fiction · poetry · work

Jim, the Reeky Alchemist.

There was nothing glorious about the work Jim was doing.  Face shadowed by a red bandana stained with years of exhalation, he chipped at the pipe above him, scraping off the sediment of years of town sewage. Jim hadn’t intended to become a shit scraper—or “sewer technician” as Lacey preferred him to say—but when she’d gotten pregnant at 19, Jim knew this work would get him what he needed.

One unforeseen advantage of this solitary, odiferous work was that Jim could spend his hours in the company of his headlamp’s focused beam, illuminating and unearthing his words until they were as crisp and tangible as the steel around him.  Emerging from the mole’s life, Jim would slug his gear into the bed of his truck and dive for his pocket-spiral in the glove compartment. In terse, methodic hand-letters, Jim would lay down the flora of his mind, a pastoral epic elevating his small-town’s quotidian to the sublime.


fiction · inspiration · speculative fiction

Storytime: Feb 20

2.20.19.jpgIt was easy enough to imagine how it had all begun, looking over the vast crumbling waste. Gertie hoisted her pack higher on her shoulder and squoze her little brother’s sweating hand. Addie turned bleary, out-of-focus eyes up toward her, a mess of dark hair matted against his feverish forehead.

I have to get him somewhere cool, she thought, not for the first time.  From where they stood, she could make out the glint of a snaking stream off to the north, what she knew was north because of the dense, curling moss on that side of the trees they’d just come through.  Between their woods and that stream was a groundswell of tumult, and silence.

It was one of the eeriest pieces of this disaster: the one lonely caw of a raven, maybe returned in hopeful camaraderie, maybe echoing out like fingers grasping in the dark for a friend no longer there.

Adam sniveled a little, bringing Gertie back from her reverie.  It was difficult to stay focused when the dim, umber air clung so close.

“You feelin’ a swim, l’il bro?” she asked more cheerfully than she felt.

“Water,” he nodded, solemnly.

Gertie swung her eyes over the dirt-to-gravel-to-pavement path before them, into the hulk of what was once “the city.”  She inhaled deeply, steeling herself, and that nasty, sour air twisted in her lungs, but she held in her cough and breathed it out slowly, slowly to keep from making the same racking sounds Addie’d been making for the last hour.

One foot out, she began to lead him down.


fiction · fun · scifi · writing

A start to an experiment.

1.30.19.jpgYou’d think that after four months of waking up in a space bunk, Sam would remember not to sit up and bash his head, but he had other things on his mind.

Rubbing the sore spot, again, he swung out from his cot and placed his feet onto the heat circles lighting up beneath them.  The morning scratches were the same as back on Earth, but the eternal thrum of the ship around him meant all his cells were slightly agitated at all times, like living in New York City or near high power lines, a perpetual sonic collider you accommodate like a broken toe.

The clever pocket doors from any sci movie–or Walmart–swished open as he approached, and Sam entered the bright white hallway, now dressed in the regulation wool garments woven with anti-bacterial nanotechnology.

To be continued…

(To J, for encouraging me to try something new,)


family · fiction

Metal and Red

(fiction class ‘group’ story – each person to write a story referencing kevin bacon – yes, 6 degrees of kevin bacon – and yes, just kevin, or just bacon could be used) 😉 enjoy!

Kevin stood nonplussed over the warm fleshy body and watched transfixed as the blood pooled underneath Mr. T.’s shaved scalp, darkening the red rug. The metal picture frame tumbled end over end, image back image back, from his hand in a suspended eerie slow motion. It was the clatter of the metal as it bounced off the plush onto the hardwood that jolted Kevin out of his reverie.

He blinked his amber eyes, and looked up and around Mr. T.’s sparse law office, which felt no more or less impersonal than it always did. Sleek, sharp — corporate — lines and manicured dark woods. The kind of office that was too stoic to concern itself with the personalities it harbored, a structured tabula rasa which housed any new executive with the same masculine malaise, and remained unaffected by the dramatic disturbance it now witnessed.

The only scrap of deviation from this elegant vacuity was the ruby rug that had been delivered earlier that day. The chicano and Black man wore blue jeans, and buttoned-down short-sleeved shirts embellished with a patch expressing their first name, and printed on the back with their company’s. Mr. T. had peeked out of the corner of his eye to note two things. Firstly, to ensure the delivery men didn’t scrape the metallic and black leather chairs across the richly-oiled floor, and secondly to observe that the young black man reminded him vaguely of a photo he’d seen of his nephew in the holiday newsletter his mother sent each year to the seven children and the spreading branches of half, step, and full grandchildren.

Mr. T., unlike his office, had had to learn to be remote and unemotional, to be the aggressive shark instead of the Black black sheep prosecuting the White white-collars. Such voracity allowed little room for compassion, or appreciation of the subtle or often passionate gifts of human relationships. The last woman he’d involved himself with was during his first year of law school, almost twenty years before. Ruby, he almost smiled nostalgically.

This brief and rare reminiscence therefore seemed apropos when later that evening Mr. T. rose to approach the same young Black man who had been in his office just hours before. And as he crossed onto the red carpet, he realized it wasn’t the newsletter photo this man resembled—it was his own mirror, twenty years before. The broad and proud nostrils, the heavy eyebrows that masked seclusion but could blaze scorn.

Mr. T’s final coherent vision before clutching the striking and sudden pain in his wide chest was the name patch on the man’s chest. It read, Kevin.

December 2, 2010