Friday, June 30, 2017

Early Riser

We always saw Kathy leaving early. She would be walking down the sidewalk at five AM. She was German and made sure everyone went to church every Sunday. They had a nanny who watched her two boys and Kathy always said Gert, that was really her name, was great. When Kathy became a partner in the firm she stayed late at work and sometimes worked through the weekends. She made senior partner and nobody saw her for a while. Then we moved.

My boys hate me. That's what she said when we got together years later. Her boys both went off to college on the West coast and rarely came back. What do you mean I asked. They hate me. They do. They tell me that all the time. Kathy and John seemed to have it all. They both were successful lawyers and still lived in the city. We had moved to the far suburbs and were always broke but our kids didn't hate us.

Then we heard John had an affair. He left for a woman who looked  just like Kathy. The story was he did it over pizza one Friday night. Kathy moved to the city in a condo that looked over the lake. Her boys didn't come home for mothers day and my wife said they didn't even send a card. Maybe they did hate her.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Empty Nesters

Jan and Rob always worked on their home. When we moved in Rob helped me with the swing set. That was twelve years ago. We didn't talk much after that but we didn't talk to many our neighbors. Rob was a dentist and always worked in his yard on Thursdays. I would see him out there on his tractor and Jan would be bent over some plant. They had the nicest yard and the nicest house and they always worked don it twenty four seven. Then one day a For Sale sign appeared.

I bet something happened my wife said. It took about a year before they sold their house. Every Thursday rob would cut his grass but he was getting skinnier. his bony knees stuck up and now he had a jaw line. We figured something happened and that made them want to sell. But then i saw Jan. Oh no we just got tired of working on the house she said. We want to move in closer to the city where we can walk to coffee shops. We all wanted that.

So anyway, they moved. I kind of miss Rob on his tractor on Thursdays. My swing set is old and probably should be burned now. Kids are gone. Last I heard,  Rob died of leukemia. a year after he moved. I don't know, maybe he got to walk to a coffee shop a couple of times.

william hazelgrove

Friday, September 16, 2016


Jerry walked with his daughter to the homecoming game.
Come on hurry up.
I don't want to go.
His daughter had just turned twelve and recently started junior high school. She didn't want a ride anymore to school. That was his time with her and they would talk about the day. Now she wanted to ride the bus with her friends. But the homecoming game at the high school seemed like something they could do together.
 Come on it will be fun.
His daughter stared in fear at the other kids. She was there with her dad. Jerry noticed the boys all around and Cindy looked like she wanted to melt into the ground.
Don't worry about them...we can stand at the end of the field and watch. Cindy pulled her hat low and slowed down even more. At this rate they wouldn't see the kickoff. Jerry stopped.
Look. I'm going to go ahead and watch the kickoff. You stay here by the fence.
Cindy just stared at him.
Ok she muttered
Jerry took off. He was heading back to homecoming. He had played high school football and this was a good old fashioned Midwestern homecoming game with cheerleaders and the band and now the team coming out in a cloud of smoke. Jerry watched the cheerleaders begin their routine and saw the jazzed players tearing for the goal line. He remembered that. He remembered being seventeen and feeling the glory of the game. It was all in front of him. He felt the old nirvana of youth settle on him. He remembered Cindy and looked back. She was gone.
Oh shit.
Jerry hurried to where he had left her. Nowhere. He couldn't find her her. He frantically ran for the gate.
Have you seen a little girl with a white hat?
The ticket lady shook her head.
Jerry turned frantically.
He turned around. He saw Cindy's hat behind a pine tree.
Where did you go?
 She sniffed and he saw she had been crying.
Can we go  home now?
 Jerry turned back to the game. The kickoff sailed high and he watched the home team return. A night at the homecoming game vanished. It was gone. Just like that.
They walked back in the darkess and got in the car. They went for ice cream and sat outside in some adirondak chairs. The next weekned Cindy went to the game with her girlfiend. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Breaking Out

I'm going for a drive!
Where are you going?
I dont know. I just have to get out of here.
George went out the door and got in his Versa. He put the car in gear and shot into the warm darkness. Kids. Money. Family. It was all coming down on him. And worse he worked at home so like a lot of people he could never get away from his problems.
But he was free now. He was out. He jammed the stick shift through the gears with the radio blaring. The empty road flared up and then he saw lights. He should go to a bar and get drunk. He should go to a strip joint and pay for a lap dance. He saw Dairy Queen and turned the car into the drive through.
What can I get you?
George stared at the lit marquis. What will it be? A shot of whiskey. A cigar.
Ill take a malt.
What size.
George paused. Fuck it.
A large!
Please pull around.
George pulled the car around and a pimply faced kid met him at the window.
That will be 4.19
George handed him the credit car. Expensive but you know what, fuck it!
The kid came back with his malt and a receipt.
George zoomed into the parking lot and parked among minivan moms and baseball dads. Some Little League game had let out. George dove into his large malt. Yeah he had a cholesterol problem. You know what, fuck it! He ate the whipped cream, the cherry, then he sucked up the chocolate malt like a man on a mission. His throat numbed out and the sugar buzz came on like a veil. George sat slumped down in his 12,000 dollar car in the suburban parking lot.
Yeah baby. He was out. Fuck it. Maybe he would get another malt. Maybe a hot dog. That would show them. Nitrates, pig guts, carcinogens. He drove home and left the empty malt cup the car. Fuck it. He was a man . He would not take this shit.He would drink malts and eat hot dogs and screw women if he felt like it. HE WAS A MAN.
He went in the house and saw his wife.
Oh hi.
I came back he declared.
Cindy stared at him and shrugged.
Oh...I didnt know you left,..I thought you were in your office.
No...I went out!
Cindy looked at him.
Can you take out the garbage?
George stared at her defiantly, thinking of the malt cup she would find in her car in the morning.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Nobody saw John and Georgia for a long time. They had all been in the city together for thirty years before age had  wrecked most of them. When Georgia died Randy got the news while ordering a Big Mac in a drive thru. He probably hadn't seen Georgia and John for over a year and now they were going to a funeral in the burbs. They didn't have kids and there had been rumors that something wasn't quite right with John.  Someone said he was a drunk.
Hey man thanks for coming.
Randy hugged John and remembered doing a loan for him five years before. They had sat in Johns immaculate house with their three cats and three litter boxes. Georgia was a clean freak and John was anal and the house looked not lived in at all.
How are you doing John?
Oh you know man. Day by day.
Johns face was bright red and Randy couldn't help but wondering if he was back on the sauce. At parties Georgia and Johnnever stayed long. Georgia got drunk fast and John would always say yeah man Georgia has had enough .They were both heavy smokers.
After the funeral they got together a few weeks later at a pizzeria. There were fifty big screens blasting out sports. John was there with a very old woman. The rap was she had been taking care of John. His face was even more red.
Randy here is like Ernest Hemingway, a writer.
The woman Betty smiled and had no idea what John had said. They left early when John was too drunk to stand and six months later John married Betty.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Obnoxious Woman

My kids are all teasing me that I'm going to be fifty.
Oh really.
Aren't you like fifty six?
Oh yes. Terrible isn't it.
Well yeah.You are getting old. That's why I'm using this new cream on my face.
You notice it is red.
Well yes
Well it says it takes off the top layer.
You do look younger.
I know. I look young for my age. Everyone says I look forty.
You do.
I know.  John is losing his hair and I tell him hey buddy maybe its time to stop the comb over.
Ha ha.
Your husband is bald isn't he? his hair is receding
Hes bald. That's what John said and I said John your hair isn't receding your bald.
Oh....well I guess--
I mean if we didn't have kids I guess we could be in spas and traveling.
Oh yeah my girlfriends all travel the world. Their husbands are brokers but no kids. They weren't stupid like you and me.
I like my kids.
Oh come on . Would we do it again knowing what we know now?
I think so--
No we wouldn't. Its like taxes. We should just tell the government  to fuck off. I mean I live on a lake and five acres but its in the middle of nowhere.
But you know what, life sucks then you die.
Hey its been great. Gotta get to Sams Club. They are having a special on Spam Surprise. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


John liked to sit in the corner at Starbucks. He could curl up against the wall and the chatter of housewives and businessmen didn't bother him as much. He was thinking of leaving when a very large woman sat down next to him. John concentrated on his writing but then the cheesy popcorn bag opened. The woman took off her glasses and slowly savored her cheesy popcorn. She was so big she had to push the table out in the aisle. John tried to ignore the crinkling bag and the wafting aroma of chemical cheese.
Fuck. She's on the phone.
Oh no. I am sticking to my diet. I am only having a bag of cheesy popcorn.
John tried not to listen and redoubled his concentration.
Well I have to eat says for sodium it is only twenty percent of the daily allowance.
The words had frozen out the screen. The putrid cheese scent of chemical popcorn was overwhelming.
Well I am only having bean soup and ham tonight.
The crinkling bag was extremely loud.
Well I have to eat something...fine. I wont eat cheesy popcorn. I promise...I know what the doctor said. I will never eat it again.
She hung up the phone and continued to eat. John could not help but watch how she slowly brought each piece to her mouth and slowly chewed. The bag was now empty and she folded it up. She sat staring and then stood up. John managed to get back to his writing. He was hard at work again and lost in his prose when the rotten egg gas wafted over again. The crinkling bag broke his concentration forever. The new bag of cheesy popcorn floated beneath her mouth. The woman stared at him then shrugged in defeat.