Stone, water

My mind is finally free to dream of my father. I dreamt last night of him in his prime, a big figure in denim and a white tshirt, tan army cap on his head. Bigger than me by far, sitting legs akimbo on a stool. He brings out a package of bubbles. 

When mom came from Poland, he said, and we had you this is the first toy you had. I blew bubbles for you. Neither of us knew how to use them until we tried. 

My youngest child Guthrie was in the dream. He loved the bubbles. We played with them. I woke and lumbered to the bathroom for a long piss. 

Why is he only coming to me now? In his prime? Maybe I identify with the old him more now. I felt his presence in my body last night while bottling wine in the basement. The manual process of filling and corking reminded me of his habits and hobbies. I sat down like he did, heavy, needing a load off. 

The world has rubbed off my dream dad. The Rush Limbaugh the Fox News. The bad jokes and strange behavior. The cancer diagnosis. The wasting. The tap in his lungs that turned to a rasp. All those things that I missed in the years I had been gone to college and New York. He had an eBay habit that resulted in boxes and boxes of junk watches, knives, and jewelry. He did the eating and overeating thing. The huffing walks to the toilet. The falling. The police coming to lift him because I was too weak. 

That’s not him anymore and I’m glad. My sleeping mind wants memories my waking mind can’t access. Memories of a man before anger at the world turned to anger at those who loved him. 

So all that washed off him like mud washed from a buried stone. All that’s left is the thing that made a young boy stare up in awe at a man too big for life. When the life is washed off and you see what’s left it’s usually good.

Photo by Gary Samaha on Unsplash

Mytro is on Storybundle!

My favorite book bundle, Storybundle, is featuring my YA book Mytro alongside a few other amazing titles. You can get the whole thing for a few dollars and some of your purchase will go to charity. I’m really pleased to be able to work with SB on this. They write:
The Light in the Dark YA Bundle, curated by Allyson Longueira: I love young adult fiction. And I’m not the only far-from-young adult who does. So, when I had the opportunity to curate another StoryBundle, I knew YA was the way to go. Each book in this bundle sparks a light in the dark. Sometimes, that light comes from within. Sometimes, the characters must fight back the darkness to find it. And their stories demonstrate the incredible diversity of young adult fiction, from lighthearted and inspirational to dark and gritty.

Fiction: Overpass

This story comes from my collection, School Police, available now.

Anne Wondra was eighteen and Ken Pierce was thirty-five. She was beautiful and had a face that fuzzed out of focus for Ken, like a dream. Ken met her at a bar, they talked, she showed him her fake ID, and she told him she ran by his house every three or four days. One time, in June, he called to her when he saw her, she came over, and he asked her out. She agreed, they went to a movie and three weeks later he took her virginity. He only met her at night, only when she wasn’t seeing her friends. He would never meet her parents. He would never see her bedroom and never tell her he loved her, which he did.
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Fiction: Nikki Loves Josie

This story comes from my collection, School Police, available now.

It’s true. Ask anyone. The first time we noticed it, we were all in Gerry’s basement bored and doing this kind of tickle fight teenagers do and you could feel the tension between some of us and some of the slow learners just wanted to tickle. But Nikki and Josie never touched, just looked. All their friends were either worried or jealous.
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Fiction: Outside of Brilliant

This story comes from my collection, School Police, available now.

We were about a mile from our house, heading west on Route 151. It was the middle of summer. Our twins, Joy and Andy, were in the back seat, and my wife tugged on my sleeve and pointed. Leonard, our cat, was sprawled on the berm. I pulled off and my wife and kids got out. Leonard was still breathing, but it didn’t look good.

He yowled in the back while the kids built up a blanket around him like a nest. My wife sat in the back to keep their hands off him. His legs were bloody, and my wife mouthed to me in the rear view mirror that they were broken.

Joy was crying. Andy was looking at Leonard and trying to cover him up.
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Fiction: The Doctor

This story comes from my collection, School Police, available now.

It was clear that the tech people were tired of each other’s company, and one of the tech women, a brunette who said she was from Kansas, kept looking at Michael and smiling across from her at the bar. They were all in the one tavern that catered to ex-pats. They served burgers with feta and soggy fries and lots of the local beer. The tech people were here most nights.
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Why I Loved Mytro

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Without spoiling too much about his book, I’ll compare his book to others that have truly resonated with me throughout life. First being the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. There were moments in Mytro that truly reminded me of some fantastic moments in Hitchhikers. The nuances Biggs detailed in the characters taking us through a fast-paced action adventure, as well as the actual beings in charge of the Mytro were pretty intense. I’m totally biased in some ways because my family comes from Barcelona, so he had me smiling a lot every time the Castilian character would attempt to speak English.

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Excerpt from The Smoke

Here’s something I’m working on right now. Thoughts?

The smoke came at night and left by morning. Sectors of the city were covered by it and the people that lived there and who did not escape as soon as the first licks of smoke snuffled at their doors, those too sick to move or too old or those who had given up, stayed in it. Lights flashed in there, people said, and under the fog horns people said they heard a crunching like a dog at a bone. By morning that sector had been changed. Sometimes they were crowded with new buildings, sometimes the previous buildings were destroyed and the ground left flat and shiny as ice. Some days all that was left was a white marble temple to a forgotten god. The people that stayed were gone.
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