Published in August 2018
100 Short Stories
Newman Springs Publishing of 320 Broad Street Red Bank, NJ 07701 has printed paperback copies of 100 Short Stories. It is available on Amazon.com and in other bookstores in paperback for $19.95. It is also available in electronic format.
Requested review copies for profeession reviwers are available from the author at no charge.
The author will sign copies, purchased and sent to him for the cost of postage and handling.
Here are two sample stories.
During a cold, snowy New Jersey winter, Sam Smart and his wife Brenda accepted his sister’s invitation to visit for a couple of weeks. Knowing their habits, she told them “Be sure to bring your workout clothes and swimsuits and plenty of sunscreen.”
Ruth had begun a relationship with a pleasant widower named Manny Field. The four of them met, went out to dinner and had an enjoyable first night together.
Next morning, before breakfast, Brenda and Sam went to the rooftop pool.
While Brenda was swimming, Sam did his customary before-swimming workout, which consisted of a 15 to 20-minute headstand, a series of bows and bends, a couple of hundred sit-ups, and 50 or more pushups.
A man was dozing on one of the lounges. Their arrival woke him. As Sam was doing his headstand he came over and watched. He said, “You are upside down. Can your feet think?”
Sam laughed and came down from the headstand, did his bows and bends and lay down on a mat to do leg raises and sit-ups.
The man stood there and watched. When Sam began his sit-ups, he commented again, “You won’t need a stool softener after that. That will get your bowels working.”
Sam grunted, finished the sit-ups and began pushups.
The man commented again, “You might not know it, but your girlfriend is not there anymore.”
Sam began to laugh so hard that he collapsed. The stranger left. Sam finished the workout, showered and swam his usual mile.
Brenda and he went down to Ruth’s apartment where she had prepared a sumptuous breakfast. Sam told her about the man and his comments.
She laughed and said, “That must be Saul. He goes up there to read the paper, usually falls asleep, then goes out to breakfast.”
That evening Ruth, Manny, Brenda, and Sam played penny-ante draw poker in the recreation room. Saul was sitting in a Barcalounger reading. He got up and stood behind Sam to watch.
As Sam drew one card, hoping to complete an inside straight or a flush, Saul clicked his tongue and said, “It’s against the odds for filling an inside straight or getting a card of the same suit.”
When Sam tried to bluff by raising on a pair of deuces, he clucked again and said, “It’s a good thing it’s a penny-ante game. That’s not good poker.”
He hung around until they finished playing. Sam was on vacation and decided not to let his irritation spoil the time they were having with Ruth and Manny.
The vacation ended. They returned to cold, snowy New Jersey after accepting Ruth’s invitation to come again next year.
The year went by and they flew to Fort Lauderdale again. Saul was not there when they went to the pool on the roof. Sam asked Ruth if he had moved away.
She answered, “Permanently. He passed away last summer.”
Sam said, “You know, you never introduced us. What was his surname?”
“Kibit,” she answered.
Manny interjected, “It really should have been Kibitzer because he kibitzed no matter who or what was going on.”
Everyone cracked up when Sam asked, “Do you think he is sitting at St. Peter’s right side, kibitzing his decisions about whom to let into heaven and whom to send below?"
There was a tavern on Utica Avenue that could be seen from the upstairs, rear bedroom windows of the house in Brooklyn where I lived as a boy.
It was the custom in our neighborhood for parents to send a child to the tavern with a pail to get beer. No parent complained when the kid sampled the beer on the way home.
But, when 15-year old Jimmy Flanagan came home from the tavern, drunkenly swinging the pail, his father Mike’s Irish rose. He set the pail down on a table in the den and his brow darkened, “Did you have a drink at the tavern?” he demanded of Jimmy.
“Yes, Dad,” Jimmy responded, “I told bartender Schultz, that I ought to have a free glass of beer for buying a big pail full.”
“It must have been a mighty big glass of beer to get you so drunk,” Mike shouted.
“Well, Sean O’Shaughnessy was sitting at the bar and he told Schultz to make it a boilermaker and he’d pay for the shot of whiskey,” Jimmy answered.
"Oh, he did, did he,” Mike growled, “It’s no wonder his slut of a daughter Bridget, can’t walk a straight line most days.”
He poured himself a glass of beer from the pail, got out of his chair and told Maggie, “I’m going to tell that son of a bitch O’Shaughnessy off. And while I’m at it I’m going to let Schultz know that he shouldn’t be serving liquor to kids. I’ll be back for supper.”
Maggie answered, “Mind your temper, Mike. That Sean can be mean. He’s been in jail for assault and battery.”
“Assault and battery, you say?” He raised his fist, “We’ll see who does the assaulting and who gets battered.”
He put on his cap and jacket and left for the tavern. When he got there, O’Shaughnessy was at the pool table in the room off the bar. Flanagan confronted him. “Put down your damn cue stick. I’m talking to you,” Flanagan roared.
“Sure now, I thought I heard a loud fart,” O’Shaughnessy retorted, “what’s got your bowels in such an uproar?”
“Did you give my Jimmy a boilermaker when he brought a pail for some beer?” Flanagan demanded.
“Sure, and I did. I was congratulating him,” O’Shaughnessy answered.
O’Shaughnessy’s answer stopped Flanagan cold. “What the hell were you congratulating my boy for?” Flanagan wanted to know.
“My Bridget told me that she and Jimmy are a couple. So, I thought that was worth a drink,” O’Shaughnessy answered.
“He never told us he’s taken up with that slut,” Flanagan said.
“Did I hear you call my daughter a slut?” O’Shaughnessy asked with rising anger.
“If you’re not deaf, that’s what you heard,” Flanagan responded.
“You’ll pay for that,” O’Shaughnessy said raising his cue stick.
Flanagan struck first with a fist to O’Shaughnessy’s eye. O’Shaughnessy dropped the cue stick and swung from his heels with his fist landing on Flanagan’s eye.
Bar owner Schultz intervened. He picked up a baseball bat he kept under the bar and said, “Outside, you bums. You got something to settle, settle it outside my place.”
He brandished the baseball bat. Johnny O’Reilly sitting on a bar stool shouted out, “Fight, fight, three to two on O’Shaughnessy.”
The tavern emptied as the customers went into the parking lot to watch. O’Reilly’s odds were soon taken.
Flanagan and O’Shaughnessy went at it. Each had a black eye. They swung at each other, mostly haymakers. Soon their lips were swollen, and their noses dripped blood. They kept swinging at each other. When one was knocked down, he got up and knocked down the other.
The fight, which looked like a draw that wouldn’t end until one of the combatants was unconscious.
Bridget O’Shaughnessy and Jimmy Flanagan approached holding hands. Bridget shouted out, “Will you two quit battering each other like a couple of kids?”
“Yeah, dad. Quit it,” Jimmy shouted.
The crowd wasn’t pleased. Bloody fights were an amusement that they didn’t have very often, what with the police cars driving past the tavern on Utica Avenue.
Bridget and Jimmy walked between Mike Flanagan and Sean O’Shaughnessy who were too exhausted to push them out of the way.
Many years later, Mike Flanagan and Sean O’Shaughnessy would argue over who won the fight as they dandled Bridget and Jimmy’s children, Mike and Sean, on their knees.