ANNOTATED LIST OF PUBLISHED SHORT STORIES
By Lawrence Farrar
“A Shoe Box Inventory” - Red Wheelbarrow (Volume 6), 2005
A young vice consul is assigned to inventory the meager goods of a deceased expatriate. In the process, he finds things are not always what they seem.
“The Wallet” - The G. W. Review (Volume XXVII, No. 1), Fall 2005
A late-night train riding American in Japan spots a money laden billfold working its way out of the pocket of a drunken passenger. He calculates ways to retrieve the wallet. Others are also interested.
“A Souvenir for Mama” - Red Cedar Review (Volume 42), 2007
A troubled young Japanese woman is sent to America to live with her aunt. On arrival, she decides to look for the money hidden by criminals in the film, Fargo. Movies are real, aren’t they?
“Thank You Very Much” - The MacGuffin (Volume XXIV, No. 3), Spring/Summer 2008
An American consular officer provides information to a Japanese man trying to locate a GI he encountered as a youth. The man’s real purpose is not immediately apparent.
“Language Problems” - Colere (Issue 8), 2008
A Japanese journalist and his American interpreter are on a government sponsored tour of the United States. The interpreter dies during a stopover in Spokane. Unable to speak English, the journalist is hard-pressed to fend off police suspicions he is responsible for the death.
“Wounded Soldier Seeks Your Cooperation” - The Worcester Review (Fall 2010)
An American diplomat intervenes as two GIs bully a wounded Japanese war veteran begging at a Tokyo rail station. The incident triggers wartime memories that still haunt the diplomat.
“A Good Player” - New Plains Review (Spring 2011)
An out-of-work drifter is on the road with his family. Along the way he devises a method to use his little boy to con motorists in gas stations who think they’ve struck the child with their cars. It’s risky business.
“Cherry Bombs” - Straylight (May 2011)
Neighborhood boys harass an old, World War I vet they consider “loony.” He is actually a victim of “shell shock.” When they torment him with firecrackers the prospect of a bad outcome looms.
“Tyranny of the Skirt” - Evening Street Review (# 5, December 2011)
A Japanese magazine claims an aggressive American woman teacher drove a Japanese professor to commit suicide. She demands help from the American consul. He thinks maybe the magazine had it right.
“Class Notes” - Clackamas Literary Review (Vol. 15, 2011)
A San Diego businessman submits an item to his alumni magazine. Soon after he is visited by a “classmate” who claims he owes him favors. How to get rid of this guy?
“Sunshine and a Bit Warmer” - The MacGuffin (Winter 2011- 2012)
A couple who hooked up in a roadside bar is caught in a Utah snowstorm. A distant light in a house seems to offer salvation. Inside the house a terrified mother and her children hear rapping at the door. She has a gun.
“The Girl with No Name” - 34th Parallel (Number 11, Fall/Winter 2011-2012)
A man looks back across the years remembering a brief post-war affair with a Japanese girl. His memory is fading, and he fears he will forget her altogether. [Original title – “Clutching at Memory”]
“Hiroshima: One Man’s Memories” by Akio Inoue - New Madrid (early 2012)
(With Lawrence Farrar, former diplomat with long Japan experience (editing and guidance re venue)
A Japanese survivor of Hiroshima recalls his boyhood experience in the immediate aftermath of the blast as well as describing the life-long impact of that experience. Non-polemical. Prays something like this will never happen again
“Another Afternoon at the Paramount Cafe” - Straylight (December 2012)
Hector Ewert, a shy bespectacled guy, is a regular at the Paramount Café. He is enamored of the waitress there but is unable to muster the courage to ask her to go with him to a movie. Could that ever change?
“Schadenfreude” - Bloodroot Literary Magazine (2013 edition)
A college professor is contacted by woman who ditched him years before. Her life a succession of failures and bad turns, she is seeking his assistance for her and her husband. The professor cannot help but feel she got what she deserved. At the same time, he still feels affection for her.
“Mourners” - Bryant Literary Review (Volume 14, May 2013)
Two men, one old and the other young, encounter each other in a small-town cemetery. They are both there to remember the same woman. Is there something more that binds them?
“The Pledge” – Prairie Winds (Spring 2013)
An act of kindness by a waitress in a roadside restaurant appears to have earned a great reward. But an innocent act by a co-worker places the prospect of a pay-off in hazard.
“Okinawa Interlude” – Jelly Bucket (Number 5, 2014)
A tough American girl working in an Okinawa bar meets a Marine. Unlike most men she had known, he treats her with consideration and respect. During a two-day interlude with him she learns he has advanced stage cancer.
“The Education of Florence Duensing” – FLARE (December 2013)
[Originally titled “A Smile So Sweet”]
A married woman finds herself in a dead-end life. She wants to do good in this world. Her husband mocks her. She thinks she has found the opportunity when she meets a homeless family. She is especially taken with their little girl. She wants to do the right thing.
“A Strange Foreigner” – Colere (April 2014)
An American exchange student irritates his Japanese host family and fellow students with his odd behavior. He is especially fixated on Mishima Yukio’s The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. He decides to burn down his college’s revered Old Main as retaliation against those he believes have ill-treated him.
“Not One of Us” – Big Muddy No. 14.2 (March 2015)
A stranger arrives in a small 1930s river town. For the old boys hanging out at the garage his visit strikes them as suspicious. Rumor has it he’s from the state government which plans to build a damn that will flood their town. The townsfolk are not happy. Not at all.
“A Man of High Purpose” – Zone 3 (Spring 2015)
A Japanese noodle shop delivery boy believes Japanese society has failed him. Under the influence of an ultranationalist group, he is especially concerned about the perceived damage caused by the presence of US bases. He decides to assassinate the American ambassador.
“Where’s Billy?” – Lindenwood Review (Summer 2015)
During a family outing at a lakeside lodge, the narrator (then 13) & his teen-age uncle take 4-year-old Billy for a walk in the woods. They decide to tease him by running away. Not a wise decision.
“War & Peace in the Window Factory” – Straylight (December 2015)
A self-focused college boy is assigned a laborer’s job in a factory. He assumes he is too intellectual for his workmates and decides to read a novel on breaks. In time, he comes to understand the value of honest labor and seeks the approval of his co-workers.
“Taking Care of Doug” – The Chaffin Journal (December 2015)
Attorney Frank Elsberry’s Vietnam vet brother, Doug, has been living over Frank’s garage for two years. Frank’s wife thinks Doug is “a little off” and has overstayed his welcome. Frank yields to his wife’s pressure and reluctantly sends Doug off to an Oregon sanitarium. His concern is well-founded
“Emil’s Apes” – Tulane Review (Spring 2016)
A crew of wise-ass summer hires give a hard time to their company-dedicated foreman. They mock him and make fun of him, but when disaster strikes it becomes clear who knows how to get the job done.
“The Nature of Gifts” – Red Earth Review (July 2016)
A young man is pulled from his car wreck by a couple passing by. They are especially generous while he is in the hospital and while he is recovering. But he becomes uncomfortable when the gifts keep coming. What are they up to? And what are the obligations of a gift recipient.
“The Go-between” – Evening Street Review (Fall 2016)
A graduate student is asked by a Chinese professor to dissuade his granddaughter from marrying a person who is “not appropriate.” Cultural and generational differences in play.
“Homesteaders” – O-Dark-Thirty (The Review) (October 2016)
In Okinawa, an unreliable narrator describes his version of a crime committed long before during the rough and tumble years after World War II. Murder, rape, hidden treasure—it’s all there.
“What Life?” – Straylight (May 2017)
Elaine Conover leaves her doctor’s office the bearer of bad news. Looking back, she considers her life to have been an empty one. But is it too late for at least one meaningful act?
“Fitting In” – Colere (2017 edition; Summer)
A young American diplomat with Okinawan parents is assigned to Naha. Going ain’t easy, especially with a distrustful Consul General.
“The Yo-yo Champion of the World” – Clackamas Literary Review (Spring/Summer 2018)
A Vietnam War widow & her little boy encounter a maintenance worker in a seaside park. The man says he is the yo-yo champion if the world. The chemistry is good for all concerned & the dispirited woman feels she has a chance for a good life for herself and the boy.
“A Visa for Nobu” – 34th Parallel (April 2018)
In this story, an American woman professor shows up at the Naha consulate with an uneducated, young Okinawan man. Nobu wants to apply for a visa. The professor claims she simply intends to escort him on a visit to the US & return. The American consul is suspicious of them both - with good reason
“Saying Goodbye in Brussels” – Bryant Literary Review (2019)
An American businessman in Europe aspires to the lifestyle to which he feels he is entitled; fast cars and fast girls. He decides to send his wife and children back to the US and to join his current girlfriend in Brussels. When he learns their flight had crashed on takeoff, he hurries to the Brussels airport. What has he done?
Boned: Every Which Way - a 2019 anthology includes my story, “Stopping at Vinnie’s Roadside.”
Streetlight Magazine 2018 Anthology contains my story, “Who Could Ever Forget.”
“In the Bar Atomic” - Green Hills Literary Lantern (Volume XXI; 2010)
A US sailor in Japan has received orders for transfer to Vietnam where the war rages. He is afraid he will be killed there. When a peace activist offers to help him leave Japan, he accepts the offer. He abandons his bargirl and waits in the rain for a smuggler to pick him up.
“Veterans’ Day” - Blue Lake Review (August 2012)
People simply cannot understand why a Marine vet is reluctant to speak at Veterans’ Day ceremonies. A young reporter sent to interview him uncovers disturbing facts. Where is the truth?
“Expiation” - Blue Lake Review (April 2013)
A young diplomat, assigned to a war-torn African country, loses his nerve in the face of a rebel attack & thus destroys his career. Twenty years later, now a humanitarian relief worker, he encounters a new challenge. Will he at last find expiation?
“The Prisoner from Peru” – Green Hills Literary Lantern (July 2013)
During World War II, a Japanese salesman in Peru finds himself an international pawn when he is turned over to American authorities and sent to a Texas internment camp. Conflicts with guards and other prisoners make life difficult. But in time he develops an arms-length friendship with an American guard; they both like baseball.
“Nightingale Floors” – Cigale Literary (June 2013)
An American student in Japan leads a dissolute life and finds himself in debt to a criminal moneylender. A retired professor employs the young man as an English tutor. Under pressure to repay his loans, the student betrays the professor’s friendship and decides to rob him.
“And That Was Something” – Paradise Review (July 2013)
On a Caribbean island, an American Vice Consul becomes involved with an American woman who has bilked several local people. The citizenry & authorities want her brought to justice. The Vice Consul is attracted to her and feels sympathy for her plight. She cons him, too.
“A Good Steward” – Tampa Review Online (October 2013)
After World War II, a Japanese American family returns from a relocation camp to the Santa Clara Valley to recover their farm. The farmer who promised to care for the property is now reluctant to return the land. Wartime animosities, prejudice, family pressures, and economic factors all weigh on him. He knows what is right, but can he do it?
“Class Notes” – The Write Room (September 2013)
A San Diego businessman submits an item to his alumni magazine. Soon after he is visited by a “classmate” who claims he owes him favors. How to get rid of this guy?
“It’s Been a Long Time” – Streetlight (Issue No. 7, Fall 2013) (October)
An American woman professor waits in a California hotel to have dinner with a Japanese doctor. They’d had an affair in Japan, but because of parental pressure and high regard for himself he turned away. The woman’s hope briefly soars, but nothing has changed. Someday she must tell her little girl why no daddy lives with them.
“The Man Who Wouldn’t Pay for Dinner” – Cheat River Review (October 2013)
When a troubled American tourist shows up in Tokyo, experienced embassy officers adopt a hands-off attitude. Despite arguments by a younger officer that they should involve themselves, they know, after all, such situations eventually resolve themselves. They are wrong.
“Roundup in Tokyo” – Curbside Splendor E-Zine (February 2014)
In Occupied Japan, an MP lieutenant leads his squad on an evening roundup of streetwalkers. In the process, they apprehend a schoolgirl out late because she missed her bus. Despite protests from his sergeant, the zealous lieutenant insists she be taken to a hospital for a VD examination. The consequences are tragic.
“Civilians in Uniform” – O-Dark-Thirty (May 2014)
Aboard a Pacific aircraft carrier, a junior officer encounters inexplicable behavior on the part of the ship’s executive officer. The exec is clearly troubled and, among other things, accuses the junior officer of lacking loyalty to the Navy. Indeed, he says, he is nothing but a civilian in uniform.
“My Neighbor, Mr. Tanaka” – Eastlit (June 2014)
An American academic conducting research rents a house in Kamakura, Japan. In time, he develops a distant friendship with his reclusive Japanese neighbor. The man appears to be hiding something. The American pursues the truth and might wish he had not.
“New Girl” – Blue Lake Review (August issue 2014)
An American naval officer brings his new Japanese wife home to his family in the US. It is Thanksgiving and the folks are well-meaning, but their behavior reflects all the stereotypes and biases one might expect. It is a long day.
“Waiting for Trains” – Marathon Literary Review (August 2014)
No paragon of virtue herself, an embassy secretary realizes she is being exploited by a male diplomat. She plots her revenge.
“A Member of the Club” – The Write Room (March 24, 2015)
A man, with a checkered past, returns to his hometown. Now a wealthy man he is determined to join the country club that once rejected his father. He gains admission to the club, but the acceptance he craves still eludes him. The consequences are not good.
“WestPac Widows” – O-Dark-Thirty (The Report – April 22, 2015)
An ensign listens to stories in the Long Beach Officers’ Club about WestPac widows. The term refers to women whose husbands are deployed aboard ship to the Western Pacific. He thinks they are mythical creatures until he meets such a woman and begins an affair. This young man has much to learn.
“You’ll Never Know” – Oxford Magazine (OxMag) - May 24, 2015
A student guide escorts a late afternoon visitor to the college library’s clock tower. She is unprepared for his assertion that he plans to leap to his death.
“Sightings” – Green Hills Literary Lantern (2015 Edition)
Quentin Debroux is a young Foreign Service officer assigned to a backwater African post. The place is bad, and he is bullied by a co-worker. When he accidentally kills the man, he sets out on a journey with no end in sight. Reports that he has been seen in various foreign capitals are plentiful. But Quentin is gone.
“Reunion” – Hawaii Pacific Review (July 16, 2015)
When an elderly man learns that that the woman he loved many years before is in decline, he sets out to see her one last time. Why had she turned away? He finds her in a nursing home &, holding her hand, recalls their happy days together. But has dementia taken her memory?
“Just the Way Life Is” – EastLit (October 2015)
1930s Japan. An American missionary and his son face a dilemma when a young farm girl runs into their compound during the night. She is seeking refuge; her parents have sold her to a brothel. Amidst a rising tide of nationalism, confronting a centuries old tradition will be difficult. What to do?
“Sew Girls” – Aji Review (November 2015)
An Army wife in Okinawa is convinced her husband is having an affair with their housemaid. In fact, he is not. But the accusations trigger behavior on his part that eventually lead to an unanticipated outcome.
“Keeping Score” - Streetlight (No. 15, Fall, 2015)
Carl has just learned someone is after his job as Secretary of the Monday night bowling league. He doesn’t know what to do.
“Sasebo Silent Night” – O-Dark-Thirty (December 2015)
Christmas Eve in Sasebo, Japan. A long-simmering conflict between two US sailors, competing for the affection of a Japanese bar hostess at the Blue Lantern Cabaret, is coming to a head.
“Transients” – Two Cities Review (March 2016)
A passenger in a Los Angeles bus depot spots a waitress; his high school classmate from years gone by. He hopes she won’t see him, but she does.
“Jailhouse Sayonara” – The Literary Nest (April 2016)
A good-hearted American vice-consul encounters a streetwise Japanese American girl who has been arrested and is in a Japanese jail. She acts tough, but he thinks it is simply a pose. Is she conning him?
“Red City” – Eastlit (August 2016)
The wife of a vulnerable Japanese man has become a bar girl in a US navy base town, a “red city” in the eyes of many Japanese. The husband sets out to bring her back home to him and to their baby. It seems an overwhelming challenge.
“Are You My Father?” – Flyleaf Journal (February 2017)
A lonely San Diego bachelor opens the door of his house and finds a young woman standing there. She says her Japanese mother was his girlfriend 25 years before when he served at Yokota Air Force Base. She declares he is her father. Is she telling the truth? Perhaps he doesn’t care.
“Nearing Port” – Smoky Blue (March 2017)
Set in 1935, the story involves a young American doctor returning to his missionary parents in Japan. As his ship nears port in Yokohama, he is intrigued by a Russian girl who is a fellow passenger. He is soon confronted by questions of what is true and what is not true.
“Leftovers” – Route Seven Review (May 2017)
A San Diego attorney reluctantly travels to Okinawa searching for a long-lot brother. Will his worst suspicions be confirmed?
“On the Stone Bridge”- Pamplemousse (June 2017)
An unhappy young man considers jumping from a bridge. He encounters a young woman contemplating the same idea.
“A Third World Dinner” – Green Hills Literary Lantern (for 2017 edition - July)
An American diplomat tries to deal with a badly behaving career ambassador. Everything comes to a head and everything comes apart at catastrophic dinner for the diplomatic community.
“Parents’ Weekend” – South 85 Journal (Dec 2017)
A full-of-himself student at an upscale New England college fears his visiting parents will prove to be an embarrassment. Perhaps he will himself prove to be an embarrassment.
“Beer and Skittles” – Edify (January 2018)
Jilted by his girlfriend, a young man enroute to Vietnam seeks out the girl’s father at his Pennsylvania workplace. He hopes to better understand, “what happened?” Will the meeting provide an explanation or at least solace?
“Diplomatic Immunity” – O-Dark-Thirty (2018)
A small European nation & fraught diplomatic and political environment. A US ambassador’s daughter makes a bad situation worse by her untoward behavior. * Accepted but never published)
“We Are the Ones” – Newfound (March 2018)
Would-be revolutionaries occupy a Kamakura villa. Is the American professor owner a host or a hostage?
“Promises”-Blue Lake Review (March 2018)
A stop-over in Tokyo for a Korean War veteran stirs old memories. Is she still alive? Will she remember him?
“Sammy the Tailor Loves Americans” – Bluestem (May 2018)
An American admiral’s moral compass has gone askew. Sammy the tailor is a real pal of the Americans, always ready to find them a good deal, a good meal, or a good girl. A congressman’s visit undercuts the admiral’s facile assertion, “that’s just how they do it out here.”
“Who Could Ever Forget?” – Streetlight (2018)
Years later, two childhood pals are reunited. Circumstances have changed in the relationship. Will a sense of obligation be in play?
“Making Amends” – Blue Lake Review (October 2018)
A veteran returns to his hometown after many years absence. He carries a heavy burden of guilt. He hopes to make amends for long-ago behavior.
"Not What He Signed Up For” - Verdad (2019)
In this story, a young consular officer in Okinawa rejects a woman's visa application. In consequence, he is subjected to threats by her American soldier boyfriend. He begins to wonder if, instead of upholding the law, it would be easier to simply issue the visa.
“For Valor” – Smoky Blue Literary & Arts Magazine (March 2019)
This is the story of two sisters, no longer close, who attend the funeral of their father, a Vietnam veteran who had abandoned them. During an inventory of his house they discover a medal.
“Place Settings” – Blood Orange (2019)
An American embassy in the early 1960s, & the times were a changing. Confronting a domineering ambassador's wife, embassy spouses have some choices to make. Welcome comments, especially from former FS colleagues. Enjoy.
“Stopping at Vinnie’s Roadside” – Boned (April 2019)
Seeking shelter from a storm in a roadside bar, a traveler in Okinawa encounters a strange character, the Sergeant Major, a veteran of the WWII battle of years before. Something is not right. My first effort, with some trepidation, at a "ghost story."
“Showdown at Big Lake” – Blue Lake Review (June 2019)
WWII. A small Oregon town. Rumors spin about that a Japanese saboteur has parachuted into the nearby mountains. Three young would-be vigilantes set out to investigate. It's more complicated than they think.
“Reconciliation” - Blue Lake Review (December 2019)
US navy veterans, planning a reunion, want to invite participation by a former Japanese kamikaze pilot they'd rescued from the ocean. Although their motives are good, cultural differences assert themselves.
Chapter 21 of Only the Moon Remains - The Write Launch (February 2020)
It is 1936. A young American doctor has returned to Japan & his missionary parents. He has learned a childhood tagalong has been sold to a Tokyo brothel, and he has vowed to rescue her. On a snowy Tokyo night, he thinks he is about to succeed. But obstacles mount, and a military coup attempt is underway.
"On the Road North" - Blue Lake Review (June 2020)
Fearing transfer to Vietnam, an American sailor accepts an offer to be smuggled out of Japan. Along the way, he is beset by second thoughts. What to do?
“Maybe Just Once" – Green Hills Literary Lantern (2020)
A young woman is abandoned by her husband at a MN roadside rest area. In an old Plymouth, she and her little girl seek salvation along Midwestern highways. Colorado beckons.
“Patience Required” (Essay) - “A View from the Loft,” Loft Literary Center (June 27, 2011)
“Writing across the Age Divide” Writer’s Block Blog; Loft Literary Center (October 2014)