Present Ghost

Telling stories



The Sun and His Pants

Photo by Jennifer Aldrich

Now the sun had heard from the singing stars about how his cousin the moon had asked her mother to make her a gown and had been refused. Her mother warned her that there was nothing to fit her figure. For when she was new, the moon was less than a tinder, and when she was full, she was a great shining globe in the sky. So the moon had been hanging in the sky naked and bright throughout all time, exposed every night by the sun’s laughing light.

One night after taking particular joy in embarrassing his kin, the sun decided to see his father, the master tailor, about getting himself a good pair of trousers—just to remind the poor girl of her evanescence. When he asked his father about being fitted for some pants, his father shook his head: “You’re in no better spot than the moon. Though you’re constant, you burn up everything that gets close to you.”

For a while, I wrote fables and fairy tales as a way to unwind. Most, like this one, came to me in dreams. Sometimes I was awake, and sometimes I wasn’t.

The Death of the Princess and the Pea, Part II

Below we have another installment of something written a couple summers ago when creative nonfiction seemed boring and research too consuming. 


Saffi did not speak again before she died. She just sat up straight in that minimal bed. With her last breath, she relaxed against the headboard, and slumped to her left. Harald was sad, but he hadn’t been holding her or watching too closely. He cared—most certainly, he cared.

But if he had held her, he might have seen something undignified. Dead people always mess themselves, and he could not bear to see his mother so debased. So he let her slouch in her bedclothes instead. Calling the maids to his aid, Harald instructed them to wash her and prepare her for the most important funeral since his father had died. Continue reading “The Death of the Princess and the Pea, Part II”

The Gingerbread Man, Part I

Cover by Brock Weaver, 2013. For more examples of his work, visit

Before gingerbread was ever shaped like men, and long before gingerbread boys popped from cookie sheets and ran out the doors of European homes taunting lonely old women and sly foxes, it was baked in the shapes of all the wild beasts on earth—some not seen for at least ten centuries before the very first Christmas. Continue reading “The Gingerbread Man, Part I”

The Conclusion of The Alleyway Parable

The Shoulder

The boy forgot the story after a week passed, but the man didn’t. While he was sleeping, Isaac (the elder) dreamed of scenes with details of the exact color of dust that swept about the corners of the man’s house, and the temperature of the beloved woman’s pale, almost-blue skin on her shoulders. It was not sexual: it was sensual, so he didn’t feel bad when he decided to continue sharing with the boy when he might see him next. He wasn’t some pervert on the streets, after all.

Continue reading “The Conclusion of The Alleyway Parable”

The Alleyway Parable, Installment III


For the next two weeks, the old man named Isaac continued to walk the same route alone. It was already mid-November when he heard the young Isaac’s voice addressing him from a few meters away.  Although he was glad to see the boy again, he relished the brief time he still had to walk alone. It was only a second or two, but in that time, he noticed the weight of his cloak against his skin, the fabric hanging in long, black folds from his shoulders and swinging like dark heavy curtains. The garments he wore scratched against his thin, chalky skin so that when he sweat on his extensive walks, the water soaked right into the cloth, leaving him almost uncomfortably dry. He had never thought about his habit before, and he didn’t have long to think about it before his acquaintance caught up to him.

Continue reading “The Alleyway Parable, Installment III”

The Alleyway Parable, Installment II


The old man stopped walking, and held out his hand for the boy to take, and they shook hands.

“Weird. Isaac’s my name, too.”

“Small world. You know what that means?”

“What, Isaac?”

“Yes. Everyone has a name, and people used to be given names with meanings, sometimes as prognostications—you should learn that word, boy. It’s a good one—and sometimes, it was a reminder of their inheritance or beginning. Isaac just so happens to be—”

“I know. It means ‘laughter’. My mom got me this little plaque when I was a little kid and put it above the light switch in my room. She said it makes sense because I’ve always been a jokester.”

The man paused and pushed his long beard aside so he could rest his hands on his stomach.

“I see.” Continue reading “The Alleyway Parable, Installment II”

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