“A Gift for Santa”

I placed another log on the fire and felt the warmth fill the family room. My son Ted struggled to tear the Santa wrapping paper from his big Christmas present. My lovely wife Mary left the glow of the fireplace and knelt down in her red nightgown to aid Ted in his efforts. The smell of pine complemented the taste of eggnog in my reindeer glass. I paused for a moment taking a mental picture of Mary and Ted with the enormous, decorated Christmas tree behind them. A beautiful holiday memory! But then I opened my eyes to the reality …

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“When The Rains Fell”

The roar of the motorcycle zooming up the driveway and into the garage woke Keri. Again! Damn drunk of a brother-in-law! She didn’t need to look at the clock. It would be after two when the bars closed on Friday nights. She hurried to lodge the kitchen chair against the locked door of her bedroom. If Keri failed to act, good old drunk Richard would “accidentally” jump into bed with her. She stood by the door listening to Richard stumble and bumble his way in the house. As she turned back to her bed, loud pounding began on the bedroom door …

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“Screamville USA” – 1

A new school year starts for me today. Ma left my clothes on hangers. I get to wear my new shirt, the blue and white one. Twice a year I have new clothes, now and Christmas. Same jeans and same tennis shoes. But that’s alright. Ma don’t have much money. She does the best she can. I picked up my brown bag lunch off the counter. For the first time I get my own house key. So I locked the door and hurried down the sidewalk to school. Ma was at work by now. You gotta find your name on …

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“Screamville USA” – 2

As I walked to school, Addison met me on the sidewalk. I said,”Ain’t the leafs pretty when they change colors to red, yellow and orange?” “That happens every September,” Addison responded. “Aren’t you excited? Today’s the day the new Halloween store opens. It took two extra weeks.” “I’ll go only if you go.” “We’ll go together. I’ll meet you on the playground after school.” We reached Sterling Elementary and went our separate ways. Mrs. Manning had a big  September calendar next to the chalkboard. Half of the days had red x’s over them. The school year was going fast. We …

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“Screamville USA” – 3

Ma and I talk over dinner every night about our day. Usually I have nothing to say and I listen to ma’s stories about being a maid at the Days Inn. But today was different. “Ma I seen the new Halloween store in town. It was exciting. The whole school was there for the opening.” “Saw the new store,” ma corrected me. Ma stirred her coffee and looked down at the table. “You know I can’t afford to buy you a new costume. Maybe we can fix up that scarecrow costume your grandma made for you last year.” “It don’t …

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“Screamville USA” – 4

When ma came home, I followed her around the house telling her all of my day’s stories. “My class won the Halloween door decorating contest! Our whole class gets free ice cream Friday.” Ma said,”We’ll have to have can soup for dinner. I don’t get paid till tomorrow.” Before I could continue my stories, there was a knock at the front door. Mandrake shook ma’s hand. He was carrying a big bag. “Hello Mrs. Wheeler. I’m Mandrake from Screamville USA. Could I speak with you and your son? I brought dinner.” We hurriedly produced plates and silverware as Mandrake pulled …

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“The Witch’s Door”

“Hey Jersey Boy, let’s go.” “I told ya, call me Mickey. Don’t live in Jersey no more.” I couldn’t stay mad at Ben. He was my first friend in this new country life. “Where you going son?”  Ma’s voice from the kitchen. She usually sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee with Aunt Sally and crying bout dad. Ma got a folded American flag for daddy. We lost our home and had to move here. “I’ll be back later ma,” I called out as I closed the screen door. “Hey Mickey.” Jose joined us. He was younger than me and …

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“MEPHISTOPHELES”

I sat in the darkness with my newly lit cigar and a glass of forty year old Macallan Scotch. Easing back in my comfortable rocking chair I tried to relax.  Smooth jazz played through my Bose speakers. Dave Brubeck will be missed in the music world. I wore my navy silk pajamas one last time. My life was ending and I had grown to accept the inevitable event. Will this be my new reality – eternal night? Dr. Harvey gave me my death sentence. “Sorry, there’s nothing left we can do. The cancer has spread throughout your body. Go home. …

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“If the Shoe Fits”

Annie marched down the sidewalk, passed the car-lined street, and blended in with the large group of people walking towards the mansion. At that moment she searched through the crowd. “Ricky?” “I’m here.” A reluctant Ricky responded. “Told ya I’d rather wait in the car.” Her flowing red hair and captivating smile made it hard for him to say no. “This is where Vito the Mauler Lepinski lived! One of the most famous mobsters of all time. Don’t you wanna see his house?” They walked through the imposing iron gate. He caught up with her. “No. Not interested in a …

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“One Summer Night” – 1

I’m heading home to see Granny Grace on my way through Ohio. In the past after another year of teaching, I would’ve stayed in New York and complained all summer that there was nothing to do and no one to see. But I’m trying to change my crappy attitude and live life again. Just thinking of spending all my childhood summers at granny’s flooded my mind with tons of memories. Catching lightening bugs at night and watching the glow in your hand were priceless times as a youth. Drinking pitchers of Kool-Aid in the hot summer days, did it really …

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