This is a short story I wrote quite a while ago.
I never liked Stewart. He is Bill’s friend more than mine. I barely know him, Bill brought him so we’d have enough for the card game. Stewart runs some sort of small company, a locksmith’s or plumbing company or something and I bet he must have been a bitch and half to work for. He has a fat cold face and mean eyes. For the game he wore a dark blue shirt with a white collar and white French cuffs, like maybe he was a banker or something.
Because of Stewart and how I don’t like him, but also because I just don’t like questions like that, I wouldn’t have done what Jim did. The game was over and some of the guys had left it was just me, him, Bill, Stewart, and this quiet guy named Rory. Because the game was over, we had switched from beer to Maker’s Mark, which I think made people open up.
Anyway, out of nowhere, Jim asks, “What is the worst thing you ever did?” Jim is the only one still drinking beer. He just asks to the room in general, but Rory pipes up like it was aimed at him.
Michelangelo was just someone I knew from online. I would post something, or comment on someone else’s post, and he would agree with me. All I really knew about him was that he had adult children here in the Bay Area, that his marriage had fallen apart rather kinetically some years earlier, and that he wanted to be a writer, although not enough to actually write. Continue reading
Before there were bloggers there were essayists and one of the greatest of them was the Sage of Baltimore, H. L. Mencken. My favorite portrait of Mencken is a cartoon of him at his desk, clenching his fists and, according to the caption, trying to think of more things that annoy him. Any annoyance, of course, was a boon: one more thing to write about.
Maybe I’m just more easily annoyed than my choleric fellow Baltimoron, or maybe life has just gotten more vexing in the last 75 years, but I never have to force myself to come up with things that annoy me.
On August 1, 1990, Detective Daniel Pelletier of the Derry, New Hampshire police, walked into the office of a recent widow. “The good news is that we’ve solved the murder of your husband,” he told her. “The bad news is, you’re under arrest.”
When I was very young, just turned 19, I fell in love with an older woman. 28 years old, she thought I was a boy; I thought she was a goddess. Nonetheless, there truly was a spark between us. We worked at the same computer lab and we spent our shifts sharing confidences and mocking the same people.
I’ve been working on this novel for two and a half years, and I’m just now revising the first draft. For the first time, I printed out the whole thing — more than 200 pages in standard paperback size — and I’m seeing on paper what I’ve seen on screen daily since June of 2010.
Wow, it needs work. I’ve edited it and re-edited it. I’ve had friends read it and incorporated their suggestions. I thought I was getting close. Maybe not.
It’s a little unclear whether I did this to them, or they did it to me, but I stayed outside while they went inside.
My family and I were in Frankfurt am Main, West Germany (as it was then known). I was looking in a shop window, and my parents went into the store next-door. They didn’t notice I stayed out on the sidewalk, and I didn’t notice that they’d gone inside.
Did I mention that I was three years old and did not speak any German?