Fiction

Murder Ring

Ramsey sat at his desk with a coffee and a copy of the NY Post. He got it for the sports section, the crime blotter, and the borderline satirical reporting. He had started reading it whenever he found a discarded copy on the subway, and it gave him a boost. The sports and news sections took him out of himself. They reminded him that there was a great big world out there, a world that would continue regardless of his personal successes or failures. A week into June and the Yankees were in first place. The Mets were in fourth. The Middle East still had problems.  The crime blotter was his Page 6. If there were enough details, he could sometimes figure out who had handled the call and whether or not he knew the cops who had likely been involved.  Ramsey never arrested anyone if he could help it.…
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Balloons

Sam had lived a cliched life from the moment he was born. He had grown up in the thick of it, at a time when the majority of Americans had learned how to live from watching television. Everyone acted like television characters–his parents, teachers, and friends when he was a kid, and his wife, bosses, and coworkers when he was older. In elementary school, his classmates would repeat the popular jokes and catchphrases of the season (life moved slower back then). Some of the kids had loved Pee Wee Herman and imitated him constantly, while others had repeated lines from Predator, Robocop, and other movies or television shows. It was as if they were rehearsing for adulthood. Crucial moments called for a certain gravity. Someone had once said that all of life is a stage. Maybe Shakespeare. Maybe no one. Who knows? No one knew anything anymore, except about television…
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A Tale of Two Wheel Chairs

My wife left me about a year ago. Unfortunately, our kids and her father didn’t, and I use the phrase “our kids” with some skepticism. Lucy and Bernie are definitely mine, they’re thirteen and eleven respectively and I’ve seen inclinations toward addiction and crime in them for years. Peter and John are seven and five. I’m not sure about them. They are listless and depressed, but so are a lot of kids. It’s too early for them to be this way, but I can’t blame them. My wife Susan, she was always unpredictable, untrustworthy. From the start I had the feeling she was a fair-weather sort of wife and it certainly stacks up that way, but there is plenty of blame to go around and more than enough to spare in my direction. Some forms of adversity I can handle, but when they pile up on top of each other…
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And I Never Saw Her Again

It was time to see the doctor again. Not that I went for regularly scheduled appointments, though whichever doctor I happened to see always told me that I should. This time, I was visiting because my right foot felt funny. These visits were usually pointless because after a certain age, the doctor always tells you that your foot feels funny because you’re old now. That it would be strange if you weren’t experiencing some sort of nagging pain or general discomfort. I kept going anyway because I thought that this time or that time might be different. A girl in a pussyhat was sitting a couple of seats away from me. She was wearing tight grey jeans and a black t-shirt that said “The Future is Female.” She must have been in her mid twenties and it was very difficult for me not to look at her. Bums, garbage, strangers…
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The Paedophile

I was walking little Timmy out to the main entrance of Pine View Elementary. He was one of my second grade students and he was a bit weird and demented, or as they like to call it nowadays, “specially-abled.” He was missing teeth, his ears were too big, and he smelled like he lived in an old building where the people ate pop tarts for breakfast and you weren’t allowed to have a dog or a cat, but you were allowed to have hamsters. He was also kind of a sissy. Or defied gender stereotypes. Whatever he was, he was a mess, and the other kids weren’t having any of it. People forget this about young children, but they’re mean little pricks. They have no conscience and no filter. There are reasons they aren’t allowed to vote or drive or do anything of consequence. Timmy had to have his hand…
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The Pathological Liar

His name was Barney. I met him at the farmer’s market in Union Square 14 years ago on a hot summer day in August. He was depressed because his second wife Zelda had just left him. It had always been Zelda’s dream to raise mink in upstate New York, so it shouldn’t have surprised Barney when she finally left him, but it did anyway. Maybe he was in denial, as so many of us are in the face of inevitable disappointment. She cleaned him out. Their savings, credit cards, checking accounts, everything. So now he was stuck selling vegetables on the weekends to make ends meet. He was a cobbler by trade, and apparently that’s still a viable career, but without the profits he made from selling his zucchinis, tomatoes, and kale, he would have lost his apartment and been out on the street. He needed the apartment because that’s…
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Happy Man

I’d always had a theory that if someone wasn’t making you uncomfortable, you were making them uncomfortable. There is no such thing as a mutual relative peace. Peace, or at least a lack of being uncomfortable, is unusual enough to make other people uncomfortable. Charlie and I were taking a break when I told him my theory. Charlie was an ex-boxer from Nigeria. A heavyweight. And he was one of the happiest people I’d ever met in my life. Even now, with both of us dragging 300 pound hand trucks around midtown for minimum wage, he was happy. “I think your theory is true.” I had never seen Charlie uncomfortable. Our boss had been yelling at him back at the truck, telling him that he talked too much, and Charlie had laughed at him and said “Yes! I talk too much! Me! Hahahahahah! I talk too much!” while stomping around…
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Noel

You have to be suspicious of the old and the dimwitted. Especially if they’re your coworkers. And you have to be careful. The first job I had, after paperboy, I worked with this dimwitted deaf mute. He wasn’t completely deaf or mute, but enough to get out of doing the worst parts of the job. “Noel, could you bring up a bucket of tomato sauce. Noel! Christ, will one of you assholes just get the damn sauce?” And someone else would do it. But whenever break time came or it was time to cut someone out, Noel’s hearing and ability to communicate dramatically improved. One night one of us, maybe me, tested him. “Noel, could you bring up a bucket of clams? Noel! You dumb worthless mutherfucker.” “Wha? Wha you say? Fucka you too man! Fuck you!” But it didn’t change anything. Maybe he was too stupid to realize the…
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The Lover

I’m not above a pity fuck. If anything, I’m below it. I’ve lied about my mom dying, my dog dying, my cat dying, me dying. I’ve lied about everything. I will literally say anything to get laid. And I’ll actually do some horrible things, too. The way it is, women want it just as bad. We all want it. But most people are unevolved. They need a plausible excuse to put out. Love, a dead cat, a dead dog, whatever. So your job, as a person who wants to get laid, is to expedite it. The most important thing is to never give up. Keep talking. You’ll be amazed at the bullshit that comes out of your mouth. For me, whenever I have a crisis of creativity, I think of the girl in her panties. I imagine her taking off her panties, her upper inner thighs, her bush, and I…
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Monkey Time

Bluto is a complete buffoon. Stella knows it, Duane knows it, we all know it. But for some reason, we accept his reign of stupidity anyway. Bluto is a bully. He uses his own urine to fluff up his fur and a mixture of dirt and feces to cover his bald patches. The zookeepers bring us plenty of bananas, dates, water, apples. Everything we could ever need. But Bluto still has to hoard it all and divy it up according to his whimsy like a king. I asked Stella why some of the females still go for Bluto and she told me it’s mainly because they’re idiots, but it’s also instinctive. Bluto is big, strong, and dominating, and he always manages to hoard most of the resources. This makes him an asshole, but it also makes him a good provider. Or at least that’s how the females see it. But…
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