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Voices by Jack Linton Thirty-five years ago, Jacob McLoy lost someone very dear to him. He longs to find her through the voic... [1,315 words]
My Message Of Caress by Jacqueline Anel Sheppard This story is about the depth of a daughter towards life and how her existance leads to he... [452 words]
Sincerely, Michelle White by Shelley J Alongi A prominent recording executive realizes her relationship with a band manager has bee... [2,207 words]
Lessons by Albert Davis A short foray into minor philosophy and perhaps a little amusing. [1,359 words]
Tuck And I Steal A Boat To Go Catfishing by Matthew Dean Tuck and I steal a boat to go catfishing. [939 words]
The Night We Saw The UFO by Matthew Dean The night we saw the UFO... [435 words]
Scott Wrestles A Coyote by Matthew Dean Scott wrestles a Coyote. [1,838 words]
Scott Decides To Teach Us How To Break Horses by Matthew Dean Scott decides to teach us how to break horses. [675 words]
Night Run by Song Wright A teenager helps her friend to run away from home in the middle of the night. [2,184 words]
Loss Of Sanity - The Franie D. Story by Christopher McCoy "Love at first site, it may sound trite, but it's true, you know." - Morri... [4,326 words]
Just A Nightmare by Glen Pearson A disturbing short account of a power cut in a family home where a small boys nightmare become... [1,910 words]
How William Fell Into The Septic Tank by Matthew Dean The battles with our septic tank...and how Will fell into it. [1,055 words]
How I Talked My Brother Into Digging by Matthew Dean How I talked my brother into digging up the septic tank. [430 words]
Reflections by Jennifer Nobile Raymond A young woman's unusual experience on a city bus...EXCERPT - “Want to talk? We could go somewhere... [2,171 words]
Stolen Innocence by Deb Meyer Elaine, a gullable high school girl which lacks self-confidence and her own identity, is bulli... [1,743 words]
Night Of Living Hell by Paula M Shackleford This is a story I wrote a couple of years ago about a girl who is waiting outside the cine... [1,227 words]
The Lesser Evil by Nan Deyo “You ain’t tellin’ me my babies is dead.” She was crouched on the foul and reeking stairs, arm... [3,778 words]
Family Genes Considered by Richard Koss A story that is unfortunately, much closer to the truth than not. Although the main ch... [1,198 words]
Glass by Shelley J Alongi About the thoughts and reactions of a little girl viewing a riot taking place in a street in Germany duri... [1,021 words]
The Woman by Shelley J Alongi About the last moments of a woman who perishes in an Auschwitz death chamber and how one person's mem... [790 words]
A Better Place To Be
The Sweater by Jennifer M Haynes Andy finds his dead brother's body in the backyard, and takes the sweater to see if he can catch th... [500 words]
The Smart-Ass Shall Inherit The Earth by John C Smith A true story about winning by losing. [399 words]
Sad Poem by Sunny i cut my soul and let it bleed on the paper. [295 words]
Chances Are by Rekha Ambardar A romantic short story. [1,899 words]
Splitting by Paula M Shackleford When Anna's boyfriend decides to break up with her, Anna is the one who ends up laughing. [1,001 words]
Charlie And Mrs. Miller by Richard Koss A very short story about an old woman on her death bed whose last request is to see an ... [585 words]
Crushed by Paula M Shackleford The story of how a fulfilled crush doesn't necessarily make you happier. [2,005 words]
The General's Driver by Shelley J Alongi About the relationship that exists between a top army general and his driver. [4,245 words]
The Omega Pin by Kevin J. Miller A short-short, Apocalyptic burlesque. [263 words]
Mabel by ~Blythe~ You see all sorts of things when you work behind a bar, this isn't so much what I see, but its what I'd d... [238 words]
Cybertalk by Paula M Shackleford Cassie, 20 years old and desperate for love, meets a guy on a chatroom who almost instantly claims to... [4,606 words]
Lillie by Ben-Ibn Balzac A short story of a man dreaming of his little girl after his wife has died giving birth to his daughter.... [1,375 words]
It's Only A Hat by Pat G'Orge-Walker Hilarious misadventures of the spiritually challenged members of the Ain't Nobody Else Right Bu... [5,379 words]
The Perfect Ending by Richard Koss A tale about a wanna-be writer trying to create a story with the perfect ending. With unsus... [642 words]
The Dowry by Richard Koss The Dowry is a story set in or around the year 2020, so I suppose you should consider it science fict... [2,448 words]
Forever, Inc. by Joseph Yenkavitch A man visits a company (Forever, Inc.) where his dead father's brain has been hooked to a virtual... [3,740 words]
The Nightmare by Natalia Pedroza A girl who is a drug addict and is becoming a prostitute. [120 words]
The Box (2) by Nathan C Hedberg Ranell Rabe, captain of the guard in the city of Jaida, is faced with the annihilation of his city ... [3,199 words]
Maudlin Street by Christopher McCoy Loosely based upon the song by Morrissey. The story is about a kid who falls in love with a girl... [4,865 words]
Rainy Day Kids by Jock Pichette The Rainy day Kids were young boy who found something to do, rain or shine, and before the age o... [2,208 words]
Innocent Betrayal by Naadira Shante Rushing - [160 words]
They Are Here by Kate Kreutzer-Spath They came through the windows last time. Why are they here? One woman's nightmare. I am not a... [610 words]
Where The Two Parallel Lines Have Met by Lawrence Naresh A short story. [1,354 words]
Drop And Give Me One! by John C Smith A short story. [1,015 words]
Street Battles by Jock Pichette Street Battles, is about a young boy without supervision, who is always sticking up for his frie... [3,252 words]
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Carey by Saskia Dodd About a girl who is on life support and her parents turn the machine off and about what happens to her pa... [1,023 words]
Rosemary's Gift by Andy Smith Most people know the story about the three wise men that traveled from afar to bring the baby J... [2,094 words]
Wind Dance by Traci McCoy A description of a woman enjoying the sensations of a cool breeze on an early spring night. [794 words]
Eviction Leads To A New Life by Jock Pichette Eviction Leads To A New Life is all about a young boy, and a mom who lived in a du... [2,738 words]
Jocko by Jock Pichette Involves a young boy who loved hockey, but also had a great deal of pride. So in order to learn how to sk... [2,438 words]
Horseshoe And A Red Truck by Jock Pichette A short story. [1,531 words]
Blind Pig by Jock Pichette Blind Pig, involves a Polish Immigrant who came to Canada, worked extremely hard in a packing house, ... [1,743 words]
Cattin' Around by Mary Carol Dill Mary Carroll A very short, slightly racy story about the illusion of romance... [261 words]
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Fatal Perception by Richard Koss An off-beat tale about an aging song writer who perceives he is being stalked by a strange lit... [2,959 words]
I Closed My Eyes (2) by Lisamarie Jones After committing suicide, a young man realises what a mistake it was. [1,356 words]
Clyde's Lot by H E Gurlitt Short story for adults, based on real events. [729 words]
Deep Cutting by Shannon C. A girl, wallowing in misery, decides cutting herself can take the pain away. [1,179 words]
An Unlikely Friend by Jennifer M Haynes A man with an unusual "job" while hitchhiking to get away from his last piece of work, meets... [1,622 words]
His Wife Could Eat No Lean by Mo Rogers [1,628 words]
Cyn by Paula M Shackleford Is Cynthia really cheating on Jerry? And, if she is, what is he going to do about it? [2,479 words]
His And Hers by Paula M Shackleford The story of a girl and guy on the same course at university. They think that they hate each other... [2,765 words]
Teaching Mindy by Mason Cole A New York private investigator and his assistant are handed the case of a lifetime. But will i... [11,186 words]
Rachel's Revenge by Ruth Gillis A beginning writer's reaction to an editor's rejection of her short story. [1,095 words]
Consider The Mule by Ruth Gillis A son meets with resistance when trying to provide care for his stubborn and elderly father. [2,459 words]
Don't Bank On It by Paula M Shackleford This is the story of how a petty argument can develop into a full-scale war, when it comes to ... [3,766 words]

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TITLE (EDIT)
A Better Place To Be
DESCRIPTION
Bennie Dean is a tiny little man with a crooked little smile who marks the passage of his day following the rituals of breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a Continuing Care Center. But do not be sad for Bennie Dean, for Bennie is a happy man.
[788 words]
AUTHOR
Steven R. Kravsow
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I have been writing for the past 10 years. I have written short stories, essays, Op-Ed pieces, magazine length articles, and 3 novels entitled, "The Acorn Academy," "Boneman," and "Puppet Boy." I am presently at work on my 4th novel entitled, "Square Pegs."
[February 2000]
AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (13)
A Place To Stay (Short Stories) Arnie Westin was a con man-- a nickle and dimer always looking for the quick score. Arnie had a plan-- genious really. But Arnie is about to discover that you don't always get what you want. [5,217 words]
American Tale (Essays) "I stood behind the old man in the check-out line at the local convenience store. A navy blue Yankees hat covered a head of sparse gray hair. He carried an old framed photo which he proudly laid on to... [629 words]
Loonies (Short Stories) A car slowly gained on him. Soon it was even with Daniel's. It was a black sports model, low slung and powerful looking with black tinted glass and black sidewall tires. He looked over at the black ca... [4,959 words]
Photo Man (Non-fiction) I stood at the airport fence looking at a vintageB-24 Liberator. And then I saw the tiny little man. He wore his old Army Air Force fatigues, perfectly laundered and looking like it was still 1944. Hi... [2,560 words]
Play Ball: The Real Rite Of Spring (Essays) I love the spring. Wanna know why? Because spring is the time of year when good things begin to happen. And like anyone else, I like good things to happen. And if they happen to me, then so much the b... [917 words]
Riding The Line (Short Stories) Rosie McClusky loved to ride the bus, losing herself in the tapestry of the city. She loved the way it wound its way through the sleepy city early in the morning and she loved the way it meandered bac... [918 words]
Songs From My Attic (Essays) While rummaging through my attic, I discovered a box of old sheet music from the turn of the century. It painted a rich tapestry of who we were in the early 1900's, what we believed, and portrayed the... [1,878 words]
Stars & Stripers (Non-fiction) He was a tiny man with a scrapbook. He'd served as a reporter for Stars & Stripes during World War II. And he was one of the first inside Buchanwald. He carried his scrapbook under his arm and his sto... [1,081 words]
The Debunking The Dreaded Shopping Spree (Essays) The English language has approximately 500,000 words, and these words, in and of themselves, are quite benign.The other day that dreaded combination was uttered to me, and my life changed. I was heade... [1,715 words]
The Family Executioner (Non-fiction) In the early hours of December 11, something terrible happened. William Beadle, known to his friends and neighbors as an honest and forthright man, took an ax and hacked his wife and four children to... [4,795 words]
The Left Arm Of The Law (Short Stories) Charlie Underwood was a good cop. But sometimes even the best laid plans and a lifetime's work can disappear in the bl;inlk of an eye. And when that happens, a guy like Charlie Underwoord has to have ... [5,317 words]
The Tree House (Short Stories) When you're a kid growing up, there are always three rules you need to remember-- look both ways before crossing the road, keep your bike oiled and the tires filled, and watch out for the Shoots! Ever... [3,691 words]
Trading The Metal (Non-Fiction) "Today was a good day for me, or so I thought. I had traded in my aged 4-door Taurus, after bleeding it as dry as turnip blood on a stone. In its place stood a bright red beauty that was not only econ... [1,234 words]
A Better Place To Be
Steven R. Kravsow

Everybody loves Bennie Dean. Who wouldn’t love him. You can set your watch by Bennie He always has his breakfast at 8, his lunch at 12:30, and his dinner at 6. Those are the references that mark the passage of each day. And in between, he reads his newspaper, sports page first, then the front, followed by the inside sections. Some things are never meant to change. But change they do, because when the spring and summer arrive, Bennie gets to sit in the sun.

Bennie rarely speaks and when he does it is in a thin raspy voice that can barely be heard. Usually it is to ask for a glass of juice or a chocolate doughnut. Bennie Dean is a sucker for chocolate doughnuts. He knows they’re not good for him but after all, he’s 94 years old so what does it matter.

Most of the day Bennie Dean sits in the huge open area of the Continuing Care Center. He leans a gnarled hand over his aluminum walker, the other hand resting on a scarecrow knee, watching the hustle and bustle as people come and go. He sits, a crooked smile glued to his face, his face shaved as clean as a 94 year old face can be, tiny white whiskers creeping out of the crags and worry lines of his world warn face. He always wears a pair of faded gray work pants, white cotton socks, a pair of shiny but shopworn leather shoes and a checkered shirt that is always open at the neck, regardless of the season.

Some of the residents wave to Bennie as they shuffle past as he sits throughout his morning ritual. But Bennie rarely responds. His eyes are bright and they never move but Bennie sees it all. Yet at the same time his eyes are somewhere far away. That knowledge saddens the staff as they walk past the frail little man, but Bennie never seems to notice.

An aide helps Bennie to his 12:30 lunch and he shuffles alongside, his smile still glued to his face. The aide talks to him all the way, hoping to engage him in some kind of mindless banter but Bennie remains still. He sits with Mrs. Jankoski who always invites him to stay for lunch, always to her right, a little playlet that comes and goes each day. It almost looks like tiny children at play at a kids’ tea party. She simpers and coos throughout the meal, talking nonstop to Bennie who never interrupts. After lunch he goes back to his place in the main room, gnarled hand, the color of mottled parchment, hanging over his walker just as it had been in the morning.

Marking time, landmarks passed and accounted for, time moves steadily forward, and then Bennie comes alive. It is the highlight of his day. A staff member helps him shuffle out to the deck area that overlooks the ocean. She helps the old man into a deck chair and puts a blanket over his shoulders. Bennie sits like an Indian, wrapped in his poncho blanket, the sun shining warm against his weathered face, his smile unchanged. He sits watching the water, looking at the seagulls wheeling round and round searching for fish, watching the sunlight change from white to orange as the setting sun dips lower and lower before extinguishing itself at the edge of the horizon in one fiery gasp of crimson.

The staff watches Bennie do this every day. It saddens some of them to watch this poor man as he sits alone, a prisoner of time, watching an endless progression of waves lapping the shore which, like Bennie, complete a sentence that is doomed to end in finality.

But the staff is so wrong. Inside Bennie’s head, he is a young man, sitting on a tropical island surrounded by waves, women, and wanderlust. While the warm sun bathes his face in orange twilight, Bennie swims in the gentle safety of the atoll, swimming effortlessly among the multi-colored fish that ring the island. He swims with strong strokes that only youth can master, bobbing and floating in the gentle surf, staring at his island where the trees are tall, the island is lush with tropical vegetation, and nature offers up its abundance. He spies the young women washing their belongings along the shore, so thankful that God has somehow led him this island.

Yes, every day during the late afternoon in the spring and summer and early fall, Bennie Dean is at peace on his island. And that is why his smile is glued to his face. So don’t be sad for Bennie. He is on that island in his mind and that is most definitely a better place to be.

 

READER'S REVIEWS (6)
DISCLAIMER: STORYMANIA DOES NOT PROVIDE AND IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR REVIEWS. ALL REVIEWS ARE PROVIDED BY NON-ASSOCIATED VISITORS, REGARDLESS OF THE WAY THEY CALL THEMSELVES.

"Very sweet." -- Jennifer Nobile Raymond, New York, NY.
"I adored this story. Working in a nursing home, it really struck a cord with me. Very well done Steven." -- JT.
"Very touching and beautifully written story. A pleasure to read, Steven." -- Tammy , Virginia.
"Steven, I truly like this story. It reminds me of the poetry of John Keats where the dream is better than the reality. I love your descriptive detail. Keep writing...*S*" -- Teresa, Kentucky.
"BORING VERY BORING " -- mac.
"this sucks" -- studen.

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE
© 2000 Steven R. Kravsow
STORYMANIA PUBLICATION DATE
July 2000
NUMBER OF TIMES TITLE VIEWED
1786
 

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