Carol (out of season)

  “Spirit!  Do not leave me!” —Ebenezer Scrooge (Chas. Dickens), “A Christmas Carol”   What happened on Christmas Eve was odd enough that its strangeness persists still in reminding me of the unpredictable salvageability of human nature, and the omnipresence of . . . something. Whatever spirit it was, it moved them. It moved us. … [more]

Rain Dog

Someone told me I should go take a walk. It was as good a suggestion as any, and the dog always appreciates it. The ides of March competed with my oversized puppy for Pissing All Over the Alley honors. Hunching along, mumbling at the grey rain, I wished I’d had the forethought to bring along … [more]


I like my rifle. It’s a fine piece of gear. When I was a private long ago, the army issued me a tattered old M16A1, late Vietnam era issue, stamped with the maker’s mark of General Motors Hydramatic Division. It was so loose and wabbly in its action that it wouldn’t cycle more than three … [more]

Mortar Sunsets

E-mailed SEP 04, FOB Freedom, Mosul Mortar sunsets are like harvest moons: gold, orange and red competing in radiant firepower. On any day, there is dust. Mortars just add that last touch of kaleidoscopic finery. A few minutes ago, someone—”Ali Baba,” or bad guy—dropped a mortar round square onto FOB Freedom’s washing facility. Wounded In … [more]

Been there, done that… no t-shirt

I blame Kathleen. She and Charlie throw the best Halloween<slash>birthday parties, so naturally we’re obligated to attend for the momentary elevation above our lowly (literary and otherwise) station that’s in it. Go ahead, parse that sentence. I dare you! Now you know my dirty secret: I took just enough high school German to confuse myself … [more]

Re joys

This is the day that the LORD hath made We will be glad and rejoice in it, and rock the house! Hand in hand will I walk, with the partner of my choosing Whom G-d also hath made, like as like in His image The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: How … [more]

Stoplight Epilogue

26OCT 05, United States of America We were almost home when a round number fell out of the radio. I put my hand up to my mouth, remembered that I don’t smoke anymore, and put it back on the steering wheel. The traffic light ahead flashed to red, and we all stopped together. Looking straight … [more]

Gardening Children

This evening, Smalldaughter read herself to bed with Robert Louis Stevenson’s “A Child’s Garden of Verses.” The last person who read that to me was my mother, a lean redhead with a lilt in her voice at bedtime belying the circumstances surrounding her. We never knew why she barely ate at the table, took her … [more]