The other night, the king came back from the dead and he was even dragging his throne with him up from the pit in the earth where he’d been killed by his enemies over three thousand years ago.
He put his crown back on what was left of his skull and looked out on his kingdom. Which was gone.
The kingdom had been replaced by a residential neighborhood. A quiet suburban street. The castle that’d once stood there, had long been ruined, demolished, all the stones carted away. Forgotten.
A blue light from a TV flickered in the window of a modest sleeping house. Maybe sorcery.
He gazed at driveways with cars in them. At Cats in the Windows. Dogs unseen, and unfazed by threat, slept at the foot of this bed and that bed.
Lawn sprinklers ticked in the moonlight.
The king gazed up at the humming street lights, and the power lines that swooped down. A water tower standing in the distance looked like a sleeping monster. The king was quiet not to wake it.
He dragged his throne down the center of the street, left it on someone’s front lawn, right beside a realty sign with a woman’s smiling face and fingers criss crossed under a chin, neck wrapped in pearls.
He went back down into his pit in the earth to find his ceremonial sword and his personal guard, who’d also been slaughtered.



The other morning I drove into town to hit the bank and the library to return a magazine. But when I got to Western Avenue, I had to slam on the brakes. The road ended abruptly, intersected by a wide channel of water.
This was new.
I got out of the car and looked across the water but could only see a block wall.
A voice from the top of the wall yelled, “Be gone!”
“What’s happened?”
“I have no idea what’s happened. I can only tell you what will happen if you don’t turn around.”
“And what’s that?”
An arrow sailed down and stuck in the windshield of my Hyundai Elantra.

I got in my car and drove the long way, taking a country road. The arrow had destroyed the rear view mirror and I was worried about getting a ticket from the cops, but I saw no cops.
Usually there’s at least one cruiser sitting under the train bridge by the new luxury condominiums, but there was no cop car there.
The woods looked terrible. Thinning out. The last time I’d driven through here, the woods had been thick with leaves and trunks and singing birds. Something else, strange, the water tower with its bright colorful eagle painted on it for our town’s high school football team was gone. I’d driven past that water tower most of my life, now there was just a void there. Only sky.

When I took Deer Run Road, hoping to get into town that way, I was annoyed to again hit a wide channel of water. The drawbridge was up. Thick planked and raised with chains so big they looked like plastic props someone would wear for Halloween.
At least this way had a drawbridge. Beyond the drawbridge was another block wall and beyond that, I thought I could make out the peaks of a castle.

A woman in a suit of armor stood across the water, some kind of guard at that side of the drawbridge.
“Hello!” I said, “What’s going on here?”
“Nothing is going on here,” she said. “Unless you have business for it to be more than nothing.”
“I’m trying to get to the bank before noon.”
“Bank? Forget the bank. Go back to your farm.”
“I don’t live on a farm.”
“You do now. Everyone is a farmer who lives outside the castle walls.”
“I’m an electrical engineer. That’s how I make my money.”
“Forget money!” She yelled, “You’ll give us 3/4 of what crops you raise or we’ll burn your farm down and kill your family.”
“I don’t have a family.”
“Well you better hurry up and make one quick to help you with a bountiful harvest.”
“I don’t plan on any kind of harvest.”
“We won’t protect you from the hordes if you don’t provide a bountiful harvest!”
“We’ll open the gates.”
“Oh, you know what! Fuck you! Lower the drawbridge, I’m coming across.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you correctly,” she said. “I want to make sure. What did you just say?”
A large hunk of stone sailed over the wall. It crashed down next to my Hyundai as I sped backwards.

I drove through town the way I’d come.
The thinning woods were completely gone now. The land was flat without even a tree stump.
I drove down the street where I lived and found my house gone too. My entire development was a flat field.
I could barely pass in my car, the road was too muddy.
My neighbor George was pushing a cart towards me, I stopped and rolled down the window.
“What are you doing?”
“You didn’t hear? Oh god, bunch of bullshit. This morning this big shot king came up from a cursed hole in the ground and reclaimed this whole area as his rightful realm.”
“I saw the moat and the drawbridge. They tried to crush me with a cannonball … Oh wait, a cannonball would be different. This was a catapult.”
“Catapult. Yeah that got those,” George said. “And crazy guys on horses, in spades. Least you still got your car. It’ll help you plow your field.”
“I’m not plowing a field!”
“They’ll kill ya, dude. They just put Carl and Kathy’s heads on pikes.” he pointed at where Kathy and Carl’s blue Cape Cod had stood.
“Come on, hop in the car, let’s get out of here.”
George declined the ride, said, “You don’t want to get beyond the safety of the walls. The hordes are worse than the king’s men.”
“Says who?”
“The King, whatever his name is.”

I put the peddle to the floor and burst up the muddy road.
Men on horseback stood in a line ahead. Arrows smacked against the front of my car. I slowed when I saw the way out of town didn’t exist any more. A tall stone wall was there instead. I stopped completely when I saw the battering ram coming towards me, and the horses I’d have to kill with my Hyundai for no reason.
My car was swarmed with suits of armor and clanking swords and hammers and an ax that went through the hood and became lodged in the engine itself.



Yesterday I started to hear screams from outside the walls of my prison cell. The guard who had been taunting me and talking about how vicious my execution would soon be was suddenly gone from the chamber outside of my cell.
The sun fell and the room became dark.
My voice was only an echo that bounced down the stone hallway. But then there was a light. A torch, and a woman in a hooded robe carrying the torch.
When she got closer, and lowered the hood, I saw it was Louise, the manager from the food store across the street from the dry cleaner.
She had keys in her hand, but none of them fit the lock.
“We’ve got to get out of here,” she said. “I think we might be the only normal people left …”
“That’s beat.”
Still another key didn’t work. The lock rattled but didn’t pop.

“I know a place we’ll be safe,” she said. “I’ll take you there.” 
“What’s all the screaming?” I asked. 
“People being eaten …”
“Eaten by what?”
She tried another key. That one didn’t fit either. “Ughh, by—“
There was something running up behind her in the hallway. It didn’t take long. It bit in and dragged her down to the ground.
A dinosaur.
More of them came into the hallway. They ripped Louise apart and ate her. I was weeping and cowering in the corner of my cell as they pounded the bars trying to get in at me. But I was happy that the bars were there and that I was safe.


The screams have stopped. When I woke up this morning, I could see through the wall in a spot, it was eroding away. There was now a small window, created by chance.
Outside, I saw piles of feather-covered dinosaurs face down in the mud.
Or belly up, sizzling in the sun.
The bars to my cell were rusted out so thin, I was able to spread them with my hands. I walked out of the crumbling castle just as it collapsed into dust and absorbed back into the wet sloppy ground.
I walked to a fallen dinosaur and saw it was being consumed from the inside out. Bacteria.
In the distance, I could see a single tree.
I walked towards the tree.
I wondered what I could create. Gasoline is made from oil but how? Electricity is made by causing a turbine to spin. But how do you make a turbine? And what is alternate current or direct current other than magic right now? I have seen boy scouts make fire with a stick or a piece of flint in a Youtube video but there is no wifi any longer and I can’t access those Youtube videos.
Underneath the tree, I found the throne, I found the crown. 
I kept walking.
Ahead in the distance, trees are pushing up out of the slop, rising like a time lapse video of the moon coming up from seemingly nothing.
My Air Jordans are slick with primordial ooze. 


Story published at The Heavy Contortionists

Happy New Year! I’m back at work today at the oil refinery, taking apart some machinery, moving equipment around–but I don’t care, had a great New Year’s party with lots of NYC friends coming over and keeping me company.

Today, a new short story, “Forks, Spoons, Knives” is running at Mark Cronin’s new site, The Heavy Contortionists. You can check out the story

Cronin is the author of the novel Gigantic Failure which you should check out. He was also a part of the now defunct HTML GIANT, so keep your eye on the Heavy Contortionists, it’ll be a site with some great content, I can feel it in my bones.

Anyways, off I go to get covered in oil. I hope you have a really good day today.



New Short Story, “Forks, Knives, Spoons, So On”


just made coffee.

and today saw a bunch of brightly colored party balloons drift slowly over the oil refinery. at first we thought they were a helicopter. then, nope, just party balloons. drifting slowly.


new short story, Forks, Knives, Spoons, So On–about losing stuff, wives, forks, spoons, bath tub privileges, hope click here to read

Thank you for all the love. I’m over here loving you back and listening to Beethoven on my little record player.

Short Story Published at Smoke Long

Happy to see that my short story “Junior In The Tunnels” is running at Smoke Long Quarterly. I really like Smoke Long and was thrilled that they took this particular one.

You can check it out here

After the story there is an interview link about “Junior In The Tunnels” how it was written, the different interpretations of it, so and so forth.20140623-092832-34112188.jpg


 everything photo


I hadn’t considered the cotton candy machine. That was the worst part of being a clown—lugging the machine from my car, across their lawns, up their steps, into the houses. Its stainless steel was always red hot, burning the skin below my bra, even through the armor of the costume.

Things that some other people would have minded, I didn’t. I could deal with the makeup and the wig, even in the heat of the summer. I could deal with the parents and their disconnected way of speaking to me—the undertones. I could tune out the sounds of the dogs behind the bedroom doors, clawing and barking, desperate to be let out. It was a party, after all, and everyone wants to be invited to a party.

My true fear was the kids. Would I be able to face them again after what happened in Wooster? Could I deal with all those screaming, over-eager children? It turned out, that part was easy. All I had to do was plug in the cotton candy machine, dump in the mix, and let it all whir to life. I’d make them all some cotton candy, and they were mine then, and would do whatever I wanted.

After just an hour of kiddie entertainment, I was free to go, fifty dollars in my pocket. Then it was the struggle with the machine down the steps, across the lawn, through the sprinklers. The dogs would bark again from the windows, venetian blinds made crooked, nearly ripped down by paws and gnashing teeth. The dogs are always so frantic to get at you.

They’re not the only ones.

The children don’t ever think to wave goodbye. They are busy with the birthday cake. It’s timed that way.

Then, clown: take the wig off in the car. Wipe the makeup away. Remove the rainbow-striped costume in the back seat. Reveal your true identity layer by layer, however flawed it is. Pink skin. Sweat. A young body like a piece of music that no one notices just yet. Maybe by the time you die they will appreciate it. Sing along, buddy, sing along. Looking out the windows to see if the coast is clear, no leering lawn boys or ice cream truck men—quick, change into your little bikini, neon tetra, neon tetra, steam up the windows. Tune the radio. Start the car if you can. Meet your girlfriends at the beach.

Whatever lingering traces of the face paint remain around the edges of the eyelid and/or corners of the mouth, the ocean will wash from you.

That is love.


My father caught me coming down the stairs from my room. Touched my arm. This was serious.

“Sweetie, I want to talk to you.”

“What, dad?”

“I just wanted to say that I’m a little worried about something …” He was trying to be delicate with his wording. There’d been an impasse between us since his high school cheerleader came back an art-school weirdo.

“Go ahead,” I said, worrying it’d be about me getting an AIDS test.

Instead, my dad said, “Ya know, just a warning. Clowns usually wind up becoming alcoholics.”


“Okay, so just—please watch your drinking.”

“Thanks.” It was awkward. He stands there looking at me, not sure who I am. I don’t know how to ease his worry about me. His hair is thin and grey. He’s shrunk 3/4 of an inch. I don’t wear earrings anymore, they’re at the bottom of some fountain. What happens is, everyone gets averaged out to a least common denominator by anyone who is even aware you exist. I am worried about being boring. I am worried about being reduced to something simpler than I could really be. He touches my wrist and I feel fine suddenly.

“I’m going for bagels,” dad says, “Would you like an everything?”

“Yes, everything,” I say.



The service sent me out as Cinderella, which was better. I didn’t have to drag around heavy props. I could dust on a regular dosage of human-flavored makeup. I got to wear a big wig, which is always something I like. My hair is thin, I hate it. I like having a big head. Add some fake eyelashes, a long beautiful gold gown and some clear plastic slippers, and I couldn’t be ‘work’ happier.

The crux was that I had to park the car a few blocks away and walk through the neighborhood in my gown, creating an illusion for the kids. Cinderella wouldn’t drive a brown Dodge Omni in real life, would she?

People walking their dogs would bust out laughing. Boys in loud import cars idled up next to me, saying they want to show me their pumpkin. Even the mailman had some commentary, “I Like your costume.”

“I like yours too,” I said, eyes on fire until he looks down at his mailman shoes.

The party was tame. Little girls, all happy to see me. We drank fruit punch, pretending it was tea. They were asking tons of questions about Prince Charming. How many ponies did I own? Could I fly? Did I personally know Alice? Was I close friends with Snow White? Of course I know her, she’s my best friend. Were her dwarves as short in real life? Shorter. Snow White herself is a dwarf. The dwarves are just slightly bigger than microscopic.

After the party, the mother and father herd me into the guest room. They had a few points they wanted to discuss before they paid me and released me back into the wild.

“You were really good,” the mother said. “You’re a natural. How old are you?”


“Perfect. This a summer job for college?”


“I want to give you our card. We have our own business.”

She handed me a red card that said, TEMPTATIONS.

“We’re always looking for girls with as much talent as you,” the father said, stroking his beard.

“You have such a nice figure. Your tits are great. They are such great tits. Have you ever considered stripping?” the mother asked.

“No,” I said.

“You should. I can tell you have great legs even with that gown.”

“Call us. You’ll love the money,” he said.

Then, I walked down the street, the sun reflecting off my dress and tiara and my long white gloves. I was lit up, impossibly bright and couldn’t stay out of sight, though I tried, believe me. My car was only a few blocks away, it felt like a thousand miles. There are no shadows that time of day. Everything was obvious, everything was exposed.


I could have stayed in Wooster, but things hadn’t worked out. My friend hooked me up with a job at the daycare center where she worked.

The kids were psycho, possessing more kinetic energy than I can explain. They ripped at my blouse, pulled my hair, flung things at me. I remember, helping a boy put blocks away and while I was bent over, one of them jumped on my back. Wild. Feral. A Little whirlwind I could not contain. I tried to get him off me but he wouldn’t let go. Then the teeth sunk in, piercing me so hard, there was blood.

I quit that job on the spot. Stop on a dime.

That night, I stood in the bathroom looking at my wound in a mirror reflected in a mirror, my blouse crumbled on the tile floor. My shoulder was so swollen I couldn’t wear my bra. I felt the puffy flesh, throbbing, pulsing, amplified a hundred times over.

When I went to the doctor, he wouldn’t give me tetanus shots or rabies shots for it. He thought it was funny I would ask. “Kids don’t have rabies …”

I disagreed.


As I drove south, my little car shook on the highway at moderately high speeds, I felt worthless having to admit defeat and return to live in my parents house, facing the silent wrath of their non-judgement.

I was in a cowboy suit. A massive helmet obscuring my entire head, a wide brimmed hat affixed to the top. I could see out of two small holes. It was hot and my breath in the cowboy head refracted back like a furnace. I slowly waved at the cars passing on the road as they drove towards the beach. Behind me was a pharmacy that had a little window that sold ice cream cones.

I waved anonymously. I could have been anyone. At one point, I saw Jesse and Callie drive by in the convertible. They were on their way to the water. I very much wanted to be with them. I waved, they waved back. They had no idea that it was me. I could have been anyone.

A gang of little boys rolled up on BMXs.

“Look at this loser!” one kid yelled.

I just waved. They had a plan for me.

The next thing I know, I’m getting pushed around. They’re knocking into me with their bikes, kicking me in the legs, shoving me. I collapse onto the asphalt. I’m punched in the stomach, hard. I feel the giant cowboy helmet jarring to the side. I yell at them to stop, they don’t. They just kept beating on me. They’re frothing at the mouth in violent excitement. Kick after kick gets buried deep in my stomach. They stomp my neck, my hands—but when the cowboy head is ripped off, and cool air and sunlight rush in—they gasp in surprise.


They fling the cowboy helmet out into traffic, then flee on their BMXs. Hurt. I lay there, lightly sobbing, dizzy and shocked. When I finally get up and drag myself to the window, the ice cream girl doesn’t say anything. She just looks at me like, so? She points at my cowboy head in the middle of the road.

A truck had run it over, crushing it and splitting it apart all at the same time.

I sat alone at the kitchen table. I took the red business card out of my purse. For a long time, I studied the card, also listening to the air conditioner, the sprinklers out in the yard, a bird in a tree. Wooooooo. Woooooooo. I looked down at my breasts that were almost resting on the table. I felt my legs under the table. I could be very good. I had the right body. I liked to entertain children. Men were like children, weren’t they?

I folded the card in half, tucking it back in my purse. I opened the newspaper and looked through the Help Wanted Section instead: cashier, clerk, wild bird seed saleswoman, newspaper delivery—anything else.

The service was making me pay for the cowboy head. The joke was on them though, I still had their cotton candy machine in the trunk of my car. They had no idea, but I didn’t make any more cotton candy. Fried Paradise  eventually took me in. I worked the register and made french fries, shrimp baskets, drumsticks, thighs, breasts, wings.

When I sold the cotton candy machine in the fall on Craigslist, it turned out to be enough money for two books that I needed that semester.


Destructive press layers
Unknown Press is putting together a new anthology,
print and ebook.
Send creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry, flash, interviews to:

We’re looking for writing that finds it’s own way in under 5000 words. Creative non-fiction is preferred, ie. true stories that happened to you. But, we’re open to other forms. Try us.

Send as many submissions as you’d like, just keep it under 5000 words. For example, an essay at 2500 and a short story at 2000 words is perfectly fine. Wanna send 4 pieces of flash at 500 words a piece? Feel free. Please attach the sub. to the email as a word doc.

The topic ‘Too Much’: humorous, strange, bizarre, touching, poignant. We’re looking for stories, essays, poems that touch on the most extreme experience you’ve had with drugs, alcohol, sex, any and all addictions to things considered good or known to be bad, whether that’s the internet, video games, a job, a relationship, a personal goal, even writing itself. Bring the weird. Bring the surprising and enlightening. Bring the falling over and seeing stars.

passed out

Too Much will be edited by Chuck Howe and Bud Smith for Unknown Press. Submissions are open from 1/5/13 until 3/1/13, pub. date is estimated around July 4th, 2014.

Payment will include one contributor copy of the paperback book, mailed to you. One free ebook version of the anthology. A discount code will be given to all contributors so they can purchase copies for themselves ‘at cost’.

Art direction and layout will be held in conjunction with the Uno Kudo crew, lead by its art director Erin McParland. So, this will surely be a beautiful book. A POD book, but done right. See examples of our other anthology ‘First Time’ to get a feel for our aesthetic and overall presentation.

Thank you for your time and energy. Muchas gracias.


X-Mas on the 700 Block of Avenue D


It was snowing those flakes that look fake; perfect ones landed on Dave’s jacket as he unlocked the trunk of the LeSabre. Heather ran up the steps with an armful of pink and blue wrapped gifts. He said, “Be careful! You’ll break your neck!”

“I gotta go,” she laughed, unlocking the door, disappearing into the building.

They’d sat in traffic out of the mall parking lot, on the road that serpentined towards the turnpike, after that they’d endured brake lights all the way through the tollbooth and off the exit, over the bridge, Heather squirming, “I gotta pee.”

“Wanna bottle?”

She’d punched him on the ball of his shoulder. His leather jacket was stiff, a simple armor. He’d smiled. “Not wise to hit a boxer.”

“Stop the car, I’ll run into those cattails over there.”

The Buick’s brakes squealed, metal on metal. Presents in the back seat shifted. “I was screwing around, man. Keep on moving!”

Her cheeks were pink. Her jean were tight. His hands were scarred. His nose had been broken only four times.

On their block, the stoops were empty. It was too cold. The basketball court by the housing project was vacant. No one was even on the bench waiting for the bus.

“Silent night, holy night,” he muttered.

“All is calm, all is quiet.”

He saw the light flicker on in the bathroom upstairs and felt stupid that anybody looking could see her shadow sitting down on the toilet. What a neighborhood.

The trash cans were frozen to the sidewalk. The brownstone was only half brown where the wind hadn’t blown the snow off. The windows were all barred to protect children and to keep out the Devil. Christmas lights ran in a bright matrix across the roof of Ropollo’s Deli, casting the block in a blue, green and red glow. Dave carried gifts up the steps, the snow crunching under his work boots. She’d left the door ajar for him, that was love.

He dumped the gifts on the couch, pleased at how many there were. Most years, there wasn’t any money for gifts. He’d gotten lucky the previous week. In the kitchen, the interior of the fridge depressed him. There was no beer. There was no food. In the cabinet, he pulled down a bottle hidden behind the canned beans and drank deep.

Walking back out, he saw tracks in the new snow that led to his Buick. Two men were pulling presents out of the trunk.

“What the fuck are you doing?”

One ran immediately. The other shuffled his feet as Dave bounded down the steps. He punched hard, a box with a red bow tumbled in the snow. The man fell. Dave skidded out on ice, crashing into the fender of a neighbor’s truck.

“Where you going?” he yelled at the other thief’s retreating figure. Snow streamed down in the street light.

As he got to his feet, the other man was rising too.

They faced each other, toe to toe in the dull glow of Ropollo’s Deli. In the distance, a dog barked. Jingle Bell Rock came from some half open window on the block. The thief spit blood on the street.

“You fuck …”

He lunged at Dave, clumsily. Dave stepped to the side, as an arm flailed wild—perfectly, he struck ribs, wrapped the man up, and brought him down to the street with his full weight used as a weapon, knees and elbows falling heavy.

A whimper.


Heather was on the steps. Dave hit the man again. Then Heather was back in the house. He hit again and again. She stumbled out with a portable phone in her hands, “Want me to call the cops?”

“Fuck no!” he yelled, in ragged breath. “DON’T CALL THE COPS.”

He sat up. Blood on his hands. His face. His shirt. His jacket was almost ripped in half, it’d split up the seem from his waist to his left arm pit.

“This dumbass was stealing shit outta the car.” He pointed at the dizzy man, as if there was any question.

From the opposite direction, the other thief appeared. His knife was out, and it went through Dave’s hand. He lunged at the attacker, but he’d backed off. There was a lot of blood. Heather screamed. She dialed the police.

Both thieves were on their feet, moving away. Dave was on the ground, his t-shirt was no longer white. His wounded hand was clamped deep against his own heart, as if the blood would pool there and it’d all be alright.

An ambulance came. The police took a report at the ER.

Dave sat on a paper lined hospital bed, waiting for the doctor. Heather was on the chair, saying, “At least

it was your left hand.”

“This town sucks.”

“All towns suck,” she said.

“I’m gonna wind up like Charlie Bronson.”

“Oh, don’t say that sweetie.”

“Deathwish. Just like Deathwish.”

“Babe,” she said, “You start up with that vigilante justice, blowing people away, I’ll have to divorce you again.”

A christmas wreath behind her head was made out of blue surgical gloves, cotton balls and sterile syringes.

The doctor came in, overwhelmed and short for time.

He unwrapped Dave’s hand, complaining about the job the nurse had done, wanting to know her name.

Dave knew it, but didn’t say. He wasn’t a rat.

“You’ll need a lot of stitches for this.”

“That’s why I’m here.”

“A fight?” The doctor had treated Dave a few times, and when he said fight, he meant, in the ring, or he meant, street-fight.

Two guys stealing from me.”

“Presents,” Heather said. “Stuff for our nephews … and for my sick sister.”


“A knife. Fucker had a knife.”

“He beat the ever living piss out of one of them,” Heather said, “Guy’s probably even here. Right now.”

The doctor got quiet. The doctor got weird.

Dave said, “Is there a guy here … about five foot six. Mustache. Purple hooded sweatshirt. Nikes.”

The doctor smiled, “First let me sew you up.”

“Then what?”

“Merry Christmas. He’s just down the hall. He’ll be there all night. You didn’t hear that from me.”

Short Story “The Frog” published at Bartleby Snopes


Today, I go word that my story “The Frog” is running at the website Bartleby Snopes. I’m a fan of the site, and am pleased to see the story find a home there. You can read it here

A quick set up, The Frog is a bit of magical realism taking place in a strip mall town, and centers on Adam, a displeased young man, who takes his rage and boredom out on the frogs he catches in the drainage ditch behind Fried Paradise.

I’m expecting this short story to be a part of my new print collection, Lightning Box, that is in the hands of my publisher right now, being mulled over.

I appreciate the read, and wouldn’t mind if you dropped a line down there at the bottom, who’s out there? What are you up to?

Also: I’m looking for reviewers or my novel Tollbooth. Want a free book, let me know.