Category Archives: scenes




She drove home at 4:34 a.m. Pulling up to the curb she could see, through the dark, three cats sitting in the road. Two grey, one black, together forming a large triangle. Startled by the car headlights, a baby possum scurried away into the backyard hedge. As she approached with her camera, only the black cat moved.






© Ruth Ann Scanzillo   8/19/17. All rights of all chapters from the Short Story category, the sole copyright of their author, whose name appears above this line. Be that good person. Thanks for reading. ❤


Spanish Peanuts.



Antonio’s daughter was always the misfit. Squinting, nail biting, and a fixating stare. Dark eyes, the kind that didn’t fit the decor. In junior high, all she’d wanted were knees that didn’t show when she walked, calves that met each other when she stood, and a nose that looked like it belonged to her head. High school was horrid; those must have Ali McGraw hats had made her look like a bowling ball on a stick, and she would never know, until all the vicarious Y-Co dances and even the senior prom had burbled their wake, that her brain was bigger than her face.

But most everything else, she knew. She knew that God had made the heavens and the Earth, that Jesus had died and risen on the third day, and that everybody who went to the Gospel Hall on Sunday and got saved was going to Heaven. She knew who her mother was, and her grandparents, and her two brothers, and all her cousins and aunts and uncles. She knew her father had met her mother on a train and married her, twice. And, above all else, she knew that she was Daddy’s girl.

The drunkard, who could bed her like no other and love even more deeply, was the one. He would appear on the cusp of the sixth decade of her miserable life, right when she was sure that wringing out the rest of it as anything but a spayed hound shape shifting into a human that used to be female just in time to leave the house for groceries was beyond any hope. And, he would tell her. In the midst of a brew-infused gourmet meal of sirloin and cremed spinach, between entree and foreplay, he would bring her the news.

Antonio hadn’t merely been a butcher. He’d been the Man. He’d run the whole city.

Even the cigar store owner, the biggest bookie in the tri-state, had answered to him.

Just what being that Man had meant in her lifetime only the movies could say. Something about broad shouldered henchmen with pea brains, envelopes stuffed with cash, sudden gunfire, and blood, and lone cars bursting into flames by the side of the road.

This was like finding out that UFOs circled the house while you slept. That flies were aliens readying their ranks to magnify for attack. Or, that Jesus was just the son of a Moroccan trapeze artist, marketed to the known world by some disaffected Turk with a hookah and a scribe. No wonder the idea of selling their house after Antonio’s death had left her dry. The Spanish peanuts in their tiny cardboard cannister he’d always hand her through the window of his DeSoto when she was 5, the salt stinging her tender, nailbitten fingers, were mold in her memory now. There was simply no such thing as reality. Now, she was sure.

Yes, now. Now, only Rufus Wainwright could sing “Nuthin’s Gonna Change My World.” The one thing she couldn’t have known at the time was the only truth which remained. Antonio’s daughter could never go home, ever again.




© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  7/6/17    All rights those of the author, whose story it is, and whose name appears above this line.  Be a good person. Yeah, whatever that is.






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Even from the track above her silky voice could clearly be heard, carried away by self-critique, salting the stuffy air more accustomed to beads of human sweat than the constant caption with which she underscored every volley.

In just one full lap, two of their doubles’ foursome had left the gym court. Alone with the man who had been her partner she sat, then, over under the basketball hoop, he in a preferred squat, and segued to conversation.

Her voice was the kind one would associate with a bedside nurse, light, childlike. One wondered if these were born to sustain such tones, or cultivated in families where being unbearably kind was the order. Hers, incongruous with the acoustics inside the gym at the YMCA, a sound unexpected.

Reference was made to the care of an elder, possibly her mother or father, and from the track above she could be seen demonstrating the method by which hers utilized a mobilizing walker, describing its function in detail. The man who had been her partner, from his squatted position, offered well placed affirmations, watching her talk.

She wore grey flared slacks and a light, cream colored knit long sleeved sweater appropriate for office work during the transition from fall to winter; the man who had been her partner was clad in gym shorts and a sleeveless, hooded boat jacket. Her elder was 97 now, she said, and he listened as she expanded her narrative to speculate about what could or could not be expected of someone who had reached such an age. There was so much to say. Was he married?

He was, he said.

Her head bowed slightly, rendering her words less intelligible, and she looked from side to side as she spoke. The man who had been her partner stood. One of them suggested returning to the court. The other obliged.





© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  11/17/16    – All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for the respect. Your volley.

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