I’m here to make a confession.  I don’t know if it’ll help, if anything’ll help at this point, but I’m out of ideas and out of time.  So here goes. A year ago, I was at a party, a decent-sized shindig, bunch of working folks letting...

I was seven years old when my brother Frank died in a fire. He was nineteen and a fireman and everything I ever wanted to be in the world. My parents told me that he’d died a hero, that he’d been inside a house saving...

I wasn’t sure what I was more surprised to discover: the ragged hole in my backyard, or the man stuck in it. The hole was a crack about eight feet long and maybe two feet thick at its widest point. It looked as if the...

It wasn’t like I was snooping. I was just out for an evening walk, and my neighbor Raul had his curtains wide open. There was light, there was movement, and I looked. Anyone would have. I wasn’t sticking my nose where it didn’t belong. Raul was...

New Orleans is a city alive with death. Things have a way of coming back from beyond. There’s something about the city that gives everything an extra spark. That sort of force can interact with the world in strange ways. One of those ways was the...

(This story is part of the Grey Michael series. For the first part in the series, entitled Grey Michael, click the preceding story's title) Let me set the scene for you. The room is dark, enclosed, underground. The floor is smooth stone, chalked with a dizzying array...

It started out as a perfectly normal camping trip. It was me, Rosie and Jonas, just like usual. The three of us have been friends since high school, and although there are often other people in our orbits, it’s always the three of us together...

This is the story of how a novelty toaster ruined my life. First of all, I want to clarify that I’m not the kind of guy who buys a novelty toaster. I got it at a white elephant gift exchange a couple of years back. You...

I don’t know exactly how this story started. It was already in motion well before I became aware of it. My involvement in it began with Christian and Philip: Christian, who was always late, and Philip, who was always early. Those two were part of our...

It started out like any other work day. I had houses to sell and people who wanted to buy them. Honestly, I’ve always found being a realtor embarrassingly easy. People seek you out and ask you to sell them incredibly high-ticket items. I’ve done other...

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When I was a kid, I used to love it when my granddad came to visit. He was a big man, tall and stout and loud, with a huge bushy beard and a booming laugh. He wore an eyepatch over his left eye, and in...

I had my first trip to the dentist last week. I do mean first, too. I don't think I ever went growing up. Mom said baby teeth didn't matter since I was going to lose them anyway, and the little dentists would protect my permanent teeth...

I bought a new house last month. It’s a lovely little place. It’s rustic, homey, remote—everything I wanted. The man I bought it from built it himself forty-five years ago. He told me that. He told me everything about it, from the depth of the...

Back in 1956, I signed up for a psych experiment in college. They had a float tank, one of those sensory deprivation chambers, and they needed people willing to be closed up in it. Easiest experiment in the world, as far as I was concerned. All...

I’ve read that your hair and fingernails keep growing after you die. Then again, I’ve also read that that’s stupid, and that actually what happens is that your skin contracts, making your hair and nails look longer. That one always seemed more reasonable to me....

Brenna had been preparing for this fight for months. She had thought she was ready, convinced herself that she could handle it. Now, as the last few miles ticked by on her car’s odometer, the leaden weight sitting in her stomach told her otherwise. She thought...

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