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Stories by Thomas Lux

I Think You’re Wonderful

I think you’re wonderful. I’m driving my car and your name is on every mailbox. I’m kissing you and my shoes crawl away in darkness, sweet gadgets sing in my wrists, the life I dumped ...

"Criss Cross Apple Sauce"

— for Claudia Criss cross apple sauce do me a favor and get lost while you’re at it drop dead then come back without a head my daughter sings for me when I ask her ...

Zirk Ubu, a San Diego’s alternative circus troupe

Bless this crew of visionaries, joy-bringers, and nutcakes!

Before visiting San Diego's Zirk Ubu, the last time I'd gone to the circus, I'd walked out with 50 pounds of elephant dung in a cardboard box on my shoulder.

Tie Ilya Kaminsky up, make sure he stays at SDSU

From the land of poets

Odessa: it doesn’t sound like a particularly Russian word. Maybe Spanish, or Italian. Actually, it was named after Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s (if Homer existed) great epic poem, The Odyssey. Any word, when it ...

23 Reader writers describe the regime of editor Judith Moore

She hated adverbs

Busy Fingers Are Happy Fingers — Joe Deegan Mother Reader — Barbarella Build Your Writing Muscles — Ollie Let the Tape Recorder Do the Work — Matthew Lickona Faith — Abe Opincar Make Something Better ...

Too Many Passive Verbs

She cajoled me. She encouraged me. She got tough on my ass.

Judith Moore called me in the fall of 1995, when I was living temporarily in Laguna Beach and teaching at UC Irvine for a semester. Judith was familiar with my poems and deduced from some ...

Eric Von Sydow and Steve Piccus do double hypnosis

Stage shows vs. legitimate form of therapy

Some people believe God to be the first hypnotist: He put Adam to sleep and took out a rib to make Eve. It's a leap, but today hypnotism is used as an alternative to anesthesia ...

KWest Taxidermy's Kevin Moreau is San Diego's waterfowl specialist

Frozen drama

“I could love a duck!” the American poet Theodore Roethke wrote hyperbolically, manically, in one of an astonishing series of longish poems usually referred to as “The Lost Son” poems. I’ve always liked ducks myself ...

JunkBoy inhales condoms through his nose and pulls them out his mouth

And he's one of San Diego's fire-eaters

One thing I’ve learned: go looking for fire eaters and you don’t know what you’ll find. After putting out the word that I was looking for fire eaters (I have a few, um, unique friends ...

Who's up in San Diego at three a.m.

“People get arrested”

There is no night anymore. In or around cities, in suburbs and small towns, there is no night. It still gets dark, and the days still get longer or shorter. Lights are everywhere — large, ...

Bob Parks, self-taught custodian at San Diego Natural History Museum, gives me a tour.

Everybody's got a favorite bug

In Bob Parks’s first (and only, as far as I know) brush with the law, he was presumed a corpse. He was about 11 years old. He’d been lying facedown, very still, for so long ...

Chula Vista's Family Protection Unit goes after abusers

Scum busters

Cops like to tell stories. They’re good at it. They’re trained to think in specifics, to make precise observations. Atop an arrest report, right beneath “officer’s report,” it says “narrative.” On one of my first ...

Blue Milk Tickets

He loaded his truck in the morning and came back with empty bottles at night.

My father went to work 6205 days in a row, give or take a few, from 1945 until 1962. Until I was 16 and my cousin, Jackie, 18 or 19. We were both old enough ...

A walk on Coronado bridge's big blue catwalk

Drive to the sky

Cars have gone over twice. One with three drunk sailors somehow jumped onto the railing and then over into the water. Was there a moment, a second or two, when the car teetered on the railing?

The Red Book of crime scenes at Chula Vista's police department

Murders most foul

Simply shooting oneself, jumping off a bridge, hanging, etc., doesn't count.

One San Diego sculptor, Guillermo Castano, teaches another, Carl Glowienke

I work for the human

The first two or three times I met Carl Glowienke he wore a tuxedo. We weren't at a society function. He wasn't on his way, each time, to the prom. For his day job — ...

All Americans were casualties of the Vietnam War

Tijuana postcards

The boy has the ball in the air, right where he wants it, just high enough so he can drop his left foot and lift his right to keep it in the air (though he ...

Luck and loss at the Palomar Card Club

Roses are red, violets are blue, never draw to an eight, and never two

I’d been unlucky in love. Ergo: time to try poker. I hadn't played in many years and then I played badly, impatiently. But that didn’t matter. Only the adage alluded to above mattered. And one ...

Oddities and mortality at Gaslamp's Museum of Death

The plain old grim and gruesome

THE MUSEUM OF DEATH can be described as a bit of Ripley’s Believe It or Not by way of Barnum and Bailey (with the emphasis on Barnum, as in P.T.), a dash of Madame Tussaud’s, ...

One of the last dairy farms in Southern California

The Verbooms of Pauma Valley

Dogs were a problem sometimes. The Pauma Mission Indian Reservation borders one side of the property, and sometimes their dogs pack up at night; and they, unlike coyotes, will attack a vulnerable cow, one giving birth.