He’d meet you with twinkling green eyes, a smile tugging his lips up, and a hand as large as a baseball mitt. Leaning forward, he’d announce, “Pleased to meet you. Hi, I’m Bent.” He always made it seem like meeting you was a special treat for him.

His full name was Bent E. Thompson. The E. was forever just a letter, and wasn’t fronting a name. A man so tall that he was always stooping through doorways, he’d never been in the military but he was as straight and hard as an iron fireplace poker.

Everyone agreed that Bent was as straight as anyone they’d ever met. Yet, after he passed, his swindles, frauds, and schemes started coming out like roaches sneaking out after the lights are turned off. It paralyzed people with disbelief. “Not Bent. Really? I don’t believe it. I’ll never believe it.”

Yet, the proof kept coming out. Funny enough, though, was the epitaph that Bent himself had chosen: “I’m Bent.”

Everyone was always wondering if it was a confession.


White Hole in Flannel

He’s seven feet tall and chalky white with an unlined face. The sandy hair that’s swept to one side never seems shorter or longer. His eyes are as black and soulless as the eyes I’ve seen on a shark when I was underwater in a cage. They’re eyes that don’t judge or care; they only see.

This is what he is. His long fingers with their trimmed, polished nails lack whorls and ridges. Blinking seems beyond him. Speaking isn’t done, nor is touching. He’s always wearing the same blue jeans, sandals, and black and red flannel shirt. Smiles, as are other expressions, never find his face.

My friend, Emily, calls him a white hole, a person who takes everything in and puts nothing back out. True, except for his piano playing. When he sits and plays, we hear songs that seem to transcend our existence. When he’ll play, what he’ll play, why he play, these things are more mysteries. He shows up, and stands beside the piano until he’s given leave to play. Then he plays, and then he leaves. If we’re fortunate, we’re there to hear.

That’s why I decided that I needed to follow him. I wanted to know where he lives and who he was. It wasn’t my first mistake in life, but it was my biggest.


he’s an edge without a blade

rain without a cloud

a dance without a song

a steak without a knife


he’s a foot without a leg

a beard without a head

pupils without a face

fat without a bone


he’s an object without shape

sweet without taste

sour without texture

swallowed without chewing

spoken without thought

buried without mourning

morning without light


without beans



The Character Dream

Kanrin came to me in my dreams.

Kanrin is one of the main characters in my current work in progress, a series called Incomplete States. I’m editing the last book in the series with dreams of publishing them next year.

I’ve recently been dealing much with Kanrin. A fully-fleshed character who is well-understood, he’s the main character/star of the current chapters being edited and revised. It’s going well, meaning no problems have been discovered.

In the first dream, Kanrin and I were there, and he was talking about his situation. We were outside for this, and I was watching him in profile. The day was late, with night’s purple shades being drawn. A chilly wind and dropping temperatures had Kanrin in a jacket with his hands in his pockets. Wearing a hat pulled low, he was looking out over a rough, rolling green landscape as he talked. Past him in the dimming light were pastures, fences, and stone walls. I don’t know if he was aware that I was there. He didn’t deliver anything that I didn’t already know, but he did put it in some new way.

Awakening, I considered going to the computer and working on the ms. As it was four thirty in the dark and I was still groggy with sleep, I declined and nestled in for more zzzs.

Imagine my reaction when I dreamed of Kanrin again, essentially talking about the same thing that he addressed before. Okay, odd. I must be really into those chapters. Perhaps something bothered my subconscious.

About thirty minutes had passed since I’d awakened from the first dream to when I awakened from the second dream. It remained too early to go to work. I went back to sleep.

Which gave Kanrin a third opportunity to visit me, addressing again the ideas, concept, and story that he’d addressed before.

It was seven thirty when I awoke from the third dream. I got up now, but didn’t go to work. I went into my usual routine of feeding the rug floofs. If whatever Kanrin was sharing was important, I was certain it’d come out when I was editing and revising today.

Got my coffee. Time to write edit like crazy, at least one more time.

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