“I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir,’ said Alice, ‘Because I’m not myself you see.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
“Get comfortable, Jane. The trip isn’t long.” Driver gestures to the backseat of the company car, a shiny, boat-like sedan. His voice is friendly and softer than normal. On instinct, I hold out my hands and wait for the cuffs. He waves me off.
“I trust you,” he says. “Am I going to be sorry?”
I smile broadly and hope he can see behind the dark veil. Earlier, I told myself this…
(If you’re just joining me, read this first.)
The coroner called the next day. “He’s so decomposed. I’m hesitant to take your testimony,” she said. She sounded like she was chewing a sandwich. I looked at the clock. Lunchtime.
“I was afraid of that,” I was curled up in bed. I’d taken my last sick day from work and was spending it sleeping off some of the grief.
“Can you tell me about any other physical traits or birth marks he had? Otherwise, I can’t sign this form.”
Earlier at the morgue Veronica mentioned something about possession of the body…
(This is a work of flash fiction.)
The truck cut its engine before it rolled into neutral and idled down the driveway. With barely a sound two men got out. They wore leather gloves, sleek black jumpsuits and masks. They looked strong, broad shouldered and ominous. One man was slightly taller than the other.
It was a quiet summer night. Sprinklers could be heard nearby as the taller guy now pulled a large black duffle bag from the trunk. He waved his gloved hand with the flourish of a magician and the trunk closed automatically.
The house in front…
(Excerpted from the forthcoming novel, “The Man Who Would Be John Irving)
They are threatening to tow my father’s Cadillac. When he died, the car was dead too.
I get the call about the back insurance payments and unpaid parking tickets and imagine his powder-blue baby joining the ranks of so many junkyard bastions, offering its body like a sacrifice to a roaring pile of rubble.
I could have done something, but I had no need for a car. The registration expired. In the end, I fear I cannot rescue her.
I often thought my father’s car was…
(Excerpted from the forthcoming memoir: “The Man Who Would Be John Irving”)
Chapter 1: Chiaroscuro
I did not expect to hear from my father unless he was deathly ill or already a ghost. I wasn’t sure what I would do in either case, but one thing was certain: we would not speak until then.
I imagined myself going there, to his smoky sixth-floor walk-up in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Just to check on him. I had musings of surprising him with a puppy or kitten. Maybe a few balloons.
I dreamed of him too. He chased me or leapt out at…
[This is the first chapter in a serial novel.]
Mission Point: A town somewhere off the coast of what used to be New York City.
The night before Gray Wolf raided our village, I dreamed that a thousand newborn babies washed up on shore. Their wrinkled bodies unfurled from the whitecaps and lolled onto the sand. No longer gasping for breath, tears extinct, their umbilical cords still pulsed with life. I ran up and down the sand frantically checking each baby for breath. …