In the Pits

The Man Upstairs

A Fictional Series


I’ll tell you one thing, this country is going to hell in a handbasket. Back in my day, folks knew right from wrong; they had morals. Now they just go about – doing whatever it is they want to do – without a care in the world. They have no conscience.

I’ll tell you something else. Here I was thinking it was just these youngins who’d lost their way, but that tenant upstairs is no better. I heard Stan telling Jack that the old man stayed over at Carla’s place the other night. Good God. He’s old enough to be her grandfather. A man his age should know better! Continue reading →

Watch the World Burn

The Man Upstairs

A Fictional Series


I moved into Fourth and Main twenty years ago and it was the best complex in the city. At the time. Over the last few years the building has either gone to shit, or I’m just more particular about my surroundings. Maybe both.

The pipes groan whenever someone flushes, and the common rooms need some serious cleaning. What really gets me, though, is that the walls are paper thin. 

The tenants used to be quieter back in the day. Most were elderly, and those folks have either died or gone to care homes – the owner included. Not dead. His son sent him to some place called Dignity Retreat. Just a fancy name for a care home, I reckon. Continue reading →

My First Kiss

Stories We Tell

A Fictional Series

I’d love to say that my first kiss was breathtaking – the birth of a wildly romantic affair, ignited by a passionate kiss under a luminous midnight sky, but that would be a lie.

The truth is, my first real kiss was conceived in a game of spin the bottle, at my best friend Dizzy’s house – and the boy was Martin Bale, Dizzy’s brother.

My name is Levi McGee, and this is my story.

I was born in Boston, in 1960, and I was transported to the west coast – in the back of a volkswagen van – before I could even walk. My parents bestowed the name ‘Lavinia Iris McGee’ upon me, due to my fiery red hair.

My father was reading an epic poem called ‘The Aeneid’ when I was born, and Lavinia is a mythical character whose hair catches fire. My parents explained to me that – in the story – Lavinia’s hair fire was said to be an omen from the gods that promised good fortune.

I hated the name, and I couldn’t stand the thought of some poor girl’s hair being on fire. I saw no good fortune in that at all. So, at the age of nine, I began to call myself Levi – and insisted that everyone else did the same.

As it turned out, the name Levi was much more fitting. I wasn’t a tomboy, and I had no desire to “be” a boy, but I wanted to be among them.

The girls in our neighborhood, with the exception of my best friend Dizzy, were too delicate and dainty – and it seemed that much of what they did was a discrete form of competition.

The boys, on the other hand, had this ‘camaraderie’ that I craved. I often wonder if it was actually a brother that I longed for, or some other male counterpart to look after me.

My father was ideal, don’t get me wrong, but he was the breadwinner. Anything that had to do with me – the only child – was in the hands of my mother.

Four years after I christened myself ‘Levi’, my feelings about boys began to change. Especially when it came to Dizzy’s brother. Martin had these long blonde curls that fell to his shoulders, and I’d often catch myself staring at him like the gawky teenager that I was.

It was my idea to play ‘spin the bottle’ that night. Dizzy and I were in her garage, sitting on a small piece of carpet with our paint by number sets, when Martin and a few of his friends blew through like a tornado. They were obnoxious, loud, and dirty. Except for Martin, that is. He was perfect.

I begged Dizzy to ask them to play. She was hesitant, but – as usual – she surrendered to my pouty lips and puppy dog eyes. The six of us sat in a circle, perched on our knees, and I finished my soda in one gulp – for the empty bottle.

There’s not much I remember about the game, really. I was too busy watching the bottle spin, waiting for my chance with Martin.

When it finally came, I walked to where he sat and held my hand out – beckoning him to stand. Martin leaned forward, his eyes closed and his lips puckered… and I kissed him. Not an innocent peck mind you, I literally shoved my tongue into his mouth.

Everyone in the room, including Martin, let out a gasp. I wasn’t sure if it was amazement or terror, but five sets of eyeballs were fixated on me, looking as though they’d just seen a ghost. Luckily, for my own sake, Martin’s shocked expression morphed quickly – into a grin.

“Woohoo!” He shouted, waving his hands in the air. “I just had my first French kiss!”

I smiled, grabbed my coke bottle, and headed home with my head held high.

A Note From Me

So, I’m into a new idea here, and I’m really excited about it. This is going to be a series of stories, told by a certain group of individuals who grew up together – one being ‘the fiery’ Levi.

My goal is that this will be a story that focuses on perspectives, and how different people remember certain events… or how they tell their stories differently about these events. And I’m looking forward to this one!

That’s about all for now. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed!

Until later,

It may mean everything, or it may mean nothing. You’ll never know until you decide to look at it from a different perspective.


Word of the Day Challenge: Luminous