Splinters

My nightmares don’t have a pattern, but lately they’ve been about my dead father-in-law. I am walking down an unlit hallway, searching for the light switch. My hand traces the paneling, catching splinters from the knotty pine. A fluorescent light shines on James, like he’s on a stage, but he spoils the moment when he points to my bleeding finger.Continue Reading

We’re Trying to Tell You

A little respect is all he’s asking for, but of course we ignore him, it’s either that or tell him to go fuck himself, but in our last kids-only family meeting, Jett said we had to keep Dad on the even keel, that if we wanted to avoid counseling and a barrage of new medications, if we wanted to avoid the screaming and the threats, we’d better lay low, that turning up the volume on our iPads was a better way to go about ignoring Dad’s new crisis. Besides it kept Mom from getting her headaches, from binge-watching those trashy Housewives shows.Continue Reading

Tiger

I came back into the room to see her on the edge of the bed, her bare back to me, brushing her long black hair like the mane of some majestic animal you might admire and one day hope to befriend or even fall in love with. On her violin shaped back, a big tattoo of a tiger, baring its teeth and ripping red in her flesh.Continue Reading

Marriage Laundry

Sam was teetering underneath that fragile leave-stay threshold. She had to make it just past that…Continue Reading

How We Got Here

He’d felt the particular ache of a thing compressedContinue Reading

Two Stories

He remembers the acid, melting his skin like a slice of cheese left on the griddle. The smell of hair burning. He remembers the hospital, his ex-girlfriend leering at his singed-off eyebrows, her bottom lip sprouting a cold sore. She was too busy trying to shove a binky in the mouth of the baby strapped to her chest to notice that her nipple was popping out of her shirt and he was too tired to tell her. And he remembers that today is his brother Rob’s birthday.Continue Reading

Maybe For Derek

I read the last four pages while she showered. I cried through every word (spoiler alert: the chimpanzee died). I hugged her and told her it was the most beautiful ending to a novel ever, that great things were coming our way. She sat down and poured over the new pages, bawling like I had, perhaps harder, as if she didn’t know what was coming. She called me a genius. I joked that behind every great man is a great woman. We made love right there on the for-shit table, pushing the typewriter and the manuscript out of the way. Before we could finish, the table collapsed. We finished on the broken pieces on the floor.Continue Reading

George Singleton

One time I had a woman say to me, “Don’t you just love Nicholas Sparks?” I said, “He might be one of the worst writers in the English language.” She said, “But he’s a millionaire!” I said, “People in America spend a lot more money on baloney than they do filet mignon. That doesn’t make baloney good for them.”Continue Reading

Everything Will Be Fine

Billy didn’t answer the first call, but the second time his cell phone vibrated on the night stand, he reached for it, pushed himself into a sitting position and answered. The room was dark except for a slat of gray light where the curtain fell open slightly, like a loosened bathrobe. Deborah leaned across andContinue Reading

TWO STORIES

After a night on the phone, I learned two things. First, he was a total mess. Second, it’s extremely difficult to clip your toenails while cradling a cordless handset between your shoulder and neck. Speakerphone seemed too impersonal.Continue Reading