59 Extracted Words – The Tease – October 2018

October 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a work in progress.

Light to dark, an opening door, a closing window. This place of long, tear-stained faces, like so many, named for a servant of God. We enter afraid. We exit a little wiser, but no less frightened. From light to dark to light again. A window opens and a door closes, all within the space of a broken heart.



376 Extracted Words – The Tease – September 2018

September 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a work in progress.

He packed what he could of his gear, mostly on his sun-roasted back, since she had chosen a motorcycle to transport him. A sleek rocket at that.


“The man knows his bikes,” he could hear her comment, although muffled, through her full face helmet.

“Just a few more things,” he reassured her as she leaned up against the bike’s seat, holding her second helmet. “The tent is staying, probably a good decoy.” When he said the words it was as if someone else was speaking. A decoy? Bizarre.

Soon, they were pulling out on the main street and looping past the Roguehouse. He shifted his position twice as she accelerated. It had been a lifetime since he had ridden on the back of a motorcycle. He underestimated how the acceleration pushed on the torso and shoulders.

She must have sensed his lack of confidence, shouting through her face guard, “If you’re having a problem balancing, you can grab on. I won’t bite, at least not unless we get to know each other a lot better.” She laughed, which didn’t make him any less uncomfortable.

At the edge of town they suddenly slowed, causing his chest to press into her shoulders blades. “Did you forget something?” he asked as they turned around, not sure if she could hear him. They headed back into town and south, then across the old covered bridge where she could pull up in the dark and kill the engine and lights.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

She pulled off her helmet. Her hair was pulled up in a bandana, small strands pasted across her forehead like reeds in an eddy. He had never really looked at her for long when she was serving drinks, but now he could appreciate the counselor’s attraction. Her eyes were striking – a dangerously enchanting pair of dark pools.

“Just seeing if someone is following. They won’t be able to see us once they go in here, then we’ll just book the other way.” They waited a few minutes. No one came. “Ok, watch while we take off, I need to know if anyone comes in sight before we go around the corner.”

“Are you ex CIA or something?”

“No, just had a lot of jerkwad ex-boyfriends. It teaches you skills.


169 Extracted Words – The Tease – August 2018

August 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a Wordle in progress.

20180826_201753.jpgEver since he was fourteen, just a pin-feather, preened on the darkly wet streets of Piccadilly, he had been opening doors, toting bags and tipping his cockade-pinned bowler to the lodgers of the Stable Cross Arms. He had watched a thousand men walk through those doors, women on their arms, some their wives, some not. It didn’t matter to him. Their business was their own and Lucky could keep a secret. Every week, he slogged toward his paycheck and his weekend frivolity, one held door at a time. Now, silver in the eyebrows and stooped in the back, he left the younger lads the heavy lifting, but he still kept his appointments with that emerald edifice from Berry Bros. and Rudd on James street.

Saying his offs to the staff and concierge, tipping his hat to the young lady in red that had just completed her last set in the lounge, he scurried in half steps down the stairs to the Tube, rocketed under Buckingham Palace and popped out under Trafalgar Square, reentering the boggy, summer air of Westminster, just below St. James.



37 Extracted Words – The Tease – July 2018

July 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from an essay in progress.

A writer knows as well as anyone, sometimes words just aren’t enough. A photographer sees so much more than what can be captured with a device. Life must encompass more than what we think we are experiencing.



359 Extracted Words – The Tease – June 2018

June 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a work in progress.

Drinking coffee, watching Chinatown through the window, seeing a man hand-shredding collected litter – a trolley brochure, a Starbucks napkin, an announcement for the opening of a new French restaurant, stained with urine from the sidewalk. He holds a two-piece lid from a mason jar, separating the components, cleaning them with his filthy shirt, placing them back together, then pulling them apart once more, spinning the lid to just the right position, putting them together again. He places the lid on the sidewalk, crouches over it and begins shredding the brochure. He lays pieces in order around the rim, layering, layering. Donald Trump Jr. and Ronaldo walk by, oblivious to his actions, his determination. He, in turn, ignores their presence. The pile is insufficient, incorrect. He neatly empties the shreds onto a paper plate, re-cleans the lid and rim and returns to shredding the brochure. The red trolley on the cover has now been stripped to just its foundational image of wood steps and tourists’ sandals.

Their look, his view.

He refills the cap, layering, layering. Donald Trump Jr and Neymar cross the walk, in the direct trajectory of an oncoming fire truck. Its horn complains, its sirens blare, lifting the pigeons across my eyes. When my gaze remembers the old man, he is no longer crouching, but standing, although still grossly bent. He empties his morning’s project into the garbage can while a woman on the opposite side of the receptacle digs for cigarette butts and the half ounce at the bottom of a Stella Artois bottle. Donald Trump Jr. and Brady nearly bump elbows as they enter the new French restaurant. They clean their smart phone screens, attach ear buds and proceed to shred. They shred 401K’s, markets, futures, dreams. The old man walks down the hill, toward a swamp with no water, leaving only his shadow. Donald Trump Jr. and Knight each leave a half glass of Pinot and a tip on plastic. Their shadow falls on the entire planet, which they piss on, then boldly charge commission for providing the gilded irrigation.

If shadows had a scent, the old man’s would smell like urine, and so would theirs.


99 Extracted Words – The Tease – May 2018

May 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a novel in progress.

Mann sat on a slatted, wood bench, flanked on each side by a pair of large, jade bulls with brass rings in their noses. The rings were in need of polishing, stained dark by the hands of lobbyists and peddlers alike, hoping for their ten minutes with the most powerful man in Jackson County. Mann currently performed his own penance, fingering one of the rings as he waited to enter the double oak doors that guarded the mayor’s office. The doors soon parted and Molly, in full uniform, stepped out, motioning for him to enter. The conversation had already begun, with the mayor leading the fray.


61 Extracted Words – The Tease – April 2018

April 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a rant in progress.

What the hell? There are things that even the dump doesn’t take? I’m thinking, I’ve known rejection, but never at this depth, rejected by a waste transfer station. I know now what I didn’t know then. Latex paint isn’t hazardous waste but it also isn’t garbage, until you make it so. A household chemical and citizen of waste disposal purgatory.