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Tag Archives: family


“Buggy!”

“It’s just an ant.” I remarked calmly as I felt it crunch beneath my shoe.

“Buggy! Buggy!”

I picked my foot up and watched as maimed and dying ant twitched and tried to run away. My son screamed at the sight of it and fled to his bedroom. I couldn’t understand why he was so afraid of insects. Especially ants. He was eight years old for Christ’s sake.

He watched from the doorway to his bedroom, hugging a blanket, as I plucked the dead ant off the floor and took it over to the trash can.

“You do realize that when you go outside, there are literally millions of insects out there with you, right? When you’re playing in the front yard, there’s probably hundreds of ants around you, you just don’t notice.”

“I’m never going outside again!” he declared, slamming the door.

“You’re being ridiculous.” I said through the door.

“I hate buggies!”

“You love caterpillars.”

“They don’t count.”

“Look, just use a shoe or a book or something–”

“I’m not going near them!”

My wife Lisa came up behind me. “What’s going on?”

“Brandon saw an ant.”

“Oh. Brandon, honey, it’s lunch time.”

“I’m not coming out! There are buggies out there!”

“I killed the ant, Brandon.” I said.

“Are there more?” He opened the door and peeked out.

“Not any that I can see.” Lisa said, pushing his door open the rest of the way and holding his hand. “Now, come on and have lunch.”

I didn’t say anything as she lead him away, but I watched him looking all around desperately, sure that he was going to see another ant coming at him. Every spring, our house develops a bit of an ant problem. I don’t know where they get in, but we kill them left and right until Lisa gets fed up and calls an exterminator. They pop up for a couple more days afterward, then eventually disappear for the rest of the year.

It was just the start of ant season. Read More »

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I got this package in the mail from my dad: brown paper wrapping, large but flat, with the word “FRAGILE” written on it in black ink. When I unwrapped it, it was this big, acrylic painting, framed in some sort of bronze-gilded plaster.

The painting itself was of this long hallway full of doors, kind of like you’d see in a fancy hotel. The walls had edging about halfway up, the upper part was painted sort of an off white while the lower half was a crimson red that blended into the carpeting. Between each door was an up-turned light, as well as on the far wall at the end, where the corridor seemed to connect to another hallway running perpendicular to it, disappearing around a corner. Read More »


I’ll never forget the summer of 1986. My father’s company sent him overseas to supervise the set up of their new office in Madrid. It had always just been my father and me, but the company would only pay for his accommodations, so it was decided that I would spend the summer with my grandparents in Missouri.

Grandpa Roy was a retired pastor. He had a giant, gray beard and unkempt hair and always reminded me of Dan Haggerty as Grizzly Adams. It seemed like he always had on a red and black tartan work shirt and a scowl. Grandma Babs told me once that he only smiled on Sunday, but I must have never been around when that happened.

Grandma Babs had been a school teacher. She had an anecdote regarding her years teaching for everything that ever came up. Sometimes, she’d tell me stories about the kids she taught that I’d really not want to hear; personal aspects of their lives that I could have gone without ever knowing. She was a thin woman, but had a kindly face that counteracted Grandpa Roy’s permanent frown. Read More »


I’m scared out of my mind. I don’t know what to do.

I was an only child. Not that my parents didn’t try to have a large family. They actually had three children before me. Two boys and a girl. Unfortunately, all three of them died in their infancy, before I was born. My mother used to think I was blessed. She called me “Fortunata”, which means lucky.

I don’t think luck had anything to do with it.

I was born in 1977 in a hospital in Indianapolis. A few months earlier and I would have been born in New York. You see, my father had just taken a new job teaching at IUPUI, and he and my mother moved out there while she was six months pregnant. I think it was because of this that I survived.

Four years ago, we lost our daughter, Madeline, the same way my parents lost my two brothers and sister. I’ll never forget the morning I woke up and realized it was not to the sound of her crying from the bassinet at the end of our bed. I crawled over the blankets to peek at her. For a while, I thought she was just sleeping peacefully. Then, I realized her chest wasn’t rising and falling… she wasn’t breathing. Read More »


I wrote this while working on a new persona to share stories on Reddit. I didn’t feel like there was enough interest to keep it going after two stories. This was the first of the two.

The year was 1989. The McCallisters had just moved to the small town of Northfield. Todd McCallister had finally gotten his teaching license along with a job teaching history at the high school. Maria was content to stay home with their two children: Alexis, a rambunctious four year-old, and Franklin, who had just learned to walk. When the children were down for their afternoon naps, she got a little time to herself, which she spent neatly stitching together a variety of plush animals.

The town was quiet and peaceful, nestled in a shady valley, mostly bordered by forest. The noisiest it normally got was when the occasional train passed through on its way to other places. The biggest story the police blotter ever got was a drunk and disorderly.

Read More »