Literary Short Stories
The stories on this site have all appeared in literary magazines, good magazines like Sou'wester, The Crescent Review, The South Dakota Review, and others. They are copyrighted and may not be reprinted without the permission of the author. You may link to this site if you wish.
Fiction Writing Workshop
Nonfiction Writing Workshop
Better Than a Tractor Pull
Published in the American Aesthetic
Start with the Fords,
the Dodges, such cars as that, all souped up, all painted up, all
and lucky-numbered, their helmeted drivers hunched like automatons,
turning, forever turning on a quarter mile oval; start right there;
the roar and how people miles and miles away can hear it, even with
and windows shut, even over blaring televisions; imagine the hot oil,
raw gasoline, the burning rubber, the smoking wrecks shoved to the
imagine the customers up and screaming, getting every dime out of their
eight dollar tickets; think now of the surrounding prairie with its
housing and little strip malls and constantly recurring fast food
with its half empty fields and scrubby little roadside trees, and the
that never stops, never stops, never stops; imagine a land where no
in it ever really knows night, not even the dense black and immensely
When Fineman was
best of his life seemed over. He had given up his slot with Chicago,
to Florida, taken up real estate, lived a little too fast, a little too
soon, and returned to the only police job he could now get, this time
the Village of Wireland. A month later his wife had a stroke and died
suddenly it was as if she had been murdered. There were no children.
which had always been his companion, became his spouse.
Jesus Christ Was
In every version the story starts the same way, with Sam. Sam was the night supervisor at Bloomgartens Press on North Avenue, the last printing job I ever worked. Sam ran that night shift as if it were his own business, and in a sense it was. He took orders over the telephone, typed bills on the office machine, printed, shipped out, and collected good American dollars from jobs Mr. Bloomgarten never even heard about.