Recent Stories: Fiction

October 5, 2017
Frank drove to the Quogue post office to pick up the mail and returned with four new men’s size medium jackets that may or may not be leather. The man selling the jackets had approached him as he was about to toss his bills and textile recycling magazines into his car — the silver Lexus two-seater convertible that made him appear wealthier than he was.

Frank drove to the Quogue post office to pick up the mail and returned with four new men’s size medium jackets that may or may not be leather. The man selling the jackets had approached him as he was about to toss his bills and textile recycling magazines into his car — the silver Lexus two-seater convertible that made him appear wealthier than he was. 

He never intended to impress. He liked cars. If it was a top-down day he volunteered to drive to the Westhampton Cleaners, the Beach Bakery, and Rite Aid with the wind blowing whatever hair he had left on his head. On this early autumn day, he was the only person parked near the post office.

“You look Italian, Are you Italian? Are you from Italy?” the man asked. 

Star Staff
September 28, 2017

The Star welcomes submissions of essays for its “Guestwords” column, of between 700 and 1,200 words, and of short fiction or memoir, of up to 2,000 words. Please send submissions for review by email, in text or Word format, to submissions@ehstar.com.

After reviewing the pertinent sections of The Star, please indicate whether you are submitting a “Guestwords” column (nonfiction essay), memoir, or fiction, and include a short biographical author’s note. Submissions should be final drafts of your work. We cannot accept multiple versions of a piece. 

September 26, 2017
The Hampton Jitney bus door opened and people began to board. Leroy Fixx positioned himself six or seven bodies behind a girl he’d already noticed. She was pretty, with short brown hair, and wore beige chinos with a black tank top that featured her chest. Leroy couldn’t take his eyes off her.

Part One

The Hampton Jitney bus door opened and people began to board. Leroy Fixx positioned himself six or seven bodies behind a girl he’d already noticed. She was pretty, with short brown hair, and wore beige chinos with a black tank top that featured her chest.  Leroy couldn’t take his eyes off her. 

Leroy was tall and lean with avocado green eyes and a mane of blonde hair that hung over his ears and fell well below the back of a white T-shirt. The shirt was marked in the front with the words MOREHEAD STATE in large dark capital letters.

September 21, 2017
When the body of a beautiful young woman is found washed up against a jetty by an early morning surfer, and then promptly disappears after a photo of her goes viral, former New York journalist Paul Sandis stumbles into a career-making story.

When the body of a beautiful young woman is found washed up against a jetty by an early morning surfer, and then promptly disappears after a photo of her goes viral, former New York journalist Paul Sandis stumbles into a career-making story.

 

Dylan’s house in Sagaponack was one of those super-sized English Country shingle-style cottages built in the last 10 years or so, its tall cedar gate equipped with the now customary high-tech security system wedged between a tall, perfectly trimmed privet hedge running the length of the property.

Paul parked Mellow against the high hedge, wiped the perspiration from his face, and walked around to the front.

Pushing the call button, he noticed the gate was open. 

September 12, 2017
I propped myself with the pillows from both beds in my neighbor’s guest room, my thumbs blazing across the phone as text after text came flying in. I was messaging frantically with the woman in Amagansett who told me they were going.

I propped myself with the pillows from both beds in my neighbor’s guest room, my thumbs blazing across the phone as text after text came flying in. I was messaging frantically with the woman in Amagansett who told me they were going. 

“Were you able to reach them? It’s very dangerous. The snow started, there’s no power and no help if they get stuck,” I tapped out the message like an S.O.S. I didn’t check any of the other 20 texts. I just held the phone tightly waiting for a reply.

“I told them. They went anyway.”

Shit. This was not good.

“They have 100 gallons of hot soup. The car is packed.” 

“Did they bring gas? There’s no gas.” 

September 7, 2017
My wife is young and lovely. I am old and not. In a bathing suit, she resembles a raven-haired goddess, a ravishing nymph; in similar garb, I resemble, at best, a walrus. So it is perhaps not surprising that the beach house was her idea. The real truth is I do not care much for beach living, but my wife, she does, and I care for her greatly. Over 12 million dollars at the bottom of the market it cost me, and it’s not even a proper house

June:

August 31, 2017
Judge Milton Black has been found murdered in the federal courthouse, and assistant F.B.I. director Grace Loomey and federal marshal Henry Rogers are on the case.

For part one of "All Rise" click here. 

PART TWO

Judge Milton Black has been found murdered in the federal courthouse, and assistant F.B.I. director Grace Loomey and federal marshal Henry Rogers are on the case. 

The next step was to talk to the dead judge’s colleagues, friends, family. A million leads, but no other way to conduct an investigation.

Then came the profiles. They were going to be an essential tool.

August 24, 2017
Promptly at 10 a.m., facing a crowded federal courtroom, the bailiff signaled for silence: “Hear ye, hear ye, court is now in session. All persons having business before the court, draw near and ye shall be heard. All rise. The Honorable Milton Black presiding. God save these United States and this honorable court.”

Promptly at 10 a.m., facing a crowded federal courtroom, the bailiff signaled for silence: “Hear ye, hear ye, court is now in session. All persons having business before the court, draw near and ye shall be heard. All rise. The Honorable Milton Black presiding. God save these United States and this honorable court.” 

He made a 180-degree turn and stared at a door at the back of the room. Through this door the judge would enter, wish the assembled persons a good morning, motion to them to be seated, and take his seat at a high-backed swivel chair in front of the bench, a raised mahogany table.

Not this morning.

August 17, 2017
When I was 13 I went to Woodstock. Not just the town but the actual festival that took place in Bethel in 1969. I wasn’t alone. My mother and older sister were there while my father and younger sister stayed home on Long Island.

When I was 13 I went to Woodstock. Not just the town but the actual festival that took place in Bethel in 1969. I wasn’t alone. My mother and older sister were there while my father and younger sister stayed home on Long Island.

Going to music festivals wasn’t unusual for our family. My parents were folk aficionados, and my mother often recalled seeing performances by Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Their love of music usually had us piling into the car at 4 a.m. on Saturdays to attend folk festivals in New England or western New York.

August 10, 2017
Since we were no longer co-workers, Seymour called and asked me out. “Anywhere you’d like.” He wanted me to do the picking and planning — he’d pay. Fine.

Since we were no longer co-workers, Seymour called and asked me out. “Anywhere you’d like.” He wanted me to do the picking and planning — he’d pay. Fine.

Elaine’s it was. I’d bumped into Donald Ward, a.k.a. Red, my favorite waiter from Goldie’s who’d opened a joint on Second Avenue between 88th and 89th a year ago, and told him I had to stop by. Would I ever.

August 1, 2017
Here and there I like to detox from talking, which means I stop listening to what anyone says. When that happens I like to reminisce.

Stub DeForest is the 17-year-old narrator of this novel excerpt.

July 26, 2017
Some time ago I bought a new comforter for my bed — a blue cloverleaf design tinged with gold-green foliage against a red background. After years of sleeping under a down comforter tucked inside a white duvet, the new comforter, to my delight, woke up the room. It came reversible, too , in matching red, green, and gold stripes with two shams and a bedskirt.

Some time ago I bought a new comforter for my bed — a blue cloverleaf design tinged with gold-green foliage against a red background. After years of sleeping under a down comforter tucked inside a white duvet, the new comforter, to my delight, woke up the room. It came reversible, too , in matching red, green, and gold stripes with two shams and a bedskirt.

I wasn’t wild about the stripes, and the material was somewhat heavy to handle, but the cloverleaves blended well with the blue area rugs around the bed and with the garden flowers of a Paris cafe painting I’d hung in the room.

Or so I thought.

July 20, 2017
The ad in the magazine announced in bold, black letters that it was time to “Retire Your Iron.” It listed the merits of a new material that was guaranteed to provide a wrinkle-free shirt after washing.

The ad in the magazine announced in bold, black letters that it was time to “Retire Your Iron.” It listed the merits of a new material that was guaranteed to provide a wrinkle-free shirt after washing. 

Now for most people, I’m sure that would sound like a dream come true. The perfect gift. However, I knew that I would never, ever, not iron that shirt. I can’t help it. It’s part of my DNA. At the very least, I would need to press the collar and cuffs. I think it all goes back to my mother and possibly my grandmother. In fact I’m sure it does.

July 13, 2017
When I was a teenager I remember sitting in Amagansett with my friend Maria Bowling, who at the time had a summer job at a boutique clothing store called The King’s Mistress.

When I was a teenager I remember sitting in Amagansett with my friend Maria Bowling, who at the time had a summer job at a boutique clothing store called The King’s Mistress.

It was Friday, Fourth of July weekend. We sat on the store’s front porch and watched with amusement the line of cars filtering into town along Route 27. That was the year 1983.

When I wasn’t pouring endless quarters into the Asteroids and tabletop Pac-Man video games at Mellow Mouth, an ice cream shop that once sat on the village green in Amagansett, I worked in the produce section at the Amagansett Farmers Market for Pat and Brendan Struk.

July 6, 2017
Every summer during my childhood, my mother had to attend the State University at Cortland in order to study for her master’s degree in teaching, and so she dumped me over at her sister’s in Van Etten, New York.

Every summer during my childhood, my mother had to attend the State University at Cortland in order to study for her master’s degree in teaching, and so she dumped me over at her sister’s in Van Etten, New York. 

Aunt Treva was a nurse at the county home, and once in a while she’d take me into the nursing home for a visit. However, most days when she had to go in to work, she left me at a chicken farm close by. 

The farm was run by Esther Matthews and her husband, Roy. Besides watching me, she took care of her three sons and her niece. Throughout the day, various chicken activities took place. 

June 29, 2017
Nimrod sat on the tractor and watched the bull watching him. The massive animal stood in the shadow of the hickory tree, taking refuge from the searing summer sun that had baked brown the endless miles of surrounding prairie.

Nimrod sat on the tractor and watched the bull watching him. The massive animal stood in the shadow of the hickory tree, taking refuge from the searing summer sun that had baked brown the endless miles of surrounding prairie. 

With eyes locked between beast and boy, he began to wonder what they called a baby bull — was it a bullet? Hadn’t Uncle Mike said as much to him one time, or was he funnin’? Nimrod couldn’t get the notion out of his head so he pulled out the gun and fired a bullet into the barn just to distract himself from his own flibbertigibbet thoughts.

June 22, 2017
There are two people in my life who were extraordinary; they hold that title with me even to this day, though they’ve been gone for many years. They are my grandparents and, although they have equal places in my heart, this particular story is about my grandfather, who was born in 1885 and died in 1961. I knew him as Pa.

There are two people in my life who were extraordinary; they hold that title with me even to this day, though they’ve been gone for many years. They are my grandparents and, although they have equal places in my heart, this particular story is about my grandfather, who was born in 1885 and died in 1961. I knew him as Pa.

Spiritually, Pa lives with me always; he has transcended death in this way, and when I picture him, and when he helps me, he is in color, he is moving, and I hear his voice. He will not die until I do and perhaps when you’ve read this story, he will, in some small way, continue to live on with you.

June 15, 2017
My father was always a very special man in my eyes. This quiet adoration began when I was about 12. Now you have to remember what it was like back then in the ’50s — life was a whole lot simpler and safer. I also have to explain a little about me. I was, from the time I could walk, what was referred to in those days, before people developed social awareness, as a wild Indian, which simply put means I never walked when I could run and never ran when I could skate.

My father was always a very special man in my eyes. This quiet adoration began when I was about 12. Now you have to remember what it was like back then in the ’50s — life was a whole lot simpler and safer. I also have to explain a little about me. I was, from the time I could walk, what was referred to in those days, before people developed social awareness, as a wild Indian, which simply put means I never walked when I could run and never ran when I could skate.

June 8, 2017
You’ve never heard of my father, a postal worker who barely earned enough to keep his family fed, clothed and housed in a small apartment. And yet, if you were to ask me if he were a good provider, I would say the best, because from him, through his actions more than his words, I learned what it is to be an extraordinary person.

You’ve never heard of my father, a postal worker who barely earned enough to keep his family fed, clothed and housed in a small apartment. And yet, if you were to ask me if he were a good provider, I would say the best, because from him, through his actions more than his words, I learned what it is to be an extraordinary person.

June 1, 2017
Today is September 11, 1992. It is the start of yet another school year. There have been 34 of them behind the desk, and another 16 in the rows. This year’s setting is an old subbasement gym that has been partially converted into a computer room. It is here that she will daily meet with her special needs class. The class is scheduled for fourth period — that is, if she can get in.

Today is September 11, 1992. It is the start of yet another school year. There have been 34 of them behind the desk, and another 16 in the rows. This year’s setting is an old subbasement gym that has been partially converted into a computer room. It is here that she will daily meet with her special needs class. The class is scheduled for fourth period — that is, if she can get in.

The computer room is the lair of the school’s resident computer specialist. Cut from the same cloth as the ogre in the library (an ogre as in “The Billy Goats Gruff”), his presence dominates the scene. How very odd, for he is so seldom there. It is his sacrosanct space, and he is the keeper of the solitary key. The title holds power, the key wields it.

May 25, 2017
It’s early summer in 1954 and I am home in Bridgehampton from my sophomore year at St. Lawrence University. It’s too early to begin waiting tables for the summer. I have worked at most of the posh places in East Hampton: the Hunting Inn, the Hedges Inn, the 1770 House, and the Sea Spray Inn. Later these places of employment would include the Southampton Bath and Tennis Club, and a riotous session on the oceanfront during a big hurricane.

It’s early summer in 1954 and I am home in Bridgehampton from my sophomore year at St. Lawrence University. It’s too early to begin waiting tables for the summer. I have worked at most of the posh places in East Hampton: the Hunting Inn, the Hedges Inn, the 1770 House, and the Sea Spray Inn.

May 18, 2017
I was standing at the window in front of the kitchen sink. The sun was setting, its buttery rays fading. I watched as they melted into the horizon. I had stood there so many times, yet I was always engaged by the sunsets.

I was standing at the window in front of the kitchen sink. The sun was setting, its buttery rays fading. I watched as they melted into the horizon. I had stood there so many times, yet I was always engaged by the sunsets.

May 11, 2017
This time she chose aquamarine. It was her favorite color, and the tastiest, she thought. She chewed at the pointed end of the crayon like a chicken wing. She liked how the wax stuck between her teeth and held them together momentarily. Dr. Philips told her mother last week that her teeth weren’t as strong as they could be, that she needed to eat harder foods. So she ate crayon tips instead of the looseleaf paper her brother did his multiplication tables on.

This time she chose aquamarine. It was her favorite color, and the tastiest, she thought. She chewed at the pointed end of the crayon like a chicken wing. She liked how the wax stuck between her teeth and held them together momentarily. Dr. Philips told her mother last week that her teeth weren’t as strong as they could be, that she needed to eat harder foods.

May 2, 2017
Less house, more trees. My mother has few maxim-worthy beliefs on the subject of real estate. A child of the Depression and second World War, her people didn’t think it wise to “put too much money in bricks.” Even after her father became a man of some means, the family didn’t move from their modest Philadelphia row house. (Though my mother’s mother would come to possess quite a bit of diamond and platinum jewelry — one ring affectionately referred to as “the flashlight.”)

Less house, more trees. My mother has few maxim-worthy beliefs on the subject of real estate. A child of the Depression and second World War, her people didn’t think it wise to “put too much money in bricks.” Even after her father became a man of some means, the family didn’t move from their modest Philadelphia row house.