An Open Letter: Hey, Cucumber Guy

Hey Cucumber Guy: An Open Letter

You, Cucumber Guy. Yes, you. The one in the restaurant kitchen adding the cucumbers to the salads. You did it again. You served me an otherwise well-crafted salad with cucumber slices like hockey pucks. What am I supposed to do with these? Weight down important papers? Make cucumber water? Treat my crow’s feet to some quick moisturizing therapy?

Cucumber Guy, I propose your delegating the fine slicing to us is no minor inconvenience. Consider the downstream effects Continue reading “An Open Letter: Hey, Cucumber Guy”

In Which I Buy a $35 Club Sandwich

No one sets out to buy a $35 club sandwich. You back into that kind of decision later and over time, after long miles journeyed, after tiny losses mounting on your stomach, after foolish choices and opportunities foregone, after hunger sets in and then settles in. The $35 club sandwich is a end-of-the-line choice, almost happenstance, but it happens, and when it happens, it happens all the way.

It was November 2007, and the journey was Venice. A dream city, the Floating City, Queen of the Adriatic. We left Florence on an afternoon train. For fun that morning we                         marched ancient streets and climbed Il Duomo’s 467 stairs–yes, for fun–which had us rushing to the station with train station snacks for lunch. In Italy, the presence of a service, in this case a snack car, never guarantees actual availability. Closed, reason unknown. A three-hour ride later Continue reading “In Which I Buy a $35 Club Sandwich”

Behind: “The Carcassonne Dream”

It is winter. Christmas Eve 2011, and Writer Guy rides the train to Arles. Second class. The South of France trundles by outside, salt flats and olive trees, the mountainside and harbor towns of the Mediterranean coast. I sip my Coca-Cola Lite and return to my laptop.

For in France the writing flows, as fast as the sweeping wind is vicious. I plan a collection, short stories set in different French locales, and the first idea has begun to spill out.

It is about a guy in Provence. On a train. In winter.

Such is my premise. Six words nearly bring the Coca-Cola Lite out my nose: “France Is Continue reading “Behind: “The Carcassonne Dream””

Behind: “La Upsell”

Intrepid Travelers Lowestoft coverHere, in honor of its recent republication, is a “Behind The Short Story” I wrote for “La Upsell.”

The short story is its own literary animal, a wholeness experienced in few words and on small bones. Some writers get a sunbeam and angel choir moment of inspiration. Others grit it out, go find the story. I’m somewhere in between those extremes.

For “La Upsell,” I was deep in a story groove, having worked up momentum on several other shorts. A rare place for me, to be fully inspired. It’s a hell of a feeling.

Inspiration went something like this: Continue reading “Behind: “La Upsell””