From the Scrap Heap: Richard Kunkel's Christmas Pageant

A lot of folks around town thought there was something special about Richard Kunkel. Big things were expected of that poor fellow. Certainly no one believed that such a fine, bright boy as Richard Kunkel would stick around a tiny little jerkwater village like ours for the rest of his life. Many assumed Kunkel would […]

Great Joy

It was an old, quiet horse, the color of gray corduroy, or child’s clay, those elephant slabs wrapped in wax paper that Reston remembered from classrooms in his childhood. Six months earlier the horse had been delivered to the pasture out back of Reston’s trailer, and it had taken four men to coax her from […]

The Unfortunate Fate of Our Local Giant

I don’t recall if the local giant ever actually claimed to have special powers. It did, however, seem to me that he conducted himself as if he had sprung from the pages of mythology. What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that this didn’t appear to be just another ordinary, run-of-the-mill giant. For one […]

Beauteous Munch, Popular Show Dog

One night long ago in a once-upon-a-time world there was a little lost dog in a faraway forest. The dog was alone and hungry, and it was a bitter winter in the forest. The little dog was settling into the cold den he had burrowed for himself in the snow around the roots of a […]

What Do I Know?

Here’s what I’d like to know: Since when are the New York Yankees in any position to play hardball with the Twins? Given the pitching situation in New York, and given the fact that this is a team that is now in the (for them) desperate position of playing second-fiddle to the Red Sox, would […]

A Man Goes on a Journey, a Stranger Appears in Town: There Are Only Two Stories in All the World

Prentice had changed so much in twenty years. You could stop by the little local historical society at the County Fairgrounds and look at photographs of the way the town used to be, but pretty much every striking thing you would encounter on the walls there had been knocked down –the old courthouse with the […]

Excerpt From A Failed Attempt At A Novel

My family had always been a remarkably insulated and self-contained unit. Despite my parents’ divorces (they divorced when I was eight years old, remarried two years later, and divorced again just after I graduated from high school) there really hadn’t been much in the way of drama or anything you could call real tragedy in […]

A Kingdom of Stinks and Sighs

Come on, give a rat’s ass, would you, you fuckers? Give it the old college try. Take a good look around and tell me what you see. Don’t lie to me. My kingdom is a laughingstock. I’ve let myself go, grown fat on the sautéed kidneys of disc jockeys and dickweeds whose gross ambition offended […]

Sursum Corda: Give Thanks

I’d say it’s a decent idea, Thanksgiving, even if it’s one of those old, decent ideas that means almost nothing anymore. Still, it does strike me as a worthwhile thing, the notion of taking time out of your life to give thanks for whatever the hell you have to give thanks for. And surely you […]

He's Abbott, I'm Costello: Cross-Wired Conversation With My Dog At Two A.M.

Would you say? I would say, yes. Say what? That is the question. Yes, that’s the question. No, that is the question. No question mark. What is the question? Say what? I said, "What is the question?" And I said, "Say what?" I heard you the first time, but I still haven’t heard your answer: […]