Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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Short Story
4905 words
SHJ Issue 12
Spring 2015


by Lee Oleson

“Please, Sylvia,” I say. “Give me a moment to think.”

“Roger,” she says. “Let me tell you something. You can’t be late all the time. You can’t keep a job and be late, you can’t keep a marriage and be late, hours late! You can’t!”

I know I’m late enough for it to be a problem and I don’t want this—this tension. She’s a beautiful person, Sylvia is, with soft, loving eyes, and I love her and love her kids like they’re mine—Myra, who’s four, and Myna, who’s three—cutest little girls. Sylvia says I get mixed up, can’t keep their names straight—I call Myna Myra and Myra Myna. Maybe I did that once, when I had no control, but I’ve changed. Now I have the ice cream shop, a great business, a lot of work. I have discipline.

I tell her I love her. She says she knows that, but there’s something important missing. She says, don’t I realize? I say, don’t realize what? What? What? She won’t say.

There are people who want me to run for City Council, the seat from the West Ward. Sylvia’s father is one, Wilifredo Savones—Old Willie. He keeps talking to me about it, says I’m good-looking enough, I dress well, I’m hard working, I’m a success, and I should run for office. He’s almost a hunchback, can barely walk, he’s a millionaire, talks crudely about sex, and he grinds his teeth. How do I put up with him? He’s my father-in-law; I listen out of respect. He says in politics appearances are important, more important than I know. I ask, am I doing something wrong? I have pieces of food between my teeth? There’s a warrant out for my arrest?

We go out, have coffee, and I do my best to get along with him. He says, okay, go to Sylvia, go to my daughter, and ask her if you really want to know what’s wrong. I’m afraid. Every husband does some things wrong. I leave the dental floss on the sink instead of putting it away in the cabinet. She reminds me but I forget and do it again.

There are people with resentments. You have to be careful. Half the time people don’t do violence for money—it’s from resentment and it’s from the pressure, too—there’s so much pressure. That’s why people get into religion. Sylvia is religious, she goes to church three times a week. One night she comes back from church, angry, crying. “Baby,” I say. “What’s wrong?” She says, “There’s a woman, Roger.”

I say, “There’s no woman. I swear there’s no woman.”

She says, “I heard there’s a woman. I know her name.”

“Honey,” I say. “Relax. There’s no woman.”


“There’s no woman.”

I go to her father again. I say Sylvia’s making accusations, I tell him straight out. “Willie,” I say. “Sylvia’s implying I’m seeing another woman. She isn’t implying it, she’s saying it.”

“Is it true?” he says. “You’d do that to my beautiful daughter?” “Absolutely not,” I say. “It can’t be, because I’m not that kind of person.” “What kind are you?” he says. ”Not that,” I say. “I’d rather be dead than that.”

I tell Sylvia what I told him. She says, “You can’t go on like this. Don’t you see? Roger, you’re not fooling anyone.” “What?” I say. She says, “Maybe you aren’t even fooling yourself. How can you be fooling yourself? Roger, are you fooling yourself?”

I’m having these meetings with people about getting on the City Council. They want to know what I’d say if I’m elected and what I’d do. They’re important people, they control things. I have to say what they want me to say, do what they want me to do. I’m clear about it. I tell them I’ve been saying what they want and doing what they want for years. They say, “You haven’t been talking to us.” I say I want to talk to them. I’ll listen. If I say something wrong, I’ll correct it. They say it isn’t just money. There’s one, a banker, he’s bald with big lips and black eyebrows and hair in his ears and he lives in the suburbs. He says, “We can give you money but you can still spin out of control. You have to want to co-operate, deep in your heart. Something deep inside you that fits. You see? Do you fit?”

I fit, I say, I fit. This is very hard for me.

The people I’m talking about being in the City Council say I need a new attorney, more high-powered, on top of things. They give me a name. I go to his office downtown, Henry Chiasson. You wouldn’t believe the office. Chiasson, who’s wearing a thousand-dollar suit, he acts like he doesn’t know who I am. When I mention the people who sent me—important people—he doesn’t blink, like he’s never heard of them.

“Roger,” he says. “We have to be careful. Politics is a minefield. You’ve got to tiptoe, tiptoe through the tulips.”

I ask him to be more specific.

“Roger,” he says. “The prosecutor’s office says they are about to indict you for flagrant embezzlement. It’s a technical term, Roger. It means you helped yourself to the till, big time, probably on videotape.”

“What?” I say. “What till? When?”

“When you were on the parks commission,” he says. “I have the dates. They say it’s on videotape. Every video is dated. Speaking of dating, your girlfriend is with you on the tape—talk about flagrant. There’s sex on the video. They won’t indict you for that. That comes under a different category. Personal conduct. Roger, you can’t be flagrant.”

“That’s over with her,” I say. “It ended a long time ago.”

“How long?”

“Two months.”

“Her name?”

“Marion,” I say. “Marion Cocchiola. It never really was just...a possibility.”

“Uhuh,” he says. “We have a problem. There’s a grand jury about to indict you for flagrant embezzlement. The proceedings are supposed to be secret and the press knows everything and it’s a question of if they print. If they print, the other media pick up, it’s a problem.”

“I’m innocent,” I say. “The whole thing’s made up. What about that?”

“That’s what we’ll say,” he says. “The point is, if there’s no indictment, if the grand jury passes on it, there’s no worry.”

“Where’s the grand jury?” I say.

“Where?” he says. “What do you mean?”

“I’ll go there and explain the whole thing.”

“Go?” he says.

“Go,” I say. “Meet them eye-to-eye.”

He laughs. “I tell you what,” he says. “Go to your ice cream store and hand out free cones to the kiddies. It’ll be more effective.”

“What?” I say.

“We’ll talk again,” he says. “Soon.” He escorts me out.

I go home. The pressure of being a candidate for City Council is much more than I expect. I’m dizzy. I hope Sylvia isn’t there. Then she comes in with Myra and Myna. I always get along with them. I talk to them.

“Roger,” she says. “I won’t have it. You call Myra Myna and Myna Myra. It confuses them. How long will this go on? They’re easy to tell apart, my God, your own adopted children, don’t you feel ashamed?”

“For Chrissake,” I say. “I swear you’re making it up.”

“I’m not,” she says.

Myra is older by one year than Myna but Myna is in a growth spurt. She’s taller. Though Myra looks more mature she cries more. Myna has a bigger vocabulary. How it is if Myna is younger she has a bigger vocabulary, I don’t know. Myra says the same three words over and over. I have it straight, who’s who. I talk to them. I get them to laugh.

“I’m glad you love your children,” Sylvia says.

“I do,” I say.

It’s good to be home. I relax, watch TV. I call the ice cream shop and everything is fine there. I should go outside and walk down the street, be visible, be part of the community. That’s part of being a community leader. But I don’t feel like it. I don’t know what I feel like. It’s eleven o’clock in the morning and I feel like getting drunk—that’s it. Why I feel that way I don’t know. In the morning I don’t usually.

Sylvia says she’s taking Myra and Myna to the park. Do I want to come? I say, no. All I think about is getting drunk. It’s the pressure. After Sylvia leaves with the kids I start on the scotch. All I can think about is Marion Cocchiola. She got me into this. She said she loved me and I said I loved her. We were that stupid. I did love her. What difference did it make? I’m married. I’m a public figure.

If Chiasson knows what he’s doing, nothing will come out. It’s politics. If you step on the wrong toes, then they get you, but I haven’t stepped on the wrong toes. It has to be a misunderstanding. After two scotches I feel better. Nothing’s hopeless. After three I’m drunk. I feel better, but I think maybe I’m making a mistake.

There’s a phone call. It’s someone at Chiasson’s office, she says Mr. Chiasson himself is coming to the phone, for me to wait, so I wait. I look out the window because there’s nothing else to do. It takes so long for Chiasson to get to the phone.

Outside I see these men running around with guns and “FBI” and “POLICE” and “SWAT” on the backs of their windbreakers. Some don’t have windbreakers, they have muscle shirts with “POLICE” on the back. They all have guns. Some wear boots and short pants. I wonder if I’m imagining this, from the scotch.

Chiasson comes to the phone. I tell him things aren’t right, there are these guys running around outside in muscle shirts with “POLICE” on them. He doesn’t know what I’m talking about. I explain. He isn’t surprised. “It’s not a raid,” he said. “It’s not the state’s attorney, he does things like that. It looks like a raid, but it’s not. Relax. They’ve got their wires crossed.”

“It’s not a raid?” I say. “What is it?”

“I’ll tell you,” Chiasson says. “Don’t worry about it. They won’t come in. It’s a probe.”

“A what?” I say. “A probe? I can’t take it.”

“What do you mean?” he says.

“I’m sick,” I say.

“Calm down,” he says. “You learn how to take the pressure. It’s part of the job. If you’re going to be on the City Council, there’ll be pressure.”

“I can’t take it,” I say.

“Don’t worry about it,” he says.

“Why not?”

“Cool out,” he says.

“I’m cooling,” I say.

“Good,” he says. “Now, I don’t know why they’re there. It can’t be the prosecutor’s office. He’d have to be out of control. He’s not out of control. And I talked to the state’s attorney. He won’t indict. He’s committed to not indicting.”

“There are these guys running around outside with guns and ‘FBI’ and ‘POLICE’ windbreakers and muscle shirts,” I say.

“I’ll get back to you,” Chiasson says. “Remember, you learn how to take the pressure. Get used to it.” He hangs up.

I stop drinking. I don’t want to spin out of control—the most important thing. I take out ginger ale and start on it, keep looking out the window. A couple of muscle shirts get into a van and drive off. Then they all disappear in another van. I drink ginger ale. I don’t feel sober. It takes time. I wonder what happens if they give me a blood alcohol test—what the reading would be. You have to think about things like that.

I call Chiasson’s office to find out the latest, about the grand jury and the state’s attorney. The secretary says Chiasson’s out to lunch. She says he’ll call when he’s back. I say it’s an emergency. She giggles. I know I’m not important enough to be an emergency. If I was important, Chiasson would call right away. I drink water to sober up. I have to be sober when Sylvia comes back with the kids. Don’t want to talk to Myra and Myna with alcohol on my breath.

I go outside, walk to the ice cream shop, walking down the street greeting people. I know everyone. I’m not acting drunk. Nobody looks at me funny. I decide not to drink in the middle of the day again, on a workday. It’s all right weekends, when Sylvia’s at church, that’s different.

I feel good walking down the street, greeting people. It’s an important part of being a community leader, being visible. I suspect my career as a community leader’s over. What if the grand jury indicts? Maybe it won’t. Chiasson says I can learn how to take the pressure.

When I get to the ice cream shop everything’s fine. People are lined up buying cones and candy swirls. I feel like a king. The business is all mine. No matter what, people buy ice cream. It’s an essential service. I’m not doing anything wrong. It’s one reason people like me. I’m not selling drugs, I’m selling ice cream; it’s a community service. I’m standing there, watching people buying when Chiasson calls my cellphone.

“It wasn’t a raid,” he says. “It has nothing to do with the state’s attorney. It was something else.”


“They went away, right?” he says.

“They had guns,” I say.

“They left,” he says.

“They left,” I say. “They went off in vans.”

“Good,” Chiasson says. “Stay inside. Don’t go out.”

“I’m already out,” I say. “You didn’t call back. I’m at the ice cream shop.”

“Ice cream shop?” he says. “What are you doing there?”

“We’re selling ice cream,” I say. “That’s what you do in my ice cream shop.” I think, The guy is stupid.

“I don’t know if that’s the best thing,” he says. “We’re still checking up on this. We know it was a reconnoiter. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms did it, pulled in the others. It had nothing to do with the state’s attorney. We can’t talk on the phone. Come to my office at two p.m. tomorrow.”

“I can’t,” I say. “Tomorrow my wife and I go shopping for fiber barbecue logs for the new grill. I agreed.”

“Your wife?” Chiasson says.

“Sylvia,” I say. “I promised her we’d go get fiber barbecue logs for the grill and we’ll look at moldings for the spare room. It’s important to her.”

“How important is it?” Chiasson asks.

I think about it. “It’s not that important,” I say. “I’ll be at your office. Two p.m.”

“Good,” he says.

He calls back. The meeting wouldn’t be at his office, it’ll be on the twenty-first floor of the Candlemeer building downtown, and don’t be late.

I’m on time. It isn’t an office, it’s a suite. There are six or seven men, who introduce themselves. Besides Chiasson I’ve never met any of them. I’ve heard of some of them, they’re important, I know. They sit in chairs around me in a semi-circle. I’m being interrogated.

“Roger,” Chiasson says. “I found out there’s a misunderstanding.”

“What?” I say.

“It’s your reputation,” he says.

I wait. I know they’re going to talk about my alleged girlfriend and I’m ready for it. The whole thing’s hogwash. If I had been doing something wrong I’d be nervous, but I’ve done nothing wrong.

Chiasson says, “People read the newspapers. They get the wrong impression.” He stops, as if that explains it. Then he says, “I try to explain: newspapers aren’t accurate. I tell people that.”

“Aren’t accurate about what?” I say.

“You support the new arena downtown?” one of them in the semi-circle asks. He’s skinny, with glasses, and he’s wearing jeans and a hockey shirt and a ball cap and looks like a lawyer.

“The arena?” I say. “Sure, I support it every which way.”

“One hundred per cent?” he says. “One hundred and ten per cent?”


“You never made wisecracks about it?”

“Never,” I say. “I support it one hundred per cent.”

“Why?” he says.

“It will bring prosperity to the city,” I say.

“What about the fact,” he says, “that it will cost hundreds of millions in taxpayers’ money? Hundreds of millions, and going to private coffers.”

“It’s money well spent,” I say. “It’s pump priming. It’s the key to revitalizing the city. The money will create jobs.”

“How many jobs?”

“A thousand at least,” I say. “Two thousand.”

“Permanent jobs—not construction jobs, permanent jobs?” he asks.

“Permanent,” I say.

“A thousand or two thousand jobs?”

“Two thousand,” I say. “Two thousand permanent, good-paying jobs, with benefits.”

There’s silence. I look at Chiasson. His face is blank, no, maybe a tiny smile. I can’t tell if I’ve said the right thing. Another speaks. He’s young and fat, with a sour expression. He wears a suit with a vest. His lips twitch. “How did we get the idea,” he says, “that you didn’t support the arena?”

“I don’t know,” I say. “I always supported it.”

“Someone told us you didn’t,” he says. “Something you said publicly.”

“It’s a lie,” I say.

“A lie?” There’s silence. They look at each other. An old man in a suit and a buzz cut says, “I think we want to say fifteen hundred permanent jobs, with benefits.”

“Fifteen hundred, with benefits?” I say.

“I think that’s what we say,” he says. He looks around. Everyone agrees. “That’s what we say,” he says. “Two thousand is high. A little unbelievable. Don’t you think?”

“That,” I say, “is exactly what I think.”

The next day I’m in Chiasson’s office. “It was a misunderstanding,” he says. “These things happen.” He’s wearing tennies and shorts, not his thousand-dollar suit. “Someone got the idea you were against the arena.”

“I’ve always supported it,” I say. “Every word I say is in support.”

“Someone got the idea you weren’t one hundred per cent,” he says.

“It was a misunderstanding,” I say. “I’m a hundred per cent. One hundred ten per cent.”

“You know,” he says. “There’s a lot of money in this.”

“Money?” I say.

“You need a loan for your ice cream shop,” he says. “One of those guys you met at Candlemeer can get you a loan.”

“A loan?” I say.

“Interest-free,” Chiasson says.

“Interest-free?” I say. “So when would I pay it back?”

Chiasson smiles. He doesn’t explain; he goes on, “It’s important you know precisely what happened so you won’t make a mistake in the future.”

“I didn’t make a mistake,” I said.

“Maybe not,” Chiasson said. “You were perceived as making a mistake. How you’re perceived is important. All-important.”

“I agree,” I say.

“They’re waiting for you to make a mistake,” he says.

“Who?” I say.

“If you do, they’ll pounce.”


“You understand?” he says. “No slip ups.”

“I understand completely,” I say.


Sylvia says maybe she’ll never forgive me for breaking our date to get fiber logs. She says it isn’t just that, it’s everything. I don’t know what she’s talking about, but I listen. “It can’t go on,” she says.

I smile, not sure what she’s saying, but I agree. All I can think about is, I’m on my way up and I have to be careful. Monday I’m in the ice cream shop and word is out that I’m running for City Council and I’m a celebrity. There’s a lot to be careful about. A million mistakes I can make. Some I’ve already made. I can’t afford to make more. I’m nervous, thinking about it. I don’t mind. I’m taking the pressure.

There is a girl waiting in line for a cone. She can’t be more than sixteen. Can’t get my eyes off her. She’s buying banana chocolate chip swirl. She says hi, like she knows me, or wants to. I’m not stupid. I mumble, like I don’t know her, say it in a polite way. She wears shorts, tattoos, wood scandals, a tiny top, no midriff, perfect breasts, straight blond hair, green eyes. I can’t believe it. As she waits for ice cream she comes over, right up to me, and talks as if we’re best friends and brushes against me. She has Cosmopolitan with an article about the ten most popular tantric sex positions, with illustrations, and shows me the pictures. The second is a position called “the diamond.” It shows how a woman gets on top of a man and moves herself to caress her G-spot. I can’t believe it. She’s showing me this?

After she pays for the chocolate chip swirl, she’s walking out, she smiles again, a big smile. I’m polite. I say nothing. I remember what Chiasson says— tiptoeing through the tulips.

“Don’t you like diamonds?” she says. Her magazine is still open to “the diamond.” It’s best to say nothing. I tell her I’m not interested in diamonds, politely.

“Maybe,” she says, “you’ll be interested another time soon.”

“No,” I say. “I’m serious. I have to be clear. I’ll never be interested.”

“Tomorrow?” she says.

“Not then,” I say.

She keeps smiling. There’s no flicker in her smile. I wait for her to walk away, leave, she doesn’t. I should leave but I can’t. I knew this would happen. I don’t know what to do.


I’m in the kitchen with Sylvia, at breakfast, eating oatmeal with raisins. She’s standing over me. “You were in the park with that Puerto Rican trash!” she yells. “You think I don’t know? Everyone saw you. How old is she? Fifteen? I hear it from everyone. Everyone! How old is she? The whole neighborhood knows! I’ve gone to my lawyer, Roger. I’ve had enough. You’re sticking it in my face. Daddy and I have been to the lawyer, Mr. Thompson. Daddy’s helping me. You’ve betrayed me time and time again.”

I don’t know what to say.

Sylvia yells, “You think I’m going to let you run around with a fifteen-year-old slut in front of everyone, all my friends talking? Divorce, Roger. Believe it. I’ll take the shirt off your back. Daddy will help, I don’t care if you lose that damn ice cream shop and you have to sleep on the street.”


“I’ve had enough of your lies! You pick up some fifteen-year-old slut, parade around in front of everyone. All my friends talking. I’m sick. Sick!”


Chiasson and I are in his office. “Sylvia’s talking divorce,” I say. “It’s about this girl I was with. Sylvia’s father, Willie’s helping her.”

“Willie Savones?” Chiasson says. “The father?”

“Him. He’s helping her with the divorce.”

“Your wife’s upset. I don’t blame her.” Chiasson’s humming a tune to himself. I’m thinking it’s “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” but I can’t believe it. Is he taking this seriously?

“Well, you know,” he says, like he’s thinking about something else, like this isn’t important. “She’s upset, your wife’s upset, so her father’s upset. Roger, you’re in the wrong. I shouldn’t have to tell you. There’s a law against sex with a minor, Roger. Here we take the law seriously.”

“How do you know I had sex with her?”

“We know,” Chiasson says. He gets up, closes the door to the office, sits at his desk again. “Roger, we have to get a couple things straight. First, you’ll have nothing more to do with this girl. What’s her name? Gloria. Gloria Martinez. Second, you don’t mention to anyone that you knew or touched her or had sex with her or laid eyes on her. Nothing.”

“That seems extreme,” I say.

“There are powerful people involved in this, Roger, who are behind you for the moment. For the moment. There’s money tied up in you. Around town you’re well-liked. You have talent. You can communicate.”

“My wife’s excited. Her father...”

“It’s up to you to calm her down, Roger. When she calms down, her father calms down. That’s the way it works. I know her father Willie Savones, he gets carried away, he’s always getting carried away, he gets violent, you have to watch out for him, but she’s the key. Have you tried apologizing to your wife? I mean apologizing sincerely. Making up? Remember, Roger, you’re in the wrong. You have to admit it to her. Admit you made a mistake. Take full responsibility.”

“I was wrong,” I say.

“That’s the spirit. You certainly were in the wrong. Don’t try to hide it. These people can be assuaged, if you own up. Your wife and her father can be persuaded, over time, if you own up. Don’t shillyshally around. Admit everything, well, not everything, don’t say you had sex with the girl. Say you made a mistake. Beg for forgiveness. Grovel. You have no choice. You can still be a candidate if you do it right. There are powerful people behind you. Don’t blow it, Roger. Don’t make the people behind you your enemies. They have long memories.”

“I’m sure they do,” I say.

“So,” Chiasson says. “Nothing more to do with this girl.”

“For sure.”

“No more incidents of this sort, of any sort,” he says. “From now on I want you to communicate directly with me. On a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis. Anytime you’re in a situation that might—be difficult. Anytime. I haven’t given you my cellphone number. Now you go direct to me. Here’s my number. Put it in your cellphone.”

I put his number in my phone. “When something comes up you’re not sure about,” he says. “And you don’t know what to do, call me. Anytime. Say, ‘Chiasson, something’s come up.’ We’ll talk it over right then, on the spot, we’ll take the time necessary. We’ll walk through it. Even little things. Tiny things. Little things become big things. I don’t need to tell you, Roger, you’re on the edge. We have to avoid incidents, especially public incidents. We must avoid them at all costs. Another one, Roger, any little thing—never mind a big thing—and you’re out.”


“No longer a candidate.”

“You’d do that?”

“There are important people tied up in this. They don’t want to be embarrassed. They refuse to be embarrassed. They’ll cut you loose. A candidate without the necessary discretion...”

We talk for an hour, go over and over it. I don’t want to be out. I’m straight, I know what to do. I leave Chiasson’s office with a purpose, with urgency. The most important thing is my marriage. Sylvia has to know how much I love her. I do love her and I’ll do whatever it takes to save the marriage. I do that and everything falls into place. I’m under pressure. No false step. I go by the ice cream shop. People buying ice cream. Normal. I go onto the street, people noticing me, looking at me like a candidate. I am a candidate. I walk home, to see Sylvia. First, talk to her.

I see Willie Savones, coming toward me on the sidewalk. He’s rarely on the street. He’s lurching along, he has trouble walking, even standing. What’s he doing? He stops in front of me, glaring.

I’m calm. “Hey, Willie,” I say. “How goes?”

He shouts, “Fuck you!” He’s lost his composure. People on the sidewalk are watching, a crowd forms.

I say, “Willie, take it easy.” I stay calm, that’s the important thing. He lunges at me, a leg twists from under him, he falls forward, his hands go for my throat. “Willie,” I say. “Calmate.” He’s yelling, slobbering, his hands gripping my throat. I push him off gently and I back away, then I run. I can get away easily—he can barely walk. In a moment I’m a block away, but I still hear him yelling. I’m two blocks off, I run into a grocery store, to the produce section, and I pretend to shop. He’s so far behind, he won’t know. There are loads of people in the store. With people around maybe he won’t... I’m looking at the plantains, pretending to shop for plantains. I’ve never liked plantains. I get out my phone, punch Chiasson’s number and I hear Willie yelling, somewhere in the store. I lean into the plantains, to be invisible. I hear Willie panting close behind me, then he’s putting his arms around my chest, squeezing. I can’t breathe. I’m punching at my phone. It rings. Chiasson answers.

“Chiasson,” I say. “It’s Roger.” I’m gasping for breath.

“What’s wrong?” Chiasson says. I can’t answer, Willie holds so tight. “We can only talk for a second,” Chiasson says. “I’m in a meeting...”

Willie trips me up from behind, we hit the floor hard, he doesn’t let go, we’re rolling on the floor, people shouting, his hands on my throat, strangling. I bite at his fingers, he won’t let go. I hear more shouts, screams, someone kicks me. I hear police sirens coming from the distance, nearer, nearer. People all around screaming. I concentrate, talk into the phone. “Chiasson!” I shout.

“What?” he says.


Willie grabs my phone, throws it; it bounces hard off a wall, back toward me. I reach for it, it’s just out of reach. His hands tighten on my throat, I’m dizzy. More people screaming, shrieking, above the shrieks and screams...police sirens louder, louder...nearer...louder...


SHJ Issue 12
Spring 2015

Lee Oleson

Born in Connecticut, Norman Lee Oleson grew up in Maryland and California and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in dramatic art. He has worked as a newspaper reporter in Massachusetts and Tennessee and at a variety of other jobs around the country. He is a longtime political activist in the union and anti-racist movements. He has published stories in Confrontation, Portland Review, and other journals, with two new stories published this year and another accepted for publication.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury