Notes

The Prom Queens

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

Summer Solstice

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

My Name is Jonah Gold

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

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

Mel Williamson’s Holiday Surprise

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

The Periodic Table

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 for President

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 Third Day

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

The Woman Next Door

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

The Sad Case of the Solipsistic Sublapsarian

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

Milton Silverman’s Last Thought

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