Personal Favorites

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 […]

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 […]

Building a Bridge

Building a Bridge A king gets help with an important project from a young boy. (10/2001)   There once was a King who ruled in a far away land. His name was King Two Sides. King Two Sides ruled a land called Yarzach. This land encompassed many hundreds of acres of land, with two large lakes and a river that snaked its way between the lakes, dividing the land into two regions. Both regions of the land were beautiful in their own way. The regions were also very different from one another. The King wanted to commission a bridge so […]

Ten Questions

Ten Questions A man meets a woman and finds out if she’s compatible… (11/2002)   As soon as he opened the door, Robert Sherman suddenly felt heavy, like he always felt when going out to a bar. He’d all but given up hope that he’d find Ms. Right at a place where people attempted to turn slurred speech into glamour. He felt heavy from the apparent futility of it all. Robert stood just inside the doorway for a minute and allowed his eyes to adjust to the bar’s relative darkness compared to the glaring outer lights that served as a […]

Dream House

Dream House A tale of a very special house. (12/2002)   Her hair still a mess, but her teeth brushed, Claire closed the door to the guest bedroom in which she had slept and skipped down the stairs and entered the kitchen. “Good morning, Anne,” she said as she saw her host sitting at the table drinking a cup of coffee and reading the morning paper. “Good morning, Claire. How did you sleep?” Claire didn’t really know how to answer; she hadn’t actually slept much and yet felt incredibly well rested. She had had the most amazing dream of her […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Waiting Room

Waiting Room While I wait, I worry (9/2006) I’m waiting in the waiting room. The upbeat instrumental muzak is playing too loudly from the small stereo on the desk in the corner. The harsh fluorescent lights are too bright, reflecting off the depressing threadbare turquoise carpet. I’m the only one here, except for the receptionist behind the desk. She’s filing papers while I write this. My wife’s health is at risk while I write this. She just went in. I didn’t know if I should go in with her or not. Usually I do whenever we’re at a doctor’s office […]


Pushed A girl tries to cope with her two Type A parents (2/2008) Once again, I’m sitting in our den, in my great grandmother’s wicker rocking chair. Once again, I’m staring at the stupid wood clock on the mantle that my younger brother made at summer camp a few years ago. Once again, we’re having a “family meeting”, which means my mom and dad are railing on me yet again. Somehow, the term “family meeting” means my parents and me. My special ed brother, Tommy, is never a part of the meetings. Mom’s all up in my face because I […]