Michael Priv

Creative & Academic Writer

“We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. … Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.”
—John Updike, WD.

All novels and short stories on this site, presented in full or as exerpts, are copyrighted to Michael Priv. All Rights Reserved.

      I stared at the dead man. The dead man stared back at me. Accusingly.
    Gray, hollow eyes. Only about twenty-six, yet already oozing that sickening syrup of melancholy, the sign of old age gone bad. Sullen lips, pale complexion, unkempt stubble, disheveled sandy hair. The faded Dead Poetic t-shirt, featuring their latest hit Self-destruct and Die, did nothing to cheer things up. Pathetic.
     I squinted and bared my teeth. The face in front of me morphed into a grotesque mask.
                                            The Fifth Battalion
                                            by Michael Priv 
     Just as any game, war has its game-masters, players and pawns. It also has
broken pawns, who meet every challenge with 
staggering unwillingness to 
participate. Be it in love, in life and or in war, larsenous and disloyal, the broken pawns are fully dispensable. 
     “What about Bishops and Kings?” you ask, “Not every piece on the board is a
pawn. What about all the other pieces?” There aren’t any other pieces on the board. They are all pawns. Is the chess King truly the ruler of pawns? King is just another pawn. Only players rule pawns. Only players rule Kings.
A Broken Pawn
                                                 by Michael Priv
     “Is there God?” is a wrong question. The supposition that God either exists or doesn’t is based on the yes/no, 1/0 Aristotelian logic, the darling of the computer programmers. As valuable as this type of logic is for the computer technology, it is much too primitive to see one through even the simplest everyday matters, let alone getting the answer to THE question.
     “Ribs, dear?”

     “Oh, I don’t know. I heard Filet Mignon was excellent here.”
     “So was that a ‘no’ on the ribs then?”
     “No, I think I’ll have a little bit of your ribs and a salad.”

     Was it finally a yes or a no on the ribs?
It was neither and both at the same time. The yes/no logic seldom works in real life.
                                                 The Secrets
                                                 by Michael Priv
     What was left of the Humvee shook. Captain recognized the powerful frame of
Corporal Kozlovsky  yanking the  door. To help, Captain rammed the door with his shoulder from the inside. Pain shot through his body, clearing his mind a little. The door gave with a screech. He heard that screech. Good news.

      Climbing out groggily, he squinted through the smoke at the long AK muzzle flashes dead ahead, multiple points.   
     The sounds of the battle returned with sudden brutality, smothered to a degree by the continuous whistling in his ears and throbbing in his skull. Ziga and Figuerro were already laying suppressive fire cover. Captain welcomed the characteristic pops of barrel-mounted grenade launchers and the booming report of a 50-cal, as it joined in with the AR-15's staccato.  
     Kozlovsky half-dragged Captain away from the destroyed vehicle toward their second Humvee.
                                                Beyond Reach

                                                by Michael Priv
     Once upon a time, there was a young girl who lived in a village near the forest.  The girl always looked hot and feverish so everyone in the village called her Little Reddy.
    One morning, Little Reddy asked her clinically depressed mother if she could visit her sick grandma on the other side of the woods to deliver a refill of metoprolol—the old lady’s hypertension was causing her considerable distress.
     “What a wonderful idea," mother replied sadly. They packed a nice basket for Little Reddy with metoprolol, as well as some miralax to help ease grandma's constipation. 
     “Remember, go straight to Grandma's house," her mother cautioned. "Don’t get involved with any strangers, especially men. Mind the streptococci. Men are teeming with bacteria!”
     "Don't worry, mommy," said Little Reddy, "I'll be careful."
     Obsessive-compulsive since childhood, Little Reddy, was on Prozak, which was bad enough without her sciatica acting up. Walking was difficult.
                                      Little Red Riding Hood
                                      by Michael Priv
     "Jane's deliciously supple breast peeked tantalizingly through the tangled mass of her auburn hair. He would have loved to kiss it, if he hadn't feared spooking her. He didn't want that, relishing the moment. Once she was aware of his desire, the magic spell would have been broken and this moment gone forever. A part of him had been waiting for this, while the other part feared it. Deep inside, in his heart of hearts, he knew with every fiber of that other, that secret other part of his heart—yes indeed, he always knew..."
     Wait, how many parts of his heart was that? And where was he going with this anyway? Ah, trash.
     What about a honeymoon on Bahamas? White sand, azure ocean, shady cabanas? Write in a pyrotechnical orgasm or two, a little reggae in the background, happy natives with very bad teeth? No, the set-up was beaten to death. This was exactly the literature that gave “banal” a bad name. And the faint overtone of racism wasn’t exactly... No, no, something better, something true...
                                             The Writer’s Block
                                             by Michael Priv
     The sudden departure of my never-to-be playmates resulted in me having the entire sand box to myself. That was my first glimpse at the concept of using any opposing force to my advantage—an important principle of combat, as well as a definition of making things go right. In the face of adversity, people sometimes say “Make it go right!” To me it means using the abundant opposing force you get confronted with to your advantage.
     I remember occasional beatings at the school yard, ripped cloths, bloody noses and shiners through the years—all on account of me being a Jew.
    “Wait a minute,” I wanted to scream on numerous occasions, “I do not want to be a Jew! I want to be a Ukrainian, like everybody else!” Nope. Being like everybody else was not in the cards for me. 
     As an unexpected bonus, getting insulted and occasionally beaten up for no reason gave me a perfect excuse to occasionally insult and beat up other kids for no reason too! Ah, the happy childhood. I had very few friends.
                                                Friends of Fred
                                                by Michael Priv

      Baltazar's hand lingered, fondling the softness of the velvet bag. Then, deliberately, he reached inside and pulled out not the smooth alabaster masterpiece, but a roughly molded chunk of dry clay.
     Gone! Stolen!
     “Sound General Quarters!" Baltazar bellowed. "All hands on deck!”He jumped out of bed, half-expecting to see his brutes mustering all about him, muskets and pistols ready, sabers ablaze, ready to board or repel boarders, kill or die on his command.
     Alas, no. They were all dead, all taken by a battle or a drunken brawl, tucked deep into the Old Man Sea’s locker or hung by the neck in the cold faraway land of the Brits.
     Baltazar was alone.  
                                                  by Michael Priv
     “You an angel or something?” I croaked through my oxygen mask.
     “Me? No, I’m no angel,” the stranger snickered, “Name's Ed, the cafeteria cleaner."
     “Go away, Ed,” I wheezed, “You shouldn’t be here.”
     “I know, man. It’s just that you kicking the bucket and all—somebody’s got to tell you things. Doctors don’t know and don’t wanna know. You’re not going to really die, you hear me?”
     I felt disoriented—complements of the drugs. All my insides ached.      
     “Go away, Ed.”
     Ed continued as if he hadn’t heard me, “Listen, it doesn’t matter if you believe me or not. Just listen. Can you hear me?”
     “No, I can’t.”
     “Good. Rule number one: Don’t panic.”
     I had to get the crazy bum out of my room. What if he unplugged something?
     “Yeah, remember not to panic. Just figure things out. You’ll know what to do, you’ve done it all before. Rule number two,” Ed muttered low now—hurrying, “When you are ready, shoot up to the 9th floor maternity ward and get a new body. You are on the 5th floor now. You hear? Just decide to be on the 9th and you’ll be there. You’ll know what to do when you get there. Assuming a new body is easy, kind of like sneezing.”
     Sneezing? What a lunatic.       
                                                The End
                                                by Michael Priv