I wrote a book. THE WILD AND WAYWARD TALES OF TAMMI TRUE. It will be available in late November. Cover design by Paul Milligan. Please spread the word. This book is one of those independent projects that lives or dies based on word of mouth and that pesky social media. I have a little more writing and a little editing left. Nancy still needs to look over everything. April is going to read through it too. I don't have a link for pre-ordering yet, but I will soon. The book will be available on Amazon. And I'll have some copies. We'll try to put together a book signing somewhere.

tammi trueIn the 1960s, Nancy Powell became TAMMI TRUE, the burlesque headliner at Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club. She lived a double life, PTA mom by day and stripper by night. Then Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald and everything changed.

From Catholic school to the juvenile court system, from a noisy club in Dallas to a quiet farm in the country, Nancy’s life is wondrous and wayward, hilarious and heartfelt. Here it is, her world in her own words—in and out of the spotlight, and ready for an encore.

Tammi True bares it all.

“Using the glamorous backdrop of Dallas in 1963, Tammi True brings the truth about Jack Ruby and the JFK assassination to a whole new generation. It is a must read story!” - Katie Dunn, director, producer of True Tales: JFK. 1963. EXPOSED

"Tammi True is the ultimate Texan burlesque queen with big hair and big attitude. Nobody can turn you on and make you laugh quite like Tammi." - Ginger Valentine, co-producer, director of Ruby Revue


Álvaro Eduardo Lemos, a professor in the department of Ethics and Psychology at the University of Buenos Aires, contacted me about creating a Spanish version of ANTIGONE, the comic book by Tom Kurzanski and me, produced by Christian Beranek and Silent Devil. If you want to read Antigone in Spanish, here's a link to the pdf:

It's a Spanish translation of a comic book adaptation based off a modern translation of the ancient Greek tragedy. Such a twisted path. I'm glad his students will be able to enjoy what we've created, and I appreciate all the work Lemos has put into it.

Want to read it in English? Click here and scroll down.


It's a western anthology from Image Comics. It's available for pre-order in the Previews Catalog. It'll be in comic shops on June 19th. And it features a short story by me and Italian artist Luigi Cavenago. I've included a two-page preview of our story "Judge Roy Bean," based on the historical Phantly Roy Bean Junior, an eccentric saloon owner and Justice of the Peace. He would hold court in his bar, occasionally making false accusations against people passing through in order to extort bribes from them. Bean was obsessed with English actress Lillie Langtry. He named the town after her and wrote letters to her every night. To read the entire eight-page Wild West court drama, make sure to tell your favorite comic book shop about Outlaw Territory, Vol. 3.

(click to see the full-size image) preview_outlawterritory




MetroDinerShortStory_150dpiIt's not January. In fact, it's almost March. I know it. You know it. However, the January short story doesn't know about this small inconsistency. I would appreciate if you keep this secret between you and me. The short story thinks it's January, and I don't want it to be any more confused than it already is. Eventually, we'll get caught up. Maybe. We have three short stories left. Then I will start organizing everything for the print edition. This January short story is a little different. I wanted to experiment with telling the story entirely through dialogue. The short story consists of three shorter stories, all organized around a basic concept: two people sitting at a booth, having a conversation. Yes, sorta like Jim Jarmusch's COFFEE AND CIGARETTES. I'm trying something new here, trying to grow as a writer. If you like it, you're welcome. If you don't like it, I'm sorry you've been victim to my explorations.

Oh, and I cannot stress this enough: this short story is fiction. It is in no way based on actual events or actual conversations, because that would be embarrassing. All fiction. All false. I'm totally making up this stuff as I go. I would prefer for you to believe that.

And don't tell the January short story that it's almost March.

Would you like to read this story? For only $10, you too can join the club. Right now, we have 129 subscribers. Here’s a preview of this month’s story:

"Conversations at Metro Diner" by David Hopkins

Mike and his friend Peter sit across from each other. It’s 2 a.m. They’ve been out drinking, not quite drunk, but hazy—if you can make such a distinction. They stopped for coffee and breakfast food before they head home. Mike is restless.

“The grand gesture is dead. It just is.”

“Like flowers and all that?”

“No bigger than that. Grand gestures. You read—what’s that book—with that wealthy dude, and that girl Daisy and those parties—Great Gatsby! You ever read that book?”

“We were supposed to in high school; I never did.”

“Well, it’s a book about grand gestures. The guy becomes a millionaire and throws these ridiculously expensive parties all to impress this girl, and what happens? That girl Daisy stays with her husband.”


“Whatever. The novel has been out forever. Like, yeah, Daisy is married. She has a kid, and a life with this jerk of a husband. Gatsby tries to win her over with money and his grand gestures. Nothing.”

“But she was married. Why would we care about Gatsby?”

“Because the other guy is racist and an asshole. The writer tries really hard to make you hate the husband, Tom, I think.”

“Maybe the grand gesture doesn’t work with married women?”

“Nah. See. Here’s the thing. If Daisy truly loved Gatsby, it would’ve worked. Maybe. But if she didn’t love him, it’s just creepy. If the girl likes the guy, then throwing rocks at her window is endearing. If the girl doesn’t like the guy, she’s calling the cops.”

Would you like to read the rest? You should subscribe. I’ll send you this short story (available in pdf, epub, and mobi formats), the stories from June, July, August, September, October, and December plus a new story every month for the next three months. All artwork by April Hopkins.


6_illustration_lo_resTo my subscribers, I just send the December short story. The files should be waiting in your inbox. So, where did November go? Fear not. There's a reason why the Short Story of the Month Club promises "10 short stories in 12 months." I knew I would need to factor in some "off months" for the occasional delay. November was such a month. It happens. I hope you enjoy this story. "Six Seconds Left" includes some fantasy, some time travel, and some basketball. In case you were curious, Dale Howard is loosely based on Dallas Mavericks point guard Derek Harper and this moment in the NBA playoffs (note the first 30 seconds of the highlight video).

Would you like to read this story? For only $10, you too can join the club. Right now, we have 128 subscribers. Here’s a preview of this month’s story:

"Six Seconds Left" by David Hopkins

On May 30, 1988, on a Sunday afternoon, Dale Howard dribbled out the clock. The entire arena groaned. Coach raised his hands to pantomime, “What the hell are you doing?” Dale was confused. He looked at the scoreboard.

They were tied.

In the fog of the final minute, he thought they were ahead by one point. Didn’t Joe make both free throws in the last possession? For a moment, Dale was mad at Joe. If only Joe had made both the free throws—but no, this was Dale’s fault. Dale Howard did nothing with the ball, and looked like an idiot. He could’ve penetrated for a mid-range jumper. He could’ve passed the ball to Mark, their best shooter, who was wide open. Instead, Dale Howard dribbled out the clock, forcing his team into overtime where they lost the game four and the playoff series.

He didn’t know it at the time, but that season was their best chance for the championship. The next season, key players would be traded. Their promising rookie would be banned from the Association for drug use. The management would set a precedent for bad draft picks and poor planning, tanking the team for the next decade. Dale would leave the Association without having won a championship. He would be known as one of the greatest players to never make the all-star team, and he would always be remembered as the player who dribbled the ball with six seconds left on the clock when he could’ve taken the shot.

In the following years, the press loved asking him about that last possession. It was the only thing they were interested in. Dale, always patient, would explain he made a mistake. He’d tilt his head and shrug his shoulders in an exaggerated fashion to indicate the comical severity of his error. He thought his team was up by one point. He thought Joe had made both free throws. The game had been so close, with so many lead changes. Sometimes players get into a zone, experience tunnel vision, and their mind plays tricks on them.

Fans were a little kinder. They would ask for his autograph or to pose in a photo, then after a minute of conversation they would inevitably venture to those final six seconds. They inquired with such sincerity as if they were the first person to get the real story.

The story never changed. On May 30, 1988, Dale Howard had a chance to win the game, and he didn’t.

Would you like to read the rest? You should subscribe. I’ll send you this short story (available in pdf, epub, and mobi formats), the stories from June, July, August, September, and October, plus a new story every month for the next four months. All artwork by April Hopkins.


April was amused that I was going to write about coffee for a local magazine. "You don't drink coffee," she said.

"I'm not a burlesque dancer either," I said, "but I wrote a feature about one."

If you're curious what a non-coffee drinker would have to say about coffee, my cover story "How a team of experts taught me to tolerate coffee" is now available in the winter issue of Edible DFW Magazine.

I would recommend finding a print version of the magazine. It's widely distributed throughout North Texas (click here to find a copy near you).

I like Edible. The magazine is well-designed with some beautiful photography. They also have a great publisher in Nanci Taylor and a great editor in Terri Taylor--and great people are nice to work with. They seem to like me, so I should be writing more for Edible soon.

The story...

I’ve never understood the appeal. The times I sampled coffee, all I tasted was hot and bitter. My face contorts, my teeth grit, and I involuntarily convulse. My distaste puts me in the minority opinion. It’s more than just a drink. I get that. Coffee’s a ritual, an emotional holistic experience. It’s the most traded commodity in the world, second only to oil.

I’m convinced I just haven’t had the right guidance and the ideal cup of coffee. So, over the course of a week, I met with coffee experts in Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth to educate me on the coffee experience, to see if I could be converted. My education started, appropriately enough, with a school. Continue Reading...


I wrote a story for the Arlington Beat. I'm that cranky old man, shaking his cane at the system--or in this case, two non-intersection crosswalks near Arlington High School.

I’ve repeatedly told my daughter to be cautious while crossing the street. Look both ways. Look again, and then maybe again, just to be sure. “Better yet. Wait for me, and we’ll cross together.” We live on a busy residential street, and I have nightmares of some car whipping around the corner.

Busy streets make parents worry. Without us to hold our child's hands, we hope they use common sense. We trust that drivers pay attention, and that roads are appropriately marked for the benefit of both car and kid.

I admit the crosswalks near Arlington High School make me uneasy. Continue Reading...


The November issue of D Magazine is now available. If you turn to page 37, you'll see my story about Noah Jeppson (or you could just read it online).

On a Friday morning in late September, Noah Jeppson stands at the corner of Main and Ervay streets downtown, waiting for the light to change, loaded down with three bags. The volunteers who were supposed to help him at Parking Day Dallas did not show, forcing Jeppson to scramble to post fliers. A few weeks ago, he sprained his ankle on some uneven pavement while walking his dog. He only recently ditched his crutches. Now he’s wearing a pair of Asics sneakers, and he has a busy day ahead. Continue Reading...


Click here to listen to the full hour of Fanboy Radio's Indie Show with Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson I first met Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson in January at the In[k]dependent: Comic and Zine Art discussion panel. They were such tremendously interesting and talented people that I had to invite them on Fanboy Radio. For one hour, we discussed art, comics, UFOs, childhood influences, and the beauty of a stuffed bobcat--all in all, probably one of my favorite Indie Shows.

Listen for yourself: Click here and enjoy.


5_illustrationHello subscribers! I just sent the October story. It should be waiting in your inbox. I apologize for the delay. I've wanted to tell this particular story for years--about a transgender bank robber. I discovered that the hardest stories to write are the ones you care the most about. If you'd like more information on transgender equality, I'd recommend this website: Would you like to read this story and you're not a member? For only $10, you too can join. Here’s a preview of this month’s story:

"A Bank and a Blue Floral Dress" by David Hopkins

My husband Mark has wanted three things in his life—my undying love, to rob a bank, and a particular blue floral dress from Neiman Marcus.

Let’s start with the dress.

When Mark was five years old, his mother took him to Neiman Marcus in downtown Dallas. Mark sat with his mother in the changing room, while she tried on an outfit for an interview. At precisely the right moment, his mother’s changing room door opened and another changing room door opened across the hallway. He saw a beautiful petite blonde trying on a blue floral dress. The woman was observing herself in the mirror, shifting her weight from one side to the other. The sight excited him in a strange and new way. An electric pulse that penetrated him so deeply, he didn’t quite know what to make of it. He didn’t want this girl. He wanted to be this girl. Delicate, lovely, and perfect. He understood a clear distinction and dared not share his desire with anyone, not his mother or father or closest friends.

After we had dated for a few months, he shared this moment with me. We just had sex. We were lying in bed naked, sweaty and vulnerable. He asked me, “What’s your strongest memory from childhood?” I mentioned the time when we got into a car wreck during a family road trip. He half listened, nodding his head and making affirming grunts at all the right moments. He asked the question because he wanted to answer it himself. I played along. “How about you?” And then, he told me. All the while, he tenderly touched my body.

“Do you want to be a girl?” I dared to ask. The story freaked me out a bit. I was certain he would leave me.

“No,” he said defensively. He stopped touching me. He must have sensed the slight vibration of concern in my question.

“It was just something that happened to me as a kid. Everyone has those kinds of moments. For whatever reason, I just re-member mine very clearly.”

I left it alone, and the subject wasn’t brought up again for many years.

Would you like to read the rest? You should subscribe. I’ll send you this short story (available in pdf, epub, and mobi formats), the stories from June, July, August, and September, plus a new story every month for the next five months. All artwork by April Hopkins.


The October issue of D Magazine is now available. It's the "Best Doctors" issue, and we all love good doctors. Make sure to pick up an issue or two. Heck, by now, you should save yourself some money and just subscribe already. Magazine subscriptions are fun, and you need a little more Dallas in your life. For this issue, I wrote a profile on Mark Walters, the co-founder of Dallas Comic Con and man behind We spent a good hour at Quizno's, talking about life, love, fan culture, comics, and conventions. The story features amazing photography by Elizabeth Lavin (she also shot the Bad Kids Go To Hell, Downtown Arlington, Six Flags Mall, and Tammi True stories). So, check it out: Leader of the Geeks.

Note: I did not write the subhead "set phasers to fun." I hear that the National Magazine Awards has a category for "most cheesy wordplay in a headline or subhead." D Magazine is hungry for a return visit, and the call for entries starts November 1, 2012.


I want to write a story about my history with Coca-Cola--something for a health/wellness hippy magazine. How does someone get to the point where they consumer six to ten cokes a day without even thinking twice about it... for over two decades? I've tried on and off to "cut down" but it wasn't until I decided to quit the habit entirely that I started having some success. In the name of full disclosure: Somedays, I will have a Coke Zero. However, I'm quitting that too.

I now drink a lot of tea. My favorite is this one: Sweet Leaf Tea Lemon & Lime Unsweet. Available at Whole Foods, made in Austin.

This story has drama, comedy, romance, horror, and a triumph of the human spirit (orchestral score by John Williams). Hippy magazine editors, be ready for me.


4_illustrationA new month and a new short story. I wrote this one with a deep respect for Oxford American magazine and a fondness for small Texas towns. I might submit it to OA for publication, if they don't mind that a few of you read it "via email" first. Thank you to all my subscribers for your patronage. Not a member? For only $10, you too can join the fun. Here’s a preview of this month’s story:

"Escaping Venus Texas" by David Hopkins

Eileen always thought the rats would eat the cockroaches—or that the presence of cockroaches would indicate an absence of rats. Imagine her displeasure when both proliferated and partnered together. During the year she lived with Chad, the cockroaches appeared on the walls, the floor and the ceiling. Eileen used Glamour with Reese Witherspoon on the cover. The Happy Issue. She rolled the magazine into a baton. An optimistic headline faced outward: “301 things to put you in a good mood fast.” 1… 2… 3… she crushed three cockroaches that evening. But it was the appearance of the rat that made her decide to leave Chad.

The rat was in the kitchen. The rat did not scurry when it saw Eileen. It was not afraid of Eileen. This bothered her.

“Go!” She waved her arms above her head. “Get out of here!”

The rat turned toward Eileen and sniffed the air. The gesture said, “Make me.”

“You are such an asshole.” She threw an oven mitt towards the rodent with little effect.

“An oven mitt?” The rat looked away, almost bored. “See how not scared I am?”

Eileen hurried in short quick steps to the closet. She grabbed the broom. Yes, comically predicable, but what else are you going to use against a rat? The broom allowed a degree of distance with her attack. When she returned to the kitchen, the rat was gone. This was much worse.

“I could be anywhere,” the rat teased.

At this moment, Eileen knew she had to leave her boyfriend as soon as possible. “Tomorrow,” she said to no one. “I’ll leave tomorrow.”

The rat was not to blame for Chad, and Chad was not to blame for the rat. The two existed, and Eileen realized she had a choice. She did not have to live here. She did not have to live in Venus, Texas.

Would you like to read the rest? You should subscribe. I’ll send you this short story (available in pdf, epub, and mobi formats), the stories from June, July, and August, plus a new story every month for the next six months. All artwork/photography by April Hopkins.


Since going over the cliff as a full-time freelance writer, I haven't had as much time to devote to comics. If Quick still existed, I would definitely continue WE'VE NEVER MET (read the saga on my published works page, scroll down). However, beyond that, I've needed to focus my work on words without pictures. That doesn't mean I'm not still thinking longingly about comics. I just have to be a little more patient and strategic about the comic book projects I take on. Here's one: Brent Schoonover and I put together a story called PETITION TO THE GODS. Brent included a sneak peek on his beautifully re-designed website. Take a look: It's about as dark a story as you're ever going to read. You might not imagine it coming from me since I can't stomach most horror films. Who knew I had it in me?

If you're a publisher and you're reading this, and you're not a wimp, you should publish PETITION TO THE GODS. Hey there. Wink.

This story takes place in Venus, Texas. The September short story (coming soon) also takes place in Venus. It might be my favorite small town.


PrintThe Short Story of the Month Club ventures into its third month. This time, I'm dabbling with parody and writing about comic book conventions. We have 128 subscribers. For only $10, you can join the fun. Here’s a preview of this month’s story:

"Lolito" by David Hopkins

Lolito, bane of my existence, pain in my ass. My sin, my suffering. Lo-lee-toe: the tip of the spine shudders taking a trip of three vertebrae downward to tap, at three. Lo. Lee. Toe.

He was Toe, plain Toe, at the live art show, standing five feet ten in combat boots. He was Toto in his oversized Kevin-Smith jean shorts. He was Lee at school. He was Lorenzo on the dotted line. But at my booth, at every damn comic book convention, he was always Lolito.

As Vladimir Nabokov once wrote, “You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.”

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what all geeks and nerds, the misinformed, simple and noble, envied: I had my own booth to sell my comics. I had a base of operations.

He invaded that base on a continual basis.

“Hey John Johnnson.”

Lolito stood over me at the small press expo in Columbus, Ohio. I sat at my table, four feet of space to sell my comics, prints, and commissioned artwork. Lolito’s skinny frame blocked a portion of table from other would-be customers. In his hands, he held a clear plastic dish of nacho chips with warm jelly-like cheese poured over it. He dug around, for what I guess was the perfect corn chip, his fingers covered in cheese. He shoved the chip in his mouth. He then sucked the remaining mess from his twig fingers, but did not adequately remove all cheese. It was noxious behavior, appropriate not even for a child. Lolito was no child. He was in his late twenties and, I assume, my most massive devotee.

I hadn’t published anything new in a decade, nineteen years. Next year, I will have to say I haven’t published anything new in decades. Plural. It’s demoralizing.

In the early ‘90s, I wrote and illustrated a creator-owned comic book called METRO CITY WAR. The story focuses on a cyborg named Othello who was part of an elite security squad. His girlfriend is killed. He believes it was the mayor of Metro City, and—

“So, whatcha workin’ on?” Lolito wipes his hand on his jean shorts.

“Oh, nothing.” I raised my hands to unveil a Shadowcat of the X-Men sketch I promised to a ten-year-old girl. The girl was not familiar with my opus, but noticed I charged for commissions. Her dad tried to haggle the price down from $20. I offered to do the piece for $15. “Shadowcat.”

“Cool.” Lolito places his plastic dish on top of my stack of prints. “So, uh, whenever you’re done, can you draw something for me?”

“What do you want?” I asked, but I already knew the answer. My character Desdemona, the dead girlfriend of Othello, was the real hit of my comic tragedy. People did not purchase METRO CITY WAR for the epic struggle of a lone robot-man against the tyrannical forces of a dystopian city-state. They bought the comic for Desdemona. She had dark red hair, breasts like watermelons that began at her collarbone and hung to almost her bare belly. Her waist was so small; you could wrap your hands around it. She wore an impossible outfit. Black electrical tape crossed her body in the form of intersecting lighting bolts. In the story, she was the model of purity and fidelity. She looked like a prostitute.

Would you like to read the rest? You should subscribe. I’ll send you this short story (available in pdf, epub, and mobi formats), the stories from June and July, plus a new story every month for the next seven months. All artwork by April Hopkins.


The Short Story of the Month Club continues. We have 125 subscribers. You're welcome to join them. Here's a preview of this month's story:

"The Lucky Buck Poetry Club" by David Hopkins Don was not disappointed; he was devastated. The roof of their bar, the Lucky Buck, caved in by the weight of last night’s snow. Don sat in his pickup truck, staring at the wreckage. The snow on the roof, which melted and re-froze into a heavier block of ice, exploited a weakness in the tired structure, broke through and everything gave way. The hole was massive. More snow drifted in.

Don kept his truck running, and stepped outside. The cold left him breathless. He gasped and zipped his coat to his chin. Don took a step towards the bar and then slipped on a patch of the icy sidewalk. The salt did little to melt anything. Don regained his balance and made it to the door. It was locked. There was a note posted inside the small window: BAR CLOSED. CAN YOU GUESS WHY? No doubt written by Sally who arrived earlier that morning. Don rested his head against the entrance. He could hear the creaking of the Pabst Blue Ribbon sign above him.

Don and his friends loved the Lucky Buck. They would meet almost every day after work, for every Packers game, for birthdays, for any special occasion, after his niece's first communion. The Lucky Buck was the worst insulated building in town. The heater was always cranked to fight a losing battle against the cold. Neon signs advertised Miller High Life and Milwaukee's Best. They hung on the wood paneled interior. A large mirror behind the counter bore the name of Jacob Leinenkugel. (Don and his wife Rheba toured the Leinenkugel brewery last summer. He bought t-shirts for Charlie, Nick, and Arnold. On the car ride home, Rheba was mad at him for not buying her anything. She received Charlie’s shirt as consolation.) The Lucky Buck had a row of dashboard hula-dancers around the cash register. A Packers flag draped near the restroom doors. A magnificent 20-point buck, the centerpiece of the establishment, was mounted high on the far wall. They named the deer "Lucky," of course. Don and the guys always claimed the table nearest Lucky whenever possible.

"Well. That’s a shame."

Don lifted his head from the door and turned to see Arnold standing behind him. Arnold had walked from his house across the street.

"We could always go to Last Shot in Remington," Don said.

"Nah," replied Arnold. "Thirty miles away. It might as well be on the surface of the moon."

Don and Arnold paused. The conversation wasn’t over. They just preferred these extended moments of reflection before continuing. Even if they were both freezing, they wouldn’t rush and show weakness.

"How about we get some beer at Pick 'n Save and go to your house?" Don pointed past Arnold to indicate the obvious. "It's right there."

"Yah. That’ll do."

Don got into his truck. Arnold turned around and walked back.

Would you like to read the rest of the story? You should subscribe. I’ll send you this short story (available in pdf, epub, and mobi formats), last month's short story, and a new story every month for the next eight months. All artwork by April Hopkins.


D Magazine has another issue available. (Amazing how that happens every month...) This one includes my story The Good Fortune of Bad Kids Go to Hell:How two Dallas boys moved to Los Angeles and made a movie the hard way. If not for the story itself, you must check it out because of the amazing photo by Elizabeth Lavin. I love it.

Next to the Angelika in Mockingbird Station, a secret side door leads to a nightclub used for special events. A red carpet unrolled at its doorstep in March after the new horror comedy Bad Kids Go to Hell had a private screening. Inside, the room pulsed with music, but no one danced—save for one guy. He was all over the place. A few girls in tight dresses swayed to the beat, which was all their attire would allow. The DJ performed his task in an animated fashion to disguise the simplicity of his job. Everyone else shifted through the dark room, moving from one conversation cluster to another on a seven-minute rotation. Speaking over the noise, they talked politely about the movie they had just seen. “I think it’s going to be a huge hit. I really do.” “I just loved it.”

At the entrance, filmmakers Matthew Spradlin and Barry Wernick stood on the red carpet, framed by a Bad Kids backdrop. It was their movie and their night. Both had their arms around a star from the film while the cameras flashed. (One actor had been in Degrassi and White Oleander; the other was a pretty girl who had played bit parts in a smattering of lesser-known films.) Spradlin and Wernick each wore a mischievous smile—as if they had planned everything to go precisely this way.

Continue Reading…


The Short Story of the Month Club has begun! We have 123 subscribers, and we're always happy for more people join. Here's a preview of this month's story:

"If You Could Be" by David Hopkins

Angela and I dated five years ago. I can’t remember who stopped calling. Probably me. Fantasy Football and my post-college career demanded more time than I would ever admit. Commuting left me useless at the end of the day, and the responsibility of a career created this counter balancing force of sloth. I had enough energy to watch Sportscenter and drift through the Internet on my laptop. That was it. Discarded pizza boxes, DVDs, fast food wrappers, and unopened junk mail spiraled across my living room, originating from my couch like the Fibonacci sequence. Yeah, I flaked on dates.

In time, I acclimated to my job. I cleaned my apartment. I learned to cook meals for one. I sold my futon and bought real furniture. Life became a manageable process, not as daunting as people had always warned. If Angela and I had started dating in the summer, it would have been different.

I ran into Angela, much later at a 7-11, and the encounter appeared amiable. She smiled, gave me a hug, and asked about my life with genuine interest. We talked for a polite duration. She bought her coffee and left. Angela was beautiful and nice. I don’t know why we never got serious. I should have called her more.

We dated during Valentine’s with the unspecified rule of “keeping it casual” during this incommodious holiday. But I bought roses, yellow ones that she preferred to red. We went to this hippy restaurant I read about in a magazine. We dated on and off for a month. Eventually, we lost touch.

On those dates, I remember talking a lot about myself--my job, my life and my interests, my future. She nodded with the patience of an introvert who was happy for me to dominate the conversation. I rambled like an idiot at the slightest provocation, and she maintained eye contact encouraging me to say more.

I wish I had learned more about her. I wish I had more photos of Angela. Her face escapes me, and I can’t easily recall specific features. I remember she was slightly shorter than me and had thick brown hair, almost black. I wish I had some anecdote that spoke volumes about who she was. (“That’s so Angela.”) Something I could now share with her son. When he starts asking, I feel so damned empty handed.

Would you like to read the rest of the story? I know, nobody likes a tease. You should subscribe. I'll send you this short story (available in pdf and epub formats), and a new story every month for the next nine months. All artwork by April Hopkins.


The May issue of D Magazine is now available online. It includes my story about CitySquare's LAW Center (click here, read, and enjoy).

Charles Johnson has a knack for finding students in need. During his 15 years as a security worker at North Dallas High School, he has taken in 39 teenagers who had nowhere else to go. He allows them to stay at his Oak Cliff home, where he lives with his mother. He’s a man of simple means who believes in helping others. One morning, he found one of his most recent tenants.

Ariel came to the United States from Honduras. He joined his sister and her 2-year-old daughter. His sister was deported after stealing food to feed them. Scared and alone, Ariel started looking for help. When Johnson saw him, he could tell he was hungry and in trouble. Ariel barely spoke English, but he tried his best to explain the situation. He had come here to escape a drug gang that had killed two family members. The gang shot up their house and was looking for him. Ariel was going to be sent back, which meant certain death.

Johnson doesn’t make much money. What little he earns goes to cover the cost of caring for his students. He didn’t know how he could afford an attorney. Johnson first went to a large law firm. They were sympathetic but couldn’t immediately take the case. To keep Ariel in the country, a family court first needed to award Johnson conservatorship, which required written permission from the parents in Honduras. But Johnson couldn’t find them, and the order needed to be issued before Ariel turned 18, only days away.

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I have been fortunate to work with the talented Gigi Cavenago on OUTLAW TERRITORY, VOL. 3. He posted some pages from our short story "Judge Roy Bean" on his site. Thus, I thought it would be fine to re-post the pages here...

Since Gigi is Italian, can we call this a Spaghetti Western? This short story is one of my best. I especially enjoyed playing around with "Old West" dialogue.

Information on the OUTLAW TERRITORY anthology series can be found here. UPDATE: Volume 2 will be in stores next week. Make sure to pick up a copy.