(Fiction) I didn’t hear that Duncan Pratt had been killed until I’d been out of the Army for two weeks and had gone four days without a single thought about that final year in Vietnam. If the phone had been disconnected on time, I would never have heard at all. A mutual buddy from military intelligence school called on his way to a year of bumming in Europe. He talked a long time before saying, I guess you heard that Duncan Pratt was killed. No, I said. How? He was killed by a mortar round in Pleiku, our friend said; and he hung up to catch a plane to Luxembourg.
(Fiction) It’s one of those raw, wrung out Yonge Street Saturday mornings. The smog-gray sky is just congealing into blue over the buildings and concrete. A dozen or so kids in denim are lollygagging outside Mr. Submarine sandwich plaza. They’re wearing T-shirts with messages like “Have a shitty day” emblazoned on them, and they all look bewildered. They aren’t the only people in the street. The old men in coats are shuffling along, mumbling in a phlegy secret language and spitting all over the crusty sidewalk. Then there’s the woman in a short, pubis-gripping skirt and the occasional cop floating by in a yellow cruiser, eating a choco-cherry donut and beating out “Here Comes My Baby” on the dashboard.
(Fiction) Jonathan jumps up from his seat, knocking over his mug of coffee, when Mona tells him she thinks she is in labor. They are having brunch at Café Bar. It is one of their favorite things to do. “You aren’t due for two weeks,” he says. Mona agrees. She is not due for another two weeks, and she cannot be sure that what she feels is labor, because she has never been in labor before. “I’m pretty sure,” Mona says.
(Fiction) “Tell me things I won’t mind forgetting,” she said. “Make it useless stuff or skip it.” I began. I told her insects fly through rain, missing every drop, never getting wet. I told her no one in America owned a tape recorder before Bing Crosby did. I told her the shape of the moon is like a banana—you see it looking full, you’re seeing it end-on.
(Fiction) The Rebbe Revain Gross had fallen asleep at his desk again. He dozed slumped over some tenth grade exams. In his dream he was young once more, standing on a familiar street of his childhood. All he felt was goodness, a soft drowsy blanket wrapped around him, the world warm and embracing, familiar faces floating by. There were smiles from the teachers that had loved him, his mother and aunts reaching out, tousling his red hair. He saw his own Rebbe with tender eyes. In the dream he was reaching for something, not knowing what it was; a leaf falling silently in a deep forest.