A collection of thirteen short stories about everything and anything for everyone and anyone. From barflies to puppy dogs, golfers to aliens, prodigies to lovers, dreamers to dragons, serial killers to boy gods, busty substances to outlaw poets.
I hope you enjoy reading them as much I have writing them.
Excerpt from MAXINE:
A piano played from the corner of the bar. Rhythmic fingers tiptoe across ivory keys. Maxine tapped her foot in time with the Gershwin tune. Taking her mind back to the swinging-twenties. She had almost forgotten Valarie had abandoned her.
And for a moment, she felt… happy.
Swallowing the last of her drink stared into the cocktail glass. Men came and went, buying her drinks. Making flirtatious small talk. But she knew what they wanted. What all men wanted. The next morning, they would be strangers again. Tonight, she was not in the mood to become strangers.
Across the room she catches a man looking at her. A well to do gentleman. A little older than she. A businessman she pondered.
“Hmm.” She mused.
Corners of his mouth offer a subtle smile. Kind eyes convey a pleasure at seeing her. There is a woman by his side. A closeness that suggested she was his wife. Or girlfriend perhaps.
‘What are all the good ones taken?’ She thought sighing, offering faint smile in reply.
Maxine stirs the empty blue cocktail with the straw. And contemplates going home.
The warmth of the bar held her captive a little longer.
“Can I buy you another?” Asked a confident voice behind her.
She looked about to discover the gentleman that had glanced at her. He was better looking than from a far. Maxine fidgeted on the stool. Fingers play with her hair.
“Only if your wife doesn’t mind.”
“Excuse me? …” He looked back at his group, “… Oh, no… I’m not married…” Holding up his wedding finger, “… That is my sister… Francisca.”
“Oh, how embarrassing.” Maxine blushed.
“Don’t be… That’s very respectful. I appreciate that… Now, about that drink.”
“I’m not sure… I don’t know your name.”
“You can call me…” He hesitates as though he were making one up, “… Luca.”
“Hm… It’s Italian… My parents immigrated here when I was five.” Extending his hand.
She takes it in hers. So warm, so soft. So large. And gently squeezes it. Was she dreaming? Where was Valarie to pinch her or steal him away from her.
Even his name made her melt like chocolate inside.
“Ah-hm... And do you have a name?” Luca smiled pulling her from her daydream.
“I think so… It’s ah… Ah…” Becoming tongue tied, “… It’s ah… Maxine.” She finally remembered.
“Hm…” Luca looked at her suspiciously, “… Can I get you that drink. What was it…” He inspects the glass, “…May I? …” Raising the glass to his nose, “… A Blue Hawaiian?”
“Very good… You know your cocktails.”
“I tended bars in my misspent youth… Barman, my good man…” Catching the barman’s attention, “… Two Blue Hawaiians if you please.”
“You’re most welcome… Maxine… You come here often?”
“Most Saturdays with Valarie.”
“Not like that… What is it with men? … Sorry I shouldn’t have said that.”
“Ha… I have to agree with you. It’s a guy thing… Forgive us.”
“Where is this wingman of yours… Or is it wing-person these days?” Looking about for her.
“She took off with a guy named Charlie… Probably married with half dozen kids by now.”
“She’s a fast worker then.”
“Yeap… That’s Valarie. Next week it will be someone else.
“And she left you all alone.”
“Not the first time… I haven’t seen you in here before.”
“I come in now again… I travel a lot… Business. If you know what I mean.”
“Must be nice to travel about.”
“Not really… Hotel rooms. Living out of a suitcase most of the year… But I like coming back here. It’s a nice bar. Something about the ambiance… The people.”
Was the comment directed at her, thought Maxine.
“Yeah… It’s one of mine too.”
A barman places two blue cocktail glasses before them. Sugar frosted about the rim. Short pink straw rest against the sides.
“Cheers.” Luca raises his glass to hers.
‘Cling.’ Tapping them gently together as though they were kissing.
He takes a sip of the sweet and sour concoction.
“Hmm_ Just as I remember it… Haven’t had one in years… Thank you.”
“I hope you don’t think I’m being rude… But I must get back to the group… It’s been nice talking to you.”
“And you too… Thanks for the drink.” Raising her glass in appreciation.
Luca pulled a plain white card from a vest jacket pocket and handed it to Maxine.