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The First Haircut

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May 17, 1945


Lieutenant Paul M. Zebler

USS Bates, ADP-47


San Francisco, CA.



Because you are on a ship somewhere in the Pacific, I don’t know when you will receive this letter, but know that I wrote it on our son’s second birthday.


One More Bankruptcy

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“Oh, it’s not much of a place, as I told you, Audrey. Just a small cabin built on the side of a slight-rising hill here in Prudence, Indiana, the next town over, and the cabin’s been here longer than I have. Two older men, derelicts supposedly at one time, live there and have been there since 1965, from what I hear about them. The story says they built the place way back when, from the first stone up.”



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Harry had no way of knowing that the decision he made – the simple, mundane every day decision – would have such terrible consequences for him and his wife.

He was ready to go. He had checked in online for their flight. His suitcase and cabin bag were packed and standing in the hall. On the coat rack hung his jacket with keys, wallet, sunglasses, passport and printed boarding card tucked into the pockets.


Just Fix It

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He stared at the screen in disbelief. It was wrong, it had to be! He pressed his nose up against it just to be sure. The date and time in the sent folder confirmed what he could hardly believe.

The sent was a short email addressed to his Investment Advisor, containing a very simple trade instruction. Invest all of this account in a particularly aggressive high-risk fund. Too late he noticed he had left out the instruction about investing only the cash portion of the account.


The Colored Only Balcony

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My job is simple and I hate it. Every night before the featured film at the Roxanne Theater in Indianapolis, I stand at the bottom of a stairway and direct all the colored people to seats in the balcony.

I'm an usherette. I wear a bell-boy uniform that makes me look like the “Call for Phillip Morris” cigarette bell-boy on TV. The uniform is not why I hate my job.


Stress Relief

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“Glad that’s over. I don’t know about you, but when I get home I’m going straight to bed.” said Clarence, walking out of the factory and stretching.

“Lucky you.” replied John, his coworker.

“Wadda ya mean?”

“I’ve got about a half hour to get to my third shift job.”


God's Flashlight Beam

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‘Good morning,’ said Andy striding purposefully into the small pharmacy, and straight in behind the counter.

‘What’s so good about it?’ said the young pharmacy assistant looking up from the magazine she was reading.  She began to say ‘It’s raining’ but observed the sun was now shining brightly outside, so she said, ‘It was raining a minute ago.’

‘It’s only water,’ replied Andy casually as he lay the box he was carrying on the floor.


The Crack on the Mirror

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Felix was sitting at the table and drawing. He went on drawing when his mother addressed him. She had just come home and was eager to say something to her son.

"Felix, you hear me? Please, stop what you're doing for a moment. I've been to Desmond Burdick's studio and talked to him about you."


Love and Murder in Checco's Diner

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Checco’s Diner, Lower Manhattan, Houston St., Sunday, 1:10 a.m.

She comes in every night, usually ten minutes late, and makes her lame excuses to the diner’s owner about her kids or her husband.  She’ll miss on average one shift every two weeks.  It’ll be a Friday or a Monday without fail.  The owner’s a fat, unshaven slob in a greasy apron who grunts or nods when she’s done lying.  Sometimes he’ll risk a sharp remark to her that will have the eff-word in it.  She’ll snap right back, though, and I know he’d fire her in a heartbeat if he could get anyone else to work in his greasy spoon.


Scared Shitless

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It’s 3 AM on an extremely cold and dark New York City winter morning in 1984. The dispatcher breaks the quiet over the police radio with his disinterested, sleep deprived and monotone transmission:

13 Edward - Shots Fired - Latham Hotel...Room 606 - Anonymous  Caller.


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