Tag Archives: fiction

Short Stories

In Dreams She Comes

In dreams she comes to me upon the

Carpeting sand,

Dancing snow-white promise lilies in

Her gentle hand.

“Know you what love is made of in this

Barren land?”

“Our diminution toward simplistic from

The grand.”



In dreams she comes to me upon the

Carpeting sand,

Dancing snow-white promise lilies in

Her gentle hand.

“Know you what love is made of in this

Barren land?”

“Our diminution toward simplistic from

The grand.”



Have you ever dreamed a poem? What a horrible experience—to pass a test like that only to awaken to the realization that she is to marry another. All this day I have walked and sat with that hollow in my belly influencing my view. Who else could I want after such a one and, thinking thusly, who else would want me?


I go in less than two months to a wedding and a funeral in that desert; for surely I will sacrifice some part of myself on that same alter where they make their vows.


“Boulders do not budge,” she also said to me last night, “for want of motive.”


I do not know whether to take offense to that one or not.


Upon stepping outside for my second walk today I confront a new sign on the acupuncturist’s window across the street which reads: “New Community Outreach Acupuncture” and in small letters to one side, “sliding scale.” So I walk over, being who I am and the day what it is, to ask if she could be of any assistance with my heartache.

I confront the smell of more than sixty glass jars of various herbs and a kindly old Chinese woman as I step inside the store. She stands on dried, old, maple floor boards twice her age that creak as she walks toward me. I imagine the noise as emanating from her very own joints as she approaches. Confronted with my question, I am surprised to hear her claim that she truly can help me. My next thought naturally is that she is merely attempting to part me from my money for, as she had just posted this “sliding scale” sign, I suspect maybe business is slow and, as the man says, no one ever got poor underestimating the intelligence of the American public. I think that would go doubly when applied to Eastern medicine in a Hippie part of Vermont susceptible to such philosophies.

First, to business. We discuss her rates, which are normally $40 a session. For something the nature of my problem it will take six sessions over sixteen days I am told. Given my pay-rate, she says she can knock the fee down to $15 a session. Cure my heartache for $90? My interest is piqued enough to continue on with the interview since the dollar amount is not entirely offensive.

We move to the next phase and Mrs. Hu, she introduces herself as, begins to explain where the pain I experience comes from and proceeds to break out those diagrams of human bodies with lines and dots all over them showing acupuncture points, nerve lines, chi-flow and meridian spheres. All this is not completely foreign to me as I’ve lived a varied and colorful life. The charts show points throughout the body that correspond to points on the head and, more particularly, the ears.

Mrs. Hu points to the lines of the body that control the symptoms of my malady and simultaneously shows the points on the ear she would be sticking needles into in order to open the chi pathways and relieve the pain. Before we begin, she says, she will need to ask some probing questions to get a better idea how to customize a remedy.

I find this odd seeing how a broken heart’s pain should not be effectible by the circumstance of its damage. Still, I continue the interrogatory, suspending my incredulity with the knowledge that Eastern medicine is holistic. So the questions begin.

“How long has this problem been?”

“About two years now.”

“So long? Why do you not seek assistance earlier?”

“I have,” I say, “but the different things I have tried have not worked.”

She looks at me with seeming suspicion. “This is not a healthy state to exist. If it goes untreated you do permanent damage to body.”

“Like I said,” I repeat, “I have tried a number of different things. Trust me. I do not like this pain. I do not like waking up in the middle of the night from it. I like my sleep.”

“Ahhh yes,” she says. “Lying down usually brings problem,” as if I confirmed something.

What does lying down have to do with anything, I thought. Maybe she means sleeping.

“Okay”, resuming, “diet?”

“My diet?” I ask surprised.

“Yes, yes. What diet?

Eastern. Holistic, I remind myself. “Not much protein. Since I do not have much money it is mostly starch: rice, pasta…like that.”

She nods, then, “fruits? vegetable?”

“Some. Not enough. Before this I used to eat a salad every day, not any more though.”

“How long?”

Again, “about two years since I moved from the desert.”

“Two years? Same as heart ache?”

“Yes,” I say, “when I left there my diet changed. I was working in a health food store and eating very well. I moved to Connecticut and my diet went back to the way it was before I was working at the store.”

“Hmmm,” she said scribbling on her clipboard like she had just found a corner piece to a jigsaw puzzle.

A part of me, confronted with the possibility of actually be ‘cured’ of this, starts to wonder if I would go through with the treatment. Like a scar, the ache is a memory. I hear her Echo in me and I am not really sure I want it do die. I was half-joking when I walked into the store but am now being confronted with a reality I had not foreseen.

“Exercise?” she asks.

“Not much these days. I just moved into town and have not joined a gym. I used to do martial arts, a few years back,” I say, trying to impress her with my oriental exercising. I get no response though.

“No exercise?”

“I walk around a lot but I don’t do it regularly for exercise. I want to start going to the gym in town but I just moved here and have not gotten around to signing up at the gym or the pool.

“Do you think it is important?” I query.

“Yes, yes. Very important for mind and body.”

“Would it keep my mind off my problems?”

“Not so. You exercise to keep chi flowing and meridians balance. Exercise can do same as acupuncture. Once I fix, you exercise to make balance. Yes?”

“Yes,” I say as she looks back over her notes. Diet and exercise are fine things for a good life but I am failing to see how adjusting these inputs in my life were going to help remedy the impact of the woman I love marrying another unless they would give me the courage to stand up at the wedding and object; so I ask, “How will this, the diet and the exercise, help with my heartache?”

“Heart ache is from poor diet and no exercise. I remedy problem right away with altering chi flow but you alter diet and burning not come back again.”

“Yes. Burning in heart. Heart ache.”

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

I could not stop myself from laughing as I explained the difference between ‘ache’ and ‘burn’ in English to this poor woman. She laughed too and told me that she did not have a cure for the ache, only the burn. But, she said, walking and exercise and the chi flow of martial arts would lessen the blow of the heartache too.

I agreed and bowed my way out of the store as she tried to sell me Holy Basil and Valerian root for my broken heart.



Flash Fiction


When I walked in the house, I could hear Pitt talking to himself in the kitchen. I have not always shown up at the best time but always at least in the nick of time.

“She’s driving me crazy. She wants every little piece I work on to be perfect before I can move on to the next. I can’t work this way. Am I supposed to stand around doing nothing until the right parts or fixtures show up? Am I?” He turned to stare at me fixedly. He was close, I could tell; like he was on that crossing from England to the mainland all those years ago when we first met. He was close to stircrazy then too.

That was when we met, on the crossing. Back then he was Brad Pitt. This was before there was another Brad Pitt out there in the world whom everyone knew. During the course of the last few moves Pitt’s name became what it is: Pitt. When someone would ask if it were his first or last name, the response would come: just Pitt.

We stepped outside on to the flagstone patio. Pitt pressed his hands onto the top of a wrought iron chair and leaned into it as if trying to plant it into the stone beneath. Pushing himself off, he turned to face me. “What do you think I should do?”

“Wait a minute,” I said. His face relaxed and he rocked back on his heels. He came up short. “Wait…wait…” I repeated. I’d been feeling the moisture increase out here and had driven through the storm on my way up the mountain.

The approaching storm began as an ever-loudening hiss. I could see Pitt’s shoulder’s noticeably tighten. “Wait,” I repeated. The first drops snuck up behind him, overcame him, and consumed me all within the space of three seconds.

“Yeah?” He said it as half-question, half-plea against the reality of it.

“Yes,” I said as confirmation. Pitts face went slack: total awareness of his surroundings and acceptance. It was time to leave. This was not working. She was not the one.

“Why?” he asked in hope of a reprieve of the verdict.

“You know why.” I continued to hold his eyes, not letting him go.

“Shit….yeah. I should have known when I saw you this time. It was so good to see you and I was having such a bad day; I didn’t put two and two together. How do you always know?”

I can always tell by the tone of his voice when we talk on the phone what stage of a relationship he is in but I say, “I just know.”

“Should we wait? She should be back soon. She just ran to the store for cigarettes.”

“That’s your call. I’ll do whatever.”

Pitt drew his slackened shoulders up again. “I’ll tell her.” There was a resolve in his eye that was not there a minute ago and I knew his old self was back again.

“This won’t be easy now,” I said, “you’ve changed back to who you were when you met her. She won’t want to let go of you if she notices.”

”She changed me though. How can I stay?”

“That’s not what I’m saying. She will see what attracted her, the old you, and she will make it hard because that’s who she wants.”

“OK. Noted. Go start the car,” he said. And then, almost as an afterthought, threw in, “She can keep the house.” And he walked away into the kitchen. Out front, I heard a car door slam and decided to take the route around the side of the house.

Flash Fiction

The Watering Can

The two-gallon, galvanized watering can looked out of place sitting in the open on the otherwise manicured front yard. The house behind it sat on an level two acre plot. A white two-story Colonial with a slate roof and copper gutters, the house had the traditional black shutters accompanying each window. The first floor was raised slightly allowing for basement windows which were well hidden by the encircling shrubbery. The three steps and a landing giving access to the front door were all granite and covered by a portico in the federal style.

The property was rectangular, twice the length as its depth. The house, similarly proportional to the property also sat length-wise to the street. A neatly manicured lawn stretched fifty feet from the house to the curb, interrupted only by a large Sycamore, three rock gardens, and the slate walkway that stretched from the sidewalk to the front door. Up the left side of the property sat the cobblestone driveway which, after its fifty foot run-up, turned right and sloped down, down, below grade-level and into the basement garage atop which sat the home’s library. The edging along the granite walkway and on either side of the drive was clean and crisp, as if it had been tended by professionals. Given the neighborhood, one would find it most unlikely that the owners would have the time or inclination to perform this maintenance themselves.

But that can, that galvanized watering can, sat in the dappled shade under the Sycamore tree in the front yard not ten feet from the largest rock garden. From the street, one could clearly see that grass had grown up around it. The grass was high enough to lead one to the conclusion that it had not been moved for at least three mowings. And if one were to lift the can, they would expect to see the grass underneath white and dying from a lack of sunlight. This lone, disjointed, unkempt resident greeted passersby in this coiffed Greenwich neighborhood; no clue left as to how or why it was so glaringly exempt from the ministrations given the rest of the land.