(character count: 160, without title, 131)

Wittgenstein the Photographer

He adjusts the lens and says to the fidgeting subject on the chair, “Don’t worry. The camera only adds about 20 pounds of torment.”

(Character count, with title: 140)

First Date

When they realized it wasn’t going to work:

She referred to ID as identification. He referred to ID as irreconcilable differences.

(Character count, without title: 113.)

This story previously appeared in the January 2011 issue of Raft Magazine.

A Wobbly Triptych Concerning That Historically Tortured Theme Known as Love

Just wanted to be your someone.

Please. Abandon your hope of us.

Even together, they’d still be lost.

 (characters: 49)


He couldn’t believe her.

He just couldn’t.

(62 spaces, title included)

Criminal Justice

As usual, Mario and I were the only suspects.

(82 characters, title included)

Midwestern Italics

“And just what are we supposed to do with a used gondola now?”

Today marks the first installment of Twitterstories, a new feature on this blog. Every Sunday I will post a new short story in 140 characters or less. Sometimes the title will be included in the 140 character count. I will also include the number of characters used and whether or not the title is included in the character count.

For the record, since these stories are only 140 characters long, they do not fit within the confines of a traditional short story: beginning, middle, end, plot structure, character development, etc. Hopefully they meet my own criteria for what a short story can and should be: containing an element of narrative, and capturing the emotional state of a character in a given moment or situation.

That said, I hope you enjoy this feature.

Part of my intention of starting this blog was to get people interested in my writing, as a means of ensuring my work reached a wider audience.
In an act of shameless self-promotion, I have decided to take my published stories and reprint them here (so long as the rights have reverted to me). For those who have been so gracious as to have read them already, please feel free to forward the link to others and help spur on my hopefully burgeoning literary career. I will be sure to thank you in my Nobel speech, or at least post "Thank you so much!" on your Facebook page. For those who have not read this story and enjoy it, please feel free to travel to the Fiction page and seek out those other stories I have been fortunate enough to have published.

(Quick note to prospective writers looking to get published in online publications: editors do respond to overstuffed envelopes of unmarked, non-consecutive 100 dollar bills.)

This story originally appeared in Opium Magazine in October 2008, and then again in December 2008 when it inexplicably disappeared from their archives.

As always, enjoy.

Height: 6’ ½”. Weight: 183. Age: never mind.

Number of bowls of cereal I’ve eaten: 893. Number of times I’ve smoked weed: 428.

Number of times I’ve stuck my tongue into an electrical socket: 5.
Number of times I’ve contemplated murder: 562.
Number of cups of coffee I’ve drank: 18,952.
Number of times I’ve shaved: 3,804.
Number of times I’ve brushed my teeth: 32,412.

Number of times I’ve washed my hair: 11,789. Number of cigarettes I’ve smoked: 167,475 ¼. Lucky number: 13. Number of times I’ve burned my fingers: 14. Number of times I’ve stapled my fingers: 6. Number of beers I’ve drank: 10,863.

Number of books I’ve read: 1,516. Number of times this will be compared to the Harper’s Review: 1,309.

Number of CD’s I owned: 716. Number of books I owned: 506. Number of films: 16. Number of keys on my last key ring: 34. Number of keys that I knew what they went to: 23. Number of keys that belonged to my stuff: 3.

Number of times I crashed a car: 8. Number of cars I stole: 103.

Number of cigars I smoked: 43. Number of hamburgers I’ve eaten: 6. Number of French fries: ???,???,???,???.

Number of times I’ve slept on the couch: 301. Number of times I’ve slept on the street: 36.

Number of times had sex on a couch: 75. Number of times I’ve had sex in the shower: 57. Number of times had sex: 892. Number of times I’ve been married: 4. Outside of Vegas: 2. Number of kids: 1… I think. Number of times I committed adultery: 16. Number of times divorced: 3; my fourth wife disappeared.

Number of times I’ve contemplated murder: 569. Number of times I’ve driven across country: 5. Number of times I’ve been on a train, not counting subways: 338.

Number of times I’ve lost a watch: 13. Number of times I’ve been in a fight: 83. Number of times I’ve been arrested: 26.

Number of times I’ve masturbated: 15,337. Number of times I’ve masturbated to Mary Tyler Moore: 534. Number of times I’ve gone skinny dipping: 17.

Number of times I’ve blown up a mailbox: 9 ½.

Number of times I’ve played chess: 1,389. Number of times I played chess before I got here: 189. Number of times I’ve watched the Super Bowl: XXIII. Number of times I’ve won the lottery: 3. Number of times I collected the money: 2.

Number of times I’ve held a gun: 8,906.

Number of times I’ve carried a briefcase: 16,902.

Number of letters in the longest word I know: 45 (pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis: written on the blackboard in my 8th grade English class. Don’t believe me? Count the letters yourself.).

Number of times I’ve ridden a bike: 1,936. Number of times I put baseball cards in the spokes: 58. Number of times I’ve ridden a roller coaster: 85. Number of pets I’ve had: 23. Number of dogs: 13. Number of times I’ve eaten a dog biscuit: 59. Number of times I’ve licked a battery: 35. Number of bikes I’ve stolen: 45. Number of times the spokes were removed in my bike wheels: 5. Number of times I knew who did it: 3.

Number of times Arnold Carson, the fat-assed kid I grew up with, beat me up: 86. Number of times I beat him up: 1. Number of times he beat me up, anyone beat me up, after that: zero. Number of times I’ve contemplated murder: 578. Number of times I’ve committed murder: 2. Number of times the government let me kill someone: at least 150. Number of languages I speak: 6. Number of times I’ve flown in an airplane: 308. Number of times I’ve flown out of the country: 216. Number of countries I’ve visited: 89. On vacation: 3. Number of Nobel Prizes I will win, one for peace, the other an as yet formed prize for being great: 2. Number of years I have left in here: 7 … or life.