fiction author • computer scientist • sometime ai researcher • rock guitarist •

A novelette in four chapters

The Keen Edge

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When the doctor told me that I could probably avoid a liver transplant if I never took another drink, I went straight home and emptied out my liquor cabinet. I wasn’t an alcoholic. I mean, I’d never missed work, never showed up drunk or hungover. I went weeks, sometimes, without taking a drink.

But when I did drink, I could hang with the best of them.

Back in college, on weekend nights when nothing much was going on, I’d stay in my dorm room blasting Crystal Method or KFMDM. Hacking. Drinking. Bourbon and Coke. Maker’s Mark. With practice, I learned…


All his life he walked

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image © 2020 jp fosterson

all his life he walked

to school and home again
from kindergarten on
siblings for protection
then alone
then with high school friends
who stopped for smokes
and space invaders
and tried not to go home

then to the bus
for college
grad school
work again

and now these last ten years
he’s walked the streets
around his house
a hundred streets?
five thousand walks?
two walks each day
at least
seven thousand three hundred walks

the pace was fast at first the dog pulled out ahead new houses going up foundation frame roof siding windows growing filling…


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Photo by Pavel Anoshin on Unsplash

I’m not sure when my dog retired.

Was it before
or after
his eyes and ears got rimed with frost?

I guess it was around the time
he stopped getting up with us in the morning.
Choosing instead
to stay in bed
awhile longer
and get up when he’s good and ready.

Or before he began to hold
that back left foot up off the floor.
Arthritis in the hip.
Or lameness in that ankle
from that infection
all those years ago.

But still he climbs the stairs each day like Kilimanjaro and insists we keep our doors open so…


some dreams come but once

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Photo by Peter Mason on Unsplash

they ring the top of the pit
your tormentors
a faceless jeering mass
veins in their teeth
ready to hurl down upon you
you know not what

like you
cower in the overhanging shadow
out of sight
glad it is not their turn
push you back to the center
when you try to hide

you give up
spread your arms
and lie upon your back
one knee raised
in repose

let me have it

sudden peace fills your deepest
shines out like light
and you know
by giving up
you have become

the crowd…


Modified Photograph

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photo © JP Fosterson 2002

The sun struggles through.
Boats slide down the bay, vanish.
Eight oars pull as one

In the spring of 2002 my wife’s rowing club competed in the San Diego Crew Classic in Mission Bay, San Diego. We planned to make a trip of it, visiting the famous Zoo and other attractions after the regatta was over. This was in the time of rapid improvements in digital cameras, but before everyone had a high-quality camera on their cellphone. I’d arrived without a camera, and on a whim we stopped at Target and I picked up a midrange Canon point-and-shoot.

We arrived…

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