About the Stage

The trains stopped running that day. Ice on the pantographs, those arms that reach to touch overhead wires and conduct 700 volts into the cars.

Not today.

Temple University to Suburban Station. A twelve-minute ride.

Not today.

He’d asked her to meet him at Love Park at noon. She’d agreed, with the caveat that he not be late.

She liked to be in control.

When she was three, her father built a raised wooden platform in the family garage. He lined the walls with mirrors and lights, displacing the Taurus and the rusting Skyhawk they’d inherited from her grandmother. He disgorged the messiness of their livesshovels and rakes and gallons of dried paint beneath a blue tarponto the lawn which browned and muddied. Continue reading

Dimes Tossed by Strangers

When Professor Dunleavy suggested it three weeks ago, not one student raised his hand. But extra credit sweetened the deal and William Jackson volunteered.

His parents worried, as parents do. What was this fool professor doing, sending their William to live on the streets of Washington, D.C. for seven days and nights?

William reassured his family: It would be a good experience. He would do well, he reasoned, to live a week on nothing but his wits.

Dunleavy drove him to the depot. “You bring anything?”


“Cell phone?”


“Wallet?” Continue reading

Most Beautiful

She looked most beautiful when she wasn’t trying.

That is to say, she looked most beautiful when she felt no need to impress old Bic Johnston next door, the landlord who wandered out every morning on uncertain legs to bestow upon her a slimy and lecherous grin, all the while inquiring after the rent.

Or Timmy Davis, her own brother-in-law, the mechanic who spat tobacco juice in her front yard and winked, promising to keep her motor running and laughing wickedly.


Continue reading

Last Laugh

Summers, we perched on the stoop, pointing mocking fingers as she minced down the sidewalk in heels one size too small because Goodwill had nothing bigger.

“Cheapskate.” Billy said.

“Skinny bones.” Jay.

“Tramp.” Frank dared, covering his mouth with both hands after.

Summer bled into fall. We tucked away our shorts, tucked ourselves into uniforms, neatly patched and pressed, tucked ourselves onto the train that whisked us to school.

We filed into English, folded ourselves into desks, gaped at the front of the room where she stood, still mincing in too-small shoes, a length of fresh chalk in her hand.

This was written for this week’s 100 Words on Saturday at The Write Tribe: She had the last laugh.