Fiction

How I Met Your Mother Redux

I met this charming bird in a boutique just south of Oxford Street between Regent Street and Charing Cross Road. I asked her if she’d like to go out to dinner with me, maybe for some Chinese, since Chinatown was just a few blocks south. She said that it was lovely of me to offer, but if it was all the same to me, she’d rather just shag straight off in a little room she had in the back. I asked her why she had a little room in the back of a boutique and she just smiled and laughed at me like I was an idiot. Perhaps what they said about European women was true, “they” being American men who had been abroad, and “what they said” being that European women are the best women on earth. Of course they were flighty and crazy like all women everywhere, but…
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Lucy

Jim had been saving up for years, and he finally had enough for the sex robot of his dreams. Six feet tall, blond, Quad AI processing, the strength of three men. In the long run, the thing would pay for itself. It would do his laundry, install the air conditioner for him, clean behind the refrigerator, and fulfill all of his shameful, disgusting fantasies.  He went online to place the order and there was a problem. Out of stock? Basic models only? Every time he clicked, he got a different error message, so he finally decided to call. After three hours on hold, he chose the option to be called back.  Two days later, Jim awoke to his phone buzzing and scrambled out of bed. If he missed this call, they might never call him again, and where did he leave his phone? He saw movement on top of his…
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Crime

Whenever someone asks about crime I tell them it’s a lot more difficult nowadays because all of the phones, cameras and GPS, and all of the other new forms of technology. But looking at the way I actually live, this can’t possibly be true.  My life is basically a long string of crimes from ten or eleven to now. Perhaps it’s generational or locational, but the general consensus of just about everyone I know around my age is that you’d be stupid not to steal anything you could. Maybe I stopped thinking of most of these activities as crimes because they seemed so natural. Of course you should steal tapes or CDs or torrent movies and software if you could get away with it. I got caught shoplifting once or twice, and it cost me (actually my parents) maybe $500.00, compared with the thousands of dollars of cigarettes, video games,…
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Mother

I was coming out of the movies at Union Square and saw a mother dropping off her twin daughters, presumably to see a movie. The mom was youngish, or at least youngish looking, and her twin daughters were 14 or 15 and both undeniably sexy. The mom noticed me watching and was giving me the stink eye, but I hung around at the periphery anyway. There are a lot of people around Union Square but not as many creepy ones as there used to be, but I still didn’t really stand out. Once the twins were safely deposited in the theater I approached the mom.  “Excuse me. MIss?” She was ignoring me, which is to be expected. All strangers do is ask, for change or cigarettes or time, and who really wants to talk with anyone after a certain point? Especially some strange middle-aged guy who was just checking out…
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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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