I heard Uncle Jasper’s tractor rattle to life behind the house; every shudder was amplified by the tin roofed shed he stored it. It wasn’t a monster like you’d see at large farming operations around the valley and in the flatlands. No, it was just an old John Deer that Paw-Paw used to putter around […]

The Dog Catcher

“Fuck no!” I clicked off the phone and rolled over. It was Mitch’s goddamn morning to work, but the asshole ditched another shift. Not my problem, and fuck me if I was getting out bed. My cell rang again. Fuck. Me. I clicked it on. Irlene would call until the battery was dead. Then show […]

Until Again

Methuselah. That’s what they call him, the regulars that ride my train. Other things too, but Methuselah is the one that sticks in my mind. It seems to fit. It’s not as cruel. I’d say he’s pushing ninety. What hair he is missing from his scalp is well compensated with a long full, white beard. […]

Killing Hope

I was six years old when Mrs. Greene introduced our first grade class to Hope Parsons, my first crush. Hope was beauty before I even knew what beauty was with her golden pigtails, brilliant blue eyes and an infectious smile — even after Jamie Delano flung his Frisbee, knocking out Hope’s two front teeth. It […]

Treading Water

I am going to die. *** I was nine when I saw my first dead body. During the summers growing up, I lived with my cousin Whit and his Dad. Whit’s dad owned a cabin down along the Greenbrier. We spent those summers picking berries, hunting squirrels and coons, and wandering the woods and shores […]

The Greenhorn

Until sundown. That’s how much time Deputy U.S. Marshal Brady Hawkes had to get out Prosperity. Most men — tougher, bigger men — wouldn’t have hesitated to scoot. No options to it really, but the Marshal rode in on the torrid sands of drought baked prairie with the weight of justice hanging on his chest. […]

Fish Stew

It made a satisfying ‘pop’ when Donnie’s nose crushed under my knuckle-scared right. I threw another to his jaw, and then a left into his gut. It had forced the air out and Donnie crumpled to the floor gasping, half sitting, gurgling through his nose. Wasn’t Donnie Braggio a sight for sore eyes? I lifted […]

Cross Country

The train seemed unusually empty this morning. Not that I minded, the night before the train had picked up three travelers which brought the car’s capacity to about half. Two men and a woman. Luckily, I wasn’t burdened with any as a seating companion. Making polite conversation with strangers is almost unbearable. I can manage, […]

The Needle And The Damage Done

“She never knew her, you know?” Chief Jack Gardner, retired, said to the duty officer absently, thumbing a well-worn photo in his rough calloused hands. His gravelly voice cracked a bit when he said it, catching his throat. “A girl ought to know her mother, don’t you think? Ava didn’t. She was just a babe […]

Mary Lou’s Lost Shoe

“Why aren’t shoes ever abandoned in pairs?” She said. Soft, under her breath, the question floated out. I saw her reflection in the flickering black window. She stared out into the night. Light occasionally showered over her, bathing her in an unnatural glow as headlights swung across glass from oncoming cars. It gave her an […]