Showing posts from April, 2023

S T R E A M # 1 8

Ralph never wanted Toy soldiers to invade his papier-mâché teepee. (Who would?) But they did. And they took him prisoner—that’s right, the Toy soldiers did. In fairness, Ralph didn’t mind being held prisoner. Toy soldiers are famously courteous and well-groomed chaps. ‘Twas the fate of the papier-mâché teepee that worried Ralph. He is , after all, a bit of a neat-freak. Plus, as you might expect, his humble abode was a rather fragile affair. Ralph deliberately built the teepee here, on the ever-calm shores of Flapjackistan. Here, in Flapjackistan, the wind nearly always blew less than a half mile per hour. Serenity prevailed. That is, of course, until the invasion of the Toy soldiers. To be clear, these Toy soldiers were not the tiny green plastic men you might have in mind. No, they were brutes from Toyota. In sooth, they merely fancied themselves as brutes, for they were really quite civil. Indeed, shortly after becoming the World’s #1 auto-maker, Toyota went into the real estate bus

Q & A

Q : What do you want to do with the rest of your life?  A : Write great fiction. A : Eat cookies.

maerD ddO rehtonA

I woke up in my childhood bed. I didn’t question how or why. I threw off the covers, stood, and staggered to the bathroom. It was exactly where I’d left it, fifteen-odd years later. But then bathrooms don’t tend to move, do they? Particularly when they’re one of seven rooms in a single-story house. The bathroom’s sink and tub were overflowing. On the bright side, they were overflowing with water. So, it could’ve been worse. StepDude didn’t give a damn. He’d left the water to fill and overflow. In fact, all of the sinks in the house were overflowing—with water—which, at least to the eye, seemed clean. Thank God. There’s always a bright side. If your house must  flood, better if it’s flooded with clean water—as opposed to rusty colored water, or saltwater, or sewage. But I hadn’t realized something. Since I’d moved out, fifteen-odd years ago, StepDude inexplicably had sinks installed in every room and also in the hallway. That makes nine sinks—nine sinks and faucets * —if you count th

Yuk's on Me

Fifteen minutes early turns out to be forty-five minutes early, and then, ultimately, turns out to be seven days early. It’s a clean, cozy Lincoln Park bar. “D. Byrd’s Nest,” it’s called. To mix and pour tonight, we’ve got a bartender and bartendress in their mid-twenties. The website promised “Comedy at Eight!” Ah, but lest one forgets—as I had—Chicago comedy crowds aren’t known for being punctual. And it’s Monday night. So the girl-half of a girl-guy act promises me there’ll be comedy at eight-thirty. She’s very pleased to see me—a true patron—someone who isn’t there to perform. Only I’d rather not wait around in a bar, alone, and not drink (I’ve a low tolerance—for alcohol…and pretty much everything else), so I stroll the neighborhood until its fifteen after eight. Then I head back to the Nest. I grab a stool along the bar and order a Guinness. I flip through a week-old Red-Eye . Reading in this place is a challenge, even when it’s a short  attention span newspaper. Apparently, a d

Pop Coughs

Monday nights I chauffeur Pop to and from his Adult Education class at the temple. The class is a survey of all things Jewish. Pop's missed two of the last three classes due to the coughing fits his doctors can't figure out; but this past Monday, coughing be damned, Pop went to class.  Pop isn't sick, not chest-cold or stomach-flu sick, not anything contagious sick, he's got some kind of chronic nasal-dripping problem. It gets a little worse every year, but the hacking that results usually wanes by the time he dresses and plods down the stairs for breakfast. * Starting three weeks ago, though, it hasn't let up much at all—not unless he's chewing gum or lying down. Even if he yaps too much, he’ll start coughing. Mention the Sox, or the Bears, or the market, or old clients, or God, and, believe you me, he’ll have plenty to yap about. † He'll rant all the way through "Wheel of Fortune," coughing after every third word.  So this past Monday night, wh

S T R E A M # 1 7

She thinks she can get away with murder when the clock strikes three because that’s when she turns invisible for some inexplicable reason. It’s something she’s struggled with all of her life – this odd, God-given talent that only occurs between the hours of three and four o’clock. Yes, that’s twice a day, between three and four AM and three and four PM. Twice a day, for an hour, for the hour specified, she simply vanishes. Up until recently she hasn’t figured out where she goes, either; but she always returns to the exact same spot. At first, when she was but a child, she thought that her brothers were playing some kind of practical joke on her. Somehow, they’d sneak into her bedroom (or wherever she was) and change the clock and her Minnie Mouse watch. Somehow, they’d be able to do this without her knowing it. And she would hit them. She would pop back into reality, hunt them down and beat them. Her brothers began to fear her – particularly, of course, around four AM and four PM. And