Vehicular Manslaughter With Criminal Negligence

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.

Prior to her sentencing, Felicia asked if she could read a statement.

She stated that she was one of the brightest pupils at Kingsley Montessori School, helping her fellow students and often providing assistance to teachers, despite her tender age. At Boston Latin, she maintained excellent marks and, after completion, successfully sued to be retroactively named salutatorian. She graduated summa cum laude from The Massachusetts Institute Of Technology and was looking to pursue graduate work in cooperation with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. The death of her sister was, objectively, a tragedy. Anyone, regardless of intellect, could see that. However, was it only slightly less tragic to prevent Felicia from continuing her contributions to society by imprisoning her?

The judge gave her three years and a five thousand dollar fine.

Daisy Glaze

I wrote this story in Los Angeles, many years ago, responding to the death of a friend.

He looked like a child. That is, he looked like he did when he was a child. The toxic bloat had made his face round and soft. His eyelids drooped the same way they did as when he stretched out underneath the lean-to hippies had built at the park. His hands were red and swollen. He looked like the fat lazy little boy. He looked like the fat lazy little dead boy.

The funeral was much easier than the wake. The wake began with an obvious and immediate schism between the Relatives and the Musicians. This gap grew wider and darker as the afternoon progressed. As if to provide some ghoulish climax, middle-aged men arrived late to the occasion, clad in some Edwardian burial get-ups. Long black overcoats and cravats. One dangled a cane and had painted his nails and purchased spats. Very quickly, a Relative asked This Man if he thought Gordon had deserved to die. She didn’t wait for an answer. Jim had never met This Man, but he was unsurprised by the sputtering response. “This is me.” He said, pressing his fingertips against his chest, “This is who I am.”

At Gordon’s funeral, Jim noticed that hip women aged more gracefully than hip men. The hip women had become handsome and offbeat and wealthy. Their hair had grown in slightly and was uniformly tight and well structured. They sported trim suits and weird, dark lipstick and tasteful eyeglasses. They ran three days a week. They had sons and daughters. They worked as lawyers or art dealers.

The hip men looked like adolescents or they looked like apologies. The adolescent hip men were crammed into button bursting suits that obviously didn’t belong to them. They were purchased ironically from thrift shops or begged off of more ambitious brothers. The apology hip men meticulously wrapped themselves in expensive fabric. They lifted themselves muscle bound at gyms and smelled of oils.

Jim sat in the last pew and spent most of the service trying to locate old friends. It was only during the first reading from The Book Of John that Jim wondered when Gordon’s family had converted to Catholicism.

Later, at a downtown pub, Jim met up with Brant Hill. “Downtown” was unrecognizable. The big porn shop had been ripped out and replaced with studio apartments. Cross Pens had constructed an elaborate corporate spread where once there had been a filthy vacant lot. The Galley was now part of a parking garage as were The Spot, Jerry Aremo’s Lounge and The Bad Penny. Only the Armenian American Men’s Social Club – where he had seen Neutral Nation perform with The Coffee Achievers and 76% Uncertain – remained undisturbed. As they hovered by in Brant’s VW Passat, Jim caught glimpses of defeated old Armenian American Men bent over beers.

They asked for IPAs from a stunning and muscular young woman wearing tights and a T Rex shirt. They never saw her again. Fifteen minutes later, the brew arrived, delivered by some bewildered kid with braces.

“Did you give your order to Celia?” he asked.

“Yeah. The other girl?” Brant answered.

“Fuck. Do you know where she went?”

The IPAs were tart and bitter – like spiked lemon juice, so they ordered wings and celery sticks. The Kid stalked around the place while the food was being prepared – as if hoping Celia would reappear from beneath a table or behind a curtain.

Brant had blown through the 80s playing with a four piece called The Anthem – straight ahead college rock U2 stuff. The Anthem’s shtick was their unabashedly Pro-Reagan stance. They shot off their mouths about Welfare Queens and Ayn Rand and Free To Choose and they wore Brook Brothers button down shirts and pinstripe neckties onstage. They did this without even an indication of a sense of humor. Their fans were aggressive MBA frat-boy types who liked to humiliate stoner Peace Punks. They would bend ears with tightly rehearsed raps about surface-to-air-missile ratios and the right to bear arms. If you walked around the club all night, you could overhear The Exact Same Conversation going on four or five different times. They called themselves Repunklicans.

Brant had finally finished college and gotten a job with a medical supplies distributor, presumably the one that belonged to his brother. He hadn’t touched his bass in close to twelve years. He was going to hang on to the Precision and the Rick and the SVTs so his kid could give it a whack later on.

“Do I know Mrs. Hill?” Jim asked.

“Jill Pine. She used to date Marky from…”

“The Underdogs?”

“Yeah. She’s still Jill Pine. Jill Hill wasn’t going to work. We moved back to Amherst so she could be closer to her Mom and Dad. Her Dad’s real sick on and off.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Yeah, it’s bad. He has MS, which can be really tough.”

My Job At The Coffee Shop

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.

Three years. Spent three years building up a really cool base of customers: moms who read a lot and knew their tea; academics wearing expensive plaid shirts; graduate students. Very mellow gig.

Very high customer rotation. Nobody stayed more than an hour, which was great for us. For a while, cadres of lonely fat men coagulated around some of the tables to drink free refills and offer up conspiracy theories. Eventually, we vibed them out. We didn’t want people who endlessly tinkered with their sci-fi novel before returning to their parents’ basement; we wanted nice, sane people who bought coffee and hung around for a little while. For three years, that’s exactly what we got. It was great.

Gina’s dad started showing up over the summer. He was in his late-sixties – long silver hair and black Harley Davidson t-shirts. He worked out so much that he started developing bitch tits, which nobody mentioned. For a while, he’d just waft the place. Then, he felt comfortable enough to hang around behind the counter, filling his mug up with iced coffee and not paying. His line was that he didn’t want to inconvenience anyone.

Gina’s Dad had had about a million jobs: art dealer, boat maker, furniture restorer, independent film producer, musician, self-defense instructor, real estate mogul, scuba diving instructor. Every few years, he’d return from California or South Africa or wherever and kibbitz with Gina and her mom for a few months. Now, he was here at the coffee shop, telling us how we were fucking up the espressos. How he had lived in Italy and that’s now how Italians drank it; that’s how dumb Americans drank it.

Pretty soon, we switched coffee distributors. We had busted our asses getting a deal with Dogwood Coffee out of Minnesota. They had all these cool training programs, and their guy would call us every few weeks to make sure everything was going well. Gina’s Dad, behind the scenes, decided this was too expensive, so he brokered another deal to get us Starbucks overstock from a friend of his who ran a supermarket. Really back alley shit. Things got worse when the customers immediately figured out we were charging indie prices for Starbucks and left in droves.

Gina’s Dad had a thing when he’d talk to you. He’d put his hand on your elbow and squeeze tightly. He’d speak in his mellow voice, telling you how important it is to upsell, but there was hostile bullshit undercurrent to the whole fucking thing. A dude who didn’t have a pot to piss in making like he was a guru.

His friends started hanging around, all day. Senior citizen bodybuilders who order one cup and then bitch about refills. Gina’s Dad, being everybody’s fucking pal, let them drink for free and loiter for hours. At the end of their hitch, he’d make a big show of putting a twenty dollar in the register. What a great fucking guy.

So I killed him. I slit his fucking throat. Should have seen it. Big strong guy bragging about beating up his drill sergeants in boot camp winds up dying with his head hanging back between his shoulder blades like a broken toy. You should have heard him scream. You should have heard him pray and beg.

Anyway, the cops barely looked into the thing. Gina’s Dad had bragged — lied — about running drugs, so they figured maybe somebody caught wind of it.

The muscleheads left once they figured out they had to pay for biscotti. We started serving better coffee, again. Gina and I started dating.

Great few years, that.

Night Of The Living Ding Ding

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.

The best part was getting Barbo wound up. We’d watch horror flicks, and, at the climactic moments, he’d start to hyperventilate from fear. Of course, we’d make it worse by screaming and jumping behind the couch. One time, Danny pulled back the curtains and claimed he could see The Mummy lurching down Clinton Street. Barbo totally lost it.

Night Of The Living Dead was maybe a bit more than Barbo could handle, and we probably shouldn’t have watched it, in retrospect. Barbo used to get upset watching cardboard flying saucers land; we didn’t stop to wonder how he’d handle cannibalism.

Well, he knocked the TV set over, which wasn’t easy. He screamed and charged across the living room. He grabbed the back corner of the Zenith, which was about the size of a washing machine, and flipped it forward. You could hear the screen shatter.

Barbo tried to tear the particle board backing off the thing, presumably to pull out the wires, but Les tackled him.

None of us saw Barbo again. He’d was edited out of our lives, after that. I never knew whether it was my mom who made that decision, or his.

The last time… I was at the kitchen table, and I was looking at college applications.

My mom said, “Do you remember Barbo?”

Of course. I was kind of thrown that she’d bring him up.

He was working as a security guard at the mall.

My Soul Has Been Psychedelicized!

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.

I can remember when my uncle met Riddick Bowe, who was heavyweight champ of the world at the time. My uncle was going back to the hotel room to get my other uncle’s cocaine.

I sat in the lobby, waiting for him to return.

He ran into an elevator with a very large, very well-dressed African American gentleman. The man clearly did not know my uncle, but he seemed to take an instant dislike to him.

My uncle sneezed one of his explosive cocaine sneezes.

Instead of saying, “Bless you,” Riddick Bowe instead shouted “Nobody sneezes on the heavyweight champ!”

The last thing I saw in the instant before the elevator doors closed was Riddick Bowe pressing his enormous hands on the top of my uncle’s head.

I started living with my aunt, soon after.

Ghost Story

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.

Inspired by Peter Straub

“What was the worst thing you’ve ever done?”

“I cheated on Becky.”


“What about you?”

“I fucked Becky in your tool shed while you were on tour, then she and I burned the tool shed to the ground and fucked, again.”


“I guess she never told you that, eh?”

Boys Are Dumb

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.

They sipped their tea from oversized purple mugs that looked like toys. Both blonde and both very quiet; exhausted.

He looked over at them from the sink.

“You guys gonna go at it, again?” he asked, grinning.

“No,” she answered.

“No,” the other girl pronounced. “That was last night. That was the ecstasy.”

“I dunno,” he said. “You looked like you were having fun. Like you really liked each other.”

“Ecstasy,” the other girl smiled softly.

“You sure?” he asked.

“Yep,” she answered.

“You sure you’re sure?”

“Why don’t you take some,” the other girl suggested. “We can go get Roy, upstairs, and watch you guys fuck.”

He turned back to the sink. Pissed.

A naked man ran into the kitchen. An older man; balding and with a thin mustache.

“I’m Robert Heinlein,” he shouted! “The famous science fiction author!”