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Some of my stuff I want to keep after I’m dead, but Ariel can pick out three things from my toy-box, not three of the same things, like not three ponies, or not even two insects, but a pony and an insect and a piece of furniture would be good, and she can ride my bike when she’s big enough. Read the rest of this entry »

I had no magic as a child. I would have used it if I had, to stop the Boots from kicking me where I hid. Flat against the bedroom floor with the floor of the sky just inches above my nose, I knew no safer, more anonymous place to be, Read the rest of this entry »

In photos of my daughter’s wedding, I look thinner than I was and not at all as if I wanted to strangle the groom. There stands Sheila, radiant as always against a bank of pallbearer suits. Read the rest of this entry »

I stole a brick from my neighbor’s house. With ease he had me convicted of stealing the whole thing, all three stories and the land it gouged, and rightly. We understand there is no difference. Read the rest of this entry »

We haven’t always envied clerks and stockers at the Big Box store. Now we chat with Carl in appliances or listen to Edith at register 6 and we dream of following them home for a hot dog dinner and a night with the TV. A night in the family room. A porch. Read the rest of this entry »

I picked up the phone and Mom was on the line. Mom! Dear Mom! On the phone! Well! What do you know! I heard the fake smile in her voice. She hadn’t dialed and I hadn’t dialed. Our phones had both rung and we had both answered: the network was trying something new. 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 »

Here we let the children tell whatever stories serve their needs. We were surprised, though, when they started a church. We had thought, naively it seems, there were enough religions, but they were all founded on faith and suddenly, empty chapels are easy to come by. Read the rest of this entry »

This godforsaken gravel shoulder is as good a place—as bad a place—as any to have made your peace with life and dying. Still, you probably objected. Not here, you said, by which you meant, Not yet. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer camp for boys had been a nightmare of fellowship and other itchy rashes. For weeks, he had tried to find somebody he could like or a hiding place, but they had pestered him with bows and arrows, canoes and climbing ropes. The ropes he liked. 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.

Behind the Pseudonym

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

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