Read Old Man Scanlon



“Cool Shoes” will appear in Gravel Magazine in December 2015.

“Half Full” will appear in Front Porch Review in October 2015.

“Chopped Liver” will appear in Jewish Literary Journal in March 2015.

“Benched” will appear in Apocrypha and Abstractions in August 2015.

“Route 44” and “Vulture Love” will appear in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine in February 2015.
"Umbrella Man," "What they Heard," and "How they Walked" will appear in Vine Leaves Literary Journal on 17 October 2014.
"Words from Grampa" will appear in Apeiron Review in September 2014.
"Modest Expectations" will appear in Camroc Press Review on 24 September 2014.
Old Man Scanlon is a guest blogger at Literary Labors (and the Occasional Cheese Dip), 10 January 2014.
Interview with Old Man Scanlon at Spry Literary Journal, 20 December 2013.

April 2014 — "Real Time" appears in Front Porch Review.

April 2014 — "Family" and "Heading to Dover" appear in Vine Leaves Literary Journal Issue 10, 2014.

25 March 2014 — "Thaw" appears in 7x20.

05 March 2014 — "Arachnicide" appears in Cleaver Magazine.

08 February 2014 — "Shape-shifter" appears in 50 Haikus, Volume 1, Issue 1.

01 February 2014 — "Before the Bliss" appears in Apeiron Review Issue 5.

01 February 2014 — "Shards" appears in Y'all'd've.

26 January 2014 — "Grand Prix" appears in Journal of Microliterature.

27 October 2013 — "Far Edge of Blue" appears in Sleet Magazine.

24 September 2013 — "Ballistics" appears in Prime Number Magazine.

17 September 2013 — "Hell on Wheels" appears in Stymie.

28 May 2013 — "Simple Pleasures" appears in Issue #2 of Spry Literary Journal.

19 May 2013 — "Three on Top" appears in Journal of Microliterature.

13 April 2013 — "My Little Portagees" appears in Front Porch Review.

13 March 2013 — "Gauntlet on the Ground" and "Eagle Cliff" appear in Camroc Press Review.

12 March 2013 — "Diehards" appears in Stymie.

06 March 2013 — "Nerd at the Window" appears in land that I live.

02 March 2013 — "Trout" appears in Hippocampus Magazine.

21 January 2013 — "Bankrupting the Russkies" appears in Prime Number Magazine.

09 January 2013 — "Fourth of July," "Backlit," and "One Point for Russell" are in Short, Fast, and Deadly.

05 January 2013 — "Evening at East Junction" is in Vine Leaves Literary Journal.

18 October 2012 — "The End of Thrush Season" is up in Journal of Microliterature.

27 September 2012 — "Reward" appears in Thickjam.

22 September 2012 — "Idyll Hoarder" appears in Prick of the Spindle, Vol. 6.3.

03 September 2012 — "Game Time" is up at Stymie online.

20 August 2012 — Shorts. "May Day," "No Contest," "Once More Unto the Breach," and "A Bad Start" appear in Short, Fast, and Deadly.

17 August 2012 — "A Drab and Wretched Afternoon" is in Apeiron Review Issue 1.

20 June 2012 — "Virus" is in Barefoot Review.

11 June 2012 — "Notes on Why I Write" appears in Stymie online.

09 June 2012 — "Books Unread" appears in Feathered Flounder.

19 April 2012 — Shorts. "Vocational Education," "Hectocotylus," and "Camp Myles Standish" appear in Short, Fast, and Deadly.

14 April 2012 — A short "compression statement" is up in Matter Press Blog.

14 April 2012 — "Grampa and the Ku Klux Klan" appears in Front Porch Review.

12 February 2012— "Bingo and the Super Bowl" appears in Stymie online.

19 January 2012 — Shorts. "Little Things" appears in Apocrypha and Abstractions.

19 January 2012 — Shorts. "Thanksgiving" appears in Short, Fast, and Deadly.

15 January 2012 —"Southbound" appears in The Montucky Review.

14 November 2011 —"Surviving the Apocalypse" appears in Stymie online.

26 October 2011 — Shorts. "Wiffle Ball" appears in Camroc Press Review.

23 October 2011 — Shorts. "Cloudburst" appears in i98 of Short, Fast, and Deadly.

23 September 2011 — Shorts. "Regulars," "Drummer Boy," and "Echo" appear in Prick of the Spindle issue 5.3 as "Three Sundays."

17 September 2011 — "Printer's Devil" appears in Trachodon issue 3.

14 August 2011 — Shorts. "Smoke" appears in i88 of Short, Fast, and Deadly.

05 August 2011 — "Sixty-One" appears in BluePrintReview.

31 July 2011 — Shorts. "Power to the People" appears in i86 of Short, Fast, and Deadly.

04 July 2011 — "Derailleur" appears in Stymie online.

12 June 2011 — Shorts. "Children's Hour" appears in Short, Fast, and Deadly, i79.

04 June 2011 — "Attleboro Station" appears in Issue 1 of The Adroit Journal.

21 April 2011 — "Summer Postlude" is in Issue 2 of Philly Flash Inferno.

04 April 2011 — "Bugs" appeared briefly in Issue 7 of Barrier Islands Review, which to all appearances has ceased publication.

29 March 2011 — "Stereotype" appears in Magnolia's Press.

21 March 2011 — "Frog" is up at The Literary Burlesque.

20 February 2011 — Shorts. "Dialogue" is up at Short, Fast, and Deadly.

13 February 2011 — "My Life in Theater" appears in Journal of Microliterature.

01 February 2011 — "Osterville" and "Coincidence" are in Short, Fast, and Deadly's 2010 Anthology.

01 February 2011 — Foliate Oak published "Infernal Vermont" in the February 2011 issue.

31 January 2011 — "Another Solstice" appears in the Twenty-third Flash in the Pan (Tiny Lights online).

30 December 2010 — "August Wanes" appears in Prime Number Magazine.

25 December 2010 — Shorts. "Get a Life" and "Sting" are up at Camroc Press Review.

19 December 2010 — Shorts. "Coincidence" is in i54 of Short, Fast, and Deadly.

11 December 2010 — Shorts. "Tommy" appears in Magnolia's Press.

21 November 2010 — Shorts. "Vulture" is up at Journal of Microliterature.

01 November 2010 — "Cocasset Street" appears in Prime Number Magazine.

29 October 2010 — "Watching Trains" appears at The Writer's Eye Magazine.

13 October 2010 — "Too Much Time" at Short, Fast, and Deadly is the featured Short for October 12 at FictionDaily.

10 October 2010 — "Playing With Matches", orphaned by the demise of the late, lamented Writers' Bloc, appears in Issue 8 of Caper Literary Journal.

03 October 2010 — Shorts. "Too Much Time" is in i43 of Short, Fast, and Deadly.

24 September 2010 — Fall 2010 5x5 is in print, and "Dog Days" is in it.

11 July 2010 — "Sleepers, Awake" appears in the Twenty-first Flash in the Pan (Tiny Lights online).

04 July 2010 — "Karma" appears in the July 4th issue of Camroc Press Review.

14 June 2010 — "Evergreen" appears in Issue 12 (June 2010) of Writers' Bloc.

15 May 2010 — Shorts. "Linotype" first appeared in Issue 22 of Short, Fast, and Deadly.

04 April 2010 — Shorts. "Donald" appears in Issue 17 of Short, Fast, and Deadly.

21 December 2009 — "Early Gift." Also appears in the Twentieth Flash in the Pan (Tiny Lights online).

15 August 2009 — "Jigsaw Puzzle." Also appears in the Nineteenth Flash in the Pan (Tiny Lights online). And yes, there's a typo there in the last word of the penultimate sentence—my fault.

25 May 2009 — "Nirvana." Also appears in Tiny Lights (Vol. 14, No. 2), August 2009, and in the Seventeenth Flash in the Pan (Tiny Lights online).

Older Work

06 December 2015
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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]
06 October 2014
Apparent train-kill, a sparrow lies contorted on the commuter rail platform, only nominally three-dimensional, his days of scavenging fast-food french fries over and done. The soaring… [more]
09 August 2014
Opportunistic stray dragonflies, sometimes nibbling on a hapless bluebottle, alight on me with a rustle while I read and contemplate in my driveway beach chair, resisting… [more]
29 May 2014
Cheryl and I are dreading these last few yards—so easy to know the right thing, so hard to do it. We’re here to pay our respects to an aged friend. We’d had word… [more]
19 April 2014
My job for the last two Passovers has been to make the chopped liver. I had never tasted it, indeed had no acquaintance whatsoever with it except in its rhetorical… [more]
19 February 2014
My ideal visit to the city is get in, deal as quickly as possible with whatever compels me to be here, and get the hell home. Though I hear of people who voluntarily live in cities, there is nothing for me that can make it worth… [more]
22 January 2014
There are words as good as forgotten through disuse and resurrected by chance, words acquired in my fishing days when I had scarcely attained… [more]
23 December 2013
Perusing online submission guidelines, I notice that in plain sight among the calls for fiction and poetry are calls for recipes. I notice, I say, but have given little thought to why we write about food. Maybe it’s just another excuse… [more]
24 November 2013
Stuck in traffic, Cheryl asks, “What’s the longest word you can make from Silverado?” So I’m on it, and we toss words back and forth. She’s a nerd, which will be no surprise if you subscribe to the birds-of-a-feather… [more]
18 August 2013
Twenty or so years ago Disney World introduced me to vultures, for which I thank them. Aside from a poorly-suppressed recurring nightmare starring Space Mountain, that’s all I remember of the whole… [more]
12 August 2013
Movies allow us to perceive discrete static slices of time as a continuous flow, an artifice in which our brain conspires. Slow motion, ubiquitous in sports television, expands… [more]
31 July 2013
An organ pipe mud dauber is building a nest in the ornamental tin-roofed wren house Cheryl hung by the door. I hear her stridulating at her masonry work, and see… [more]
22 June 2013
Midsummer’s day comes with chicory-blue skies. Some fuzzy whiteness down at the horizon means a little humidity, but a fine breeze neutralizes it. Cheryl and I walk our gimpy dogs at the neighborhood soccer… [more]
10 June 2013
Pencil to paper, my grandson copies theorems out of the text-book, the better to cement them into his mind and make them his own. He’s studying for his geometry… [more]
29 May 2013
For love and duty Gram and I went to our twin granddaughters’ final middle school chorus performance. Unlike the interminable ordeal of a dance recital… [more]
21 April 2013
No longer having the excuse of a decrepit dysfunctional aortic valve—I have thus far been unable to exceed modern medical technology’s ability to fix me—I recently rode my bicycle for the first time in two years… [more]
27 February 2013
I never expected to prove my doctors fallible, but I decisively surpassed my prognosis of death by age forty. And as if death could not happen… [more]
16 January 2013
More night-owl than early bird, I have little desire to deepen my casual acquaintance with rosy-fingered dawn. Well after sunrise my morning is supposed to be a time… [more]
28 December 2012
As a new year impends and winter claws its way up its freshly secured beachhead, I could easily do worse than slither into a ratty sweater of a color not found in nature, finish off… [more]
01 December 2012
I was intrigued to find, during some basic genealogical research, that my grandchildren are one-sixteenth Portuguese, and are therefore adequately “ethnic.” In this… [more]
01 December 2012
A haircut, at least after successfully completing the standard long-haired rebellion against materialist bourgeois conformity, can be one of life’s… [more]
14 November 2012
On their first bikes without training wheels, my twin granddaughters raced each other down the street, shouting, pedaling like maniacs… [more]
01 October 2012
The year is 1972, and we’ve pretty much sewn up second place in the Southeast Asia War Games. I’m about to receive my math degree, and with it, relief and a quandary. For four years I’ve been parrying… [more]
12 September 2012
As a nerd I lead, appropriately enough, a binary existence: oblivious to my environment, or gawking freely and unreservedly to provide a never-ending stream… [more]
24 July 2012
Cheryl, to the amusement of our friends, loves to start bemoaning the end of summer as soon as the days first perceptibly begin to shorten, long before Labor Day. This year… [more]
02 June 2012
Just as it was becoming widely fashionable to despise America and flaunt one’s tolerance of Commies, my friend Cav and I engaged in behind-the-scenes operations… [more]
03 May 2012
Some days just can’t be bothered to deal me an idyll with my grandchildren. On the other hand, seldom can I… [more]
26 April 2012
Nearing the end of their annual northward migration to Maine, alligators frolic... [more]
05 February 2012
Like the certainty of being hanged, a heart attack should concentrate one’s mind. Yet I had failed for years to act... [more]
07 December 2011
It’s time to come out. For way too long I’ve tried to cope by means of denial and aversion therapy, but I’ve finally come to accept that it’s genetic, something that I can no more change than my need... [more]
30 September 2011
If the folklore’s not apocryphal, during the war GIs in the ETO used baseball questions when they needed to test the authenticity of any ostensible American who didn’t have the proper credentials. I’d have been shot as a German spy... [more]
11 September 2011
It’s the unofficial end of summer again, the week before Labor Day, the cusp of August and September. Even with herculean effort I can’t summon the cranky and morbid mood... [more]
19 July 2011
I’ve just finished up several days of fighting a virus, if you can call my spineless response fighting. Its fever, cough, and gastrointestinal effects weren’t all that spectacular... [more]
29 May 2011
“Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I demonstrated Arthur Clarke’s Third Law—a couple of years before he posited it in 1973—when I first saw a derailleur-guided bicycle chain... [more]
27 February 2011
For most of the month cardinals and titmice have been singing for their territories, and in three weeks a new generation... [more]
07 February 2011
My son-in-law Jeff invited me over for the Super Bowl, and mentioned that Bingo had died. The news of a family cat’s death... [more]
09 January 2011
As a geek who finds much of human contact enervating, but who has always been well-served by a small talent for manipulating symbols and by dogged... [more]
03 November 2010
Of all the celebrities I've met, including Massachusetts Governor John A. Volpe, Speaker of the House Joseph W. Martin, Jr., Ben & Jerry, Dave Barry, Dick Cavett, and a couple... [more]
03 November 2010
I've completed several pilgrimages to the spiritual center of yankeedom, Vermont, home of Frost, Solzhenitsyn, and THRUSH San Francisco satrap Ward Baldwin. Its culture... [more]
20 October 2010
By the end of August, summer is moribund; by the middle of September, truly done for. Summer the well-beloved is over... [more]
07 October 2010
In the technically truthful but deliberately misleading way that I tell people I worked on Wall Street with a stripper named Agnes... [more]
20 August 2010
In the road near my house lie the bloated stinking corpses of two possums who failed to comprehend the danger behind... [more]
29 June 2010
It's a week past the summer solstice. There's a sense of a year barely under way suddenly being half gone, but no sense yet of it ending, as there is... [more]
13 June 2010
When I was ten I wanted to be a frog. Let me clarify that. I didn't actually want to be one. In school I was forced to choose and... [more]
03 June 2010
I believe it is good manners and good karma to give thanks, explicitly and formally—your choice how and to whom—for the memories... [more]
20 April 2010
One evening at bedtime Dad runs downstairs cradling one of his newborn twin daughters. He trips as he nears the bottom, the baby explodes out... [more]
13 March 2010
New! Improved!
Today, any damn fool can write and publish ephemeral crap on the internet, and spew out butt-ugly pages... [more]
27 February 2010
There are nights to remember, nights to live for. A family wedding on a viciously tropical July night. Supper at the beach, grilled zucchini and... [more]
10 February 2010
I was about six months old when my parents moved to Foxboro, a sleepy Boston suburb known outside of southeastern Massachusetts mainly for... [more]
28 December 2009
I freely confess that the railroad station in Attleboro, Massachusetts is one of my favorite places, though few people would call it beautiful, or even... [more]
13 December 2009
It's the Christmas season, though not yet at the solstice. The sun's going down, temperature is 27 degrees, with a stiffish Canadian wind, and we are not... [more]
29 October 2009
It's no wonder the Prometheus legend endures, when half the world, by virtue of their Y-chromosomes, are firebugs. Fireworks aficionados, backyard... [more]
23 September 2009
I've read—so it must be true—that once upon a time a government career used to be considered gentlemanly and honorable. I myself dimly remember when politicians weren't... [more]
21 September 2009
Grace Bride was my fourth-grade teacher, ancient beyond my young power to reckon age (she was in fact 68). Her twin, Gertrude, inevitably known as Dirty Gertie... [more]
22 August 2009
Goldenrods have been blooming gaudy yellow for weeks, and now asters warn us that summer's almost over. We've had abnormally damp and cool weather through June... [more]
18 August 2009
I'm fond of stereotypes. There are many books that I can and do judge by their covers, preferring to risk missing an occasional gem if I can avoid... [more]
11 August 2009
I'm of an age at which profound and instant pheromonal attraction for the opposite sex—"the zeal of organs for each other," as Joseph Campbell puts it... [more]
15 June 2009
Proust asserted that odors cause flashbacks. My contention that Proust had it wrong—that it's thinking of the past that triggers olfactory... [more]
21 May 2009
What the critics say: "Thought it tried a little too hard to be clever" and "Doesn't say anything important to me."
28 April 2009
Seven o'clock, tail end of a hot April day. Quick survey of the estate: disappointingly scant dandelion crop, but a prodigious carpet... [more]
25 April 2009
It was shaping up to be one of the moments grandparents live for. My grandchildren had heard that their father was getting a flat-screen television, and they were beside... [more]
18 March 2009
One of my grandson's favorite games is to confront me with outrageous Hobson's choices. His latest was "Would you rather be eaten by ants or impaled on... [more]
09 March 2009
For as far back as my memory goes, I'd crane and twist in my seat to look for a train as we passed railroad tracks on family car trips. Later, when I joined a roving gang... [more]
18 February 2009
I was playing one of my grandson's favorite games—with myself, not with him. He hits me with a question, often hypothetical, sometimes as fast... [more]
23 December 2008
It took a minute to dawn on me what a subtle historical sea-change is embedded in this line from an 1844 deed granting property in Massachusetts to my great-great-great-grandfather... [more]
09 August 2008
As my wife, grandchildren, friends, ex-wife, and random people in the street are fond of pointing out, I am a strange man. One of many facts that elicits that observation is... [more]
09 July 2008
Last Thursday, while my cousin and I were having coffee, we happened to talk about sensing the temper of the time and knowing when it was appropriate to pass the baton on to the... [more]
May 2008
It was a bad week. My granddaughter had a sheet of third grade spelling homework on which appeared... [more]