Category Archives: Short Fiction (Misc)

Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter six, part two

“Hello?”  I barked, not pleased to be talking and cooking at the same time.  However, I was physically unable to let a ringing phone ring, much to my chagrin.  More than one salesperson had been on the receiving end of a tongue-lashing by me for interrupting whatever it was I had been doing.  Anu Dosh, the finance person—including fundraising—in my theater group, screened her calls without fail, and while I admired her, there was no way I could emulate her.  Bobby Lee, our PR person, on the other hand, started questioning the telemarketer the minute he picked up the phone which usually caused the caller to hang up first.  Bobby derived great satisfaction from making a caller cry, something that happened with surprising regularity.

“You bitch!  What did you do with it!”  The voice on the other hand was slurred, and I had trouble deciphering what she was saying.  “I knew you took it, you Chink.  You were the only one there.  Give it back!”

“Kayla?  Is that you?”  I asked cautiously.  “What do you want?”

“You were always jealous because I was fucking Matt, and you wished you could.  All you Chinks are sly like that.  That’s why you took it, you bitch!”

“Goodbye, Kayla.”  I hung up the phone without further ado, turning back to my wrapping.  I was glad she didn’t have my cell phone number as that would seriously piss me off.  Only a handful of people plus the theater gang had that number, and I preferred to keep it that way.  I hated the idea of people being able to reach me 24/7, but as a member of the Fabulous Five, I often needed to be available to the other members at odd hours of the day.  The landline rang again, but I managed to ignore it this time.

The dumplings were coming along so nicely, I decided to also make some egg rolls.  I had the skins for those as well, and they would make a nice complement to the dumplings.  I was planning to fry everything, throw it in the freezer, thaw it in the morning, then heat it up when I got to Julia’s place.  While I was making the egg rolls, I fumed over Kayla’s audacity.  No doubt she’d discovered that I’d found her hidey-hole and took her stuff, but that was no reason for her to be so mean about it.  I was doing her a fucking favor, and all she could do was berate me and call me names.  I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stomach working with her on account of her being such an unmitigated bitch—no matter how much I owed Matt.  There had to be some other way to repay him, preferably one which included getting naked, and he’d understand my pulling out—wouldn’t he?  Speak of the devil, I heard the front door slam.

“Hey, what are you doing?”  Matt burst into the kitchen where I was still rolling up the egg rolls.  “Aw, snap.  You have one of your potlucks tomorrow.  It’s so not fair that I have to eat caf food when you get to nosh on homemade goodies.”  Matt gave me the puppy dog face meant to soften me up.  I knew perfectly well that he had a million of restaurants to go to near the JDC, but I fell for it, anyway.

“I’ll make you some.  And I have some extra dumplings, too,” I said with a smile.

“You are the best,” Matt said, his eyes lighting up.  “Though I’m kind of hungry right now.  Didn’t get enough to eat for dinner.”

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Taking Out the Trash

Editor’s Note: I wrote this after spending countless hours pouring over the Sandusky case. It was cathartic.

Tad Collins cut his London broil, rare, into small pieces as he studiously ignored the reporters clustered around him. Any time one of them crossed an invisible line, the bodyguards surrounding Tad would make it clear that said reporter had better back off – or else. As Tad ate his steak, his cell phone rang suddenly. He pulled it out of his pocket, frowning as he noted the number.

“Stay here,” he ordered his bodyguards in a quiet, forceful voice. “Make sure no one follows me.” Without waiting for an answer, he stood up from the table and exited the restaurant. He had hired an excellent bodyguard corps, and not one reporter dared to follow him. The second Tad was out of view, his entire manner changed from a confident swagger to subtle supplication. His cell was still ringing, and finally answered, his voice barely above a whisper.

“Robbie, I told you that you can’t call me now. It’s too dangerous.” He couldn’t hide the longing in his voice, no matter how he strove to keep his tone even. He was about to add something when he felt a pain in his neck, and then – nothing.
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Chasing Red

Editor’s Note: This is one of my favorite short stories I’ve ever written.

There was a bite to the air, as there often was late at night. The area was desolate, as if mourning the gloomy weather. The waves lapping against the shore were the only sound to be heard, other than an occasional rumble in the distance. There were faint streaks of cerise cutting through the swaths of blackness in the night sky, but they were nearly impossible to spot with the naked eye. The moon glimmered from behind a small cluster of clouds, affording minimal light to anyone intrepid enough to venture out. The beach was deserted, properly so, as it would be unwise for anyone to stumble upon the sands in the dead of night.

There was one brave soul, looking impossibly small as she stood on the cliff high above the ocean. Even though the night was chilly, she was wearing only a thin carnelian dress that could more rightfully be labeled a slip. She didn’t seem to be affected by the cold as she twirled in the dark, her hands extended exultantly to the sky. Her burgundy-painted lips stretched into a generous smile as she soaked up the frigid atmosphere. There was condensation in the air—signaling an imminent rainfall. She squared her shoulder and straightened her spine as she took her first step forward.


San Francisco. She looked around her tiny crackerjack box studio in Bernal Heights. She thought her studio in Minneapolis had been small; it was palatial compared to this prison cell. She could stretch out her arms and touch the wall on either side of her. Slight exaggeration, but not much of one—and the place cost her twice what her studio in Minneapolis had. The walls were an ugly salmon pink, and the paint was crumbling in the corners. She hated pink. She hated crumbling paint. She hated corners. She hated hills. She flopped down on the futon and stared at the stucco ceiling instead so she wouldn’t have to deal with the glaring defects of her new home.

The next few weeks passed in a haze. No job, no school, no friends, no life, no prospects. Each day bled into the next. She’d wake up and lie on her futon, staring at the ceiling for hours. Many minutes would pass before she’d remember to blink. By then, her eyes would be dried out, and shutting them would literally hurt. The stucco swirled before her eyes as she stared and stared. Like a Dali painting, shapes began to emerge when she softened her gaze but didn’t actually close her eyes. Voluptuous nude female figures recumbent, standing erect, doubled over, flirting, making love with each other. When she’d found the last hidden figure for the day, only then would she drag herself out of bed and throw herself into the shower in order to eat up some of the interminable time that suffocated her days. Sure, she could have done something useful like paint the walls a different color – a bright coral would have been nice – but that would have taken energy she just couldn’t spare.
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