Entries by Dan McClenaghan

Trinkle Tinkle:

Frank’s Maiden Voyage to the Senior Center By Dan McClenaghan   Jolene enrolled me in a class, something about learning how to baby my ailing heart. I bitched about it, but acquiesced. The morning of the class, I ate my English muffin and washed it down with two cups of coffee, jumped into my car […]

The Saga of Clete and Juanita’s Pool, Part 4

Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer By Dan McClenaghan   Read previous installments: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3   The remnants of the now subsurface meteorite had rendered gravity—a force considered as constant as God—inconsistent in the vicinity of Clete and Juanita Johnson’s backyard swimming pool. Big Brother knew this, and kept the area under surveillance […]

The Luau

A Short Story by Dan McClenaghan   Since Ellis Leahy’s present financial situation wouldn’t allow a trip for him and Ruth to Honolulu for a Hawaiian vacation, he did the next best thing: He planned a backyard luau. First, he went online, to “Pigs R Us,” and ordered a sow, a young eighty-five pounder. Then on […]


A Short Story by Dan McClenaghan Clete had the feeling he’d made the chili a bit too hot, so he called his buddy Ellis in from the patio, where the two men had been drinking beer and listening to the pool filter sigh, and told him to test out a spoonful of the fiery goop. Ellis slurped […]

Do You Like Piña Coladas?

A Short Story by Dan McClenaghan   My wife Jolene wanted to go see the androids. Mediterranean Gardens, nestled in that little strip mall off Highway 78, had just replaced three quarters of their wait staff with robots, and Jolene thought that a dining experience there would be “interesting.” I agreed, although my main focus […]

Short Stack

A Short Story by Dan McClenaghan   Johanna wrinkled her nose at the old cook’s short stack. Through the steam rising off the plate on the service shelf window, ready for delivery, she said that the three pancakes (five cakes are a full stack here at the Loma Alta Café) were supposed to be placed […]

French Toast

A Short Story by Dan McClenaghan   Mona strode through the café with the coffee pot, an eye out for half-full mugs. As she topped off the cup of a construction worker-looking guy on table eight, she felt a tap on her hip, from the fingertips of a thirtyish blonde lady at table nine, by the […]

The Saga of Clete and Juanita’s Pool, Part 2

A Short Story by Dan McClenaghan Read Part 1, “The Possibilities of Zero G,” here.   A U.S. government satellite flies over Clete and Juanita Johnson’s house. Regularly. It’s spying. A half a decade earlier, a meteorite plowed into the Johnson’s backyard, and, though the space rock proved itself legitimate—a mystery stone from somewhere deep […]

Juanita Gets a New Tattoo

A Short Story by Dan McClenaghan Clete always told Juanita that she shouldn’t drive with Ginger sitting on her lap. Juanita always answered him with: “So, what am I supposed to do, get her a car seat?” Somewhere, somebody has invented a car seat for a Chihuahua, Clete thought, so he said, “Yeah, I think […]

Women In Words: Clete’s Procedure

A Short Story by Dan McClenaghan Juanita insisted that Clete get a colonoscopy. He was sixty years old and had never had one, for God’s sake, and no telling what sort of malignant mischief was brewing in the depths of his bowels. His former excuse, that they couldn’t afford it, no longer applied. He’d picked […]

Super Bowl Sunday

By Dan McClenaghan The drone dropped out of the sky and landed on the Leahy’s front yard, holding a pair of pizzas in its metal clamp: one pepperoni, the other, sausage and peppers. As it touched down on the patchy lawn, a high volume tune sang out from the drone’s small but surprisingly hi-fidelity speaker, […]

By Torch Light, the Day After Christmas

A Short Story by Dan McClenaghan Clete Johnson put in a winter garden this year: broccoli, potatoes, cabbage, red leaf lettuce. But the pests were eating his crop alive, setting him to ruminate on a solution. After forty-five minutes of deep and careful thought, and a trip to the refrigerator for a synapse-enhancing pale ale, […]

Where I Stand with Juanita

Flash fiction by Dan McClenaghan My wife’s Chihuahua, Ginger, is a pampered little mange-ridden mutt. Juanita loves her more than she does me. I hate that dog. So one night when the little bat-eared mongrel was whining for a morsel of my sandwich, I poured a shot of my cheap wine into her water bowl, to […]

A Trip to the Laundromat

A short story by Dan McClenaghan The clothes dryer crapped out, and since Ruth and Ellis couldn’t afford a new one—or the price of a repairman’s visit—they worked out a routine: Ruth would wash the clothes in the evening, and Ellis would take them to work the next morning and run them down to the […]

Book Review: No Safe House by Linwood Barclay

Reviewed by Dan McClenaghan In No Safe House (NAL Hardcover, August 5, 2014), from the internationally bestselling author Linwood Barclay, teenaged Grace Archer has hooked up with the wrong boy. She follows him into an uncertain situation, and things go from bad to horrible, pulling her family into a world of big money crime and vicious, coldhearted murder. […]

My Man, Bowling

A Short Story by Dan McClenaghan Ruth and Ellis invited their next door neighbors, Clete and Juanita, out for a couple of friendly frames of bowling, losing couple buys the burgers after the game. They rolled down in Clete and Juanita’s car, and crossed the sun-baked parking lot and slipped inside, escaping the smoggy summer […]

Angelica’s Heart, Part 3

Read Part 1 Read Part 2 By Dan McClenaghan Frank Phillips, a fifty-three year old widow has received an experimental heart transplant from a cloned donor pig named Angelica. He is traveling north in a limousine from the Baja California clinic that supplied him with his new heart. Dr. Amali Mahanthappa, the clinic’s director and […]

Angelica’s Heart: Part 2

By Dan McClenaghan I’d spent six months in Baja California, and now it was time to go back to the states. My new heart—the heart of a pig—pumped human blood with a youthful vigor, and the man who had financed this experiment in xenotransplantation wanted to see me with his own eyes. A Skype holograph connection […]

Angelica’s Heart: Part 1

By Dan McClenaghan The heart of a pig beats deep in my chest. It is a strong muscle, one that should allow me to live out a normal lifespan. Or so they say. I’m hoping they’re telling the truth, and I’m hoping I can get out of here soon, back to something that resembles a […]