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Writer & Historian

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The Last Uncle and Other Stories

December 15, 2010

A collection of stories about family life

Francisus Verzuh, sitting, is my grandfather.

This collection of stories was inspired by some personal experiences and reminiscences, but I’ve taken every liberty available to a writer to embellish, transform and generally fictionalize the events described. They are largely experimental stories, efforts to learn more about the short story form and try to make it work. These versions of the stories show some improvement over the original attempts. I’m still adding layers,  developing characters and sorting out plotting devices. As with all my stories, these are meant to be fun and to transport the reader into my world for a few moments. Here is a sampling.

The Last Uncle

We we’re hunched over a glass-topped coffee table looking at a school photograph of my Uncle Earl’s Grade 12 graduating class, at least that’s what he said, but I don’t think he made it that far in school.  He was squinting down at the photo a puzzled look on his wrinkled old face. “He’s dead,” he finally said. “She’s dead. Him. Him. Her. Him. They’re all dead.” After each brief declaration, each affirmation of a spent life, he seems to look up into his head as if to check the death count on some cerebral abacus.

The Last Uncle – Feb. 4, 2013

Morphine Dreams

It was hard to know whether the old man was dead or alive. He had stopped breathing again, no doubt about that. It was the third time since they wheeled my gurney past him and parked me close to the window in the semi-private ward. Our temporary digs: Room 7114, Beds 1 and 2 of the hospital’s Wing 7 East. This was to be my home for the next five restless days and four long morphine-soaked nights. “Howie. That’s what people call me,” groaned the old-timer as the nurses danced around his bed. Ah, so he’s alive. Not his turn to go. I wondered if he was afraid. I know I was.

Morphine Dreams – Feb. 4, 2013

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