“I have good news and bad news, dear,” grandma says with a sly smile. “Bad news first: we’ve run out of jam for your muffin.”

I must look comically bereft. I’ve been visiting for a week and every morning I’ve had a pile of blueberry jam on an English muffin for breakfast. Grandma has offered pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon; but I have stuck with the muffins and the jam.

“The good news is there’s more in the cellar. Just go down the stairs and on the left there’s some shelves. There’s pickled tomatoes and pickled cucumbers and peaches and blueberry jam. You can’t miss the jam because it’s dark blue.” The pours herself some coffee and sits down with a soft “oy” at the kitchen table. “Go on now.” Continue reading Spinners

Confessions of a Squeamish Vampire

Chapter 1: In which the Vampire introduces himself and attempts to give an idea of the nature of his obsessions.

I moved to the city so that I could be around people. There is nothing I like better than being in the midst of a great throng of strangers, being able to inspect their manners of walking and talking and the ways in which they survey their surroundings. I’m not an outgoing man, so I rarely engage any of these strangers in conversation, unless they are a clerk behind a counter and I am in the process of purchasing something or, as often happens, somebody stops me to ask for directions. Although I am new to the city, I think that I exude a certain level of comfort which persuades people to ask me for help. My level of comfort comes not from any particular knowledge of the city, but only from the fact that there is nowhere I’d rather be than within that throng of strangers. Continue reading Confessions of a Squeamish Vampire