Recent Stories: Fiction

April 21, 2016
Laney could be miserable. A nasty birthday was coming up. Couldn’t someone make them illegal? After all, they’re hazardous to your health and eventually they kill you. Add to that her daughter’s departure for the Peace Corps, then her husband’s announcement that he was in love with his cycling gal pal, Yi-Yi Fong. Laney had packed off to their Springs cottage and begun the grueling process of sending out résumés.

Laney could be miserable. A nasty birthday was coming up. Couldn’t someone make them illegal? After all, they’re hazardous to your health and eventually they kill you. Add to that her daughter’s departure for the Peace Corps, then her husband’s announcement that he was in love with his cycling gal pal, Yi-Yi Fong.

April 14, 2016
Ritchie Stanton gave up his wife and three children for Lent. It was, so to speak, a kind of Easter surprise. He walked out on his 18-year marriage, his 49-year-old wife, two daughters, and one son, a worshipping son, by the way, who thought his father walked on water.

Ritchie Stanton gave up his wife and three children for Lent. It was, so to speak, a kind of Easter surprise. He walked out on his 18-year marriage, his 49-year-old wife, two daughters, and one son, a worshipping son, by the way, who thought his father walked on water.

April 7, 2016
Since both of us worked full time, we tried to have dinner together as a family with our daughter every evening that we didn’t have any social obligations. One night at dinner when my daughter was three years old she was shoveling in chicken and rice at such an alarming rate that I was worried she would throw up.

Since both of us worked full time, we tried to have dinner together as a family with our daughter every evening that we didn’t have any social obligations. One night at dinner when my daughter was three years old she was shoveling in chicken and rice at such an alarming rate that I was worried she would throw up. 

March 31, 2016
It was no frisson. It was dread, dire — and deserved. College Boards were slated for the following Saturday. With my nonexistent preparation for them (too many homeworks hastily copied from friends on the subway to school — if done at all), I cadged 90 cents from my beleaguered mother to buy the miracle book “How to Improve Your Vocabulary in [X] Days” (the amazingly brief period of time I can’t recall).

It was no frisson. It was dread, dire — and deserved. College Boards were slated for the following Saturday.

March 24, 2016
Karl Hann stood partially hidden behind the curtains of his kitchen window as his neighbor David Wachler went off to work. He watched him open his umbrella against the morning rain, descend the stairs in front of his apartment, then walk to the end of the street. When he disappeared around the corner, Karl realized he couldn’t recall exactly when he had decided to murder his neighbor, but he knew exactly when he began to covet his neighbor’s wife.

Karl Hann stood partially hidden behind the curtains of his kitchen window as his neighbor David Wachler went off to work. He watched him open his umbrella against the morning rain, descend the stairs in front of his apartment, then walk to the end of the street.

March 17, 2016
Travis was at a party he wanted no part of. He had become introspective and less accessible to people as he got older. Perhaps two failed marriages, two children who barely acknowledged his existence, and a failed business endeavor resulting in a personal bankruptcy had contributed to that. He was more content to spend evenings at home watching the Knicks or the Mets or listening to classical music.

Travis was at a party he wanted no part of. He had become introspective and less accessible to people as he got older. Perhaps two failed marriages, two children who barely acknowledged his existence, and a failed business endeavor resulting in a personal bankruptcy had contributed to that.

March 15, 2016
Bruce Buschel is a writer, producer, director, and restaurateur who lives in Bridgehampton.

Stan the Fan calls from spring training
with a rave recommendation of a phenom
southpaw on the Aberdeen Firebirds.
You roll your eyes because he can’t see you

March 10, 2016
Almost 30 years have passed since I discovered what I romantically thought of as my “little path to the sea.” I can still remember clearly and easily the landscape that surrounded it.

Almost 30 years have passed since I discovered what I romantically thought of as my “little path to the sea.” I can still remember clearly and easily the landscape that surrounded it.

March 3, 2016
The last time I ever saw Uncle Abbie he was running through the pristine potato fields beyond our house in Sagaponack cradling america in his arms.

The last time I ever saw Uncle Abbie he was running through the pristine potato fields beyond our house in Sagaponack cradling america in his arms. 

February 25, 2016
It happens every year. The holidays roll in and they all start crying in their cups about the one that got away or the years that got away or the bygones that won’t stay gone.

It happens every year. The holidays roll in and they all start crying in their cups about the one that got away or the years that got away or the bygones that won’t stay gone.

A week into the new year and the cups are overflowing again as those same old resolutions choke the joy out of the same old. 

February 18, 2016
I met Doc when we first worked at a resort hotel one long-ago summer. We called him Doc because he was intent on going to medical school. But Doc was no rich kid. He was an orphan, raised by poor immigrant grandparents. Doc was earning enough money to pay his med school tuition by sleeping with hotel guests, widows and wealthy divorcees. Just before checking out of the hotel, his grateful partners would lavish large tips on Doc.

I met Doc when we first worked at a resort hotel one long-ago summer. We called him Doc because he was intent on going to medical school. But Doc was no rich kid. He was an orphan, raised by poor immigrant grandparents. Doc was earning enough money to pay his med school tuition by sleeping with hotel guests, widows and wealthy divorcees.

February 11, 2016

This is the way

of the wonder ones

into the world,

 

like the rounds

of round stones

mouthed by the sea,

 

molded by passage,

curled in the blue-white foam

at the edge

of their coming

through.

February 11, 2016
My father was a great storyteller, and when my two brothers and I were growing up, he would spin out one tale after another. As a little kid, my favorite was “Skinny Melinny, the Fish Who Lived Under the Sea.”

My father was a great storyteller, and when my two brothers and I were growing up, he would spin out one tale after another. As a little kid, my favorite was “Skinny Melinny, the Fish Who Lived Under the Sea.” 

February 4, 2016
In Vietnam, there is a green bamboo viper. Marines call it “One-Step.” It bites. You take one step. You’re dead.

In Vietnam, there is a green bamboo viper. Marines call it “One-Step.” It bites. You take one step. You’re dead. 

Off the coast of South Vietnam, aboard the USS Iwo Jima, Sept. 12, 1967.

January 28, 2016
Every summer from the time I was 6, I was able to escape the horror of life with my mother and stepfather in Tennessee and visit my dad and Gail, his new girlfriend. He had an apartment in Gramercy Park in the city — New York — and a house in Montauk, at the very tip of Long Island. There was a great lighthouse there, built in the late 1700s.

Every summer from the time I was 6, I was able to escape the horror of life with my mother and stepfather in Tennessee and visit my dad and Gail, his new girlfriend. He had an apartment in Gramercy Park in the city — New York — and a house in Montauk, at the very tip of Long Island. There was a great lighthouse there, built in the late 1700s.

January 19, 2016
I am 10 years old, trapped in chubby latency. My father has just picked me up from my grandmother’s house, where I spend every other weekend, to drive me to Sunday school. I am excited because he lets me sit in the front seat with him. This would never happen with my mother there. She says children should never sit up front because if the car stops suddenly they can hit the dashboard or the windshield. Seat belts are not even a glimmer in a safety expert’s eye in 1953.

I am 10 years old, trapped in chubby latency. My father has just picked me up from my grandmother’s house, where I spend every other weekend, to drive me to Sunday school. I am excited because he lets me sit in the front seat with him. This would never happen with my mother there.

January 14, 2016
I’ve survived long enough to remember a time when we all wanted a little personal space, maybe even cherished it, at least here in the city. The too-crowded subways, tight elevators, clustered workspaces, even in the outdoors where it was supposed to feel open, we’d be swept in the undercurrent of bodies moving like a tide up and down the sidewalks.

I’ve survived long enough to remember a time when we all wanted a little personal space, maybe even cherished it, at least here in the city. The too-crowded subways, tight elevators, clustered workspaces, even in the outdoors where it was supposed to feel open, we’d be swept in the undercurrent of bodies moving like a tide up and down the sidewalks. 

January 7, 2016
The abandoned carport at the end of Ray Howell’s long, snaking driveway was hard to miss. Beneath the flimsy canvas roof, the overgrown grass between the two dirt tire ruts stood waist high, bending in the high desert breeze like a Mohawk haircut gone wrong.

The abandoned carport at the end of Ray Howell’s long, snaking driveway was hard to miss. Beneath the flimsy canvas roof, the overgrown grass between the two dirt tire ruts stood waist high, bending in the high desert breeze like a Mohawk haircut gone wrong. 

December 31, 2015

I sit mesmerized by Lillian Board on our small black-and-white TV. She’s just won the 400-meters race in Los Angeles and I’m in love; she’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.

“Aw naw, Johnny!” Mum looks worried.

December 24, 2015
It was the sultry summer of ’66. Kelsey had the car of cars. A German job, ’63 Daimler convertible, low-slung, shiny, hot, fiberglass, custom, khaki grey. We’d been dating three months.

It was the sultry summer of ’66. Kelsey had the car of cars. A German job, ’63 Daimler convertible, low-slung, shiny, hot, fiberglass, custom, khaki grey. We’d been dating three months. 

He had the bright idea on a Friday. “Let’s take her for a spin early tomorrow.”

“Where?”

December 15, 2015
He was a shortcut kind of guy; living on the edge. But that’s what made him so attractive. A kind of mystery man.

He was a shortcut kind of guy; living on the edge. But that’s what made him so attractive. A kind of mystery man.

What’s more he was good at minding his own business, hustling men who needed to lose their money, listening to women’s hard luck tales and expertly managing their pleasures.

December 8, 2015
There is a small metal organizer smack in the middle of my late husband’s desk, a slotted divider probably meant for envelopes, notepads, and such. Gene used it for storing the free return-address labels we got from Amnesty International and various other good causes. The kind we rarely needed anymore because we paid our bills online. He also placed a pad of deposit slips in its first compartment, vertically, to have it handy.

There is a small metal organizer smack in the middle of my late husband’s desk, a slotted divider probably meant for envelopes, notepads, and such. Gene used it for storing the free return-address labels we got from Amnesty International and various other good causes. The kind we rarely needed anymore because we paid our bills online.

December 1, 2015

Blanket Sleeper Feet

I hear them running down the hall as if it were yesterday. The brushing sound of little feet against the ceramic floor, running to see what Santa left, running to find the Easter Bunny treats. Early in the morning, eyes groggy with sleep, we would drag ourselves out of bed to be part of the joy.

November 25, 2015
Michael was describing where he’d found the figurine when a shout from the upstairs startled us. “Boys, what’s going on?” said the skinny man who was now in the living room, a beer bottle in his hand. It was 2 p.m., but it was dark inside the house, all of the surfaces occupied by catalogs and remotes and broken pencils and T-shirts, the air heavy with the smell of antiseptic and air fresheners.

Michael was describing where he’d found the figurine when a shout from the upstairs startled us.