They’ve called me a shit-magnet since I was a kid. It’s only an expression, sure, but I think it might also be a real thing. If a smile can attract smiles sure as a corpse can attract flies, there’s no reason a guy like me...

As a freelance convention planner, I stay at many hotels over the course of a year. I spend about a week per trip in an all-expenses-paid suite of my choosing, doing nothing but studying the location and interviewing the staff on hand to get a...

All our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. (‘Macbeth’: Act 5, scene 5) With turned, frozen earth stinking sharp on his big coat and gritting black under his fingernails, he checked the side lane was empty before clinking the allotment gate shut behind him....

The house sat empty at the top of the hill. Its security lights were a beacon in the night, like a lighthouse alone in the mist, warning ships away from the kiss of sharp shores. The closest neighbor was further away than a man could...

I left the university campus behind to do fieldwork in the Deep South. I was studying folk songs from southern states that had neither a time or place of origin nor a known composer. Those old songs that just seem to rise out of cultural...

Jake Thomasson pulled the sleeve of his sweatshirt down, covering his hand, and wiped away the condensation from the window.  It was the third time he had done this in the past ten minutes, but he didn’t want to miss seeing if any cars drove...

“Christ,” I muttered to myself, as the first flakes of snow started to fall.  They gathered in fuzzy clumps over the windshield before my wipers cleared them away.  I’d been waiting for fifteen — no, twenty minutes now — in my sister’s driveway.  Had I...

Moving day. A chance to start fresh in a new place. New opportunities, new community, new home. Home. Not just a house. To Eric Sherman, this was a place he could finally call home. No ex-wives to hound him for alimony. No disapproving parents to...

My daughter Hannah had always had a fascination with bugs of all kinds.  She collected them and kept them in a terrarium she insisted I buy for her when she was six.  It was on a constant rotation as her interests changed; when she was...

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