Daily Archives: August 23, 2015

Certain Standards

Certain Standards A private school has high standards. But does everyone meet them?(12/2002)   “Hello Mr. and Mrs. Robbins. Please have a seat.” Mr. Edward Tully motioned to the high backed sitting chairs facing his desk. He walked around and sat in his thousand dollar black leather chair. “I’ll get right to the point, Mr. and Mrs. Robbins…” “Please. Dan and Claire,” Dan Robbins interrupted, not liking the tone of Mr. Tully’s voice one bit and hoping desperately that personalizing things would help the situation. “Dan, Claire,” Tully continued, “I’m afraid little Danny isn’t ready for St. Joseph’s Academy.” This […]

Grudge Match

Grudge Match The golf match to end all golf matches (6/2003)   Bobby McDougal was the number one ranked golfer in the world. He won his fiftieth tournament a month before his fortieth birthday and had wildly surpassed the play, the records and the legend of a guy named Eldridge. McDougal had won the last four events on the pro tour and seven of the last ten. All of the major records in golf were his. As well as being a supremely talented athlete and golfer, McDougal was also an egomaniacal, self-centered bastard. His fellow golfers detested him. The press […]

The Bubble Catcher

The Bubble Catcher A tale of the rarest of gifts (6/2003)   Through the years, the legend grew. Through the years, the children of the town listened with eyes gazing upwards and ears alert as their parents and grandparents spread the legend, amazed them with the tale of the Bubble Catcher. Through the years, most kids didn’t think it was possible. No way, they’d say. But for every child that doubted, there were two who believed. The legend of the Bubble Catcher stretched back almost a hundred years. The legend spoke of a boy so free of pain, fear and […]

The Monopoly Gang

The Monopoly Gang What if? Inspired by a question asked by Zachary Fine, age 5 (7/2003)   Smitty’s father had been a cop. Smitty’s grandfather and great grandfather had been cops. So Smitty was a cop. Being a police officer was as hereditary in Brian “Smitty” Smith’s family as, say, cancer was in others. Not quite the same thing, but just as potentially deadly. Brian Smith had been on the Boston police force for over twenty years, and he’d been a part of busting most of the city’s notorious thieves in that time. He collared the McDougal Brothers in just […]

The Toothless Village

The Toothless Village What if? Inspired by a true story told by a dear friend (7/2003)   “Mr. and Mrs. Rappaport… Mr. and Mrs. Rappaport… We’ll be landing in about twenty minutes. You’ll need to raise your seatbacks and tray tables.” Robert and Ida Rappaport stirred from their sleep. Robert wearily thanked the flight attendant as he and his wife of over fifty years obeyed the airline’s rules. Thirty minutes later, their plane parked on the tarmac, Robert and Ida turned to one another. They looked into each other’s eyes with the same twinkle of adventure and excitement as they […]

Tito Valenti Nation

Tito Valenti Nation B-dubs, Rainbows, Selectors and Time Shifters (12/2003)   My name is Tito Valenti. I’m a pharmacologist. Was, anyway. No, not the kind that dispenses Ritalin to cruelly squash hyperactivity, or Prozac to artificially lift the millions of depressed, or Viagra to, er, temporarily lift the impotent. No, I dispensed a kinder, gentler class of designer pharmaceuticals. You see, I’m a nice guy. Really. I want people to enjoy themselves, to relax, to take it easy. To be happy. I didn’t just dispense drugs – pills, to be specific – I designed them. In the 1950s, I invented […]

Devil’s Slide

Devil’s Slide A dark tale of a mistake and devastating consequences (1/2004)   It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, just twelve months later, Edgar knew better. Now, as he sat alone in his dark apartment eating tuna fish from the can for the fourth night in a row, he knew why they called that horrible place, “Devil’s Slide.” Six years earlier, Edgar’s only daughter, Alyssa, gave birth to his first and only grandchild, Thomas. Edgar waited patiently for his tiny grandson to grow, for his bones to lengthen, for his muscles to develop, for his courage […]

Deafening Silence

Deafening Silence What happens when a gridiron hero’s days are over? (1/2004)   It’s so quiet. I knew it would be quiet, but I didn’t think it would be this quiet. I’m not used to quiet. I’m not sure I like it. Just yesterday, the energy was electric. The noise was deafening. The raucous, adoring fans were cheering wildly. It was disappointing, sure. We lost the game in the final seconds, falling to 10 – 6. We missed the playoffs by a game. It was the first time in league history that a team with ten wins didn’t make the […]

Diversity Train

Diversity Train The people you meet while commuting, from A to Z (1/2004)   Anne is petite. Blonde hair, blue eyes. She sways down the aisle with an air of such superiority that men ignore her despite her beauty. She sits in a seat by herself and busies herself by powdering her nose and applying more lipstick. Ben is 17, maybe 18. He’s got a minefield of raw, red pock marks on his cheeks. He’s wearing a t-shirt that looks like it’s from some heavy metal rock band concert, and ratty jeans. Amazingly, he’s sitting and confidently chatting with a […]

Food Fight

Food Fight The things we’ll do for love… (1/2004)   Entered in the Writers’ Journal Write to Win contest (Story beginning with “The spitball whizzed…”)   The spitball whizzed past my ear, but the pie hit me smack in the face. Lemon meringue. Yuck! Now I was really mad, so I retaliated by squirting ketchup at Ronnie and heaving a tray full of Jell-O at Katherine. I managed to bloody Ronnie’s t-shirt, but missed Katherine altogether. Man she’s sneaky. I hadn’t even finished chastising myself for missing Katherine when Becky came at me with a tray of mashed potatoes. Luckily, […]

Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block This man just seems to have so many story ideas… (1/2004)   Another Friday. Another visit. A visit eerily similar to all of the visits before it. “You know, Doc, I always hear writers complaining about writer’s block. Not me. Uh-uh. I would kill for it. I’m dying without it,” I say. “What do you mean?” “What do mean, what do I mean? I mean that I’m dying here. I need a break, Doc. I’m a mess. I can’t sleep, for one thing.” “How long has it been since you’ve slept?” “It’s been four days now. And even […]

Look Deeper

Look Deeper Apparently a mismatch, these two find love by looking deeper (1/2004)   Katherine turned out the light in her office, shut the door and walked toward the elevator. It was just after 8:00 in the evening and she was tired from another long day at work. Especially when this one was a Saturday, like so many Saturdays before. She was already imagining a long, luxurious soak in a steaming bubble bath and the soothing sounds of one of her favorite CDs when she walked passed Steve’s office. She noticed he was staring at his computer screen, still hard […]

Like Father Like Son

Like Father Like Son Inspired by a recent trip to India. May I never have to say these words… (6/2004)   Amit’s family lived in a town five kilometers from Udaipur, India between a cement wall and a brick wall, under a large Gulmohar tree. At four, Amit’s mother and father sent him out onto the streets to beg. Each day, he would walk with them into the city. Each day, he would do as his father had taught him and look for the tell-tale signs of affluence: light skin, strange canvas “tennis” shoes, short pants or short sleeves in […]

Shy Guy

Shy Guy She has a keen eye! (7/2004)   Chris resisted his friends’ invitation, like he always did. They meant well, but they just didn’t seem to want to listen when he tried to explain that he was just wired differently. Theo was a chick magnet. He was tall, thin, still had a head full of dark black hair, and two hours a day in the gym kept him in awesome shape. From these things came self-confidence. From self-confidence came success with women. Mark wasn’t as handsome as Theo, but he was a good enough looking guy, Chris figured. Mark […]

French Class

French Class When cultures/religion collide? Mon dieu! (3/2005)   French class. That’s where we met. Both of us in a new city, a new country, and perhaps a bit lonely, looking for something to do. I noticed her the first day, right away. No surprise there – so did every other man in class. Maybe even half the women, too, that’s how bewitching her beauty, how dazzling her smile. That first day we didn’t even talk, except to say to each other (and to the rest of the class), “Je m’appelle so-and-so.” The second day of class, she called me […]

Force Rank

Force Rank A new chief decides that it’s time to make a supreme change. (1/2006)   The two men sat in oversized tan leather chairs, smoked cigars, and sipped brandy. The wood-paneled room was hazy with smoke, and dimly lit from the banker’s lamp on the large mahogany desk that overwhelmed the room. “Go ahead. Explain what you have in mind,” John said to his younger brother. Roger wasted no time, and dove right in. “Every year, we rank all of our employees. Not just ‘excellent’, ‘good’, ‘needs improvement’ or that kind of thing, but an actual ranking of all […]


Reunion Confidence makes all the difference. (1/2006)   I almost threw it away, hardly glancing at the return address and logo on the envelope. In fact, it wasn’t until an hour later that I finally ripped through the envelope and read the invitation. It was a week later that I finally decided to attend. It was my high school ten year reunion. I didn’t go to the one five years earlier; I just couldn’t bring myself to go. I was petrified by the idea that she might be there. ‘She’ is Anne Glass, my high school class’ dream girl. Back […]

The Coin

The Coin A boy suddenly finds himself in a strange land of curves. (1/2006)   I began feeling disoriented and nauseas immediately. It took me a while to realize what was different: nothing as far as the eye could see was straight. Everything was curved or round or spherical. The walkway was a series of slate circles laid along a gentle arc. The roadway, like a snake, undulated its way ahead of me. At least the cars looked familiar: they all resembled VW Bugs, but somehow even rounder. How did I get here? And where was “here” anyway? I wracked […]

Women’s World

Women’s World Women are finally in charge thanks to Barbie Jo. (1/2006)   Fifty years after the fourth World War, everything was different. The most important difference was this: women were in charge. Men were at the helms of the various nations of the world during the third and fourth World Wars, as they had been for the first two. Egomaniacal, power-hungry men suffering from disorders making Napoleon Disorder look like a skin rash were the instigators of every major conflagration until now. The Network for the Empowerment of Women was just a fledgling organization after WW III. It was […]

The Painter

The Painter Determination pays off for this polite young girl. (1/2006)   A chill ran down Jane’s spine when the shopkeeper handed her the paintbrush. She had saved up for almost six months, stashing pennies and nickels and dimes under her mattress. When she first saw the paintbrush in the window of the store, she gasped and slowed to see it. Her mother, who was holding her hand as they walked, practically yanked her arm out of its socket. Hundreds of times since, Jane had snuck visits to the store and stared longingly through the window. The shopkeeper noticed her […]


Shave What an amazing sensation! (3/2006)   Our swim team finished the season 9-1 overall, and 6-0 and in first place in our league. In the fourth meet of the season, we managed to beat our cross-town rival, Lathrup, by just two points by going 1-2 in the final relay. But in our seventh meet, we lost badly to Kimball. It seems like we always lose to Kimball. It’s like those guys are all 6’5”, have webbed fingers and toes, and are able to breathe underwater. Even more exciting than our record that year was the fact that five of […]

Wrong Girl, Right Girl

Wrong Girl, Right Girl What’s a nice Jewish girl like you doing in a place like India? (3/2006) Inspired by a recent trip to India, and two lovely women   On her 41st birthday, after a nice quiet dinner with some close friends, Katherine was again alone in her home. How did I get here? she asked her cat. The cat just licked its paw twice and curled back into a comfortable snoozing position on the foot of Katherine’s bed. The wise cat sensed that by “here” Katherine didn’t mean America or Texas or Dallas or even this home. She […]

The Money Tree

The Money Tree What if money really did grow on trees? (7/2006)   At first I just thought someone kept dropping quarters. I kept finding them at the base of a funny-looking tree in our backyard. When I say it was funny-looking, I mean it was funny-looking, like no other tree I’d ever seen. And I know trees, let me tell you. It was in the center of our backyard, between the two lemon trees and in front of the cluster of liquid ambers along our back fence. It wasn’t until the fifth or sixth quarter that I started seriously […]

Lippy’s Gone

Lippy’s Gone A daughter with lip, and a great imagination (9/2006) Inspired by my daughter, and her great imagination   Elizabeth’s mother tried to pull the covers over her daughter, but Elizabeth kicked them off. “I don’t want to go to bed. I’m not tired,” Elizabeth said. Elizabeth’s mom put on her serious voice and said, “It’s bed time. Tomorrow’s a school day. You know that.” “I don’t care,” Elizabeth said. Then she pouted, hoping it would work, like it usually did. Elizabeth’s mom looked at the clock then back at her daughter. “I’m sorry, honey,” she said, “It’s bed […]