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Showing posts from March, 2006

All Life's a Game

Howard Smalls was an extremely competitive man by nature. Some thought it had to do with his lean frame and scant height of five-foot-five. Others thought it may have had something to do with sexual repression. Still others assumed that he was just naturally competitive. His children suspected that it was a mix of all three of these varying theories. Howard remained extremely competitive for every one of his forty-four years. He played a different sport every night of the week and spent his weekends, depending on the season, playing still other sports or doubling up on his favorites. Monday nights were reserved for playing racquet-ball at the club in club-sponsored tournaments in which he always placed highly, or even sometimes won. Tuesday nights were spent playing softball in a city sponsored league. He pitched for that team every game. Wednesday nights found him captaining a bowling team in a league put on by the local bowling alley. Thursday nights were spent playing more softbal


It was raining outside of her car, but I didn’t want to get out. I didn’t want to go home. I couldn’t bear the thought of stopping at my place and having that urge to kiss her and not be able to. It’s horrible for the both of us. When we stop, time in the car stands still, our hearts skip a beat and we gulp, waiting for the inevitable. But the inevitable is impossible for her. And so the inevitable becomes me getting out of the car, tearing my eyes away from hers and walking into my house, smiling and pretending it doesn’t hurt. But tonight, I couldn’t make that depressive walk just yet. It would hurt too much. “Do we have to go back yet?” I ask, trying not to sound like a hurt puppy. “No.” She does the same. I had no idea where we should go, only that my house wasn’t anywhere I could go at this point. Not for dread of anything there, but for dread of not being here. With her. She breaks the silence this time, “Where is it you want to go?” The rest if this short s


I really liked the idea of an older brother coming home from war and explaining to a little brother what he did there. Did it work? You tell me. “Jack?” “Go to sleep, Billy.” “I just wanted to ask you a question.” Billy’s voice sailed gracefully down from the top-bunk above me. It quivered with his eight-year old curiosity but had a way of hanging in the air, demanding response. “Go to sleep, Billy.” I didn’t want to talk. “Ever since you got back, I’ve been wondering…” He wouldn’t let me sleep until I gave in. I think I was like that when I was his age, too. “Wondering what, Billy?” That was a long time ago, though. I could hear him take a breath, summoning all of his courage, before asking me this: “Did you ever kill anybody… You know… Out there?” I rolled to my side, pulling my blanket over my shoulder. Maybe I won’t have to answer him. “Why do want to know a thing like that, Billy?” “Well, when you came back, no one seemed to want to ask you…” “So?”