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Mar 05, 2014

Toxic #6: If You’ve Seen One Alley, You’ve Seen Them All

I was on a street corner waiting for the light to change, freezing my butt off and soaked to the bone. My coat was in my locker at school because I’d been too busy thinking about werewolves to remember to grab it. In my defense, I hadn’t expected it to be thirty-five and sleeting. I […]

Mar 05, 2014

Toxic #5: Puberty And Full Moons Don’t Mix

      “Toxic Cinema, #156 – Puberty and Full Moons Don’t Mix” Tonight we’re talking about “Ginger Snaps,” a little film from 2001 about suburban Goth girls with a death wish and menstrual problems. Seriously, why do writers insist on tying that time of the month to girls getting eaten by monsters or transformed […]

Mar 04, 2014

Assisi & Brannan #6: Grease Monkey

When I was in Hong Kong, Sam’s family moved into the same building where my family lived. He and my brother, James, attended the same missionary school and soon became inseparable. They played football after school in the field nearby in the evenings. It was strange at first to hear the light-haired, grey-eyed boy speak […]

Mar 03, 2014

Anchors No More #7: Where We Find Ourselves

Their cell was cold and the vomitish mint green color of the concrete walls did little to improve their state of discomfort. Holly stared at the floor, hovering on the precipice of tears since they were locked in the small holding room five hours earlier. Her sorrow was not due to the more obvious factors, […]

Feb 26, 2014

Toxic #4: How to Make Friends in Twenty Words or Less

The girl I pegged as the leader had dyed black hair like satin, and nails so perfectly manicured they had to be fake. She was perched on a stool staring into a compact, a pile of makeup spread out on her lap. The girl on her left looked like Pippi Longstocking might have if she’d […]

Feb 26, 2014

Toxic #3: Dementia: Not Just a Problem for the Living

Fall, Ithaca, NY Art was my last class of the day. It had been an okay first day – the classes weren’t any worse than the ones at my old school, at least – but I was so ready for it to end that I wanted to poke my eyes out with a pencil. Spending seven hours […]

Feb 25, 2014

Assisi & Brannan #5: The Problem With Reading Your Own Story

Reading your own words in print should be an exhilarating occasion. There used to be a phrase in Hong Kong, when I was growing up, “Let’s be happy together.” “Happy” was the only English word in the Chinese sentence. I am not happy now. Not one little bit. The headline reads, “Local Woman Missing after […]

Feb 24, 2014

Anchors No More # 6: Of Frying Pans and Fires

Lieutenant Vanderhoff leafed through the two notebooks, understanding nothing within them except for the fact that it was what he was looking for. The equations, the figures and schematics, it was all beyond his training, but that’s why he had a team of theorists, scientists, and engineers under his charge. He was the conductor, they […]

Feb 19, 2014

Toxic #2: When Good Cheesecake Goes Bad

I was screwed, and not in a fun way. Actually, thanks to the ping of rusty metal above me, I was pretty sure I was more than screwed—I was dead. I couldn’t see what had made the noise, but I was betting on it being more vampires. It had been that kind of night. Heck, […]

Feb 19, 2014

Toxic #1: Venti Frappuccinos and Leather Don’t Mix

New York City My Chucks skidded on a mess of pavement. Considering I was running like there were demons behind me that made me about half a second away from breaking my ass. I kept it together, though, recovering my footing with a move that would never be described as graceful. I didn’t care. I […]

Feb 18, 2014

Assisi & Brannan #4: The Cop’s Perspective

Peter Hunter is more reality show chef than a career policeman. He was the first cop I met on the job when I went to the station to get quotes for the story on the fire that had burned down the warehouse on Delaware. We’ve become friends even though we have very little in common. […]

Feb 17, 2014

Anchors No More #5: Nooses Are Made To Tighten

Gary felt that he should respond to the man’s statement, but when he tried, his lips moved impotently, a few muted grunts staggered from his throat. Holly’s eyes darted back and forth, from the strange man to Gary to Restrepo to the man again. “Doctor Vanderhoff, right?” she asked, tentatively trying her own luck at […]

Feb 11, 2014

Assisi & Brannan #3: The Missing Woman

“Did the husband file a missing person’s report?” I ask. “It’s too soon for us to get the public record. Find out when you talk to the police,” he said. “Where do they live?” “They are in San Mateo up on the hill.” “I’ll go talk to Peter,” I made a mental note to check […]

Feb 10, 2014

Anchors No More #4: The Downside of Bewilderment

“Where are you taking us?” It seemed a reasonable question under the circumstances. However, those same circumstances precluded a response. And none came. The guards remained silent as they marched Gary and Holly up the stairs and through the room that had minutes ago been their lab but now stood as empty, cold, and dusty […]

Feb 09, 2014

Castro Bridge Mix #16: Vulnerable

The San Francisco Planning Department “This looks like it could be a drawn out process, Jensen.  There are over thirty petitioners against your proposed remodel.” The city planner had known Jensen Reiser for almost fifteen years. Every time that she thought Jensen had an insurmountable obstacle, somehow her projects managed to squeak through. But this […]

Feb 04, 2014

Assisi & Brannan #2: The Day Job

When I parked my Vespa this morning outside the Bay Area Weekly, it was cold and misty in San Mateo. I’ve been getting to work late for the past week. My strategy is to keep my helmet on and walk past Bruce. Bruce Connelly, editor-in-chief at the Bay Area Weekly, is my boss and he […]

Feb 03, 2014

Anchors No More #3: The Onset of Reality

They stood motionless as they were told, due as much to the shocking uncertainty of the moment as to the explicit command that they do so. They were still catching their breath, regaining their composure from what had just happened minutes before and none of it was making sense. Two pairs of footsteps descended the […]

Jan 28, 2014

Assisi & Brannan #1: The Night Before

If there’s one thing I learned last night it’s that I shouldn’t moonlight anymore. Sam takes one look at my face and tells me I need more sleep. It’s that obvious. A new mother and a senior citizen are not that different—they both need more sleep. Me? I’m neither. I just need more hours to […]

Jan 27, 2014

Anchors No More #2: The More Things Change

Gary struggled to move, squirming, panicked by the sudden awareness that he was trapped, his arms pressed to his sides, bound in some strange substance. He opened his eyes and what he saw did little to ease the immediacy of his anxiety. He was cocooned in an opaque greyish membrane that wrapped around him tightly. […]

Jan 26, 2014

Castro Bridge Mix #15: Body Cards

Under the Old Bay Bridge “You did what you were supposed to do, Adam.” The voice was free-floating through a heavy veil of ruffled fog. An overhead light from the new Bay Bridge illuminated two of the three men slowly traveling in a motorboat under what was original Bay Bridge. What had once been a […]

Jan 21, 2014

Castro Bridge Mix #14: The Contract

Sam’s Grill, San Francisco Jensen Reiser scouted out the small reception area of legendary restaurant Sam’s Grill which dated back to the 1860s. She looked everywhere, but there was no sign of him. Then, just as she was about to leave, she heard her name. “Jensen.” A man’s hand extended out from one of the […]

Jan 20, 2014

Anchors No More #1: The Problem With Decisions

“Should we do it?” Holly looked at him with the same eager uncertainty, “I don’t know, what do you think?” He swallowed, his throat acidic, and he tinkered the switch lightly with a gloved fingertip. Gary hated decisions. They were always so defining. “We kind of have to,” he said, “It’s here. We did it.” […]

Jan 09, 2014

The Advisor #12: Killer Butterfly Spreads

  Tuesday San Francisco, 6:00 PM     Victor bolted up from his wooden swivel chair. It was time to call it a day. Ignatius Rowe felt like a morgue ever since Lucy Mincer’s death. The only upside was that the administration had loosened the screws on the trainees.  But that didn’t last long. He […]

Dec 29, 2013

Castro Bridge Mix #13: One No Trump

SFO Terminal 2 Waffles waited until the last possible moment before arriving at the airport terminal to catch his flight to LA. Somehow, he felt as if part of himself had been hollowed out and left for dead. “Your flight should be boarding any minute. You can proceed through the expedited security area, Mr. Madison.” […]