The silent treatment


hestor and morley

Photo by Kae Ng on Unsplash


Over the course of their forty seven year marriage, Morely had become quite adept at using silence as his weapon of choice when it came to exacting revenge. 

So when he withheld conversation over breakfast, and then during the entire hour long commute between Queens and Manhattan, in retaliation for Hestor’s having committed both of them to meeting his least favorite sister Muriel for lunch that afternoon following a doctor’s appointment he was not keen on having to attend in the first place, Hestor just did what she always did. She pretended not to notice.

Not speaking to each other over lunch was easy, as Muriel could carry on a conversation with very little help.

Before they ordered dessert, they knew what Muriel paid to get her hair done, her dog groomed, and her husband’s suits pressed. They knew her daughter was an ungrateful bitch. Her son was finally divorcing his goyim wife. And her neighbor, Mr. Klineman, was in arrears to the Homeowners Association to the tune of $8000.00 and well on his way to getting tossed out on his ear. 

They knew Muriel rarely if ever ate bread. Every gory detail surrounding Rachel Sapowitze’s botched face lift. And that Muriel’s neighbor’s husband had gotten himself hooked on Cialis and run off with a tramp half his age.

When Muriel finally ran out of gossip, made her excuses and left the two of them alone, Hestor pushed the rugelach she had ordered, but no longer felt the need to eat, around on the plate for a moment or two before throwing her paper napkin over them, and pushing the plate to the center of the table.

She then sat quietly, staring into her empty coffee cup, as she waited for Morely to make a move signifying he was ready to go. 

Instead she felt his hand come gently to rest just above her knee.

“You gonna eat those?”

This was written in response to Reena’s Exploration Challenge‘s call for work inspired by a rhetorical question.

About Father Steve


Photo on Etsy

“Well stone the bloody crows!” Geoff exclaimed still rubbing the sleep from his eyes, but already swiping through the days top stories on his cell. “They’ve arrested Father Steve!”

“Our Father Steve?” retorted his roommate Virgil from the adjoining bathroom through a garble of toothpaste froth. 

“Yeah. Listen to this, ‘Father Stephen Downey, a tenured senior staff member at St. Vincent’s Preparatory School since 2002, was arrested this morning upon his release from St. Joseph’s Medical Center where he was being treated for complications resulting from an unsuccessful suicide attempt.”

“Sources close to Father Downey report the tenured professor of Literature and Humanities has fought an ongoing battle with depression and mental illness dating back to the late eighties when he suffered the tragic loss of his then fiance, Miss Julia Griffith, to an apparent suicide.”

“Father Downey was booked and released pending further investigation.’”

“Whoa!” Virgil exhaled the word more than spoke it as he slunk down into a sitting position at the foot of Geoff’s bed. “I can’t believe it. Father Steve! Suicide? Engaged? He’s a priest for chrissake!”

“He wasn’t born a priest! I can’t even imagine what that must have been like for him.”

“What? Becoming a priest?”

“No, you idiot! His fiance committing suicide. I wonder how old he was then?”

A bit rebuffed, Virgil meandered back into the bathroom as Geoff dialed a number on his cell.


They met up again later that day at the student union. 

“Who’d you call?”

“Sister Magdalene. She’s been at St V’s forever. I figured maybe she’d know something.”

“Oh yeah? What’d she say?”

She said, “One of the hardest things for boys to learn is that a teacher is human. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn is not to try and tell them.”

This piece is a combination of one of Peter Wyn Mosey’s writing prompts #20, Stone the crows, and the literary prompt offered this week by Kristian on 50 Word Thursday. The literary quote was, “One of the hardest things for boys to learn is that a teacher is human. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn is not to try and tell them.” ―  by Alan Bennett , The History Boys

This is the first 50 word Thursday I did not write in 50 word increments, but the word count is a multiple of 50 so I believe it still fits.



She’s Come Undone

interview with dissociation


Some say that abortion of an interview was the straw that sent her over. Others argue that she was so far gone by the time the interview took place, she would have toppled into the abyss even if she had gotten the job. It wouldn’t have saved her. Couldn’t have.

Personally, I’d like to believe she is where she wants to be. Having finally let go of the noose of normalcy that chafed so vigorously at her soul. I’d like to think that at last, she is free. Unfettered. Unchained. Oblivious now to the fears that kept her tethered. Tied.

Stuck in a world where happiness had proven itself utterly unattainable. Where laughter had become a wound. Where indignity had become the mode of the day. And every seemingly quiet moment was actually a barrage of blistering dialogue. Bludgeoning gut shots. Fired by herself. At herself. Her own worst enemy.

Maudlin though it may seem, I rejoice in her madness. In the glaze of her eyes I see redemption. In the slack of her jaw, release. In the fluid movement of her rocking, I see a dance, hear a song. Maybe a lullaby, that no one but she can hear.


This piece, written in 50 word increments is my response to both Eugi’s Weekly Prompt, Laughter and Susan’s Genre Scribes prompt, Interview. Though, what it has to do with either of them, I am unclear.

Special nod to the song, Undun, by The Guess Who.



The Decomposition of Heather



Uncredited photo on Pinterest

Having grasped at much and taken hold of very little in this life, I had previous to my association with Heather, spent much time inventing personas many of which I found more comfortable to inhabit than the personage I felt destined to become as the culmination of my mounting failures.

Given to repeatedly nurturing desires I was provenly incapable of bringing to fruition, I sought out the endless companionship of those with which I was ill-suited at best, and as a result left behind me an insurmountable wake of loss and destruction- that is of course- until I met her.

The truth of the matter is, that it was I that reached out to Heather- knowing full well the magnitude of her deviances- not blinded by any of the mitigatable passions that might lend a shred of humanity, nor provide a ballast against which my future sins might be weighed.

There was a luminescence about her, something both otherworldly and provocatively innocent at the same time, a transcendence of the natural, both indescribable in terms of physicality, and abashedly not of the spirit world, yet something by which I became so entranced, I was rendered incapable of seeing anything else.

I truly believed the wellsprings of her passions capable of transforming me, that she could take the leavings of all my deficiencies, toss them about like well weighted balls in the hands of a juggler, reach into the prescribed space between them and withdraw- the man I could never be.

What it all boils down to is, it was Heather that made the whole thing work out the way it did, as if she hadn’t succeeded in awakening in me the depth of passion deemed necessary to destroy human life, I should have remained incapable- of serving as her executioner.


This twisted little composition is made up of six sentences each comprised of exactly 50 words. It is the offspring of the union of Denise’s Six Sentence Stories prompt, Reach, and the literary prompt provided by Debbie on 50 Word Thursdays, “It was Heather who had made the whole thing work.” – Death of a Gossip –  by MC Beaton

Eye to the keyhole

eye to the keyhole

Uncredited photo


On the heels of Granda Finn’s passing there was a great deal of hubbub going on behind closed doors in our little apartment on Canarsie Street. 

The bits of hushed conversations I was able to string together through the keyhole made it clear that both my Nana and my Uncle Finny, had decided that Granny Sabina was too old go on living in the apartment she and Granda Finn had shared, but neither of them was presently ‘in a position’ to take Granny Sabina in either.

“We’ve run out of options.” I overheard Nana telling Momma. “Granny Sabina will just have to come and live with you.”

Now all they had to do- was convince Granny Sabina- and even I, a child of ten at the time, knew that would not be an easy thing to do.

The problem was a bit of a rift had formed between Papa and Granny Sabina when Papa made the decision to leave his foreman’s position at the foundry and follow his dream- working full time in radio. You see, radio is the one thing Granny Sabina can not abide.

“Look it ye gathered round that bird in the box like it t’was a one ring circus come to town!” She’d say, clicking her tongue in staunch disapproval as she retreated to the kitchen every Sunday at Nana’s as we’d settle in around the radio to listen to Papa’s show.

The evening Momma was to break the news to Papa, I left the apartment, but only went as far as the vestibule. I then crept silently back to just outside our door, where I sat crouched, eye to the keyhole.

“Margee,” Papa said as he slid his chair back excitedly from the table, and took Momma in his arms, “You just find a way to get her in front of a radio tonight at eight. I have a wonderful idea!”

Eight o’clock found the whole family gathered around Nana’s kitchen table. Uncle Finny had slipped away to warm up the radio in the great room as we busied Granny Sabina with telling us stories about the old country, her favorite past time.

Granny was just about to recant her latest version of licking the McArdles at their own game when the melodious strains of Papa’s rich tenor singing voice streamed in through the door Uncle Finny now held ajar.

Danny boy. Tipperary. He sang them all, finishing up with Granny’s own favorite, The Black Velvet Band.

When the bird in the box grew silent, there wasn’t a dry eye to be found. Then we heard Papa say, “Each and every one of you listening, have to thank for tonight’s stroll back to the Emerald Isle, my very own Granny, Sabina Brigid Barrett. I’ve taken special care to make sure Granny Sabina is in the listening audience tonight because I have a special favor to ask of her.”

Then, just as if he was in the room looking deep into Granny Sabina’s pale blue eyes himself, he said,  “Granny Sabina, me one and only sweet Irish rose, would you do meself and me family the glorious honor a gracin’ our home with the smile a yer Irish Eyes from this day through till tomorrow’s tomorrow? Will ye make our family complete by makin’ our home, your home?”

He then broke into the sweetest rendition of When Irish Eyes Are Smiling any of us had ever heard. So sweet in fact that even Granny Sabina couldn’t help but sing along.

This piece was inspired by the three phrasal prompts offered last week on the OLWG #136. The phrases were:

  1. we’ve run out
  2. Bird on the box
  3. A one ring circus