Take Me Home

The first hour after the school day ended was my favorite. Both of my parents worked so I’d have the whole house to myself to watch cartoons, sneak snacks, and put off homework. I raced home on my bike along the same route every day. Schoolyard, up Greeden, over to Maplewood, down Magnolia, and then... Continue Reading →

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No Place In Peace

Dudley’s not such a great name, huh? I’ve never thought so and I’m one of the sad sacks saddled with it. Dudley Stephen Smith. Technically the second, I think, but I’m not well versed enough in generational naming semantics to be sure. What I do know, however, was that the guy I’m named for, my... Continue Reading →

Auntie Bells

Auntie Bells wasn't really my auntie, or anyone else's for that matter. I'm not sure she even had any real family at all. It was just what everyone called her. She'd been a fixture in the neighborhood since long before I was born and there wasn't a single person who didn't at least know of... Continue Reading →

The Drainage Ditch Dahlia

Before she was the drainage ditch Dahlia, she was someone’s daughter, a friend, maybe a sister or a wife. A person somebody had to have known. She’d been found in a ditch off a rural road a few days before by a trucker who’d pulled over to relieve himself. Naked, severed in two at the... Continue Reading →

Everyone’s Invited

It wasn’t a surprise when Kaylyn started handing out invitations to her Halloween party before homeroom. What was a surprise was that I received one. I stared at the orange envelope she was holding out toward me and then up at her. “For me?” I asked uncertainly. Kaylyn and I had never been friends. Acquaintances,... Continue Reading →

Spider Girl

When my daughter was young, she liked to make up silly rules for our household. On Wednesday evenings, we all wore a sock on our right foot, but nothing on our left; if someone sneezed, the only polite response was “Godzilla nights”; if you dropped something you were carrying, you had to leave it on... Continue Reading →

Be A Good One

“Be a good one.” It was what my grandfather said to me when I told him I wanted to be a cop. I promised him I would. I’d been nervous, standing in front of him and the rest of my family and saying it out loud. They were all college educated and white collared. I... Continue Reading →

Stingy Jack

Jack O’Lanterns were never part of my Halloween. Gran didn’t allow them. She didn’t approve much of any modern All Hallow’s Eve traditions, but especially not the carved pumpkins. “A Devil’s gift to a damned soul,” she’d say. Her Irish lilt was always thicker when she was was reproachful. “As long as I’m under this... Continue Reading →

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