221 Extracted Words – The Tease – January 2019

January 2019

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

… they cleared the ridge’s final incline, the walls of the world fell away, releasing them into full panoramic exposure. She was truly amazed. Obviously, Mann was loaded, wealthy, spackled with the stench of riches, (none of which she had any objection to) but she never expected this. He actually had good taste. His second (or third) home was not just some giant, Frank Lloyd Wright-scholarship-winner’s graduate thesis insult, super-glued on to the limits of the slope. It was a true architectural effort. Some cabin, the thing was four or five thousand square feet. But the slate and pine components accented the terrain, almost as if the structure had erupted from the rock itself in a seismic upheaval of building codes and rebar, or sprouted organically, like one of those massive burls stemming from a coastal redwood, distorting the bark, changing the tree’s form from within. And then she thought about her experiences and how her life had been distorted from within more than without and she wondered if that was how Bart felt too. And she knew, if she ever developed the confidence to think of herself as brilliant rather than merely street smart, then this would be where it started, because she was being brilliant and not just sensible.



99 Extracted Words – The Tease – December 2018

December 2018

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

Boxing Day. What a way to end Christmas. And this thing about the “boss” bringing presents … If his boss’ idea of a gift was acting like a big, honking pain-in-the-ass, then he nailed it. The only gift here was the fact that he had showed up for work at all. Half his co-workers hadn’t.

A young man with flat tires for cheeks stepped up with an energy drink and a pack of gum. As he aimed the wand to scan the beverage’s bar code it struck the customer’s bare forearm. He recoiled with the wide eyes of fright.

163 Extracted Words – The Tease – November 2018

November 2018

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

Almost all my possessions had been removed from my reach. I was with my family, but in a strange place, somewhat fearful for our safety. There were few familiar scents or sounds. Above all, I was displaced, uprooted, devoid of foundation. I was nearly homeless.

The ideals of empathy and love for our fellow humans, are never more tested than when we are actually faced with strapping on their footwear for a day, a week, a season. Recent experiences have taught me something about the homeless, and my naïve, misguided thoughts about what they truly need. I had always maintained the traditional view that food, shelter, protection from violent abuses, were the basic needs of those individuals forced to live on the street. And while all that is important, there is another element I had never considered, that might be even more vital to their survival.


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.



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.