Recent Stories: Fiction

December 18, 2014

I looked down and noticed red poking through the tip of my sock. My near four-score, crimson lacquered toenail had worn a tear in the aqua fiber. I would have to darn it.

It made me think of the convent.

Earlier that morning, I had wasted 2 minutes and 16 seconds looking at a “precious” YouTube clip of “cute” dogs longing but looking away from people food. Again I thought of the convent.

It takes so little.

December 9, 2014

Jenn says that Tucker is her dog with special needs. “Yeah,” says Bryan, her husband, “he hit the jackpot when he got us as owners.” Jennifer and Bryan are both veterinarians. Tucker is their 7-year-old oversize golden retriever. He weighs 95 pounds. If he was human, he would receive a diagnosis of anxiety disorder and lack of impulse control with chronic depression. Tucker is afraid of walking on wooden floors, which is unfortunate because most of the main level of Jenn and Bryan’s house has them.

December 2, 2014

Breaking out of prison isn’t hard, you’ve just got to be patient, watchful, and lucky. If you can get those three stars aligned, eventually your time will come.

My time came just before midnight on Dec. 31, 1932. That would be eight months, one day, and seven hours ago, if my little brother’s pocket watch is still keeping proper time.

November 26, 2014

Did we start on shaky ground? 
             
You bet we did, three children, my husband Marty and I, pulling into the driveway of our new East Hampton home (we bought from the Barrys). We were packed with our belongings in his bright yellow Checker taxicab.

November 18, 2014

In the old days of the garment center, if you walked into Dubrow’s cafeteria on Seventh Avenue for your morning coffee, you would enter a world of cutters, pressers, and pattern makers, all unemployed or laid off. You would hear the stories of the discontented: The bosses are unreasonable, the unions are corrupt, the buyers are compromised.

November 11, 2014

If you saw Will on the street in his early 60s, you would think he looked like an aged James Cagney after nights of heavy drinking and little sleep. He was a small, wiry, angry man. Indeed, anger consumed him: a fire he could not extinguish. Offhand comments were a provocation to him. Look at him askance, and he might bark a curse at you. A friend of his said that Will had more than a chip on his shoulder; it was a rattlesnake. His provocative manner was an invitation to a challenge. He was quick with his fists, but also with his mind.

November 4, 2014

It’s 1961. Castro has taken over Cuba. My parents have a lot of discussions about the Communist Party. I hear what they’re saying, but the truth is I don’t think about it much. When they’re talking and talking, I think about ballet. I hear music in my head and the sound of my feet landing on the wooden planks of the dance studio floor.

October 28, 2014

When I was a child, the grass in our backyard was a vivid shade of green, and the sky a deep blue. Our family life was like living in a colorful water globe that changed hues with each passing year.  The modest brick ranch we lived in was our castle, placed inconspicuously on a dead-end street in a content world. Towering bushes encircled our home like a moat, keeping us safe.  

October 21, 2014

Jack Day half smiled at the sight of his father sipping coffee in the kitchen beside the bay window he helped him install upon his mother’s request weeks before she passed away almost a year ago.

October 14, 2014

Part Two

While still in the home port of Odessa, Nathan sent a telegram to Benjamin informing him of the name and route of the ship, so he could track their passage.

Their room was spare, gray, and made of steel, with one small bunk and a rack for clothes. They had to share a bathroom with crew. It was not perfect, but they felt safe and knew this was a chance for a better life.

October 7, 2014

It was a late afternoon in March, just after the turn of the 20th century. The air sparkled.     
            
A spring wedding was taking place. There was clapping, singing, and joy in the small shtetl in Krizopil, north of Odessa, Russia.

September 30, 2014

“I’ve got something interesting to show you,” said Jackson Pollock’s nephew Ronald Stein. “In fact, you’re one of the few people who’ve ever seen it.” For a brief moment I imagined Stein was going to show me something grotesque — the mummified body of his aunt Lee Krasner or a collection of eyeballs floating in a glass jar.

I followed him to a back room of the farmhouse and reflected on what a strange and wonderful night it had been.

September 23, 2014

On Sept. 1, 1975, the day I moved to East Hampton from suburban New Jersey, New York magazine published an article, “Out Here in the Hamptons: Snapshots of the Literary Life,” by Anthony Haden-Guest.

September 16, 2014

I first met my Uncle Dave when I was 5 years old and he returned to our home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, after serving in World War II.  My mom and her sister, Leah, Dave’s two sisters, threw a big welcome home party and roasted chickens and briskets for days. A big sign was hung on the front of the house that had flashing white, red, and blue colored bulbs, was painted red, white, and blue, and read “Welcome Home Dave.”

September 9, 2014

According to Wikipedia, Adolph Hitler entertained dinner guests by whistling.  
             
Since June, 1945, stories have circulated of performances of Beethoven’s Ninth during which a small man in the audience with wisps of meat on his mustache stands up and whistles along with the chorale, but there are no known pictures of this event.

Der Fuhrer didn’t really like Putzi. “That’s some silly name,” he would say to him every time he passed Putzi in the Reichstag.

September 2, 2014

I grew up by the shore, was born there and spent my youth there. And I’m glad for it. I enjoyed my time there — the sea and sand and breezes. It was very pleasant indeed. Peaceful.

August 28, 2014

My ocean town struggles
to pick up leaves,
offer summer school,
and keep our library open.
Every day now
more men stand
at the railroad station,
waiting to be chosen for work.
Because it’s thought
the Hispanics will work for less
they get picked first,
while the whites and blacks
avoid the terror
in one another’s eyes.
Our handyman, Santos,
who expects only
what his hands earn,
is proud of his half acre in Guatemala,

August 28, 2014

As I look at my two first-place metal plaques from the 1992 Hampton Classic Horse Show, I think longingly about my riding and competing days. The medals have the familiar gold Hampton Classic logo in the middle on a red background, blue border, and the words “The Hampton Classic” on the top and  “1st Place 1992” on the bottom. They’re designed to be put on a tack trunk, but I keep mine in a position of honor on my Welsh dresser next to my blue and white china plates.

August 19, 2014

PART TWO

    Corelli paused for a moment, his black eyes seizing hers. Then he broke into a wide smile.
       
    Louise tried to return the smile but only did so with a feeling that made her wonder if she looked foolish.

    “Well I must leave now. I’m late for my next appointment,” he said, tipping his fedora.

August 19, 2014

PART TWO

Corelli paused for a moment, his black eyes seizing hers. Then he broke into a wide smile.
       
Louise tried to return the smile but only did so with a feeling that made her wonder if she looked foolish.

“Well I must leave now. I’m late for my next appointment,” he said, tipping his fedora.

“And what is it that you do in your territory?” asked Louise, desperate for a few last words

August 12, 2014

The whole trip had gone badly. It was her idea to get away for a week in Geneva, but Martin only reluctantly agreed at the last minute when he suddenly announced that he needed to be in Sicily for a few days.

“We could tack it onto the Swiss trip. You might enjoy it,” he said in an unusual display of enthusiasm while searching the downstairs closet of their London house for his canvas walking shoes.  

August 5, 2014

Victoria, an 84-year-old Iraqi Jewish widow, is hosting her first cooking class and hopes, against all odds and reason, that the only student who shows up might be the child of the daughter she gave up for adoption many years before.

“What’s your name?” I asked her.

“Lorca,” she said. And I slumped inside just the tiniest bit. I’d never read Lorca. I should have. He’d been on my list.