This Happened On Valentine’s Day


Close to 7:30, Valentine’s Day, the restaurant full. “Remember, when Vic and Simone get here, act like you don’t know anything,” Kyle said. “I will,” Anna said. “I told you I will.” Anna wasn’t good at hiding her excitement. Her emotions played on her face like a movie on the big screen. She often looked like someone on the verge of bursting into song, although she never fully did. “When they...

The Ice Storm in CLEAN BREAK


The world is coated with ice outside my window and it makes me think of an ice storm that served as a literary device in my novel, CLEAN BREAK (thank you, Harriet). I call it a literary device because it’s one of those writer’s tools I’m using to move my characters around into the right locations for the critical subsequent scenes. Plus it casts a chilly, foreboding atmosphere...

Rainmaking Rumors


Alize slipped into a crevice between two boulders and shimmied to the top of the taller one. She sat cross-legged on her perch, raised her binoculars, and glassed the length of the pipeline, from north to south and back north again, then adjusted her viewing angle and scanned the western exposure beyond the pipeline into the dry, beige distance: washed-out rock and baked earth and sagebrush, long...

Time for an Important Talk


They told their son he could become anything he wanted, and when he wanted to become a poet, they held their tongues and supported his dream. But now he was 27 years old, chronically underemployed, and didn’t seem to produce much work. Every three weeks or so the son would read to his parents a poem he wrote, and frankly, they usually didn’t understand it. The poems might have been lyrical, but...

My Left-Handed Adventures


It started with brushing my teeth left-handed. At first, my movements were clumsy, and I feared I wasn’t getting off all the tartar, and the dentist would reprimand me on my next visit. Also, I discovered when I employed my left arm, my dominant right just hung there like a drooping, effete claw. Accustomed to carrying all the workload, my right didn’t know what the hell was going on. With...

Is This Meeting Necessary?


Dear Boss: We have a problem that is impacting productivity: I had six meetings today. That pretty much shot my entire workday. A meeting on budgeting, two separate marketing meetings, a meeting on organizational reporting structure, a meeting on product strategy, a meeting on Halloween decorations. I didn’t attend that last meeting on decorating, but I was invited because the organizer wanted a...

Night Visitors


They came for me during the night, ringing the doorbell as if they were polite visitors. I’d been expecting them. I kept my clothes by the side of my bed so I could dress quickly. I raised the bedroom window, straddled the sill, and stepped out onto the steep gabled roof, steadying my balance. From there I could just reach a limb of the sugar maple and swing myself into the thickness of its...



When he emerged from the den, Robert found her stretched on a lounge chair by the pool. She wore a black bikini and was listening to music through her earphones. Her toenails were freshly manicured and painted a glossy maroon. He dragged over a chair. Erin sat up and took off the earphones. “So you like Skidmore so far?” “I’m in a band.” “Playing keyboards?” “I’m the singer. We’re trying to get a...



Sweat patterns darkened his white shirt along the neckline. Dust stuck to his summer wool suit. A rainmaker who wears a business suit. He stood at the flinty edge of the diminished reservoir. The barren, naked rock walls were bleached and parched, the remaining water glinting in the sun like moving mirrors. “Are we actually taking this guy seriously?” someone in the crowd said. The rainmaker held...

Water Investigator Reported Missing


The aqueducts originate in three locations: Duluth, on Lake Superior; Milwaukee, on Lake Michigan; and Sandusky, on Lake Erie. Each system of pipelines, tunnels, and open-air channels transfers water east to west. The  Duluth pipeline feeds the Sacramento River, the Milwaukee line empties into the Colorado River, and the Sandusky sector ends at the Rio Grande. A half-dozen 1-gigawatt pumping...

A Surprise at the Cottage


I had begun to fear the worst: a family of raccoons had moved in. Or our cottage had become a bat house. Or mold clung like moss to the walls. There would be standing water in the basement, the foundation would be crumbling. Finally, the border to Canada opened. I made the trip up to Thunder Bay. My first impression on seeing the cottage was relief: it looked the same as ever from the outside...

Dear Dave: Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown


Dear Dave: I really have nowhere else to turn at this point, so I’m writing to you again. Everyone is abandoning me—I mean everyone. My most trusted confidantes are like rats deserting a sinking ship, my executive secretary has quit, and even my old friends Nancy and Joe are calling on me to resign. The media is calling me a power-crazed misogynist. Me of all people! Okay, I’ll admit to a bit of...

The Swim


(from a work in progress) The water is flat as glass which he shatters with each stroke, his arms operating like mistimed pistons, his strokes short and choppy. His legs barely muster a kicking motion and his feet hang low like sinking weights. He breathes in awkward gasps. He gulps mouthfuls of water. His splashing and coughing upset the silent morning. It is the start of a long June day, the...

Fugue State


Robert survived the plane crash, walked away, and disappeared for two days before he was found, waking up and returning to himself only when the police knocked on the hotel room door he was occupying with a woman he did not recognize. The diagnosis was dissociative fugue: a rare psychological disorder characterized by a complete loss of identity and unplanned, unintentional wandering, caused by...

Memory Lane: Investors Wanted


Business Concept: Memory Lane Amount of Investment Requested: $3 Million to complete the algorithm and to fund initial marketing efforts. Business Problem: In the event a couple decides to part ways, conflict often arises not only in how physical and financial assets are divided, but also in how memory assets should be divvied up, leading to protracted and painful negotiations and additional...

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.


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