Old Man Scanlon’s
Old Man Scanlon’s

Letters from the Village

“The Slow Eureka” will appear in Front Porch Review in October 2017.
“Arbitrageur” will appear in Spelk in October 2017.
“Gold Watch” will appear in Jellyfish Review in September 2017.
“Lost on the Pike” will appear in Ellipsis Zine in August 2017.
“Crime Wave” will appear in Front Porch Review in April 2017.
“Second Chance” will appear in Star 82 Review in Spring 2017.
“Quartet” will appear in Entropy Magazine on 7 December 2016.

“Shopping for Grace” will appear in Peacock Journal on 22 August 2016.

“Defensive Ignorance” will appear in Red Fez.

“Desperate” will appear in Rose Red Review in September 2016.

“Mixmaster” will appear in Front Porch Review in October 2016.

“Eutectic” will appear in Star 82 Review in Fall 2016.

“Anniversary” will appear in The Vignette Review in June 2016.

“As I Am Now So You Shall Be” will appear in Cicatrix Publishing in May 2016.

“Avenue” will appear in Apocrypha and Abstractions in April 2016.

“Atlantic Dystopia” will appear in Cleaver Magazine in June 2016.

“April Showers” will appear in Beechwood Review.

Presbyograms

02 July 2017
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It was none of my business, but the man made it mine when he spoke his litany of the psych meds he’d taken. He briefly buries his face in his hands in pained reflex, and I hear, muffled, “mental illness” and “a lot of depression.”… [more]
02 July 2017
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Arbitrageur
It was none of my business, but the man made it mine when he spoke his litany of the psych meds he’d taken. He briefly buries his face in his hands in pained reflex, and I hear, muffled, “mental illness” and “a lot of depression.”… [coming soon]
28 May 2017
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Jeff had warned me that he’d convene Burning Day on the first sufficiently windless weekend before his burning permit expired. It wasn’t a threat, of course, but notification that the decade-old… [more]
20 April 2017
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Gold Watch
My barber admits he’s tired. His quote retirement unquote has been to work four days a week instead of six, and now he’s cutting down to three. It’s his first day back after a couple… [coming soon]
05 January 2017
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I ease like a sardine into the last empty chair in Dr. X’s waiting room and kiss my chances for a quick in-and-out visit goodbye. The television is dead—a sign, if ever there were one, that… [more]
30 July 2016
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Westbound on the Mass Pike, with Cheryl and friends of ancient standing, I’m destined for a vacation at a woodsy cottage in the Catskills. It will be an indulgent luxury, and my anticipation is compounded with the joy… [more]
22 July 2016
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I spend most of my time in the air like a hover-fly—as you will gather from its name, hovering—motionless for as long as I please observing a scene from my life before snapping to the next. Hover-flies do not so much fly as… [more]
17 May 2016
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The maples are full-fledged. The oaks aren’t far behind, and they’re already fueling the gentle patter of caterpillar frass on my car roof. Roadsides burgeon with celandine and yellow rocket, augmenting the initial explosion… [more]
25 March 2016
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To augment my blathering small-talk about how getting older beats the alternative, I offer another cliché: there is no free lunch. Because we old guys know so much and have such vast… [more]
06 December 2015
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I scored a moment of grace at Costco, an unexpected temporary unraveling of the ligatures that bind us to place and time, all the sweeter for the incongruity of its venue. Having no expectations is a necessary but not… [more]
21 November 2015
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I’ve spent the better part of my life blind to the fine points of our national pastime—more than the fine points. I remember watching baseball after Sunday dinner, on a snowy over-the-air black-and-white… [more]
16 October 2015
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My granddaughters exit their high school and cruise toward my car, slim, poised, and even if you must discount a grandfather’s bias, beautiful. But their faces are immobile, oblivious to the crystalline cloudless September afternoon. Ah, I think,… [more]
05 September 2015
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Cheryl and I honor Uncle Edward for the matter-of-factness, good cheer, and indeed courage with which he faced the greater part of the vicissitudes of his later life—and we smile when we remember Edward, the shoe aficionado. He grew up in… [more]
10 August 2015
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Halfway through my seventh decade I realize I have gained in modesty, at least in the sense of exposing skin. It is partly because I have a clearer vision of my nerd body’s attractiveness. My face is a thing of… [more]
14 July 2015
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With spray paint and testosterone-enriched brutishness kids emblazon their noms de guerre on boxcars and buildings, indeed on anything conspicuous and approximately flat… [more]
27 June 2015
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It’s a Saturday of picayune irritations followed instantly by small jewels of compensation. On the way to my afternoon walk at the Attleboro commuter rail station both lanes yield to… [more]
08 June 2015
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Dad squandered no time trying to teach me how to throw a football or hit a baseball. That would have been heartbreaking for us both, and for similar reasons. He taught me how to… [more]
28 May 2015
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This was the year Uncle Russell no longer had the wherewithal to make his annual Memorial Day pilgrimage to place flowers on the family graves, and this was the week Cheryl moved him to a… [more]
19 February 2015
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Decades ago, so desperately did I desire to be immortal, I would fantasize about joining the undead. Endowed with the supernatural powers of the best-selling fictional vampire… [more]
02 January 2015
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During our drive to Hull Cheryl spots six hawks on the interstate in quick succession, perched in low trees in the median. Even without inspecting their entrails this… [more]
Ripples
16 February 2017
Odds are I’m waking. Borborygmi and crows started it. My subconscious flashes a crossword answer. Snow-melt drips off the eaves. Cheryl’s voice drifts from the other room; the phone eats her actual words. Memory slithers into my bed and ejects me: sinuous tendrils of coffee volatiles snaking out of grinders in the second New Public Market, while Grammy does her week’s shopping. I grind beans, and coffee will be mine.
Appetite
04 August 2016
Urged by novelty, I dispatch my Caesar salad anchovies. Oatmeal bread carbonizing in the toaster synergizes with Italian-roast coffee. Cheryl avers that my salivary glands clench when she utters “calzone and chardonnay” to me: how promiscuous are appetite’s triggers. My cardiologist assures me that a navel to shoulder to elbow bruise is normal—I devour watermelon, native tomato, and curried shrimp with obscene gusto.
Polyglot
18 May 2016
What a glorious time to be above ground. My great-granddaughter is a month old. Political spectacle to die for. Morning coffee. Spider in my cup, but smallish. Dead, and I saw him before I poured. Yesterday afternoon, because I’m the center of creation, I heard a mockingbird’s stylized rendition of a wood thrush, and that evening I heard the magical prototype. Today he mimicked a killdeer. I know what happens next.
Details
27 February 2016
Another year of the ordinary and inevitable: changes, endings, beginnings. Incompetence, corruption, poor decisions. Pain, suffering, and death. Yet I celebrate, because I must, the small miracles, one-offs and recurring. Kindness from a happy man working for City Hall. Warmth from February sun; year’s first red-winged blackbird. A waitress with unfathomable dexterity tying her apron strings in a bow behind her back.
Rookie Mistake
05 December 2015
Santa-hatted young couple walks to their car. He says, “I’m so bored with everything in life,” all faux world-weariness edged with drama. I’m judgmental: he’s self-absorbed, bereft of soul and wit, bankrupt. As my irritation and impatience subside, I settle on misdemeanor callowness. She says, “Everything-everything? Forever and ever?” She’s not liking how this might go. I don’t think he’s going to get lucky tonight.
Nor Custom Stale
19 October 2015
One joy of grandfatherhood is teaching your grandchildren about your favorite things, thereby making the old new again, and sometimes making aficionados in a new generation: riding a bicycle, melting pennies with a propane torch, Thai yellow curry. This, of course, gets harder as the kids gain experience along with age. I suspect the grandson in Marine boot camp will soon outgrow my finite capacity to supply novelty.

More shorts…

Links

My Photographs

The Eyes of Old Man Scanlon

Journals

7x20 (Seven By Twenty)

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The Adroit Journal
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Apeiron Review
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Apocrypha and Abstractions
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Cicatrix Publishing
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Cleaver Magazine
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Cuento Magazine
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Ellipsis Zine
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Entropy Magazine
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escarp
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FictionDaily
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Foliate Oak Literary Magazine
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Front Porch Review
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Gravel Magazine
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Hippocampus Magazine
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Jellyfish Review
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land that I live
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Otoliths
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Philly Flash Inferno
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Prick of the Spindle
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Prime Number
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Red Fez
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Rose Red Review
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Sabotage
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Sleet Magazine
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Spelk
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Spry Literary Journal
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Star 82 Review
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Stymie
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Three Line Poetry
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The Vignette Review
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Vine Leaves Literary Journal

Journals, defunct after publishing (or accepting) my work

Journal of Microliterature

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The Montucky Review
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5x5
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Short, Fast, and Deadly
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BluePrintReview
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Feathered Flounder
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Y’all’d’ve
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Thickjam
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High Coup Journal
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Trachodon
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Caper Literary Journal
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Tiny Lights
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Barefoot Review
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Camroc Press Review
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Writers’ Bloc (Rutgers)
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The Writer’s Eye Magazine
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Barrier Islands Review
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The Literary Burlesque
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Magnolia’s Press
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Sea Stories

Bookstores

Providence, RI: Cellar Stories Bookstore

Attleboro, MA: Ugly Dog Books

Falmouth, MA: Eight Cousins