Category Archives: stories


My story Ningyodashi appears in the anthology New Sun Rising: Stories for Japan.

New Sun Rising: Stories for Japan is an anthology of stories, flash fiction, poems, haibun, haiku and artwork and photography donated by over 60 creators from all over the world to support those in Japan still affected by the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami and earthquake. All monies go to the Japanese Red Cross.

This anthology was prepared by an international team of volunteers and includes the donation of a poem in German with English translation by award-winning Austrian poet and writer, Friederike Mayröcker.

Greg McQueen, founder of 100 Stories for Haiti and 50 Stories for Pakistan says this:

“You’re holding a book that beat the odds. A book made from determination. From compassion. And by holding it – buying it – reading it – telling others about it – you stand with the writers and artists who created it: ordinary people who watched the lives of strangers destroyed and decided that they needed to help.”

Celebrate with us Japan and its people.

New Sun Rising is available at Amazon.

Image CC-BY-NC-ND by Larry Halff


Per pushed the scrap of paper onto the floor and stared at the remains of his chili.

“You dropped this,” the waitress said, handing the paper back.

“It’s not mine,” he said.

She shrugged and carried it off with her armload of dirty dishes.

He mashed the last cracker crumb with his spoon.

“Is this yours?” the busboy said, holding the paper out.

“Not mine,” Per said.

The busboy ignored him and left it on the edge of the table.

Per took out his lighter, lit the corner of the paper, held it for a second while it caught flame, and dropped it into the chili.

“Hey,” the waitress said.

“Sorry,” Per said. He rose and left a five-dollar bill under his water glass.

The air outside was sharp. He zipped his jacket.

The door opened behind him. “Is this yours?” the manager asked, and handed him a scrap of paper.


Continue reading

Boy Meets Girl at a Cockfight

I asked Andrea Carlson to draw a mini with me for Twin Cities Zinefest this year. She said, “Sure, as long as it includes sexy ladies and scary monsters.”


“Look at Yaro over there,” Kola said. He pointed at Yaroslav, who was shouldering a quadruple-sized tube of construction adhesive. “Nobody does demolition like a Cossack. Nobody in the world!”

The apartment was sliding out of the tower like a popped-loose Lego block.

“Russians, Georgians, Chechens? They think demolition is all C-4 and iron balls. Fuck them! We Ukrainians destroy with finesse!”

Yaro’s crew was swarming over the apartment, attaching a canopy of fat steel cables.

“Yulia,” he said. “What a goddess! There are no men in Kharkiv, you know that? Yulia went there to do some shopping, and all the men died of erections. Even some of the women!”

The crane was lowering the apartment toward the flatbed.

“When she gets home and finds her apartment missing—I’m telling you—Ivaniak’s head is going to explode! Explode! Even before she tells him!”

I checked my watch.

Kola punched me in the shoulder so hard I staggered. “You’re not the one who has to worry, my friend,” he said. “You’ll be safe at home, masturbating over your new treasure. Never mind that we will still be here tending to our angry friend.”

The apartment reached the truck, which sagged under the weight.

“I hope for your sake that you live in a mountain fortress with several large dragons keeping an eye out for Ivaniak! If you’re really unfortunate he’ll send you pictures of Yulia!” Serhiy pulled up in a sedan. “Time to go!”

We climbed in.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “but Chinese cars are shit.” He patted the headrest in front of him. “Korean cars are shit. Russian cars are not even shit.”

Serhiy’s head sank deeper into his shoulders as we accelerated.

“I have all my cars built for me in Latvia. In Latvia, they know cars!”

“I hear in Los Angeles they know cars. But compared to Riga…”

We turned a corner at speed and our tires skipped across the road.

“I’d like to tell you that the best cars come from Ukraine. I’d like to tell you Kiev is car capital of the world. Even Sumy!”

“But compared to Riga, Kiev is shit. Los Angeles also, compared to Riga. You think they can build cars like this in Los Angeles?”

We were now speeding along a country road.

“But now?” he said, flipping down a screen, “Now, we watch pornography!”

Image CC-BY-NC-SA by colemama


I looked at the bowl of rice. “I can eat kasha,” I said.

Kola waved his kasha at me and roared, “This is Ukraine! You think we don’t know how to treat Chinese?” He gave the kidneys a stir. “And anyway, the last time I served kasha to a Chinese I found him hiding in the bathroom, cooking rice in a tin cup over a Zippo lighter. He must have had the rice in his pockets!”

“My family is from the West,” I said. “We eat bread.”

He banged his fist on the counter. “Tonight, you eat rice!”

I raised my horilka and blinked at him through the glass.

“Chop me a pickle!” He dumped the kidneys from the skillet into the soup pot.

I pulled a reeking pickle from the jar and looked around for a knife.

“Anyway,” he said. “What makes you think it’s in Sumy?”

“I’m not paid to think,” I said. “I go where I’m sent.”

He laughed and handed me a bayonet. “You’re a liar,” he said. “Tell me another.”

I chopped pickle. “Ivaniak,” I said. “He keeps it at his girlfriend’s house.”

“Ivaniak,” he grunted. “You’re a better liar than I thought.” He swept pickle slices from the counter and tossed them into the pot. “You want Ivaniak, and you come to me?”

“You have friends,” I said. “Call them. Offer them soup and kasha. I’m sure they’ll do it out of friendship.”

“They might,” he said. “But I won’t.” He took the bayonet back and used it to stir the soup. “What are you offering?”

I shook my head. “Not me,” I said. “My boss.”

He frowned.

“Rolling stock,” I said. “Twenty spine cars.”

“Condition?” he asked.

I shrugged. “Five to ten years old. Completely serviceable.”

“Fifty cars,” he said.

“Twenty-five,” I said.

“Eat your rice and get out,” he said.

“Thirty,” I said. “And a ’47 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead, freshly restored, in a garage fifteen kilometers out the Sudzha road.” I tossed a ring of keys onto the counter. Pickle juice splashed up onto my shirt.

“Fuck your mother,” he said, reaching for the keys. “Sit down and eat some soup.”

Image CC-BY-NC-SA by avlxyz