Fiction

A half-century ago, I took part in what could only be called a great experiment. Would deafening decibels of 55,000 screaming teenagers result in loss of hearing? Would Brownie camera flashbulbs simultaneously popping off cause little black dots to impair my vision by being forever affixed before my eyes?

My wife and I bought our first house in the early 1960s and quickly found out that it was too small. We decided to have an extra room added that would serve as our master bedroom.

Janice’s feet were in the stirrups and a sheet was covering her Brazilian waxed parts when she asked her gynecologist, “Why do I feel like I want to join a nunnery? I’d rather go to the dentist than have sex.”

I had become interested in the old man in spite of his gruff manner. His words were like the newspapers reporting things that were important.

A man craggy as granite rock had a habit of putting the flag up on his mailbox. He never had anything to mail, nor did the mail deliver much of anything except circulars, which he pasted to cylindrical form before burning them in his porcelain kitchen sink. Those paper stacks emitted their smoke out the kitchen window, and curious neighbors said...

When the right engine of his Cessna 310 sputtered and quit, Nick Melon wasn’t thinking about the $10 million he had stacked in the back of his plane. He wasn’t thinking about the shark-friendly waters of the Gulf of Mexico below, nor was he thinking about the fact that absolutely no one knew where the hell he was, because he was flying below radar...

The explosion of 20 bombs in the city center had thrown Belfast into complete chaos. Ambulances, fire trucks, and rescue units filled the streets. Royal Victoria Hospital was overwhelmed with the injured. The Army and police had set up roadblocks. The mood was ugly, a mixture of shock, anger, and fear.

Forty-three years ago this month, I was a New York journalist in Belfast to cover “the troubles” in Northern Ireland. I had been there many times since the conflict began in 1969.

In mid-July of 1975, a newly single woman, I threw myself a birthday bash. Sixty people showed up at my home in suburban New Jersey on a Sunday afternoon. Huge amounts of food were prepared, by me and others, from chicken Marengo and quiche...