flying toward me.

“Fear not, she said, “I’m Vica Pota, the goddess who appreciates a mere mortal who can conquer and vanquish a god. If Boadicea is finished with you, we can have an affair.”

I put my hand on one of her wings and felt a jolt like an electric charge coursing through me and filling me with a pleasure I could hardly believe existed. I immediately fell in love and asked, “Will you come and see me every night?”

“If you can imagine it, I can come,” she said.

Those words woke me up and then I knew it was all a dream. I went out to my front lawn and Boadicea still stood there looking to the sky. But something had changed. She had a guilty look on her face. I remembered her infidelity and went to the garage for my sledgehammer. “I’ll teach you to cheat on me, bitch.” I raised the sledge above my head and was about to smash her leg when a bolt came out of the blue and melted the hammer’s head.

I looked at her face and the guilt was replaced with a look that said don’t you dare mess with a goddess like me.

“Wait until I go to sleep. I’m going to tell Vica Pota what you’ve done.”

Her look changed to one of worry and I knew I was in control.

Then it hit me that I too was a God. After all, I created

Boadicea without any help and killed the god of war in my dream, so in that world I was as powerful as I wanted to be. I spent the day thinking of ways to make Boadicea suffer.



#204 Business Trip

#204 Business Trip


I had to go to Denver on a business trip. I left my wife home with the kids. I never called while gone because my wife said hearing my voice from so far away upset her and made her miss me more. She had never given me cause to suspect she was unfaithful, but I couldn’t help my green-eyed nature and always wondered while I was away if my wife ever went out to play.  I resisted the urge to call for a week. When I finally gave in and called home, a deep male voice answered “Hello.”      I imagined the worst – my wife lying on the bed exhausted from making love with this man, telling him to hang up and come back to bed.

My body tensed, my anger flared, and killing thoughts flowed through my jealous head. This man talking on my bedroom phone didn’t belong in my home. Who was he and what was he doing there? Should I kill him and my wife too for letting him in?

Uncontrollable thoughts dominated me and commanded me to go home and do what needed to be done. They said, “Get a gun and show them both you’re not one to be cuckolded.

My breath came in gasps and my muscles tightened, getting ready for battle with the one who dared mess with my wife.

I visualized them both lying dead in a pool of blood and I was glad I killed them. Then I thought of my kids, how upset they’d be after I slaughtered their cheating mom.

The voice inside my head told me not to think of that. I remembered where I hid my service revolver, and where I put the shells. In my mind, I loaded it and went to the room where they lay. They never expected me to burst through the door with a blazing gun.

I felt like a complete man when I visualized my revenge. Silence had gone on for almost a minute since I first heard that voice on my home phone.

“Hello,” the voice said again.

“Who the hell are you?” I shouted.

“Dad, don’t you recognize me?” the deep male voice said.

My muscles relaxed and my homicidal thoughts evaporated and were replaced by love for my wife, who had given me this son whose changing voice had now become that of a man.


#202 Conscience

#202 Conscience


In the middle of the night, I get up for a drink and as I turn on the tap, I see a thing of beauty in my kitchen sink struggling for its tiny life against torrentially streaming water.

To save its life I turn the water off and attempt to pick up the beautiful but horrendous

bug. It’s colored gray with spots of black with wings that flap but don’t allow flight. Judging by its body size, it’s probably a distant cousin to a cockroach.

A paper towel allows me to softly grip Mother Nature’s ambassador, sent as a reminder that what’s ugly to me can be beautiful when objectively seen.

I attempt to gently pick up this delicate creature, but it falls down the drain.

Distraught that I may have killed this poor bug, I try to pull it from the hole but I’m afraid I’ll rip

and tear its delicate parts, so I leave it alone to save itself or die, and I stay awake that night worrying that I may have killed that little bug.      


#200 Ice

#200 Ice


It was a warm Chicago summer day when I first saw her angelic face and aura of innocence that drew me to her like a drug promising to make my life all right. I thought if I made her mine, she’d make me happy for life. Fall came. Innocence and charm left her face, replaced by a dissatisfied grimace.

“It’s all your fault,” she said, even though I tried my best to make her life a joy. Nothing I did brought a smile to her face until one day; I slapped a wandering look off her face. That brought a contented look and she thought by doing that, I treated her as a man should treat a woman. Though I slapped her from anguish and anger, I’m not the type to beat a woman for pleasure. If I wanted her to stand by me, I knew I’d have to slap her face every now and then.

I refused to be drawn into that silly game, and before I knew it, she left and took all the heat from my life. Knowing my only goal was to bring her warmth and joy, a heart of ice is what she had when she left me all alone in the middle of that Chicago winter, a cold, cold act.

My bed was as frozen as any cement sidewalk in Chicago on a January day. A frigid breeze blew away any warm dreams I may have had. How can it be that at a hundred degrees my sheets were covered with frost? She used her magic like a witch and turned my world Arctic cold.

“I’ve got to go.” She said those simple words and my body fluids turned into solid ice that refused to flow through any of my veins.

My only hope was that there’d be one warm night when she didn’t leave my bed. My smoldering desire, flowing like a river of hope would bring her back for one more day and she’d melt my frozen parts before she left my warm bed.

That didn’t happen, so I went to the pound and got a dog as big as a man to keep me warm at night. He was a stud that had attacked and almost killed his owner, so I gave him a fitting name, Killer.  He’d eat anything I put out and if he got hungry, he’d eat the mailman if given a chance.

A long time went by before I heard a knock on my door in the middle of the night. If that’s her, I’ll tell her to get lost, I thought. I ripped open the door, prepared to yell, but when I saw her standing there my heart overrode my mind, and I let her in.

As soon as I did, she did her best to anger me. She didn’t succeed because I refused to let her drag me into her barbaric world.

I wondered as she sat on my couch swilling down beer and pills, what had happened to her angelic face and aura of innocence she had when I first met her.

Killer was scratching at the bedroom door where I had locked him up. He didn’t bark. That meant he was hungry and would eat ten pounds of meat.

“I’ve got to go to the store for some food. Don’t you dare open that door.” I pointed to the bedroom.

“Why? You hiding some bitch in their?”

“Actually, he’s a stud.”

“Hah, you’ve gone queer. I knew it all the time. You weren’t man enough to keep me in line, and now you’ve got a stud shaking your bedroom door.”

Her insults were getting to me, but I warned her once again, “Whatever you do, don’t open that door before I get back.”

“You worried your stud will want to screw me?”

“No, I’m worried he’ll want to eat you.”

Her face lit up at those words and I knew what she was thinking and wanted to laugh. I knew I had planted the seeds of curiosity before I left.

“Get me some beer and wine while you’re at the store,” the bitch demanded.

“Okay but don’t open that door.”

I almost laughed out loud because I knew whenever I told her don’t she did. My conscience was clear – I warned her three times not to open that door. I left and wondered how long it would take Killer to get his belly full.