Below are a list of John Picard's short stories published online. Click on the story to read continue reading.
Buck is trying to get his fifteen year old to do his homework.
“The first thing to do is set a goal for yourself.”
“Dude!” Eddie hollers over the music blasting into his headphones. “It’s not a goal. It’s an assignment.”
“All right, an assignment,” Buck says, practically shouting to make himself heard. “An oral report on any subject of your choosing, according to your syllabus. Begin at the end,” he adds, using one of his favorite coinages. “Envision the completed project.”
Hobert - "Tattoo"
Suzanne is driving with one hand on the wheel and the other holding her phone open to Google Maps. Taped to the sun visor is a photograph of her two cats.
“I hope you’re prepared for a bit of pain,” I say.
“This girl in one of my classes just got one. She said it’s a different kind of pain. It hurts for awhile, then you get used to it.”
“That’s different all right.”
There was rain in the forecast, a ninety percent chance. Jenny knew this because the weather report was the first thing she looked at when she brought the paper in. If she needed further proof, the sky was a slate-colored dome, the air heavy with moisture.
Juked - "Oswald: The Musical"
Act I. Open with a chorus line of high-stepping Jack Rubys in characteristic Jack Ruby garb—dark suit and tie, white shirt, short-brimmed fedora. As they exit Lee walks on singing an ominous minor-key variation of Tony’s “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story.
She could be sitting up in bed, studying her lines; she might, at any moment, fling off the covers and pass by the window in stunning silhouette. She doesn't. But thirty minutes later I'm still watching when the light goes out. I am close enough to see all of the horseshoe driveway. The gate is locked, of course, but there is no one around. It couldn't be quieter....
“Where’d you learn to crank like that?”
“Where’d you learn to put that kind of spin on the ball?
“I don’t know. It just seemed the optimum method for knocking down pins.”
I’d been at the other end of Lucky Strike Lanes, drinking Early Times from a paper bag and feeling sorry for myself.
I was going to be fired. Why else would the general manager call me into his office? I sold fewer rooms than the other reservation clerks. I’d once been reprimanded for not pushing the higher-priced rooms. When management wanted to move me to the front desk I’d turned them down. But that wasn’t it.
“YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS,” Father said.
Roger, Father’s young friend and fellow adventurer, stepped into the tent. “Are you two fighting?”
“Jane says she won’t be returning to the States with us.”
“She intends to give up everything for this . . . ape-man.”
“The same man who kidnapped you?” Roger said to me. “The same man who took you against your will to his jungle lair?”
“Yes,” I said. “The same.”
In 1982, while shaking hands with Amiri Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones), I told him how much I enjoyed a production I’d seen years before of his controversial, award-winning play, Dutchman. A short man with bits of gray in his close-cropped hair and intense sad eyes, Baraka thanked me in a barely audible voice, then blinked and looked away...
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When Jenny imagined her father’s death, she’d always pictured Rob standing next to her, ready with a hug and a comforting word...
Green Mountains Review – "Neighbors
It was one o’clock in the morning and I was driving out of town with a man I had only known for ten minutes, contemplating running a red light or exceeding the speed limit to attract any police cars that might be around...
Rumpus – Elk
Jenny hadn’t wanted to come to the cemetery. She appreciated the significance of her and Karen visiting their parents’ gravesite for the first time since their father passed—effectively orphaning them—but after only a day with her sister and brother-in-law she felt more fragile, shakier, than when she arrived, not nearly up to standing over the bodies of her deceased parents...