Another Man’s Shoes
Petersen had been married to Marie Claire for twenty-two years when, one summer evening, over a quiet dinner, he told her he was leaving her to live with another woman. Beck, he said, was her name and from what he could figure she was some ten years older than him.
Marie Claire put her fork down, took a deep breath and she asked him if he would be finishing up the rest of the asparagus with braised tofu and slivered almonds before he left. Continue reading Another Man’s Shoes
Willie Lowenstein stretched his long legs out on the backseat of their grey DeSoto. His shoes were off. Eyes opened and closed off and on. His head rested on an army-issue green duffle. In the front, his parents were talking. His father was driving. His mother next to him, a paper sack on the front seat between them, holding three egg salad sandwiches on white, paper napkins, and a thermos of coffee. Continue reading The Girl by the Pool at the White Sands Motel
Margaret Donnelly, the administrator at TenderNest Assisted Living, tells Hector that his mother has not eaten breakfast for going on three days.
Each Saturday morning, Hector makes the drive from Bozeman to Billings to see his mother. Two hours each way, less if the weather is clear; more if there’s snow on I-90. His job keeps him in Bozeman. He works lift maintenance year-round at Big Sky. He calls it ‘Big Money.’ Continue reading An Incident at Camp Bullis, TX, 1949
Helen Burnside left New York. She had watched the towers collapse. She felt the rumble of armored jets patrolling in belated formation through the still-rising columns of grey human smoke.
She despaired at the shattered illusion of invulnerability, quickly replaced by a constant see-something-say-something paranoiac vigilance. She sold her parents’ two-bedroom co-op in Brooklyn Heights, stored her furniture; packed a suitcase, a paint box, and a carton of books. Continue reading The Prom Queens
Mid-day, and the sun is high. It seems to pause in the sky. There is little shade in the park. Mackenzie watches the woman cross the street. He knows her. ‘Helen,’ she told him that first time she came to run her dog on the patchy grass of the field by the tennis courts. After she left, he’d repeated her name to himself so he would not forget it. Continue reading Summer Solstice
A couple of days before Christmas, this guy I used to know back east calls me and asks to meet me for a drink. He’s been traveling a while and he’s in Frisco for a few days. He needs a place to stay. Sure, I tell him.
We meet. He looks like shit. Hasn’t been able to sleep. Thinks he’s being followed. Continue reading End of Story
My name is Jonah Gold. Like the apples except my parents named me before we found out about the apples. But this has nothing to do with the rest of this story. I just like to get that out of the way in case it should come up by chance later on and you’d think I was holding back from telling you a better story.
Anyway, this story is about being Jewish and having a bar mitzvah. It is also about my family. I had a bar mitzvah at which I had a good time. I got $1,200 in gifts, which my parents kept to pay all the bills, and a leather briefcase, which I got to keep. I think I should have gotten to keep some of the cash. But, so what. Continue reading My Name is Jonah Gold
Dear Malachi, Thank you for coming home for Thanksgiving. It was so good to see you. Your father also said it was good to see you.
Mom- It was good to see you too. BTW, in texts you don’t have to write ‘Dear so-and-so’.
Dear Malachi. I forgot to mention that I think your father is hurt that you did not tell him that you love him in the birthday card you sent him. And for next year’s card, remember his birthday is October 16, not November 16. Continue reading Dear Malachi
The idea had come to Williamson so clearly, so well formed, and with such perfect attention to launch detail that it could not possibly fail.
He was in love. Love struck. Smitten. Knee deep in love. Floating on a river of love.
He had first seen Cindy at Sylvia Johnson’s pre-December pre-Christmas party. Sylvia had invited all of her friends at the library and all of her husband’s down at the town Water Department, Office of Cross Connections and Backflows, to her annual holiday gathering. Continue reading Mel Williamson’s Holiday Surprise
Jack Benson, if asked, would say he felt pretty good about himself. Had never much bothered about money. Though looking back, he might have. But he hadn’t and that was that. His wife, if she were alive, would differ with him on that point. Continue reading The Coin Machine
You’re going to forget people. You think you never will. But, trust me, you will. You’ll lose track of them and then you’ll forget them. You’ll forget things too, like how many ounces are in a pound of cottage cheese or if you’ve had breakfast. But, like I said, you think it won’t happen…
Continue reading The Girl with the Ruby Red Lips
Revson and I went to a lecture together at the Y on 92nd St. I had suggested it to him and I bought the tickets, as he had recently fallen on hard times.
We took our seats in the front row of the lecture hall. The subject was The Periodic Table, Primo Levi’s memoir as an Auschwitz survivor. And, since Levi had recently been found dead at the bottom of a long stone staircase, under very uncertain circumstances, the room was overflowing with anticipation. Continue reading The Periodic Table
Sally Ann Finkelstein turned sideways to the mirror. She swayed slightly, smoothed her hand gently over her tummy, tucked a curl of silvery hair behind her ear, and checked her teeth for lipstick stains.
She was a pleasant looking woman. Pleasant enough. Though perhaps more in appearance than in manner, given the effect she had on some, though she meant neither insult nor harm. Continue reading Sally Ann Finkelstein for President
On the first night at Camp Surprise Lake, Izzy Samuelson wet his bed, a real soaker. He was in the top bunk, above Lester Himmelblatt. Lester slept soundly. Continue reading Letters From Camp Surprise Lake
On the Third Day God created the seas. And the seas covered the entire earth. And it was good. Not exactly one hundred percent good, but okay good.
It was all according to the design specs, but now seeing it in person, after having created the dark and then the light, and the firmament and the earth, and all, it was just… water. And so His shoulders dropped and a frown came over His thin, innocent, boyish face. Continue reading On the Third Day
Benson was awakened by the sounds of the woman next door leaving for work. It was cold and the rain had turned to wet snow, at least it had at 3 a.m., when he’d gotten up to pee.
Their apartments were close. They shared a thin gypsum-board wall between them. He knew she could hear him during the night as he fumbled for the light in the dark and then flushed the toilet. The intimacy of this embarrassed him though there was nothing else he could do.
Continue reading The Woman Next Door
Eric Singleton was stuck. At a standstill. Doubly so: physically, for one: stopped in traffic behind a late model Toyota Camry on 7th Avenue at the corner of 9th Street in Park Slope; and existentially: locked in a self-imposed worry-worn straitjacket of self-absorbed spiritual stagnation. Continue reading The Sad Case of the Solipsistic Sublapsarian
Gracie Freundlich, and Gertie Goodfriend, Gracie’s red-haired cousin on her mother’s side, along with two of their girlfriends in Mr. Krell’s 10th grade English clasped hands, bowed their heads, and solemnly created a, girls-only secret society. They called themselves the SSENIPPAH girls. Continue reading The SSENIPPAH GIRLS
When Harry met Irene he was living in a state of blissful bachelor squalor. Irene as much as told him so. She was a woman of simple, straightforward, unabashed, and colorful candor. Continue reading When Harry Met Irene
Phil Shumpeter, in Minneapolis for a sales meeting for High and Dry Camping Gear, Inc., takes a seat at the bar at the Kit Kat Klub off of Hennepin Avenue. He orders a beer and fries.
Continue reading Phil Shumpeter Has a Beer with His Father’s Ghost in Minneapolis
It is nearing dinnertime. She is making her Ligurian pesto. Two handfuls of bucatini are boiling on the stove. “Vito,” she calls from the kitchen window. Continue reading The Grocer and the Grocer’s Wife
Unlike whooping cranes who, according to his daughter Pru, mate for life, Fat Dan Feldman is hopelessly, shamelessly, and serially unfaithful. Continue reading The Mating Habits of Whooping Cranes
Lilly Goldman Chen, seven pounds, six ounces, was the first baby born in 1975 at New York Hospital: 12:02 AM. Her brother, Max, eleven pounds nine ounces, was born at 11:57 PM on December 31, 1974. She got her picture on the cover of the Daily News and all he got was ‘bupkes.’ Continue reading The Luck of Lilly Goldman Chen
On his way home from work each evening, Wilson Fortunato picked up take-out and a copy of the Post-Standard. He’d eat and read it at the kitchen table under the anemic light of a small florescent fixture he had long planned to replace. Continue reading The Genie
Milton Silverman’s Last Thought
When Milton sensed the end was near he told Magda he loved her. “Magda, I love you,” he said. And then he asked her to tell Vincenza, their daughter, to turn down the television set. He was adamant that the last thing he would hear would not be an Arby’s ‘We’ve got the meat’ commercial. Continue reading Milton Silverman’s Last Thought