blackfoxbooks


Ad Space

Ad Space Seems like where we’re headed (5/2021)   The corporate wars weren’t wars, really. No, the government pretty much rolled over to the mega corps, slowly at first, then more rapidly, then completely. Citizens pretty much rolled over after that. Only a few wealthy folks can remain clothed, don’t have to sell themselves, literally. For the rest of us, well, things changed quickly once the new power structure was fully in place, before we became ad space. Mom’s old enough now where she’s only a level four. They say she’s too wrinkly, that her ad space isn’t worth much […]


Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunt Motivated by Zach’s salt map, a tale about the importance of sharing (2nd grade assignment; Mrs. Seger) (3/2006) This story is dedicated to my father. Thanks, dad.   About the author: Zachary Fine is a 2nd grade student in Morgan Hill, California. He is in Mrs. Seger’s class in room 22. He loves math, playing video games, and playing with his friends. He lives with his mother, father, and sister.   It was a warm, sunny, summer day in Techno-Land. While Joe walked along the Bumpy Battery Beach, he was looking at the village and the surrounding area. […]


George and Tiger

George and  Tiger A harrowing tale of escape in the jungle… (7/2002) By Zachary Fine   One day, George was walking in the jungle. A tiger saw George. The tiger was hungry and decided he wanted to eat George. So the tiger growled and ran towards George. Luckily, George saw the tiger coming and started to run away as fast as he could. George ran through the woods and suddenly came upon a big pool of mud. It was too big to jump across. As George turned around at the edge of the mud, the tiger approached. The tiger stared […]


Captain Poopy Pants

Captain Poopy Pants A yucky, disgusting story from the mind of a typical 5 year-old boy (7/2002) By Zachary Fine   One day, Captain Poopy Pants was walking down the street. Suddenly, he felt a warm, squishy feeling in his pants. Yuck! Captain Poopy Pants was about to find a bathroom to change his underwear, when a car suddenly came rushing towards him. The car bumped into him, and knocked him down. The driver of the car called an ambulance, which took the Captain to the hospital. At the hospital, the doctors asked the patient what his name was. He […]


Halloween Night

Halloween Night A scary tale, written in Mr. Farrell’s 4th grade class (11/2007) By Zachary Fine   On a stormy black Halloween night one year ago, I strolled alone down the sidewalk after a long night of trick or treating. As I walked, I heard the distant howls of some wild dogs. The golden moon stared down upon me and illuminated the abandoned mansion across the street. It glowered at me. In the daylight I had never noticed how threatening that house seemed. The icy cold wind made my body shiver as it swept through the leafless and lifeless trees […]


I Am

I Am A reflective poem, written in Mrs. Curtin’s 6th grade class (10/2009) By Zachary Fine     I am smart and hyperactive. I wonder if the universe ends. I hear footsteps when I walk to my next class. I see my feet when I look down. I want world hunger to end. I am smart and hyperactive.   I pretend Hobbes is real when I read Calvin and Hobbes. I feel that I can’t try new food. I touch my controller when I turn on the TV. I worry what my life will be like when I’m older. I […]


I Love Daddy

I Love Daddy By Sarah Elizabeth Fine 5/12/2003   I love Daddy. Sarah loves Daddy. Zachary loves Daddy. The sun is shining. I love you Daddy. Mom is Daddy’s life and mommy and daddy are friends and everybody gives hugs to them. I save a ring for Daddy. Daddy’s coming back early tonight and we can play together. Sarah. Daddy likes numbers and counting with Sarah Zachary likes Sarah. I like you Daddy and I like you Zachary and I like you Mom. Everybody likes me. I like you Daddy again. I like to eat macaroni and cheese. I like […]


Why Did the Eagle Cross the Road?

Why Did the Eagle Cross the Road? Even yet another wacky story similar in style to “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly” (11/2006)   Why did the eagle cross the road? To get to the other side. Why did the hawk cross the road? Because he was epoxied to the eagle that crossed the road to get to the other side. Why did the parrot cross the road? Because she was hitched to the hawk that was epoxied to the eagle that crossed the road to get to the other side. Why did the vulture cross the […]


Why Did the Fish Cross the Road?

Why Did the Fish Cross the Road? Yet another wacky story similar in style to “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly” (11/2006)   Why did the fish cross the road? To get to the other side. Why did the turtle cross the road? Because he was fastened to the fish that crossed the road to get to the other side. Why did the pufferfish cross the road? Because she was taped to the turtle that was fastened to the fish that crossed the road to get to the other side. Why did the frog cross the road? […]


Why Did the Penguin Cross the Road?

Why Did the Penguin Cross the Road? Another wacky story similar in style to “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly” (11/2006)   Why did the penguin cross the road? To get to the other side. Why did the tiger cross the road? Because he was pinned to the penguin that crossed the road to get to the other side. Why did the llama cross the road? Because she was tied to the tiger that was pinned to the penguin that crossed the road to get to the other side. Why did the walrus cross the road? Because […]


Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? A wacky story similar in style to “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly” (11/2006)   Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side. Why did the pig cross the road? Because he was chained to the chicken that crossed the road to get to the other side. Why did the rooster cross the road? Because she was paper clipped to the pig that was chained to the chicken that crossed the road to get to the other side. Why did the sheep cross the road? […]


Marty the Magnet Plays Baseball

Marty the Magnet Plays Baseball Oh, my head hurts! (11/2006)   This is a Microsoft PowerPoint document that you can view or print.  


Marty the Magnet Goes to School

Marty the Magnet Goes to School Oh, my head hurts! (11/2006)   This is a Microsoft PowerPoint document that you can view or print.  


The Not-So-Ordinary Adventures of Zachary Zilla

The Not-So-Ordinary Adventures of Zachary Zilla A boy and his friends start middle school (4/2006) Chapter book; Target ages: 9-13   This is a Microsoft Word document that you can read online or print  


Goldilocks and the Nine Planets

Goldilocks and the Nine Planets Before she met the three bears, Goldilocks was a space explorer… (9/2006) (Written before Pluto was declassified as a planet)   Once upon a time, there was an astronaut named Goldilocks. She went for a ride through space in her rocket ship. Pretty soon, she came to a solar system with nine planets. It looked interesting, so she flew right in. Goldilocks wanted to get out of her rocket and sunbathe. She landed on Venus. “This planet is too hot!” she said. “It’s the hottest planet even though there is one closer to the sun. […]


Sarah Has a Blanket Lamb

Sarah Has a Blanket Lamb A poem for my daughter, who really does have a blanket lamb… (11/2006) (To the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”)   Sarah has a little lamb, Little lamb, blanket lamb Sarah has a blanket lamb, A present on her birthday   Sarah has a blanket lamb, Brown eyed lamb, pink nosed lamb Sarah has a blanket lamb, With trimming pink and satin   Sarah has a blanket lamb, Sleep pal lamb, best pal lamb Sarah has a blanket lamb, Who’s with her all the time   Sarah has a blanket lamb, Cotton lamb, […]


What a View!

What a View! A hawk, a worm, and a rock… (11/2006)     This is a PowerPoint document that you can view/print.  


Three Powers

Three Powers The village chief gives his son a jewel, a sword, and a mirror upon his death (1/2009)   Ito’s father lay dying of fever. No one in the village knew how to help, not even the village shaman. Through four sunrises and four sunsets, Ito, just 17, sat by his father’s side while the women of the village cared for their chief. On the evening of the fifth sunset, Ito’s father whispered hoarsely to one of the women who quickly left the room and soon returned with a crimson velvet pouch. “Ito, my son, come closer.” Ito’s father […]


Ben, Bob, and Benny Cross the Lake

Ben, Bob, and Benny Cross the Lake Another Ben, Bob, and Benny adventure. Will Benny outsmart his brothers again? (10/2009)   This is the story of a family with four brothers, Ben, Bob, Benny, and baby Bobby. Ben, the oldest, was very competitive. One day, while his family was on vacation at the lake, he said to Bob and Benny, “I bet I can beat you to the other side of the lake.” Bob said, “I’ll take that bet.” Benny said, “All right, I’m in.” Baby Bobby said, “I know how to swim,” and scampered away. Ben, Bob, and Benny […]


Ben, Bob, and Benny Make Pancakes

Ben, Bob, and Benny Make Pancakes Another delicious Ben, Bob, and Benny story. Will Benny outsmart his brothers again? (10/2009)   This is the story of a family with four brothers, Ben, Bob, Benny, and baby Bobby. Ben, the oldest, was very competitive. One day, he said to Bob and Benny, “I bet I can make more pancakes than either of you.” Bob said, “I’ll take that bet.” Benny said, “All right, I’m in.” Baby Bobby said, “Ooh! Pancakes! I love pancakes!” They agreed the competition would take place Sunday morning. Each would have ten minutes to make as many […]


The Kind Frog

The Kind Frog Will Franklin the frog be kind to mean ol’ Jake the snake? (10/2009)   Franklin the frog was a kind frog, always proper and polite. Instead of saying “ribbit,” he said “good day.” After croaking, he apologized. After eating flies, he always wiped his mouth—and not with his sleeve, either. Like I said, he was very polite. One day, Franklin was waiting in line to get tickets to the opera. Jake the snake squirmed in line in front of Franklin. “Excuse me,” Franklin croaked. ”You cut in front of me. That’s not fair.” “Hisssssss,” Jake the snake […]


I Can Make 100

I Can Make 100 A celebration of the 100th day of school (Zachary, 1st Grade, Mrs. DeVillez) (1/2005)   This is a Microsoft Word document that you can print. It is suitable for grades K-2. (Includes printing instructions at the end of the document.)  


A Yard for the Dog

A Yard for the Dog A gentle lesson on the concepts of perimeter and area (3/2006)     This is a PowerPoint document that you can print. It is suitable for grades K-6.  


A Smile Behind the Bottle

A Smile Behind the Bottle 1/5/1998   As I hold you in my arms and feed you your bottle, you look up at me with your dark brown eyes. You are only three months old, but somehow your gaze seems more knowing than what I imagine possible from such a young infant. Your eyes lock on to mine. While looking down into your eyes, I take time to notice the rest of your angelic face. You have beautiful, clear skin now that the rashes that you had as a tiny baby have faded away. You have big puffy cheeks, so […]


Babble Back Louder

Babble Back Louder 1/18/1998   You’ve started “talking.” What you’re really doing, of course, is making sounds like “hyaaaaaah” and “eeeeeeh” and “geeeeee”. Sometimes an “uhhh-guhhh” or an “uhhh-ruuuuaa” sneaks out. We – your mom and I – think it’s about the cutest thing ever that you’re making these noises. When you have a child of your own some day, you’ll understand: you just can’t help but turn into a gushing moron when you have a baby! Your mom – your wondrous, glorious mom – is so silly. Whenever you babble (I think that’s a more accurate description than “talk”), […]


It’s So Funny!

It’s So Funny! 1/9/1998   Almost since you were born, I’ve played with your legs and feet. “Run run run” is one of our favorite games. I take your legs in my hands and make a running motion – pedaling motion, I suppose – with your legs. You love it, smiling brightly when we play this silly game. Sometimes we do “touchdown” at the end of a long run. Not always, of course, since even Barry Sanders doesn’t score on every run. Your attitude towards the whole “touchdown” thing seems to be a polite “yeah, whatever,” which I guess I […]


Stand Up Guy

Stand Up Guy 1/20/1998   After a short while sitting on my lap, I grasp you under your arms and hold you up. You wobble a bit at first, but then settle down. For a few seconds, you stand on your tip-toes, like many kids do. After this, your feet flatten and – with a little help, of course – you’re standing! Now, I don’t really know from babies. I don’t know many and I can’t say that I’ve memorized the Baby Maturation Highlight Schedule. But, boy, it sure seems to me that 3 ½ months is quite early to […]


Solid Food

Solid Food 1/12/1998 and 12/29/2002     You’re eating from a spoon! As amazing as it seems, it’s true. I’m sitting on the floor leaning against the couch, you’re sitting on my lap, and I’m holding from behind, trying to keep you upright. Mom’s feeding you a very soupy mixture of baby oatmeal and formula. With a spoon! I can’t get over that. Of course, it’s a silver spoon… You’re not quite sure what to make of things. Which is the strangest? — the new food taste or the spoon? ~~~~~ I never finished this letter back when I first […]


Roll Over, Zeethoven!

Roll Over, Zeethoven! 1/22/1998   This evening, while I was making dinner and your mom was working in her office, a magical thing happened: you rolled over for the very first time! We both walked into the family room where you were laying – well, where we thought you were laying – and lo and behold, you were on your stomach! Your mom and I gave each other a wide-eyed look. I think I let out a gasp. We knew that we had put you on your back – like we always do. We shared a joyous moment of realization […]


They’re Such Cute Little Jars

They’re Such Cute Little Jars 1/21/1998   After a perfect check up at the doctor, who told us that you could begin eating solid foods, your mom and I went and got you a variety of pureed baby foods. That’s right, boychik, we raided the Gerber shelves at the local Safeway for you. We got you peaches and pears. We got you bananas and applesauce. We got you carrots and squash and peas. Two jars of each. They’re such cute little jars, too. Your mom and I were practically giddy while we looked over the shelves of baby food for […]


This is MY Office

This is MY Office 10/2/2000   My wife, Lisa, and I gave our three-year-old son, Zachary, my old laptop computer yesterday. Until yesterday, he’d been using – and abusing – Lisa’s computer in her office. He started pounding on the keyboard about a year and a half ago. Over time, he watched us using it, emulated us and now can use the computer like a pro. Well, okay, at least he knows how to click the mouse while using his various games. I still worry he’ll accidentally delete all the files on the hard drive. After we put Zachary’s younger […]


Renember

Renember 10/23/2000   My son, Zachary, is three years old. He’s actually three years, one month and one day old. He’s the cutest little guy you’ve ever seen. Not just because of his adorable smile or his beautiful complexion, both of which he got from his mother. But because of his vivacious personality, his sweet, high pitch voice and the incredibly delightful things he says. Like “renember.” If you haven’t guessed, this is my son’s version of “remember.” For some reason he’s decided that it has one ‘n’ and one ‘m’ rather than two ‘m’s. Believe it or not, this […]


Scooby Doo

Scooby Doo 10/23/2000   My daughter, Sarah, is one and a half years old. Unlike my son, who got my wife’s melanin, Sarah got my lack thereof. For those of you who might not remember high school biology, melanin is the stuff that allows you to get a suntan. I’m sure it has some other, more important biological function, but frankly who cares. I just returned from a wonderful vacation with my family in Hawaii. We stayed at a hotel that had a large, incredible swimming pool complete with waterslides, waterfalls, swim up bars, a river – you name it. […]


That’s a Good Idea

That’s a Good Idea 1/3/2001   In a few days, my family is going on vacation in Mexico. We’re going with another couple and their two kids. My wife and I are looking forward to the trip, and spending some quality time with our two children. My kids, well, I’m not sure just how much a 3 year old and a 1 ½ year old understand about things like vacations and some place called Mexico. Today, my wife was explaining to my son Zachary that we were going on the trip. She explained that he, Sarah (his sister), mommy and […]


Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy 11/6/2001   Yesterday was my son’s first day of preschool. He’s three weeks shy of four years old. May all possibly difficult parenting situations go as smoothly as this did! As I left the classroom a mere three minutes after we arrived, I remarked to one of my son’s new teachers, “I’m sure you hear this all the time, but that was easier than I thought it would be!” He smiled a knowing smile. I sighed a relieved sigh. As soon as we walked into the room, my son, Zachary, dashed to a table, sat down […]


Tough First Day

Tough First Day 11/6/2001   Today was my daughter’s first day of preschool. She’s two and a half years old. She had a hard time with separation anxiety, but after a tough start, apparently – after I left – she had a good “second half”. Sarah is a Daddy’s Girl to the nth power. If I’m in the room, you’d think it physically pained her to be more than six inches from me. She’s not even content to sit between my legs; she absolutely must sit on my lap. Period. Given this, I had no illusions about how the day […]


Jeremy

Jeremy 10/11/2001   Between the big box of toys on one side and the basket full of stuffed animals on the other, Zachary was squirming under the snug covers of his bed. His father was lying next to him, tucking him in. This was part of their nightly routine, something that both Zachary and his father loved. Zachary had already gone to the bathroom, washed his hands and brushed his teeth. He was wearing his bright red cotton pajamas, the ones with the little white cars and trucks. “Tell me the story about Jeremy,” Zach encouraged his dad. “Tell me […]


Lady in Pink

Lady in Pink 11/5/2000   My daughter, Sarah, is a Princess. Sorry to be so blatant about my feelings for her, but, hey, those of you out there with daughters know exactly what I’m talking about. Sarah is fair-skinned, has brown hair and, surprising to everyone in my brown-eyed family, blue eyes. Actually sort of gray, I guess. She has most of her teeth now, and has an adorable smile. I suppose it’s really more of a grin, actually. Because of her light skin, Sarah looks great in pastel colors. My favorite on her is pink, of course. It is […]


Let’s Do Rockets

Let’s Do Rockets 3/25/2002   Awhile back, I went to the Tech Museum in San Jose. One of the displays that I found particularly interesting was one where they made little test tube rockets with water and Alka Seltzer. You fill the test tube about a third of the way, add a small piece of Alka Seltzer, put the stopper in, and turn the test tube over. In just a few seconds, the pressure within the test tube builds and the test tube shoots up into the air. Elegantly simple and quite thrilling, actually. A few days ago, I bought […]


I Ride a Two Wheeler!

“I Ride a Two Wheeler!” 5/26/2002   My son came home “with a secret” a week ago today. He spent the day with his weekend nanny, Dinize, and the three boys that she takes care of during the week. When he got home, he rushed into the house to show me his secret. He guided me outside to show me. The next thing I know, Zachary sits on his bike and gets a push from Dinize. Simple as that, he’s riding his bike… with no more training wheels! His hair was flapping in the wind and he had a grin […]


Sisterly Kiss

Sisterly Kiss 12/2002 (Sarah at 1 ½ years old)   For the past few weeks, I’ve received an amazing gift each night. My daughter Sarah, 1 ½, now kisses my son Zachary, 3, goodnight each night. When the time comes – 8pm or so – we tell her it’s time for night-night. We’re very lucky – she doesn’t usually put up a fuss. I ask her to give her mom a kiss and she does. I ask her to give her brother a kiss goodnight and she does. Now, this might not sound like much, but it is all the joy […]


Infinity One

Infinity One 1/3/2003   My son, Zach, is five. He absolutely loves numbers and seems to have great intuition about them. Just five, he can do single-digit addition and subtraction without any problem, and can do most double-digit addition problems. He understands multiplication, although hasn’t memorized his multiplication table yet. Amazingly, he understands negative numbers, even. And, he understands “infinity.” “It’s the biggest number, ever,” he says. Unifying his math knowledge with an unbelievably big heart, “I love you infinity,” he’ll often say. Besides all the standard warmth I get as a parent hearing my child saying that he loves […]


Cute Shirt

Cute Shirt 1/29/2003   I own a certain shirt that’s very bright. It’s a cotton mock turtleneck with horizontal stripes of orange, yellow, hot pink and green. It’s a “shirt and a half” as one colleague once said. The shirt was buried somewhere at the bottom of one of my drawers until my wife’s cleaning spree recently unearthed it. I wore it the other day for the first time in years. When my son, Zachary, saw me, the first thing he said was, “I like your shirt, Dad.” “Thanks, Zach,” I replied, pleased to hear his compliment. My daughter chimed […]


Monopoly Man

Monopoly Man 5/28/2003   My son, Zach, is five and a half. He has recently become obsessed with playing Monopoly (the real game, not just the kid’s version). He absolutely loves numbers, so Monopoly is perfect for him. Only five, he’s already very comfortable with numbers in the thousands or even higher. It’s so awesome to hear him talk excitedly about how I’ll have to pay him “One Thousand, One Hundred Dollars” if I land on such-and-such a property. “That’s the same as “Eleven Hundred Dollars, Dad,” he tells me. And he loves making change. In all sorts of creative […]


No Exit (Yet)

No Exit (Yet) Sartre was right, at least temporarily, for this woman (11/2002; ultra short)   “Don’t make me go. I don’t want to go,” Linda pleaded. “But you have to.” “Why? Why do I have to? I don’t understand.” “Because you can’t be here.” “What do you mean? I’m here aren’t I? And it’s so lovely here. So peaceful.” Linda looked longingly upon the quiet calm. “I know you want to be with us. We’ve seen that for years. But you’re not supposed to be here yet.” It broke his heart to see someone like Linda in this situation. […]


Would You Turn The Key?

Would You Turn The Key? Which way would you go? (12/2002; ultra short)   The red light flashed on the gray wall. The klaxons rang, painfully loudly. The two men instinctively turned and looked at one another in disbelief. Or perhaps in terror. The light and the siren meant only one thing – fire the missiles. The men reluctantly removed their operations manuals and strained to perform the steps listed. It was finally time for the two final steps. Steps that would lead to the destruction of the world as they knew it. But one of the men began having […]


Mr. Kim’s

Mr. Kim’s A soothing, relaxing day at the spa. Or is it? (12/2002; ultra short)   Mary Thomas had just completed a grueling six-month assignment with a demanding client and decided to treat herself to a day of pampering. After sleeping in until ten o’clock – something that she hadn’t done in years – Mary rolled out of bed and put on a pair of sweat pants and a ratty AIDS Walk t-shirt. She didn’t even bother to shower. She pulled a torn, fading Yankees baseball cap down over her unruly hair instead of combing it. After a quick bowl […]


Parental Pressure

Parental Pressure Charley’s parents always hoped he’d be successful… (12/2002; ultra short)   Charley was nervous. Really nervous. More nervous than he was when he took the advanced placement tests in Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Calculus. Even more nervous than when he had to give his graduation speech as his class’ valedictorian. Charley paced back and forth outside the bar’s front door, occasionally shaking out his arms and legs but his attempts to loosen up didn’t seem to work. He re-entered the bar and headed to the back of the smoky performance area. There he waited. Scott, a guy he’d […]


Discretion

Discretion Would your lips be sealed? (12/2002; ultra short)   “You did?” “Uh huh.” “Really?” “Really.” “With Marshall? Last night?” “Yep.” “With Marshall?” “Mm hmmmmm,” Jane practically purred. “I thought he was gay.” “He is definitely not gay. I’ve got three used condoms in my trash can at home that can definitely attest to that.” “Wow!” “You can say that again,” Jane said conspiratorially with a wicked smile on her face. “Marshall? Marshall from accounting? With the HP 41C calculator in his shirt pocket?” “What’s so hard to believe? If you take off his glasses, he’s got the most amazing […]


The Mourning After

The Mourning After Tina Turner sang it best… (1/2003; ultra short)   The house was overflowing with people. Old people. All friends of Abe’s. They were everywhere – at the kitchen table, in the living room, on the two dozen folding chairs she’d set up in the piano room. They were all so old, she thought to herself. Their clothes were worn and rumpled and saggy. And they all smelled, well, old. Tina, 28, was considerably younger than Abe had been. Most of her friends wondered why a beautiful, shapely girl like Tina married a geriatric like Abe. Tina told […]