Tuesday Apr 23

PaulBeckman Paul Beckman was one of the winners in the 2016 Best Small Fictions with his story Healing Time and his 100 word story Mom’s Goodbye was chosen as the winner of the 2016 Fiction Southeast Editor’s Prize. His stories are widely published in print and online. Paul lives in Connecticut and earned his MFA from Bennington College. Find his published story website here  and his blog here.   

Block Party

The Laurel Street Block Party (between Cactus and Thornberry) will be held on the last Sunday of July. Even numbers check in with The Hagen’s (104 Laurel) and odd numbers contact the Levine’s (115) to make arrangements. 

Due to some miscommunications, misunderstandings, and just plain not adhering to the rules from last year please read, sign, and give this to your contact person.

  • There are no guests from other blocks allowed. This includes you: Smiths #114, O’Malley #121, Simkin’s #110. You all invited either you kid’s friends or your own friends last year and it won’t be tolerated this year or any year in the future.
  • If you sign up to bring a dish—e.g. Wolcott’s were supposed to bring two large watermelons—sliced and chilled in trays of ice. They brought two cantaloupes and plopped them down on a table—unopened for someone else to handle.
  • The rule on leftovers is that each family can take back anything they brought that’s still out when the party ends at 8p.m. Michaels—your kids made a half dozen runs between 5 and 6 bringing food, (namely brownies, blondies, chocolate chip cookies, two peach cobblers, and a fruit bowl) back to your house. And, you never returned the Tupperware or plates.
  • There will be no spiking of the volleyball—got that Chuck and Bud? This is a family friendly block party and the games are games not battles. Anyone causing a bruise or laceration will have to sit out all of the games this year and next. No excuses about not knowing your own strength, Mary Helen and Bea.
  • The neighborhood meeting to discuss the block party is mandatory and will be the last Wednesday in June at The Hagen’s #104. The Hagen’s have generously offered to grill hot dogs and hamburgers for all. Hempstead’s, Sherman’s and Ladd’s bring the dogs and burgers. Todd’s and Lowery’s bring the buns and condiments.
  • There’s always the issue of family guests and due to the Francisco’s #109 combining their annual cousins club with the block party and having over 30 Francisco’s we shouldn’t have to say this but NO, you can’t do that ever again. (What were you thinking?) There’s a limit of 2 family members that don’t live in your house.
  • Coach Lester will be in charge of kid’s games that will run until five and his wife, Mrs. Coach Lester, will be in charge of the adult games.
  • We need a volunteer for the two punch’s—spiked and virgin.

                                                                Block Party Notice #2

This is an All Call re the proposed Laurel Street Block Party (between Cactus and Thornberry). Due to inappropriate behavior and comments from Chuck, Bud, Mary Helen, Bea, the Michael’s, the Smith’s, the Simkin’s, Wolcott’s, and those cowardly anonymous neighbors who egged the Hagen’s and Levine’s house, spiked volley balls and threw bocce balls through the Hagan’s and Levine’s family room sliders, brought their dogs by to crap on the Hagen’s and Levine’s front lawns, and left those fowl notes and dirty pampers in the mailboxes of the Hagen’s and Levine’s and had their kids threaten the Hagen and Levine kids we are calling off the Laurel Street Block Party (between Cactus and Thornberry).

I just want to say it’s a shame that a few can ruin a long-standing tradition for the many. We all know who you ruin-ers are. You were all caught on our security cameras and we will be showing these videos at sunset on the night the party was supposed to take place. The viewing will be projected on a king-sized sheet on the Hagen’s front lawn and people are expected to bring their own chairs. Odd number houses bring cold drinks and even numbers bring snacks. There will be porta-potties and garbage cans set up and we encourage the use of both. (remember the security cameras).

                                                               The Mistake Was Made

My father had one big hand and one regular hand. His right arm was massive with muscle and his left spindly and weak. His right leg was ribboned with tendons and muscles and his left was only his left.

He beat me often but always with the weak arm, small hand and kicked me with his regular leg. However, he threatened me with his muscular side often and told me I didn’t want to chance pissing him off that much.

After the accident at the mill, he could no longer pull green chain and took the demotion to office work. He disliked me even more when I dropped out of high school and took his place in the mill. They put me on 20 foot 4x4s my first six months and then moved me to 2x10s. When I switched to the 2x10s I switched sides and unlike my father I had no weak or soft side but was ripped equally.

I was a good worker and they all told me I was better than my old man. He heard them tell me and said he could still kick my ass. I told him that thinking like that wasn’t a good idea and it was time for him to quit hitting the bar after work and yelling at mom.

He said, or what and I gave him a sample of or what. Later, I caught him sneaking around outside my room with an axe and made him pack his cardboard suitcase and leave. Don’t make the mistake of pissing me off and coming back here, I told him. 

We saw each other at the mill but we never spoke again until the one time he showed up at the house drunk and made mom go in the bedroom with him. Big mistake.