Aleph to Zydeco: Pocket Stories

Short stories from A – Z



Oh I sea. And after Grover’s Mill I’m sure you’ll happen by a donkey, a duck and a cow looking to make their fortune in the city. I’ve heard such things happen “out yonder.”

You’ve been gone so long I feel like old man Aegeus waiting on the right color sails to come color my horizon. You know that old man stayed up day and night for his boy to return home, only for the kid to come sailing back under black sails? ‘Oh, my son, my son, please do not fight that bull-headed boy across the sea. He’s ever so dreadful, ever so ornery, ever so strange. Read the rest of this entry »


In the dying days of the Republic, Horatius Largus was still shoveling excrement out of roads and paying drunk plebs to pull the same out of sewers. Empires rose and fell, he reflected, but the volume of shit remained constant.

He had been made aedile some time during Gaius Julius’ pro-consulship in Gaul, appointed in the days of the triumvirate, when Crassus and Pompey kept a competitive but adequate peace. Cato saw through them, them and the man who would be Caesar, but he was one ascetic in a sea of colorful scoundrels. Then Crassus died and Caesar crossed the Rubicon. Then came the war, and the peace, and Octavian, and the war, and the peace, the second triumvirate, the war, and the present peace. It was a long peace and one for building and rebuilding. And through it all Horatius had remained an aedile. Read the rest of this entry »


In his time, the man was renowned for his stalwart probity. He was a just administrator of the island of Aegina, settling disputes without falling prey to the corruptions of power and privilege that gnaw at lesser men. He was a real mensch, and so the gods called upon him.

Aeacus was sipping tea in his garden, having finished a simple meal of apple slices and cheese. His young son Telamon sat at his feet, tying the cats’ tail together and ignoring the slashes of their claws in his chubby flesh. There was a flash, a rush of sea spray, and Aeacus went knees over head into a pot of oregano. Read the rest of this entry »


Ivan waited at the clearing’s edge while the old man carved at his fallen tree. Their breath misted in the clean, cold air, each after his fashion. Ivan, standing, breathed slowly, almost lulled by the sight of the adze splitting the bark from the white timber. The old man was puffing, not wheezing – a healthy old ox intent at his craft. Read the rest of this entry »


I have a bathroom and a kitchen. I have a bed, a closet and a table for putting things. Usually I put things on top of the table, but sometimes I put them below it. I have bookshelves, too, and books I have read on one side and books I have not on the other. I have towels and changes of underwear. I have a bar of soap, a jar of pickles and a painting I picked up at a garage sale that has no sentimental value to me whatsoever. Nevertheless, it is part of my wall, which I also have. I have several walls, though I do not know how many. Eventually they lead to my front door, which is the last thing I have until the world becomes part of the conversation. Read the rest of this entry »

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