22 The residential street was upscale but not posh. Recently gentrified. It was also quiet, especially that early in the morning. I was leaning against a tree when she came out, box in hand. “Dr. Alexander.” She stopped in shock on the stairs of her upscale three-story condo building. “Jeez. You surprised me.” She stepped down slowly with a bemused smile. “What are you doing … Continue reading The problem was me
21 My legs felt stronger, or at least less of a nauseating burden to operate. Part of it, I’m sure, was the water I drank, which was slowly being absorbed through my GI tract, increasing my blood volume, in addition to the tireless efforts of my bone marrow, which cranked out red blood cells as fast as it could. But most of it, I think, … Continue reading It was a night effect
20 I awoke lying in the back seat of the Chevy pickup into which I’d been placed. I think it was Dench’s. It was older, or so the smell and the squeaking brakes told me, but it ran well. Milan was behind the wheel and driving fast. There was some trash on the floor in the back — a fast food bag that still smelled of burger, … Continue reading He promised!
19 The barn doors burst open. Granny fired the shotgun and the recoil knocked her to the ground. The first man through the door took buckshot to the chest. His smooth white shirt made the circles blood easy to see. It was Virgil, the second orderly who had dragged me from Granny’s room. It wasn’t until he slumped to the ground that I realized Dench … Continue reading You got teeth marks on your heart!
18 The first thing I realized was that my head hurt and I couldn’t move. After a grunt and a stab of panic, I remembered to open my eyes and found myself in an old wood-framed greenhouse. It was big — about sixty feet long and twenty wide — and looked like it dated from the last century. The panes in the gabled roof were stained and opaque and … Continue reading The Legal Tender of Fate
17 Rock salt crunched underfoot as I approached the door, which was a little odd seeing as how it was only fall. The weather had definitely turned chilly but not enough for a freeze. It wasn’t until I had my hand on the handle that I realized the salt hadn’t been sprinkled on the walk so much as painted across it. There was a fat … Continue reading By knot of nine
16 I set my alarm so that I could catch my daughter in the morning before work. She wasn’t all that interested in talking to me, but that’s not unusual for kids her age and I didn’t read anything into it. I was just glad to see her and hear her voice. It wasn’t until she set the phone down suddenly and ran off that … Continue reading He left you instructions
15 I didn’t take the chef for the vintage car type, but he was. Idling outside was a late-60s Jaguar MK10. All black. Four-door. Tinted windows. Big trunk. Perfectly round headlights at the end of a long sloping hood. Milan was behind the wheel, looking casual and graceful, as usual. And patient. She had clearly been waiting, as if she expected we would come. I … Continue reading The Lord of Shadows
Most of Japanese TV is about food, which is odd considering that Japan consumes fewer calories per person than any of the major industrialized nations, by far. Not that there are many cooking shows. There aren’t. Unlike in America, where people learn to cook from books and TV personalities, Japanese people learn to cook from their mothers. TV here is filled with “magazine shows” which … Continue reading On the proper way to eat sushi
14 There was no sound. But it was wide open. I walked to it and stood. I looked up the stairs. “Hello?” I called. Nothing. I walked up. The door at the top was open as well. I saw the giant shrunken head. It was even creepier in the dark of night. “Hello? Is anyone here? You left your front door open.” Past the couches, … Continue reading Truth is a bitter poison