The Fence Painter

To Joyce. Because of you, every day is Valentine’s Day. According to Tom Sawyer, nothing makes roses more colorful than a white picket fence. It’s why he got into painting fences in the first place. That, and because he loves the rhythmic motion of painting — up and down, back and forth. And no one…

The Soda Jerk

He steps out of the car and runs to the other side to open the door for Rachel. They are in the parking lot of South Newburg High for his thirtieth reunion. Class of 1955. He’s hoping someone saw the gesture but it looks like everyone’s already inside. He almost didn’t get his invitation. June…

Santa Claus Wins 1984 Lifetime Achievement Award

(Las Vegas) Santa Claus has won the 1984 Lifetime Achievement Award. He beat out countless others, living and deceased, like Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and that guy from the Coke commercial who wanted to teach the world to sing. Santa thanked everyone who made this award possible. His elves for making toys. Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer,…

Chuck Wagon, Sportswriter

Chuck Wagon was 14 years old when he told his baseball coach he wanted to be a sportswriter. It was 1969. The Knights were sitting in last place with no wins and three losses. There was Chuck, in right field, a target with horn-rimmed glasses. Suddenly everyone was hitting the ball out there. Realizing his…

Me And Thanksgiving

Twenty Thanksgivings ago I wrote my first article for a newspaper. I called it “Thanksgiving is a Holiday That Needs to Grow on You.” It was 1997. My wife, Joyce, and I lived in a little apartment with our baby girl in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland. I was reacquainted with the story while…

As I Lay Thinking

Outside the wind howls. Snow falls sideways. Houses wail like wounded dogs. My city is a snow globe under siege. Luckily, I’m inside wrapped in 48 blankets. A man-made cocoon, warm as a bagel. Thoughts dance like Gregory Hines in my head: The band, Simple Minds, on why it won’t be taking the ACT this…

Rowing Down The Stream Of Consciousness

Monday, April 18th, 2016. 5:14 AM. I wonder how many people are up writing right now? Are they writing fiction? Perhaps something for work? We’re out here. Like rowers on the Cuyahoga River. Type, type, type instead of splash, splash, splash. Or whatever water sounds like when oars are pushing it away so the boat…

Sports Illustrated

When I was 9 Dad bought me my first Sports Illustrated. May 3rd, 1976. Mike Schmidt was on the cover. We were inside 7-11 waiting for Mom. He was perusing the rack. I was right there beside him, penniless, my mouth watering at the prospect of owning that magazine. I had just started playing baseball.…

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor

Whether you call it necking or making out, let Inspiration Point be your destination tonight. Inspiration Point has been the number one supplier of romantic green space for frisky couples of greater Milwaukee since 1954. A quiet retreat just minutes from Arnold’s, Inspiration Point is the perfect place for couples just starting out, or couples…

Liam Meets A Desperate Woman

She sat on the cooler and drank cold beers in front of him. She had him sitting against a tree, his hands tied behind his back. A pit bull snarled within mauling distance. A gun, 9 mm, sat at her feet. This is what she hit him with, knocking him out so she could bring him…