The Contract

Photo: SC Martinez

Published in The Best Short Stories from The Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest 2022 Anthology Honorable Mention (

Ben and Celeste had fallen in love in Brooklyn at art school where they’d bonded over their passion for making art, printmaking, and personal reinvention after bad first marriages. They looked like brother and sister, compact and dark haired in their twenties. The previous spring, when Celeste discovered there were no college teaching jobs available despite her brand-new MFA, Ben suggested they start their own fine art printshop. 

“We’d own the presses and can make art whenever we want,” Ben said. “Artists and publishers will pay us to print their editions and we won’t have to rent press time. Everything would be under our control.”

“Sounds like a great plan, Ben. You think I’ll have time to make my own prints?”

“We both will. I promise.” 

Magnus Opus With Rodents

Photo: SC Martinez

Published by Thrice Fiction, Issue 27, December 2019. (

Magnus believed he could go any time. Nothing and no one was keeping him inside his ninth floor studio apartment in an upper Eastside high rise. He hadn’t had a good reason to leave since Hester moved out. On that day, he’d cinched up his fluffy robe, slipped on his flip flops and carried her heavy suitcases to the elevator and down to the lobby, even outside to the back of the waiting mega-drone. He’d lifted her luggage into the trunk, shut it, and slapped the top good-naturedly. That was seventeen years ago.

Story continues on p.2