Showing posts from November, 2018


With a swing of my hip, I bumped my apartment door shut and kicked off my boots. Chunks of snow plopped wetly onto the mat. Tossing my bags on a chair, I felt more relaxed already as I thought about shedding my suit for a pair of yoga pants.
My cell phone chimed. Irritated, I glanced at the screen. Jason. Really? The guy who couldn’t be bothered to call after our first date, a week ago, now wanted to interrupt my sacred after-work chill time? I jammed my finger down on the button. Bye, Jason.
Pausing at the dresser to take my jewelry off, I looked in the mirror and gasped. My reflection showed me wearing a single earring. The other was missing. My mind raced. When had I seen them last? Neha had complimented me on them, so I was pretty sure I had them when I left work.
Dammit. I wanted to walk back out into that cold air as much as I wanted to be stuck on a crowded subway next to a creep with halitosis.
But they were the earrings Grandma had given me.
“Teddy gave me these,” Grandm…

On the Plane

The airplane’s engines whined. My seatmate, Jane, was chatty, but I didn’t mind.
Jane looked to be in her mid-fifties. Her round face, framed by curly brown hair, and her intelligent eyes, framed by out-of-style glasses, reminded me of one of my college professors.
She’d been in Toronto for a conference. So had I, I told her.
“And what do you do for a living?” she asked.
“I work in public health,” I said. “Studying the effects of medical marijuana.”
Intrigued, she asked me to elaborate. I smiled. My line of work was a nice litmus test when meeting new people. Either they were curious and interested, or they thought my “job” was an excuse to smoke weed and never grow up.
“What conference were you attending?” I asked her.
“The Parliament of World Religions,” Jane said, smiling. “I’m a Catholic priest.”
I gaped, and she laughed. “I get that reaction a lot.”
“Wow,” I said. “I thought women couldn’t be…”
“Priests?” she asked. “That’s a subject of much debate. We are ordained in apostolic succession,…

A Thousand

Originally written 11/1/2018 for the 2018 Swinburne Microfiction Challenge (writing prompt: SPOKE). Revised for Yeah Write Challenge #395 required plot element: "catalyst." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the seventh century BC, legend says Helen of Troy had a face that launched a thousand ships.

In the twenty-first century AD, Helen of Seattle spoke a single sentence that launched a thousand actions.

When Mr. Harris heard it, he telephoned an attorney.

Gemma Smith wrote a beautiful essay about a woman who’d been her mentor and role model.

Travel agent Jan Bartholomew arranged a 5-star, all-inclusive vacation in the Greek islands for one of her favorite clients.

James Porter sighed and shook his head, momentarily adrift in memory.

Melinda Harris burst into tears.

Several dozen people spread the word on social media, and several hundred read about it and shared their own stories.


Tritina #1

Gerard and I got married in the spring.
My hair was done in ringlets that would fall
Beneath the veil, above the satin train.

I never thought that I would need to train
For marriage. I suppose I thought we’d spring
Right from the nest, like lovebirds, never fall.

Our summer love was done by early fall.
I watch the arid landscape from the train,
As empty as the dried-up creek and spring.

With a bent spring, we fall apart, like a cheap toy train.

This is my first-ever attempt at a tritina. Constructive criticism always welcome!

Forever (microfiction)

In a forgotten corner of a dim basement in a Georgia antique shop, Roberta squealed in delight.

She rubbed the lamp again.

“And what is your third wish, Mistress?”

“To be beautiful forever!” she cried. “No wrinkles, no gray hair!”

The genie’s smile revealed jagged teeth. It waved its hand and vanished.

Roberta screamed as her hands flew up and touched her plastic face.

Microprose Writing Challenge: Create a story about performing magic in exactly 64 words

Six Reasons Working From Home Is Less Awesome Than You Think

Two years ago, when my boss announced that our team would now be working from home, I couldn’t believe my luck. I felt like I had won the Powerball Jackpot of the professional universe.

I hated commuting. Hated it more than a convict hates a cell. Relieved of that daily aggravation, I am a calmer and happier person. I now exercise during the time I used to spend seething in my car. I hated cubicles, too. Open office spaces, with zero privacy and maximum noise, suck for introverts like myself who go a little crazy when prevented from hearing themselves think.

I work for a Fortune 10 corporation. If you’re in the United States, you’ve definitely heard of it. My team works on one of the company’s many websites. We’re all at the computer constantly. So we can do our jobs from our couches just the same as if we drove to an office. A huge bonus: I am home when the kids get off the bus, so we don’t pay for after-school care.

It’s been life-changing. But it’s not all unicorns and glitter. Th…


I got off the bus just north of the DuSable Bridge and headed down the steps to Lower Michigan Avenue.

There were other routes I could have taken to Rush Street, but I liked to walk past the Billy Goat Tavern for old times’ sake. I looked through the window but didn’t recognize anybody. It had been a while since those days right after high school when Robby, Jeff, and I all got jobs here. I did some quick math. Wow. Ten years.

They’d hired us at the end of the summer when the college students quit. The three of us enthusiastically re-enacted the classic Saturday Night Live sketch every chance we got. “Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger!” “No fries. Chips!” “No Coke. Pepsi!” The tourists loved us.

I loved that job. But Annie hated it. She about flipped when she heard where I was going to be working. Not because she wouldn’t date a blue-collar guy or anything. No, it was because William Sianis, the owner of Billy Goat Tavern, had placed a curse on the Chicago Cubs in 1945, after t…