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…

Purple Crayons

I loved purple crayons when I was a kid. Loved every shade of them. Loved the way they smelled, even though all crayons smell the same. My brother and I colored pictures in the living room. He made sure to use all of the crayons evenly so one wouldn’t wear out more than the others. […]

A Boy Talks To Crows About A Girl

One morning before school Little Joe was sitting on a park bench surrounded by crows. Little Joe had a crush on a girl named Kathleen. Kathleen was a cheerleading captain. She had an award-winning smile and a multitude of impeccable physical features. But Kathleen was too busy dating Chet Farkus to notice that Little Joe…

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…