Barry's Short Fiction

This is a colection short stories written over the past twenty years. Many of the plots take place in the same fictional community of Brandenberg,situated in Southeastern Massachusetts.


The Abode of Infinite Compassion

Marty Humphrey doesn't finish things. A European backpacking adventure was cut short, when he became morbidly homesick on the flight across the Atlantic, and now he's dropped out of college.

107 Degrees Fahrenheit

A young boy spends a magical weekend with his sister, a former collegiate track star crippled in a freak accident.

A Chinese Bar Mitzvah

Mr. Chen’s shiatsu has a level-three heart murmur. The widower lives on a fixed income. Ada Goldfarb’s son, Robert, is a veterinarian. Maybe they can work things out.
Gold cherry

A Pee and a Poop at Midnight

Calvin's Shih Tzu, Teddy, can't hold his water and suffers from irritable bowel syndrome. This weekend, Calvin is dragging the dysfunctional beast to a barbecue at his future in-laws.

A Trip to Tanglewood

Marie Augustin, a nurses aide, is blindsided when an elderly client asks the Haitian woman to accompany him on a trip to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra perform in Tanglewood.

A Waltz Yes, a Heart No

Every heart has a distinctive cadence and it’s not three-four.

A Work in Progress

Tawana Saunders is writing the great American novel. Problem is, six months into the project, she’s only got a rough draft plus three lousy paragraphs.

An Indecent Proposal

Ralph Tucker is dating a woman who wears Orvis, genuine hornback crocodile belts. As the romance deepens, he’s going to need a second job.

An Indecent Proposal Part II

Ralph Tucker is dating a woman who wears Orvis, genuine hornback crocodile belts. If the romance blossoms, he’s going to need a second job.

Every woman Ernie Summers ever dated had a fatal flaw, which is why he is taking an indefinite sabbatical from the opposite sex. Well, maybe not.
Story of the week

Call of the Beguiled

Cheryl doesn’t do well in social situations. The fourteen year old's best friend is Nicolena, a four-foot, South American tree boa and her parents are getting divorced. What else could go wrong?

Circus Maximus

Buddy Hazelton, chairman of the Brandenburg College philosophy department, quit his job to join the Waverly Brothers Traveling Circus.
Story of the week

Cupid ain't Stupid

Lenny just slept with a woman, who can't make change or hold down an entry-level job. So why is he going back for more?

Damaged Goods

The widow, Lyuba Russova, is damaged goods, but then so are most of the other Russian immigrants at the Meadow Lanes subsidized housing complex.

Just Like Dostoyevsky

Sylvia Mandelstam tells people what a wonderful time she had at the Russian literary symposium in Moscow. Unfortunately, the trip was an unmitigated fiasco not unlike her personal life.

Two Pockets

According to Hasidic tradition, everyone must have two pockets. In the right pocket are to be the words: ‘For my sake was the world created,’ and in the left: ‘I am dust and ashes.’

The Cross-eyed Gypsy

A straight-laced ex-nun must decide what to do with a stolen Sony Trinitron TV. The arrival of a Russian Jew in the apartment complex resolves the matter of the ’hot’ TV while ...

No Bear, No Forest

Everything fourteen year old Lester McSweeney knows about life he learned from reading Louis L'Amour cowboy stories.


Nadia Rasmussen, the reference librarian at Brandenberg Public Library, just discovered that true love can be found at the Hoxie Feed and Grange just as easily as at the cheesy dating bars.

The Divined Comedy

Ava Frick reads Kierkegaard and drops the I Ching. The other day she got five broken lines __ __ and one solid ____. Not a good omen!

The Loveliest Girl

Among the Old Orchard Beach cognoscenti, Cassie Moffat was considered town slut. Whether her lurid reputation was justified or not wasn't really open for debate.

No More Piano Lessons

Muriel Beagle was an awful piano teacher. An abomination! Thirty minutes - that's all she allotted per lesson, and most days she started late or was interrupted by

Nothing as Whole as a Broken Heart

Jerome Spellman, the simple schizophrenic in Grace's eleventh grade class, acts like an extra in a B-rated horror flick - Night of the Living Dead.

Simple Hearts

Foul-mouthed Marna Copparelli, who waitresses at Guido's Pizza, wouldn't know a semicolon from a large intestine. Luther Buttafuoco writes books that get reviewed in the New York Times literary

What would Junie B. Jones do?

"Mr. Jacobson sniffs little girls' bicycle seats," eight year old Benjamin Carter announced cavalierly as though the topic made for polite dinner conversation.

Still Virgin

A year out of high school, Clarissa, who couldn't even score a date for the senior prom, is into tantric sex, Pablo Neruda and orgasms bordering on divine rapture. And she's still a virgin!

Mustard Fields

Maddie Timberland just finished reading A.E. Coppard’s The Field of Mustard. The single mother's personal circumstances mirror the plot but only up to a certain fixed point.

Thyroids, a Love Story

Can two young lovers with thyroid conditions - one in traditional therapy, the other holistic - find happiness together?


Kendra Ryder just gave fifteen year old Frankie Dexter a slab of fresh-cut tulipwood along with the advice, "When you’re feeling bad, just scuff the wood with 120-grit sandpaper."
Story of the week

The Prize

Alexis Hamilton’s love life closely mirrors the comedy of errors in the E.M. Forster classic, A Room with a View. But where the fictional heroine, Lucy, elopes to Italy with her lover,...

The Unfinished Face

Dora’s face, an aesthetic work in progress, exuded an unfinished blankness, as though God had become distracted and wandered away from the wet canvas before completing a meager handful of details.

Legal Procedures

Married six times, Phoebe’s Aunt Janet is advising her niece on affairs of the heart. Good Luck Phoebe!

The Reticent Storyteller

Parker Salisbury is dating a girl with the social graces of a cigar store Indian. So why is he giving Lilly an engagement ring later this evening?

Six Catholics and an Atheist

In an increasingly hedonistic universe, Kirsten Hazelton clings to her Catholic faith.

Supermarket Sadhu

Seventeen year-old Fanny Jackson, who works aisle three at the ShopRite market, wants to become a twenty-first century mystic – a supermarket Sadhu.

Kissing Cousins

Phillip’s infuriatingly cute Cousin Katy treats him like a cross between a cuddly lapdog and a younger sibling.

Sextillions of Infidels

Hazel and Jorani are stranded in the boondocks of Maine with a broken-down car and ton of teenage angst.

Small Favors

Marcie Callahan’s parents run around the house in their underwear. They belch and fart and do all sorts of gross and disgusting things. Which is why Marcie is ready for a change.

Ghandi's Goat

Mrs. Chowdhary named her youngest daughter after Saint Theresa, the Little Flower of Jesus. Unfortunately, Terry has more in common with Attila the Hun than her nineteenth century namesake.

Fun with Dick and Jane

Dick wants fun. He has no dog. He has no cat. No Spot. No Puff. But he has a plan. See Dick board the plane. See Dick fly away. Far, far away. Hello happiness! Goodbye Jane

Plato's Parable of the Chainsaw

Miranda Rasmussen tends her deceased mother's rock garden and reads Greek philosophy. Now the thirty year-old blonde has a new toy, a fourteen-inch Poulan chainsaw.

The Way Station

Clarice Copparelli intends to seduce Jason Devlin. The seventeen-year-old boy just doesn’t know when or how or where it will occur or the likely circumstances. Soon, he hopes.
Gold cherry

Failure to Launch

Fred Linden is fixing his daughter, Alison, up on a blind date with the man of his dreams.
Story of the week

The Herb Gatherer's Disciple

Laurel Evers wants to visit the buccolic boondocks of Maine as it was a hundred years ago.

Narcissus and Goldberg

Beatrice Goldberg doesn't much like Hispanics, biker broads, Franciscan monks, skinheads, or salt-of-the-earth blue collar types.

The Hypothetical Hitman

A bad man is shot in the head, stuffed in the trunk of a car and left for dead. It's a hypothetical story.


Pearl Singleton, the blonde forest ranger at the Pemberton Wildlife Sanctuary, is a latter-day Heathcliff.
Gold cherry

Flyshit on Toilet Paper

Samantha Malinowski has musical dreams and a slavishly devoted boyfriend.

The Janitor's Helper

A new floor, a new life.

The Invisible Hand

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner...

Slatternly Sluts and Bodacious Bimbos

Helen Garfunkel, an unemployed reference librarian, is contemplating a romantic tryst with a hotdog pushcart vendor.

Leaky Pipes

Bartholomew Schroeder, a retired plumber, can sweat pipes and fix broken toilets, but can he mend a teenager's broken spirit?

The Fire Flower and the Bee

Bear wants thumbs just like his archenemy, Man, but Heveki, the benevolent God, has something else in mind.

The Kidnapped Bride

Maddie Etheridge's train wreck of a marriage cost forty thousand dollars and only lasted thirteen months!

Nagel's Bagels

Curtis Stedman, the part-time dishwasher at Nagel’s Bagels, is profoundly gifted, which makes him one smart cookie!

Hieronymus Bosch's American Landscape

Bethany Glaspell approached the first-ever meeting with her great uncle much as a cat burglar might plan his next heist, telling no one , neither friend nor family, her intentions.

The Lesbian Thespian

For the lonely widower and lesbian actress it’s a textbook case of Jungian synchronicity.

I & Thou

Since going on birth control in middle school, Celeste has been on a bit of a lascivious tear, but all that sexual carnage is coming to an abrupt halt when she meets the Hassidic Jew.

Guide for the Perplexed

Ernie Levinson wants to marry Shifrah Fienberg. Problem is, they have never been out on a date much less slept together.