How I Met My Wife

During the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Samsung hosted a dinner at the Guy Savoy in Caesar’s Palace. After coffee, women in Roman-style, white, frilly things offered us head and neck massages. A thirties blonde caught my attention. Her blue eyes were intense. A bit of a frown above her too-bright smile made me…

I Think She was Crying

Sitting on his red, concrete-smear stoop, Mancuso whittled with a pearl-handle, nine-inch stiletto. His hair was white, complexion pale, with deep facial creases like a Hellenistic bust. Moss-covered, stone planters flanked him, an aluminum door with an “M” in the grill, behind. His faded-shingle, row house stood across from a brown-brick, public housing apartment where…

To See That Look Again

I sold my car and gave my suits to charity. Olympic Airlines had a stand-by ticket available, and in ten hours I landed in Athens. I took a bus that dropped me near Syntagma Square. The street was dry and dusty, the pavement radiated heat, autos honked, buses rumbled and belched black diesel fumes that…

Texas Badass

I told folks in Piedras Rojas that I’d driven south from Minnesota with a snow shovel tied to the trunk of my beater Chevy and settled in a town where nobody recognized its purpose. I’d buried my mom the month before I left St. Paul. When my father died, she just gave up. With winter…

Dreams and Aurora

(Author’s Note: Jane and I lived four magical years in Brazil. At the time, inflation ran hot, reaching a peak of 80% per month. Brazilians joked that a taxi was cheaper than a bus because you paid at the end of the ride. “Dreams of Aurora,” was inspired by our time in Brazil, first published…

The Scam

The cheapest flight Ben could take to St. Paul left Friday night. Early Saturday, he bought a black coffee at the Starbucks near the Double Tree Hotel and drank it sitting in a park across from the city-center bus station. During the week, St. Paul bustled with men and women on their way to work,…

Museum Piece – Naples 1906

(Author’s note: Through the editing process, this vignette was cut from my novel, Birds of Passage, an Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story. So, I created a short piece published by Kentucky Review in November, 2015. Vesuvius, in fact, erupted in 1906, and the descriptions accurately portray the event)   Her father’s bloody body was…

The Optimist

(Author’s note: Voltaire’s satire on optimism, “Candide,” titled “L’Optimisme” in French was the inspiration for this piece.)   Gérard Petit’s face was sour cheese. He peered over his half-frame reading glasses. “Another expensive, company-paid vacation?” Marcel said, “Our Japanese clients require personal attention. Emails and phone calls aren’t enough.” Petit tossed the signed travel authorization…

The Sour Smell of Pain

(Author’s note: In the spring of 2013, I took a graduate course at the University of Texas on the Progressive Era. My research paper on Italian immigration and the short story, “The Sour Smell of Pain,” were the genesis for my novel, Birds of Passage, an Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story, which I begin…

She Lost Her Ear in Curitiba

We were a modern dance troupe on tour in Brazil, and I designed and built the sets. Our manager was Gasparino, beak nose and slick black hair. He wore flowered-shirts and displayed a gold malocchio horn on his hairless chest. Isabelle was the lead dancer for the troupe, and my first thought when I woke…