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The arrow

The arrowhead pauses, nudges against my ribs like the finger of a child, becomes aggressive, won’t stop. Pushes harder. Penetrates flesh, and, emboldened, pushes on. It penetrates bone and cartilage, punches through, drives inward. The arrowhead navigates organs, tissue, muscle. Sluices to the opposite rib cage before it stops again, nudges, breaks through. Pulls the…

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Shoot That Frog: A Christmas Comeuppance

“He’ll come down the chimney tonight,” Father grumbled, his hand caressing the barrel of the Frog Shooter on his lap. Father was sitting in Mother’s little chair in front of the fireplace. His dollar store sunglasses hung crooked on his honker. He was six-foot two, or had been before developing his post-divorce slouch, and 240…

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Making Peace With Ghosts

I hear her in my sleep. At least I think it’s her. And I think I’m asleep. I hear her cry, “Why didn’t you want me?” Faint, not real. I roll over, clutch the pillow. My wife stirs. “You hear her?” But I don’t hear my wife, even. Or I’m not sure I do. My…

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Carol Decorates for Halloween

  Drops of rain splattered on the headstone. Carol wiped them away with one slow caress. She smiled. This one felt right. “An elegant choice,” said the gaunt man behind her. “And moderately priced.” She could feel him looming over her shoulder. The way he held his hands reminded her of a praying mantis. He…

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Here at the beginning

Blood and pieces of bone begin to slide up the bedroom wall. A sonic boom sucks out buckshot, sealing holes left behind. A pasty, overweight man in his late forties sits up in bed. Splatter flies off sheets. The back of his head pieces together, a jigsaw puzzle of skull and scalp. He leans forward,…

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Those are people who died, died

The first to die was my father, in the aughts, age 73. Ten years younger than my grandparents, my mother’s parents, not my father’s. It was the cancer, took my father. The cigars and Manhattans hastened it, that was whence the cancer, you’d think. His choice, in the end. In a way. Grandmother passed soon…

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Hercules Gets a Job

I was sitting at a table under a tent, on a street called Piotrkowska, in a city called Łódź, in a place called Poland, drinking a beer called Żywiec. It was spring. There was still a bit of a nip in the air, but the ladies couldn’t wait any longer to remove their fur coats…

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In which I visit The Great Blogger

A nurse entered the waiting room and called my name. She wasn’t a nurse. “Mr. Walker? The Great Blogger will see you now.” I’d been summoned, but I resisted. It was a passive-aggressive resistance, I guess. I wasn’t going to not rise. But I wasn’t in a hurry to rise, either. “Mr. Walker?” She craned…

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A Hero’s Life

Sitting at his keyboard, Caulfield could not see around the soft, gray walls of his cubicle. But when he rolled back and turned to his left, he could see across the aisle into Johnson’s. He could see Johnson’s shoulder, the arc of Johnson’s back, the chair under Johnson’s ass. He could also see out the…

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Settling In With Ghosts

I had almost forgotten about the ghost. I hadn’t seen her since Moving In With Ghosts, and I could come in from the garage late at night without needing to glance up at the window above the back door to see if she was peeking out. But in the back of my mind, she was…

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The King of the House

This is not the beginning of the story. The story begins in this place, at another time. Or perhaps in another place, at this time. Whatever the case, our entry point is this. In this place, here and now, but not at the beginning, is a man age 73. He is the king of his…

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Baby Doll

She woke up like a writer full of words. An artist full of color. A wife with problems. She lay in bed for a while, eyes shut. But when she was certain, she threw off the sheets. In darkness she walked to the living room, feeling her way with a hand against the wall. At…