Recent Stories: Fiction

February 16, 2017
What makes a happy marriage? Is it children or no children, or in-laws or lack of in-laws? Is it lots of money or lots of sex?

What makes a happy marriage? Is it children or no children, or in-laws or lack of in-laws? Is it lots of money or lots of sex?

Is it love? But what is love? Is it loyalty, or understanding, or common interests, or is it faith? What would Carrie Bradshaw, of “Sex and the City” fame, say about the condition of marriage?

February 9, 2017
She spent Memorial Day weekend in a glass sunroom at a friend’s house in Locust Valley, N.Y., where just a week later she would die. I spent the weekend in the Bahamas with my family. I rode a bike for the first time since I was 12 years old without falling. I felt fierce about my physicality in a way I hadn’t felt since giving birth to children.

Part Two

February 1, 2017
One year after her fifth child was born, my friend Paige Hardy collapsed on the street while running errands. Paige pulled herself up with the help of some pedestrians and went home thinking she was just tired. And who wouldn’t be tired with a 10-year-old, an eight-year-old, a six-year old, a four-year-old, and a baby? She had always been healthy. Never sick. Never had the need for an internist. She had babies so regularly, her obstetrician was her main doctor.

One year after her fifth child was born, my friend Paige Hardy collapsed on the street while running errands. Paige pulled herself up with the help of some pedestrians and went home thinking she was just tired. And who wouldn’t be tired with a 10-year-old, an eight-year-old, a six-year old, a four-year-old, and a baby? She had always been healthy. Never sick.

January 26, 2017
It’s a gray October day. I open the car door and make a dash through the parking lot, dodging the droplets of falling rain. I pass by a red neon sign — “BAR” — that flickers and fizzles as I approach the entrance. I pull open the door and enter the dimly lighted tavern.

It’s a gray October day. I open the car door and make a dash through the parking lot, dodging the droplets of falling rain. I pass by a red neon sign — “BAR” — that flickers and fizzles as I approach the entrance. I pull open the door and enter the dimly lighted tavern. 

January 19, 2017
Long years ago when I was teaching at a middle school in lower Westchester, the schedule was such that teachers shared the same lunch hour as the kids.

Long years ago when I was teaching at a middle school in lower Westchester, the schedule was such that teachers shared the same lunch hour as the kids. 

January 12, 2017
One-Armed Sam was not a discriminating man when it came to drinking. He showed up about six months ago and never left.

One-Armed Sam was not a discriminating man when it came to drinking. He showed up about six months ago and never left. 

Well, he went home at night, but as I unlocked the door in the morning there he was. His greeting was always the same. “Whatever you have on sale, Jack. That’ll do me just fine.” 

January 5, 2017
Anyone working in New York City has had celebrity sightings so often we jokingly called them “brushes with greatness.” From strap-hanging with a makeup-free Gwneyth Paltrow to sharing an elevator with J.F.K. Jr., I’ve had mine too.

Anyone working in New York City has had celebrity sightings so often we jokingly called them “brushes with greatness.” From strap-hanging with a makeup-free Gwneyth Paltrow to sharing an elevator with J.F.K. Jr., I’ve had mine too.

December 29, 2016
I was a reporter in Chicago in the dead of winter, 1967. Nasty. Below zero. Snow and ice everywhere. Brutal wind. A little before Hanukkah and Christmas.

I was a reporter in Chicago in the dead of winter, 1967. Nasty. Below zero. Snow and ice everywhere. Brutal wind. A little before Hanukkah and Christmas.

December 22, 2016
Finny fastened the buttons on the gray coat that was her best-ever find in the clothes barrel at church, even though the sleeves barely touched her wrists. From the kitchen, the querulous voice grew angrier in answer to the person on the other end of the phone. The drinking buddy, who would be over soon. Shoes in hand, Finny crept down the dark stairs to the heavy front door. She eased it open, anxious not to wake the tenants who lived on the brownstone’s parlor floor.

Brooklyn, New York 1954

December 15, 2016
It began when I was a teenager — a strange magnetic force that propelled me into places and experiences that were the provenance of the rich and famous. During my life I found myself in close proximity to the privileged, the talented, the movers and shakers. I didn’t seek it, it just happened again and again — like being in the right place at the right time or, conversely, being at the right place at the wrong time. It was always exciting and unexpected.

It began when I was a teenager — a strange magnetic force that propelled me into places and experiences that were the provenance of the rich and famous. During my life I found myself in close proximity to the privileged, the talented, the movers and shakers.

December 8, 2016
When I stopped by, she was sitting in the sunroom in a bright peach cotton robe and her pink plaid pajamas. Her sister and niece and the nurse were with her at the table under the hanging bleeding heart plant, surrounded by potted hibiscus. She was eating coffee ice cream for lunch, in a pretty china bowl, with a pretty silver spoon. Her napkin had purple lilies on it.

When I stopped by, she was sitting in the sunroom in a bright peach cotton robe and her pink plaid pajamas. Her sister and niece and the nurse were with her at the table under the hanging bleeding heart plant, surrounded by potted hibiscus. She was eating coffee ice cream for lunch, in a pretty china bowl, with a pretty silver spoon. Her napkin had purple lilies on it. 

December 1, 2016
A year ago, at the age of 92, my widowed mother spent her days in one of south Florida’s numerous four-story, pink cinderblock, sanitized senior communities (“Over 55 years; Children prohibited.”) Other than occasional aches and pains and some loss of hearing, her physical health was remarkably strong. To those who met my mother, her keen memory, sharp opinions, and interest in the world were even more striking.

A year ago, at the age of 92, my widowed mother spent her days in one of south Florida’s numerous four-story, pink cinderblock, sanitized senior communities (“Over 55 years; Children prohibited.”) Other than occasional aches and pains and some loss of hearing, her physical health was remarkably strong.

November 23, 2016
Zacharov was in his Moscow apartment. The apartment was dark except for the glow of the 15 computer screens, each manned by a trained hacker.

Zacharov was in his Moscow apartment. The apartment was dark except for the glow of the 15 computer screens, each manned by a trained hacker.

He was working on a plan for Putin. He thought he noticed that information was being downloaded from Hillary’s server. He read the latest email sent from the Brooklyn staff servers — the motherlode of secret information.

November 17, 2016
We had just moved from West Virginia to Atlanta. My husband, a fund-raiser, had taken a job there with a charity. We bought a little three-bedroom house for $13,500 in Decatur on the outskirts of town, 1398 Willevee Drive. The price of the house is a dead giveaway that it was a long time ago —1963.

We had just moved from West Virginia to Atlanta. My husband, a fund-raiser, had taken a job there with a charity. We bought a little three-bedroom house for $13,500 in Decatur on the outskirts of town, 1398 Willevee Drive. The price of the house is a dead giveaway that it was a long time ago —1963.

November 10, 2016
Georgie McFadden marched with purpose through the twice-baking summer heat that radiated from above and ricocheted from below off the endless pavement as he headed toward the one-hour photo shop on Third Avenue.

Georgie McFadden marched with purpose through the twice-baking summer heat that radiated from above and ricocheted from below off the endless pavement as he headed toward the one-hour photo shop on Third Avenue. 

November 3, 2016
It was fall in Charlottesville. The air was still warm, leaves crunched beneath the feet of many thousand students treading brick-laid paths on their return to campus, and Annie and I were smitten with each other. We had met a month or so into our first year at college, I from Long Island and she from Lynchburg, Virginia. I lived in the dorm next door to hers.

It was fall in Charlottesville. The air was still warm, leaves crunched beneath the feet of many thousand students treading brick-laid paths on their return to campus, and Annie and I were smitten with each other. We had met a month or so into our first year at college, I from Long Island and she from Lynchburg, Virginia. I lived in the dorm next door to hers. 

October 27, 2016
When I was a kid on Long Island in the ’60s no one ever wondered what characters their parents were going to be for Halloween. Unlike Memorial Day, when families went to the beach together, or July Fourth, when all the neighborhood adults had barbecues, set off fireworks, and got drunk on Schaefer beer, Halloween was reserved for the 13-and-under crowd.

When I was a kid on Long Island in the ’60s no one ever wondered what characters their parents were going to be for Halloween. Unlike Memorial Day, when families went to the beach together, or July Fourth, when all the neighborhood adults had barbecues, set off fireworks, and got drunk on Schaefer beer, Halloween was reserved for the 13-and-under crowd.

October 20, 2016
Out in the water, to the right, is a rock in the shape of a lion’s head. It rests its chiseled chin on the salty tide. The rest of its body is hidden by the sea, like a lot of things out here. Some people are not sure that the rock looks like a lion, but I am. I have heard it roar.

Out in the water, to the right, is a rock in the shape of a lion’s head. It rests its chiseled chin on the salty tide. The rest of its body is hidden by the sea, like a lot of things out here. Some people are not sure that the rock looks like a lion, but I am. I have heard it roar.

October 13, 2016
Jason was really bugging me in the car but I wasn’t too mad because I had my special things to show Annie even though today isn’t show and tell.

Jason was really bugging me in the car but I wasn’t too mad because I had my special things to show Annie even though today isn’t show and tell. 

When we were getting out of the car in front of school, Jason slipped on the ice and I laughed because his breakfast cereal bar fell in a puddle and the frosting got all wet. 

October 6, 2016
After his 1940 visit to Paris, when Werner Schrader obtained several Impressionist paintings from a Jewish gallery owner, handing over a reichsmark note for far below what he believed the paintings were worth, the German Intelligence officer returned to Paris one other time. It was in July 1942.
September 29, 2016
On a cool June morning Werner Schrader enters the Citibank branch on Fifth Avenue and 51st Street. He moves down the stairs to the vault and extracts a small safety deposit box key from his inside jacket pocket. A suit jacket doesn’t conceal a chest still thick and muscular despite his 64 years.

1967, New York City

On a cool June morning Werner Schrader enters the Citibank branch on Fifth Avenue and 51st Street. He moves down the stairs to the vault and extracts a small safety deposit box key from his inside jacket pocket. A suit jacket doesn’t conceal a chest still thick and muscular despite his 64 years. 

September 22, 2016
Maybe it was the sun beating through the window, shining and warming the coat of the old Great Dane, the harlequin Great Dane, the huge black and white dog that always welcomed the sun, and attention from everyone. He made the clientele feel good. I loved him. The scene in the sunny bay window always had the cat nearby, close to the Dane; it looked like the whole thing had been staged.

Maybe it was the sun beating through the window, shining and warming the coat of the old Great Dane, the harlequin Great Dane, the huge black and white dog that always welcomed the sun, and attention from everyone. He made the clientele feel good. I loved him. The scene in the sunny bay window always had the cat nearby, close to the Dane; it looked like the whole thing had been staged.

September 15, 2016
I am 85. It is a state of being that was virtually unimaginable until the morning it ensued. I am in treatment for lymphoma, but I sleep well and have little discomfort.

I am 85. It is a state of being that was virtually unimaginable until the morning it ensued. I am in treatment for lymphoma, but I sleep well and have little discomfort.

September 8, 2016
I stood there with my wife, son, and niece, fists balled as I found the familiar name on the wall. But only for a moment. The anger and rage were replaced by sadness and regret.

I stood there with my wife, son, and niece, fists balled as I found the familiar name on the wall. But only for a moment. The anger and rage were replaced by sadness and regret.