Monday, November 30, 2015

The Other Woman

When Jack and Monica broke up everyone wondered who the other woman was. Was she a twenty something or was she older with kids. Nobody knew. All anyone knew was that on one Friday night Jack came home on their twenty fifth wedding anniversary and said he wanted a divorce and that he was seeing someone. Months passed before Cindy and Jim saw Jack again. They were downtown on State Street when he saw Jack walking toward him. He thought about acting like he didn't see Jack but then Cindy waved.
 Jack looked up and that was when Jim saw the woman on his arm. She looked to be in her forties. They made awkward small talk and then they were gone.
Can you believe he left Monica for her Cindy exclaimed as they drove home.
No...did you think-
Yes. A dead ringer for Monica.
Jim looked out the window. It was true. The woman looked just like Monica. Maybe a little younger but in essence it was Monica.
I wonder why he left her.
Who knows why men do anything Cindy  grumbled.
Jim rolled his shoudlers.
I mean she wasn't like some young hottie.
His wife turned to him and glared.
I hate men. They all judge woman the same. If she had been hot then it would have been alright but because she is older and looks like Monica then you want to know why.
Jim sighed.
That's not what I meant.
Sure. Men are all pigs that way.
Jim frowned.
He  had been married twenty five years. It was a dangerous time. Kids leaving. People getting older. Re evaluation. Everyone thought about it. Just start over with someone else. Maybe Jack just had the guts to do  it.
Jim looked at his wife and shrugged.
I mean maybe they were having's funny, Jack said he and Monica never fought.
He paused, titlting his head .
Maybe he just wanted someone different.
Cindy shook her head and stared out the window.
Men are pigs.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


John and Michelle moved from the city after 9/11. They felt vulnerable with their kids and moved forty miles West of Chicago. John hated living in the ex urb and counted the years as his kids got older. When his son graduated high school they put the house on the market to move back. Then the Paris attack hit.
I'm so glad we live in the country," his eleven year old daughter said one day.
Whys that?
Because we wont get bombed.
John looked up the statistics. He had one chance in five million to be killed in a terrorist attack. Driving a car was much more dangerous. Being out in a lightning storm was more dangerous. Taking a piss was more dangerous.
We will be safe in the city he told his daughter.
They went downtown for the lighting of the Christmas tree. There were police everywhere. Four helicopters hovered overhead. The crowd was enormous. John saw some people with a  banner, BLACK LIVES MATTER.
I want to go home his daughter said, looking scared.
John and Michelle exchanged glances.
Why honey?
Because I'm scared
John remembered 9/11 then. He remembered taping up his doors for a chemical attack. He remembered not getting the mail out of fear of anthrax. He remembered stock piling water and food.
They will light the tree soon his wife said.
No I want to go home now..
His daughter began to cry as the giant tree suddenly lit. Fireworks exploded directly overhead. Rockets flew into the sky. Smoke filled the air. The helicopters remained overhead.
Isnt the tree pretty?
I want to go home!
Look at the fireworks John told her.
She began to cry. Michelle and John stared at each other in the red glow of the fireworks. They stared the way they had when they got the realtor fifteen years before. The way they did when  they took the house off the market.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Before the crash Johns neighborhood was full of guys with dark slicked hair with tattoos who bought million dollar homes and then lost them when their no money down houses lost all their value. Jimmy Rocco lived next door to John and sometimes he made fun of John from his Hummer when he was biking. When he was going up a hill Jimmy Rocco would pump his fists like he was getting tired. He was married to some woman who had won a beauty pageant in some third world country.

 And then Jimmy Rocco lost his house and John never saw him again. Ten year later he was in the grocery store and he noticed the Fifteen Items line was backed up. Everyone looked pissed off and John stared at the items on the conveyor belt. There was at least twenty five. He then looked up at the man standing with his head slightly down with hair greased back. His hair had turned gray and for a minute John didn't recognize Jimmy Rocco.

But there he was. Standing in the Fifteen Item line and John just said it.
Hey...that looks like its more than fifteen items.
Jimmy Rocco looked up and John could tell he didn't recognize him.
It's fifteen he said shrugging.
No its not John said looking at the other people in line.
Jimmy Rocco shrugged again.
Whats your problem pal.
He's right you got like twenty some items an old man said in front of John.
A woman with circles under her eyes shook her head.
I cant stand people who think they are above the rules

Jimmy Rocco stared down with his neck turning pink.
I think you should go to the back of the line John said.
I do too the old man said.
Jimmy glared at John with pure hate
Fuck it he muttered and then walked out and left  his items on  the conveyor.
John never saw him again, He heard from a man years later that Jimmy Rocco drove around a truck that looked like a hot dog during lunch hour. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Breakfast Club

Every day John drove by the three women at the bus stop. He envied them because they always talked every morning while he had to face his computer. They had never really spoke except the one woman Beth. The other two had just moved in and he would pass and wave with his daughter every morning on the way to school. He began to think about saying something.
In truth he wouldn't mind being part of their breakfast club. He needed the interaction. He was the lonely writer in the suburbs working on two books he had to have to the publisher by the years end.

So one day he dropped off his daughter and decided to say something. A quip. Something to break the ice and bring him into the club. He put down his far window and readied himself. He would be the witty writer who would make the women laugh, then they might all start talking. Who knows, he might start coming up to the bus stop to chat and become a member of the breakfast club.  They weren't  bad looking women.

But now he was on his game. He saw the women and made sure he had his sunglasses on his head and checked himself in the mirror. He slowed down and the two women turned.

Hey, you guys need to call your group something.
There was only two of them today. They laughed.
We should we  should
How about the breakfast club?
Oh that's good that's good.
Yeah. Great movie. I'm john  by the way.
Kate the new woman said.

John motioned behind him...what is the other woman's name?
Kate leaned toward him and frowned.
What? What did you say?

I said... what was the other woman's name?
Oh that's Liz.
John then stared at the women. They stared at him.
Well carry on he said stupidly.
He then drove away and pulled into his garage. He went to his office and shut the door. The next day John  drove by and waved and the women waved back. He never stopped again.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Talking in Class

Jerry had enough. He didn't care if the students followed along with the reading but it really irritates him that they talked during the reading. He was an adjunct and didn't feel like he should be babysitting and usually he would let it go but they just kept talking. Fuck it.
The two students looked up. The guy never brought his book and mostly just stared at the floor or talked to the girl who kept her phone on and surfed. It was early and Monday and just then Jerry didn't give a shit anymore.
You two want to shut the fuck up.
They looked up at him shocked. They were freshman at an upscale private college.
I don't give a fuck if you don't do the reading or surf during class. But I do care if you talk. If you want to keep talking then get the fuck out of my class otherwise shut the fuck up.
The entire class was silent and staring. A Street Car Named Desire had taken a back seat to real drama. The girl had turned red and the boy was now staring down at the floor with his BULLS hat pulled low. Jerry turned back to the girl who had been reading.
Please continue.
The class ended ten minutes later and the boy and girl ran out of the class. Later that day he received an email from the chairman.
Please seem me regarding a formal complaint.
The next day Jerry walked into the Dans office. They had only talked once when he was hired and like most adjunct jobs he never saw the chairman again.
Have a seat Jerry.
Dan picked up a piece of paper.
I have a formal complaint lodged by two students of yours. They said you swore at them in class.
Well...yes. They had been talking in class.
Dan leaned back. There had been an open position and Dan never mentioned it. A permanent one and Jerry felt Dan had not even considered him.
You can't swear at students Jerry.
Dan paused.
You will have to apologize to the two students.
Or we will have to make a change.
Jerry stared at the chairman
You're going to fire me?
I would have no choice.
The job only paid twenty four hundred bucks. It wasn't enough.
You know what Dan--
She's my daughter.
Jerry apologized to the two students in the hallway the next day. They dropped the class the next week and said Jerry was a REAL PRICK on


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Portion Control

Yeah I don't know what I'm going to do they are upping the prices on flour and sauce and everything.
John looked at AL of AL's Pizzeria. He had stopped to chat after he picked up his pizza. It was a good stress reliever standing in the pizzeria after a long day shooting the shit with a guy in an apron.
Well I'm sure people will still come if you keep the quality up.
Maybe...but I might have to raise prices.
John went to his car and drove home . A week later he called to order a pizza and a snippy woman on the phone answered.
Yes. Id like no cheese on the pizza.
No cheese...whadaya mean?
My wife and I don't like cheese on the pizza but we would like extra sauce
That will cost you extra.
Well...I'm not having cheese....cant you swap one for another.
No. I cant. And the veggies are going to cost you extra too.
Ok fine.
John put his order in and then thirty minutes later he picked up his pizza. The owner AL wasn't there. The dark haired woman from the phone gave him his pizza.
That will be twenty eight dollars.
Yeah. We had to increase our prices she said taking his credit car.
John drove home and brought the pizza inside. He opened the box and stared.
What the fuck!
His wife came up and stared.
What did they do?
The pizza was thin like a cracker with barely any sauce and a few veggies.
I know what he did. He cranked up his prices and cut back on his ingredients.
John dialed up the pizzeria. The woman answered.
Yes. I just picked up my pizza and it looks horrible. It is thin with very little sauce and practically no veggies.
Yeah so. We always put the same amount on.
But this is terrible and you increased the price...I want to talk to AL.
The phone went dead.
May I help you.
Yeah Al. It's John. We just got our pizza and its razor thin with nothing on it and you charged me more.
Yeah. I told you I was getting screwed by my suppliers.
But you are screwing your customers John cried out.
Hey. Its portion controlled. And you know I always take time out and talk to you when you come in when I could be doing my work. So just look at it like you are paying for my time.
What! Are you crazy! I was just shooting the shit with you!
Yeah. Well shoot it somewhere else then.
The phone went dead. John hung it up slowly. He looked at the pizza.
What did he say?
He said it was portion controlled. He paused and looked at his wife.
You know. I'm going to really miss talking to AL
She stared at him.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Clive saw himself as an independent but it drove him crazy when authors would stop in the store.
Like this guy.
Yes...I just wanted to drop off my latest novel.
Clive was swamped. He had to get the new books out of the boxes and onto the shelves and he really wanted a cigarette out back before lunch.
Uh...fine. You can give it to us on consignment...let me get you that form.
The man who was a good twenty five years older than Clive frowned.
Wait a minute. I'm not some self published newbie.
Clive breathed loudly and pushed up his Ray Bans.
Look...we get people in here all day long saying they are not self published and dropping off their books and you know what, they are. Otherwise I would be unpacking their books from those boxes marked Random House.
The man turned red.
Why you snot nosed fucker.
Ok that's it. I appreciate it if you leave now Clive barked pointing to the door.
The man glared at him.
I got more for one fucking book than you make in a whole year.
Sure you did and I'm Barack Obama... now get the fuck out of here before I call the cops.
The man flipped him off.
Eat shit
Then he left. Clive watched him go out . He really really hated indies. They drove him crazy. He saw the book as Gerald his manger walked out.
I heard some yelling.
Yeah another loser wantabe author dropping off his book. And this one got hostile. He must have been about a hundred.
Gerald picked up the book and raised his eyebrows.
Shit. E.L. Leonard...this is the book he dropped off?
Clive blinked
Yeah I guess.
Gerald who was about forty stared at him.
He won the fucking National Book Award like ten years ago. I think he hit the list a few times and had a boatload of books coming out at one time.
Oh...then I guess he wasn't lying Clive murmured, shrugging.
Gerald shook  his head.
I wondered what had happened to him.
Clive flipped his hair up.
Obviously nothing...can you cover while I get a smoke?
Jack Pine. Northwoods Thriller Kindle Sale 3.99

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mad Men

George loved Mad Men. He saw himself as one of them. He was bored at his job and thought he could do better. He told Jeb about his new job at the bar.
I'm the man. I report to the CEO and no one else.
That's great.
Yeah...just like Mad Men dude.
After that Jeb didn't see George for three months. When he did he had lost weight and looked haggard.
What happened to you? new job sucks.
My boss is an asshole man. He's like a workaholic and abuses the shit out of me. I've lost ten pounds and all I do is collapse at night.
So what are you going to do?
I'm going to look for a new job.
Jeb didn't see George after that for another few months. He was very busy with the end or the term grading and student conferences anyway. After school got out he met George again at the bar.
So what's going on?
George looked even worse.
I got fired man.
You're kidding.
That prick of a boss of mine said I couldn't cut it. Said I didn't have what it takes.
Wow...that sucks.
Yeah the guy was a real dick and I haven't been ever to find anything else.
I'm really sorry George.
Guess you have a lot of time to watch Mad Men.
I hate that show George grumbled.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Phone Husband

That's it. I cant take it anymore.
Shelly grabbed Nathans phone from his hand. He stared at her.
We don't have a life together anymore. You have your phone and I have this threesome It sucks!
Nathan sat back in his chair in the restaurant.
Have you lost your mind?"
No. I am tired of competing with your phone. Even when we are having sex you have your phone in the bed!
Nathan shook his head.
Oh come on....
It's true. I was just about to come and you took a call!
Hey. I'm a broker. You never know when a client wants to talk to you.
Shelly shut her eyes.
You never talk to me anymore. We go out and you are on your phone. We drive somewhere and you are on your phone. We go on vacation and you are on your phone. You are never just with me!
Nathan shrugged
Its the way it is now. I have to be accessible.
Bullshit. You are addicted to your phone Nathan and I wont go through this another day.
Nathan stared at his wife.
So what are you saying?
I am saying it is either me or the phone. You get rid of the phone or I'm leaving you.
You phone.
That's right. Get a pager or whatever. But I want my husband back.
Nathan nodded his head slowly.
Well...if it means that much to you.
It does.
Then obviously there is only one thing for me to do. You mean the world to me.
Shelly put his phone in the middle of the table.
Thank you.
Nathan picked up his phone and looked at his wife.
I guess we need to get you an apartment.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Text Elitism

 It really bothered Justin that Paul should be doing so well
They had gone to college together and even been roommates. He had moved to the suburbs and taken a job at  Dominoes pizza as a manager while Paul became an architect. What really bothered him was that Paul preferred texts over conversation.
Hey lets get together.
Sorry. Busy.
Paul's texts were always curt. They were usually just a few words. Still Justin persisted. He felt if he and Paul could get together he might establish a lifeline to a bigger world. Paul lived in a highrise downtown with his wife another architect. They were always going to benefits or concerts or just doing really cool things. about Saturday?
Sorry. Just got back from Paris.
So it went. Paul would wait a few weeks and then send Paul another text. It seemed this bigger world beyond the suburbs of wife and there kids and a dog and a cat was at Pauls fingertips. He actually had seen him on television a few times being interviewed about architecture in Chicago. So he was very excited when the text came back:
Hey Saturday might be doable.
Great. We will come down.
Yes...dinner at our place seven. Paul
Justin bought a snazzy new sport coat and his wife bought a dress she had seen in a magazine. They both looked forward to a night downtown with people who might usher in a new life for them. The text came during Saturday afternoon.
Sorry. Forgot about Chicago Symphony concert. Have to cancel.
Justin was stunned. More than that he was mad. He had enough of Paul and his rude elitist texts. He would show him. In a fit of rage he texted back.
That's fine. We have a YANNI concert we forgot about.
He hit send with great satisfaction.
He never heard from Paul again.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Doctor Story

I don't think she has an infection.
Jim looked at the doctor
They had been in the treatment room for an hour. He had to go outside and ask several times if they were next. Sylvia was so sick she fell asleep on the gurney. She had been fighting the flu for several days and when he heard her say it hurt when she coughed they had gone to the Immediate Care Facility close to their home. Now the Asian doctor was standing with his arms crossed.
I just don't think antibiotics are warranted here.
Doc. I know some Zithromax will kill this thing. Her sister just had the same thing.
The Doctor stared at him.
I will take a chest xray. If I see pneumonia then I will prescribe antibiotics.
Jim waited while they took his daughter to get xrayed. Then they had to wait another half hour for the results. The Asian Doctor returned.
Just like I thought. Nothing on the xray. There is really nothing I can give her except Tamiflu.
Jim shook his head.
Doc. That wont work. She has had this for a while. She needs antibiotics.
The doctor crossed his arms.
I don't see the need.
Jim jumped up.
The Asian Doctor turned red and shrugged.
Fine. You want antibiotic I will give it  but I don't see she need it. The nurse will give you the prescription. Then he left. Jim got the prescription filled and sat up with his daughter most of the night.
In the morning the doctor called and said they found a spot on the xray.
Good thing I gave her antibiotic the Asian doctor told his wife.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Neighbor friends

The dinner came about after they ran into the Hendricks at the graduation ceremony. They had lived across the street from each other for ten years and their kids were the same age and they were the same age but Pam and Jack did not gel with Frank and Julie. So Frank decided they would have a dinner. Way back when they had tried when they first moved in but it just didn't go anywhere. So now Frank decided to break the ice with the dinner.
They had lobster and rice and champagne for dinner. After dinner they went to the den and sat around and had coffee. The conversation had been stiff. They had asked where each of their kids were going to college. Pam still looked like a million bucks though she had aged. She had a way of just waiting for you to make an ass of yourself before she spoke. That's what Julie thought.
Frank decided to go for it.
You know we had this dinner well because we decided that after all these years it was ridiculous for us to not be friends. I mean ten years ago we all tired and...I don't know with our kids in college now maybe we can pull it off.
Jack sat with his coffee with his leg crossed. He had a Hemingway beard and he stared down at his coffee for a long moment.
I wondered what was behind this he began slowly
Frank shrugged.
Well...nothing. Just Julie and I thought since none of us are moving we should you know become better neighbors.
Jack set his coffee down.
That's the point. We are neighbors.
Exactly Frank exclaimed.
No. Jack shook his head. I mean we are neighbors and not friends. Those are two different groups that Pam and I like to keep separate.
Frank looked at his wife and she shook her head. She had told him this was a bad idea. She didn't like Pam and thought she was a bitch.
Well...Frank continued. Maybe we can change that.
Jack pursed his lips.
No. We are neighbors. The truth is we didn't become friends ten years ago because we didn't really like each other...and the truth is we still don't.
Franks mouth opened slowly as Jack stood up .
But thank you for the dinner neighbor. Ready Pam?
Frank and Julie stared at each other after the door closed.
I told you.
Frank nodded.
You were right.
 Two years later they moved back to the city where their neighbor friends lived.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Marcus  had just finished speaking at the private school with  Tyler. They went for drinks afterward. Marcus just had a book come out and was riding high. Tyler's last book came out ten years before.
Yeah my agent is pissed at me.
Marcus drank his beer and looked across the table.
I haven't given her anything to sell for ten years Tyler shrugged.
Yeah. Well I'm sure you'll come up with something.
I don't know. It's not that I haven't written anything just nothing good.
Marcus nodded but he couldn't empathize. He had just sold his third novel for just under six figures and sold the movie rights. He was the hot young author who had been in People Magazine and the New York Times and started writing in a famous authors house.
Here I wanted you to have this Tyler said after many shots and many beers.
Marcus took the book that was old and faded.
Its the only one I have. You cant find it anywhere.
Cool. Thanks man.
That was the last Marcus saw of him. Ten years later he was waiting in the Chicago Public Library for Tyler to come out. Tyler had just been awarded the Genius Grant and his book had been a National Bestseller. Marcus had lost his publisher and was selling real estate. He had seen in the paper about Tylers speech and hoped to maybe get a contact for a new agent or publisher.
Hey Tyler!
He was walking out in a dark  suit with a woman looking at her watch.
Oh hey Marcus. How's it going?
Not bad, but hey man you are happening!
He smiled.
Yeah...things are going ok.
Hey... how about a beer?
The woman looked at her watch again.
Sorry. I have to go work with some actors who are doing a play on my book.
Oh cool....I guess you finally wrote something good, huh?
Tyler grinned.
Yeah....hey great seeing you, Marcus.
He watched Tyler duck into a car then walked to the train station. He saw his book in the home he showed that night.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Facebook Envy

Marie was sick and tired of Claire's posts. It was Claire and her husband Jason on the ski slopes. In Paris. In Rome. In Germany. They were always on beaches or by the pool or waving from the Grand Canyon or in Napa Valley tasting wines. Marie tried to block her but somehow because of the strange Facebook Algorithms she always ended up getting Claire's posts.
 Marie and her husband could not afford vacactions. John was an adjunct for Comp classes and she was working on getting her nursing degree. They counted their pennies and pizza night was a big deal. Still the onslaught of videos and pictures and posts about Claire's travels taunted her day after day when she opened her computer. She then started to post herself. It started with a video of France she lifted from YouTube.
Here we are in France she declared. Then she took pictures of Germany, the Caribbean and taught herself photo shop and began to insert her husband and the kids in pictures. Then she started to insert all of them. Here we are at the beach in Cayman Island! Here we are in Puerto Rico! Here we are in Hawaii. She noticed then that Claire started to increase her posts. Russia. New York. The Presidential Inauguration. It was amazing. Not to be outdone Marie posted Facebook shots of her kids posing with the President and then stunning shots of them tramping through the Amazon and hang gliding over the rain forest.
This went on for months and Marie was truly in awe that Claire had that kind of money. She knew Jason was a trader on the Board of Trade and from their travels she was sure he had been making millions. Then suddenly the posts stopped. Marie never saw Claire posts again. It was a  year later she saw a woman with washed out hair and a haggard expression.
Claire? She called out in the Dollar Store.
The woman turned . It was Claire.
Hello Marie.
I never expected to see you here.
Claire shrugged gripping her list tightly.
Yes well after the divorce...
You divorced?
We lost everything. The house...I live in a town home now.
I didn't know.
Yes our life changed. I used to post all these phony pictures on Facebook about our vacations when we were getting foreclosed on.
Marie's mouth opened. Really?
It was pathetic. We never went anywhere. Then I just stopped and never went on Facebook again.
Clarie nodded to her.
I never saw you on Facebook. It's really just a bunch of people lying about their lives.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Ric was walking home when he felt the gun in the back of his neck
Go into the alley man or I blow your fucking head off.
Rick had never been mugged. He had lived in Chicago over twenty years and many of his friends had been mugged but he never had. His heart pounded as he walked into the dark alley.
Put your motherfucking hands up against that wall.
Hey man just be cool. I'll give you whatever you want.
Give me your fucking wallet.
Its in my back pocket.
He felt his hand dig his wallet out.
Where's your fucking money.
That's it man. I don't carry cash.
You telling me you don't got no  money.
No man. I use my atm card.
You lying.
No. Its a cashless society. Nobody carries cash anymore.
What the fuck am I supposed to do now.
Take my watch man. Its a Rolex. Its worth a lot of money.
Give it to me.
Ric took the watch off and held it up.
How do I know you have a gun?
You want to find out motherfucker?
Don't you move.
Ric felt the gun leave his head and then heard something clank on the pavement
He stayed facing the wall and then slowly turned around. The alley was empty. Rick walked slowly out and saw something glittering on the ground. He picked up a pipe.
That fucking guy was lying! He exclaimed.
Ric felt his wrist where his watch had been.
Enjoy the Timex asshole he muttered.


John didn't read anymore. He didn't even read his phone all the way through. When he met with Kevin at the bar he asked him the same thing.
Nope. I don't read newspapers anymore. I cant take the time.
Really. You used to read everything.
I know. I used to watch all those political shows too. Remember we both did.
John frowned.
Yeah. I  don't know why but I lost interest.
Me too. It just doesn't seem relevant anymore. I don't know where I found the time.
John shook his head.
I mean maybe we are becoming a people who don't read anymore.
It is probably out of date. We get everything in bits. Our brains have wired up to accept bursts of information after that it just tunes out.
But doesn't that scare you?
Not at all. Look why should we carry around all that information when we have these?
He held up his phone.
I know none of my students read. We read everything in class out loud. Its the only way I can be sure they can read.
How's that going?
Well the truth is no one can read.
What do you mean?
I mean they cant read. They stumble over words or just loose their train of thought. My ten year old reads better than they do.
Kevin drank  his scotch.
Man that's rough....what grade to you teach again?
Freshman comp.

Getting Even

George used to go looking at his old girlfriends from college on Facebook. Barb was an old girlfriend who he wished happy birthday to and then suggested they meet. George had done this to several old girlfriends but none of them replied. So he was surprised when Barb shot him an IM Sure!
The Starbucks was crowded and he found a table and waited with his coffee. He was nervous because he had a wife and two kids but he told himself that all he was doing was meeting an old girlfriend not having an affair.
Hi George
A woman who was immensely fat sat down.
Yes. Don't you recognize me?
George stared at her. She did not look at all like her Facebook photo. In the online page she did not look that different from their college years. look...different.
Barb smiled and beneath the jowls and inflated cheeks he saw her.
Yes. I cropped my face from college and put it on a different body. Looks pretty good don't you think?
George tried to remember the girl whom he had sex with in cars and on front lawns and got drunk at parties but he couldn't match it with this enormous woman.
When I hit three hundred pounds my husband divorced me and I lost my job. I had to move back with my parents.
I'm sorry to hear that.
Well...I sure was glad to hear from you. We had some great times then didn't we?
George wanted to get out of there. He was embarrassed to be sitting with Barb.
I know you wanted to meet me because of my photo and now you probably don't want to talk to me.
That's alright George. I always knew you were a prick.
He frowned.
I knew about the night you were supposed to meet me at the bar and you picked up a hitchhiker and screwed her back at your apartment. Sue your landlord told me the next day when I came over.
George sat back in shock.
I didn't know...
How could you? I I didn't say anything and then we broke up anyway. But when I saw your text I wantdd to see the look on your face when you saw me and know that I had just fucked with you the way you fucked with me.
Barb then pulled out her phone and snapped a picture.
Why did you do that?
Lets see...she tapped her phone...moving her thumbs.  Love Barb. That should do it. Now were even.
She stood up. George stared at her.
Who did you send that too?
Your wife.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


You know its funny all these years of teaching English and I never had time to read.
Jack looked at Randy
You don't read.
Not really. When I retire this year I will but I just don't have time
Jack was a writer and would never retire. He taught part time English classes as an adjunct.
That's crazy.
I just don't know what I'm going to do when I retire.
Well I will never have to worry about that.
What do you mean
I don't have a pension. I'll never retire.
Randy was silent. He had worried a lot about retiring. For one thing it had been rocky lately between he and his wife. He looked forward to going away to the high school all day. It gave him relief. A necessary separation.
Jack fingered a cigarette.
Your a lucky man Randy.
Oh I know. Sue and I are going to travel a lot when she retires.
When is that.
Oh...not for another ten  years. she is a lot younger than me.
Jack drank his whiskey.
Yeah Ill work to the day I die. Just like my old man.
Writers never retire huh
Randy thought about not getting up and leaving at six AM. He thought about not setting his coffee pot. He thought about not being involved in the speech and drama club with meetings after school that ran past dinner time. He thought about not going back to school in the fall. He thought about sitting around and watching television like his dad who died a year after he retired from the railroad. It scared the shit out of him.
Jack pulled out a cigarette and looked at hijm.
You thought ahead man.  I''ll be driving to crappy community colleges to teach snot nosed freshman while you'll be kicking back. You have a pension. The rest of us are just fucked.
Randy nodded and stared down at his beer.
Oh I know. Im a lucky man....believe me...I  know.



Well we just have to check references, but I am sure they will be fine.
Great Toby said.
I knew your brother when he taught here and he was one of the finest teachers at Devine.
Oh yeah. He's a great professor.
Well you will be hearing from us for the fall term then.
That was how Toby left it. A shoe in. He had the experience and his brother taught there. He gave two teachers at his old college for references. They had both nothing but praise for him. So he didn't give it a thought. Two weeks passed before he allowed himself to call Jane Dystrak back.
Hi  Jane. Its Toby just calling to see how it is all going.
Well...I was going to send you an email.
Toby laughed.
Well my schedule is all clear for the fall term still.
A long silence.
Well..ah...something has come up.
Toby felt something cold down in his stomach.
What do you mean?
Oh well...this is rather awkward. But we called your references and one of them was less than stellar shall we say.
Toby's mouth dropped.
Not Ann. She loved me.
Ah I really cant say. But no I would not say she was someone you need to talk to.
I really cant say. I'm sorry.
Toby hung up and sat quietly. Sylvia was tenured. A nuts and bolts lit teacher who ran the department under Ann. She had more than once asked him about his syllabus. He was a writer and they approached writing differently. But he never thought she would give him a bad reference.
He sent off an email explaining that he had received word of a bad reference from her and could she please explain. An hour later his phone went off with an email.
Toby. I gave you a good reference. I just said that you tended to do things your own way and that was a good thing. I would never give you a bad reference. You and I have a different approach to teaching English and that is alright. If you prefer to go off your syllabus and "make up" the curriculum as you go then it is not for me to criticize you. Good luck.
Toby called Jane back.
It was all a misunderstanding he explained. She was just saying I have my own style but she did not give me a bad reference. Like my brother I teach in a unique way.
Debra was silent
Oh I see. Then it is a matter of style.
Ok.  Well then we will proceed. I will let you know about the fall classes within two weeks.
Toby hung up.
After the fall classes began he saw Sylvia at a Starbucks on Michigan Avenue.  He was working at a Hispanic college on the West side of Chicago where people barely spoke English.  Sylvia didn't look at him and left without her coffee.
The Pitcher

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Nobody read anymore. He didn't even read that much. But he needed the 2400  bucks for the class.
Cindy. What do you think Falkner meant by this story
The girl with multiple piercings shrugged.
I have no idea.
Ok Help her out Cindy
I dunno. Seems like some kind of psycho lady who never came out of her houst to me.
John smiled.
Help her out Jerry.
Jerry was tatted up and usually just slouched in his desk.
Well. Alright so this lady. Like she and her old man are getting it on and then like this other dude comes along and gets all salty with her and then she like dies and nobody sees her and then they like find a skeleton with a gray hair next to it and like nobody knows what it means but then they figure out she has been laying with this skeleton for like twenty years or some shit.
Psycho is what I say.
 John turned to Angie who had never said much in class. He thougth this might be a teachable moment. Why don't you tell us some Angie
You don't want to hear what I think.
John laughed. It was an old privates school from 1866 and the walls at times seemed to be coming in on him. He should have been famous by now but he was teaching eighteen year olds literature that nobody read anymore. Still, he had to try.
Sure I do. We all want to hear what you think.
Angie stared down her hat on backwards and shrugged.
I think its like this. This is just a story of some psych bitch. Nothing more and nothing less. Like a painting is just a painting and a movie is just a movie and a story is just a story. All this shit about what it means is just a bunch of shit to fill time and make it so people can have classes and shit.  Who cares what some dude thinks the story means.
John knew what he should say. He should defend literature. He had read all of these at one time and looked up to these authors. He had admired these carefully chiseled stories.  But now he wasn't sure.
I think you're probably  right Angela he said slowly.
The class was silent. Jerrry raised his hand.
Ah Mr. Hollins.
Yes Jerry.
Yo. So if like what Angie says is right. Then what the fuck are we sitting here for?
John paused then looked at the student who was paying  thirty thousand in tuition.
Twenty four hundred bucks.