Posted tagged ‘fiction’

Louie the Loser, Pt. 2

December 12, 2020

This is Part 2 of a two part post.  You can read Part 1 here.

Louie began to take our bus home from school 2 or 3 days a week then follow Vinnie to his house. And when I’d changed my clothes to play, there he’d be in The Hayfield, waiting. I want to be captain. I want Vinny on my team. No fair, you cheated. Vinny had to go along with him because of his Dad’s job, and Glenn (not my brother Glenn, Glenn from down the street) went along because he had a crush on Louie’s sister, Anna. My Mom said Just ignore him but I couldn’t do it. Finally one afternoon I lost it and called him Louie the Loser to his face. He shoved me and I busted him right in the nose. He ran to Vinny’s house, blood dripping down on his shirt … and we all scattered, figuring trouble was ahead. (more…)

Yellow Stickies

August 3, 2017

I have a whole folder of stories I wrote in my I’m Going to Be an Author days.   My brother gave me the idea of publishing a few of my favorites here on Older Eyes.  This light-hearted romance is perhaps my favorite.

stickiesThe first one flutters like a wounded yellow butterfly from the medicine cabinet door and lands face down at the edge of the sink.   I eye it unenthusiastically as I scrape the lather from my cheek, debating whether or not to nudge it into the bowl, letting the steaming water and the dollops of shaving cream wash away whatever ink is hidden on the other side.   Ten-to-one, it says paint the hallway before Thanksgiving, or maybe clean the garage.   Why the hell can’t she just ask instead of leaving these God-damned notes everywhere?   I’ve heard her answer often enough to play it back in my head without asking.

“If I just ask, you’ll forget, and I’ll have to ask again.   Then, you’ll say I’m nagging!”

Shit, I think as I dry my jowls with the pink floral towel taken from an ornate brass ring next to me.   If she finds the towel crumpled next to the sink, she’ll say, How many times do I have to ask you not to use the decorator towels?    I try to fold it into a neat rectangle over the ring the way she does, with the embroidered primrose perfectly centered, but I know I’m caught.   With a sigh, I pick up the yellow Post-It and stick it back on the corner of the mirror, but without my glasses, the words are a blur.   Her meticulous block printing comes into focus when I step back… I am just where I’m meant to be in my life !!!!   The four emphatic exclamation points float like red balloons beneath the words.   “Oh, oh,” I say to myself, “she’s wandering the self-help section of Barnes and Noble again.” (more…)

Uncle Will – A Halloween Story

October 31, 2015

I wrote this story for a Halloween meme back in 2010.   As they say in the movies these days, it is Based on a True Story.  Of course I took a little artistic license.  You know what that is, right?   Lying to entertain. Enjoy if you dare.

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We’re going to see Uncle Will tomorrow. I hated those words. Uncle Will was my father’s uncle, a disabled veteran. He lived in one of the ramshackle brick residential buildings at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, which was about an hour’s drive from our house in East Haven. Visiting Uncle Will was worse than boring … it was creepy. His room was painted a pale institutional green but under the yellow light of the single incandescent bulb in the middle of the ceiling, it looked more like pea soup. The hallways smelled of hospital cooking, urine and disinfectant. His room added stale tobacco and an old man’s sweat to the mix. He’d be waiting for us in his wheelchair wearing khaki pants, scuffed military-issue shoes and an A-style undershirt, yellowed at the armpits. He’d force a smile when we walked in. Hi, Frank, he’d nod to my Dad. Hello, Florence, to my Mom. Who’s this big guy?, to me, every time, and I’d have to tell him, I’m Buddy. Frank’s son. As if he didn’t know. He’d extend a hand to shake, skeleton fingers covered with papery skin that I’d try to touch (more…)

Paths

April 13, 2014

wpid-20140412_085533-1-1.jpgHow did you get here? the cactus asked the snail.

Slowly, said the snail.  Very slowly.

That’s not what I mean, said the cactus, a little prickly now.  By what route?

I simply followed the Paths, said the snail.

The cactus, arrogantly observing the world from his pot atop the wall said, Don’t be insolent with me, little mollusc.  Even a stationary fellow like I can see that the way up the wall has many Paths.  And each path has many forks.  How do you choose?

Slowly, said the snail.  Thoughtfully.  One fork at a time.

The cactus said, And how do you know you’ve taken the right path?  How do you know you’ve taken the path God has planned for you?

God wants me to choose. One fork, one path at a time, said the snail.  We find a path together.

The cactus scoffed.  How do you know that’s true?

It’s obvious, even to the prickliest of observers, the snail said, smiling.  I’m here, aren’t I?

The cactus reluctantly agreed.

Buttface Billy

October 31, 2013

halloween sceneWhen I was I was in fourth grade, we moved to a new neighborhood in East Haven, Connecticut. My Dad had worked two jobs from virtually the day he got out of the Army to scrape together a down payment and would continue doing so to make the mortgage. It was a small nondescript ranch on a wooded lot in a neighborhood of nearly identical homes. Most everyone was the same age and from some degree of what my Mom called middle class. From where I sit now, it was all lower-middle class but back then it was heaven, particularly for 10 year old boy.  Behind our house was a hayfield ideal for pickup baseball or football games and beyond that, several miles of woods. And best of all, there were other kids, mostly boys and mostly my age. Yeah, there were some 12 year olds who liked to push around us younger kids, but back then, nobody talked about bullying unless someone really got hurt. Besides, at the end of the day, we all got along … pushing and shoving one day would be teaming up for a game of football the next. (more…)

Behind the Bedroom Door

November 10, 2012

If it’s there, it waits behind the bedroom door until the house is dark.  Mom thinks I’m asleep as she tiptoes into her room to sleep alone, so she turns out the hall light.  Electricity costs money and money doesn’t grow on trees, she says.   I wish it did so that we could leave the lights on all night.   It hates the light, it’s told me so, the way it talks to me in my head while I’m lying there watching it.   The lights are out, Billy, and here I am.   I hate the light, and if you reach for that switch, I’ll  rip off your arm.   It could, I know.   Even though it shimmers faintly in the darkness behind the door, I can see its mouth and its long, sharp teeth.   And I’ve smelled its breath. (more…)

Exercise by the Book

December 7, 2011

One of my favorite books to kick start a stagnant imagination is The 3 A.M. Epiphany – Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction by Brian Kitely.   Kitely’s exercises offer not only a theme but provide characters, a point of view, and specific situations to be used in a very short story.   Exercise 92, Father and Son, asks us to write a 400 word story about a father and son participating in an unusual activity together that draws on the vast experience of the father and the relatively limited experience of the son.  This is what I came up with: (more…)

Sticky Situation

November 23, 2011

Tuesday, Muri and I are leaving early to drive to Arizona for Thanksgiving. We are WAY over due for a grandkid fix.   So, I don’t think I’ll have time to post for Writing Wednesday.   No, that’s not such a Sticky Situation.   The title is a clever play on words designed to draw you in … the real title is Yellow Stickies, and it is the first few pages of a short story I wrote some years ago.   Yes, unpublished but my favorite.   I’m hoping that by posting the beginning, I can seduce you into reading the rest, which is on my fiction blog, Through Older Eyes, here.  What’s that?   Oh, yeah … I meant induce.  If you decide to read on, when you get to Through Older Eyes, just scroll down until you see START –>.

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The first one flutters like a wounded yellow butterfly from the medicine cabinet door and lands face down at the edge of the sink.   I eye it unenthusiastically as I scrape the lather from my cheek, debating whether or not to nudge it into the bowl, letting the steaming water and the dollops of shaving cream wash away whatever ink is hidden on the other side.   Ten-to-one, it says paint the hallway before Thanksgiving, or maybe clean the garage.   Why the hell can’t she just ask instead of leaving these God-damned notes everywhere?   I’ve heard her answer often enough to play it back in my head without asking. (more…)

On Not Writing

March 2, 2011

 

This is an imagined conversation with an Annoying (but potentially correct) Voice in my Head and Stephen King.  Stephen King dialog courtesy of Stephen King on Writing with the exception of the last line, which I made up for him. (more…)

Working Out

February 23, 2011

I find it interesting that so many of us have trouble translating principles we’ve applied to physical exercise to the rest of our lives, particularly our creative endeavors. Only the most fool hardy of us would attempt to run a marathon or ride a century without extensive training but when we take up writing or painting as an avocation, we expect immediate results. That’s why in The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron feels compelled to caution us to allow ourselves to be bad artists so we can become good artists. We seem to think artists are born not made. In my forties, by running fifty miles a week and building up to longer distances, I was able to run a respectable marathon. However, all the training in the world would not have made me into a Ryan Hall.   In Stephen King On Writing, King suggests that it is impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, and while it (more…)