don draper

The Pitch

EFG Window Washing, LLC. Cleveland, Ohio. A clear summer day overlooking Lake Erie. Do you like books? One of the things I like about books is their ability to tell stories that make people want to read them over and over again. I studied history in college because history majors are required to read a…

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Philomena The Fortune Teller

I remember a fortune teller on Pulaski Street named Philomena who pulled in some pretty good business. Her clients were from the neighborhood: teachers, construction workers, stay-at-home moms, never-at-home dads — even Mayor Farley went there during the riots. Philomena was an interesting fortune teller and genuinely nicer than the ones you see on TV.…

Shoeman

Shoe Story

“So you see officer, the customer told me he was looking for a fast running shoe. I said, ‘that’s strange, a fast running shoe just came in this morning. I laced it up and put it over there with the rest of the shoes on the wall. Then I left the other one in the…

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Nick The Street Vendor

The street vendor on Literary Road sold three things: hot dogs, Lay’s potato chips and Pepsi-Cola. Four if you counted lively conversation, five if you had the privilege of listening to his radio when Indians games were on. The last two were free as long as you bought one of the first three. In May…

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Zeke Klompus, TED Speaker

HELLO PORTLAND! (A pin drops) You have no idea who I am, do you? (Nervous laughter) That’s okay. Neither did I before I came up with what I’m about to tell you. To best understand who I am, I need to tell you about who I was. In order to do that, I need to…

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Christmas Eve, 1965

The fireplace kept us warm while we sat on the couch and drank bottles of Little Tom. We would open presents soon. One of the perks of being Polish is that we always open presents on Christmas Eve instead of waiting until morning. In ’65 I would’ve been 6. When you’re 6 years old, anticipation…

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Having Fun With Google Translate

I woke up early this morning and wrote a story in that little box they have on Google Translate. Then I sat back and listened to how it sounded in both English and German. Ah, Sundays! After years of trying to eke out a living as a writer in the United States, I went to…

smokestacks

Smokestacks

When I was a boy Dad told me that clouds came from smokestacks. That’s why it always rained in South Newburg. I thought, why not? The factories made all sorts of things. Those smokestacks had to do something, not just stand there with their noses in the sky. So whenever we drove downtown I watched…

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The Boy Who Weighed Things

He was 8 years old when he found a Hanson model 1512 postal scale in the trash bin behind Daffy Dan’s on Polsky Street. He took it home, cleaned it off and began weighing little things around the house. The Hanson 1512 scale had a maximum weight limit of 20 pounds. He was careful not…