Good Narrative Principles

June 1, 2017
by Lee Eiferman

The Queen of Fringe

Back in the ‘80’s, when fringe was in fashion, I was it. I dominated the market. I sewed fringe to the outer seams of sleeves, the edge of a fetching clutch bag or the hem of a dress with padded shoulders. They say it’s coming back, but I’ve moved on to the next big thing in my life – stemming the tide of chaos. Rain pours in through the top of closed windows. A boil has erupted on my back. My new lettuce spinner is broken. My days are like that now, an endless stream of pesky chores with no end in sight. Hands down, my brief reign as the Queen of Fringe was way more fun.

May 12, 2017
by Lee Eiferman


There is no way that the guy who opened the cheese shop across the street uses organic milk. Make that zero chance. Agreed, I am borderline obsessed by what I freely acknowledge is my own bugaboo concerning all things organic. Artisanal. Farm fresh blah blah blah. Consider this: if it’s true, as he claims, that all his cheeses are made from farm yard animals that all are lovingly raised in sheltered environments free of pesticides or any hint of conflict, then he should be charging more. And yet he undercuts me six ways to Sunday. Wish I knew for sure because my bladder is screaming for attention, but I’d be a fool to leave my secret spot on top of the hill with a clear view of his alleged artisanal farm. They’re about to round up the cows. How much you wanna bet they’ll kick one or two of ‘em in their fat behinds?

February 22, 2017
by Lee Eiferman

Nearing the End

IMG_0066The last two hours of my life were the best, better even that day in the field when I poked Daisy-Lou the idiot cow. I ran cuz I was at the slaughterhouse on a slow-moving line. I saw an opening and BOOM, I went for it. Thundered down the streets of Queens with flat footed, wheezing guys in pursuit. They yelled. They shot at me, but, I kept going, causing all manner of ruckus. I plowed into a bus. A blur of three-year old screaming kids scattered.

Now, that’s what it means to be a bull.

June 15, 2015
by Lee Eiferman

Change The Game

IMG_6443Kimberly flew to Akron because, as His people relayed via text at around ten-thirty last night in a btw kind of way, “He” didn’t want to get on a plane. He didn’t want to fly Atlanta.

Sitting in first class at the bleary hour of 4:30 a.m. and with her staff seated many rows back in coach; Kimberly had a moment to reflect on the whole notion of selflessness. Early in her career, Kimberly discovered that the trick was to make herself invisible, or nearly invisible when dealing with celebrities. This strategy was doubly true when negotiating with the next Brand Ambassador. The bigger the celebrity, the smaller she became.

Despite all the books she read and speeches she gave on the topic, this form of selflessness still left a bad taste in her mouth. Her personal life, for instance, was a caldron of clashing egos. She tried to tamp down her invincible opinions and expectations about how dates should go, but the long hours at her desk suppressing any natural expression of selfhood, had a way of exploding in a barrage of expletives as soon as she left the building.

Her personal life seemed to deteriorate in direct opposition to her rise in the heady and competitive field of celebrity endorsements. Having survived the Paula Abdul scandal, the Kobe Bryant assault case, even the Bill Cosby inferno, Kimberly knew how to handle not only the famous, but critically, the self-important Handlers that swarmed around celebrities. The Nervous Nelly whose job pivoted on his/her ability to find the impossible, say, a bottle of genuine Vermont Maple Syrup in Abu Dhabi or fresh oysters (not canned or smoked) in landlocked Racine, Wisconsin at three in the morning. The stories the Handlers shared with Kimberly on set by way of apologizing for their compulsive hyper vigilance was always a good sign. It meant she had won over the Great One’s team, which, when ignored, had the power to squash a deal.

In her bag, Kimberly carried two thermoses. One was Sprite laced with strawberry; the second was flavored with cherry. Not wild cherry, the Chemists were quick to note, but rather simple sugar cherry. Both thermoses were specially designed to retain the fizz and pop, so that when Kimberly decanted the two drinks, LeBron would be suitably impressed.

Kimberley’s flight was delayed. By the time she arrived at LeBron James’ office, her blood sugar had slid dangerously towards shaky. Having no choice but to draw attention to herself, she asked for orange juice. LeBron and her OJ arrived roughly at the same time. The two thermoses were opened with great fanfare. But LeBron didn’t like either option.

To Kimberly, it seemed like game over. Desperate for sugar, she snatched the thermos filled with cherry flavor, tossed in some OJ for good measure and gulped it. LeBron, insulted that she was drinking from his thermos, downed it, as if to assert his primary role in this exchange.

And he liked it.

And then he endorsed it.

June 3, 2015
by Lee Eiferman

The Apocalypse

IMG_7166Eleanor was floating on her back in the middle of the lake, taking a break between the butterfly and the breaststroke when the world ended. It was over just like (snap).

There was no flash of white or sense of being yanked upwards by her hair (she was after all wearing a swim cap). One minute she was in the lake planning tonight’s dinner menu and the next she was in the middle of a crowd, a thick dense crowd, streaming forward, destination unknown. Despite the density of the mute crowd, Eleanor realized that she had time to think and watch.

She felt her prescription goggles still squeezing the bridge of her nose and noticed the world appeared through the fuzzy distortion of her lens. She had meant to buy new ones, or at the very least use spit to control the murky glaze that invariably formed midway across the lake, but at least she could see.

Which come to think of it was confusing, since death, she was led to believe, meant leaving your body and all its woes behind.

Somehow she managed to maneuver to the side, whether by thought or by kicking her feet, she couldn’t be sure. The crowd grew thicker, like the knot of pedestrians on the corner of Forty-Second and Fifth seconds before the light turned green. Dentists still holding their delicate tools, stern CEOs, trendy Baristas caught mid-gesture moved relentlessly past her. As did a school of dolphins, a bewildered bear and wart hogs. Wasps, bees and a swarm of mosquitoes that took no interest in Eleanor, occupied the in-between spaces.

Her friend Judy, who had vehemently denied having an affair with her Boss, waved enthusiastically as she passed, as if saying goodbye from the prow of a cruise ship. Her blouse was unbuttoned and her Boss, still cupping her left breast, peered ahead as if trying to assess the traffic patterns.

Was that it? Game over. Or was it merely the end of this level, like a particularly involving round of “War Craft”? Eleanor was content to wait it out.

She fought an overriding compulsion to join in. Instead she stayed rooted to her spot. Her childhood dog stood on his hind legs and barked. But no sound was heard. Finally, even her dog, she couldn’t remember his name nor her own come to think of it, scampered away and she was left alone.

Truly alone.

She took off her goggles, as she would at the end of a swim, but the world lost focus and so she kept them on. She listened and heard nothing, not her customary tinnitus or even an old Beatles song.

She had expected to hear something final like In the end the love you make…but there was nothing.

I wish I could say that Eleanor woke up. But then this wouldn’t be a story about the end of the world.

September 18, 2014
by Lee Eiferman

Mistakes Big and Small

IMG_5864The first mistake Christopher made was using his worst pick up line on Ruby, a woman who was clearly out of his league. He spotted Ruby’s tattoo drawn on her carpal bone, an area he was intimately familiar with as it pained him on a daily basis. It was a tattoo of a watch face frozen at 3:20. He should have simply asked her the significance of that time, but he didn’t get around to it until they were sharing oatmeal the next morning.

The second mistake was not politely declining to eat the oatmeal she had slow cooked just for the two of them. How could he? In the early morning sun, Christopher noticed that Ruby’s hair was a hypnotic blend of orange red, chestnut brown with flecks of gray. Was every woman’s hair a complex symphony of color or was it just hers? He could have easily buried his face in her gentle curls and never left. Instead, wearing yesterday’s underwear and socks, Christopher headed to court and felt naughty, nasty, a bit ripe but ready to rumble. Now, in front of the judge and jury, Christopher registered the full weight of his mistake. The oatmeal had worked its magic and was boring through his lower GI track with the insistence of a surging wave. Christopher was sweating bullets. He held on tight for ten minutes…twenty minutes. Fighting back tears, he approached the bench and begged the judge for a short recess. He spotted Ruby tracking him, but was in too much distress to even wave as he bolted towards the door. If she wasn’t there when he came back, so be it. We’re all machines he thought afterwards and washed his hands.

August 28, 2014
by Lee Eiferman

My God Given Right

IMG_0947Looking back on it, you could say that if I had just not made waves, kept my big trap shut we’d be able to turn on the tap, take a shower, cook spaghetti without it being a major production. My wife warned me. She said, “Honey, you don’t get something for nothing.” In other words, by buying into a cheaper community, we should expect icy streets, garbage stacking up at the curb and power outages that take days if not weeks to fix. I said I was okay with that. And I meant it. I thought I’d be alright with the status quo. That I could take a deep breath and walk past the garbage, the crooked stop sign, the broken traffic light that blinked green whatever that’s supposed to mean. But I couldn’t take. So I started attending Town Hall meetings to make my case. In the meantime, me and the little Lady were suffering from all kinds of stomach ailments. It felt like we had a bad flu that just wouldn’t quit. So, I had the water tested. Turns out there’s this microorganism, Coliform, causing the mischief. The Engineer strongly suggested that we tap into the town’s water supply. But the Town Supervisor won’t grant us a permit. He claims we still need to file more paperwork, the petition needs to be approved and then and only then will we have to wait for warmer weather. It’ll be two years ago next Wednesday that I first learned of our rotten well. Every time I bring it up with the Town Supervisor his shoulders shrug as if to say it’s out of his hands, but his eyes telegraph his delight. Elections are a mere three months away. The way I see it, twelve weeks of bottled water is nothing compared to the pleasure of crushing this guy. Now all I have to do is convince my neighbors that we could do so much better with me in charge.

(Photo: Tim Duch)

August 26, 2014
by Lee Eiferman

Dent In the Wall

IMG_0590Eduardo and his boss Larry, had, what might diplomatically be described as a tempestuous relationship. Tempers flared. Ashtrays, coffee mugs or whatever was at hand were hurled across the room as arguments sparked white hot. Mostly, it was the rosewood paneling that took a beating.

Despite the fact that Eduardo attended first Trinity, then Harvard on a scholarship, and furthermore, majored in Medieval literature, he insisted he had a feel for what the “common man” would stop to watch in terms of ads. Larry had time and wisdom on his side. They argued about taglines, consumer insights and what was funny, cheesy or passé. Just when it seemed that one or the other would end up strapped to a gurney headed to the ER, Eduardo emerged with a clear vision of what needed to be done. Though the drama took its toll on the staff, the combustible duo boasted a winning streak that was unparalleled.

On the night of the industry awards ceremony, Eduardo had a strange twinkle in his eye, which made Larry uncomfortable. He’d seen that look before and it generally heralded a stinko idea — one that was so far “beyond the Pale” as Larry liked to say, that it gobbled up hours of heated discussion. Sure enough, when Eduardo and Larry’s names were announced as winners of this year’s coveted prize, Eduardo was no where to be found. Instead, a sexy Latina stripper clutched Larry’s arm and directed him to the stage. She stepped towards the mic, introduced herself as Sofia, formally Eduardo, and asked Larry sweetly if he would unzip her dress so that the audience could see what a magnificent body she now had.

Eduardo thought this was hysterical. Larry was humiliated and fired Eduardo on the spot. Eduardo got a job flipping burgers that he kept for two months before heading back home to find his inner muse.

(Photo and Sculpture by Tim Duch)

July 14, 2014
by Lee Eiferman

Riding On A Smile

IMG_5632Smart Charlie couldn’t help but notice the well-heeled customers passing him by. Passing his friends by. They had set up by the waterfront, at the end of the street fair. Someone even remembered to bring a clean towel so that they could display their wares with a bit of jazz. They were proud of their beaded necklaces, carefully tooled leather belts and colorful crocheted bags suitable for small change. Smart Charlie even got his hands on an adapter to his iPhone so that he could swipe a credit card as he had seen the other merchants do with ease. And while people glanced at their offerings, no one stopped, let alone actually bought something. Baffled, he toured the rest of the market. Between the eastern most aisle and the wall, he noticed a booth filled with lit rocks. Later, when he relayed the incident to his crew, he realized that a picture or two would have been helpful to convey what he believed to be the singular lack of talent on display. He followed the Owner of the booth into the sunlight with two potential customers trailing in his wake. All the while the Owner murmured words of encouragement to stoke their enthusiasm. Finally, standing in a shaft of light, the Owner pointed out the rock’s many fine features and told the couple that they must love their rock as if he were finessing an arranged marriage. The young couple, eager to seal the deal, whipped out their wallets and purchased their lit rock right then and there. Smart Charlie realized that he had witnessed what his Mom would have called “a teachable moment”. Similar to other moments in his long and strange childhood, the lesson, what he was supposed to have gleaned from this seemingly arbitrary dance of attraction and luck, proved illusive.

February 7, 2014
by Lee Eiferman

Chaos Theory

IMG_0370With a girlfriend comes a lot of things I don’t want including commitment. And money. I’d have to make more money. I’d have to quit this job. Even though I kinda like what I’m doing, it doesn’t have much of a future. I admit I don’t have a “game plan”, no real way to pay off my college loans. I’m not exactly what you’d call a catch, so I probably don’t have to sweat it. It’s not like girls are busting down my door, hungry to get a piece of me. I like to keep things simple. Real simple, as in paycheck to paycheck. So if something, even the slightest thing goes awry, like losing a glove, I’m screwed. And yeah, I did lose a glove yesterday, meaning, I won’t be going out at night until spring cuz another thing I can’t afford is frostbite.