Coffee Fields, Oahu, Hawaii



12/7/13: I've just relaunched this blog! With a whole new look, I'm returning to this blog and will be publishing my fictions - old and new - along with notes and thoughts about writing and being a writer. I'll also be including posts about my work with World Vision as their blog manager as well as my travels. You can now subscribe to this blog by email or through Google+, and you can leave me comments here or in Google+ itself. Come read!

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Friday, February 14, 2014

"The Best Laid Plans": A Valentine's Day Fiction

A Valentine's Day flash fiction! This was actually published 2 years ago in the Eunoia Review on Valentine's Day itself ... quite by coincidence! Perfect timing. 

The Best Laid Plans
from Eunoia Review

The snow began as he drove her up to his family’s lakehouse the evening before Valentine’s Day. It would be cold, but he wanted to show her the historic town on the opposite shore, walk on the boardwalk along the inlet river, and stand with her at sunset on their stony beach. But by morning, the snow had laid a thick winter comforter over land and water, and was still drifting heavily in the air. 

“It will let up,” he said. “Noon, maybe a little after.”

“This makes me feel like a kid again,” she said. “We had mornings like this, no school, just stayed warm in our PJs, reading and watching movies, drinking hot chocolate. We’re not even part of the real world yet, as kids, but we still like to invent separation, like we know what’s coming and that we’ll want to escape it, you know? Days like this let me feel that again, with almost no imagination … it’s here again now. The world outside is changing so much, and we’re safe inside, we can just look out at it, without any consequence of the change.”

“Not until June when you had to make up that day of school.”

“You know what I mean.”

“I’m gonna go bring in more wood.”

While he carried logs in from the woodpile out back and restarted the fire, she made breakfast: pancakes with eggs and bacon, and a full pot of coffee, which she kept on the heater after filling their mugs. 

The snow was just as thick in the air at noon as it had been at dawn. Standing at the front window, he could make out the first pilings of the dock, a shadow that extended into nothing. For all they knew, there was no town across the lake, no river, no beach; there was only the blankness of the snow. 

She wrapped her arms around him from behind and started pulling him away from the window. “Come back to bed,” she said. 

“This isn’t the Valentine’s Day I had in mind. We could have done this at home.”

“But we wouldn’t have,” she said. “There’s too much of us there. This is perfect.”

Saturday, February 8, 2014


What I like about this piece is that it says more than it says. And that wasn't intentional! While I was writing it, I reached the current end of the story, then went right on to the next paragraph, where I got stuck. Only after reading it over a few more times did I realize that the story had already reached its end, and accomplished everything it needed to. Whatever of the story remains unsaid at the story's end can be inferred through the characters already on the page.

from Green Briar Review

We drank coffee at the racetrack to feel grown up, without sugar or cream for as long as we could stomach it, bought in styrofoam cups from the concession window beneath the stands. Our fathers were up top watching the races, their bets already placed. Mickey and I stayed below, poring over the statistics for the horses in each race, trying to predict the results and make educated guesses for our small bets, to use well the few dollars our fathers had given us. First-place bets were risky for novices like us, so we focused our bets on third place, sometimes second if we felt confident.

Statistics aren’t a guarantee, can’t predict the future, but they can give education to a guess, and the small bets Mickey and I placed hit their mark often enough for us to double our money over the course of the morning. We bought lunch with our winnings – hot dogs with onion rings and Cokes – and ice cream later on, discussing what else we might do with the spoils. For months, Mickey had been saving his allowance up for a bike, and his cut put him past the halfway mark. I wanted a guitar, a Fender Stratocaster, not like the old acoustic I’d been learning on, but we would need a much larger win to make that possible, so I’d decided on the new Beatles record, which was respectable enough for Mickey.

When my father came to find us, I could smell the bad luck on his breath, knowing that whiskey was often the closest he could come to a winner’s high. But then his face lit up when I showed him our profits, and he knelt down and said, “How about double or nothing, eh kid? Go out with a bang?”
I forgot all about the record, the guitar nearly tangible in my hands, and I gave him my half of the money, while Mickey pocketed his, then we ran off to study the sheets on the horses entered in our last race. Hearing the explosive roar of the crowd above us signal the start of another race, we checked the numbers twice – this was a first-place bet, afterall – then ran to find my father, who was already at the counter.

“... on Moneytrain,” I head him saying.

“Dad! Wait!” I yelled. “Bet on Compass Rose, Dad, Compass Rose.”

He looked down at me and winked. “I’ve got a tip on this one, kid. Trust me.” He turned back to the window. “Moneytrain, please.”