Recent Stories: Fiction

January 2, 2018
The Paiute and the Apache never went out onto Kiwa Mesa. The legends said it was a haunted place, a place where evil winds would gather before they set out to roam the earth.

The Paiute and the Apache never went out onto Kiwa Mesa. The legends said it was a haunted place, a place where evil winds would gather before they set out to roam the earth. 

Tommy Standing Horse told me his grandmother used to say that if a bad man went out on the mesa he’d come back evil, but if an evil man went out on the mesa he’d come back walking alongside the devil. Tommy said his grandmother told him that the devil would feed off that evil man, rob his soul, and become stronger, become real, come through into our world. 

Tommy told me there are pockets where evil can gather. In the empty places. 

December 26, 2017
I came of age with Bob Dylan’s lyrics seeping into my 1960s consciousness, so it was no surprise that when I rented my first apartment on New York’s progressive Upper West Side that I used my somewhat meager nurse’s wages to buy a “big brass bed.” And what better sheets to make the polished old brass bed frame pop than red satin sheets? It hadn’t occurred to my 22-year-old self that the feel of sheets might be more significant than their visual appeal.

I came of age with Bob Dylan’s lyrics seeping into my 1960s consciousness, so it was no surprise that when I rented my first apartment on New York’s progressive Upper West Side that I used my somewhat meager nurse’s wages to buy a “big brass bed.” And what better sheets to make the polished old brass bed frame pop than red satin sheets? It hadn’t occurred to my 22-year-old self that the feel of sheets might be more significant than their visual appeal.

December 20, 2017
It’s that time of year again. I am staring at a calendar that is filled with holiday commitments, from baking with my nieces — a tradition begun over 20 years ago when they were little ones — to the more recent tradition of holiday singing with friends in a choral group. The boxed greeting cards are out. Amazon cartons are an almost daily delivery to my doorway, a pile of CDs is stacked and ready to play, beginning with “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

It’s that time of year again. I am staring at a calendar that is filled with holiday commitments, from baking with my nieces — a tradition begun over 20 years ago when they were little ones — to the more recent tradition of holiday singing with friends in a choral group. The boxed greeting cards are out. Amazon cartons are an almost daily delivery to my doorway, a pile of CDs is stacked and ready to play, beginning with “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” 

How can one resist tuning out the stress of Christmas present for the memories of Christmases past? My fondest memories of Christmas are all about my best friend, Carolyn. 

December 13, 2017
The day after my mother died my brother and I drove to the house in North Haven. It was the same house my grandparents had built in 1950. It had been sold and remodeled since my parents were forced to sell it four years ago after my mother’s fall and subsequent slow decline. After that she entered into the business of dying, moving in and out of institutional care. My mother never saw her home again.

The day after my mother died my brother and I drove to the house in North Haven. It was the same house my grandparents had built in 1950. It had been sold and remodeled since my parents were forced to sell it four years ago after my mother’s fall and subsequent slow decline. After that she entered into the business of dying, moving in and out of institutional care. My mother never saw her home again. 

In the end, after regaining some level of independence, the last place she called home was a room in an assisted living facility in New Jersey, a floor above my father who continued his faithful devotion to her. 

Star Staff
December 6, 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.

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. 

December 5, 2017
Charlie Gumphrey watched the woman in the lacy white blouse as she walked up the block and crossed the street, heading his way. Was she lost or was she straying on purpose from the tonier side of town? He owned Gumphrey Graphics Studio that, arm be twisted, was really just a glorified poster shop where Charlie was chief doodler. Make that sole doodler now that his layout assistant, Johnny, a summer hire from the local junior college, had quit the week before following a dispute over wages, as in none forthcoming for the ingrate, who couldn’t quite grasp the concept of foot-in-the-door opportunity.

Charlie Gumphrey watched the woman in the lacy white blouse as she walked up the block and crossed the street, heading his way. Was she lost or was she straying on purpose from the tonier side of town? He owned Gumphrey Graphics Studio that, arm be twisted, was really just a glorified poster shop where Charlie was chief doodler. Make that sole doodler now that his layout assistant, Johnny, a summer hire from the local junior college, had quit the week before following a dispute over wages, as in none forthcoming for the ingrate, who couldn’t quite grasp the concept of foot-in-the-door opportunity. 

November 28, 2017
Mr. Bart was my favorite eighth-grade teacher at David Stein Junior High School.

Mr. Bart was my favorite eighth-grade teacher at David Stein Junior High School. He taught social studies in an experimental core curriculum program. We worked hard researching projects alone and in small groups. I liked the work. It was grown-up, creative work, which he made more fun by joking with us. I never thought of him as a teacher but rather as a wise guide who pointed out the signs we missed along the way. He seemed to know how to support and encourage kids to success. We trusted him to lead us through the learning maze. 

November 22, 2017
“Morning darlin’. I’m heading to Ditch if you wanna do your camera thing. I’ll pick you up in five.”

“Morning darlin’. I’m heading to Ditch if you wanna do your camera thing. I’ll pick you up in five.”

It was 6 a.m. and though it was an abrupt wake-up from a deep sleep, I couldn’t have been happier about it.

“Are you gonna surf?” 

He’d already hung up. 

No sooner had I brushed my teeth, thrown my hair up, my swimsuit, sweats, and flip-flops on, grabbed my sunglasses and my camera, he was pulling up the driveway in the Shaggin Wagon.

November 16, 2017
In the early morning hours of Feb. 14, 1924, Anna Dabulas gave birth to a healthy, seven-pound baby boy. He was her third child. A welcome first son to her husband, Andrew, he would be named Edward Andrew Dabulas.

In the early morning hours of Feb. 14, 1924, Anna Dabulas gave birth to a healthy, seven-pound baby boy. He was her third child. A welcome first son to her husband, Andrew, he would be named Edward Andrew Dabulas. 

That morning the winds swirled with blinding snow as Andrew walked from their house on Blair Street to hop on the open-air trolley. The hospital was located downtown in the city of Scranton, Pa. This was coal country and the tunneled peaks adjacent to the city were where Andrew worked alongside the other cave workers. He managed seven coal cars and their laborers, which afforded his family economic stability. 

November 9, 2017
Duncan Blunt shifted his bulk in the black leather and rosewood Eames chair, lifted one bare foot, then the other, from the matching ottoman until his legs were in the air, and expelled a torrent of fetid, malodorous gas. A self-satisfied smile creased his stubble-ringed lips as he inhaled his stench with apparent approval.

Duncan Blunt shifted his bulk in the black leather and rosewood Eames chair, lifted one bare foot, then the other, from the matching ottoman until his legs were in the air, and expelled a torrent of fetid, malodorous gas. A self-satisfied smile creased his stubble-ringed lips as he inhaled his stench with apparent approval. 

The ghost of mussels and clams from that afternoon’s lobster fra diavolo lingered. A clumsy swipe of his bear-like hand shattered the last of his engraved brandy snifters on the Persian beside his chair. He slugged from the mouth of the VSOP Cognac, smacked his lips and belched. 

November 2, 2017
Soaking up the sun’s rays on my family’s back porch, I surrender to the August heat and take a sip of cool sparkling water. Through the screen door I hear a familiar song playing on the radio. One I cannot listen to without thinking about my mother, the East Hampton singer Mama Lee. The music curls into the introduction like a vine wrapping around me, and then the lyrics bloom.

Soaking up the sun’s rays on my family’s back porch, I surrender to the August heat and take a sip of cool sparkling water. Through the screen door I hear a familiar song playing on the radio. One I cannot listen to without thinking about my mother, the East Hampton singer Mama Lee. The music curls into the introduction like a vine wrapping around me, and then the lyrics bloom.

 

At last . . .
my love has come along.
My lonely days are over, 
and life is like a song.

 

Star Staff
October 26, 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.

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. 

Selected work will be published in the newspaper as well as on our website, easthamptonstar.com.

October 26, 2017
“Eisenhower was the best general we ever had.”

“Eisenhower was the best general we ever had.” 

“Oh please,” barked Martha, “He never even fought. How do you get to be a general without ever leaving the States?” 

“He tried to fight,” replied Elliot. “But they needed him back home to train the tank force.” 

“How was he even qualified to train a tank force when he never used a tank in combat?”

“Why do you ask such ridiculous questions, Martha? Jack, did you know that Ike was the only 20th-century president who was bald?” I shook my head, even though that was easily the 10th time he’d told me.

October 19, 2017
Because of their alphabetically close last names, Veronica Thomas and Tommy Treadwell were always side by side, forever together. Whether sitting on the school bus, attending class, or leaning on the walls during fire drills, Veronica and Tommy were inseparable, so it was only a matter of time before they became a couple, everlasting.

Because of their alphabetically close last names, Veronica Thomas and Tommy Treadwell were always side by side, forever together. Whether sitting on the school bus, attending class, or leaning on the walls during fire drills, Veronica and Tommy were inseparable, so it was only a matter of time before they became a couple, everlasting. 

During a sixth-grade class trip to the art museum, Veronica and Tommy stood aimless in front of a life-size bronze of a couple holding hands. Always the romantic, Tommy turned to Veronica and whispered in her right ear they would one day marry.  

October 12, 2017
To this day, nearly three decades later, the whole thing still kind of bothers me. It shouldn’t have felt like such a big deal, but it did. It just did.

To this day, nearly three decades later, the whole thing still kind of bothers me. It shouldn’t have felt like such a big deal, but it did. It just did.

Earlier that summer my mom bought me a pair of jelly shoes to soften the roughness of the sea’s bottom on my soft, 7-year-old feet. The shoes were from Caldor and nothing short of perfection. They were this very subtle baby pink, sprinkled with tiny pieces of glitter that caught the light of the sun as I walked along the water’s edge in search of treasure. The idea of treasure drove me through my days, though I had no idea what a genuine treasure would be. It was a completely abstract concept that could only be defined by the final discovery of it.

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.