Present Ghost

Telling stories


New York

The Appraisal


At Central Watch, a woman with silver hair waited. Her red pill box hat capped her bob and accompanied her wool camel coat well. She had been wearing this outfit, or something like it, for at least 50 years. It looked good, even when she had started to shrink and her voice had begun to lose its easy, youthful volume. She stayed warm on her way to Grand Central.
When the clerk had taken my cash and returned my watch, she spoke.

“Excuse me, sir.”

From her leather tote she pulled a watch so bedazzled that the diamonds caught the light and broke it across the room in a thousand glamorous fractures. Certainly, it was meant for more than a timepiece, but it was more luxurious than jewelry.

Holding it a full arm’s length in front of her, she started again, “Do you know anything about this watch?” Continue reading “The Appraisal”



The driver’s side door of the limousine burst open. In tuxedo and top hat, the driver exited the car and stood on 5th Avenue facing his employer still in the back seat.

“You never give me the Christmas, or the vacacion,” he said. He never raised his voice above cool resolve; he stated facts. Then he slammed the door, leaving his post and the car running as he walked north toward the New York Public Library.

For a few minutes, the limousine idled on the street as traffic passed. When the back door finally opened, a man in a trench coat stepped out. He was beyond middle-age, balding, and stunned. Without his chauffeur, he returned to the car, this time — and maybe for the first time in a long while — to drive and not to ride.

Where I shouldn’t be


They asked me if I were lost, but I was only running. When I told him I’d just moved here, he shrugged his shoulders, welcomed me to the neighborhood, and told me where to find food if I wanted it.

After stepping inside the the bakery he suggested, I asked the time, and the worker shook her head. Unprepared and out of breath, I stumbled through questions about the pastries in the case.

She pointed to the big, fried sphere on the top shelf.

“Cheese ball.”

Embarrassed about how much I’d forgotten, I thanked her and excused myself, backing out of the store. I told her I’d return later.

Continue reading “Where I shouldn’t be”

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