Sam Hugh the Junkman

In a town about a half-day’s ride north of here lives Sam Hugh, one of a few hundred people in the area who listed ‘salvage’ as their occupation on the last census.
As in any industry, specialization emerges naturally as individuals gradually earn reputations for knowing more about something than everyone else.
Sam specialized in metal pipes.

A typical salvage job would involve hitching up his horse to his trailer and riding out to one of the abandoned malls.
He would park the trailer near the front doors, which had invariably been smashed open during the panic of ’53 when people looted every store for every bit of food they could find.
Sam would hitch the horse on a very long tether so she could reach … Read the rest


Andrew picked up the box and held it on his shoulder as he closed the trunk. Joan had asked him to bring over two dozen antique canning jars a week or so earlier when they were taking one of their strolls.

She was another man’s wife, of course, and Andrew would never… He had to stop himself from grinning as he rang the doorbell to Joan and William’s just-right house.

After a long delay, William answered, to Andrew’s disappointment. “Andy, come in. Joan mentioned you’d be dropping by.”

“Did she?” Andrew shifted the box to his other arm and closed the door behind him.

“Drink?” William led the way to the room that Joan caled the ‘Drawing Room’ and William called the ‘Parlor’. Andrew called it … Read the rest

In the Beginning

— — —


Doc. i. d. : 0219-37 B Class ‘L’ XXXXX

Security: Classified


Concerning deaths of several dozen unknown male and female, “John and Jane Doas” at or near United States Air Force property in Chaves County, New Mexico

One (1) reel magnetic audio tape, recovered from engineering floor of research complex
Containing voices of:
: HW – Harold Wilkins, Ph D. P.I., “Lazarus Project”
: JB – Jerome Banks, asst to Dr. Wilkins
: FS – Francis Shenson, asst to Dr. Wilkins
: ?? – voice(s) of at least one other person

Room 12, engineering floor, Roosevelt research complex, Dexter

June 14, 1947

Roosevelt Research Center
Dexter, NM

On June 12, 1947 M.P. David. S. Branford reported … Read the rest

Satchmo Cover of Britney Spears

I’m tired of most of the “mashups” that cross my desk (though a few are okay) but this is not really one of those.

superMasterpiece has a recording of “Oops, I Did it Again” as if played and sung by Louis Armstrong and his band.

It’s quite good, and demonstrates that the song can stand on its own even without the production normally associated with it.… Read the rest


I used to go to the cemetery every Sunday to visit my dad. When the weather was good I would sit on the grass by his gravestone, if not I would park in the road about 30 feet away and sit in the drivers seat with the door open. Sometimes I would sit on a little hill with my back to the stone in order to watch the sunset. His stone was in a good spot, under the canopy of two trees, a little bit removed from most of the other sites. I usually went in the late afternoon, but sometimes later if I had stuff to do.

One Sunday it was later than usual and the Sun was beginning to set. I parked and heard … Read the rest

Bee Sting

I finished my second lap and crouched in the shallow end so my chest remained below the surface.

Before I begin a swim I exercise my cumpulsion to keep the pool tidy, and I paddle about collecting the stray leaves that have settled on the water and tossing them out.
I aim for the shrubs by the fence, but they almost always land near or on one of the deck chairs.
I don’t mind that. It’s not tidy, but I know they won’t stick to my face as I plow through the water.

As I crouched I saw something floating, something alive. A bee bobbed upside-down, one leg twitching.

I walked through the water, lifting and lowering my legs like an astronaut, and peered down at … Read the rest

Caribbean Coffee


We still haven’t gotten the kitchen entirely in order and I’ve been relying on the jar of instant coffee we got when we were living in the hotel for a week.

I hadn’t had instant coffee for years, since I was in Europe, where instant coffee isn’t scorned the way it is in the U.S. In fact, after trying it again, I much preferred it to anything I could get at a gas station or similar place where coffee sits for hours on a warming tray.

But, the coffee is not great and I’ve been searching for ways to enhance the flavor. I normally drink coffee black, but I tried adding other ingredients until I came up with a recipe that I had to share.

Caribbean … Read the rest


I took a walk through the local cemetery (the Vanderbilt plot has a lovely view) and on the other side was a Kroger’s grocery. Some people here seem to have opinions about which is better, Kroger or Publix (northern chains don’t exist here) but they seem pretty much the same. You can sell wine in grocery stores in Georgia, which is a big improvement over New York or Delaware.

Something I had never seen up north was this:


What surprised me first was that the Quaker Oats man had branched out into other grains. What surprised me second was that you could have bacon or ham (there was a ham one) in a food product that’s packaged only in paper and cardboard – no plastic or … Read the rest

Day One in Decatur

Day One in Decatur.

24 hours to fly from Burlington, VT to Atlanta GA because of backup air traffic in Philly.

Swampy weather. Thankful for central air.

Found a beautiful, tiny, iridescent green wasp on the stairs:


Less than 1cm in length, and so bright that the scanner couldn’t capture the color – as though it were trying to take a picture of a mirror.
Read the rest

Taking the Longer Way Home


C a C C C a C C
Taking the longer way home. Let’s take the longer way home.

G C G C F a F G F d C a G G
It’s been so long, let’s make up lost time. I need you here; I can’t let go, so please don’t change my mind.

C a C C C a C C C a a F G C a C
Taking the longer way home Taking the longer way home Let’s take the longer way, come with me, taking the longer way home

G C G C F a F G F d C a G G
You’ve said before how we don’t get away. You need me here; you can’t let go, … Read the rest

The Bar

The bar was not crowded but soon would be. The after-work crowd always
arrives at 5:15: 20-something men in colored shirts and black pants
with gel in their hair, initially talking about interest rates and
mutual funds but eventually collapsing into not-yet tired stories of
pranks done at their fraternities when they were in college. For every
10 white men there were 2 Asian men and one black guy

The women always arrived between 5:45 and 6:00. The happiest ones were
tall and blond and slim with big teeth, and the other women tried to
be tall and blond as well. For every 10 white women there were 3 Asian

The bartender had an Irish accent and looked like his nose had been
broken a … Read the rest

Carl on the Pier

Carl stood on the pier, waiting for the stranger to pick him up.

Carl’s name was Frank, Franklin Charles Moore Junior.

“Frank is an old guy’s name” He used to say, out of earshot of his
father. Carls’ mother’s mother was from Guatemala and used to call
him, “Carlito”. So when Frank Jr. was twelve or thirteen he began
going by Carl.

He didn’t exactly hate his father; not exactly hate, but close. And he
certainly didn’t want to be branded as simply a younger copy of the
old man.

It wasn’t the drinking. Carl wasn’t in a position to criticize anyone for that.

And Frank wasn’t violent. Although he was wrong, Carl thought his dad
knew that if he laid one finger on him he … Read the rest

The Sandwich

Tom sat at a cafe, sipping coffee from a mug, looking at the local
paper without actually reading it.

He hadn’t eaten yet and looked around for somewhere to get a bite. The
cafe only served cookies and what they called scones, but he didn’t
want that sort of thing. He could see a donut shop and a deli at the
end of the street. Tom could imagine what they had to offer, and knew
none of it would satisfy him.

There were at least two each of taco joints, Chinese take-out
holes-in-the-wall and pizzerias within a couple of blocks from where
he sat, but having eaten at all those places in the past, he knew he
wouldn’t go back except out of desperation.

At the … Read the rest