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—Dad, are you trying to trade me?
—What would make you say that?
—Mister Moyer said you offered me for his daughter.
—Not just his daughter, son. That was a package deal.
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On the roof of our apartment building my son waited for his father to arrive so he could jump. Meanwhile I, the attending parent, persuaded the police chief not to upset, by storming the roof, what balance our child still clung to Read the rest of this entry »

Some teams just don’t have it; they suffer their greatest loss before the season begins. Others never win a game but end the season undefeated. My daughter plays for such a team. Read the rest of this entry »

Doorbell. Door opens.
—There’s been a report of abuse at this address.
—Somebody’s already reported that you’re about to get hurt?
—There’s no need to threaten me.
—Good.
Door closes. Read the rest of this entry »

With every swing she ages—sometimes younger by a minute, sometimes older by a generation—away she swings, back she falls, away. I stand on widespread feet, in sneakers on sand, in one spot for hours, pushing, waiting, pushing, Read the rest of this entry »

More crosstown than up or down, they blew through the city like leaves. At the river, they skidded into a headwind off the water and eddied through islands of trash that fronted the docks, swirling beneath the bridge they had never crossed, and went with the flow until one of them snagged on something. Read the rest of this entry »

He didn’t sleep at night until he had fed the jar. He hustled pool and won: nobody figured a kid could shoot. Mondays he caught shifts at the deli unless the regular slicer came back sober from the casinos. He ran deliveries of whatever didn’t burn a hole in his hand until nothing felt hot. Read the rest of this entry »

I might have chosen the needle and thread, thereby insuring myself a long if not necessarily happy life, or the bow and arrow, the significance of which seems obvious. My rich aunts had both grabbed rice cakes on their ceremonial turns around the table Read the rest of this entry »

All these years later, I still find Barney’s logic compelling. We needed mitts before the start of the season. We couldn’t squeeze the money from the pittance they called our allowances. After expenses, and what the church extorted in those little envelopes, nothing was left for new equipment, Read the rest of this entry »

I promised my daughter my heart, forgetting it wasn’t mine. You were there, fat with her, already weary of the burden and beautiful, intolerably beautiful. You made demands: a hairbrush, a mirror, not that hairbrush, ice yes but not ice chips, a delivery date— Read the rest of this entry »

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299-WORD NOVELS

Character, conflict, emotional impact. And sentences! Everything you want in a novel, without one extra syllable.

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The pen name David B Dale honors my parents Beatrice and Dale. David+B+Dale = davidbdale

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