Rhubarb ripped from dark earth dangles,
Water pours on Esther’s hands.
Blade carves stalk from leaf to simmer in cinnamon,
stew in sugar, serve in cellar,
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Author’s Notes: This week is the launch of my latest novel, Those Who Hunger…
I handed my fake passport with a big smile to the pretty, young girl behind the check-in counter.
She smiled back and said, “Just a minute.” Then she left the desk and tapped an older, grumpier woman on the shoulder. The young girl said something to her and pointed back to the desk, then walked around the corner.
Shit, I thought.
The grumpy woman sat down in front of me and flipped open my passport while I smiled at her like some overeager beauty pageant contestant. I figured I probably looked like a serial killer, so I dropped the smile…
I laid in bed that night, assuring myself that it would be the easiest money I’d ever made.
There was something about it, though — something cold sliding down into my gut. I had bitten that worm, and the hook was already working its way through me.
I smoothed over that feeling with the thought that I could be giving Haley a shot at the life she deserved — Winnie too. That’s all I needed. I’d pay any price for that. Somehow that thought helped me get to sleep.
Around nine thirty-five, I began to drag myself out of unconsciousness…
That night I slept for an hour and fifteen minutes.
I passed the rest of the time staring at the mold on my ceiling and feeling the cold vinyl of my kitchen floor peel off my feet as I got up to get cup after cup of water. That led to somewhere in the ballpark of seven trips to the bathroom. Each time, I would stand there watching the water swirl down into the bowl and try to sort through all the things in my mind. …
I, nervously, thumbed the coins in my left hand as I made my way down the sidewalk towards the payphone.
In my right hand, I flipped over the piece of paper that I’d pulled off the suitcase the night before. I had been flipping over the whole idea of this thing since waking up that morning.
As the coins bounced around like pinballs inside the payphone, I asked myself, Shirley, what are you doing?
I couldn’t come up with a straight answer. Money, that’s all I could think of. There was money in that briefcase. …
You don’t have much time to go clicking back and forth trying to find the chapter links to Hindsight, the novel I’ve been publishing here on Medium. I got you. Below are the links to every published chapter. If you want to make sure that you don’t miss one, just bookmark this page and check back every day to find the new link locked and loaded.
Owen Banner spent his childhood baptized in the red dirt of Mandeville, Jamaica and his adolescence in the neon morass of Manila in the Philippines. He’s lived in or traveled to countries all over…
I turned around and locked the door to my ground floor apartment. Clachink, clachank.
A light rain had picked up on the way back to my place from Winnie’s. I shook out my jacket and hung it on the Louisville Slugger that I kept by the door. The guys and I played on a company team every weekend: The Ingerich Wrecking Crew. Seeing the bat and my glove reminded me about Herb’s offer, about taking a trip down to the shore with them. I still didn’t feel like going, but I wondered what we were gonna do about Saturday’s game…
I left the bar and stopped off at my place on Royden Street to shower and pick up Shamis: the friendliest, most energetic setter you’ve ever met.
We took the 400 down to Mt. Ephraim and jogged on over to my Aunt Winnie’s place for dinner. It was a thin, two story house with yellow siding out front and enough porch for a small swing. I’d put the swing in for her a couple Christmases ago. The paint was already chipping on it. …
I am hurtling eight stories to the pavement.
There’s a bullet in my left shoulder and another chewing through my lung. I am going to die. And all that talk about your best memories skipping along in front of you like the windows of a city tram at the lunch rush, that’s just bullshit. It’s the stupid decisions you made that got you killed — that’s what goes through your mind in the second before you die. Take me, for example. No matter how hard I want to think about the good times, I keep coming back to the…
“Shirley O’Shea, everybody!” Herb announced as he pushed through The Lazy Susan’s door, catching sight of me at the bar.
That’s my name, by the way, Shirley O’Shea. I know, you laugh. My dad told me there was some great warrior in my family back in the Middle Ages named Shirley. He freed his people from a tyrant, wrote some kick-ass poetry, and then was stoned to death by the same people he saved — probably because he was named Shirley, poor bastard.
That curse has followed me all of my life. Roll call on the first day of school…