Cutting Ties and Mudslides

Billy burst through the front door of the barbershop, sliding across the checkered floor and into an empty barber chair. He twirled twice and stopped.

Emil leaned back in the other chair, barber’s cape rustling over his sagging paunch.

Leon raised his shears from Emil’s thinning pate, “How can I help, Billy?” He didn’t really want to know, but he was a businessman.

“Dahlia’s gone and told me she wants another semester in Germany,” Billy buried his face in his hands. “It’s like she doesn’t want to get married!” Continue reading “Cutting Ties and Mudslides”

Scars of Ambition

We come down the winding stone stairs in two groups of three, hands cupped to steady the splash and flicker of fragrant oil lamps. The deeper we go, the louder the rush and roll of the underground river flowing through the apothecary. Here is where the souls of the Mothers slow for the earthly; here is where appeals to heal scars from ill deeds are most likely granted.

Continue reading “Scars of Ambition”

Shoulda Checked the Online Customer Reviews

Sheralynn stared out the train window at open prairie rolling by. The XYY Ranch was nestled in the shelter of the New Carpathian Mountains…or so the online website said. She snapped her laptop shut; her battery was low and the circle of dark mountains would gobble up her wifi bars. She leaned against a stack of carry-on luggage not hers (her kit bag was stuffed under her seat), and closed her eyes.

Continue reading “Shoulda Checked the Online Customer Reviews”

What Price Success?

Once upon a time, summer sunrises warmed deep forest, from chill evergreen to clattering gold, edging our bedroom curtains with the nascent glow of unarticulated adventures. Ceaseless waves, having raked over agate and quartz all night, left hints in bits of driftwood and bobber, and precious white-scrubbed logs from distant islands and Superior storms. Continue reading “What Price Success?”

Cool Water or Writer’s Block?

Azul Tequila with lime

The firefighter pulled off his helmet, face streaked with sweat and dust from a raging fire, now controlled.

He’d single-handedly saved an even dozen citizens that night. He felt a tug on his pant leg and looked down into the wide eyes of a tiny tot.

“Thanks, Mister!” the child lisped. “Want a TMCoke and a smile?”

“Thanks, but I’d rather have some cool water.”

“Good choice!”

(No. Just…No. Highlight, then delete.) 

Continue reading “Cool Water or Writer’s Block?”

The Sun Shines on the Half-Moon Café

(Synopsis in a 9-word flash):  Waitress Helen saves the day, vanquishing slimy memory monster. 

The usual crowd was gathered at the Half Moon Café. Faded awnings snap in the cool October night as condensation slides down the tiny restaurant’s wide front windows.

Shelly, in her booth, flips her hair back to catch a glimpse of kitchen staff, Josh. His honestly-earned farmer’s tan flashes below his white t-shirt as he lugs a tub of dishes to the kitchen. She parts her lips. He blushes and smiles. Continue reading “The Sun Shines on the Half-Moon Café”