“Did you hear me, Jack?” I asked loudly. “I’m not deaf, Ed,” Jack yelled, though I suspected he was referring to my question, not to the news I had shared just before that. I smiled and nodded. I could have apologized, but he wouldn’t have heard me. If you believed Jack (I hadn’t made up my mind yet), he actually heard everything perfectly well, but all at the same volume, so if you talked to him while a record spun on the turntable and bacon fried on the stove, the three sounds Read more [...]

The Art of Competition

Sunday (beep) Hi hon. Got your message earlier, glad your flight was good. I imagine you're at your sister's now, so I'll talk to you later, but I wanted to ask a favor real quick. I'm hoping Maggie could draw me a picture tonight. I know I don't mention it often, but I love Mag's drawings, and I think they would add a nice mood to my cube at work. Just have her draw it on regular paper, or maybe bigger, like 11 by 17, then take a photo and email it to me. I'll resize and print the photo at the Read more [...]

The Calling

God left a message on my answering machine. At least she said she was God, though I must admit, I'm skeptical. While I was always the first to say, upon hearing some offhand comment in which the almighty received a male pronoun, some righteous spiel about a history of patriarchy and the bias of the church, culminating with my assertion that God is just as likely a woman, I don't know that I ever believed it. I simply wanted to catch the ear of the feminist girls, whose politics asserted that there Read more [...]

Goodbye, Pittsburgh

Commemorative Pittsburgh mugs. It's ridiculous that such a product was ever available for resale, let alone that it should be a valued commodity. But he won't drink his coffee from anything else, lying that the constricted space created by the ceramic handles fit his large hands "just right." Colored like Christmas, fragile despite their bulk, I know why they're his favorites. Pittsburgh is where she lived, she whose name we do not speak. As if a language without her name could keep her out Read more [...]


"You're too drunk to look at the moon!" She hurled this accusation nightly, rarely with any accuracy. I'll give her Tuesday, sure, 10 minutes scanning the sky before I felt the rain drops. And Sunday, when I tried in vain to focus on the craters of the moon only to give up before she pointed out that I was looking at the streetlight, she was right about that one. But tonight, I wasn't losing my arm-wrestling battle with the bottle. It was moon time. "My herb pots spread the yard watered just Read more [...]

Save, Doc Vaughn!

The empty red bags of Cheetos were now lined up perfectly, pressed flat with a clear Bic pen, each package aligned with the table edge and overlapping the last so that seen from above, it may have seemed like one large bag of Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Cheetos. My fingers had repeatedly dipped into each snack during consumption, so now as they applied the final adjustments to the bags, each digit looked like the result of a botched operation, my fingers severed at the knuckles and surgically replaced with peeled Read more [...]