True Survivor

by Greg Jenkins

“SULLIVAN!”

Somewhere in the moist, tangled green of the Amazon jungle, another man is screaming my name. The voice is harsh and raspy, fiery and focused. Most of all, it’s completely insane. It rips through the hot, pungent air like the cry of an outboard motor surging to life on the nearby river.

“SULLIVAN!” the man screams again. Though I’m unable to see him, I know he’s close—too close—and I pray to God he doesn’t see me.

His name is Dirk Devin, and he’s a former Navy SEAL. During the Vietnam War, he survived more than 200 missions in jungles similar to this one, earning three Bronze Stars, three Navy Commendation medals, two Purple Hearts, and even the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Suffice it to say that he’s much more comfortable in this awful environment than I am, and much more lethal. In fact, he’s armed with an automatic weapon, a Stoner machine gun I think, and he has already proven, just hours ago, that he’s willing to use it on human beings. I am unarmed. At this moment, Devin is drawing on all his specialized skills and predatory instincts to find me and, if he does, to kill me.

“SULLIVAN!” he screams again, and that crazed, ferocious voice is closer still. I’m so frightened that I want to weep, but I dare not make a sound for fear Devin will detect me.

Now comes the question I knew he would ask, because he has flung it at me so many times before in our wild, desperate chase through the jungle. “SULLIVAN!” he screams, and his powerful voice slashes into me like a serrated combat knife. “WILL YOU SURVIVE?” He pauses, perhaps to let me brood on an answer, perhaps merely so he can gather breath to harass me once again:

“WILL—YOU—SURVIVE?”

His words carom off the great, green leaves and the green, snakelike vines dangling all around me, and they work their way into my heart like some tropical virus. My hands begin to shake.

<>

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Our TV series was meant to be amusing, intriguing, maybe even enlightening, albeit in some shallow and trendy way. Challenging, yes—that’s the appeal—but never deadly or tragic. It’s entertainment, for God’s sake, not guerilla warfare! Not life and death!

The show is called True Survivor. It’s one of those “reality” shows in which “real” people are placed into difficult but “real” situations that test their courage and resourcefulness. Of course, many of the show’s events are manipulated for dramatic effect, and a camera crew follows everybody everywhere, so in the end you have to wonder just how “real” any of this stuff is. What we do is, we select a group of would-be survivors and take them to some primitive, isolated location and let them compete against each other, against nature and against that seductive little voice we’ve all heard on occasion that says: Quit. Go home. Surrender. Those who don’t measure up either leave voluntarily or get voted out by the Tribal Council, which is comprised of the contestants themselves. The eventual winner, the true survivor, becomes moderately rich and famous.

OK, the show’s pure tripe, I admit it. And I’m the host, Jeff Sullivan. But I’ll say something else: we’re very good at what we do. Our ratings are straight through the roof, thanks partly to the guy who’s now trying to kill me, and our pale, slacker imitators are dropping like jungle flies; they’re not surviving.

I remember the first time I encountered Devin. We’d set up a pre-production meeting in Burbank, California, and I was chatting with potential contestants, feeling them out, assessing their personalities. And what a wonderful pool our staff had put together! We had a nurse practitioner, a music therapist, a third-grade teacher, a florist, an interior decorator and lots of others, including the ex-SEAL. A camera crew, naturally, was taping everything. As I finished up talking to the nurse practitioner, a delightful lady from Omaha named Mildred who bred Persian cats as a hobby, I felt something tap me softly on my foot. I turned to the next interviewee—it was Devin—and saw he was sitting there whittling a length of bamboo with a gleaming knife the size of my forearm. The whittlings were falling straight onto our carpeted floor, and one of them had bounced on top of my shoe.

The man stood out like an iguana in a basketful of kittens. In his grizzled sixties, Devin was as trim and hard and functionally built as an M-16. His coconut of a head was shaved down to his bumpy skull, making his ugly mug look bigger and scarier than it actually was. He had a hooked beak and a twisted mouth that was capable of smiling, but usually at the wrong things. When he did smile, it made you feel funny inside, first because he was missing one of his front teeth, but mostly because you had a sense that the dominant emotion behind the smile wasn’t mirth or good cheer but something else, something dark and perverse. What really struck you, though, when you looked into that face, were his eyes. Cold and unblinking, they didn’t seem like human eyes at all, but more like the eyes of some large reptile; when he trained them on you, sharp and dull at the same time, you felt as if you were being probed by something vaguely Jurassic. He was wearing a green military-issue T-shirt, green fatigue pants and heavy black boots.

I asked Devin how he’d feel about sharing his expertise with some of the other contestants, since that’s how it’s done to start. They’d all be split into two teams, or “tribes,” that had to pull together in order to succeed.

He stared at me with those lizard eyes, and smiled, and then the smile went away. We were about to experience our first “Devin moment”; plenty of others would follow. I heard the camera guys moving in behind me; they could sense it too—a certain premonitory weirdness in the air.

“ ‘Sharing’!” Devin said, his sandpapery voice incredulous. “Lemme tell you somethin’.” He held up the knife and poked it at me for emphasis. “In the jungle,” he said, slowly and evenly, “you don’t ‘share.’ You take. You take what’s yours, and you take what ain’t yours.” He leaned right at me and right at the camera. “You sweat, and you suffer, and you scrap, and you scrape. And in the end, if you’re very fortunate”—here his eyes flickered open a bit wider—“you survi-i-i-i-ive.” He really drew out the second syllable, and you could see how he was missing a tooth, and how his remaining teeth didn’t look too great either, and how his gullet looked like a wet dark tunnel to hell. “So far,” he added, “I’ve been very fortunate.”

I guessed that on the basis of these unwholesome remarks we’d drop him from the pool then and there. I guessed wrong. When the suits saw him on tape, they loved him; he’d bring the show some spice and unpredictability, they said. In retrospect, I’d have to concede that he did indeed bring some unpredictability—may God have mercy. The suits liked Devin so much that they turned his taped statement into a promo and ran it on the air about 18 million times. Pretty soon half the television viewers in America were tilting forward, eyes flickering, knife (or beer) in hand, and rasping: “If you’re very fortunate, you may survi-i-i-i-ive.”

<>

Well, we finalized our lineup—needless to say, Devin made the cut—and flew the competitors to the sweltering Amazon. We set up somewhere southeast of Puyo, along the Pastaza River. We might’ve been in Ecuador, or it might’ve been Peru; even now I’m not sure of the country. All I know is, it’s one grim and godforsaken place. Colorful, buzzing insects the size of hummingbirds hung in the close air, danced in your face, heat waves rippled upward from the swampy earth making you dizzy, and, scant yards from the makeshift camp we’d built, the jungle itself rose like a massive and menacing green fungus. 

Now that we were on-site and ready to go, it was my duty to describe for the contestants some of the dangers they’d soon be facing. And while we hoped to keep things reasonably safe, the items I was about to touch on were genuine hazards; the jungle didn’t require any special effects. So we got the cameras rolling, and I paced around inside this big, fan-cooled tent we’d put up, trying my best to sound dramatic and knowledgeable. Actually, the facts I was reciting were accurate as far as I know; I’d been briefed by a professor from the Universidad Nacional de Loja.

“You’re already becoming familiar with the heat and humidity,” I said, and I heard a chorus of groans in acknowledgement. “Don’t allow yourself to become dehydrated. You’ll have some bugs to contend with, too. The good news is, most of them aren’t poisonous. The bad news is, some of them are. I’d give you some Black Flag to spray them with, but down here the bugs are so tough they sip Black Flag for refreshment, like pink lemonade. I dunno, maybe you could swat them away with the can.” A few chuckles from the troops, but then again not that many. Silver clouds of winged insects were whirling hungrily outside the tent even as I spoke; the ladies especially weren’t too pleased. 

I discussed some of the other creatures of the Amazon as well—the anaconda snake, for example. “It’s one of the largest snakes in the world,” I said. “It can reach a length of thirty feet, sometimes longer, and it weighs more than a cow. The anaconda coils around its prey and crushes it, then swallows the victim headfirst.” I let my audience murmur for a while before telling them about the jaguar. “I don’t mean the car,” I said. “I mean the cat. The name means ‘he who kills with one leap.’ Jaguars weigh up to 350 pounds; their jaws are so strong they can bite through a turtle shell. If you happen to see a jag,” I said, “don’t try to outrun it, because you can’t.” At this point I noticed that the music therapist, a wispy guy named Lance from Rehoboth Beach, looked as if he could use some Brahms.

Finally, I thought I might bring up the Indian problem. Somewhere out there embosked in all that green, and perhaps not too far away, lurked the mysterious Achuar Indians. They were said to be bellicose, particularly toward gringos, and particularly toward gringos who were encroaching on their territory. We didn’t think we were near their territory, I said, but in truth we couldn’t be certain that our maps and the Achuar claims were in perfect agreement. The Achuars, along with certain other tribes living in the Amazon, had a longstanding history of killing their enemies, dismembering them and then shrinking their heads for trophies.

The third-grade teacher, a dainty woman named Eloise, started to say something but then decided not to. Her lip quivering, she wrung her hands.

Suddenly Devin, who’d seemed rather bored up till now, cleared his throat. All eyes, including the camera-eyes, quickly zoomed in on him; we were eagerly anticipating another “Devin moment.” Today he was wearing a camouflage baseball cap with the slogan Death before Dishonor on the front of it.

“Lemme ask you a question,” he said in that slow, compelling voice that sounded like a Humvee seeking traction in a pit of gravel.

“Shoot,” I said. (Later, I would wonder at my choice of words.)

“These Injuns,” he said, “these Aik-wars, do they carry AK-47’s like the VC?”

“No.”

“Do they have ‘toe popper’ booby traps that’ll blow your foot clean off your ankle?”

“Well, no, I don’t think so.”

“Do they have landmines that’ll blow your foot, your ankle, your hairy ass and everything else you got to sweet Jesus?”

“No,” I said, and Devin sat back in his metal chair and smirked at me disdainfully. “But I’ll tell you what they do have. Blowguns. Blowguns that shoot poison darts.”

I remember hoping that we had his leathery face in extreme close-up just for the reaction he gave me now—the unadulterated contempt!

“Darts,” he snickered. He pulled the bill of his cap down so that his pebble-like eyes were barely visible in the black shadow that fell across them. “Darts is a game played by little boys and Englishmen.”

<>

Obviously Devin was the odds-on favorite to win the whole shebang, and from day one onward his survival skills were a marvel to behold. Despite what he’d said, he did share his expertise with the others. He showed them how to build huts with palm roofs and how to locate potable water. He also showed them which bugs could be eaten if necessary and which ones couldn’t; according to him, most of them could be eaten. I’ll never forget the time he crammed this huge hairy spider into his mouth. The thing was the size and color of a plum; it was like a hairy plum with legs. At one point Devin had all eight legs projecting from his mouth, wiggling furiously. We had him miked, and when he bit down, you could hear this squishy, crunching noise—I’d never heard anything quite like it before. I’d wager the interior decorator, a lady named Bree, never had either, because she quit on the spot.

“That’s it,” she said, waving both manicured hands above her golden perm. “I’m outta here.” I asked her to think it over, but she was adamant. “No, no,” she said, “the hell with this.”

Devin did things his own way, but the others didn’t seem to mind. Or, if they did, they didn’t object. Now and then, we’d present whoever was left with “challenges”—we’d get them to climb something, build something, find something. Stronger, faster, fitter and abler than the rest, the ex-SEAL won these events whenever he chose to. Sometimes he’d consider a given test beneath him and refuse to compete. (One example was the idol-holding event. Here, the contestants were instructed to keep at least one hand for as long as possible on a carved wooden idol our prop people had provided us; it resembled Alfred Hitchcock in the nude. The last one touching it would win. Devin said if he were going to hold anything for that long, it’d damn well better be shaped like a woman’s boob.) The others banded together, built alliances, and then always, always, betrayed them. An alliance of one, Devin made no friends, but he created no enemies, either. Not yet. As much as he could, he kept to himself, disappearing for long periods into the jungle. One second he’d be right there in front of us; the next, he’d simply melt like a ghost into the thick, snarly green vegetation, beyond the range of our most determined cameramen.

A month and a half after we started, we’d reduced the field to our two finalists—Devin and Keith, who was a hairdresser from Beverly Hills. It was time for the Tribal Council to vote. In the “real” world, of course, this battle would’ve been frightfully lopsided. For sure, Keith was a sweet guy—he offered us free haircuts and played a mean ukulele. But put the two men in the Amazon under uncontrolled conditions and Devin would track Keith down, slice him up and eat him raw for dinner. The only place Keith could out-survive Devin was in a hair salon.

A pity the suits didn’t see it that way. No, they wanted Keith to win. When I asked them why, they said we had a “moral obligation” to send the “right” message to America—that warmth and gentleness and catchy tunes on a ukulele were preferable to whatever it was Devin stood for. I had my doubts, but there was one thing I didn’t doubt: if you want to survive in TV, you do what the suits tell you.

As always, the election results were announced with a carefully prearranged dose of aboriginal pomp and circumstance. We had gathered in a cool gloomy cave, and everyone had torches, and the ballots—which I had personally protected from any outside tampering—were gigantic leaves into which the verdicts, “D” or “K,” had been crudely cut by penknife. Cameras rolling, I announced to an outpouring of general shock and amazement that Keith had pulled off the upset; that he, and not Devin, was our true survivor!

Thrilled, Keith jumped around and gave me a hug and a kiss, but Devin didn’t take the news as graciously as I’d hoped. “The hairdresser?” he said, his voice farther up the scale than I’d ever heard it.

“Keith,” I repeated, loud and clear, and I held up the winner’s skinny, braceleted wrist. Belatedly, people were beginning to clap and cheer.

“From Beverly Hills?

“Keith’s the man,” I said.

Devin’s left eye twitched at me a few times in stunned disbelief. It was as if I’d told him they’d just fought a war in the Congo and he’d somehow missed out on it. “Sullivan,” he rumbled at last, jabbing his trigger finger at me, “you run a crooked show.” Then he stalked out of the cave, stiff-backed and tightlipped.

<>

Ten minutes later, most of us were milling outside the cave, chatting and chuckling. I was with Keith, who was still euphoric, but part of my mind was puzzling over how we could fix Devin’s unsportsmanlike reaction for the upcoming telecast. Calm him down and reshoot maybe? Edit him out? I turned to look for our director and instead saw Devin approaching steadily, almost robotically, in the distance. He was carrying something in his right hand—something slim, blue-gray and metallic.

I started to mutter some uneasy comment to Keith but then realized that Keith was gone. I’m willing to concede now that his survival instincts may’ve been better than I’d thought.

With no hesitation, Devin raised the object in his hand—it was the machine gun—and fired a burst at a loose cluster of people standing maybe thirty feet to my left. Some of them ran like hell, and some of them went down. The ones who hit the green-matted deck may well have been dead, or they may have been wounded, or they may have simply been seeking a safer altitude; I had neither the time nor the desire to judge. Because in the next beat of my racing heart, Devin leveled the Stoner at me and hollered: “SULLIVAN, THIS IS FOR YOU, YOU CROOKED SUMBITCH!”

Before I knew it, I had sprung headlong into the jungle, scratching, scrambling and stumbling ahead. I heard the angry bark of automatic gunfire behind me, and, at the same time, a strange pinging noise as if bullets were glancing sharply off a mounted camera, perhaps saving my life. All my host’s dignity forgotten, I bolted feverishly through that living curtain of green, hands flailing, legs pumping, with every atom of intensity you’d expect from a guy whose young life could be blasted to bloody bits any second. When I couldn’t go forward, I went sideways. When I couldn’t go fast, I went fast anyhow. As Paul Newman says in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, this was no time for bravery.

A short while after the chase began, I made one abortive and very foolish attempt to communicate with Devin. Periodically, in that voice that would’ve made Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan roar seem like the wan whimper of a lovesick soprano, he’d taken to screaming my name and asking me if I thought I’d survive. After one such inquiry, I paused and yelled back: “Good God, Devin, what in the hell do you—” He cut me off with a sustained burst of machine gun fire that slashed through the leaves, vines, stems and stalks just over my ducking head as neatly as any John Deere hedge trimmer. I took off again, and from that moment on, the only reason I opened my mouth was to suck oxygen.

I was convinced he’d let up eventually—that he’d grow weary of the chase, that his rage would abate, that some shred of common decency would assert itself. But none of these things happened; he stayed right after me. And I kept going longer and harder than I ever would’ve dreamed possible, tearing along through flora that had never been named, through mists of loathsome bugs that treated me like a Thanksgiving turkey, through a rank steamy heat that pressed down on me like the weight of everything I’d ever done wrong. As a rule, I looked pretty good if I say so myself, but I was in no kind of physical condition. The only pushups I ever did were off my two secretaries. But fear is a great motivator, and I had more than my share of relentless, pulsing fear. . . .

<>

“Sullivan!” he screams again. This time, to my relief, his voice seems farther away. “Sullivan!” Is it conceivable I’m losing him? Or that his interest in this depraved exercise is finally beginning to fade?

I can hear the gurgle of the Pastaza River, and, through a gap in the reeds, I can see its café-au-lait waters churning. I work my way over to the bank and sit down on a log; it’s the first rest I’ve taken since fleeing into the jungle. I know there’ll be PR concerns, legal concerns, but my brain wants nothing to do with these. I’m mired in the moment; I want only to survive. It occurs to me that perhaps the river holds the key to my escape; perhaps if I were to roll a log out there and climb on board . . . But I realize I’m cut and bleeding, and that the river is full of piranhas, including the red-bellied type, the razor-toothed carnivores of movie fame, and I decide that trying the river might not be such a clever idea. I gaze out at the Victoria Regia water lilies, their white-flowered leaves at least six feet across, and notice some logs much like the one I’m sitting on drifting slowly downstream.

Abruptly the log beneath me, which is partially obscured by the dense brush, comes to life and moves. It moves so briskly and unexpectedly that I topple off it and land flat on my back. With unbelievable agility, the thing now whips around and glares at me from a distance of two or three feet—it’s the biggest, nastiest and certainly the closest crocodile I’ve ever seen. I’m paralyzed with terror. For several seconds that feel like hours, the beast just stares at me; its emotions, if it has any, are beyond my reckoning. Its eyes are hard and steady and eerily familiar; its enormous, grinning mouth bristles with teeth that could tear into living flesh as easily as I could bite into a nectarine.

Neither one of us moves an inch. Then the croc does move. Slowly it turns away from me and lumbers down to the rippling river, slides foot-by-plated-foot into it and floats away.

Five minutes later, I’ve recovered enough to stand up, swipe some clinging insects from my torn clothes and will my wobbly legs to move.

I push on until I can push no more. Exhausted, I stagger into a thigh-high thicket of shrubs and weeds at the foot of a rubber tree and sit in their midst. I hope no ocelots are crouching nearby. Having heard nothing from Devin in quite some time, I permit myself to speculate that perhaps I’ve given him the slip, or that he’s turned back. But whether he has or not, I understand that I must soon find a way back to the camp. The deeper I burrow into the jungle, the farther from real help I put myself. Back at the camp is where food is, and water, and a short-wave radio, and even a couple of rifles. That’s where I assume the others, some of whom are probably in worse shape than I am, are huddling now. That’s where the authorities, who’ve surely been alerted, will converge.

It’s getting dark. Overhead, a streak of lightning knifes through the trembling sky, and booming thunder follows. Softly, it has begun to rain—a warm insistent rain that renders my khaki outfit not a drop wetter than it already was. I tilt back my head, open my mouth and drink. . . .

As night fills the jungle, I can’t help wishing I were back home in my California comfort. Back in my Malibu beach house—tennis court, swimming pool, wine cellar, gigantic garage with three cars (each one a freshly waxed Maserati). My wishing is disturbed only slightly by the flapping sounds of vampire bats flitting near me in the dark.

I can picture myself, all too vividly, tooling along Rodeo Drive not far from Wilshire Boulevard. It’s night; it’s summer. I’m in my Gran Turismo with the top down. I believe, though I can’t be positive, that I’m in the vicinity of Keith’s hair salon. John Coltrane and his sax are going crazy on my Bose sound system, and I’m waiting giddily for the next unexpected note, the next surprising sequence. Now the darkness begins to lift, but I can’t tell why—there’s no sun. No sun that I can see, yet it’s definitely growing brighter. Suddenly I hear the prolonged, piercing screech of brakes. I’m about to hit something, or something’s about to hit me, but I can’t see it. Where is it? What is it? The light continues to brighten; the screeching noise grows keener and louder—

<>

I open my eyes and discover it’s dawn. I’ve slept through the night. The screeching is coming from a howler monkey, or maybe a few of them, high up in the trees. The thicket I’ve used for a bed seems to have grown taller and fuller just since I entered it.

Sluggishly my mind begins to work, though it sure doesn’t want to. I feel anguish and disbelief over what has happened. I start to prop myself up on my elbow, and then I absolutely freeze in spite of the sauna-like heat.

So close to me I could almost reach out and touch him stands Devin. The expression on his face is tense, wild and plainly psychotic. He’s holding the machine gun muzzle-up, his burning eyes flicking left, right, left, right. He’s unaware of me. When I recognize he’s unaware of me, I want to sigh as loudly as I can; I must force myself to remain silent and motionless.

The moments pass and the moments refuse to pass, and just when I’ve begun to adapt to my circumstances, something hideous begins to happen. Although I can’t see the creature, I can feel it down there at my left ankle: a nudging, writhing movement. Something is trying to crawl up my pant leg. I mustn’t move; I don’t move. The thing’s dry, rocklike head has wriggled in beneath my cuff and is thrusting up the inside of my leg. It’s a snake—I can feel its scales and its sinuous muscularity.

I have a snake crawling up my leg.

“SULLIVAN!” Devin screams without warning. “SULLIVAN! I KNOW YOU’RE HERE SOMEWHERE!” From this range, his voice is earsplitting. “GIVE UP AND I’LL MAKE IT EASY ON YOU. I’LL KILL YOU FAST, WITH MINIMAL PAIN!”

I stay still. The snake’s head is bobbing against my knee. How big a snake is it? I wonder. Is it venomous?

“SULLIVAN!” Devin screams again. If he spots me, what happens next will qualify as the ultimate “Devin moment.” I almost regret that there are no cameras here to record the drama. “SULLIVAN!”

The head of the snake has inched erratically up my thigh and is now pressed firmly against my crotch. If this adventure has brought me little else to be thankful for, I’m thankful to be wearing briefs and not boxers.

Devin fires a deafening volley from the machine gun up into the mild gray sky. The snake jumps; I do not.

“A QUESTION FOR YOU, SULLIVAN, YOU CROOKED SUMBITCH!” A brief and sadistic pause; we both know what the question will be. “WILL YOU SURVIVE?” Another pause, longer and more sadistic than the first. “WILL—YOU—SUR . . .” But he breaks off as something, some subtle fact or clue, registers inside him.

His stony eyes appear harder than ever. What’s more, he has shifted them in my direction. Cautiously, he takes a single step toward me. Does he see me? Has he heard the slithering of the snake, whose fangs are poised a cottony sixteenth of an inch away from my tightened scrotum? I’m bathed in a sweat that offers no coolness, no relief.

That’s when it happens. Green and feathered, a bit smaller than a hypodermic needle, the dart hits Devin square in the throat, near the jugular. Thump! It has struck him with such speed and force that I was unable to discern its flight; the dart just seemed to materialize in his flesh, the site of the puncture ringed already by a seeping red bull’s eye.

His head jerks, and he pitches sideways; his eyes roll back in their sockets. The machine gun falls from his loosening fingers. Without a sound, he drops to his knees and then drops out of view.

Calmly and quite patiently, I wait for the Achuars to come and cart their victim away. But they don’t come. Ten minutes go by, and then another ten, and then another. An hour passes, during which time I don’t move, but the snake does. Eventually it gets itself turned around and flows back out my pant leg, back into the jungle. I don’t miss it much. Another half-hour goes by, and then another. Still I don’t move. The jungle is alive with a cacophony of noises: flies buzz, macaws shriek, cicadas chirr, peccaries and anteaters grunt. By my dirty, leafy Rolex watch, two and a half hours have passed. No Achuars have appeared.

Carefully, quietly, I rise to one knee and scan my surroundings, one way and the other. Back and forth. Satisfied, I creep over to where Devin lies sprawled on his back, his dead, open eyes peering up at me. For once, they don’t bother me. I step over him, bend down and close my hands on the Stoner. Who knows? It may prove useful. Keeping my head low, I start back toward the camp, following the river.

As a courtesy to Devin, I really should answer his question. He asked it often enough. Yes, I say to myself, I’ll survive.

If I’m very fortunate, I’ll survive.

XXXX

Greg Jenkins is the author of four books, the latest of which is the novel A Face in the Sky, published by Harvard Square Editions.  He has contributed dozens of short stories to such literary journals as Prairie Schooner, Prism International, Chicago Quarterly Review and Mensa Bulletin.  He has also had several plays produced, in New York, Nashville, Baltimore, Columbus, Virginia Beach and elsewhere.  

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