Tag: short story

Read More
An open sign with an unlit hanging lamp to stylize legendary poet Don Moss's short story, "Breakfast Stories: OPEN Sign".

Breakfast Stories: OPEN Sign

Joel knew brief little fantasies about other women, of real, but mostly of imagined ones. This one was real, had sat across from him in the same office. Aalis, might as well say her name, was one of four nurses he had to assign patients at the university. These nurses were remarkably organized, well beyond his slovenly habits. Aalis carried herself a little more upright than the others, meant what she said, was the only nurse practitioner among them. He’d not worked with all women before and her manner appealed to him from the outset. He soon learned her manner was polished from her years as a commissioned Army reservist, a Major, no less.

Aalis mentioned she had two young daughters and a husband named Mark. There was something about how she spoke of him that hinted they weren’t doing so well. She didn’t disclose many details, other than Mark was too settled with his job, not pushing for advancement at the insurance company. He was a good father to the girls, and he and family would manage them during Aalis’s Army weekends and when she had longer deployments. Joel had told her his own marriage needed to begin, a curious way of putting it, she thought.

Four years she sat across from him, but for the past two years she’d moved to another campus office, and he wished he saw her more often than an occasional lunch. […]

Read More
A black and white photo photo of a Joshua Tree in the Mojave desert. Captured by Jay George from Pixabay.

Breakfast Stories: In a Box

“We will show them Our signs in the universe and within themselves…” — 41:53, Quran

Having no street legal car or bike to race, Rob and I were to race each other—not what we’d expected at this once noticed-in-the-mags, Ramona drag strip, aka, San Diego Raceway. We both knew Rob would likely win, his having the newer bike, better tires, but racing each other at least met the first rule of adventure: wasting time in a manner that could kill you.

And kill it might have had Rob not noticed that my front tire was nearly flat and a danger at speed, even in a straight line. No alarm, though, a pump was available and I was near certain the air would hold for the run. […]

Read More
A stylized shot of French toast on a cast iron skillet.

Breakfast Stories: Toast, French

I’ll admit I wasn’t then a particularly sensitive human being. I should say “yet” instead of “then,” so you won’t think that my growing up in Queens excuses or explains my being like that. There are plenty of good people living there, but this happens to be a story about a pimp. When was it? That would be 1983. I finished high school that year, so I must have been eighteen. I was eighteen, I’ll swear to it.

I had stayed over with my Puerto Rican call girl girlfriend. She was no streetwalker. A call girl’s got a lot more class. A streetwalker’s got it rough, standing out in the weather (she only walks when a cop happens by), and, often as not, working fast in some alley or in the seat of a trick’s car. A trick, I hope you know, is not just what a guy wearin’ a cape does with his hands. You might still say that whorin’ is whorin’, but with a streetwalker that’s nearly all it can be. She’s got no time for conversation. You’ve seen her. She’s the one waiting at the bus stop, only, when the bus stops she doesn’t get on. Another difference for a streetwalker is that her working numbers increases her chances of trouble, of disease, of mixing up with some bad-ass dude, or with cops, who’re mostly son’a-bitches. The literal-minded will like it that call girls, as the name implies, might work up their business on the phone. Even call girl language has more class: client instead of trick. And when it comes to sex, that’s going to happen inside somewhere probably on a bed, not in some family sedan. […]

Read More
A stylized image of a sepia-toned, short-haired woman looking down in thought, ostensibly depicting the prostitute in Ezekiel Yu's short story, "A Separate Pace".

SHORT STORY: At A Separate Pace

When she arrived, there was some confusion over the identity of her client, as there was another man at the hotel bar, beside a few others, who met her gaze and made a small gesture at the empty seat beside him. He was older, maybe in his early-to-mid fifties, with greying hair and eyes the color of old dollar bills; and since she was used to seeing men who looked like that, she smiled and waved, depositing herself on the chair without a thought.

He asked her what she wanted to drink and she said, “Gin and tonic, please,” and to the nearby bartender he replicated the same, almost dismissive, gesture he’d made earlier to indicate the empty seat. They resumed conversation, with the man even laying a proprietary hand on her bare shoulder in the midst of complimenting the dress. But when several minutes had passed, the man asked for her name, and she knew some misunderstanding on her part had occurred. […]

Read More
A mirrored image of a child jumping down a staircase in post-impressionist style, perhaps taking place in the 1960s.

SHORT STORY: Don Moss’s “Down The Stairs”

Our large farmhouse had an oak staircase that descended eight or nine feet to the landing, then offered five steps to the right and left, to the dining room and to the parlor, respectively. At age four or five, I would stare down to the landing and imagine a perfect leap to the precise center of the landing, absorbing the fall with no harm to body or to the parquet oak landing. Since the basement stairs were directly beneath this stairwell, I just knew any imperfection in the act would send one through the landing to the basement and to my demise. That last detail was of no interest, simply the consequence of imperfection. This fantasy felt more like a message built into the stairway and landing itself.

Evidence of my never attempting the jump is the fact that I sit, seventy-some years later, now writing these words. I was neither gifted with any useful athletic abilities, nor plagued with innate daring to attempt such a stunt. I didn’t take the fantasy literally, even years before I knew of such a word as literal. The image of the stairs, leap, and perfect landing did not abandon me. The image did now and then vanish, drifting below conscious recall. […]