You’re sitting on your stoop thinking how much you hate the stoop, the building you live in with six side-by-side apartments (now called town houses) and the neighborhood. You hate the neighborhood because all of the stoops in all of the buildings and all of the wire fenced-in tiny yards smaller than a jail cell look alike and your fourteen-year old self can’t wait to get out of these projects and scrub the stigma off and live in a place where you don’t need the roach exterminator every month and head lice are the main pets for the little kids and on top of it all your family are the only Jews in all the buildings. Read more…
Source: PEEK by Paul Beckman
By Paul Beckman
Stella left a grocery list and I left home without it—didn’t forget it—don’t always need her advice on fucking groceries. Got a good cart, wheeled it around, filled it to overflowing and have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to a set to with Stella re groceries. I left everything on the counter in the plastic bags and Stella came home from work asked me to pour her a Merlot and then reminded me we were leaving for vacation in two days and she only had tequila, nuts and Tootsie Pops on her list. Yeah—I returned everything.
It was four days before my fifty-eighth birthday when my body started to fall apart. I was taking a late morning walk in the park when I felt a strangeness after stepping down on my right foot. I hobbled to a park bench, took off my sneaker and shook it, thinking there was a pebble but there wasn’t, so off came the sock and I checked out my foot. A toe was missing—my pinky toe. I stuck my hand in the sock and found it. A pinky toe’s nothing to throw away so I put it in my pants pocket until I got home and then put it in the small canister from our unused canister set. Read more…
I take advantage of everything—mostly people and of these people mostly friends. I have other hobbies. Yes, I consider taking advantage a hobby and “found” items I display in my modest ranch house near the beach but the lists and the taking advantage summaries I keep hidden away in my knotty pine den with two boards that open to a secret closet by a spring opener. My found things are scattered all around the house, including my stash closet. One day in the supermarket I spotted an open purse in the baby carrier of a cart. Read more…
We would like to thank Judge Paul Beckman for his able assistance in selecting three top stories; and we are, as always, grateful to the 287 international writers who entered this contest. First Pr…
By Paul Beckman
I said I didn’t know him and that he abandoned my mother and us three boys: ages five, four, and one.
“He’s obviously a man without character,” I told a stranger who was drinking CC with a beer chaser. I was drinking Bud long necks.
“Think he’s got any redeeming qualities?”
“Maybe in appearance, but not at heart.”
“Do any of your brothers resemble him?”
“Who knows,” I said. We turned and looked at each other and saw ourselves, one older, one younger. I swiveled and ordered a double CC.
Nice to be paired with my talented friend Jonathan Cardew
Exquisite Duet (formerly Exquisite Quartet) is not so much a composition between two writers, but rather something created within the murky midlands of each author’s mind, yet set off by the same first sentence. Meg Tuite chooses two writers each month and gives them a first sentence to start with and a 250-word limit to finish an exquisitely mesmerizing story or poem. These duet-dueling writers will craft two completely different cosmos that have rotated, pitched, and blasted from the depths of their cerebral cortex to the twitching nerve endings of their digits onto dueling keyboards and separate screens until their sublime duet is prepared to see the light of an audience.
Another Day at the Office
By Paul Beckman
A voice tells me it’s all been solved but I’m not willing to take Voice at face value. Pastimes Voice gave me a sure thing on a trifecta and it…
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