After Black & White Lightning
Michael Chacko Daniels
'No rice, no dahl, no sugar...'
Nothing to eat? How was it possible?
Dear Journal, it’s me, Alice
Books always marked our games somehow. The passage of time.
Growing up the house was (always) filled with books.
And guide me on the everlasting path
The photograph is of my mother. In it she looks like someone else. Perhaps someone else’s mother. Our relationship is fraught with difficulties. I’m a fat cutout or rather the curator of fat cutouts. Dark water inside of my head.
What the Heck is a Yuma?
Tahimi told him that she had not called him a “Yuma” the night before. Somebody in that room sure as hell had. He hated that word. Why couldn’t the first Americans in Cuba have not come from Idaho?
A Beautiful Girl
Esteban the artist came from Santiago de Cuba. He was a painter and painted anything that paid. Nobody knew what he liked to paint because he was such a liar.
Pips Wally and Dogman Jones meet Maradona
Pips Wally went to Cuba one year at last. He had heard about sun and fun, fishing and brown girls - all that he liked – but it took an invite from Dogman Jones and some harrowing circumstances to finally convince him to go.
The Bread Line
Jerry Alan in Cuba
Laurant and about three-hundred people were in a ‘cola’, which means ‘tail’ in Spanish. A line-up. They were waiting for bread
The Wrong Stop
It was a typical gray dismal raw New York City spring morning. Jenkins stood, crammed with dozens of other blank-faced people, in the subway car headed for his office downtown.
A Note of Thanks to Hackwriters
I’ll miss Hackwriters, as I’m sure all of its writers and readers will, but it’s been a long and happy ride
Still Eating Oranges
“We’re friends, right? Best friends, right? Friends, right?” asked the red toadstool with a toad on it. The toadstool was not speaking to the toad, who was age-mottled, crotchety and, crucially, as deaf as a doorknob with cotton in its keyhole.
Who Will Replace Dimma’s Teeth?
It was the hour when men of goodwill ought to have retired to bed that the deafening noise emerged from Mazi Egede’s house.Mrs. Havermill isn't as fast as she used to be
Morning comes too early for her tastes. She feels as if she hasn’t slept at all, as if her eyes only just closed one moment and the next they’re open again but it’s nine hours later. She doesn’t feel refreshed, doesn’t think she has dreamed or if she has she can’t remember any of them.
Joan first met Patrick in a dumpster. This altercation had a lot to do with the neighborhood in which she lived.
Israel ( and further adventures of Patrick)
Although New Yorkers, who loved lox and bagels, Joan and Bob were goyim, not Jewish. By going to live in Israel they did not plan to make alliya (become Israelis.) Rather, they simply wanted to see first hand what was going on in the region.
Endtime - Panic in BC
‘In life we have three choices: the discipline of self-sacrifice, the congregation we choose to be with, the laws we choose to obey.’
The Word according to Prophet Arnold
I want to catch up to my shadow and walk over it and be in front of it. I want it following me instead of me following it.
In the Red Light District
Snake Doggett the cook lived in an unpainted house between a hemp shop and a whorehouse with his roommate Bert, on the edge of the red light district.
“I wonder why Irv Kane hates me?” I said.
“Irv Kane hates a lot of people,” said my friend Abe Silverman.
“Yeah, but he seems to have a special hatred for me.”
Paul Lerner opened his eyes and looked at the bedside clock---8:15. He’d made it through another night, he told himself. Since his last birthday, 87, he’d found himself saying, or thinking, this every morning.
The Thanksgiving Dinner (Post-Trump)
Ah, Thanksgiving. The time for families to get together. This year we were scheduled to go to Ellen’s sister Sophie and her husband Mort’s for the annual feast. And I’d have to deal with Mort’s crowing after Donald Trump, to everyone’s surprise, not to say shock, had won the presidential election.
Remembering Art Grossman
He wondered what had happened to Art. Was he still around? The obvious thing was to Google him ...
Bud had come for lunch sometime in September. He’d seemed fine then. At their lunches, they’d usually have a report that one or another of their old tennis group had passed away, but he assumed Bud would be there forever.
A Ride Through The Park
I knew how to get there. Someplace around here there must be still this path leading to the water.
Block Island Here We Come!
That morning I loaded up the bicycles on the Jeep’s rack.
“We are going to Block Island!” I cheered!
Grandma and the Old Warrior
Michael Chacko Daniels
Grandma Jacob, dressed in a white cotton sari and blouse, opened the door of her new home on Rural Route 2, South Riverside, on a warm day in 1975 and looked into the blue eyes of the old Polish warrior.
A Salvager for Our Times
Michael Chacko Daniels
I find a youngish man sitting at one of the three yellow, screwed-down plastic chairs, deep in some enterprise that doesn't look all too honest ...
Too close for comfort
Whilst I don’t agree with killing people as a rule, particularly not close family, sometimes it is the best solution to an awkward problem. You do the deed and then move on with your life.
I have learned a lot from the gorillas ... most importantly I have learned about love, being accepted because you have been born, no matter what you do.
Uncle Pringle and Political Correctness
No safe space for a diference of opinion
Arnold and Ellen had been married for 48 years. In that time, he’d learned that women spent half of their time in the bathroom...
It was weeks until I heard him speak more than a couple of words, and by then I had probably told him my whole life story, which he had swallowed whole like a whale eating plankton, with only the occasional “yes” or “hmm” to encourage me in.
The Maestro in Six Movements
The Maestro looked at the green gardens of Harrogate and saw that they were good. “This will be my home” he said aloud in German, “after all my troubles I have found somewhere I can lay my head.”
Death in the Castle
There he was, just as I expected him to be, sat in the castle grounds reading The Times, a respectable looking man enjoying the last few moments of his respectable life.
Melchizedek walked out of his chamber, and his subjects knelt before him in adoration. King and High Priest of Salem, he looked about him with stern eyes and saw that all was well...
(For Celestine, in apology)
I would have recognised Celestine anywhere; despite the passages of time, the broken hearts and the blood on her hands, she still seemed the same the young woman who had walked into our lives and betrayed us all.
“I thought there was a rule against panhandling in the plaza,” a gruff customer grumbled one afternoon
“I can’t breathe”…. “The air is thick” …….. “How could this happen”?
James C. Clar
“Excuse me sir, are you the caretaker here?”
My inquiry was met with the kind of deep silence that only the Japanese have truly mastered.
"Are You Not Crazy"
James C. Clar
Through one of the windows I caught sight of two Japanese women. One was my age, late-50 or early 60’s while the other was younger, maybe 35 or so.
After supper Bessie always set a few utensils and pieces of dinnerware in precarious positions in the orange plastic dish rack next to the sink.
The Rush of '72
Keeping diamonds secret is hard (First Chapter extract)
The Wicker Basket
My mother’s face holds that force smile, not real, ‘but it will be alright sort of smile’, as she stands by the carriage door. The whistle shrills down the cold, blustery, platform, the wind catching it, then sending it echoing around the small country station.
My Aunt Sylvia was far and away the prettiest of my father’s three sisters. She was also the only one with any artistic and intellectual interests.
In Search of Tranquility
What did he want? Paul Lerner asked himself. It was a rainy afternoon in January. He was preparing to take his afternoon nap.
My Bad Granddad
It was only later that I thought of my father’s father as my Bad Granddad. When I was a kid growing up in the Bronx all I knew is that he owned a little house in Brighton Beach and that we used to go there to escape the summer heat.
Resident of the Month: The Diva
The Pauline I’d come to see had been a singer and dancer in musical shows - although she’d never become a household name...
Dinner at Fisherman's Wharf
I thought of the Buena Vista. The Berkeley gang would meet at a downtown bar on Friday night and usually someone knew of a party going on. The next morning, Sunday, we’d meet at the BV...
What was I, a young man,28, doing, going all by himself on his first cruise?
MARIKKA - Chapter One: A Dog’s Dinner
Marikka woke suddenly. It was a warm night, the air unusually thick and cloying. The house was eerily quiet. She found she’d kicked the blankets off the bed, looked down for Deacon, puzzled he wasn’t sprawled on the floor as usual. With a sudden sense of guilt she remembered why...
The Woman in the Park
She is sitting on an iron bench in the park. In the distance I can hear horses’ hooves lightly pounding and the sound of carriages trundling down the thoroughfare just behind us.
Play That Thing
I almost walked passed it. A small café, hidden between a newsagent and a kebab shop, on one of the main thoroughfares of Camden.
Jerry Billstrom's Cuba stories
Al woke with a start to the agonized yelps of his dog whom he discovered ham-strung in the steel grating on the balcony security gate ...
The City University of New York Medical School Quick Weight Loss Diet
Caroline is a yo-yo dieter. Name any diet – Scarsdale, Weight Watchers, Dr. Atkins, and even Dr. Romano’s lettuce leaf diet – and she’s tried it. But nothing worked for her...
Montgomery, Magalee and the Magi
A young moon, and old moon, a full moon—I could not make it out, but moonlight fell through veils of cloud hanging over Zambeliou Street. Revellers in other parts of the Old Port were yet at their fireworks.
Local Color: A Ride on the No. 2 Bus - Oahu
James C. Clar
The No. 2 bus traverses a portion of the island of Oahu that is as diverse as that route’s eclectic ridership.
After the Surgery
It was my first day home after knee replacement surgery. Although the procedure had become routine, especially for old guys like me whose joints were wearing out, it still was, as my doctor reminded me, major surgery.
Adultery for Beginners
One thing led to another, as they say, and, yeah, I guess I was unfaithful. It would had seemed stupid to turn down the opportunity.
The Walker Family 2025
Tom Walker was late getting home that evening because a self-driving car had gotten its wires crossed and had stopped on the track of his monorail train. Tom lived in a suburb of Sacramento, and he worked in the Department of Affordable Health ...
Interview with a Family Man
“Can I tell you something,” he said, “off the record?”
It was a nice spring day in Sacramento, one to enjoy before the summer heat settled in. I was having lunch with Rosemary Harper, my lead analyst, in the Capitol building cafeteria.
I became aware that I had a cousin Bobby at one of our family occasions, a wedding or a seder, I don’t remember which.
Martin Green wakes up
A thunderstorm in June was almost unheard of where they lived...
June 15, was the day when I had my heart broken. The girl who did the breaking was Isobel Carter, whom I’d gone with all through high school.
He’d occasionally had a fantasy of meeting an attractive woman on the courts, and, there, on the front court she was, practicing serves, pretty hard serves, too.
Valentine's Day Mascara
“You don’t bring me flowers any more.”
Arnold was walking through his old neighborhood in the Bronx. Back in his parents’ apartment it was frantic, his mother scurrying around, furniture being rearranged, food being placed on tables; it was as if the President was coming for a visit...
My Nice Brother
He was slow in getting promoted at his office. He was too nice to engage in office politics.
Steve Carson didn’t look like a horrible boss. He was a tall, good-looking man in his early fifties, just beginning to show his age despite a rigorous exercise regimen.
Caw. Caw. Caw. Arnold was jolted out of his doze. A crow in his back yard?
Hide Your Books
Does this really mean no more punishment? Like, ever again? No more corporate punishment?'
Another Place To Die: The Endtime Chronicles
Hawksmoor & North
Chapter One: Warning Signals
‘Those who stay in this city will die by the sword, famine and pestilence, but they who go out beyond to places of safety will survive. Our cities will be overwhelmed by darkness.’
Prophet Arnold: Church of Final Redemption 29:1-5
Pileated Woodpecker & Sword Fern
Kirie C. Pedersen
“Even if I met someone, second marriages have a sixty percent failure rate.”
I’m six foot four. I look like Lou Ferrigno’s brother. By day I write film screenplays. By night I collect money for the mob. I am Manbag Bagman
McGee was number eighty-four. He went back out into the hallway where actors and actresses were sitting and standing. He walked the hallway and saw her. “Hey!” he said.
Be Right Back
I’m sitting across from Jane in the outdoor area of my favorite Indian Food restaurant in Los Angeles. She’s dressed casually. Her hair, longer than the last time I saw her, is falling out of her hood that she has drawn, perhaps because she is cold.
I Unfriend You
I threw her a life preserver, only to snatch it back in again.
Another Place To Die: The Endtime Chronicles (Vol 2)
Marcel D’Agneau interviews Hawksmoor & North
A New Edition of this classic pandemic novel is out now. It has undergone a rethink and rewrite...
The Deer Trap
The unfortunate fact was that the man had ceased to exist because he could not liken himself to a single character in any movie or on television.
Going For it
Here's some tips on Successtory by Hawksmoor & North
Service and other stories
With quickstep, Tariq strolls down the meandering downhill of Basman street, which leads to the great Husseini mosque. Though springtime, relatively thick clouds cover the sky.
GIRL with CAT (Blue)
Sam Hawksmoor - Shortlisted for the Rubery Book Award 2018
There was no warning this time. The enemy bomber swept in from the east flying low, spilling its deadly guts of cluster bombs onto the street market. Saska was running, heart in mouth, a hundred paces from the nearest underground shelter. Cat, her precious Blue Lynx was ahead of her, ears back, nearly sick with panic.
A Bagatelle of Maladies
Allen P Cook
It was not that he simply missed her. She was right in front of him. He felt diminished. It was as if he suddenly wanted to go out to Burger King for a 2 for $4 breakfast and the seat next to him was empty.
Can of Tuna
Allen P Cook
Her head travelled horizontally back and forth trying to get its bearings--restless wheat in a breeze. The Basilica of Nuestra Senora del Pillar lay in front of her, big as a football field.
That Sweet Young 'Thang'
They didn’t go looking for anything, no, they just wanted to listen to some good music, but the moment she walked in the door- everything changed.
Ma Maggie’s Legacy
When my cousin Genny Burke heads out to work, I roam through the old family house as I did when under Ma Maggie’s watchful eye, knowing full well nothing is as it was except for the insubstantial forms that the uncertain mind fashions into numinous facades and peoples with vaguely recognizable shapes.
A splinter pushed into the soft tissue of Jacob's finger. He was charged with disposing of the wood, breaking it into small pieces.
Moving into the Salvation Army
Julia knew about closing doors on the past. Uncertainty flowed through her veins like harsh winter sandwiched between skyline and breath.
Linger - Extract from 'Winter in Johannesburg'
My dad is one of the lucky ones. His voice merges alongside mine like beautiful scraps of material. This is a story about a man but not about any man. It is a story about my father.
Dawid - A portrait of a marriage
‘You don’t touch me anymore, Dawid. We’re living a lie. Our whole marriage is based on a lie. That we still desire each other.’
Bill and Sissy
There were of course things that Sissy had said and did in her short life that she regretted. In the end, didn’t it make her stronger, she often thought to herself.
It’s winter. Johan is writing on his laptop in the kitchen while she’s making coffee. This love affair was finally going to turn into a marriage. This Saturday morning felt as if she was living on an island with her favourite things. Food and Johan.
Applying the law of giving
All I wanted was for Deon to love both of us. For the three of us to become a family. Now I listen to music to keep me sane in the evenings with no man around in my life. A woman who lost two men in the span of five years.
Come to my house
Elizabeth Light was like any other girl her age. She felt she needed to understand more of the world around her which is why she moved to Johannesburg in the first place.
The Woman in the Photograph
She had never met anyone called Siegfried before. Wondered what he was like when he was a boy being called on in class. Was he teased, mocked, bullied on the playground like she was for her ‘proper’ English?
You look so lovely, even when you cry
You’ve been living on a diet of caffeine and cigarettes for weeks now, Gus. Tell me what’s wrong. Tell me what’s wrong, right now.
‘I have a secret.’
‘So, tell me, what’s your secret, beautiful?’
‘Well, it’s my birthday and I’ve come out with a girlfriend to celebrate.’
Youth is falling. A clever winter dissolve. Light flashes during an afternoon storm and all I can remember is Johannesburg and failing miserably at school.
“What’s your name, angel?”
“Whatever you want it to be, sir? You looking for companionship?”
I’d never met an angel. Not personally. But I know angels are blonde because Ella Keeling and Kayleigh Gent are blonde...
Moving into the Continental
They may come with sirens blazing and force us out of the house and then where will we live, where will we go?
J&K4Ever - First Chapter
Jeyna listened as Martha lay dying on the hill. The wounds on her body were festering and angry. No one knew how she’d got there or why she’d been attacked.
Alvin and the Universal Theorem
What are the odds? It’s the Universal Theorem. It explains everything in the universe. I’ve solved it...
One Last Drink
It was almost eight on a January night in San Francisco. Outside it was cold and foggy. The bar was a small one, a neighborhood place where people stopped in for a drink after work. Right now Paul was the only one there.
Creative Writing and Claire
Like most people in my Northern California retirement community, I scan the obituaries (now called “life tributes”) in our Sunday newspaper. I rarely see anyone I know; most of those I worked or played tennis with have already passed on. On this particular Sunday, however, I saw a face that looked familiar
The Big Girl
Dorothy and I were graduate students in English at Columbia University in New York. We were in the same Shakespeare class and had gotten into the habit of going to the university café afterward for coffee. Somehow, we’d clicked right away and testing each other with Shakespeare quotes was a game we liked to play.
“So you’re going to visit Irv Kane?” said Abe Silverman
“Yeah, I couldn’t say No to Julie”
Things I have no more use for
“God took you out of my life for a reason.”
Youth excites me. The youth in men. The youth in women. I have to hold onto the fact that all of life, human life, humanity, flora and fauna, and the lost and found is a happy gift.
You’re no longer here to talk to me, to listen, to dance with, to make love to, to admire, adore, worship ...
Those years after the war it seemed as if everyone was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Doctor van Wyk, even my instinct is innocent. When I write courage is my source. It is hard to believe how far I have come. I have loved every man I have ever met. I have also trusted every woman I have ever met and I have been badly let down by females.
'I loved the daily grind. The business side of it. Yet, I also felt crowded, pressured to be happy because of the heat of the day'.
The Storehouse of Images
Ghosts fill, fill and fill a bare room. Lost souls searching for a spiritual home. One of those lost souls answers to the name of Kevin Carter.
The Most Vital Organ of All
The dimensions of love are beautiful. They can inspire you to wuthering heights or not at all.
Felicity and Nadine
Felicity was painting her nails. It was an exotic colour. It didn’t really suit her mood.
Waiting for healing rain. Here’s wishing for that release in the sky.
The curious language of Laura, Lynn and Peter
I was the angel. The good one. I was the one with the children and the husband. The glowing mother.
Across the valley’s face
Life must break you and when it does, when that reckoning comes, it comes with fire. Its flame flickers in the dark.
Victor J. Castleton
With a mild screeching halt, I was back where I was twenty two years ago.
The Little men
Victor J. Castleton
It all started at the beginning of a winter season on the east end of the Island.
Home Upon a Many Summers
Victor J Castleton
Once upon a ninth birthday ...
Did I just hear a bumper sticker?
Unsolvable, unfathomable, impenetrable.
Mom, Me, and Boyfriends
I never once woke to the sound of my mother sneaking in with a stranger, heels in her hand. I was not reared in a house where a new man would shuffle out while I ate my cereal. But my mother has had many boyfriends...
The years passed. Nearly three and, as Andrei wrote, the war was dragging on endlessly and kept him there. He mentioned that fighting the mujahideen seemed as impossible as eradicating a fungus ...
He arrived in Liverpool at about three in the afternoon, with darkness and lust in his heart.
Song for the Missing
The Reverend William Southall was many things in his life; vicar, mourner of two children, deserted husband, world famous expert on cats and worshipper of the devil; well that is what certain members of his congregation claimed, and they should know.
The First Supper
R.J. Fox (Extract from Love & Vodka)
Katya and I were seated on the couch side of the table. At first glance, the couch appeared comfortable, but in reality, it was far from it. It wasn’t the couch itself, which was rather stiff, but rather, its low height and overall proximity to the table.
Exiled By Fate
Your jealousy and flaming temper are things I learned to live with, something I want to experience again because your spirit energizes me
Peter A. Wright
It’s not how fast you run—it’s how you outwit your victim. You have to pick the right one.
Divinity: Teenage Infatuation and Pharmaceutical Junkie. We make a ritual out of it. Of saying evening prayers. It is absurd like flying a kite when there is no wind.
After Leaving Mr Muirhead for God
Grief is waving at me. The animals with their gobbledegook. Geese with their social cohesion.
On Not Leaving Home
They look at you as if to say. You are not beautiful. You are not pretty. It is a pity. Shame. At least you are good for a laugh.
Abigail George on Marilyn and Arthur
Sir, I do not need you to save me and perhaps belittle me a little in the process.
I am a little girl again when I see my mother kiss another man on the lips. I only ever saw her kiss my father on the lips. This man’s name was Uncle.
Scottie and Zelda Fitzgerald
You loved me to death I am afraid Scottie and now it is too late. I can never be a girl again and you can never be that boy again...
The Wild Bird’s Progeny
In a doorway stands an entire choir of voices that bloom in an oblivion and not one of those voices belong to me.
Water Never Forgets
That September I poisoned my body with food and my moods but understand this. It was my road, my map, my difficult choice, my path to experience, my journey. Speak thy name the plate seemed to say or forever hold your peace.
The Mysterious One
Maya stayed quiet unless spoken to. I have always been intrigued by quiet, mysterious people. She was one of the few reserved people in class.
Life After Death
Silence had settled over our house, ready to get into its pajamas and go to sleep.
Ready For Action
I was between jobs living in the woods outside town off Forest Creek Road. My wife had kicked me out. She said my dogs were too much and I needed to get my own place...
I have a baby sister. It’s her I had hoped to hear from, this Sunday, Valentine’s Day. Her, I’d hoped to speak to on the phone.
Eponine in Paris - Pts One and Two
Excerpt From “The Third Eye of the Needle”
Novella by Dean Borok
Parisians went to church and prayed for a return to the old ways, but in their hearts they knew that these conditions did not just spring up from nowhere.
My psychologist told me to smile more.
The Secret Brotherhood of Sairam
The party was heating up. Akhil wanted a cigarette. Now. No one had any left. But where would he get one at this god-forsaken two am?
The night I needed nobody is the night I met you.
I’m a twenty four year old alcoholic. And like all cute hoors for the craic, I live above a pub and nightclub...
The Test - extract from The Heaviness by Sam Hawksmoor
Whatever you do - don't get on the bus...!
We did sometimes play stickball when we could get hold of a broom handle and when the older guys weren’t playing.
Max Birnbaum had come over for one of our occasional games of chess, more of an excuse to discuss the sad state of the world and to reminisce about our early days in New York.
The Job Interview
“Rod MacInerney here to see Mr. Hummer, Mr. Richards and Ms. Toole,” he said politely to the security guard. The guard was dressed like a cop, had a badge, a gun, everything. His security uniform must have been too small. He bulged through it and his sleeves were rolled up to show off his biceps.
The Book About ELI
All the bottles of oil in the kitchen turned rancid and all of the produce in the refrigerator went moldy the day that the boy named X.E23 opened the book about Eli. His mother complained as she was cooking, blaming the spoiled produce on the change in weather.
Making Love on an Island in a Wine Dark Sea
Larry Clinton Thompson
During her business travels, Maggie had several sexual encounters. They were hurried and self-conscious and with married men as nervous as she was.
Jeffrey sat in the darkened bedroom, at the bedside of his dying younger brother. They had called him back from graduate school; they had said someone needs to care for Jacob...
I couldn’t stop thinking about the unfinished man. “He had no face, and no arms..."
“They better catch the sick son of a bitch who did this”, a woman said as I approached a small crowd.
Getting Back to Basics with Brassica
Michael Chacko Daniels
I sit in the dental chair expecting and not-expecting pain. The SF-Oakland Bay Bridge looms large outside the picture window. I turn back the clock over four decades, reflecting on the teeth I still have and the teeth I no longer have.
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