by Alex Pruteanu‏


nobody calls me that no more.
just the old timer.
nobody calls him that either. old timer.
now look…no…don’t. kid, don’t.
that’s how he talks.
don’t, lookit. you gotta baste the dough with the egg mixture first before you put it into the oven.glaze it. and then sprinkle the salt bits so’s they gets baked on there and stick. the salt. sprinkle the salt now, kid. atta boy.
nobody says that no more.
atta boy.

I think i’m living in the funny papers.
so long now, see you in the funny papers.
nobody says that.

i wake up early on sundays.
earlier than my parents, who sleep on a pull-out in the living room.
someone stole our car.
i deliver the sunday newspaper.
the plain dealer.
the free times.
the news daily.
the stater.
bake at three se-nty fi for twenny minutes.
before i leave i put the tray into the oven.
i’ve made them pretzels.
pretzels for breakfast.
nobody has that.
nobody has what i eat for breakfast either.
green onion with salt, radishes, and a cup of mint tea.

hey kid, where can i take me the RTA Paratransit?
where you going? stadium? flats east? parmatown mall? where?
any of them.
take the 67AX or the e-line trolley. switch over to the 20A or the 23 for parmatown.
jesus, kid, watch the time on those things. you’re gonna burn them. how long they been in there?

i walk back into the kitchen at the end of my shift with two bottles of champagne.
someone clipped them and left them in the trash room.
and i stole them a second time.
i sit down and sear tilapia in a cast iron pan.
pour the fizzy drink into a green glass jar.
i can hear my grandfather scream through a layer of putrid generations:
kid, lemme make you a fillet of…


Since immigrating from Romania in 1979, I’ve worked as a day laborer, a film projectionist, a music store clerk, a journalist/news writer for the U.S. Information Agency (Voice of America English Broadcasts), a TV Director for MSNBC and CNBC, and a freelance writer. Currently I am the Managing Editor of an education assessment software system at North Carolina State University. I am also a staff writer for The Lit Pub. Around all of that I manage to swing some hard bop jazz from time to time on an old Premier 5-piece kit.

I’ve published fiction in Pank, BRICKrhetoric, Camroc Press Review, Short, Fast, and Deadly, Trainwrite, Airplane Reading, The Legendary, Subtle Fiction, Girls With Insurance, Trick With a Knife, Amphibi.us, Slingshot Litareview, Specter Literary Magazine, Thunderclap Press, The Monarch Review, Connotation Press, F Magazine, and Merida Magazine. I am the author of the novella “Short Lean Cuts,” available as an e-book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is now available from Amazon Publishers on Amazon

Currently working on a novel tentatively called “Tramby Quirke.” I am the author of the novella “Short Lean Cuts.” Ebook at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, paperback at Amazon.

Art by Mel Blossom


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