Bulletproof

After my father’s third wife left him, he tacked up a paper target onto the center of the cathode ray credenza and pegged a picture of my latest step-mother over it. He towed the fridge into the sitting room, packed with Pabst. Beside it was a cinder block-sized container of BB pellets for his pump action rifle. From an inflatable …

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Secret Admirer

You’ve fallen a little in love with your oncologist. The wisdom in the creased skin around his eyes, the sureness of the neat part in his silver hair. The way he holds the chart with steady hands, his intense look as he scans the results. How he turns to you, and only you, with his knowing smile. “Tell me how …

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Taylor Boughnou

Reminiscent   To-day, I thought of you.  Who I’m kidding?  Not a day that memories of you, of us—how we were together, slips past.  How long it’s been now: a year, many years or was it in another time and place, an entirely different lifetime?  I try some times purposely, pretending not to remember those times or you.  But it …

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Now, Then

I’m fifty years ago, at a party, drinking a martini and smoking a cigarette.  I’m wearing my suit and tie and idly listening to little pieces of three different conversations.  Wasn’t West Side Story a wonderful movie?  How about the new president and his promise to have a man on the moon by decade’s end?  Is there going to be …

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Commercial Pilot

My alcoholism was never once suspected. I had made it a strict habit not to get completely bombed under twenty-four hours before flight. Much of the time outside of flying and the twenty-four hours prior to flight time, is obliterated. I have a home in Los Angeles, and I have a home Pittsburgh. I have had two marriages, and remember …

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Falling Asleep

He lay in bed quietly, not daring to move, holding his arms and legs and breathing as still as they could be held, waiting, not sure for what. The room had darkened, but was not too dark for him to see the outlines of the furniture, the central light fixture, the door slightly ajar, the slippers on the floor next …

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Uncle Santa

“Do Jesus and Santa Claus come from the same place?” our sons ask us. It is confusing because our family displays these icons together at this time of year: jovial, fat man in red pajamas beside nearly naked infant cradled in ceramic hay. “If Joseph isn’t Jesus’ dad, then maybe Santa is,” the boys say. Our family doesn’t have a …

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Communication Issues

She gave you a lot of different looks from the start. Did that throw you off? How cold it got on the final drive? There are always variables you can’t control and sometimes things go wrong. Can’t blame the conditions, that’s for sure. Did you get an explanation? Some of our moves weren’t as smooth as they could be, we …

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Flotsam

Her hair is distracting. Her hair is blue, and it’s distracting. I know that blue. It’s that, I don’t care that you’re watching me blue. Why can’t she be normal? Sitting on her knees on the subway. Maybe I could talk to her if she’d just sit like a normal person. Maybe I’d walk up to her and tap her …

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Butt Dial from Hell

He’d just scooched his ass down into his favorite vinyl booth for a celebratory drink at his favorite Republic bar, had just signed half his life away to his bitch of an ex-wife (and the other half to his lawyers), and now it was her asking him why he had called. His large hands fumbled with the thin phone as …

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A Season for Despair

Blood drips onto the plates as he chatters away over supper, seemingly oblivious to the dead end that awaits them all. The kids slink silently away, as though escape is possible. Surely they know that later in the night, he will thump up the stairs in search for them as she lies in bed wondering when they auditioned for this …

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Brownie the Puppy

Old M1911, the puppy your father handed you at breakfast on your twelfth birthday, right across your Honey Smacks, before he tramped out the door toward any place but here. You stroke her barrel as she whimpers in your lap, your only puppy ever. In high school, she slept under your pillow. You whispered to her. When you had your …

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