LEAVE: A Short Story

What made it even worse was that, while his scared mother suffered alone so far away from him, four so-called women were now onboard his ship. He could see them right now strutting around the passageways, each knowing that they were a new and powerful precedent that could not be ignored, or contained. Their mere presence on the ship signaled the beginning of an assault that he knew would quickly overwhelm and dispose of honored traditions and ancient rites that had served, since the first sail was set, to mold weak, malleable landsmen, wogs, into tempered warriors of the sea. The bitches. He could almost smell them…

Reader Review

Reading [LEAVE] was akin to receiving a kick in the solar plexus, but that could be due to me being a woman reading about viscerally real characters speaking their truths. Hard to read, and good to read…for all the right reasons.



❅ ❅ ❅ ❅


The Urge

I turned back to Jenks. The sun was quickly disappearing and he now looked a fiery red. His hands gripped the life rail and he stared straight down to where the ship’s wake began. I, too, grabbed the rail and then slowly leaned over it to look down. Froth-covered water violently rolled and erupted into explosions of stinging, salty spray. Unseen, deep beneath the tumult, massive, unforgiving propellers were thrashing at the ocean, powering the destroyer forward…

“The Urge” first appeared at the ATTICUS REVIEW


❅ ❅ ❅ ❅


countin' squares: a short story

So it’s a good thing I still got this mower that I got when my ol’ man died. You know, I bet if I’da been mowin’ left that day I’da never seen that crazy sonofabitch. He yanked her hair so hard I saw rubber bands breakin’. I thought, yep, she’s gonna get her ass whipped real good for sure. She musta pissed him off right. He threw her ass in the van and the sonofabitches took off just like that. Left the goddamned bike just lyin’ there in the street, front wheel spinnin’ real slow-like. Too bad it was a girl’s bike. I don’t ride no girl’s bike…  

❅ ❅ ❅ ❅


Stafangr 1994: A Short Story

In the Pac, he always had been thankful for his differences–his light hair, his light skin, his height, his inability to speak the languages, for they always had seemed to be to his advantage. And he had fancied himself, in some regards, as a sort of harmless, curious and carefree, wandering Gulliver; in other regards, he fancied himself as a sort of raving and rampaging Western-styled Godzilla, stalking among the not so innocent and timid natives in a frenzied search for all that which it took to fulfill him. In both regards, he strategically, and often tactically, evaded any attempts to be tied down or subdued. The Japanese had referred to the first westerners to discover their island—the Portuguese, maybe?—as Southern Barbarians, as hairy, smelly, canting, barbarous invaders. Yes. He certainly could accept that…  

❅ ❅ ❅ ❅


Whisper Alley

On days like this, mama loved to drink ocha. The green tea had a subtle fragrance that belied its bitter taste. I loved to watch her. Her movements seemed effortless, so fluid: the way she slowly prepared the tea; the way she held the cup so lightly and placed it gently against her lips. Even her sipping of the tea sounded delicate. She gave the whole ritual a sense of grace. I didn’t like the taste of the tea then, but mama would prepare me a cup anyway. I never drank it. I would just hold it between my palms and savor its warmth… >

❅ ❅ ❅ ❅

Transformation of a G

He kicks off the covers and reveals the body of a mid-sized, thin but muscularly defined, mid-twenties, African-American male. He does some cat-like stretching and then concludes his ritual with some aggressive eye-rubbing underneath the pillow. While doing so, he seems to notice something strange about his hands.

He holds them over his head and looks up at them from under the pillow. He flips them over and inspects both sides of them as if he’s never seen them before. He sits up on his elbows and looks down at his bare upper torso. He sees the scars of five bullet holes and an assortment of tattoos littered across his brown abdomen. The most prominent tattoo, “Thug Life,” arches across the muscle-ripped gut…

❅ ❅ ❅ ❅

The Fix

The lieutenant commander looked out across the water and focused in on one of the many dhows making its way through the harbor. Its wooden hull was long and its beam narrow. Its single lateen sail was full, even with the slack wind. Its two-man crew looked like haunting, seafaring wraiths through the heat rays shimmering off the water…



Flash Fiction

Karōshi Blues
The Persistent and the Damned
The Human Touch
Truth Alone Needs No Tending
Plans for War
A Come to Jesus Meeting
The Last Distraction
Life Is Mostly Understood
Friendship Day
Even Lonely Roads Provide No Refuge
The Sophistry of Now
Only In the Movies
The Angel In The Cracked Mirror
The Moment Before He Realized He Was Happy




14 Replies to “KURT’S SHORT STORIES”

  1. Hi Kurt, I like the honest way you talk about emotions, particularly in the reaction of the male sailors to the women onboard in Leave. It weirdly reminded me of the reaction I got when I first worked on nature reserves which were also, at that time, a man’s world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Carol. I’m so happy you have taken the time to read the story and to leave me your helpful feedback. It was intimidating enough for me as a dude of the first order to check onboard my first ship. I can only imagine the courage it must have taken for those first females…regardless the occupation. Thank you, Carol.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am interested in your stories. Thanks for following. my book review blog. Look for changes in Sept. I am planning to add my own writing. Have you heard of “^ Word stories? Try to write one: no adjectives or adverbs.

    Liked by 1 person


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