Works in Progress

Read the newest installment here or scroll down to read  Some Cold War Blues from the beginning…


SOME Cold War BLUES: A Short Story, Episode Eight

He knew he should go on home right now, but he did not want to go home, did not want to spend an endless afternoon in the house doing chores or watching television with her, waiting for Ralph to come home and watching cowboy movies where the same old cowboy jumped off the same old rock onto the unsuspecting horseman below. More than anything, he wanted to stay right there, in the fort, no matter how cold it got. If only they would not charge him. If only they would just give him up for dead. Or maybe Big Bob... Continue Reading →

SOME COLD WAR BLUES: A Short Story, Episode Seven

Frankie Ryan stayed with Jack and Peter, trying to prove that Andy was wrong about him, feebly lobbing snowballs over the parapet from a sitting position. “Stop it,” Peter ordered Frankie, “you’re just wastin’ ammunition.” Frankie jumped up to prove his mettle and got hit in the eye. He didn’t seem to have the sense to duck back down. Snowballs rained down on him. Soon he was wailing and utterly defenseless. A snowball smacked into the side of his face. He cried even harder. “I’m gonna tell,” Frankie wailed at Peter. “We didn’t do nothin’,” Peter said. Peter and Jack... Continue Reading →

SOME COLD WAR BLUES: A Short Story, Episode Six

   Before Peter could rein him in, Andy grabbed three snowballs, dashed across the alley and heaved two of the snowballs at the opposing fort. “Hey,” someone yelled from behind the opposing fort, and Andy was peppered with snowballs as he pitched his last one and scampered back across the alley.    “Jeez,” Andy said. “They got six guys over there now. Davis ’n Lopinski are over there too.”    “We need a flag of truce,” Peter said. None being available, he yelled, “Hey, no fair. You got more guys than us.”    “So what?” The public school kid again.... Continue Reading →

SOME COLD WAR BLUES: A Short Story, Episode Five

So they followed Peter’s lead as they almost always did. It was Peter who picked and chose for them from the fads raging in the outside world—hula hoops, coonskin caps, bubble blowing, whiffle ball—the ones worthy of their allegiance. It was Peter who established their morality, their aspirations, their fears and hopes for the future. He would lead them on shoplifting expeditions, then decide that they must return the goods or their money’s worth so they would be fully cleansed of the sin of theft. And they did what he so enthusiastically advocated, sneaking 23 cents or 78 cents, always... Continue Reading →

SOME COLD WAR BLUES: A Short Story, Episode Four

“Okay, say uncle,” demanded Andy, who was bigger and tougher and had him hopelessly pinned. “And promise you won’t hit me with a snowball.”    “Okay, I promise.”    Andy let him up.  Jack brushed the snow from his clothes.    “Now I’ll hafta go in an’ change,” Jack said.    “Why?”    “Why!  ’Cause I’m all wet now, ya dumb cluck.”    “No, you don’t. Let’s go up to the schoolyard.”    “I’ll hafta ask.”    “Never mind then. Let’s go get Peter.”    Peter Swanson and his little sisters, five-year-old twins, all of them still in their pajamas,... Continue Reading →

SOME COLD WAR BLUES: A Short Story, Episode Three

By the time Ralph came out to go to work, Jack had cleared a path on the porch and raked over the front steps and started on the front walkway. It was another of his piss poor jobs. Ralph surveyed it with disdain. The path Jack had carved was much narrower than the sidewalk itself, and he had not scraped all the way down to the concrete, leaving a rough and slippery mat of snow and ice. “Gimme that,” Ralph said, grabbed the shovel and began to blaze a trail down the sidewalk to his car, which was parked on... Continue Reading →

SOME COLD WAR BLUES: A Short Story, Episode Two

He failed to notice Ralph moving through the living room into the kitchen in his baggy boxer shorts and sleeveless undershirt into the kitchen. “Jesus Christ,” he heard Ralph mutter in the kitchen. . Jack’s heart began to pound. The back porch door slammed shut. Ralph came to the doorway to the living room, his eyes flickering and dancing in anger, his neck distended, a snake about to strike. “Didn’t ya know the God damn door was open? Too lazy ta get your ass up and close it.” Jack said nothing. Ralph snorted, waved his hand at Jack as if... Continue Reading →

SOME COLD WAR BLUES: A Short Story, Episode One

The cold hardwood floor punished the boy’s bony knees as he knelt beside the bed and said his morning prayers. He fingered the beads of the rosary tucked under his pillow. His Saint Christopher’s medal lay cold, heavy and hard against his thin chest. There had been a time when he had worn a scapular instead of the Saint Christopher’s medal, but the square patch of sacred woolen cloth had itched too much when dry and then got too soggy with sweat and bathwater. It made him feel guilty that he could do so little when the saints, the men... Continue Reading →
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