Recently Published Stories

Remembering – Published on “Sweet, a Literary Confection”

The scream was a deep, miserable thing that flew out of my mouth, gushing into the room like rusty water bursting from a pipe. I gripped the edge of your crib and watched the graying of your skin; marveled at your beautiful lips, parted as if you were still breathing.  [Read more]

One Good Thing

My father was a self-proclaimed atheist, but he had a secret place of worship beneath the trees. His temple, an old army cot dragged under a massive avocado tree he named Susan. Her branches, heavy and abundant, leaned close and enveloped him, offering protection from the world outside. His religious canon varied, but Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemmingway, and John Steinbeck come to mind. In that hushed green sanctuary with his sacramental whiskey bottle, surrounded by words of power, he found peace. Throughout my childhood, other trees received his affection as well: our orchard’s fruit trees. They were adored and sung to, these carefully grafted peach, apricot, and Valencia orange trees. They held his fascination like no human could, and I envied them. Eventually I grew to admire Dad’s love of green things; he passed this quality on to me.  [Read more]

The Hackamore

Dad was infamous for the “jobs” he created for us on weekends, vacations or any time there was a spare moment, especially if he heard giggling. Back then I thought nothing of his tasks: sharpening knives and tool blades with a massive kick-wheel whetstone; watering an acre of five-gallon saplings with a weak hose in the blistering sun; driving the open-topped jeep alone at age ten loaded with alfalfa to feed cattle, horse blankets piled high on the driver’s seat so I could see where I was going. It all seemed normal to me. This particular day, one week before my 12th birthday, my job was to test ride Oakie – a Quarter horse Dad had won gambling. I wasn’t looking forward to it. I knew nothing about this horse and I bet Dad didn’t either. The way I saw it, this job could go well, or it could land me in the hospital. Didn’t matter. If Dad told me I had to do it, I had to show up.  [Read more]