The Appointment

Monday, September 19, 2011 9:21 PM By crosswaysnet , In

- Bookrix 2012 Flash Fiction 3rd Place Award!

- NPR Weekend Edition "Three Minute Fiction"  Submission, Round 7 -
(Prompt: Submissions must have a character come to town and someone leave town. Each piece of writing has to be read in less than three minutes, so no longer than 600 words.
More info at:

Here's a link to the NPR Round 7 Winners program:

“Jack, did you say? You're probably asking for me. John Wilson. Right there – line number 7. What's that? No, sorry, don't know him. Not personally, anyway. He disappeared about 6 months ago, from what I've heard. The same day I arrived in town, as a matter of fact.

“I look a lot like him? Yeah, I get that a lot. That gets pretty annoying sometimes, let me tell you! By all accounts he was a loser. How do I know? I looked into it a bit. He had the same dead-end job for 25 years. Nervous, hypertensive type. Didn't have many friends. And those he did have were anchored to the same row of barstools every night.

Falling Forward - 9/11/11

Sunday, September 11, 2011 7:27 AM By crosswaysnet , In ,

Pillars of Smoke and Fire
Unprepared sacrifices seized
Thrown on raging altars
An offering undemanded
Souls unwilling hurled Heavenward

Our Standard and Shield
Pierced by fresh transgression
The perimeter torn and ragged
A fiery incursion
The general's tent aflame

The Union soil bereft
Bears the final hammer blow
Travelers in a moment warriors
Stop assaults at rolling ramparts
The wound a field of heroes

A battleground around, within
Nowhere to turn from sorrow
A 'we' deformed, defined by mourning
A generation born of widows
Ten years witness - still the silence thunders


Monday, August 29, 2011 3:09 PM By crosswaysnet , In

The flesh under the hole in Akil’s shirt was burning. Literally. He rolled to the ground to smother the phosphorus ember. He ripped off the night-vision goggles and blinked hard from the flash and now the total darkness. 

“Ten, Akil. You have ten seconds. Get to the trigger.”

The voice crackled in his right ear. The one that could still hear. He still couldn’t see.

“Eight... Seven...”

Akil could make out a green blur next to his face. The goggles were blinking back to life. He grabbed them and held them to his face with his bleeding left hand.  He swung up his head to see the green blaze of gases still heating the atmosphere around him.


There. The trigger. The switch to end it all. Still mounted on the fake mailbox. One of seven placed among the districts of Gaza and the West Bank. Yawm al-Qiyāmah has come. Al Dajaal almost deceived them all. The self-proclaimed peacemaker had united Palestine. Made Peace with the infidel. And what did it bring? This. Surely he had to die. It had been spectacular. The Sons of Mercy had dealt the blow as the devil signed away their destiny. His blood for the blood his pen would spill. Alas, it mingled with the blood of the Israeli devil. One bullet; two hearts. Not intended, but a fitting end to the both of them.


Death Mocks Her

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 1:25 PM By crosswaysnet , In

"Doom am I, full-ripe, dealing death to the worlds, engaged in devouring mankind." Lord Krishna

For two cycles now, Katniss Everdeen has stared straight into the maw of death… and let it consume her. There's only a shell left, yet this irrepressible teen has become immortal by becoming the dealer of death. "I’m running on hate. When the energy for that ebbs, I’ll be worthless," she groans. At first she had to kill to survive. Now she must hate and kill to survive. What kind of survival is this? It's not. And to think, all she ever wanted was to settle down and spend her years angst-ing over which high school crush to marry. Well, dear soul-weary reader, if you've persevered with her this far (and millions have) there's no choice but to see her through until she flames out and rises from the ashes.

Twice Around the Sun

Saturday, August 13, 2011 12:00 AM By crosswaysnet , In ,

Today my new morning dawns
I am alive to see it.
A hazy white above
A summer's burn below
Wisps of coffee steam
Now rise within my grasp

The Island of Misfit Troikas

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 10:21 PM By crosswaysnet , In

Katniss Everdeen has a problem. Everyone who admires her wants her dead. Everyone who loves her soon will be. So what's a girl to do? Fight like Hell. It's all fatalist frustration, because she just can't seem to die. And it's not for lack of trying.  She's determined to see her one and almost love survive another round of sporting mayhem if it kills her. Unfortunately, it doesn't.

The Hunger Games have become the Hungrier Games. The unprecedented happens. The victors of previous Hunger Games must square off to appease the Hunger Gods one more time as they luxuriate in their plush vomitoriums. They're getting dyspeptic and a tickling feather won't help. Rebellion is ravaging the slave districts like a cruise ship virus. And it's putting a dent in the Capitol's menu. Used to satiating every gluttonous pang, the grumbling of a million starving bellies has become an annoyance that surround sound and 3d special effects can't drone out.

Darker by Day

Monday, May 16, 2011 12:45 AM By crosswaysnet , In ,

Welcome to the Heart of Darkness. Only this darkness has no heart. It's lit with high-watt tungsten - camera ready. It comes with a cast of thousands, and thousands more to do their hair, nails and wardrobe. Live from the Capitol! It's Running Man 24/7 on every network!! You can't miss it! By law you may not avert your eyes. Let the killing of children begin! Better yet - we'll have the children do the killing!!

The most sinister Stephen King novels are set in broad daylight. The Twilight Zone episodes that linger in your mind for years were more 'zone' than 'twilight.' So it is with The Hunger Games. Yet this is no allegory or cautionary tale - at least not in a way accessible to young minds. In the adrenaline-doused diary of Katniss Everdeen, it's a present progressive universe. More unrelenting than urgent. We're stuck in the unending infinitive. How else is a teen girl to document her own demise? the world she observes is all objects to her gerunds. She's 16 years old and there's nothing sweet about it. It's all acid, bile, blood and burning. She's the noble savage and coy flirt. Sounds a lot like High School. The only relief is a twitching retreat into your own troubled dreams.

The Nail

Saturday, April 23, 2011 2:19 AM By crosswaysnet , In , ,

The man pushed up against the nail as long as he could stand the pain, pressing the palm of his foot more firmly into the splinters of rough wood behind it. His calves burned. God how they burned. His chest leapt to force in the air one last time before collapsing along with his knees. The burning began anew in his wrists.



“Where’s Joshua?” His mother asked, handing the sack filled with lunch to her husband.

“Down at the shop. Why?”

Joseph stooped to grab the sack and sneak a peck on Mary’s cheek.

“You left him there with your tools out? He’s seven years old!” There was a little alarm and scolding in her voice.

“Really? You’re worried? Has he ever climbed up and grabbed a tool without permission? Come, woman.  Your son’s practically Noah in his obedience. He’s in one of those trances of his, anyway, studying something new on the bench.”

“What is it this time?” She asked.

“A nail,” he replied. “The Legate wants that Roman-style table done by Shabbat.” Most of his work was done the traditional way, but this official wanted his table built in the Roman way, slammed together with iron pins. They had fascinated Joshua. Perhaps he’d never seen them before.

What's so 'Good' about 'Good Friday?'

Friday, April 22, 2011 10:04 AM By crosswaysnet , In ,

"...always be in a state of readiness to be surprised by God. Why not, since He is everywhere, and our inability to see Him is more a factor of our not seeking Him than anything?"   John Fischer

"Then Jesus said "When you should be exalting Me, you will 'lift Me up' instead. Only then will your hearts be pricked enough to admit that I am the One; that I do nothing out of selfish ambition; that I simply brought the God-breathed Truth to you."   John 8:28 TDG

God's intention, plan and action are always genuine surprises. Is it any wonder? He is so unlike us in so many fundamental ways. Yet His surprises are always good . Not of the 'pleasant happenstance' kind - but rather of the world-shattering, foundation-shifting, terrible, heart-crushing, beautiful holy sort.

On Good Friday God executed judgment on Sin once for all, meting out on His own flesh the penalty of all. He experienced death. He became fully human. With all its loneliness, guilt, shame and despair.


And forever.

Surprising, isn't it?