Here’s the first page or so of the second new short story I’ve written recently. Secrets
Rob woke abruptly, breathing fast. For the past few days he had been experiencing audio dreams, hearing people’s desires. He recognized a few of the voices, tenants of the complex, relatives, friends. Had they all read Rhonda Byrnes’ The Secret? He’d found a copy in the lobby one night amongst books discarded by someone who was moving away, a frequent practice in the building. Ever since he’d finished it and began what seemed a silly daily litany, he would swear he’d become part of an exclusive mental network. He was asking the universal source to fulfill his wishes, even though he had abandoned prayer in his youth. He had never been an atheist, as it seemed to make more sense that life had been created rather than it having arisen from nothing. He just didn’t believe that whoever or what had created life interceded in human affairs. He was certain prayer was futile. He was far from an intellectual, but he wasn’t stupid. He needed no more proof that God was neutral or indifferent than the terrible diseases that afflicted unlucky children. He supposed that was simplistic, but he lacked the acumen to convince himself otherwise. He thought the belief in an afterlife was merely the ego’s denial of death. The idea that one was energy to be absorbed into the universe did not appeal to him. He liked being an individual.
As he imagined Josie cooking scrambled eggs and bacon, his eyes were forced shut by pain. The anniversary of her death had just passed.
Before leaving the one-bedroom apartment, which he’d bought after selling their house at a substantial profit, he asked the source for the same things he did each day: a grandchild and the end of his bitterness and anger. He was sure it was hopeless. Even if the secret were genuine, the source knew he was not a true believer, and that would surely negate any effect his pleas might have.
And now he had the wants of others rattling around his brain. He wondered if it were evidence of schizophrenia, although there was none in his family history. Then again, there had been none of cancer in his wife’s, and she was taken at 38. How he missed that sweet soul, gone ten years. He was 50. The thought of mental illness scared the bejesus out of him. Had the decade of gloom finally sent him over the edge?
As he pushed through the lobby door, he encountered an attractive, short-haired woman smoking a cigarette. They greeted each other with a smile, as they did most days. She had a nasty cough that did not seem far from emphysema. He was tempted to suggest vaping, but decided against it, as she certainly knew of its existence. Hers was one of the voices he heard, asking the source to rekindle her husband’s desire. They had at least one child, a teenager.
As he walked to the train station he heard a woman’s voice say: “I want to believe in the secret, the law of attraction. Please help me stop drinking.” A man thought: “Please let the deal go through and I’ll never ask for anything again.”

Troubling excerpt from a nypost.com article attributed to AP, more evidence that America is deteriorating: “Tennessee fans pelted the field with objects. Tennessee’s cheerleaders, dance team and band were ordered out of the stadium and police cleared the student section.” The Volunteers lost to Ole Miss. The objects included golf balls. This a day after a creep shot five people at a high school game in Alabama.

I believe people should be free to donate as much as they want to politicians, who will never get a dime from me, so I’m not troubled that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg may have spent as much as $419 million to get Quid Pro Joe elected. If the money went to voter fraud, that’s the fault of campaigners.

Also from NYP: “A renowned professor at the University of Michigan was replaced from a class he was teaching for showing the 1965 film Othello, starring Laurence Olivier in blackface.” Here’s a pic. I don’t care if it offends you:

I got lucky with parking beside the bank and had plenty of room to spread out the wares on this gorgeous day. My thanks to the woman who bought four books in Russian, and to the gentlemen who purchased six and the American Heritage ESL Dictionary; and to the young woman who took home A Moveable Feast: Life-Changing Food Adventures Around the World by Don George; and to the middle age woman who selected the DVD of The Best of Adam Sandler from SNL.

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.