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
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
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
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
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
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
Mr. Pindar Takes the Train
Peter Pindar, silver-grey hair, notched-lapel, two-button, double-vented, indigo blue Armani, white flare collar and a four-in-hand green tie, takes his usual seat on the 7:28 Metro North train at Croton-Harmon. Continue reading Mr. Pindar Takes the Train