Recent Stories: Fiction

July 15, 2014

Here I sit, on the aft deck of a sleek, 70-foot-long sport fishing boat, looking out over an empty ocean, not another vessel in sight.

Mark Canter has disappeared into the cabin, where he is now likely selecting the proper knife — he has an affinity for knives — which he will then use to try and murder me.

And why not? We are. after all, in the perfect place, idling along some 60 miles southeast of Montauk Point.

July 8, 2014

Charlie Kane sat at the head of the dinner table among those he cherished most, concealing a hideous truth. He wondered how he was able to swallow down his food, to joke, lightheartedly, with his sisters. Had he always expected this outcome, or was he still in a state of complete denial? The letter, in its terse delivery, forced the reality he had failed to imagine.

July 1, 2014

At least as Paul recalled their first meeting, it happened on an unremarkably warm afternoon just as summer was reacquainting itself with the East End. He’d been assigned to interview Olivia for an article his newspaper was putting together that would coincide with the annual June garden tour sponsored by the Springs Home Improvement Society. It would be his first garden story.

Star staff
June 24, 2014

The Star welcomes submissions of essays for its “Guestwords” column, of between 700 and 1,200 words, and of short fiction, between 1,000 and 2,000 words.
Authors can either e-mail their pieces (in text or Word format) to submissions@ehstar.com, with “Fiction” or “Guestwords” in the subject line, or mail them, preferably on disk and saved in a text format, to The Star, Box 5002, East Hampton 11937. A very short biographical note should also be included.

June 24, 2014

She opens the rear door of her car and draws out a shiny baby blue box with tiny white flowers covering it like a galaxy of stars. She looks like any other citizen exercising her right to discard unwanted items at the household exchange. She wears a somber look.

Walking over to me, she asks, “Would you like it?” and I say “Sure,” because that’s what we do, and the others come running over to see what is in the box, check it for treasures, and to see if I will give it up, because that is what we do.    

Star staff
June 18, 2014

The Star welcomes submissions of essays for its “Guestwords” column, of between 700 and 1,200 words, and of short fiction, between 1,000 and 2,000 words.

Authors can either e-mail their pieces (in text or Word format) to submissions@ehstar.com, with “Fiction” or “Guestwords” in the subject line, or mail them, preferably on disk and saved in a text format, to The Star, Box 5002, East Hampton 11937. A very short biographical note should also be included.

June 17, 2014

A delicious home-cooked dinner has been cleared and lovely coffee and desserts are served on the red-checkered tablecloth, candles lit against the setting sun. Marshmallows, rotated to a golden brown over a crackling wood fire, taste extra sweet. Daddy pops one still smoldering into his mouth. “Oh Larry, you are such a character! I could put you in a book,” muses Mother from her comfortable Adirondack chair alongside his. He turns toward her and, while savoring the sticky morsel, he places his calloused hand upon her uncovered knee.

June 10, 2014

Our summer celebrity.
Wrangled by Marlboro Man of the sea,
primordial weapons silenced by a rubber band.

Tenement tank housed, royal beast demeaned,
indolently waiting.

Precarious scale — it could cost.

Cooking awkward, a twinge.
Bright orange orgy.

June 10, 2014

It began with a serendipitous experience five years ago this month: I accompanied a friend on a weekend of house hunting in East Hampton. When we opened the gate to the property, I felt the earth move — the grounds took my breath away. My friend clearly did not have the same experience. “They’re adorable. My sister has two; one is a long hair,” he said, responding to the appearance of the owner’s two Daschunds. So today I own the scant half-acre “park,” and yes, the house that sits upon it.

June 3, 2014

It was hard for the old man to unravel the knot he had tied at the end of the plastic bag. No matter, he was in no hurry, and the birds would wait. Today they would have to be especially patient. The extreme cold had penetrated his gloves and slowed his gnarly arthritic fingers. While cursing himself for tying the knot so tightly in the first place, he remembered when his fingers were capable of tying the tiniest of trout flies. That was a long time ago.

May 27, 2014

When I met her, she was Cathy. Later, she was Catherine. Still later, she was Cleo, Chloe, and Cologne. But to me, she will always be Cathy, for that was her name when we first met as teenage acting students.

From what she told me, she was raised by loving, generous parents. From early childhood, Cathy was told she was beautiful, special, and that one day she would make an important contribution to the world of art.

May 20, 2014

    Airport limo drivers are like fighter pilots. Hurtling towards oblivion on the B.Q.E. or the L.I.E., the Grand Central Parkway or Utopia Parkway, the Jackie Robinson or the Van Wyck. The chaos of Queens is the chaos of now. My name is Ziggy Hrbaty. Buckle up. Sit back and relax. I’ll tell you everything.

May 13, 2014

    I noticed the children were all taking off their shoes as if they were entering a shrine, as if they were about to enter a special, consecrated place. Then quietly and with reverence they began the walk to explore.

May 6, 2014

Part Two
Mr. Papadopoulos’s Cousin Lalekos

    The time came when Etienne and I desperately wanted a boat. We saved. It would have to be a used boat, of course, but we found family backing, matching funds and so on from those who also wanted to see the shore from Gardiner’s Bay.

April 29, 2014

Part One

The Idea of a Boat

April 22, 2014

White translucent balloon
lost from a child’s delight
skips freely for a moment
along the sandy landscape
draws pattern on the wind.
Sapphire sky backdrops
its wild frolic.

Time shifts. Afternoon light
kindles the beach bright umber.
A jogger, sweating, shirtless,
stops, turns seaward for a moment
while the white balloon
skitters down the shore,
dips and lifts before it goes
to sheer pale tatters.

April 22, 2014

    This is my story of the summer of 1949. I was 9, chubby, not too athletic or to be more honest not athletic, but doted upon by many assorted aunts, maternal and paternal, and, of course, by my mother. I worshipped my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Miriam S. Berkowitz, who likewise adored me. I was one of those kids older people could really talk to, a great listener, very sympathetic and a great friend of the elderly, the widowed, and other assorted lonely people who inhabited Rodney Street in a section of Brooklyn known as Williamsburg.

April 15, 2014

Before the onset of age and arteries
breakfasts were freewheelin’ affairs
runny sunny-side-up eggs on a stack
with crispy bacon and greasy home fries
buttered white toast and java black
heated debates with friends and foes
cigarette smoke blowin’ in the wind
across the sports page and scandals
the Times, they were aragin’

April 15, 2014

    Southampton, Majors Path, age 5: Sunday late afternoons Dad would lift me onto his bike and pedal through long green lanes to Sip ’N’ Soda, where we’d lick matching banana cones. Wet creamy fruit on our tongues, we watched the parade of people: long tanned legs, khaki shorts, blue Izod shirts. It was the ’70s: an ever-summer land. Pale pink light flickering between trees as he’d pedal me through town, plush green streets emptying out before supper. I was just 5, and didn’t yet know about bruises on the heart or doors slammed.

Star staff
April 8, 2014

    The Star welcomes submissions of essays for its “Guestwords” column, of between 700 and 1,200 words, and of short fiction, between 1,000 and 2,000 words.
    Authors can either e-mail their pieces (in text or Word format) to submissions@ehstar.com, with “Fiction” or “Guestwords” in the subject line, or mail them, preferably on disk and saved in a text format, to The Star, Box 5002, East Hampton 11937.
    A very short biographical note should also be included.

April 8, 2014

    It seemed like a good idea at the time, if not a little bizarre; things were getting worse with Mother.

    When we wheeled her to the park, the only thing that made Mom smile was the sight of children, especially babies. Her caregiver and I always gravitated to the same bench facing the sailboat pond. I liked it because of the plaque: “In loving memory of my mother, Betty Krause, who loved this park.”

April 1, 2014

    “They told me I’d be dead in a year and here I am drinking your ice cold beer.” He laughed, drained the glass, and ordered a second. “What do you make of that, Jack? That is your name, isn’t it?”

    I nodded as I served up the refill.

    “So, what do you make of it?”

    “Doctors aren’t always right.”

March 25, 2014

Some days I plod a measured mile
Of graying asphalt road
To keep old arteries from closing
Or force new ones open.

I’d rather not look ahead
To still distant markers
But at the dirty white sideline,
Worn down to randomly regular rounded rectagons

Like jolly elephants on a frieze
Of nursery wallpaper;
Like fat letters of congratulations strung
Across an insurance office;

Like Mayan, which, if I could read
Or believe those who say they can,