4 Z’s


There’s this well-dressed woman, she’s stricken, she’s weeping – wailing, really – there on the corner and everyone else is hustling awkwardly by, heads down.   You try for eye contact and make some ridiculous gesture you hope will be interpreted as empathy.  There’s a pause as she catches your eye, sob choked, still.  Then turns and makes for the subway entrance, bawling all the way.

Not here, not this place.  Since then you keep your distance from downtown.



He has his trailer home moved seven times, North and then East and then North again.  With each move, the colony would follow, bringing with it the trappings of civilization, order, productivity.  This makes him proud at first.  But then they’d turn on him, every time, and run him out of town, trailer and all.  Now eight.



2 AM.  She’s conducting Beethoven while driving, and this confers a dangerous sense of invincibility.  Freed from safety and wisdom, she is lucid, outside of time.  Loss can fuel how you drive your whole life – she remembers that from somewhere.  In the dark, coyote eyes.



Sushi, then Tex Mex, then dessert.  It was decadent and wrong and so they indulged.  They marveled at everything – the little boats that delivered the sashimi to them by a preposterous system of tiny moats, collective vats of beer, six-layer cakes at $10 a slice.

A decade passes… now they’ve forgotten one another’s name but still they steal a glance through the window where they’d sat that evening.


I take this occasional stabs at opening lines to short stories.  Never with the intention of going anywhere with them.  Vaguely inspired by photos and usually infused with strains of imagination pilfered from memories, travel or just overtired invention.   More here.


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